1 July, 2019
Another of Blaenavon's historic chapels has been saved from further deterioration by a number of grants, including one from the Town Council.
Built in 1829, Bethel Baptist Chapel in King Street was in danger of collapsing after support structure of the roof became unsafe with dry rot in the building's pine end and rotten windows needing replacing.
As a result, the main building has not being used for the past two years, with services taking place in the chapel schoolroom.
The Chapel was successful in applying for the maximum grant awarded by the Rural Community Development Fund of £160, 000, based on the chapel contributing 20 per cent.
"This left us with £32,000 to find!" said Rita Preece, Chapel Treasurer. "Thankfully, The Garfield Weston Foundation gave us a grant for £25,000, the Town Council gave £3,000 - which left us with just £4,000 to find, which we managed to do."
"The Chapel also owes a huge debt of gratitude to many Blaenavon residents for the generous donations they have made, some anonymously. Our sincere thanks also go to Nikki Williams, Rural Development Manager with Torfaen County Borough Council for her invaluable advice and continued support during the grant applications.
"Last, but certainly not least, we must thank the congregation of Bethel King Street Baptist Church for their unstinting loyalty to the Chapel."
Currently, there are more than 20 members of the congregation and the building has been used by community groups such as Blaenavon Horticultural Society and Blaenavon Ladies’ Choir, as a temporary storage facility for Blaenavon Community Museum when it moved premises, and the chapel's Women’s League - all are welcome.
Mayor Cllr Jac Denley-Jones said: "Blaenavon, like towns and cities across the UK, has lost many of its religious buildings due to dwindling congregations and deteriorating buildings.
"But we're lucky enough to still have a number faithfully used and the Town Council want to play our part in helping to preserve as many as possible.
"We were pleased earlier this year to be able to support Bethlehem Chapel and were equally happy to have been able to help what we all know as King Street Chapel to access the sort of funding we couldn't afford.
"Hopefully the repairs will allow the chapel and its worshippers and community group users to continue to enjoy meeting there for the foreseeable future."