The Cornerstone at St David’s project which will transform Cardiff’s Ebenezer Chapel, is today one step closer to receiving a million pound grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund after being awarded an initial grant to develop plans.
The project led by the Archdiocese of Cardiff aims to transform the vacant Grade II listed chapel, built in 1855, into a centre for community activities and heritage learning in conjunction with a number of partners including RNIB Cymru.
It will help return the chapel in Charles Street, into a centre of community life within the city centre and will help to conserve its historic fabric.
Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said, “This is an excellent project that will breathe life into one of Cardiff’s oldest buildings, bringing it into the 21st century and opening its doors to the local community. We look forward to seeing how it will develop over the coming months.”
Located opposite Cardiff Metropolitan Cathedral of St David, the building was purchased by the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff in May 2012 .
The Most Revd. George Stack Archbishop of Cardiff said: “The refurbishment of the chapel is intended to preserve Welsh heritage and adapt its beautiful architecture sensitively for this new phase in its life and history.
Lottery funding will ensure the social, cultural, architectural and religious heritage of this historic building is restored in stone and preserved in words via an oral history project.”
Built in 1855, the Grade II listed chapel is an early example of the Gothic revival and was vacated by its Welsh speaking Presbyterian Congregation as it required extensive restoration.
The restored building will house a new café and a new conference facility, as well as continuing to provide a space for community groups. The project aims to create six new full time and twenty part-time jobs and as part of a partnership with local charities, employment and training opportunities will be made available.
Ebenezer Chapel once boasted a congregation of 250 Welsh speakers and a part of the project is ensuring that this Welsh heritage is preserved through a bilingual oral history project which will capture the memories of former chapel-goers and those with personal connections to the chapel’s past.