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Survival of Richard Burton’s old youth club ensured

04 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Richard Burton

A community centre that hosts a youth club that helped ignite Richard Burton’s love for acting has received a grant of almost £200,000 to ensure its survival.

Community Ventures Port Talbot CIC was recently awarded a £192,012 grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to transform Taibach Community Education Centre.

Richard Burton was a founder member of the youth club at Eastern School in Port Talbot, and in his time the youth club put on plays for the local community. Burton even credited his performances at the youth club with igniting his love for acting.

Although the school has long closed down, the building still exists and now houses Taibach Community Education Centre. The community centre continues to hold a regular youth club, now one of the longest running in Wales.

Major restoration

Thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the community centre is planning a major restoration of the school hall and its stage, ensuring Burton’s legacy is preserved in the history of the building.

Given the importance of education to the site, the community centre is also restoring a large arts and crafts room and will hold a series of heritage courses to ensure vital skills are preserved for the next generation.

There are also plans for an interactive timeline through the community centre where visitors can trace the history of the building and its role in the life of Port Talbot.

Capturing the past

With a long history as a school, youth club, and community centre, the site is very important to the local community.

As a result, the community centre will be collecting and preserving memories of the site and the project will be shaped by local needs.

There will be calls for volunteers to help with researching the history of the site, preserving and digitising archival material, interviewing members of the community, and prioritising events for the interactive timeline.

The community centre also wants to work with local schools and youth groups, recognising the important role that the building has played in the lives of generations of children and young people. 

Dr Sadie Jarrett, the Heritage Manager at Taibach Community Education Centre, said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players.

Acting great

“This is a rare and exciting opportunity to restore the history and heritage of a key site in the life of one of Port Talbot’s and Wales’s greatest actors”.

Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales shared his enthusiasm for the project: “Richard Burton is much loved icon of Wales and I am delighted to know the youth club that played a part in nurturing his talents will not only remain safe, but thrive under Community Ventures Port Talbot CIC and continue to provide a cultural hub for the community, thanks in no small part to the National Lottery players”.

For further information about the project, contact [email protected] or visit their website to subscribe to the project newsletter. 

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