A FORMER school site in Neath Port Talbot is set to open its doors as a new community hub following a long term regeneration project.
The site of the former Cwmgors Primary School building in the Swansea Valley, which closed in 2015, is set to re-open in the spring after a project from energy charity Awel Aman Tawe, who plan to turn it in to a net zero community hub.
The renovated facility, which will now be known as Hwb y Gors has been under development since 2018. When completed it will feature a community and enterprise space, co-working studios, educational facilities and a community café, while a community electric transport scheme will also operate from the facility.
The project has been partly funded through two of Neath Port Talbot Council’s UK Shared Prosperity Funds worth £185,000 and a further £65,000 from the UK SPF Third Sector Growth Fund.
With the plans now entering their final stages of development a council spokesperson said: “Hwb y Gors will be a flagship centre for de-carbonisation and will build firm foundations in the Amman and Swansea Valleys for the Green Economy.
“The renovated building will aim to achieve Net Zero status through the installation of 90kw solar panels, a 50kw ground source heating system and 20kw of battery storage on-site.
“Targeting the business, education and creative sectors, a wide range of activities will be on offer to the local community, including heritage crafts, low carbon and educational programmes, and garden and wildlife projects.
“Awel Aman Tawe’s monthly repair cafés and fortnightly stitch club will also relocate to the Hwb once it opens. The Hwb will provide a welcoming community space, acting as a warm bank for those struggling to heat their homes, with the inclusion of super-fast wi-fi, events and good company.”
Cllr. Jeremy Hurley, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Economic Growth at Neath Port Talbot Council said: “It is fantastic to see two of Neath Port Talbot Council’s SPF grants working together to support this exemplar project for the Upper Amman Valley.
“It is great to see the former primary school building being brought back into use for the local community and I would encourage everyone to use the services on offer at the Hwb when they open in the Spring.”
Emily Hinshelwood, Creative Director at Awel Aman Tawe added: “This is a huge support for Hwb y Gors and our community. We are so excited to be retrofitting such a beloved school building which has over 100 years of memories. During the construction work, we have made it our job to protect those memories and bring the building back into the community with the care that it deserves.”