THE owners of an historic Rhayader building which is being converted into an arts and performance space say they are "absolutely thrilled" after winning a £10,000 grant for refurbishments.

The Lost ARC arts centre, at the old Drill Hall, attracted over 2,500 votes for the Aviva Community Fund awards before coming out on top in a final round of judging last week.

Delighted owners Paul and Glenda Carter say they are now able to refurbish the kitchen area at the site, meaning the venue can begin to generate additional revenue from a proposed cafe and pizza oven.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the news, it’s just so exciting,” said Glenda.

“It means we can now start work on the kitchen pretty much straight away and hopefully we can get the cafe open this spring, complete with pizza oven.

“We were having to stretch the budgets a little bit with installing the heating system at the same time. We’ve had a provisional go ahead from the council on some work we needed to do for the heating system but this coming in means the two will happen simultaneously which is fantastic.

“Once fully functional the cafe then becomes a community hub, and also helps generate the income to allow us to really bring the venue to life!”

The Rhayader venue, formerly a mill, tannery, cinema and most recently a supermarket has been rescued from near derelict status by the couple, who have committed several years and thousands of pounds to converting the hall into a performing arts space. It’s already open and hosting events, but they say they are having to warn visitors about the building’s ‘rough and ready’ status when they book while restoration work takes place.

“We’re hugely grateful to everyone that voted for us. I think it helped that we were one of the only projects from this area, so we really got the Rhayader vote. Kirsty Williams shared the appeal on social media and so many of our suppliers and people from around the area did too, and it’s made the difference. Thank you to everyone who helped,” she added.

Rhayader and District Community Support have already reserved use of the kitchen for their Cooking Club, which they say will provide practical cooking skills and nutritional advice to less-advantaged members of the community.