On 7th January 2014 Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council announced that a budget gap resulting from UK Government cuts must lead to reductions in Council services. Some of these will, inevitably, fall on support for the Third Sector (voluntary work) making it less likely in the future that community ventures such as the Saron Project will benefit from Council interest.
Although Friends of Saron are disappointed by the above news we remain determined to push ahead with our work. We were encouraged to learn in the last few days that the Heritage Lottery Fund have set aside £26.5m to restore cemeteries and parks and that a £1m bid to restore and conserve historic features at Wrexham Cemetery could soon get the go-ahead. Wrexham Council have been awarded £54,000 to develop their application plan. See details online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-25664149 (click to follow link) .
Saron Graveyard is not, of course, a large ‘showpiece’ Victorian cemetery but is, in our view, equally worthy of rescue being an irreplaceable part of the historic fabric of our valley community and a unique reminder of our cultural heritage. What Alun Roberts wrote when discussing the ‘hidden histories’ of the derelict graveyard of a Rhondda Independent chapel in his 2002 book Discovering Welsh Graves could equally well apply to Saron, Troedyrhiw. ‘What is clear is that no one now accepts any responsibility (for the upkeep of this special place) nor feels the need to treat this once cherished corner (of the valley) with the respect it deserves.’ We remain optimistic that such a statement will cease to be true of Saron, Troedyrhiw through a combination of community efforts and success in securing financial and other forms of support for this project.
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