“A beacon of hope for all our futures”. Restoring a 600 year old Welsh treasure
Based in Cardiff East, Llanrumney Hall has been standing since 1450 having been a hotel a mansion, and even a pub. Its future however was in danger before it was returned to community ownership in 2015. Over the last few years the local community have worked hard to turn what was once a lost relic into a treasure trove full of community spirit.
We spoke to members of the Llanrumney Hall team, including Development Manager Mary Harris and Trust Manager Tony Gates about their work, engaging with locals, and what the future holds for their community.
“What we've got is what the community have actually asked for. We are constantly engaging with our community to understand what it is that they want so that we can continually evolve our activities to suit their needs. It's all about getting their input and it's so insightful to hear what people have to say.
We have lots of events, workshops and courses for the whole community. It’s all about inclusivity, and as this is a deprived area that is something that is really important to us. Between April and July 2021 we hosted over 10,000 people across all of our facilities. Considering the backdrop of the pandemic, and that our immediate population is only 12,000, we’re so pleased. I have to say that The National Lottery Community Fund were an absolute godsend with how flexible they were with us throughout the pandemic.
A watershed moment for us was when we first opened for Halloween in 2019. We only expected a few local people to turn up but we ended up having 600 people arrive. It was a huge surprise, and showed that this really is an important place for people. People have told us that it has been such a joy to see what was a crumbling building transform into something as a centre point for the community.
It is a beacon of hope for all of our futures.Resident
The hall’s services
“Thanks to the funding from The National Lottery Community Fund we host nine tenants that are mainly small, start-up business, including a local mum that has started a hairdressers, a flower shop, a music studio, a pottery facility, arts and crafts cycling facility, café, food bank and community shed. There’s something for everyone.
Furthermore, we host several sports clubs, and provide off-site infrastructure for groups to deliver activities. For example, Eastern High School use a room for one-to-one support for their most vulnerable children and Cardiff and Vale College deliver activities such as pottery and cooking classes. We also provide training spaces for a whole host of organisations including local business, the church, charities and the NHS. Pretty much everything here is run by someone from the immediate community.”
“The circular economy is a provision that we’ve partnered with Cardiff Council to undertake. What we do here involves things like preventing items from going to landfill. A perfect example of this would be taking unwanted bikes from the community - we have a small workshop where we can repair bikes and redistribute them for people that want them. We will also take any unwanted items, refurbish them, and use them for own workshops and activities. We will also soon have a composter and that allow us to provide compost for people to grow their own produce.
We run a social prescribing project in Grangetown, Cardiff where we’ve set up a polytunnel for people to grow food. The food that we get from that has so many avenues that it can be used so for, including our on-site café where students can learn how to cook, or it can get distributed in our food bank. We are very mindful of what we can do to tackle climate change whilst benefiting of our community.”
“We identified early on the potential to partner with Llanrumney Boxing Club. We spotted an opportunity to co-work and partner with them around the use of the hall.
The boxing club has been a lifesaver for young people that may have found themselves getting into trouble. It’s somewhere to go where someone will be able to be empathetic and support them. The aim for us is to ensure that the boxing club can use our facilities to support their needs and to complement their existing facilities. In the future we intend to work a lot closer with them.
The social enterprises here support young people who have been disengaged, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The groups we host have fantastic ways for helping young people reintegrate and re-engage with the local community.
Elsewhere, Cardiff and Vale College is one of our key tenants. By being based here they not only engage with young people but also with the wider community and encourage people to get involved in lifelong learning. We’re very committed to bringing together people from different generations and their involvement is a great conduit for that, and we are constantly learning from their expertise to improve what we can provide.
The businesses here are keen to give people opportunities to learn new skills too. There is a willingness for groups and organisations to co-work with new groups, not just in Llanrumney, but in wider parts of Cardiff, and we are in a good position to allow community groups to network with each other.”
One of the most exciting things about the future of the hall is that we don't know for sure how and what the community will want from it in the future. By that we mean that we are always asking people to engage with the journey we are on and that is what makes this such a fantastic facility. Whatever the community’s emerging needs are, we will be at the forefront of working with them to ensure ours services support the wider communities needs.”
Llanrumney Community Hall received £180,185 of National Lottery money to convert disused shipping containers into spaces for the community to use.