Libanus United Reformed Church celebrates new community hall

For release 14th December 2011

When the closure of the village school in 2006 left Libanus without a community hall, Chapel Committee Members embarked on an ambitious scheme to radically spruce up the Chapel and provide a community facility for the residents of Libanus. 

With generous funding from the United Reformed Church (National Synod of Wales); Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF),  Libanus Community Hall Trust, The National Lottery ‘Awards for all’ Scheme and the Congregational and General Insurance Company, the Libanus Chapel has undergone a   2 month redesign and refit which has seen it transformed into a sustainable building which will be used as a joint Chapel and community hall. 

With the last of the work due to be completed this week the new community facility and Chapel are now able to enjoy the benefits  of a large hall, smaller meeting room,  new kitchen facilities, a new and efficient ‘green energy’ heating system using an air source pump, new seating, improved access and toilet facilities.

The Reverend Michael Hodgson, Minister of the Libanus United Reformed Church said: “Improvements to the Chapel have been long overdue and we are delighted to have completed the work which not only improves the look and sustainability of the building but also provides a much needed community hall for the residents of Libanus.

“The improvements give much more flexibility in the chapel, allowing improved access for different groups to use the building which means we can host much more ambitious events for the community. The redevelopment also provides a modern comfortable hall and meeting room accommodation which the village and surrounding community so desperately needed. 

“There are already possible new groups looking to take advantage of it, as well as existing organisations looking forward to meeting in more appropriate surroundings.  Until now, in winter, the average fridge was substantially warmer than the chapel.  That’s all changed!

“It is now an extremely useful community facility and is likely to become a popular venue for local groups as well as a function room and conference space. It is also an astonishing example of how an extremely “un-green” building can be transformed with relative ease using local contractors, at a cost of under £100,000 (including architects fees).  We would like to say a big thank you to all our generous funders and supporters who’ve made all this redevelopment such a success.”

Cllr Evan Morgan, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said the SDF was proud to support innovative community initiatives in the National Park:  “The SDF is proud to play a small part in funding the Libanus United Reformed Church to bring the chapel and new community hall into full use.  We hope this building revamp will become a thriving venue, accessible to the whole community and other user groups.

“This is another good example of the SDF supporting a great community project that will really make a difference in the communities across the National Park.  It is particularly encouraging to see our applicants using local suppliers and contractors which boost our local economy and may result in other project work – especially those for the benefit of local rural communities and in this time of economic need.”

Mrs Ceri Bevan, Sustainable Development Officer for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said:  “We are so pleased to have been able to provide funding for this community redevelopment and we are very impressed with the redesign of the chapel and the green credentials that now make the building so energy efficient.   This is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when different groups work together.”

Local contractors and suppliers who completed the work included:
Architect:  Mike Stratford of Designcell Architects (The Postern, Brecon),
Main Contractor: Huw Phillips (Cwm Camlais)
Heating System:  WDS Green Energy Ltd- Brecon
Kitchen:  Designed by and units supplied by Jenkins (The Watton, Brecon)
Flooring:  Youngs of Brecon
And Powells Skip Hire (Brecon)

The new and improved Libanus United Reformed Church is now open to bookings from groups and businesses outside Libanus who would like to use a pleasant and convenient venue for a meeting.  Please call Reverend Hodgson on 01874 623154 for further details.