A housing association has come to the rescue of a village snooker club that was in danger of folding.
It looked as if Cerrigydrudion Billiard and Snooker Social Club’s was going to have to close as it had only one trustee and no money to meet running costs.
They were also snookered because the building, although structurally sound, was damp, uninviting and expensive to heat.
New trustees were appointed and they did some fundraising and made a successful Lottery Grant application.
Even so, there was still a £5,000 shortfall in the money needed to complete the building renovation and decoration work.
But thanks to a Cartrefi Conwy’s Community Chest grant, which covered the £5,000 shortfall, the work has now been completed and the club’s membership has already quadrupled.
Aeryn Jones, 76, who still works as a farmer and dry stone waller, is delighted Cartrefi Conwy were there on cue to help out.
He said: “I used to come to this building as a child when it was still a school. It’s great to have somewhere to come and enjoy a game of snooker, a game I’ve always played.
“I play twice a week, sometimes more, and me and my son have even been to the Crucible to watch the big competitions.
“I think it’s brilliant the money has been made available through a grant to complete all the work. We are very grateful.”
According to retired policeman Alan Foster, 65, the snooker club is an important meeting place for people from the village.
He said: “The improvement is beyond what we imagined. It was a very cold, damp building and not very inviting at all. Now it’s warm, insulated and perfect for snooker.
“It’s also a great place to meet up over a game. But it isn’t just used by older people like Aeryn and I. We now have a lot of younger people coming along and playing which is brilliant.”
“None of this would have been possible without the Cartrefi Conwy Community Chest grant. I’m sure the whole village is thrilled with what has been achieved, I know I am.”
Sarah Jones, Cartrefi Conwy’s Community Governance Co-ordinator, provided support to the Community Chest panel throughout the application process.
She said: “It’s wonderful to see what has been achieved. It’s fabulous to now see how fresh and clean the building now is and how all the problems, such as insulation, have been addressed.
“It really has been a community effort and I’m delighted Cartrefi Conwy, through the Community Chest Grant scheme, has played a significant part.”
Jane Lewis, whose husband Peter is the club’s treasurer and secretary, says the restored and renovated club will now serve the community for many years to come.
The facilities are now also used by Conwy Youth Service.
Jane said: “My husband, Peter Lewis, is also a Conwy County Borough Councillor and member of the Fire Authority. He has been the driving force behind the project to be perfectly honest.
“In a place as rural as Cerrigydrudion, there are simply very few places for young people to meet up and have something to do. That’s why the club is so important.
“The community got right behind the fundraising events, such as bingo evening and coffee mornings and that all helped raise some of the money needed and we were grateful to the Lottery Fund for their help.
“However, we were still £5,000 short if we were going to complete the work to the specification required. And that’s where Cartrefi Conwy’s Community Chest grant came in.”
Brian Leggett, a Cartrefi Conwy tenant who chairs the Community Chest panel, said: “The Community Chest Fund is there to provide support for small-scale projects that will improve the quality of life of Cartrefi Conwy tenants and the communities in which they live.
“Grants of up to £2,500 are now available. However, at the time of the Cerrigydrudion Billiard and Snooker Social Club application the limit was £5,000.
“The application goes before a board made up of four tenants, who are nominated by the Tenants’ Forum as well as an independent board member. And applications must meet the criteria set out in the guidelines to qualify for support.”
He added: “In this case all the criteria were met and we were delighted to be able to award the maximum we could, at that time, which was the full £5,000.
“There is no doubt the village now has a community asset that everyone can be proud of and young people now have somewhere to go and meet up.”
For more details on Cartrefi Conwy Community Chest grants visit www.cartreficonwy.org