Abergavenny Community Centre celebrated its first year, during which the threshold has been crossed at least 7,000 times, with an evening of mulled wine and cheese on Friday evening.
The old Park Street school hall was buzzing with people of all ages who have attended activities throughout the year, volunteered at the centre or supported it in other ways.
Following a ten year campaign by local people for the school to be retained for community use the lease was signed at the end of January and the centre was officially opened by the then mayor Councillor Martin Hickman on St David’s Day. That weekend more than three hundred people passed through the doors taking part in a range of activities.
Other highlights of the year include the Big Lunch in early June, inspired by the Eden Project in Cornwall, when at least 150 people brought food to share for a delicious outdoor feast and enjoyed entertainment from various groups including the Borough Band and the Tenovus community choir.
Another special occasion was the Origami Extravaganza with Master Saburo Isshiki when the Senbazuru was launched with the aim of making 1000 origami cranes to bring good fortune. More recently there was a full house for Indigo Moon Theatre’s shadow puppetry performance of Aladdin, supported by Monmouthshire County Council’s Night Out scheme.
As well as these and many other events organised by the centre itself, numerous local organisations have made use of the building for activities such as Heartstart Monmouthshire’s Emergency Life Support course which resulted in sixteen people gaining skills in resuscitation. The Stress Control course run by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board was so successful that another is planned in the coming year. A week-long Rock School was held in October by Monmouthshire Housing Association and Rock Academy Wales.
In addition to making these occasional events accessible to the local community, the centre has developed a range of regular activities including yoga, pilates, Qigong and Tai Chi, and several for young children – Mini Movers music and movement for 0 to 3 year olds on Tuesdays, Community Kids parent and toddler group on Thursdays and Ti a Fi, the Welsh medium group on Fridays. Every Friday morning the coffee morning attracts people of different ages and the evening’s Knitting Club is an opportunity to explore a mix of crafts. The Wise Women group meets bi-monthly with informal talks on topics such as the menopause, and the Abergavenny Men’s Shed members meet on Mondays to work on their various DIY projects.
The message from the centre is that if you come you’ll be warmly received.