Historic Welsh pub loved by Dylan Thomas awarded £300,000 grant

Co-operative enterprise Vale of Aeron is one of 45 projects to receive money in Community Ownership Fund’s latest round

When Iwan Thomas received the news that he had won a £300,000 grant for the Vale of Aeron, a pub adored by the poet Dylan Thomas when he lived nearby in the 1940s, he was working a shift but had to hold his tongue.

Thomas, the 53-year-old chair of the Menter Tafarn y Vale co-operative group that runs the pub, could not tell any of the regulars until the news embargo lifted. “There was certainly a wry smile, where you know you’ve got something you’re keeping a secret, but it’s a good secret,” he said. “We’re delighted.”

The pub in the village of Ystrad Aeron, in Ceridigion, Wales, is one of 45 “cherished” institutions to be protected by the UK government, with over £12.3m for projects also including a train line that featured in the film adaptation of The Railway Children.

The Community Ownership Fund supports “local people to save local community assets at risk” and has now given £49.3m to 195 projects, including museums, sports clubs and pubs.

The pub, known in Welsh as Tafarn Dyffryn Aeron, was bought by the community in 2021 and is run as a co-operative enterprise, with each shareholder – no matter their stake – having an equal vote in decision-making.

The Vale is popular with tourists and is a stop on the Dylan Thomas trail. The grant will help renovate the building, make it more accessible, install better heating facilities and make the community enterprise sustainable. “It allows us to bring this lovely building into the 21st century,” Thomas told the Guardian.

Another project to receive funding is a Yorkshire railway line between Keighley and Oxenhope. A bridge originally built in 1867 and featured in the 1970 film The Railway Children – adapted from Edith Nesbit’s 1906 novel – will be rebuilt for £1m.

David Pearson, of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society, said the funding “means everything to our railway, our villages and our people” and would ensure the railway’s survival.

Also included in the grants is £300,000 for an aerospace discovery centre in Kinross, Scotland.

Jacob Young, a minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said: “These places – from pubs to historic railway lines – are the golden thread which run through our social fabric, and keeping them going is vital for supporting communities.”

The next round of applications will close on 11 October.


Jem Bartholomew

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Dylan Thomas centre awarded nearly £1m in poet's centenary year

Teetotal ex-president Jimmy Carter hails funding for Swansea centre devoted to his hero –the wildly alcoholic Welsh genius

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

09, Apr, 2014 @11:05 PM

Article image
National Portrait Gallery buys painting of young Dylan Thomas
Cherubic painting by the Welsh poet’s friend Augustus John has been acquired for £214,750

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

16, Aug, 2018 @9:00 AM

Article image
Newport statue to commemorate Welsh suffragette Lady Rhondda
Sculpture of campaigner to be unveiled next year as one of five in Monumental Welsh Women project

Steven Morris

04, Dec, 2022 @5:00 PM

Article image
Dylan Thomas centenary: South Wales gets ready to welcome the world

Influx of visitors expected in 100th year since birth of poet and hellraiser, who died in 1953 at the age of 39

Steven Morris

05, Jan, 2014 @6:38 PM

Article image
Long-lost Dylan Thomas notebook heads to Wales after auction
Swansea university bids £85,000 for notebook containing drafts of some of Thomas’s most challenging poems

Mark Brown Arts correspondent

09, Dec, 2014 @5:27 PM

Article image
Story of resurrected Welsh warrior inspires St Thomas Way
Paths to follow tale of William Cragh’s medieval pilgrimage after being brought back to life

Steven Morris

07, Jul, 2018 @6:30 AM

Article image
Raven Leilani wins Dylan Thomas prize for ‘fearless’ novel Luster
US author wins £20,000 award for writers under 39 – the age Thomas died – for her debut about a black woman who starts dating an older white man in an open marriage

Alison Flood

13, May, 2021 @6:45 PM

Article image
Life and death of Dylan Thomas: BBC biopic to mark poet's centenary

TV film focuses on writer's last days in New York and shows how drink turned possible triumph into tragedy

Ben Dowell

09, Dec, 2012 @7:00 PM

Article image
Welsh government and Cornwall council sign collaboration deal
Celtic authorities to work together on areas such as holiday homes crisis, offshore wind and language conservation

Steven Morris

17, Jul, 2023 @5:45 PM

Article image
Welsh education minister hits out at ‘misinformation’ over LGBTQ+ curriculum
Campaigners are putting teachers under pressure, says Jeremy Miles after verdict in high court challenge

Steven Morris

23, Dec, 2022 @1:19 PM