A cross section of interest groups came together on March 23rd for two workshops at Llanarth Village Hall run by the Village Alive Trust, with support from Community Action Network.

The aim was to get feedback on the Trust’s project to bring the closed St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth back into community use. It closed ten years ago and was put up for sale in 2019.

Post Covid the Trust has developed the project with a view to the Grade II* listed building becoming a community well being centre, with bell ringing training school and flexible spaces for various activities. It is hoped that a café would enable regular drop-in access and an income stream.

Dozens of invitations were emailed out to groups including MIND, cycling, bee keeping, local history, councillors, GAVO, walking groups, Welsh societies, council clerks, therapists and Alzheimer’s Society among others.

Despite apologies from groups wanting to know more, but unable to attend on the day, the workshops attracted a variety of people willing to engage and offer ideas, feedback and support.

The day was introduced by Vivienne Morgan Jones, the Trust’s treasurer and the workshops were led by Chris Jones, of Chris Jones Regeneration, who specialises in place making. Chris is acting as a critical friend to the Trust in helping to coordinate the project before grant bids.

Ashley Morgan, of Monmouthshire County Council’s communities and social department who is the lead for community spaces in this area, is also assisting the project.

Illustrations created by Eric Evans, Trust member, and brainstorming sessions hosted by Trust vice president Edward Holland, Chris Jones, David Binding, trustee and Chris Fleming-Jones and refreshments provided by Pat Griffiths and Pam Watkins, helped towards a fruitful day when ideas were exchanged and new bonds created.