Linc Cymru awarded £164,000 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to bring the past “back to life” in Neath and Port Talbot.
Made possible by the money raised from National Lottery players, the project will focus on preserving the history and stories associated with two derelict local buildings, Lower Dyffryn School and Caewern House. The project will be carried out over two years, starting in January 2024 and ending in January 2026.
Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project will ensure the preservation of these two buildings’ history before they are demolished and redeveloped into affordable housing. The project will protect the legacy and the community’s fond memories of the buildings, capturing their history and how they served communities back in their prime.
To ensure What Once Stood is as inclusive as possible, it will be delivered sensitively with the aid of visual, photographic, and digital formats. The project will also create opportunities to educate school children, students, and community members in modern methods of construction through comparing past and present building methods and demonstrate the environmental considerations during construction.
Linc is a social housing association that works with communities to create environments where people can flourish in a happier, healthier Wales. Lower Dyffryn School and Caewern House mean a great deal to the communities surrounding them, with many having either worked or lived there, attended the school, or have friends or family that did, and they feel that the buildings have historical importance. And rightfully so, with award-winning Welsh actor, Richard Burton, winning a scholarship to the school in 1937, and Caewern House being built by Isaac Redwood, a Quaker with socially responsible values; there is a lot of heritage to be proud of.
What Once Stood aims to investigate and preserve the history of these buildings through research, storytelling and digital archives which will portray their past appearance through to their redevelopment journey into homes. The project is all about recognising the impact these buildings have had on their local communities, bringing the past and its stories back to life. The community has a real passion for remembering the heritage of these buildings so that future generations will be able to learn about the local history. To achieve this, the project will include a community arts project which will reuse materials salvaged from the existing buildings, 3D models and interpretation panels depicting what once stood, as well as links to the archives and oral histories for all to access and enjoy.
Commenting on the award, Linc’s Project Manager, Natalie Hawkins, said: “We are thrilled to have received this funding thanks to National Lottery players. We are also thankful for the support received from the Neath Port Talbot Council, community-based organisations and projects in being able to submit an application that has been successful. We are looking forward to sharing this project with the local community and creating opportunities for local people to learn, share and celebrate What Once Stood!”
Photography credit Tim Morris Photography