Bryncrug Community Centre
The small but very sociable community of Bryncrug sits gently at the foot of the outpouring Dolgoch Falls, along the banks of Afon Fathew. Highly rural, the surroundings of Bryncrug will be somewhat familiar to many communities in Wales, with little in the way of transportation and just a smattering of local business. The village and its large proportion of elderly residents was, until very recently, in danger of feeling increasingly isolated.
The collective initiative of the members of the village was channelled in 2014 into recognition that the old site of Bryncrug School would make a suitably homely space in which to found a Community Centre. The old school had stood proud in the community for decades, and so the locally decided idea of returning to the school for collective activities would have the double effect of revitalising an icon of the village, and keeping the cost of starting the project low. The school was originally earmarked for sale, and would in all likelihood have been knocked down to make way for a new building.
The members of the Bryncrug Community Centre group were able to secure funding to go towards the refurbishment and renovation of the school building, and the group had drawn up solid plans to create a space suitable for all ages and different activities. The idea in the long term is for the Community Centre to operate as the centre of local social enterprise, with any funds raised going back into further renovation and the general maintenance of the school.
A £1,000 grant from the Fund for Wales was put towards the setting up of a Luncheon club and reading room, breathing new life in to old classrooms that had lain dormant for years. Already, the luncheon club has been well attended by a range of community members, and one can expect to hear Welsh and English conversations over the clink of cup on saucer. Hot meals are served in a warm, comfortable environment where attendees gather together and meet friends old and new.
Since the renovations began, the local Ladies Club and the Youth and Young Farmers Club have started to use the old school as a weekly meeting place, ensuring that younger members of the community can also benefit from the project. Bryncrug Community Centre has successfully risen from the remnants of the old centre of the village to once again become a focal point for shared activity within this village in Gwynedd.