A FORMER village school is to be transformed into a community, business and wellness hub and cafe.

The school in Llanybydder dates from Victorian times and was shut for years before being bought in 1997 by Llanybydder Old School Community Centre, a charity. A small gym was opened and some community events take place there.

Now the charity has been awarded nearly £195,000 by Carmarthenshire Council to modernise the building. It will include shared working spaces, and host activities like yoga and fitness. The gym will remain in place.

There’ll also be a “repair cafe” plus a traditional cafe serving things like paninis and cakes. Larger events such as film screenings and christening and funeral teas could take place in the main hall area. “It’s whatever the community wants,” explained Llanybydder Old School Community Centre trustee Nicola Doyle. “We’ve got lots of plans for the place.”

She said the revamp would seek to maintain the building’s historic features and while creating something “really high-end” inside. Ms Doyle said a newly-appointed centre manager, Julia Davies, was starting this week.

Carmarthenshire Council’s cabinet awarded the funding, most of which was via its Ten Towns programme to revitalise market towns.

Cllr Ann Davies said a lot research work had been carried out and that the building revamp would be completed by the end of this year.

Llanybydder councillor Denise Owen said of the project: “I think it’s wonderful for the village to have its old school redeveloped both for social needs and economic development. I really am excited about this.”

Ms Doyle said there were also plans for a community garden outside the building, and allotments, while separate funding is being provided to stage a Celtic folk festival with a Llanybydder twist. “I can see it being really good,” she said.

Meanwhile, cabinet also approved £14,800 of Ten Towns revenue funding for Newcastle Emlyn Town Council to support British Cycling junior national events on 29 and 30 June. The town hosted high-profile bike races in 2022 and 2023. The £14,800 will pay for gazebos, a sound system for local event organisers, and material for the town’s interactive screen for visitors to access.

Mayor of Newcastle Emlyn, Cllr Hazel Evans, said the funding was greatly appreciated. “This helps put the town and area on a national platform to promote us as a holiday destination, which will have an economic benefit,” she said.