A SPECIAL project to raise money for Hay-on-Wye’s historic Cheese Market is giving people a chance to own a little piece of the 177-year-old building.

Hay-on-Wye Community Enterprise CIC, which wants to restore the old market building in the centre of town, has teamed up with local artists Shelagh Popham and Pat Birk to create a mosaic celebrating Hay’s history.

The mosaic, made up 900 tiles, will eventually adorn a wall inside the grade II-listed Cheese Market building.

And to help raise funds for the restoration project, every single mosaic tile has gone on sale to members of the public.

Small tiles are £10 each and large tiles, which will sit alongside the mosaic, are £150.

Residents of Hay have already clubbed together to buy a gold-coloured tile for local Paralympian Josie Pearson.

The name, date of birth, home county and occupation of every person who buys a tile will be put in a special book at Hay Library, which will create an historical record of the community in 2012.

Bringing new life to old Cheese Market

The Cheese Market was built as the Town Hall around 1835 by Sir Joseph Bailey on the site of a previous market building, in the Memorial Square.

It was sold to Hay Urban Council in 1901 by the Glan Usk Estate with a covenant saying it had to be used for the benefit of the community of Hay.

Over the years it has been transferred from Hay Urban Council, to Brecknock Council and finally to Powys County Council in 1996.

Upstairs it was originally the meeting place for the Manorial Court.

It has also served as a Catholic Church, Masonic Hall, Council Chamber and was finally used by Hay Photography Club. It has now stood empty for several years.

The main aim of the CIC is to turn the Cheese Market building into a self-sufficient community space where the upstairs can be rented out to holidaymakers.

The CIC should find out if its application for £286,884 of Heritage Lottery Fund money has been successful before the end of this month.

Anyone wanting to purchase a tile can email info@cheesemarket.org.