FOUR years after the former primary school in Llanddona closed its doors to pupils, the building is now back in the hands of the local community.

The old school has stood empty since July 2014, but work will start shortly to renovate the building before it opens as a new community centre later this year.

The present village hall is in a dilapidated condition and the Village Hall Committee has been fund-raising since 2011 and had developed plans to rebuild on the same site until the village school closed.

After the school closed, the committee met with the Isle of Anglesey County Council who agreed not to put the building up for sale on the open market and to give the group a chance to find the funds needed to buy it.

Eventually, funding to buy the site was secured from the Welsh Government’s Rural Community Development Fund (RCDF) in 2017 and the full purchase was finally completed last month.

"Although the closure was a huge blow to the village, it has presented a more cost effective opportunity to get better facilities for the community," said local Rhian Hughes.

"The former school is a larger building, with off-road parking and a playground and field that are ideal for community events.

"The building needs some minor remediation works and improvements to access to allow the building to be used by people of all abilities. This is being funded by other grants, though further funding is needed to buy equipment and furniture."

Building work is expected to be completed by the end of November.

After that, the project is reliant on local volunteers who have offered to come in to help with decorating and furnishing. Volunteers have already started clearing the grounds after years of neglect.

"The new centre is expected to open in December when the groups that presently meet in the village hall will move over to the school," Rhian continued.

"We are looking forward to welcoming old friends as well as new groups and activities, such as cookery and exercise classes in the new hall."

An open evening was held at the school last Monday to help gather further volunteers and allow the Village Hall Committee to discuss their plans for the future.

The project itself has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government; from the Big Lottery, People and Places Fund, The Isle of Anglesey Charitable Trust and the Garston Weston Foundation.