ABERYSTWYTH’S brand new Bandstand had its official opening last Thursday (Oct 13) and many people gathered around to take part in the celebrations.
Carl Sargeant AM, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, and Cllr Dai Mason, Ceredigion County Council Chairman, led the ceremony to welcome the new addition to the Aberystwyth Promenade.
The atmosphere was noticeably uplifting; the sun was shining, the sea was calm and the Brass Band (members of Penweddig School and Penglais School) were practicing songs on the stage beforehand.
The thought of being in the well-established building surrounded by many people who were there to pay tribute to the new design made the environment even more special.
The former bandstand building was built as a permanent bandstand in 1935 and was opened on the same day as King George V Silver Jubilee celebrations.
After a number of years and modifications, the original design was replaced by coverage and then sides and a roof were added.
It was periodically updated during the 60s, 70s and 80s and was displayed as a functional single storey, steel and timbre enclosure with a seating area, stage, small ancillary rooms and toilets.
A poignant use for Aberystwyth, the original bandstand became a focal point for the community by hosting local musical performances, dances, and other events.
After support was given for development by Aberystwyth Regeneration Area Initiative, funded by the Welsh Government, December 2011 saw public consultation exercises. The public voiced their wishes that the priority project was the future of the bandstand.
The next step that followed saw Capita Symonds commissioned by Ceredigion County Council to consider the options available that would achieve maximum regeneration effect, with the aim of deciding on a preferred option to take forward.
The old bandstand building was demolished and financial help was given from the Welsh Government. With this fund, a new contemporary purpose-designed £1.2 million bandstand and seawall were erected in its place.
Designed by in-house architects of Ceredigion County Council, the new building has remained on the foundation of the much-loved old building and the original perimeter wall and piers have been retained and refurbished as a historical feature.
The new bandstand follows a contemporary design, with glazed front to draw visitors into the building and internal multi-purpose performance space with flexible internal units that can be adapted for different uses. A distinctive dual height circular standing seam zinc roof with high level aluminium-framed windows. A new glazed clay block insulated cavity wall that wraps around the building, the bandstand also has LED feature lighting in a shadow detail above to highlight the circular roof form.
Rear folding sliding windows have been inserted facing the sea which provides panoramic views of Cardigan Bay and when opened together with the front folding sliding doors, the space is transformed into a semi-traditional open-sided bandstand allowing both beach and promenade users to enjoy musical performances.
In addition, blackout curtains have been added to the windows to allow the same space which featured in the original building. The permanent tensile canopy has also been erected at the front in order to provide more audience space out onto the promenade.
The new bandstand now has a design that will be used for sustainability and durability, and will host many performances along with providing gallery and display space for the local community.
At the beginning of the ceremony, Ceredigion County Council Chief Executive, Bronwen Morgan, gave a warm welcome to everyone who attended and said that it was a pleasure to be gathered in the new bandstand on a beautiful autumn day.
Explaining a bit about how the new design was created, Ms Morgan said that all of the construction companies (namely WB Griffiths & Sons Ltd Team, Bullock Consulting Ltd- Mechanical &Electrical Consultants and Ceredigion County Council’s Estates, Project Management and Development Team) had worked through all of the worst storms and managed to complete the building.
Ms Morgan then went on to share with the attendees that her dad once sang in the male voice choir in the original bandstand and that she sang in the local choir. New ideas are also always welcome to build on the banstand’s success.
Thanking everyone over the years who have attended the bandstand to ensure that it stayed open, Ms Morgan went on to say that there will be much more fun and laughter to be had in the future, calling Aberystwyth Promenade the ‘Jewel and crown.’
Thanking the team for making the project come alive, Ms Morgan stated that the re-curving in the wall around the bandstand is now there to make sure that the waves hit into the sea rather than onto the Promenade as a result of the storms that Aberystwyth has had to face in recent years.
Sending further gratitude to Menter Aberystwyth for providing entertainment in the bandstand throughout the summer, Ms Morgan concluded by saying that the bandstand can be closed if need be unlike the original design and that it can now look very striking on the Promenade.
Ms Morgan then handed the stage over to Cllr Dai Mason who began by stating that the new bandstand has put Aberystwyth ‘back on the map’. The newly refurbished bandstand, as Cllr Mason puts it, is a ‘new twist on the old style bandstand’ and has been a fantastic opportunity for the area.
As he joked that the lovely weather made a change from the stormy weather Aberystwyth has recently had, Cllr Mason finished by telling those who attended the opening that the result of the new bandstand goes to show what we can to together as a community and by working together.
Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, told those who attended: “I’m grateful to the Welsh Government for their funding support to this project through the Aberystwyth Regeneration Initiative. The new bandstand’s design has fitted very well into the Aberystwyth townscape, housing a contemporary performance space that is well placed to continue to provide enriching experiences for tourists and local residents alike.”
Carl Sargeant AM, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, said: “I am delighted to mark the official opening of the Aberystwyth Bandstand. I visited here twice in 2014 in the aftermath of the January storms.
“The storms devastated the Promenade and made the headlines across the world. It is fantastic to return and be part of such a positive event and marking the resilience of the community.”
He then went on to say: “I am pleased the Welsh Government has been able to contribute £571,000 of Regeneration funding towards this project. This is an important scheme made possible as a result of strong partnership working between the Welsh Government, the local authority and the wider community.”
After unveiling the plaque, everyone was treated to two songs by the Brass Band, ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ABBA’s ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’.
To close the ceremony, Cllr Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member of Economic and Community Development Services said a few words.
Congratulating the construction teams for persistently working on the project throughout the four seasons of weather that Aberystwyth had experienced, Mr Lloyd thanked the Welsh Government for making the regeneration possible, Carl Sargeant AM for participating in the celebrations, the architect team, Penweddig School and Penglais School Brass Band for providing music and to their conductor Alan Davies.
The attendees were then invited to tuck into the provided refreshments of food and drinks as well as a chance to look around and observe the newly designed Bandstand.
The Herald asked an attendee about their thoughts on the new design and the ceremony as a whole: “The new building is really beautiful, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but it’s really impressive.
“I think that they have kept the old spirit and have added a lot of improvements like the ability to see the view from the front and the view from the canopy so it’s really fantastic.
“We live in Llanilar and when our children were younger we used to come along to the bandstand where they used to put on shows in the summer. I was hoping that this time around again, the bandstand will be well used for the future and as we have heard today, it will be used all year around.”
After attending the official opening, Elin Jones AM spoke to The Herald and shared her thoughts on the event and of the new design: “I was very pleased to attend the opening of the bandstand in Aberystwyth, it is a very impressive building which I hope will be made full use of by the community.”
Construction work due to begin on transforming Lampeter Leisure Centre next month
AS PART of Ceredigion County Council’s wider Through-age and Wellbeing Strategy, Lampeter Leisure Centre will transform into a Wellbeing Centre.
The Wellbeing Centre will provide a wide range of services that consider and improve the physical, mental and social aspects of an individual’s wellbeing. These Through-age services will include skills and employment advice, hardship and housing support, services for young people, support for carers and early support for Mental Health.
The Wellbeing Centre will also provide increased access to information, advice and assistance for residents on all council services. Providing opportunities for people to be physically active will remain a core component of the Wellbeing Centre. The proposed redevelopment will see a new fitness suite created on the ground floor, a spin studio and a multi-purpose room that can accommodate exercise classes on the first floor.
To aid the transformation, Lampeter Leisure Centre will have to close to ensure that the essential building work can begin. The work is due to begin mid-July 2022.
An agreement has been put in place with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s to use their leisure facilities on their Lampeter campus while the work is being undertaken, meaning that all current users of the Leisure Centre will be accommodated.
The Council and the University are committed to continuing to work together even after the construction of the Wellbeing Centre, to ensure that there is provision within Lampeter for all sports and activities currently being played at the Leisure Centre to continue and develop.
Catrin M.S. Davies, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Customer Services, said: “This significant capital investment in Lampeter Leisure Centre will ensure the future of the Centre for years and will meet the growing needs of children, young people, individuals and families in Lampeter and the surrounding area.”
Use of the facilities at the Lampeter Campus will start week commencing Monday 11 July 2022 and will continue until the building work is complete which will be early in 2023.
New grants scheme launched to break barriers to accessing nature
A £2MILLION funding pot designed to bolster community resilience by harnessing the power of nature is set to be launched by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) this summer.
The launch of the Resilient Communities Grant Programme stems from calls for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a recovery which places a stronger focus on action for nature and a recovery that spreads to every part of society.
The Welsh Government’s declaration of a Climate and Nature Emergency has also galvanised communities, businesses and public bodies in Wales to work together to mitigate against and adapt to the impacts of climate change, now and in the future.
The Resilient Communities Grant will provide communities with the opportunities to restore and enhance nature in their local areas, particularly in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities, and those with little access to nature. Supporting the provision of more green space will also support the changes needed to make to society to respond to the challenges of the climate emergency and reverse the decline in biodiversity.
With applications set to open in July, NRW is urging projects from across Wales to develop and submit proposals that have at their heart:
- Opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion, particularly amongst communities that have less access to quality green spaces.
- Creative ways to reconnect people with nature and their local environment to improve physical and mental health, confidence, self-esteem and encourage ‘green behaviours’.
- Promoting health and wellbeing through therapy and nature, particularly interventions that tackle health inequalities.
- Nature-based solutions that help communities feel safer and secure, for example improving greenspaces blighted by criminal activity.
- Creating more opportunities to access nature, especially where this need is reflected in future development planning.
- Opportunities to improving community awareness and understanding of climate risks, empowering communities to be involved in decision-making and taking action to tackle climate change impacts.
- Ensuring communities feel a sense of connection and empowerment with their natural environment and have an active role over how it is managed and improved.
- Creating opportunities for education and involvement in citizen science so communities have a better connection and greater understanding of their local environment and the benefits that a healthy environment can bring.
Gareth O’Shea, Director of Operations for NRW, said: “We have seen people connecting with nature during the Covid-19 pandemic and a greater appreciation of the way in which it underpins our health, our economy and our wider wellbeing.
“There has also been increasing recognition that the climate and nature emergencies are upon us, and its impacts are being felt amongst the parts of society that have contributed least to its acceleration. More needs to be done to mitigate and adapt now.
“Our Resilient Communities Grant Programme seeks to support that effort – providing communities with the opportunities to meet these challenges in a number of ways.
“From promoting the benefits of greater access to nature, tackling loneliness and exclusion and empowering people to influence the decisions made in their local areas, we’re encouraging people to submit proposals that can make a significant difference to the health, wellbeing and resilience of current and future generations.”
The Resilient Communities Grant Programme can provide 100% funding and applications are welcomed for amounts from £10,000 to £250,000. Applications can be made across different places and address multiple themes. Applicants who collaborate with other partners to submit joint applications are also warmly welcomed.
For further information on NRW’s Resilient Communities Grant Programme and the upcoming webinar, please visit: Natural Resources Wales / Current grant funding opportunities or contact email@example.com
Ceredigion man runs Cardiff half marathon as thank you to Wales Air Ambulance
A CEREDIGION man has raised just under £2,000 for the Wales Air Ambulance as a thank you after its crews flew to the aid of him and his brother-in-law following an accident in 2014.
Jason Jarrams from Llwyncelyn was involved in a road traffic collision outside Llanarth, which resulted in him and his brother-in-law Jordan Wilson, being cut out of the wreckage.
Two air ambulances were sent to the scene and both patients were treated by the Wales Air Ambulance medics. Jordan was airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff due to his head injuries and Jason went to hospital via a road ambulance. It is believed that Jordan was the first Wales Air Ambulance patient to receive a general anaesthetic at the roadside.
As a thank you – Jason, 34, set himself the huge challenge of running the Cardiff Half Marathon for the lifesaving Charity, whilst also trying to lose weight.
Jason, who now lives in Llangeler said: “I’ve run the Cardiff half for the air ambulance because unfortunately their services were required when we had two of their amazing choppers loaded with the best crews there are at our road traffic collision. My brother-in-law required extensive medical care at the roadside with slipped discs in his back, broken ribs, broken eye socket and with loads of cuts and bruises. I suffered with a broken fibula and tibia which required surgery to correct and two broken ribs on the sternum.”
Jason spent 11 days in hospital and Jordan was discharged after four days, Jason said: “Jordan was flown to the University Hospital of Wales due to his head injuries, it took less than half an hour to get there by air ambulance which to me is hard to get my head around.
“This service in Wales is absolutely critical to access remote areas and the speed in which the patient can get to the required specialist hospital is critical. Every second counts and I’m glad to say we can count on Wales Air Ambulance.”
After the accident Jason lost an incredible six stone and then set his eyes on completing the virtual Cardiff half marathon, which he did in 2 hours and 25 minutes.
He added: “I had two friends run it with me and I set a very respectable time and found it fairly easy. The other two who took part with me are not much short of athletes with one just retired from rugby and the other training to swim the Chanel this year for charity, I kept up well and thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Jason is grateful to everyone who contributed to his fundraiser or supported him with his training or during the virtual Cardiff half Marathon and the recent Cardiff half marathon. He ran the last race by himself.
The utilities operator said: “The support I’ve had from everyone has been nothing shy of incredible, my amazing other half has been with me all the way fully supporting what I’m doing and listening to me rant about my bad runs. My family have been totally amazing with my mum, sister and my other half all coming to Cardiff for the event to watch me start and finish, they all said it was very emotional to see me finally complete the event that had been on my lips for over a year.”
The Wales Air Ambulance celebrated its 21st anniversary on St David’s Day 2022. Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its emergency helicopters flying and its RRV’s on the road.
Jason’s employer Volac facilitated £1,000 from a charity fund set up by the company’s founder he added: “I was totally taken aback by it and respect the company I work for doing this.”
Katie Macro, Campaigns Manager for Wales Air Ambulance, said: “It is always heartwarming when we hear stories of former patients who go on to fundraise for the Charity after they’ve experienced how essential our service is. A huge thank you to Jason for completing the Cardiff Half Marathon in aid of our lifesaving Charity and to everyone, especially his employers, who have supported him in his fundraising and weight loss journey. Donations like this one will help us to continue to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most, whether that is by air or via our rapid response vehicles. Your support is much appreciated.”
Wales Air Ambulance offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’.
The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care.
There’s still time to show your support to Jason by donating to his Just Giving page Jason Jarrams www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jason-jarrams
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