With the loss of many amenities such as shops and post offices, communities have to respond to retain their sense of identity. Village Halls have an increasingly important role to play in bringing the people together and need offer more than a meeting venue if they are to become viable and sustainable in the long term. Menter Môn have worked with several community groups across the island with the aim of transforming community buildings into multi purpose resources for the whole community.
This ambitious £2.5million project restored the Llangefni Town Hall in order toprovide a home for several social enterprises, charities and community groupson the island. Among them are Menter Môn, Medrwn Môn and AngleseyAgewell. It also provides an excellent venue for the weekly indoor market andactivities such as Zumba and Judo.
The Town Hall has been a focal point for the town since it built in 1884 by thelate Sir Richard Bulkeley. Originally named the Market Hall, as it was used tosell livestock, it was later sold to the Council and renamed the Town Hall. Theimposing Grade II listed building was popular venue for dances in the fiftiesand sixties, and later became synonymous with election nights.
It is important that we find viable new uses for our built heritage - the TownHall is important to Llangefni and this project has re-established it as the focalpoint. The occupation of the building has breathed new life into the town andthe relocation of 70 jobs has benefitted local businesses.
We were eager to employ local companies to ensure maximum benefit forthe local economy. The project was managed by Advent from Bangor, thearchitects were Dewis from Llanfairpwll and SOS from Llangefni furnished the building. The construction company were Dawnus, and although based inSouth Wales they made extensive use of local sub-contractors.
This was the first example of an asset transfer on Anglesey whereby the LocalAuthority transferred a building to a “not for profit” third sector company.Under the ownership of Menter Môn applications for funding were made thatwere not previously possible. The Big Lottery Fund, the Welsh Government’sMôn a Menai Regeneration Area Programme and Anglesey County Council allprovided significant funds in order complete the project.The first tenants moved into the building in July 2012 and on February 1 st HuwLewis, The Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage officially openedthe Centre.
The Town Hall is an asset for the community and the facilities are available forhire by groups and individuals. They include the following:
For information on availability and costs contact Menter Môn on 01248725700 or call into the main reception on the ground floor.
Despite receiving support from Menter Môn back in 1997 the Llanddaniel Post Office is just as relevant today as it was back then. The fact that it is still trading is also testament to the success of the project and the commitment of the local community.
Menter Môn were approached in 1996 following the closure of the post office and shop in the village. The residents were concerned that the village was becoming a commuter settlement and the sense of community was being lost. Trigolion Llanddaniel Fab (Residents of Llanddaniel Fab) was established and they set about identifying a suitable building for a new shop and post office. Menter Môn provided half the funding and the remainder was raised locally by the selling of shares in the new community enterprise. It generated a great deal of support which which is still in evidence today.
The Pritchard Jones Institute and six cottage homes were built in 1902 at a cost of £ 19,000, by a local builder, Hugh Hughes. It was officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Anglesey, Sir Richard Williams-Bulkeley of Beaumaris in 1905 and all costs were borne by Sir John Prichard Jones Bt.
Sir John Prichard Jones was born in Newborough in 1841 and aged 14 he was apprenticed to a linen draper in Caernarfon. In 1872 he entered the firm of Dickins, Smith and Stevens in Regent Street, London. He was soon promoted to buyer, manger and finally a partner in the Company, which was by now one of the largest and most successful Department Stores in the capital city.
The Prichard Jones Institute provided the inhabitants of Newborough with a free Library, Assembly room, Reading and Recreation Rooms, together with Cottage Residencies and, in the early years, pensions for some “deserving” inhabitants of Newborough.
The Institute featured in the BBC programme, “Restoration” in 2006 and although it did not win the competition funding was later provided by Menter Môn for a full restoration of the Grade Two listed building in 2008-2009. The building remains faithful to the original objective of providing a valuable resource to local inhabitants, and the renovation has ensured that it fit for purpose for another 100 years.
Llys Llewelyn, situated in Aberffraw, was a disused countryside centre with small business units. Given its prominent location in the village the County Council were eager that it was put to some use for the benefit of the community. As there was little interest from the private sector Menter Môn were asked if they were interested in running the centre.
Aberffraw is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - perfect for coastal and forest walks, cycling tours, water-sports or relaxing on the beaches. Menter Môn therefore believed that Llys Llewelyn had potential as good quality accommodation centre. Funds were made available through various European and regeneration schemes for renovation works and a multi purpose accommodation was created with a shop, gallery, tourist information centre and commercial laundry.
The centre now provides employment for four full time members of staff from the local area and attracts tourists to this fascinating corner of the island. It is a viable and sustainable enterprise and has added value to a previously unused community asset.