EVI | Ebbw Vale Institute : Ebbw Vale InstituteEVI | Ebbw Vale Institute : Ebbw Vale Institute

Launch Menu Launch Menu

Tag Archive: ebbw vale institute

  1. Open Week 1st – 5th August 

    Comments Off on Open Week 1st – 5th August 

    Darllenwch yn Gymraeg yma

    Join us for a week full of free activities and food to celebrate EVI opening its doors again! 

    Family crafting and wildlife activities, cultural exhibition, wellbeing classes, business/ digital support workshops, afternoon tea, creative writing and singing, and the opening of our new ‘Café at EVI’ – we have a week full of free and fun activities planned for all ages in Blaenau Gwent!

    To celebrate our Open Week and the new ‘Café at EVI’, all children will be provided with a free, healthy lunchbox to eat in or takeaway throughout the week. Keep checking this page for daily updates, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any queries by emailing megan@promo.cymru, ringing 01495708022 or popping in.  

    Some events will require pre-booking, others are available for anyone to pop in. See below for our full programme of activities – click the links to find out more. Come and join us! 

    This Open Week is funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund*

    Programme of Events:

    ‘Let Paul Robeson Sing’ Exhibition

    Throughout our Open Week, EVI will host an inspirational exhibition about the life of actor, singer, and civil rights activist Paul Robeson. This exhibition chronicles Robeson’s struggle against prejudice and intolerance, his connection with the miners of South Wales, and his work to promote diversity and racial equality. One of his first appearances was at the Ebbw Vale National Eisteddfod in August 1958. 64 years on, Robeson’s story returns to Ebbw Vale. All ages can pop in any day during our opening hours for free to learn about Robeson’s fascinating life and important impact in Wales. Grab a cuppa and cake from our new ‘Café at EVI’ while you’re here!

    “There is no place in the world I like more than Wales.” – Paul Robeson  


    Monday 1st

    Digital Skills Drop In Support and Q&A

    11am – 1pm

    Learn how to effectively use social media to get seen and heard in Blaenau Gwent, with digital communications expert Andrew Collins from ProMo Cymru. Pop in and receive one to one advice and training, tailored just for you! Learn how to promote your work and events on social media, or just come along to generally improve your digital skills in a friendly, informal atmosphere. We can help you get to grips with a particular social media platform, setting up a page, creating engaging content, short form video, paid advertising, basic websites, algorithms, trends and more. Pop in for 10 minutes or the whole session, it’s up to you!

    Email megan@promo.cymru to register your interest and let us know what we can do for you. There will also be free refreshments. Business in Focus will also be on hand to support you with any business questions you may have.

    Singing For Beginners

    1.30- 2.30pm (For all ages) BOOKING REQUIRED

    This singing class introduces techniques to support best singing practice, like scales, tongue twisters, breathing and enunciation. Jonathon’s class will both elevate and encourage participants with their confidence, working through vocal exercises on projection, breath control, diction and enunciation. The sessions help develop a ‘tool kit’ which can be implemented in group singing. 

    Facilitated by Inside Out Cymru.

    Book here.

    Afternoon Tea and Film

    2.30pm

    Join us at EVI for free Afternoon Tea from the new Café at EVI, and a film showing of ‘The Proud Valley’ (1940) starring Paul Robeson to celebrate our ‘Let Paul Robeson Sing’ Exhibition. The exhibition chronicles Robeson’s struggle against prejudice and intolerance and his connection with the miners of South Wales. Pop in!


    Tuesday 2nd

    Driftwood Craft, Pyrography, Pebble Art & Seed Bomb Making

    11am – 4pm BOOKING REQUIRED

    A day full of free and fun natural crafts for the whole family in the EVI garden, with EggSeeds, “Bringing Education to Life”. There will be two different sessions, a morning and afternoon session. Come along for the day!

    Free lunch for children.
    Adult supervision is required.

    Limited spaces – book here.

    Session 1: 11am – 1pm
    Driftwood Craft (suitable for all ages) – Pick your driftwood biscuits and make cool decorative pieces to take away.
    Pyrography (Suitable for 4+) – Lend your hand to the art of wood burning – simple, fun and relaxing! From patterns, words or pictures create your own personal pieces to take away.

    Session 2: 2pm – 4pm
    Pebble Craft & Painting (suitable for all ages) – Help make some nature themed or inspiring stones to find in our garden or have a go at pebble art to take away.
    Seed bombs (suitable for all ages) – Help bring some colour and wildlife to our garden, providing wildlife places to eat, hide and look amazing for us to all come back and see. Take some home to enjoy! 

    EVI Official Reopening with Ebbw Vale Male Voice Choir

    12pm

    Join us for our official reopening event! EVI will be officially reopened by Alun Davies, MS for Blaenau Gwent. Free food and refreshments and a short performance from the Ebbw Vale Male Voice Choir.

    Youth Entrepreneur Session

    1.30pm – 3.30pm (25 years and under)

    Join Big Ideas Wales Youth Entrepreneur Session, where young people will leave with ideas on how to turn their hobbies, interests and passions into side hustles and businesses. Mental health and wellbeing advice will also be incorporated.

    Business in Focus will also be on hand to support you with your business questions (for all ages). Email megan@promo.cymru to register your interest.


    Wednesday 3rd

    Wellbeing Classes for 16+

    Free taster sessions for a variety of wellbeing classes for 16+. Prioritise your wellbeing and come and relax at EVI!

    11am – 12pm – Mindfulness – Andrew

    Mindfulness techniques can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, by helping you; understand your emotions better, cope better with difficult thoughts, feel calmer, boost your attention and concentration, and improve your relationships.


    12.15pm – 1pm – Yoga Relaxation – Clare


    2pm – 3pm Tai Chi / Qigong – Keith

    Come along for the day and grab lunch in the new Café at EVI , or pop in for whichever class you fancy.

    For more information and to register your interest, email megan@promo.cymru, ring 01495708022 or pop in!


    Thursday 4th

    MORNING SESSION FULLY BOOKED: Silk-Painting for Families

    10am – 12pm / 1pm – 3pm BOOKING REQUIRED (suitable for 5+)

    Come along to a fun, creative and vibrant family silk-painting session with talented artist Nina Morgan. This relaxing session is perfect for families to spend quality time together. Join us for either the morning session (10am-12pm) or afternoon session (1pm-3pm).

    All children will be provided with a free, healthy lunchbox.

    Limited spaces – book here.


    Friday 5th

    FULLY BOOKED: Perfect Pollinators: Bug Home Making

    10am – 12.30pm BOOKING REQUIRED (suitable for all ages)

    Fun and educational wildlife activities with Gwent Wildlife Trust. Join Rob Magee to learn about pollinating insects like bees, butterflies, moths and beetles. There will be moth identification at 10am followed by a fun bug home making session. There is also the opportunity to learn how to identify butterflies and bees and how to help in your garden. Join us for this educational and exciting workshop for all the family!

    Free lunch is provided for children.
    Adult supervision required.

    The bug home making has limited spaces – book here.

    Creative Writing Workshop

    11am – 12pm (suitable for 14+ – we look forward to welcoming a wide range of ages to this workshop!) BOOKING REQUIRED

    Art practitioner Jonathon Rowland-Beer will provide interesting and inspiring creative writing prompts as the participants are encouraged to draft their own short stories, poems, memories or just word play. The group share their writing before giving each other tips and inspiration. Jonathon can also include poetry, dialogue, and the concept of ‘show don’t tell’. Everyone has the chance to listen as well as quiet time to ignite that spark of creativity. 

    Facilitated by Inside Out Cymru.

    Book here

    Owl Sanctuary Visit

    1pm – 2pm

    We look forward to welcoming the Ebbw Vale Owl Sanctuary to EVI. Interact with owls and birds of prey from The Owl Sanctuary while learning all about them. No need to book, just pop in! All ages welcome. 


    *The  UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fundprospectus

  2. £250,000 Refurbishment at the Historic EVI

    Comments Off on £250,000 Refurbishment at the Historic EVI

    The Ebbw Vale Institute (EVI) Community and Cultural Centre has been carrying out extensive refurbishment and essential repairs at the historic Grade 2 listed building after being awarded £250,000 through the Welsh Government Communities Facilities Programme, securing its sustainability for future generations to enjoy.

    We carried out a consultation with regular users of the EVI Centre, the oldest institute in Wales, and this grant has enabled us to fulfil many of the requests. Over 57% wanted a garden space for recreation, learning and meeting people and 45% wanted space for art and photography exhibitions.

    A new garden space

    The EVI garden was a disused area for many years, overgrown with unsafe fencing. The landscaping and ground works was a huge logistical endeavour with many challenges. With the garden structural works completed, this formally unusable area has been transformed into a tranquil space for learning, activities, meetings, and wellbeing.

    With all the groundworks completed new seating, picnic benches and planters were placed via the BGCBC Town Centre COVID recovery scheme.

    The Big Lottery Awards for All Environmental project enabled EVI volunteers to create a wellbeing space in the garden by planting bee friendly flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables in the EVI garden.

    New safety measures were put in place with a new fire escape staircase and safety fencing being installed in the garden.

    Placing a new roof

    A new roof was essential to the sustainability of the EVI building. There had been several leaks, tiles were continuously slipping, and the guttering needed replacing as it was causing water damage to the fabric of the building.

    Further developments

    The Communities Facilities programme funded several other facilities at the EVI, including:

    • – A cinema quality projector and 4m wide screen
    • – Exhibition facilities for artists and photographers
    • – Baby changing facilities
    • – Two new COVID secure ‘one way entrance / exit routes’ for learners and clients
    • – Essential repairs and restoration of the staircase
    • – Intercom and CCTV system
    • – Heating upgrades
    • – Office / storage space from previously unusable areas

    The Welsh Government Communities Facilities Programme Fund has secured the fabric of this community building. Essential repairs have been made, COVID safety enhanced, formally disused spaces are now in use and additional facilities are now on offer to the community.

    We are pleased to announce that the refurbishment and essential repairs are now complete, and we look forward to fully opening our doors again to the community at a future date. We are currently only open for appointment-based services. To keep updated on EVI developments follow us on our social media pages. Any news about reopening will be posted on the EVI website and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

    Welsh translation of this article is available here

  3. EVI’s plan over the next 12 months…

    Comments Off on EVI’s plan over the next 12 months…

    We have a busy 12 months ahead; we’d like to share our plans with you and keep you up to date with our progress.

    Where we’re at now…

    For the time being, EVI will remain closed to the general public. Our venue, café and room hire facilities will also remain closed until further notice. This means that our program of classes and events will restart September 2021 – we apologise for the inconvenience and very much look forward to welcoming you back next year.

    EVI tenant services are open and will continue to provide essential support for young people and families. From 1st September 2020, these services can be accessed 5 days a week (9am-5pm).
    When visiting EVI (by appointment) please follow our safety guidelines.

    EVI’s refurbishment plans

    EVI consultation - people deciding the future of EV

    Following a community consultation and with financial support from the Welsh Government Communities Facilities Fund, we will be carrying out a major refurbishment, which includes the creation of a community garden, re-roofing our building and undertaking other essential restorations.

    Welcoming you back, September 2021

    We look forward to creating a vibrant program of activities and welcoming everyone back to EVI next September (2021).

    A big thank you to all our visitors, hirers, staff and volunteers for your continued support.

  4. Using Air To Heat the EVI

    Comments Off on Using Air To Heat the EVI

    Darllen yr erthygl yn Gymraeg

    In an age where saving money and being aware of your carbon footprint is more important than ever, 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.

    EVI is a Grade II listed building 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 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.

Foundation Funders:

National Lottery Community Fund Logo
Welsh Government Logo

Current Funders:

Lloyds Bank Foundation Logo
Landfills Tax Scheme Logo
WCVA Logo
Blaenau Gwent County Council Logo
UK Gov Wales