The Albert Hall in Llandrindod Wells has secured a £60,000 grant to enhance accessibility and sustainability, thanks to support from the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government.

Thanks to a small team of hard-working volunteers, the Mid Wales venue was able to submit, and be successful in receiving two grants, which along with some match-funding from their own funds, totals £60,000.

The project will see the installation of a Hearing Support (Loop) system, with audio description capability, enhancing the accessibility of the venue. In addition to this, a large proportion of the money will be spent on improving the sustainability of the venue, by replacing older lighting technologies, with newer and energy efficient LED equivalents. This is expected to save money on energy consumption significantly and enable the community venue to be more sustainable.

Hearing Loop System
The Hearing Loop System which is set to be installed (Sound Induction Systems)

The Arts Council of Wales ‘Capital Lottery Funding’ granted 50 per cent towards the cost of the project, with Welsh Government funding another considerable sum towards the total cost.

Since 1997, the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) has distributed more than £130 million of National Lottery funding towards capital projects across Wales. The Arts Council Wales’ ambition for the Capital Programme is to continue to bring significant benefits to the arts in Wales through capital investment. This is done by ensuring that arts organisations in Wales have fit for purpose buildings and equipment that enables them to fulfil their potential and increase their resilience.

The Community Facilities Programme is a capital grant scheme operated by the Welsh Government. Grants can be used to improve community facilities which are useful to, and well used by, people in the community. The Programme is open to community and voluntary sector organisations, including social enterprises. The focus of the programme is on increasing opportunity, creating prosperity for all and developing resilient communities where people are engaged and empowered. All applicants are expected to be working with partners which can come from the public, private or the third sectors.

Jon, a committee member at The Albert Hall said: “We are beyond excited to announce these improvements that are soon to be made at The Albert Hall!

“As a community venue, we are always looking at ways to ensure as many people as possible can use our building, and how we can improve the experience for them.

“This will be a ‘game-changing’ project for our beautiful venue!”

Fellow committee member, Ben said: “It’s a super exciting day as we announce our latest grant success! These two grants have been a long time coming, and we can’t wait to show off the improvements to our visitors.

“All of the works to be carried out will benefit not just the production companies, but will also enhance the experience for our audiences, and ensures we are fit for the future!

“The Albert Hall will be one of just a very small number of theatres in Wales to have its own dedicated Hearing Loop and Audio Description system, with many having to hire in equipment.”

In addition to completing the applications for the grants, The Albert Hall team were asked by ACW to carry out an accessibility audit. This was a new document that ACW are looking to roll out, and The Albert Hall was the first venue to go through the audit.

“We’re delighted to have been able to be the ‘Guinea pigs’ for the ACW’s audit and are proud that the feedback we gave will go on to support other Welsh Venues carrying out this audit,” said Ben.

Works are soon to be under way on the installation works of the project, with volunteer training to take place soon after. It is hoped that all the systems will be operational during the spring.