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MARCH/APRIL 2017 [exclusive] press release. (didn't go to print, but here it is)
Abergavenny Community Centre is delighted to announce that its Community Kitchen is now open (for business).
A fully functioning 'Community Kitchen' that complies with current health and food standards has long been one of the main goals of the Abergavenny Community Centre, said Centre Manager Marion Pearse. "A few months ago, we put out a kitchen 'SOS' which was greeted with a remarkable response. Last June we started to raise funds and by January we had enough money to make a start on the refit and refurbishment, but about a fortnight later, the Centre was the beneficiary of a significant private donation which allowed us to reconsider our approach and move forward with our plans. More good news followed, when we learned that the application we had made to the Bryn-y-Cwm Area Committee had been successful. The injection of capital led to a whirlwind of activity in which volunteers and businesses were quick to respond. The renovation took a little under six weeks, and in that time the space has been transformed. We are extremely grateful to the many friends and supporters - our volunteer workforce - who gave their time freely (in the region of 700 combined hours) to make this possible."
On March 1st, to coincide with the Centre’s 2nd anniversary, a celebratory St. David’s Day lunch took place to launch the Community Kitchen. Deputy Mayor, Cllr John Prosser, in his address to guests, referred to the occasion as "a celebration of community spirit". Cllr Douglas Edwards (Elected Member, Grofield Ward) had the honour of turning the key raising the servery hatch to reveal the new kitchen to the applauding guests. Cannon Christopher Blanchard (the father-in-law of the kitchen chef, Elaine Blanchard) blessed the kitchen and offered grace. Invitees sat down to a traditional Welsh Cawl, prepared by Elaine helped by the celebrated chef, Franco Taruschio and supported by an amazing team of volunteers. Members of the Town Council, Monmouthshire County Council and Monmouthshire Housing Association representatives were in attendance, and Nick Ramsay AM, came along to show his support for the venture.
Marion was keen to point out how valuable support was also received from the local business community. "The 'Community Champion' of a local store ensured that all the special ‘Welsh touches’ were provided at no cost to the Centre" she said "and Robert Price donated paint, brushes and rollers and Mirage gave us a beneficial deal on tiles. Everyone came together and it made a big difference".
Special guest, Peggy Hill (pictured) who was head cook at the former Park Street Infants School for more than two decades, was delighted to be behind the hatch again, and Pam Roberts, former acting head teacher, popped in, to make a gift of the embroidery which was made in 1994, to mark the Infants Schools’ Centenary year. "All in all, it was a remarkable day" Marion concluded.
Elaine Blanchard, the chef-in-the-kitchen said, "Now that we have a Community Kitchen we’re pleased to announce two new communal dining activities to help more people stay active and involved":
‘See you for lunch’- Every Wednesday at 12.30. A home-cooked meal, for anyone who would like to come. Booking is essential.
• Starting soon: World Cafe – A monthly, Friday evening meal featuring food from around world. The World Café - an offshoot of the culture kitchen project, which gets local people growing, preparing and eating food together.
As well as being available for hire, the kitchen offers in-house catering for family gatherings, occasions, and business events.
Freddy Edmonds who is a Trustee, explained that “the Abergavenny Community Centre has applied to the Charity Commission to become a registered charity.”
If you would like more information about the Community Kitchen, or the wider purpose of the Abergavenny Community Centre, please contact us on 07751666481 or www.abergavennycc.org