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Fundraising effort sees silver screen returned to a treasured community venue

10 Jul 2022 3 minute read
The Welfare Ystradgynlais

A Swansea Valley arts centre is celebrating the return of the silver screen to its programming after a successful fundraising effort.

The Welfare Ystradgynlais needed to install a new projector after “catastrophic equipment failure” midway through a film.

The venue, which has been attracting cinema audiences for almost 90 years, had to postpone all scheduled screenings and find £30k to replace the projector which was beyond repair.

With support from the Ystradgynlais Town Council, and the enthusiastic Friends of the Hall volunteers, who raised over £5k, a significant portion of the bill was met.

The final part of the jigsaw arrived in the form of a £10k donation from the Powys based Margaret Davies Charity enabling the purchase of the new state of the arts cinema projector system.

Situated in the Swansea Valley town of Ystradgynlais, 25 mins away from Swansea.

The Welfare screens films and live broadcasts as well as hosting performances of music, theatre and dance and acts as a community hub for a number of activities.

Massive blow

Marketing Manager and Ystradgynlais local Becky Roberts explained: “The Welfare Ystradgynlais is a charitable organisation that relies on grant funding and income from ticket sales and donations in order to continue doing what we do, so it was a massive blow to us when our trusty old film projector stopped working mid-film back in May.

“This not only caused a huge disruption to our cinema audiences, with us having to postpone all our planned screenings and processing refunds, we also had to find £30,000 sharpish to buy a brand-new projector, as ours was beyond repair.

“We’re truly grateful to all our customers for their patience and loyalty and especially those who asked for a credit note for a future film screening instead of a cash refund, giving us that extra bit of financial support at such a difficult time.

“We are proud to have been showing films since 1934, in this digital age we also screen live concerts from around the world with regular screenings coming from The Royal Opera House and the South Bank’s National Theatre, we also make to most of the projector for community and arts projects.

“Fortunately, we have managed to raise the cash and we hope to have our new projector delivered and installed in the next couple of weeks.

Staff at The Welfare are currently working on their new film schedule with back-to-back Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick screenings, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, Jurassic World Dominion, Minions: The Rise of Gru and Downton Abbey: New Era already on sale.

Updates of further screenings will be posted on the Facebook page and website.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

Well I never, 20 years ago, while studying for my Hanes Cymru degree I wrote a piece in rhyme on how the monies raised from showing the early talkies in miners institutes helped to save their existence. It might well be still in a cupboard in the history department in Aberystwyth… Ystradgynlais was one of the featured institutes in my 1,000 word effort, I thought I was in trouble for it at one point but no I got a pat on the back. I had to read it out in front of my peers…happy days…I wish The Welfare every success… Read more »

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