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  1. Using Air To Heat the EVI

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    In an age where saving money and being aware of your carbon footprint is more important than ever, the Ebbw Vale Institute has been through it’s very own energy efficient makeover.

    We’ve already told you about changing all the lighting in this historic building to LED lights after receiving funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. In this article we’ll tell you about the changes made to improve draught exclusion and the heating source.

    The EVI is a Grade II listed EVI ran by ProMo-Cymru. We are a landmark community venue dating back to 1849. We provide a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments. A variety of third sector organisations have settled into the EVI and we welcome over 5,000 people a month.

    Banishing the drafts

    New automatic door closers were installed

    It’s inevitable that a big historic public building like this has draughts and this was a big problem when it came to the EVI’s energy bills. Doors were left open all the time so it took more energy to heat up rooms, empty rooms were being heated when it wasn’t needed and tenants were using electric heaters to warm their rooms.

    Following receiving £32,523 through the WCVA funded scheme we decided to use some of this to try banishing the drafts and improving the energy efficiency of the building.

    Automatic door closers were fitted on top of the doors. Automatic controls were fitted on the radiators, meaning they activate only when the room is occupied. This saves energy on unnecessarily heating an empty room.

    “We identified that the kitchen and the recording studio were the areas with the highest energy consumption,” explains Samantha James, Operations Coordinator at the EVI.

    “So we had energy meters installed and we took corrective action to reduce the power requirements in the kitchen.”

    Cold air and warm rooms

    Using cold air to dry hands saves energy

    The hand driers in the toilets were replaced with eco-driers, which use cold air rather than warm air. This should reduce energy consumption and reduce the use of hand towels.

    “Many of our tenants and hirers had been using electrical heaters to warm cold areas of the building. We’ve now installed energy efficient wall heaters which ensure safety and efficiency.” adds Samantha.

    “The heaters are on 10 minute timers and are invaluable when it comes to eradicating cold spots.”

    Using air to heat

    ProMo-Cymru took over the running of the historic building over ten years ago, saving it from demolition. The building went through a huge regeneration and energy efficiency was top priority back then too. Two state of the art air heat pumps were installed.

    The 40kW air source heat pumps were installed at the rear of the building and provided low-grade heat. These would work with the original cast iron radiators as well as installing SmartRads to keep the building warm. A gas boiler was also installed to supplement the heat pumps in extremely cold weather.

    Using air to heat the historic building saves money and energy

    Problems and solutions

    We carried out an inspection of the heat pumps when we were looking at making further energy efficiency changes and found that one was not operating. The pumps had been running at significantly different times on the compressors. There was a blocked condensate pipe with fluid leaking and the piping was too small and poorly insulated. The pumps were also operating at 50 degrees, which is expensive to run. It made up 41% of the EVI’s energy consumption.

    But we didn’t have the funds to fix these issues and repair the heat pumps, resulting in having to use the back up gas boiler in the winter. This caused a spike in energy usage, while the inefficient heat pumps were still running and increasing consumption further.

    “The funding received through the Landfill Disposal Tax Community Scheme came to the EVI’s rescue and allowed the repairs to go ahead,” says a relieved Samantha.

    “The EVI is once again being heated primarily through the energy efficient heat pumps.”

    Check out our other article looking at the changes made to the lighting at the EVI to help cut costs and become more energy efficient.

    This is a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.

    If you’re interested in hiring facilities at the EVi then contact us to find out more.

  2. An Energy Efficient EVi: Lighting The Way Forward

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    It’s been a hive of activity at the Ebbw Vale Institute (EVi) recently with lots of energy efficiency works going on thanks to generous funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme managed by the WCVA. All work is now complete and we wanted to let you know exactly what we’ve been doing.

    EVi cafe for Energy Efficiency article

    The EVi is ran by ProMo-Cymru. We are a landmark community venue that provides a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments. We are home to a variety of third sector organisations, welcoming over 5,000 people a month.

    One aspect of the work to reduce energy consumption at this historic building was the lighting improvements, which we will look at in this article. We’ll also take a look at why LED lighting is a good idea for all homes and buildings.

    Light Improvements

    A massive 21%* of the EVi’s energy consumption went towards keeping all the lights on. It’s a big building so it needs a lot of light!  (*Results of an energy review carried out by REW)

    “Our lighting was out of date and inefficient,” explains Samantha James, Operations Coordinator at the EVi.

    “The fluorescent tubes were constantly shorting out, some of the diffusers were broken and we were continuously purchasing new bulbs.” 

    The main hall is the biggest space in the building. The space has been hired out for live performances, conferences, exhibitions, private parties, weddings and more. But two banks of lights in the main hall were not working, not a great look when hiring out the space to people! But the cost of replacing them was high, not just because they needed specialist bulbs, but also scaffolding had to be hired and specialised electricians had to be called in repeatedly to fit them.

    Funding Success

    A solution had to be sought, and the funding received from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme made this possible.

    “We used some of the £32,523 we received to source state of the art LED lighting for the hall,” said Samantha.

    “The scaffolding and works were organised and carried out with no disruption to any of the groups hiring the hall.”

    And it’s not just the hall that’s had a lighting make over. The entire buildings lighting has been converted to LED.

    The benefits of LED *

    LED, or a Light Emitting Diode, uses up to 90% less energy. While a traditional bulb produces a lot of heat to be able to produce light, an LED uses far less heat to do the same thing and is therefore much more energy efficient.

    Lighting can make up to 20% of your energy bills so you can make significant savings by switching to LED. They also last, about 20 times longer than a traditional light bulb, meaning you don’t have to keep popping out to buy bulbs and change them all the time. Another bonus is that LED bulbs are also recyclable, as they don’t contain mercury like some older bulbs.

    The good news for anyone who’s thinking of changing to LED is that there’s been a big reduction in prince since they first came out, and it’s not just spotlights anymore either. There’s now a wide range available, like bayonet, screw or strip lights even. (*Information source: 7 Reasons Why You Should Swap To LED Lighting – thegreenage.co.uk)

    Check back with us soon when we’ll be looking at the draught and heating improvement works that have been carried out at the EVi.

    This is a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.

    If you’re interested in hiring facilities at the EVi then contact us to find out more.

  3. Increasing Energy Efficiency At The EVi

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    The Ebbw Vale Institute is pleased to announce that we have received £32,523 funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. This is a Welsh Government fund programme managed by WCVA.

    We will be improving energy efficiency at the EVi increasing the local biodiversity and involving the community through volunteering and sharing what we learn.   

    The EVi 

    The EVi is ran by ProMo-Cymru. We are a landmark community venue that provides a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments. We are home to a variety of third sector organisations including Barnardo’sBlaenau Gwent Youth ServicesLlamauLeeders Vale, Careers Wales and Learn About Us.   
    Over 5000 people a month visit us here at the EVi, with a wide variety of uses and users for this community building. Reducing energy usage in a large building like this creates major savings and helps reduce our carbon footprint. 

    EVi outside for Energy Efficiency article

    Improving the building

    This year marks the 170th year of the EVi. It’s been over a decade since ProMo-Cymru took over the running of the building. When we originally moved in, we knew that it needed a lot of work to improve the fabric of the building. From the very beginning we worked with the future in mind. We installed two state of the art ground heat pumps to make heating more efficient. Thanks to this fund, we will soon be implementing a number of other energy saving features. We will also be involving the community as volunteers to help increase biodiversity around the building.

    Energy efficiency and cost-saving may not sound very exciting to those using the building, but it is very important to all that goes on at the EVi. This behind the scenes work allows the EVi to continue to support the local community. Over the next year we will be asking volunteers and staff to share what makes it such a special place to work and play. We are also excited to get the young people who use the building to share what they are doing. We will broadcast everything over our digital channels. This ensures that everyone gets to see the work that ProMo-Cymru and the community does to develop sustainability in Ebbw Vale.

    This is a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.

    If you’re interested in hiring facilities at the EVi then contact us to find out more.


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    Hi folks
    I know that earlier I was excitedly posting about Scopyons (Scorpions Tribute Band) show with Hellbent Forever next week in Ebbw Vale but unfortunately I’ve just been contacted by the promoter who’s informed me that sadly they are having to cancel the show due to poor advance ticket sales. Both bands are gutted as not only were we looking forward to the show but we were dying for you to see the awesome show we put on as a double header. Unfortunately though these are tough times we live in and we have to respect that if advance sales are low then it becomes too risky to go ahead with the show. Scopyons do have two other shows in Wales later in the year at The Patriots in Crumlin and Rhondda Hotel in Porth. Both those shows will be going ahead, unless the promoters decide otherwise of course! I suppose the moral of the story is to try and support the promoters by buying advance tickets where possible.


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    Inclement Weather.


    Due to the RED weather warning in force for Blaenau Gwent, we have been advised to close the building this weekend. If you have tickets for this weekends showS, the rescheduled dates are as follows.


    Oasis Friday2nd March NEW DATE SATURDAY MARCH 10TH


    Foreigner’s Journey Saturday 3rd March NEW DATE Saturday APRIL 14TH





  6. Evi

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    How would you like to see EVI develop?

    Main Content Inline SmallWe welcome your feedback and ideas to help inform the development of this historic, vibrant community & cultural centre.

    May we request that you [and any colleagues, clients, friends who are affiliated with EVI] complete this short 3min questionnaire to  enable us to seek funding support to help restore our building & develop our facilities.

    We’d be most grateful if you could complete this short questionnaire by Thursday 1st March 2018.


    Thank you for your continued support.

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    Family Fun Day – Wed 28th March 2018

    rch 2018Main Content Inline SmallAll welcome at the EVI Family Fun day !

    Wednesday 28th March, 3pm – 6pm

    Free activities, information & Easter celebration !

    Back to top

    For more information…

    Main Content Inline Smallplease visit our website :

  7. 2017: An eventful year at the EVI…

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    2017 was a busy year at the EVi, the community and cultural centre at the heart of Ebbw Vale regenerated and developed by ProMo-Cymru. Chris Phillips, EVi Events Officer, looks back at the past year and the diverse and exciting variety of music and theatrical events.

    January is normally notoriously slow in the events business because of the unpredictable weather, especially up here in the mountains of Ebbw Vale. The fact that most customers are bereft of funds after the excesses of the Christmas period doesn’t help either. When we were approached with a guaranteed fee for the whole of January to use the main hall we were more than happy to oblige.

    An impromptu studio

    The Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) bandwagon arrived on 2 January. For the next four weeks, they transformed the hall into an impromptu studio.

    Guest musicians and all sorts of weird and wonderful instruments arrived on a daily basis, whether it was James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers or a glockenspiel. We had to keep the utmost secrecy. Visitors with prying eyes all wanted to know exactly what was going on behind the boarded up doors.

    Work finished in early February and we had our hall back. It looked eerily empty after the multitude of electronica and soundproofing had been stripped out. When the album was released in July 2017 it stormed the charts outselling Jay–Z in first few days of release. It finally peaked at number four in the UK Charts. Rather an impressive start to the year with more to come from the PSB boys with two sell-out launch shows… but more of that later.

    Interactive theatre

    2017 was definitely a diverse year and with the hall back in our possession, our first show was an interactive theatre piece by Be Aware Productions. The play was funded by the Arts Council of Wales. Written by Turkish playwright Meltem Arikan, directed by Memet Ali Alahora and starring Maddie Jones, Pinar Ogun, Francesca Dimech and Emma Daman Thomas. The show was in the form of a gig. Band members talked about experiences of sexual violence by real people through song and very dark humour. The show was very hard hitting and very thought-provoking and included a lively Q&A session at the end.

    A sell out tribute

    Along with the spring, March brought our first full house when the Bon Giovi tribute act sold 300 tickets. I’m told there were people so desperate to come that they were offering double the entrance fee to ticket holders on Facebook. The evening was such a hit that the Bon Jovi tribute act was booked again for December. That too sold out months in advance.

    Tribute bands may not be to everyone’s taste, and may not be everyone’s idea of art, but they are very popular. With a healthy balance of the real and the ‘fake’ we can continue to offer something for everyone.

    Charity fundraisers

    Charity events are always welcome here at the EVi. We had a fantastic night when Faith Parry put on an evening of acoustic music to celebrate her struggle with mental health. Her fathers’ band Mattraffia also reunited for the evening to raise money and awareness for Mind, the mental health charity.

    The fundraising continued in April with an event to raise funds for the local cinema. The local authority was threatening closure. Bands from all over the area played to a healthy crowd and the cinema was eventually kept open. We don’t know what effect our event had on the decision, but “every little helps”.

    UK Subs at the EVi

    Not all rock and metal

    There may have been some criticism in the past that there was too much rock and heavy metal at the EVi. April dispelled a lot of that. We had a night of hardcore dance with hoards of ravers in hot pants and waving glow sticks. We also had punk legends UK Subs performing a set of rarities and standards to celebrate 40 Years at the forefront of youth rebellion. Yes, youthful rebellion with Charlie Harper… a sprightly 73 years young!

    Summer lovin’

    The EVi can be hired for personal parties and events. In May the local vicar held his retirement event here. A personal highlight for me was my own daughters’ wedding. Throw in another sell out, this time from a Guns N’ Roses tribute act. The end of spring saw an eclectic mix of events at the venue proving we provide something for most tastes.

    The summer and wedding season really kicked off in June. We had a steampunk union that was an absolute joy and a pagan handfasting ceremony. It’s not all confetti and lace. The halfway point of the year also saw the return of a major musical event. Odin’s Rock Club held their fifth annual two-day festival with acts from all over the country playing.

    Showing gratitude

    Public Service Broadcasting returned for two sold-out shows to launch Every Valley, the album lovingly created in the concert hall at the EVi. Ever since the recording of Every Valley PSB Management and myself had been in constant email contact. We talked about the possibility of the band playing some shows as a thank you to the area for being so welcoming to these “middle-class Londoners” who came to write about their industry and struggles.

    The album was now ready and the dates were set and announced. The 400 general sale tickets were put online and sold out in less than two minutes. The band gave us 50 half-price tickets to sell for each night. The condition was that buyers had to provide evidence that they lived within 15 miles of the venue. These tickets lasted a little longer, about an hour and a half. People were waiting for the box office to open to get their hands on these “once in a lifetime” golden tickets.

    Media interviews with PSB at the EVi

    A huge production

    Most bands arrive in vans and PSB were no different, except they had four vans and a large truck full of rigging, lights and equipment. It was all hands on deck as myself and our local volunteers set about helping the crew. We put up the magnificent structure that held the giant screens and the myriad of lights. The hall was once again transformed. It was hard to believe that you were still in Ebbw Vale with the sheer size of the production.

    The morning of the show saw media arrive from across Wales and even journalists from France. Janice Long arrived from Radio Wales and held an extensive interview with J from the band. The show was to be streamed as a 360degree production. The EVi was a hive of activity and the way everything came together was miraculous. There were a few teething problems. The generator that powered the show was too big to get through the doors. They had to hire a crane as the driver would not leave it on the street. It was lifted over the fence and retrieved after the shows.

    Happy fans

    Both shows were fantastic and locals and the PSB fan club still rave about it six months later. A really lovely story came out of this too. After the first show, we heard that an eight-year-old in his pyjamas had been sat in the car park listening.  The show was for ages 14 plus but the child was a massive fan. I relayed this story to J and the management. They agreed that the boy and his parents could sit on the balcony above the bar with the bands’ guests and watch the show. The child got to meet his heroes and it was a great way to finish the shows off. It seems PSB hadn’t quite finished with us but more of that later.

    EVi Events Officer Chris Phillips with James Dean Bradfield

    Video shoot with a Manic Street Preacher

    July brought another three weddings and a funeral and a return to live action when Swansea rockers Buffalo Summer rocked the hall.

    August saw PSB return, this time with the Manic Street Preachers’ James Dean Bradfield. They were here to shoot a video for their collaboration single from the album. They also kindly donated a Ludwig drum kit, Fender Stratocaster guitar and the bands old touring bass amp for young musicians to learn to play. All in all they are a great bunch of people and this was a mutually advantageous union with the album being the bands highest charting. Hopefully, there will be more to come in 2018… watch this space!

    Autumn Blues

    After a few tributes, engagements, funerals and children’s parties, musically the autumn saw the return of local heroes Henry’s Funeral Shoe. They brought their down n’ dirty blues driven rock back to the Valleys.

    Charity events started again in September with two nights in aid of Musicians Against Homelessness. Both were well attended and worked to raise the profile and funds of this fledgeling charity.

    Dan Reed performing at the EVi

    Hooked on the EVi

    Once acts play the EVi they invariably want to come again, whether it is the audience, staff or well-stocked bar, they usually return. Mike Peters of The Alarm has played twice. Most of the local acts have been numerous times. In October, rock legend Dan Reed made his third visit. It coincided with a 50th birthday for one of the Odin’s Rock Club booking staff. They had a party in a back room and all bought tickets to Dan’s show. So Dan basically played to a birthday party and full gig audience. Long after everyone else had gone home he held court for hours playing his acoustic and regaling with tales of touring with the Stones and other musical royalty.

    Paying with batteries

    Diversity in music and entrance fee came next when Heavenly Records brought the unique Make Noise event to the EVi. Instead of an admission fee customers had to bring an old electrical item to recycle as ‘payment’ for a gig featuring quirky Cardiff indie troubadour Sweet Baboo. The payment included everything from a handful of batteries to a chainsaw (well hedge trimmer but still vicious looking!).

    Orbs show up in photos during a paranormal investigation at the EVi

    Spooky goings on

    A paranormal investigation by the Ebbw Vale Paranormal Society made me uneasy to be in the venue alone at night for a few weeks. They found a fair bit of activity in the shape of orbs, voices and unexplained noises. I am more than a little sceptical, but it did make me think twice about certain things that go bump in the night in this very old building

    Motown and Indie

    I mentioned before that bands like to return to the venue and in November Big Mac’s Wholly Soul Band paid us their fifth visit to celebrate their 25thAnniversary. A sell out crowd danced the night away to the glorious hits of Motown. After the success of the PSB events, it seemed we were in demand by touring bands and SWN in Cardiff asked us if we could accommodate We Are Scientists for a late-announced gig as part of a whistle-stop tour of only three UK gigs. We gladly agreed and had a fantastic evening with the New York Indie Stars.

    The Church at the Brain Freeze Festival

    Brain freeze

    The saying goes you can never have too much of a good thing and that was evident when Charlie Harper brought the UK Subs back for another visit in late November. This was just a warm-up for the third annual staging of Pity My Brain’s Brain Freeze Festival. This event always delivers the best in local, national and international rock music with previous acts including Atomic Bitchwax and Crobot.

    On the menu this year was the lauded Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind, Church of the Cosmic Skull, Virginmarys and an outstanding array of local talent. Add in a record fair and local ales from the Tudor brewery plus acoustic acts such as Brandy Row and Aled Clifford and you get the best value two-day festival money can buy.

    The Church had the most people in a band on stage (apart from Gruff Rhys’ nine-piece band a few years back) and what a sight they were all bedecked in white (as well as a fair portion of the audience avec blanc). It was like a cult sermon but what a heavenly racket they made.

    Festive celebrations

    The festive season arrived and we had a tremendous party night with our own Dean Richards providing the cabaret, a free party for local children complete with buffet and magician, and another sell-out show from those Bon Giovi guys.

    In conclusion, what a year it has been, from international touring megastars, local bands at the start of their journeys, raves, thought-provoking plays, mediums, debates and all manner of family functions – hatches, matches and dispatches! Add in a top five album recorded at the EVi and you have a pretty diverse and satisfying year. Who knows what 2018 will bring but it sure has a lot to live up too!

    See you at the front!

    Chris Phillips


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    The weekend of November 24th and 25th sees some Giants of the Underground arriving at the EVi as part of Pity My Brain’s Brainfreeze festival. To celebrate festival big wig Jamie Richards went on Radio 6 with Radcliffe and Maconie to chat about this unique event. Follow the link and click 2.13 in to hear about this diverse weekend, including Real Ales, Record Fair and acts of the calibre of Jim Jones and The Righteous Mind, VirginMarys and Church of the Cosmic Skull

    Click here to listen dont forget 2hr 13 min in


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    We have gone Christmas Crackers here at Your Evi with events and parties to suit all ages and budgets.


    First up from November 25th and continuing every Saturday right up to December the 23rd you can have Breakfast with Santa in the 1849 Café. Your little darlings can come and have Breakfast with the Big Man himself and a little elf has told me there might be some early presents



    Then on Friday 15th December we have a fun-filled evening, Ideal for small works parties or an informal get together. For £15 per head we offer a Hot Buffet, Live Artist , the magnificent Dean Richards all topped off with a party themed Disco from our resident DJ, factor in the most Diverse selection of Beers and Spirits in The Valleys and a fine time should be in store for all.



    T’was the Saturday before Christmas

    On Saturday 23rd of December we invite you to CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN EBBW VALE,.

    Whoever said there is no such thing as a free lunch obviously hasn’t been talking to Santa because on this day we are offering a festive feast , sweets and fun packed Christmas entertainment. for all the family.

    The Event is supported by Big Lottery Fund and is free to all the family but tickets are limited must be picked up from the EVi in advance


    Don’t be late or Yule be sorry!

  10. We Are Scientists

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    Hot on the Heels of the Public Service Broadcastings shows, more Indie Heavyweights came to the EVi to perform an intimate show. It was a tremendous evening but do not just take our word for it, this is what the South Wales Argus had to say.

    IT’S not often you see a big name band come to a small venue, but We Are Scientists brought in a huge crowd on their visit to Gwent on Wednesday night.

    The indie rock band – who are well-known for their hit song Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt from their 2005 album Love & Squalor – brought a mixture of music from five of their top albums to the Ebbw Vale Institute.

    Lead singer and guitarist Keith Murray and backing singer and bassist Chris Cain not only got the crowd jumping but managed to squeeze in some comedy in between sets with some off the cuff humour.

    The band – who hail from New York City – managed to fit in quite well into the valleys and brought in some jokes about the terrible transport.

    And along with the free comedy show, Keith Murray made the crowd go wild after jumping off the stage and dancing round the room while singing 2005 tune Textbook.

    The whole band performed with an amazing energy that got everyone excited and entranced into the music.

    We Are Scientists make you feel like you are an actual member of the band with their relaxed show style and comical references.

    Their tour is one not to be missed – and lets face it – any band that isn’t from Wales that can properly pronounce Welsh town names is always a winner.”  Alice Rose



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    Gwent Wildlife Trust Photography Exhibition: ‘Furnace to Flowers – celebrating the past, present and future of Ebbw Vale’. 

    A wonderful display of photos depicting the beautiful progress made by the Gwent Wildlife Trust with their ‘Furnace to Flowers’ project.

    A transformation of the old steelworks site and road verges around Ebbw Vale into havens for wildlife and splashes of colour for the soul.

    These stunning images are on display in the Cafe area of the EVi from November 2nd 2017 until December 2nd 2017, feel free to come in and look around.