Posted 26.09.2023

Newly installed stained-glass windows illuminate St Paul’s Community Centre in Penarth

Newydd Housing Association has unveiled new stained-glass windows at St Paul’s Community Centre in Penarth.

On Friday 22nd September, a celebration event was held at the community centre to extend Newydd’s gratitude to all partners who contributed to the project.

Working in partnership with the Vale of Glamorgan Council, community groups, local residents and schools, the striking windows were designed by local artist Sarah Sweeney and manufactured by Lightworks Stained-Glass.

A collaborative journey

During workshops last year, insights and ideas were collated from local residents, students from Stanwell School Art Club and Penarth Civic Society to provide local stories and a historical perspective to capture the spirit of Penarth. The aim was to empower the community to design the windows to reflect the history but also the future of the community, providing locals with a landmark that could be shared with future generations for years to come.

Sarah Sweeney, local artist and Project Lead for the window redesign said, “I was really inspired by how connected people were to St Pauls and the history of the building in the local area as a landmark of a bygone era. I felt the windows were a unique and beautiful way of consolidating all those stories and commemorate all the people that have built this community.

“I think acknowledging history whilst acknowledging the future is really important. Involving children and young people makes sure they are invested in it, they feel like that they are part of history. We also had fantastic input from Penarth Civic Society through their mapping of historical buildings, their input was invaluable. Having that in depth historical perspective helped me to design by having additional stories and history in mind when it was all pulled together. I’m incredibly proud of the end result, the windows are even better than I imagined.”


Dan Burke, Director at Lightworks Stained-Glass who produced and installed the windows, said, “We worked closely with Sarah Sweeney, the artist leading on this project to bring her designs to life, all based on ideas and stories from the community. It has been challenging and rewarding in equal measure. I am delighted with the end result and very proud of our team for creating these striking windows for all to see for generations to come.”

Rachel Honey-Jones, Head of Community Regeneration at Newydd Housing Association said, “These windows are an absolute masterpiece that we are all incredibly proud of at Newydd. The number of individuals and companies that have been involved in this project from start to finish has been incredible. It hasn’t been straightforward due to the challenges of covid, the skill required to produce the windows and the number of stakeholders involved but the results make it all worthwhile, allowing us to provide fantastic stained glass windows for all the community to enjoy.”

About the redevelopment of the former Church

Newydd worked in partnership with the Vale of Glamorgan Council, as part of a £3million development part funded by the Welsh Government, to provide 14 apartments for affordable rent to people working and living in the area as well as a community centre, now managed by Glamorgan Voluntary Services (GVS).

Keeping the façade of the church, contractors, WK Plasterers Ltd, were appointed to redevelop the former church following planning permission, which was approved by the Vale of Glamorgan Council in April 2018, with the redevelopment completing in 2020.

Cllr Lis Burnett, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said, “I'm thrilled with this development. It exceeds all expectations. After the demolition of the Billy Banks this part of Penarth was sorely lacking in spaces where local residents could come together. This building puts that right. The care that has been taken to restore the facade shows why we choose to work with partners like Newydd that share our values and want to help support communities to be as strong as they can be. The building already feels like part of the fabric of the town. The windows are gorgeous and will shine like a beacon out over the community." 

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