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Wales Office Minister visits Gwynedd sites sharing in £19 million Levelling Up funding

Minister James Davies visited the National Slate Museum and Parc Padarn in Llanberis and the Ty’n Llan pub in Llandwrog.

An £18.8m investment from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund aims to transform communities in Gwynedd’s World Heritage slate landscape, while a pub in the county has this week received £500,000 extra UK Government funding to develop it for the community.

The multi-million pound grant for the Slate Landscape was awarded in January 2023 as part of Round 2 of the Levelling Fund which saw £208 million allocated to 11 projects across Wales, aiming to create jobs and drive economic growth in historically overlooked areas.

Wales Office Minister James Davies this week (24 August) visited the National Slate Museum and Parc Padarn in Llanberis to hear about how part of the £18.8m funding will be invested in redeveloping buildings at the museum and improving the surrounding park environment. He also visited the Ty’n Llan pub in Llandwrog which this week learned it had been granted £500,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to help develop it as a community hub.

At the Slate Museum, Dr Davies was introduced to the craftspeople whose skills and artistry working the slate has been passed on down the generations, as part of a guided tour of the museum and Parc Padarn.

As well as redeveloping the National Slate Museum and surrounding area, the £18.8m Levelling Up funding for Gwynedd has also been allocated to:

  • Develop a new heritage centre in Bethesda
  • Make improvements to Bethesda concert hall Neuadd Ogwen
  • Create a new walking and cycling path linking Bethesda with Chwarel Penrhyn quarry
  • Make major improvements to Blaenau Ffestiniog town centre
  • Construct a new walking and cycling path linking Blaenau Ffestiniog with Chwarel Llechwedd quarry

Wales Office Minister Dr James Davies said:

The £19m in levelling up money allocated to separate projects in Gwynedd is a hugely significant investment in our communities.

It was fantastic to see first-hand the extremely exciting plans for the Slate Museum and its surroundings, building on the World Heritage status the area has deservedly been awarded, and also learn about the development of the Ty’n Llan pub as a hub for the local community.

The UK Government is working to grow the Welsh economy and level up all parts of the country. These investments in Gwynedd will regenerate local communities and bring jobs, growth and opportunity for the people who live there.

Councillor Nia Jeffreys, Cyngor Gwynedd Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Economy and Communities, said:

As a Council, we are delighted that the Cyngor Gwynedd-led “Llewyrch o’r Llechi” scheme has secured financial support from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund. The slate producing communities are of great historical, cultural and industrial significance and we look forward to see the various plans we have within this scheme flourish.

Many local families will have ancestors who worked either in the quarries of Eryri or connected industries and we are  proud that their Welsh-speaking, working class legacy will be protected, promoted and celebrated thanks to the UNESCO World Heritage Status and that we are able to use this designation as a springboard to attract funding such as the Levelling Up fund.

Lord Dafydd Wigley, Chair of the Wales Slate Partnership Steering Group, said:

It was an honour to welcome the Minister to Llanberis and to show him how we  are using our history to start a new journey that will leave a lasting economic and cultural legacy for today’s Gwynedd and for future generations.

We are determined to celebrate and harness our industrial past to create exciting new opportunities for the benefit of present-day communities and businesses in Gwynedd.

Phil Bushby, Director of Corporate Resources, Amgueddfa Cymru added:

Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales is extremely excited by the fantastic opportunities that the Levelling Up Funding will create in developing areas within the unique World Heritage Site. This funding will support the National Slate Museum to conserve and renovate our Grade 1 listed buildings and become a designated hub for the interpretation of the slate landscape of Northwest Wales.

The new development will enable us to better connect and engage with local communities and our visitors through the telling of inspiring stories about the slate industry, its people and the environment, both in physical form and through digital channels. The investment will also create opportunities for development of traditional craft skills, learning, volunteering, creativity and wellbeing.

The two rounds of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund in 2021 have so far seen £3.8 billion allocated to projects across the UK with Wales receiving more than £329m.

The UK Government has also confirmed there will be a further round of the Levelling Up Fund, providing more opportunity to level up places across the UK.

Also on Thursday, Minister Davies visited the Ty’n Llan pub in Llandwrog, Gwynedd, which was previouslyawarded £250,000 from the UK Government’s Community Ownership Fund to help the local community refurbish the pub and keep it open.

The pub, which is housed in a Grade II-listed building,closed in 2017 but is now owned and managed by volunteers from the community.

This week, campaigners learned that Ty’n Llan had been granted £500,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to build and install a professional kitchen at the pub and to create five new rooms on the first floor of the pub, further developing it as a community facility.

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