The Charity & Us
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 email@example.com [February 2021]
Nurturing – wildlife, people and places
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.