Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Castle lands 300k of lotto money

Cardigan castle
Cardigan castle was bought from a private owner five years ago

A group hoping to transform a derelict 12th Century castle has been awarded nearly 300,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust plans to convert Cardigan castle into a heritage centre, with a Welsh language school, a cafe and accommodation.

It is bidding for 4.5m of funding from the HLF and has received an interim payment of 295,500.

The trust hopes to receive the full amount next year.

The HLF has announced its latest round of awards totalling 15.6m for a diverse range of heritage projects across the UK.

Chair of Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust Jann Tucker said the funding for Cardigan castle was a major boost to tourism in Cardigan and Ceredigion.

'Major boost'

She added: "The money will allow us to set the project's wheels in motion and means we will be able to employ a project officer.

"This is stage one and stage two will hopefully see us receive the full amount.

"This is a major, major boost to Cardigan and Ceredigion. The castle ticks all the boxes when it comes to culture and heritage tourism."

Ms Tucker said the Prince of Wales had taken a personal interest in the restoration project and visited the castle two years ago.

It is said to have been the birthplace of the National Eisteddfod in 1176.

The HLF said: "The 12th Century Cardigan castle plays an important role in medieval history.

"It was the backdrop to frequent battles between the Welsh and the Anglo-Normans and also the first recorded location for the Welsh Eisteddfod.

"News of HLF's initial support means that restoration plans for this building and its surrounding gardens can now progress to the second stage of the HLF application process."

The project to convert Cardigan castle and its buildings has been approved by Ceredigion council, which owns the site.

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