Aber Valley Heritage Group

Patron

Mr Roy Noble (BBC Broadcaster)

Committee Officers

Jack Humphreys (Chairman)
Pat Bull (Vice Chairman)
Malcolm Bull (Treasurer)
Gill Jones (Secretary)

Committee Members

Noel Griffiths
Carol Bowen
Jean Sellars
Glenn Thomas
Malcolm Harper
Gareth Clarke
Gareth Bowen
Hilary Barbrook

Project Officer

Karen Richards

Initially a sub group of the Aber Valley Communities First Partnership the Aber Valley Heritage Sub Group was established in 2007.

This sub group became a constituted group in its own right in March 2009 to enable it to access its own funding. There are currently approx. 15 regular volunteers (as we near the Centenary this number continues to grow). The group’s aim is to promote community involvement in the heritage of the valley.

Achievements

Book of Remembrance – This was initially housed in Senghenydd Community Centre prior to the refurbishment of the Museum.

Aber Valley Heritage Museum – In the early days (in 2000) Aber Valley Community Council assisted volunteers to redecorate the room, purchase new furniture, curtains and carpet the floor. Along with the Book of Remembrance there were a small number of artefacts and photographs forming a small display.

Following the formation of the Aber Valley Heritage Committee there was a new impetus by local residents to upgrade the Heritage Room. A successful application to the Heritage Lottery Fund was therefore made in July 2007 for £50,000, which enabled the group to appoint a part time Project Officer (for 2 years) and purchase new flooring, display cabinets, window shutters and 2 digital inter-active touch screens.

The display cabinets now contain donated objects of interest. The 2 inter-active touch screens enable visitors to view a wide range of photographs relating to the valley and its residents. Visitors still regularly donate new photos / artefacts to add to our collection. (The Museum is now in fact too small to display everything we have acquired). On average the Museum receives between 80 and 100 visitors each month.

Volunteers give their time each week to ensure that the Museum is open free of charge between 11am and 2pm (Monday – Saturday).

The Museum was rededicated and opened in 2009 by Roy Noble, who has since agreed to become patron of the Aber Valley Heritage Group.

The Valley of the Shadow – In 2008 the committee (through a Communities First Grant of £5000) arranged for the republishing of 1000 copies of the best authority’s book, ‘The Valley of the Shadow’ by John Brown, a book which had been out of print for many years. Funds raised through sales of this book are helping to raise money for the new Memorial.

Heritage Trail – In 2009 / 2010 with the help of Caerphilly County Borough’s Countryside Department the committee developed a Heritage Trail taking walkers around heritage points of interest throughout the Valley. This was funded through a Cwm y Mynydd grant submitted in June 2009 for £16,887.06.

In addition to extending the employment of the Project Officer for a further year the grant enabled paths to be created and the installation of gates / stiles. A bi-lingual leaflet was also produced which is available at visitor attractions throughout the County. This has proved very popular and it is hoped that eventually it can be linked with trails in neighbouring communities.

In February 2010 the committee were successful in winning the Cwm Y Mynydd award for ‘Best Tourism Trail’ at the Rural Development Plan awards held at Rudry Village Hall.

Digital Stories – In 2010 several bi-lingual digital stories were made (using funds accessed through the Aber Valley Communities First Partnership). They include a 10 minute ‘Welcome Digital Story’ for visitors at the Museum.

Events / Exhibitions – The committee / volunteers and Project Officer have over the years regularly organised events to attract visitors including school visits, St David’s Day celebrations and film shows. This year the group also took part in the national campaign ‘Open Doors’The whole committee meet regularly each month to formulate ideas and projects which we believe would be of interest to the public (alongside sub group meetings to explore funding).