Now is the time for local cycling, walking, youth, music, mental health and well being groups to enlist for a workshop on March 23 when project ideas for community well being use of the closed St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth, near Raglan will be explored with feedback, and partnership invited. Monmouthshire County Council is supporting the event as part of Community Action Network.

The Calon Llanarth project is spearheaded by registered charity, The Village Alive Trust, a local buildings preservation trust which has been run by volunteers since 2004. Previous partnership grant aided projects, which have enhanced their environment, boosted tourism opportunities and helped local businesses, include the 16th century Great Trerhew Barn at Llanvetherine, home of the first BBC Lambing Live series and the 16th century Croft Barn at Whitecastle Vineyard.

Since St Teilo’s at Llanarth was put up for sale in 2019, the Trust has been working to build a sustainable conversion project which would reopen this community space for everyone. The church closed in 2013 and renovation and conservation work is now essential for this Grade II* listed building. The Church in Wales has allowed the Trust time to build a project and would agree a long lease at peppercorn rent, if community use can be secured as a viable future for the building. It is now time to sign up, to save the building being sold off, and taken out of community ownership. 

There is huge competition for grant aid of the scale now needed, ten years after redundancy, to preserve and reuse the church, so the Village Alive Trust urges a groundswell of local support

Covid held up progress on furthering the Trust project aims, although much research has been undertaken and regular updates issued. But local partnerships and useful feedback, are now paramount to prove that there is a community need in this part of Monmouthshire to apply for grants to create a rural well being centre.

Under proposals the eight church bells would be reinstated and a bell ringing training centre would be established to foster this heritage skill; there would be a café to draw in visitors, groups and income. Several flexible meeting spaces, including a quiet space for reflection or mentoring, could suit small interest groups, art and craft exhibitions, choral concerts, home workers and attract interested visitors, while also safeguarding the heritage of the church which has Norman origins, and a more recent stained glass window in the chancel.

Pat Griffiths, of The Village Alive Trust said, “We will be sending out invitations to the March 23 workshop shortly. We have a list of groups and small local businesses which might like to attend. But, we need all areas of the community represented and may not have your group’s details.

“Do you represent a group, say cyclists or walkers, who might benefit from a regularly open community facility with refreshments? 

This is a beautiful rural area with good road links but sparse public facilities on offer. Or, are you a home worker or small business needing space to hot desk or meet clients? Or maybe you belong to something informal such as a knit and natter group of like minded people who want a space to meet and enjoy a cuppa?”

The workshop will be held on Thursday, March 23 at Llanarth Village Hall. 

There will be a choice of sessions, morning or afternoon, with refreshments provided. To secure an invitation please email Pat Griffiths on [email protected], or tel: 01873 821418 and leave a message. 

RSVPs will be attached to invitations sent out so that everyone can be accommodated and sufficient resources prepared.

Further information on the Trust’s past projects, which have included conferences, community events and open days can be found at