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Communities Across Wales can Bid for Levelling Up Funds to Save Pubs, Clubs and Historic Buildings

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Community groups across Wales can now bid for levelling up funding to take back control of pubs, music venues, sports facilities, and historic buildings for the benefit of the public.

Groups will be able to bid for a share of the UK Government’s £150 million Community Ownership Fund to rescue cultural buildings in their area that could otherwise be lost forever, as the second round of funding opens.

The first round of funding has already helped local people transform their communities into a more desirable place to live, work and visit, supporting 39 projects across the UK, with three of those projects in Wales. This included the redevelopment of the Queen's Ballroom in Tredegar backed by £90,000 of UK Government levelling up funding. The Ballroom will be home to the Blaenau Gwent Film Academy – a fully funded programme which provides young people, aged 7-18, with the opportunity to learn some of the fundamental skills for working in the film industry. The programme teaches local youngsters an exciting range of skills including presenting, filming, and script writing.

Changes to the fund announced at the end of May will ensure it is more inclusive and flexible, so that more communities can benefit and more local economies are supported.

Minister for Levelling Up, the Union and Constitution, Neil O’Brien MP said:

We want to help communities across Wales save the pubs, sports clubs and historical buildings which matter most to them, and would otherwise be at risk of being lost forever.

This is part of our plan to spread opportunity, boost local pride and level up every corner of the UK while growing the economy to address the cost of living.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: 

Over 170 projects in Wales have already benefitted from more than £160 million of the UK Government’s new levelling up funds, including the Community Ownership Fund.

The money is being used for everything from major construction projects such as the plan to revitalise the seafront in Aberystwyth, to enabling local people to buy their historic pub in Llandwrog near Caernarfon.

The Community Ownership Fund provides funding that makes a huge difference to people’s lives, refurbishing and regenerating those places that bind together our communities. I hope to see applications from right across Wales for this next round of money.

Kevin Phillips, CEO and project manager of Cymru Creations, said:

The Queen’s Ballroom is an important and historic asset to our community. We are thrilled to save it from deterioration and restore it to its former glory.

Our main focus is on providing Tredegar with a hub where everyone can come together, socialise and utilise the space in ways that benefit our local community.

The funding has allowed us to engage with more young people and people from neighbouring areas in a way that was simply not possible before.

The fund has been updated to widen eligibility criteria, including removing the requirement that assets have had a use within the last 5 years and will now consider any asset which has had a previous community use, massively expanding the projects eligible to apply. Applicants who have a minimum of a 15-year lease on an asset would now also be considered for funding. Previously, leases were restricted to a minimum of 25 years.

Today’s announcement is part of the government’s ambition to level up local communities across the country, create more local jobs, boost local businesses and build up local economies as a result.

  • A full list of funded projects can be found here.
  • Applicants can submit an expression of interest here.