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Blaenau Gwent Libraries are celebrating this year’s Festival of Learning (previously known as Adult Learners Week) with a selection of FREE digital learning sessions at all six of our Blaenau Gwent based Libraries next week.

The Festival of Learning is the biggest celebration of lifelong learning in the country and aims to highlight the benefits of learning, celebrate the achievements of adults who have used learning to transform their lives, and also to encourage everyone to embrace lifelong learning.

As part of the week-long festival that runs from 19th – 25th June, each of our six libraries throughout Blaenau Gwent are offering free help and advice on a number of digital topics; including basic IT taster sessions, how to use an iPad and an introduction to our new e-book service.

Sessions are free to attend on the following days:

  • Monday 19th June: Tredegar Library from 10am – 12pm
  • Tuesday 20th June: Cwm Library from 10am – 12pm
  • Wednesday 21st June: Abertillery Library from 10am – 12pm
  • Thursday 22nd June: Brynmawr and Blaina Libraries from 10am – 12pm
  • Friday 23rd June: Ebbw Vale Library from 10am – 12pm
Free refreshments will be available at all these sessions.

Visitors to our libraries can also get information and advice on the wide range of courses available from Adult Community Learning in Blaenau Gwent.

For more information on our Libraries and their services visit our website at http://aneurinleisure.org.uk/heritage/libraries or call your local library:

Abertillery Library 01495 355646                  Cwm Library 01495 370454

Blaina Library 01495 290312                         Ebbw Vale Library 01495 355055

Brynmawr Library 01495 357743                   Tredegar Library 01495 357869
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Now Careers Source to Sea Challenge Banner

On Friday 9th June 2017 an intrepid team of four people from the Cardiff branch of Now Careers took on an epic 80k Source to Sea Challenge to raise money for Ty Hafan, a charity that
cares for life-limited children in Wales to enhance the time families have together.

With expert help and guidance from the Adventure Activity Team based at Parc Bryn Bach, the Now Nomads team of Sarah, Richard, Ceri and Alex embarked on a gruelling 80k journey that took them from the Brecon Beacons to Cardiff Bay in 11 hours and 35 minutes, enabling them to exceed their £2,500 fundraising target.

The Source to Sea challenge began with a rain soaked climb to the summit of Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, (the highest peak in South Wales at 886 metres above sea level), after pausing briefly to take a team photo, the Now Nomads began their descent to the banks of Pentwyn Reservoir, where they took to the water to cross Pentwyn and Pontsticill Reservoirs in canoes.
 
Once the team were back on dry land they switched to mountain bikes to cycle along the Taff Trail to the outskirts of Cardiff, where they embarked on a 5k run to the Principality Stadium.  The final leg of the challenge saw the Now Nomads using stand up paddle boards to navigate the River Taff and cross Cardiff Bay to reach the finish line at Cardiff White Water Centre.

To prepare for their epic challenge, the Now Nomads team trained diligently for almost four months prior to the event, and spent a full day with expert instructors from the Parc Bryn Bach Adventure Team to familiarise themselves with the transport methods they would be using on the various stages of their challenge.

Sarah Jones, Director of Now Careers said of the challenge; "The charity challenge that the team from Now Careers did on Friday was really tough!  We decided to embark on a challenge that would be a real team experience but also something that would raise money for a very worthwhile cause, Ty Hafan.

Fitting training around full-time work, running a home and organising family/children was demanding but it definitely paid off.  The guys from Parc Bryn Bach gave loads of tips and training on how best to prepare.

The actual day was great fun, even through the rain and the wind! All of us had lows at different times during the day but we got each other through it.  By the last couple of parts of the challenge I was feeling exhausted but with the support and encouragement of the team and the leaders, I got there!  Although I won’t be booking another challenge this year I’d definitely consider something in 2018."

Ceri Leath, Director of Now Careers added; "After signing up for the charity challenge, organised by Parc Bryn Bach the nerves set in. After months of training for the event and preparing as much as we possibly could for the challenge ahead, the team and I were excited yet extremely nervous.

The day itself was organised fantastically, each step of the way the instructors were with us, spurring us on with words of encouragement and tips to ensure we all got through the series of events. For me, the greatest challenge was after the 30-mile bike ride, the run, which I never thought I would make. My legs were so heavy, tired and aching and at this stage, I could’ve given up, if it weren’t for Nigel, one of the instructors by our side!

On the final stage of the challenge (SUP) to see family and friends at the finish line, waiting and cheering us on was so emotional. I felt completely exhausted but at the same time so ecstatic that we had all completed it for such an amazing cause (Ty Hafan). It is something I will never forget and I’m sure as an office we will talk about for years to come! Fantastic day, highly recommend it… looking forward to planning the next one."

Jon Kivell, Manager at Parc Bryn Bach and part of the instructor team that accompanied the Now Nomads on their challenge said; “The Now Nomads team did incredibly well; not only did this challenge test their endurance and physical limits, it also tested their determination and ability to work as a team, but despite the hardships and at times adverse weather, they pulled together as a team and completed the challenge in a great time.

Throughout their training and the challenge day, the commitment and determination of the Now Nomads has been really inspiring to see, we’re very proud of what they have achieved and are grateful for the opportunity to get involved and help them with this fundraising challenge.”

If you would like to make a donation to Now Careers Source to Sea Challenge for Ty Hafan please visit their Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thenownomads

If you and your colleagues or friends are interested in taking on a similar challenge or would like information on our range of Team Building activities please visit our website at www.parcbrynbach.co.uk or contact us on 01495 355920.
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Do you have a hazardous waist?

That’s the theme for this year’s Men’s Health Week campaign which runs from 12th – 18th June 2017.

Each year the Men’s Health Forum selects a particular theme for their week long campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues, and this year it’s all about belly fat.

Why belly fat?  The belly is the single most dangerous place for excess weight and men are more likely to have it.

Belly fat is a problem because it lurks not just beneath the surface but also gets down deep and surrounds your vital organs.  

Regardless of your overall weight, a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:

·         Cardiovascular disease

·         Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

·         Colorectal cancer

·         Sleep apnoea

·         Premature death from any cause

·         High blood pressure

So, this week men are being encouraged to get their measuring tapes out and check their waist measurements.

If you have a waist measurement over 37 inches (94cm), you are at increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke and erection problems.  If it's over 40 inches (102cm), you're at a considerably increased risk of all these.

Top Tip: - Your waist measurement is not the same as your trouser size.  Get a tape measure and measure around your stomach at the belly button.

mhw2017

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World War I Bunker Tours

A new community play called The Last Post is being promoted through a replica World War 1 bunker.  Filled with artefacts and information, the mobile bunker will be visiting towns across the Eastern Valleys, encouraging people to talk about their families’ experience of the home front during World War 1.

“The idea is to invite people to help us devise the story and create the characters through attending workshops taking place throughout June and July”, said director Stuart Bawler. 

Members of Head4Art’s team are on hand at the bunker to tell people how they can get involved right at the beginning.  Many of the roadshow locations will also feature an accompanying exhibition in a local venue – the result of previous WW1 themed community projects developed by Head4Arts. 

Head4Arts Manager Kate Strudwick said of the project; “People don’t need to have any previous experience of doing a play.  There are lots of different ways that you can join in. For example, we’re looking for people who can sing some of the well-known songs, and people to gather costumes and make props.  So, you can get involved as an individual or as a group.”

The story of The Last Post will be about a postman who is too young to sign up but delivers telegrams and parcels to people in his Valley’s town.  The play will use both real and fictitious letters to bring to life the joys and heartaches of this pivotal time in our history.

Regular rehearsals are taking place in Theatr Soar, Merthyr Tydfil on Saturdays in June, July and September with additional workshops in locations throughout the Valleys.  All ages and abilities are welcome (including families) but under 14s need to be accompanied by an adult.

The play will be performed in October 2017 at the following venues:

5 October: The Metropole Theatre, Abertillery

10 October: Congress Theatre, Cwmbran

24 October: Red House, Merthyr Tydfil

30 October: Blackwood Miners’ Institute

For more information about how you can get involved go to www.head4arts.org.uk, email info@head4arts.org.uk or phone 01495 357816

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VW Jordan Harford

Jordan is 18 years old and currently a Year 2 student at Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone.  He started his volunteer and leadership journey when he was 14 years old by completing the Level 2 Sports Leader award.

Jordan is a talented football player who has been signed by Bristol City, Newport County and Forrest Green Rovers as well as playing for the Welsh Schools U15.

Throughout this busy period Jordan has remained committed to volunteering, whenever his footballing commitments allowed.  He has over 400 volunteer hours to his credit, an achievement which resulted in him being awarded in 2016 with the Blaenau Gwent 5/60 Volunteer of the Year award as well as being named Young Volunteer of the Year.

Jordan showed amazing strength of character when his dream of becoming a football player was curtailed due to continuous injury issues, and despite the disappointment he has thrown himself into volunteering, gaining as much experience as he can.  His can do attitude and positive mind-set is an example to all, he has also enrolled in the local college on a sports course.

Jordan was selected for Gold Ambassador in September last year when he returned to live in Blaenau Gwent, to date; he has helped organise the BG Inspire Volunteer awards, delivered a disability workshop for new Silver Ambassadors, helped deliver Bronze Ambassador training to over 60 pupils also attended many CPD workshops.

Jordan is a fantastic coach, and is the first Ambassador to go through the new Leadership pathway to go on to paid work. He delivers the multiskills programme around Primary Schools in Blaenau Gwent, as well as having his own Mini Kickers football class at Abertillery Sports Centre. 

Jordan has also mentored a Silver Ambassador for the last 4 months, and through his dedication has supported him through CPD and training, resulting in him also achieving paid employment.

Jordan is an excellent role model, who has come through disappointment and has developed through volunteering and the Leadership programme.  

For more information on volunteering opportunities with our Inspire Sports Development team visit the team’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/bginspire/ or email neil.vincent@aneurinleisure.org.uk

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