a row of shops
Credit: Google Street View

Story by Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

AN event to celebrate Blaenavon’s World Heritage status is set to be revived after being put on hold last year due to a lack of funds. 

The World Heritage Day, which sees stalls and entertainment throughout the town centre to celebrate Blaenavon’s status as a site of international historical importance, was last held in June 2022. 

The 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid restrictions and a virtual, online event was held in 2021 but the event couldn’t go ahead last year, in part due to a lack of funds. It had been held annually at the end of June. 

Torfaen Borough Council has agreed to provide £13,000 to local volunteers who form the World Heritage Day Team which has previously staged the event and predicts it will attract 6,000 visitors for this year’s edition which will have the theme ‘Natural Heritage, Habitats and Happiness’. 

The borough council will also provide £5,000 as a contribution towards five events being planned by Blaenavon Town Council. 

The cash is coming from the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund which granted Torfaen £550,000 to support town centre activity from 2023/24 through to 2024/25. 

Blaenavon Town Council is planning to hold a community wellbeing event, an outdoor cinema, its Christmas lights switch on one other event still to be agreed during 2024/25 which it will cover most of the costs for. 

Tim Monckton, Torfaen’s foundational economy project officer, said in a decision report the majority of town centre projects using the fund have been in Pontypool and said: “These grants enable us to deliver activities in Blaenavon as well.” 

A grant agreement will be struck with both organisations to set out how spending will be monitored and the evidence the borough will require to show the UK Government how the cash has been used on supporting town centres. Regular meetings will also be held. 

The cash for the World Heritage event is split between a £10,000 grant from the money allocated for town centre activity and £3,000 from the £70,000 of the Shared Prosperity Funding that was allocated for the Destination Torfaen tourism promotion budget.