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  1. Open Week 1st – 5th August 

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    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. EVI’s plan over the next 12 months…

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    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.

  3. Join Us To Celebrate A Sustainable Christmas

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    Erthygl Gymraeg yma

    Over the last few months the EVI has been doing lots to improve the sustainability of the building and the surrounding area. As we come to the end of this period of our special sustainability drive we’re inviting the residents of Ebbw Vale to join us in a Christmas Celebration and create some environmentally friendly decorations.

    On Wednesday, 27th November we invite all members of the community to join us between 4pm and 7pm for our Festive Family Fun event. There will be a pedal powered disco, a buffet for the kids and a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie for the parents. We’ll also have some fun recycling workshops turning driftwood into fun Christmas trees and creating Christmas baubles… and we’ll be doing all this for FREE.

    Festive Fun Day - a Sustainable Christmas

    The event is being held to celebrate the end of our sustainability project that has been running for the past few months with £32,523 funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme through WCVA. A load has been going on at the EVI as a part of this project.

    EVI light - a Sustainable Christmas

    The Light Fantastic

    The first thing we did was attempted to reduce energy consumption at the EVI. An energy review that had been carried out previously at the EVI highlighted where energy was being wasted the most in the building. The funding the EVI received allowed us to carry out improvements based on recommendations made in the energy review report. Lighting was a huge energy waster therefore some of the funding was used to convert all the lighting to LED, which uses 90% less energy. New eco driers that use cold air rather than cold air were also fitted in the bathrooms.

    Drafts and heating were also an issue in this large, historic building. Doors being left open, heating empty rooms and expensive electric heaters being used was a big issue. This was solved by fitting automatic door closers on all the doors, automatic controls were fitted on radiators and energy meters were installed. The portable electric heaters were banished as new energy efficient wall heaters were fitted with 10-minute timers. The air source heat pumps that were installed when the EVI underwent restoration over a decade ago were in dire need of repair works as they had become inefficient meaning that in the winter we had to rely on heating the building with a back up gas boiler. The fund allowed the repairs to take place meaning the EVI was once again being heated primarily through the energy efficient pumps.

    Bug houses - a Sustainable Christmas

    Community Spirit

    As a part of our sustainability project we wanted to involve the community by offering volunteering and training opportunities. The aim was to teach skills and inform the public about sustainability and what they could do. In April we ran a plastic pollution workshop at the EVI for Earth Day. Here we shared information about the prevalence of plastics in our lives and what we could do to cut down on this.

    In June we held a wildlife gardening workshop with Eggseeds to increase the biodiversity of the area. Young volunteers built bug hotels and made seed bombs. The colourful bug hotels take pride of place at the front of the EVI.

    Knowledge is Power

    An important part of the project for us is that we encourage people in the area to help us share the sustainability message. We invited those that were interested in helping us spread the word to attend two separate training sessions. The first was a blogging and video creation workshop. Attendees learnt skills on how to plan and create their own videos. They also, despite only having a day to fit in everything, managed to create the following video detailing all the work that had gone on at the EVI so far.

    The second session was a blog writing workshop. Attendees chose a subject that interested them and created a number of articles to promote the sustainability and energy efficiency message.  Articles included how to cut down on carbon, planting trees, sustainable tea and more. All these articles have been published on the EVI website. Check them out in the related articles below.

    Join us

    This Festive Fun event is our way of celebrating all the work that has been done and to keep spreading the sustainability message in a fun way by creating some Christmas goodies to take home. To reiterate – a pedal powered disco, buffet, mulled wine and mince pies – and did we mention it was FREE? Join us to celebrate and make by registering your interest here:

    Related articles:

    5 Steps To Live A More Sustainable Life

    5 Things You Can Do To Help The Earth

    The Ultimate Guide To Sustainabili-TEA

    Planting Trees To Save The World

    Easy Ways To Cut Carbon For The Environment

  4. Using Air To Heat the EVI

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    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.

  5. An Energy Efficient EVi: Lighting The Way Forward

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    Darllen yr erthygl yn Gymraeg

    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.

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