IT'S one of the most historic chapels in Cardiff, built in 1855 with the ballast carried to the docks by the coal ships that fed the industrial revolution.
But Ebenezer Chapel in Charles Street was vacated by its Presbyterian congregation, once made up of 250 Welsh speakers, as it fell into disrepair. Now the landmark chapel is one step closer to a PS1.2m Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for a project which would help return it to its place at the heart of the community.
The Cornerstone at St David's project has been awarded PS80,000 to draw up plans for a new cafe, conference facility and space for community groups in the Grade II-listed chapel, which was bought by the Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff in May 2012.
The project aims to create six new full-time and 20 part-time jobs and training opportunities will be made available in partnership with local charities. Jennifer Stewart, head of the HLF in Wales, said: "This is an excellent project that will breathe life into one of Cardiff's oldest buildings, bringing it into the 21st century and opening its doors to the local community. We look forward to seeing how it will develop over the coming months."
Part of the project will be to ensure the heritage of the chapel is preserved through bilingual oral history, capturing the memories of former chapel-goers and anyone with a personal connection to the chapel's past.
The Most Reverend George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff, said: "The refurbishment of the chapel is intended to preserve Welsh heritage and adapt its beautiful architecture sensitively for this new phase in its life and history.
"Lottery funding will ensure the social, cultural, architectural and religious heritage of this historic building is restored in stone and preserved in words via an oral history project."