HEN EGLWYS SILIAN
Phase 1 of Hen Eglwys Silian – Old Silian Church project was a feasibility study that looked into options for turning a disused village church into a viable business combined with being a community hub and saving a beautiful historical building.
The redundant church is situated in an elevated position within the village of Silian with around 200 residents in close proximity. The village has no other public amenity or meeting point. Many people have ‘moved in’ over the years and with no central meeting point, many do not know those that live in the next street. The aim of the project is to help combat isolation and apathy and to try and promote a sense of wellbeing and community spirit.
Preliminary consultation with the community demonstrated a desire for active involvement in the long-term running of a community building. The results indicate that people want a multi-functional space that can be utilised for many different functions.
Following the first phase of the project, working and consulting with the community of Silian, Menter Silian organised visits to a range of buildings and projects to see what might work best for their own building, these visits included Libanus 1877 in Borth, and The Iron Room in Eglwys Fach. Menter Silian learnt from this that it is crucial to achieve the right balance between the community’s needs and the need to generate an income to run the building.
An important element for Menter Silian is to retain the unique character of the building whilst improving the locality. Not only will it attract visitors and help generate an income, but it will give the community a lovely building and an attractive place to live – something which the community consultation indicted has been missing for years.
A few ideas are being considered by Menter Silian for the Old Silian Church. These include hold activities like jam-making, cookery classes, or a pop-up café, and offering visitor accommodation to draw in tourists to the area. The full report from the feasibility study can be read by clicking here.
Phase 2 of the Old Silian Church project will include a market appraisal and the development of a plan for income generation; a 5-year forward financial appraisal to ensure long-term sustainability when moving the project forward; a monitoring and evaluation strategy to show how the church building as a community hub will impact on our organisation into the future; an income generation and fundraising strategy in order to ensure that everything is in place to give our project the best chance of success; develop, write and implement an appropriate community engagement strategy, including the planning/delivery of community consultation events involving beneficiaries, end users and key project stakeholders.
The information generated will be collated in the form of a comprehensive 5-year business plan.