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Alice in Wonderland Art Workshop Tredegar

Last week saw children and parents alike letting their creativity fly with two free Alice in Wonderland themed art workshops at our Libraries in Abertillery and Tredegar.

Over 35 children of all ages and their parents attended the free workshops organised by Blaenau Gwent Libraries, which featured the creative talents of Newport based freelance artist, Andy O’Rourke.

The sessions focussed on the famous Lewis Carroll story, Alice in Wonderland, with Andy O’Rourke teaching the children how to draw a variety of the characters, while Donna Hardman, our Libraries Development Officer read stories to the budding artists.

The sessions proved to be hugely popular with all the participants, generating lots of positive feedback, including:

“I had a fantastic time, I'm really proud of my drawings!” - Abbie, aged 8

“It's great to have a free event, which encourages reading too!” - Parent

Andy O’Rourke said of the workshops; "We had two great sessions. In the morning 23 children produced beautiful dynamic illustrations full of colour and life. In the afternoon it seemed like it was mainly the adults who wanted to play and leaped at the chance to reawaken their artistic talents. They produced some beautiful and unique illustrations brimming with character."

Tracy Jones, Library Services Manager added: “During the summer holidays all our libraries have held a range of workshops and events promoting our new 'Adventures in Wonderland' reading scheme. The project has enabled the service to engage with families in new, innovative ways using Alice in Wonderland themed events.  It is proving to be a great way to encourage children to use libraries, with sessions being exciting, fun and fostering creativity!  Families have really appreciated having free events in their local libraries, which also help to keep children reading throughout the summer.”

For more information on our six libraries located across Blaenau Gwent and the varied services they offer please visit http://aneurinleisure.org.uk/heritage/libraries

Alice in Wonderland Workshop Abertillery

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Adam Walker Training Session

This month saw world renowned British swimmer Adam Walker, hold a very special open water training session at Parc Bryn Bach where he shared insights on his revolutionary new Ocean Walker swimming stroke technique with ten eager participants.
 
Adam is the first British person to swim the ‘Oceans 7’, an incredible feat that consists of swimming the world’s seven toughest sea channels, an accomplishment made all the more impressive by the fact that he is only the fifth person in the world to complete the challenge, and only the second in history to do it on his first attempt.
 
It was during this challenge that Adam became injured and was advised not to swim anymore, but determined to succeed he set about finding a better way of swimming, which would enable him to carry on, and the Ocean Walker Technique was born.
 
Adam now runs his own Ocean Walker business with his girlfriend Gemma, coaching swimmers to help improve their stroke technique and giving them solid advice based on his own experiences.
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Participatory Arts blog
 
The Arts Service are pleased to have successfully completed the second strand of our Arts Participatory Delivery Programme which is funded by Arts Council of Wales.  
 
The Musical Theatre & Dance Summer Schools took place at the beginning of the summer holidays and were both very well attended by young people aged 6-18yrs.

The Musical Theatre Summer School participants thoroughly enjoyed a fun filled 2 weeks learning a whole new stage-show, new songs, choreography, developed acting skills and increased stage confidence.  The 10 days resulted in a fantastic performance of the hit stage show Loserville to a full audience on the final night of the summer school. 

Both Senior & Junior Dance Summer School participants learned new dance technique and choreography together with the creation of a new dance piece.  The week resulted in a stage performance allowing the dancers to show off their skills.

As a result, both projects fully enabled participants to work with professional Drama and Dance tutors, engage, develop and strengthen skills which is essential in the growth, artistic development and accessibility to arts across Blaenau Gwent.

"I really enjoyed the summer school and can't wait to take part in future productions" - Ethan Pascoe

"Well organised and incredibly enjoyable" - Beth Tidey

"I enjoyed the challenge of putting on a new stage  show in 10days" - Rebecca Baker
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Parc Bryn Bach 3

Keep Wales Tidy has unveiled this year’s Green Flag Award winners and we’re thrilled to announce that Parc Bryn Bach has won an award for the second consecutive year. 

In total, 183 parks and green spaces in Wales have met the high standard needed to receive the coveted Green Flag Award or the Green Flag Community Award, which is the international mark of a quality park or green space.

Anthony Hughes, Managing Director of Aneurin Leisure, the Trust that runs Parc Bryn Bach said; “We at Aneurin Leisure are extremely proud to earn the right to fly the prestigious Green Flag at our venue at Parc Bryn Bach.  The award means a great deal to us as it not only recognises the quality of our excellent facilities, but also our commitment to delivering great quality green spaces for our visitors.”

The Green Flag Award scheme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity, Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. It is judged by green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, environmental management and community involvement.

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said:“The Green Flag Award is all about connecting people with the very best parks and green spaces. Keep Wales Tidy is proud to run the scheme in Wales because we know having a good quality environment can have a big impact on our communities, health and well-being, and economy.

“I’d like to congratulate Aneurin Leisure and thank everyone who works tirelessly to maintain the standards demanded by the Green Flag Award. I’d encourage everyone to get outdoors and explore the diverse range of fantastic facilities we have on our doorstep.”

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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 https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/

For more information on our six libraries located across Blaenau Gwent and the varied services they offer please visit our website at http://aneurinleisure.org.uk/heritage/libraries

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