Ffos-y-fran funding bringing Hope to Merthyr Tydfil

A 150-year-old Merthyr Tydfil church has moved with the times to become a 21st century multi-functional centre for the whole community.

Hope Church, situated on the High Street, was built as Hope Methodist Chapel in 1861. It is now a modern venue used as a base for a youth club, parent and toddlers, adult support groups and Christians Against Poverty (CAP) money management courses.

The Gothic building was purchased by Hope Church in 2009 and has since been completely renovated, with the installation of an industrial grade kitchen, shower, disabled toilets and disabled access, with a lift to all floors.

The latest phase of refurbishment was supported by a Ffos-y-fran Community Benefit Fund grant of £5,000 towards building materials for internal repairs, furniture items to supplement community outreach drop-in work, new small tables and chairs for the toddler group and a football table for the youth club.

“The church community has grown in recent years, and is continuing to grow,” said Church Leader Paul Edwards.  “Because the building is used by the local community in so many different ways, we’ve made it much more multifunctional – in the main hall, the pews have been removed and the old vestry areas have been converted into offices and meeting rooms.  All in all, it’s had a total renovation.”

Among the user groups are Barnardo’s Young Carers, CAP, the Mercy Well – which supports people with addictions or who are in poverty or homeless – the Hope Teens group, Hope for Toddlers (a parent and toddler group which encourages community among parents/ carers of young children), and Hope 4 Kids, which runs every Sunday morning for primary-aged children.

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Leader Cllr Brendan Toomey said Hope Church had developed into a real asset for the whole community.

“We’re delighted to be able to administer the Ffos-y-fran Community Benefit Fund, which has contributed to many worthwhile projects, giving local organisations the chance to obtain money they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”

The Ffos-y-fran Community Benefit Fund was established by local mining company Miller Argent, which donates £1 for every ton of coal sold from the Ffos-y-fran land reclamation scheme.  More than £5m has been awarded to a wide range of groups and causes since the site opened in 2007.