17th November 2020

Aberbeeg Community Centre Gets Ready to Re-open With Fresh New Look

A COMMUNITY CENTRE IN Aberbeeg, Blaenau Gwent, has been given a much-deserved boost through the support of local housing association Linc Cymru (Linc) and construction company LCB Construction, who have given the centre a new, modern kitchen.

Since the centre first opened it has played an integral role in the community. Managed by local people, who work hard to organise bookings, maintain the building, and run events, the centre must raise its own funds to stay open. 

Linc’s Community Regeneration Officer, Shelly Leonard, regularly keeps in touch with the centre and recognised their need for some extra support, she said:

Aberbeeg Community Centre plays a crucial role within the community. Those who run the day to day management of the centre, go over and above to ensure the community benefits from a variety of activities and events. They understand that having somewhere to socialise or enjoy a hobby can make a big difference to people’s wellbeing.

“I know several Linc tenants who use and appreciate the community centre, and after many inspiring conversations with Pat, who co-runs the centre, it was clear that some support from us to improve their facilities would really help.”

The centre regularly holds community groups such as the ‘Happy Café’, a mental health and wellbeing group opening up the conversation around mental health and supporting local people. It is also used by children’s groups, park run and local music groups, as well as an arts and crafts club. The kitchen played a vital role in providing refreshments and while it had been well used, it was run down and too small.

Though expensive upgrades have previously felt out of reach for the centre, both Linc and LCB Construction recognised the important role it plays in the community and were keen to offer their support.

While following Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance, a team from LCB Construction removed the old, run down kitchen, and a new modern replacement was added. The kitchen has been extended to allow room for preparing and serving refreshments, and a new cooker has been installed to better suit the needs of the centre.

Shelly explains:

“When Linc tenders for a contract, such as that with LCB Construction, we ask companies to provide some additional benefit for local communities. This is done through social ‘Community Benefits’ clauses within the contract. Linc then works in partnership with the company to deliver projects such as this new kitchen in Aberbeeg.  

“At Linc, we place great importance on supporting our local communities and we are pleased that by working in partnership with LCB Construction, we have been able to offer Aberbeeg Community Centre and those that use it, a new kitchen that will help them to continue to run their wonderful groups and events.”

Pat Tovey, a Linc tenant who co-runs the community centre, said:

“The new kitchen is going to make a world of difference. The old one was horrid. We’ve always moaned about the kitchen because it just wasn’t fit for purpose and it made the space less appealing. Kitchens are expensive though so we thought we would need to do more fundraising or get a grant for a new one.  

“We have worked with Linc a lot over the years, including running joint projects to support our community. We were fortunate that last year another of Linc’s contractors, Unicorn Southern, painted the community centre which really helped to brighten it up.   

“COVID-19 has put a stop to a lot of our plans this year, but now the firebreak lockdown is over and Christmas approaches, we can start making plans for some safe and enjoyable events for our community. Of course, we’ll really enjoy using our new kitchen.

“I can’t thank Linc and LCB enough. Having this new kitchen given to us and installed by the LCB team has taken a weight off our shoulders and brought us joy. Thank you.”

Rhydian James, Maintenance Director at LCB Construction, said:

“It was our pleasure to work in partnership with Linc to help and support such a great well-run community centre.

“The centre holds so many important groups that support the community as a whole so to help with a small renovation is our pleasure.

“I’d personally like to thank the operatives and management team of both LCB and Linc who have worked hard to get this project complete. Looking forward to the next community project.”

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