New vacancy for charity [closed 24/5/21]

Following enquiries from people interested in a part-time opportunity, trustees have agreed to consider applications from people wishing to work less than the 34 hours advertised.
If you would like to apply for the post on a part-time basis, please let us know when applying how many hours you could work and when you would be available.
For an information pack & application form, please email secretaryaberct@gmail.com – NB the closing date for applications is May 24th at 9am.


Abergavenny Community Trust, which runs the Community Centre off Merthyr Road, is investing in the future as it looks forward to the Centre reopening as restrictions are eased throughout May 2021.

Thanks to a grant from the Welsh-based Moondance Foundation, the Centre Manager’s role will be supported, allowing time to prioritise identifying how the Charity can support recovery from the pandemic by listening to community members and by developing co-operative approaches to address needs that are identified.       

Trustees are recruiting a new team member to help with the day-to-day running of the Community Centre initially for twelve months. They are looking for somebody who relates well to a wide range of people, is versatile, can work flexibly and shares their commitment to social justice, equality and inclusion with an enthusiasm for community-led social and environmental action.

Although the Community Centre has remained closed since Christmas, this time has not been wasted. Funding was raised for physical improvements both inside and in the grounds, and for innovative ways of reaching some former users and for outdoor play activities.  A team of garden volunteers has worked throughout the pandemic and there have been some changes in the grounds including hedge planting and the creation of a wildflower meadow on part of the former playgrounds.

A Welsh Government Circular Economy grant of £27k will be invested in more improvements and the Centre is to host a Library of Things funded by Monmouthshire County Council. 

Trustees are also looking to strengthen their governance arrangements in the areas of charity accounting and human resources. They would be very interested in hearing from people, with expertise in these two areas, who would be willing to give some time as co-opted members of the Trust’s Finance Committee which meets six times a year.

Anyone interested in learning more about the vacancy for the Assistant Centre Manager or about volunteering to support the Finance Committee is invited to contact the Secretary to the Trustees at secretaryaberct@gmail.com. The closing date for applications for the  vacancy is May 24th.

Nature Garden

Photo: Freddy & Poppy are joined by Nikki who is helping to design the area where we want our Nature Garden 

Over six years two faces have become regular features of the community centre garden: Freddy and her rescue dog, Poppy. Freddy’s zest for life would appear to stem from an appreciation of the natural world, growing food and being outdoors, and the vast number of hours she spends tending the garden means that she has been around when visitors drop in.  This watchful presence, over time, is helping the charity to make choices and decisions around how the outdoor spaces change and develop.

Building on last year’s ‘Local Places for Nature’ award from Keep Wales Tidy and Sustainable Drainage Wales – and with a lot of help from friends – we’re slowly transforming the former playgrounds into a greener, more inviting multi-purpose space. This will take time and money, so we are appealing to local artists and craftspeople to work alongside us now to develop ideas together, and create an inspiring place that reflects the interests and skills of local people.  

On the top playground, the focus is on two raised beds that are dedicated ‘NO DIG’ beds and Freddy attends an online training course that’s been kindly donated by Cherry Taylor who teaches the importance of nurturing the ecosystem that is Soil. We have enlisted help from neighbours too, who have taken seedlings home for growing on, following the forced removal of the greenhouse due to damaging winds.  Each year we try to grow a little more produce for sharing and this year you can watch our progress with the No Dig beds, and ask questions.

*We’re pleased to report the greenhouse has been resettled in town and is doing well.  

The next few months are busy ones for the Centre with new activities afoot, planned works unfolding, and as we prepare for a cautious return to welcoming people back. [ Update: We’re opening 17th May ]

March 2021
End April 2021
Early May 2021

Coffee Morning goes ONLINE

In more typical times, Friday Coffee Mornings are characterised by a
rush of activity – the smell of coffee brewing; the taste of home-baked
goodies; and the sound of busy chatter. We miss that Friday feeling, a
lot.

Now, almost a year since the Pandemic broke into our daily lives,
we have taken the coffee morning on-line in an endeavour to keep the
spirit of Fridays alive until we can meet again together under one roof.


The activity is open to anyone who can access the internet, and Elaine is
here to answer queries about the weekly programme and take you
through the steps that will allow you to join in as we explore our town
and surrounds through the gifts, skills and interests of people living here.

You are very welcome to come, and please do not hesitate to get in
touch.


(The online coffee morning has been made possible with financial assistance
from the Integrated Care Fund, administered by Gwent Association
of Voluntary Organisations. The charity is grateful for the new challenges
and opportunities it brings.)

The Charity & Us

Friday Light Lunch

We hope you enjoy these articles and find they give some insight into the life of the old Infant’s School, since becoming a community centre in 2015.    

It may not surprise you to learn that when the Centre opened there wasn’t a plan of action – just conversation, listening and watching as things fell into place. In just a few years, this approach, made together with other residents, has created a multi-purpose, multi-use place where people can participate and engage in ways that suit them.  As it is, the Centre is a place where it’s possible for people to:- host their own activity, function or event; go to somebody else’s; or take part in something that the charity facilitates eg. lunch, coffee morning or lending a hand.  While venues share  similarities, where, perhaps, we do differ is that the community centre is run and managed by a Charity which is interested in everyday matters, and concerned that every person has what they need to thrive – basic needs – like enough food or shelter; feeling safe; being connected; and having meaningful things to do. 

 For some of us, the Centre has become our ‘third place’ which simply means that it’s not home or work.  

Like all businesses the community centre operates within a business model, and in 2016 we started the two-year long process of becoming a registered charity regulated by the Charity Commission.  The Abergavenny Community Trust [Reg. 1177133] adheres to clear operating principles – reporting, monitoring, scrutiny and financial regulation which are essential when managing a building and resources, held in trust, for the benefit of others.  The Charity is overseen by a voluntary Board of Trustees, a Secretary to the Board and a Treasurer) who discharge their collective duties through the Objects (aims & purpose) of the Charity. There are three part-time, paid staff who cook, clean and manage the building together with a small army of people who undertake diverse roles and duties vital for the Centre to open and remain viable. These gifts of time and skills form the beating heart of the charity and make all the difference on the ground.   

While still in lock-down, unable to meet people in ways that we are accustomed to, our focus has returned to the building and grounds and the task of managing their safe-keeping, until such time that our lives return to something more familiar.  In the meantime we’re decorating again, so if you are in a position to help and don’t mind working alone, you are welcome. Thank you.

For this, and anything else please call 07751666481 or  aber.hub@gmail.com [February 2021]

Nurturing – wildlife, people and places

Dec 2020 Tree planting Day
March 2021

There is increasing interest in understanding the power of good that comes from spending time in the natural world, and here at the community centre the small improvements being made to the old school grounds, has exactly this in mind. The Keep Wales Tidy Local Places for Nature project has helped the charity deliver more of its charitable aims by enabling us to realise our long-held ambition, to create spaces which are mutually beneficial to people and to the planet. The wildflower meadow turf is bedding-in and the110 fruiting shrubs and fruit trees are in the earth, preparing to establish over the next few years. This flurry of activity also spurred our desire to do more to protect existing natural habitats, so we have created more ‘wild corners’ for creatures in need of Winter refuge, especially our local hedgehog population which is in steep decline. The centre relies heavily on goodwill to drive these initiatives, and we are grateful to our gardeners and grafters for investing their time, skills and energy in taking care of all of the small things which go on to make a big contribution to the well-being of people and nature. The recent tree planting [see pic of Romy] has drawn our attention back to a new generation of families and entrepreneurs following behind, guiding, and shaping their own future whilst giving us help when they can.  Will you join them?     

Local giving leaves a powerful legacy, and while the world remains in the grip of a pandemic there are still many ways to get behind the small businesses and charities you value, now for the future. The continued financial support of our community was important to us last year with standing orders, one-off donations, promise auction bids and our Christmas raffle ticket purchases making a big difference to our viability while we have been unable to trade. We are very grateful to many, who, over the years have found innovative ways to help.

If last year’s lengthening shadow leaves you feeling more vulnerable than you expect, help is at hand. To join our ‘digital coffee mornings’ please get in touch and we’ll show you how. There’s nothing to lose.

Meanwhile, the Winter Solstice has passed and before too long, talk will return to the hope of Spring, green shoots and new beginnings for all of us.

People & Places

We are  Custodians of a community resource: an asset held in trust by the charity, for the long term benefit of residents living in and around the Welsh market town of Abergavenny. We are community builders and this is the unfolding story of our experience and local involvement in a story where local people have chosen to be active participants in shaping and removing obstacles to [or making ways to access] fundamental things that matter to all of us – food, shelter, health, education, culture, community and care.

Building elevation taking from Park Street

Abergavenny Community Centre resides in the former Park Street Infants School which is nestled in a residential area just a short distance from the town centre. (The Grofield Ward)

After a decade of telling the story and bringing people with us, in 2015 the local authority and the Trust entered into a 3 year lease. In 2019 the process of entering into a 25 year lease began.  

We refer to these first few years since opening as the ‘foundation period’

Over decades, many skilled people have worked voluntarily on the community plan.
Laurie Jones [dec 2014] A true warrior. Laurie’s other legacy is the Community Orchard & Gardens in Mill Street.
2007

Where it began

This flyer was distributed around town in 2005. The questions remain as relevant to the future as they were then, and are now. (NB: When we called upon the Pledges a decade later, we raised £6000 to begin the next phase.
Our ambition was finally realised in 2014 when the County Council agreed to lease the building to the Trust on a short term (3 yr) basis. In 2018 following agreement at a full cabinet meeting the wheels were set in motion for a 25 yr lease on the building & upper grounds.