Williamstown’s St. Illtyd’s Church is making strides on the eco-front after securing funding which has allowed it to move to electric heating in a bid to become more environmentally friendly.
After suffering a setback two years ago when its boiler was condemned, St. Illtyd’s in Penrhiwfer, has been tirelessly trying to adopt an eco-friendlier approach to energy consumption but mounting costs had always stood in the way. However, thanks to funding from Pennant Walters, and the Welsh Church Act, the community church has transformed to an eco-heated church and is already seeing great benefits.
Kevin Staveley, Warden of the Rhondda Ministry area, explains:
“St Illtyd’s, like many other churches, had a gas central heating system for many years, but the main boiler was sadly condemned a few years back, which left us in a predicament. We knew the right thing to do would be to move to a more ecosystem, but the costs were just vast and, so, we went without heating for a good period.
“We applied for several grants and when Pennant Walters first agreed to lend its support to our plight we were thrilled. With the bulk of the funding secured, the Welsh Church Act agreed to provide further funding, which allowed us to make the changes.”
Pennant Walters made a £15,000 donation from a fund linked to two of its windfarm projects which are situated in the local community, whilst the Welsh Church Act provided £10,000 of funding. This combined amount allowed the church to move from no heating to an electric system where the floor under every other pew has heat.
“Before, we would have to put the heating on at least 24 hours before a service to get enough heat into the building but now we only need to switch on an hour before. Our congregation is now warm, and we are seeing a dramatic reduction in bills which, in these times, is a huge help.”
St. Illtyd’s has further plans to extend and use a similar heat system to the alter area.
“Moving to this heat system has made such a difference and we are so grateful to Pennant Walters and the Welsh Church Act for their support.”
The money provided by Pennant Walters is from a fund linked to two wind farms in the Gilfach Goch and Blackmill areas, Pant y Wal in the county of Bridgend, and Fforch Nest, which straddles the border of Bridgend and Rhondda Cynon Taf. The two sites have a total of 21 turbines producing 53 megawatts of clean electricity – enough to power the equivalent of 25,000 homes.
Pennant Walters Managing Director, Dale Hart, said:
“We are pleased that this money has allowed St. Illtyd’s to make changes for the benefit of its worshippers and the environment.
“Our wind energy project community funds exist to make a difference to the local communities in which we work, and we’re delighted that this money has been put to good use - benefitting many for years to come.”
Picture captions: L-R Kevin Staveley, Warden of the Rhondda Ministry area with Pennant Walters Asset Manager, Harry Llewellyn