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PLANS to bring a disused Abertillery chapel back into use as a library has moved a step closer after Blaenau Gwent council approved plans to hand the town’s library and the chapel over to a charity.

The county borough council’s executive committee approved plans to hand over the Trinity Chapel and the current Abertillery Library building on Castle Street to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust as part of a community asset transfer.

Funding from the Welsh Government’s transforming towns programme will be used for an internal refit of the chapel building, so it is suitable to accommodate the town’s library and adult education courses. It would also be used as an art gallery and a support hub offering employment and health advice.

The library on Castle Street will be turned into a training centre aimed at young people. The building will house a community shop and café.

The project will see the trust, the county borough council and Aneurin Leisure Trust working together.

The council’s executive member for education, Cllr Joanne Collins, said: “We are committed to delivering on a new 10-year leisure and culture strategy which has been developed for the borough, and we fully recognise the importance of library services and adult education opportunities to our residents.

“Libraries are about so much more than just books and offer a range of services that help combat digital exclusion and, in some cases, can stop people becoming lonely and isolated.

“It’s exciting to be working with the Aneurin Leisure Trust and Coalfields Regeneration in Abertillery, to not just continue to provide these services but to actually build on and enhance them.”

The lead of operations for the trust, Alun Taylor, said:

“The Trust is committed to assisting with the regeneration of town centres in former coalfield communities, like Abertillery.

“These new projects will demonstrate how partnership working can achieve the shared ambition to make Valley towns vibrant and prosperous places to live and work, creating new services on the high street and helping to create local training and local job opportunities for the future.”

The director for operations at the leisure trust, Phill Sykes, added:

“This is a really great development for Abertillery.  A high street location will provide greater access to resources and assistance needed by the community to develop improvements for day-to-day living.”

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