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animal agents banner

This summer Blaenau Gwent Libraries and The Reading Agency are inviting children aged 4 – 11 years to join the Summer Reading Challenge and embark on a literary adventure with the Animal Agents!

Each year the challenge has a different theme designed to capture the children's imagination,  this year it’s Animal Agents, based on a detective agency staffed by all kinds of clever animals – furry, scaly and slippery – who are out to crack a case at the library with a little help from their friends.

Tony Ross, the UK’s best-selling children’s illustrator (creator of the Little Princess books, illustrator of the Horrid Henry series by Francesca Simon, and of books by David Walliams and Claire Balding), has created this year’s exclusive artwork. 

To take part in Animal Agents, all children need to do is to head to their local library where they will be given a collector folder to keep a record of their reading journey.  As children read at least six library books over the summer, they collect stickers which will help them crack the clues and help the Animal Agents find out what's really been going on behind the scenes!

There’s a whole programme of events and activities planned at our libraries for families over the summer to celebrate the Summer Reading Challenge, including a variety of free arts and crafts activities, treasure hunts and storytelling sessions.

Sue Wilkinson, CEO, The Reading Agency, said: At The Reading Agency, we believe that everything changes when we read and we know from our research how much fun families and children have when taking part in the Challenge. This year we hope the wonderful characters created for us by Tony Ross will inspire more children than ever to take part and make use of their local library throughout the summer and beyond."

Ceri Waters, Partnerships Manager for Aneurin Leisure added: “The Summer Reading Challenge is a great initiative and Blaenau Gwent Libraries are thrilled to be part of it again this year.  The challenge has always been very popular in our libraries and not only does it encourage children to develop a love of reading, but it also enables them to continue their reading development throughout the Summer holidays, a time when children’s literacy traditionally slips, ensuring that they return to school in September as more fluent and confident readers.”

To find out more about the Summer Reading Challenge call in to your local library or visit

For more information on our six libraries located across Blaenau Gwent and the varied services they offer please visit our website at

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summer holidays banner

We’ve got lots of great activities for children of all ages at our Aneurin Leisure venues throughout the summer holidays; whether you’d like to get creative with some messy play and storytelling, find your next adventure or get active with a range of sports – we have something for everyone!

Something mysterious is stirring in the grounds at Bedwellty House & Park this summer… join us for the Great Victorian Dinosaur Hunt on Sunday 30th July at 11am and 2.30pm.  If dinosaurs aren’t your thing, we also have lots of fun and interactive storytelling sessions with Louby Lou, Lush Workshops where participants can make their very own bath bombs and bubble bars, a day of FREE activities for National Play Day on 2nd August, Simon Sparkles Magic Show on 11th August and Pirate Pandemonium and Princess Pampering on 22nd and 24th August.  For more information on any of our activities, visit or call 01495 353397.

Throughout the school holidays our libraries are inviting children aged 4-11 years to join this year’s Summer Reading Challenge and read six library books, participating in events and collecting a fun range of stickers as they go.  There’s also a selection of free storytelling sessions and Alice in Wonderland themed crafts to enjoy throughout August.  For more information ask at your local library.

For the young adventure seekers out there Parc Bryn Bach will be hosting an exciting range of Adventure Activities throughout the summer holidays; including canoeing, bush craft, climbing, archery, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, caving, laser tag and gorge walking.  The activity days are suitable for ages 8 - 12 years and cost just £15 per person, which includes expert tuition from our qualified instructors, return transport to activity sites and all equipment.  For more information call 01495 355920 or visit

If you’re looking for something a little sporty this summer, our three Sports Centres have a fantastic range of activities on offer for children of all ages, including football and netball camps, Play Scheme days, roller discos plus much more.  For more information visit or call Abertillery on 01495 357779, Ebbw Vale on 01495 357777 and Tredegar on 01495 355958.

Cardiff City Football Club Foundation returns to Ebbw Vale Sports Centre this summer with a two day Soccer School on 9th and 10th August and a three day Soccer School which includes a stadium tour from 21st – 23rd August.  For more information on these schools or to book online visit

This year we’ve also launched two brand new summer fitness initiatives for young people at Ebbw Vale Sports Centre; our Fighting Fit Training Camp for ages 11 – 15 provides an innovative range of training techniques with instructors from Tillery Combat MMA Academy, and on Friday 1st September young people aged 11-16 years have the opportunity to enter our Junior Try-A-Tri triathlon, with training sessions taking place throughout August in the lead up to the event.  Cal 01495 357777 for more information.

For more information on any of these events and activities take a look at our Events Calendar at

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Alice 1 crop

Last week saw Blaina Library launch Round 2 of the exciting new 'Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ reading initiative.

This new social reading project is based around Lewis Carroll's famous story and combines reading, discussion and social media using the fun and engaging Betwyll app (free to download from Google Play and iTunes).

Participants are encouraged to read the story on the Betwyll app and then comment on the text as they go; joining discussions and engaging with other people who are reading the same book.

The project is suitable for all ages, including families and individuals and offers a great opportunity to link with other readers from the comfort of your own home.

Our Libraries Service is working in partnership with a range of organisations to deliver this unique project, including Head4Arts, Literature Wales, Cardiff University and the Arts Council of Wales, which contributes to the health and wellbeing of targeted communities, through increasing social activities in libraries and stimulating peoples' imagination.

To find out more about the project, ask at your local library or email Head 4 Arts at
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Insport event
Disability Sport Wales in conjunction with Active Gwent ran a Multi-sport inclusive event at Ebbw Vale Sports Centre on Sunday 25th June, which saw over fifty families trying a number of sports designed to be inclusive and run by local clubs.

The popular event provided a great opportunity for disabled children and young adults to experience different sports with their families that may not usually be available to them including; football, rugby, shooting, pickle ball, boccia, table tennis, badminton and wheelchair basketball plus a swimming taster session with the Otters Disability Swimming Club based at Tredegar Sports Centre.

Chris Garrett, Inspire - Sport Development Officer (Disability) said of the day; "Our Inspire Sports Development Team and volunteers support a range of local clubs within Blaenau Gwent to promote and encourage children to try new and different sports with great success, and it was great to see that all the clubs involved in the day received lots of interest from participants, which will hopefully enable them to increase their future engagement levels."

Logan Shape from Ebbw Vale added; “It was great to play all the different sports with my brother and sister and I enjoyed the shooting and swimming”

For more information on our Inspire Sports Development Team and they work they do in the community, visis their facebook page or call 01495 354716.

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EVLAC health wellbeing 2017

On Friday 23rd June Ebbw Vale Learning Action Centre hosted a very successful Health and Wellbeing event which received lots of positive feedback from everyone who attended.

The event was funded by The Work and Skills Institute, as part of the Festival of Learning campaign and offered members of the community free taster sessions in using iPads, first aid, yoga and relaxation and ballroom dance lessons.  Visitors also got the chance to find out more about the clubs and new range of Courses for Adults that are on offer at our Learning Action Centres and Libraries.

Attendees also enjoyed free refreshments, gelish nail treatments, aromatherapy, Indian Head Massage and reflexology as well as entertainment from the Goldies sing-along and live music from the Rhythm and Ukes band.

Throughout the day delicious fruit kebabs and cakes were on sale to help raise funds for the Hospice of the Valleys and £70 was also raised in the raffle with prizes kindly donated from students and staff.

Feedback from members of the community included:

“A most enjoyable four hours—I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

“Such an uplifting atmosphere as soon as we walked through the door”.

“A diverse range of ages all joining together in such a happy and enjoyable environment, loved it!”

To find out more about Adult Community Learning in Blaenau Gwent or to download a copy of our latest Courses for Adults brochure visit
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