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Welsh speaking community fights to purchase old village school

30 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Ysgol Cribyn campaign launched

A community that successfully campaigned to buy their village pub, has turned its sights on saving the old village school to create a community centre and affordable housing.

Less than two years since the successful campaign to buy the Vale of Aeron, Ystrad Aeron as a community pub – a new social enterprise has been launched just 4 miles away in the village of Cribyn.

This time, the community’s aim is not a pub but a school.

Changing communities

It’s 15 years since Ysgol Gymunedol Cribyn waved goodbye to its 8 pupils. “Things weren’t looking good then” says Alan Henson, chair of Cymdeithas Clotas – the community group which has instigated the school project.

‘There were lots of new houses in the village but just 8 children. It was the old story – the young moving out and generally older people moving in.”

Ysgol Cribyn today

Until Covid, Ceredigion used the school for various purposes and the community retained the right to use it as a centre for evening and weekend social activities.

“That good arrangement more or less came to an end during the pandemic,”said Alan.

“The place was comandeered as a PPE store. With the chapel vestry recently condemned as unsafe, once the crisis was over we had no place to come together.

“For such a vibrantly Welsh community as Cribyn that was a big problem – just at the time we needed to get people back together again.”


In January, after more than a year of constant lobbying, Ceredigion resolved to clear its store and to give the local community 6 months to buy the school before its release to the open market.

With time of the esssence, an Ysgol Cribyn Community Benefit Society has been formed and a grand party held to launch the share issue. Its target – £175,000 – the school building’s price tag.

(L): Ceredigion MP Ben Lake enjoying himself during the Ysgol Cribyn community share offer launch party. (R) Nia and Nerys Llewelyn, the last children to be brought up in the school house, being interviewed at the start of the campaign to buy Ysgol Cribyn

Alan said: “Allowing as many people as possible to co-own this great asset is an important step towards unlocking its potential.”

According to the initial plans, that potential will include not only the creation of a multi-purpose community centre but also the conversion of part of the building into an affordable home for a local family.


Alan added: “That idea links directly back to how things were 15 years ago.

“We want Ysgol Cribyn to be an active ingredient in the process of making our rural, Welsh-speaking community the place to be for future generations.”

Cribyn may be small – just 300 inhabitants – but its ambition is big and, Alan believes, is relevant to all of Wales’ rural communities.

“We’ve got 6 months to buy and we’ve given ourselves 6 weeks to raise the money. The important word there is ‘we’.

“We’re not waiting around hoping the council, the government, someone will do something any more. We’re doing it ourselves!”

To support Cribyn’s action and venture, visit or email [email protected]

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