Author Archives: Megan Lewis

  1. Celebrating Black and Welsh History at EVI

    by Megan Lewis | 18th Oct 2022

    Over 70 community members joined us at our historic EVI Community and Cultural Centre to celebrate an important part of Welsh history, as we put on Afternoon Tea and a film showing to celebrate hosting the ‘Let Paul Robeson Sing’ exhibition.

    ProMo-Cymru (custodians of Ebbw Vale Institute EVI) have been privileged to host the inspiring ‘Let Paul Robeson Sing’ Exhibition from Swansea University South Wales Miners’ Library, chronicling the inspirational life of actor, singer and civil rights activist, Paul Robeson. In celebration, EVI hosted a sumptuous Afternoon Tea from their Café at EVI and a The Proud Valley (1940) film showing, free to all due to funding through the UK Community Renewal Fund*.

    Welsh History

    The incredible exhibition explores Robeson’s journey against prejudice and intolerance, his connection with the miners of South Wales, and his work to promote diversity and racial equality.

    We have been proud to bring Robeson’s story back to Ebbw Vale, 64 years after his famed appearance at the 1958 Ebbw Vale National Eisteddfod in which he told the crowd, “You have shaped my life – I have learned from you.” 

    EVI itself plays an important role in the history, past, present, and future of Blaenau Gwent and the surrounding areas. The 170-year-old building is a reflection of the social and industrial heritage of the town of Ebbw Vale, previously providing training in iron, steel and coal for the area. 

    Throughout time, EVI has kept education at its heart. This work continues there today, as we work with local communities and beyond to create a centre of excellence to be proud of, in which people can participate, learn, create and be entertained, in keeping with the original ethos of the Ebbw Vale Institute.

    Launch Success

    The exhibition launch was a great success, with rave reviews for the Cafe at EVI and an afternoon well spent socialising, learning, and reminiscing;

    “The afternoon was most enjoyable. Great insight into life in South Wales coal mines and the inspiring life of Paul Robeson.

    “A wonderful afternoon spent socialising with great company and meeting new people. Lovely Afternoon Tea from the Cafe, and I enjoyed seeing ‘The Proud Valley’ again for the first time in 40 years.”

    As the exhibition draws to a close this week, we would like to thank the South Wales Miners’ Library and all community members who have visited to learn about Robeson’s story and his important role in Black and Welsh history at EVI, the oldest institute in Wales.

    Take a look at upcoming events at EVI here.


    *The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, click here.

  2. Secretary of State Visits Historic Ebbw Vale Institute (EVI)

    by Megan Lewis | 16th Aug 2022

    The RT Hon Robert Buckland QC MP, Secretary of State for Wales, paid a visit to EVI in Ebbw Vale to see the range of projects supported by the Community Renewal Fund in Blaenau Gwent.

    The ProMo Cymru team (EVI’s custodians) were delighted to speak with Sir Robert Buckland during his visit to our historic Community and Cultural Centre.



    The UK Community Renewal Fund has supported EVI to reopen its doors to the public after partially closing during the pandemic. The team has been busy developing services, training, and activities to support the Ebbw Vale and wider Blaenau Gwent communities. Last week, over 350 community members helped celebrate EVI’s reopening with a week full of free activities and workshops for all ages. Please visit their website to find out more www.evi.cymru.

    The redevelopment has been funded by the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, providing EVI with £260,782 of funding. This has allowed EVI to deliver a variety of wellbeing and cultural classes, workshops and events, accredited training, social enterprise development, family activities, business and digital skills support, reduce their carbon footprint and open a community café!

    Marco Gil-Cervantes, Chief Executive ProMo-Cymru (left), Sir Robert Buckland, Secretary of State for Wales (centre) and Sian Tucker, EVI Centre Manager (right)

    The Secretary of State toured the building, talking to staff, volunteers, and community members about the positive outcomes of this funding. They shared how they’ve been busy developing services, training opportunities, and many activities to support the Ebbw Vale and wider Blaenau Gwent communities. The team shared their plans to establish a food bank, combat food waste, luncheon clubs for families, health and wellbeing classes, training opportunities… and setting up a choir!

    Marco Gil-Cervantes, Chief Executive of ProMo-Cymru, says, “We are very grateful for the funds from the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund, that together with support from the Welsh Government, Blaenau Gwent County Council and Big Lottery have helped this charity, community and cultural centre move forward. We were delighted to welcome the Secretary of State today to showcase our community work.”

    A Council spokesperson commented:  “It was great to see the projects funded by the Community Renewal Fund for myself today and the important work to deliver levelling up for communities such as Ebbw Vale.  I am really impressed by the work and dedication of the team in EVI and everyone else who provides them with support. The work is so important, I congratulate them for their determination to provide services, training and activities to help people secure meaningful employment and to improve their health and well-being in Blaenau Gwent.”

    From left to right; Marco Gil-Cervantes (Chief Executive ProMo-Cymru), Sue Harris (Social Enterprise Manager ProMo-Cymru), Tara Lane (Blaenau Gwent Council), MS Alun Davies (MS for Blaenau Gwent), Sir Robert Buckland (Secretary of State for Wales) and Sian Tucker (EVI Centre Manager)

    EVI’s Social Media:

    Facebook

    Instagram

    Twitter

    Website 

    About UKCRF

    The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK Government programme for 2021/22. This aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. It invests in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-community-renewal-fund-prospectus  

    About EVI

    EVI – Ebbw Vale Institute is a building full of story and culture. Founded in 1849 to promote cultural exchange in the neighbourhood, it was vacant for many years before undergoing extensive refurbishment by ProMo-Cymru supported by Blaenau Gwent Council and the Big Lottery Community Asset Transfer Scheme. In 2019 EVI received £249,867 from the Welsh Government Community Facilities Programme to carry out a range of improvements to the building.  

    The building now provides a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise development, helping to revitalise the economy of Blaenau Gwent.

    Its facilities include training and meeting spaces, professional recording studio, café, bar and live performance space.

    EVI is home to various organisations, including Blaenau Gwent Youth Services, Leeders Vale, Gwent N-Gage, Cyfannol Women’s Aid and ACT Training.

  3. Welcome Sue

    by Megan Lewis | 6th Jul 2022

    Sue joins us as Social Enterprise Manager.

    Sue is an experienced Operations Manager with a successful history in the third sector & retail and qualifications in Leadership and Management. She has expertise in sales, customer service, profit delivery, development, people management and multi-channel retail.  

    Previously, Sue has worked to support people in their own homes who are at risk of homelessness through tenancy breakdown by encouraging learning and development in the community.

    As Social Enterprise Manager, Sue’s role at ProMo involves supporting trading operations so we are a sustainable organisation which continues to grow our work with young people and communities. 

    “I look forward to supporting ProMo to ensure that EVI continues to be seen as a valuable community asset, and to help them continue to support young people into learning and new experiences that make a positive impact on their future”

    Welcome to the team Sue!

  4. Welcome Sian

    by Megan Lewis | 6th Jul 2022

    Sian joins us as the new Centre Manager at our Ebbw Vale Institute (EVI) Community and Cultural Centre.

    Sian has a wealth of experience in community development and is highly qualified in Social Policy and Lifelong Learning. Working with communities throughout Wales on various projects, she has been in involved in:

    – Working in five Communities First areas to help groups with no digital skills create a digital archive

    – Managing the Black Mountain Centre in Upper Brynaman, a community centre with a conference centre, café, doctor’s surgery, library and ICT suite

     – Working on the DWR Community Voice project helping three small villages lobby for 20mph around their local primary school – bringing the villages together and rekindling community spirit

    – Working with the Multiple Sclerosis community throughout Wales organising activities, lobbying for improved access to treatment and generally supporting individuals diagnosed with MS

    “It is a joy to have been chosen to take on the role of Centre Manager at EVI and I’m excited to join such a dedicated team.  I look forward to re-opening the café and developing new services and activities for the Ebbw Vale and Blaenau Gwent community. My mission is to create a Community and Cultural Centre that the whole community can be proud of.”

     Welcome to the team Sian!