In October 2012 the new Scarlets heritage project was given the go-ahead with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to inspire new generations in rugby and local history.
The Scarlets were awarded a £100,000 grant for a unique heritage trail that will celebrate Llanelli and its rugby club’s great history with the aim of inspiring young people to find out more about the rich culture and sporting legacy of the region.
The Scarlets have been supported in their plans and bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in a joint collaboration with Llanelli RFC, the former players association and Crys16, the Scarlets’ Supporters Trust along with support from stadium partners, Carmarthenshire County Council.
The club, with the backing of Carmarthenshire County Council appointed a full-time project development funding officer, Nia Lloyd to oversee the Scarlets submission for funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as looking at other opportunities to help fund future projects to promote education and culture via Scarlets sport.
The focus of the new heritage trail project based at Parc Y Scarlets is to inspire, safeguard and promote the great heritage and history of Scarlets rugby and its intrinsic links with Llanelli and people across the county. The trail will promote awareness of the link between local history and Llanelli Rugby Club in the form of a timeline spanning 140 years of rugby, industrial, local and national history.
The new ‘walk through’ trail at Parc y Scarlets will provide a range of learning opportunities and experiences from 1872 onwards using audio, visual and interactive software and methods to tell the story of Llanelli and its world-famous rugby club.
Jon Daniels, General Manager of Operations at Parc y Scarlets said: “This is fantastic news for our rugby region, partner clubs, supporters and sponsors and all those who have contributed to our rich history over the past 140 years right up to the modern day.
“This grant has allowed us to further celebrate and promote one of the richest and most colourful histories in the world. We have an unrivalled and extensive array of thought-provoking archives and treasured artifacts that can inspire and evoke the emotions of our supporters, rugby fans and visitors across the generations which sadly we haven’t been able to share fully with the public to date.
“It’s so important to us and to our community to display our joint heritage and tell the story of the region to our many visitors to Parc y Scarlets.
“Who we are and where we have come from including our sporting, social and industrial history helps defines us today. Sport is such an inspiring medium from which to learn history and culture as well as values and can really connect with people.
“There are so many benefits for our community and we will work hard to create something really special here as a focal point to celebrate as a community and to use to inspire young people.
Jennifer Stewart, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales commented on the award: “Sport, and in particular rugby, has played a central role in helping to define Wales as a nation. We were impressed by the quality of interpretation and breadth of activities presented in the application and we look forward to seeing the project achieve these goals.”
Mark James, Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “This is great news for Llanelli and for the Club. This trail will celebrate the Scarlets’ rich history and heritage, and its place for over 100 years at the heart of Llanelli.
“It will help inform and inspire young and future generations, and promote education and culture through sport. The Scarlets name is synonymous with Llanelli, the histories of the club and the town are interwoven, and the new trail will both celebrate this and ensure that this legacy lives on.”
We expressed our thanks to Nia Lloyd for the work undertaken to put together the successful bid including an extensive consultation with the local community to help define the scope and scale of projects to be involved in the heritage project. She had hosted workshops with 23 local schools and consulted with museums, community groups, colleges, historical societies and individuals involved in education, culture and history.