A former recreation centre is to reopen this weekend thanks to a near £100,000 refurbishment.
Guests including local MP Huw Irranca-Davies and AM Janice Gregory will celebrate the reopening of the Llanharan Miners Welfare Hall after its extensive makeover.
The hall was established on July 5, 1944, when the building and associated playing fields where built from the subscriptions from the miners of the village colliery.
When the mines closed, the grounds were looked after by the CISWO (Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation) until 1978 when they were passed in trust to the residents of Llanharan. The hall celebrated its 70th Anniversary on July 5.
Unfortunately, the hall – which is operated by a management committee of local residents providing a venue for cultural, social, and sporting activities – has fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years and was urgently in need of an upgrade.
“The condition of the hall had deteriorated over the years and was in need of major refurbishment,” said John Bowman, one of the project team that has been overlooking the refurbishment of the hall.“Due to the building being constructed of iron frame weather board materials, there was no cavity to the building and therefore no insulation. With the deterioration of the walls to the building, this caused considerable heat loss.
“The old boilers with cast iron hospital type radiators were extremely costly to run leading to significant energy bills, poor heating and consequently a loss of users particularly the elderly and very young.”
In the summer of 2012, the project to breathe new life into the hall began when a Coalfields Regeneration Trust energy audit revealed how extensive the work was that was required.
This included replacing a very old inefficient central heating system, fitting exterior wall insulation to the metal frame walls – which had the added effect of giving a facelift to a very old dilapidated building – replacing and insulating suspended ceilings and replacing inefficient and costly to maintain light fittings.
“We sought quotes for the work and the overall costs came to £93,000,” said John.
“We approached Coalfields Regeneration Trust with these figures which unfortunately were way beyond the maximum amount that they had available for funding.”
However, John and his committee weren’t downhearted – they were determined to see the project through. Thanks to a £20,000 grant from local employer Rockwool, the wheels were set in motion for a mammoth funding drive that saw an additional 17 organisations providing grants and donations for the dramatic transformation of the hall to take place.
“The final funding was received in September when we received an award from Llanharan Community Council,” said John.
All the plans were in place and the work commenced mid September with a completion date of November 30.
The official reopening of the hall is to take place on Saturday with special guest Edward J Thomas representing the ex miners in our community who worked in the local mines.
“It was their weekly subscriptions which built the hall and fields, which has contributed so much to our community over the decades socially, culturally and in sport.”
Before and After photos