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Hub to provide health and well-being services in Blackwood

Credit: Caerphilly Council

Libanus Lifestyle is a registered Community Interest Company, whose profits are put straight back in to the Libanus Centre. As part of the gateway to Blackwood High Street the grounds and venue had seen better times, so in 2014, Libanus Lifestyle was created to provide a community hub, cafe, and garden, providing a wide range of health and wellbeing services and venue hire for meetings, events, and community needs.

They took over the lease and set about developing a much-needed creation of a community space to service Blackwood and the surrounding area. Karen James, her son Sion, and volunteers, set about transforming the gardens and building with a complete renovation of the inside of the building. The hard work and commitment have borne out a fantastic space for the community to use.

They provide a Welcoming Space for a few days each week funded by Caerphilly County Borough Council. They have previously provided a weekly lunch club which was very successful in the number of people who attended which was also funded by CCBC’s Community Empowerment Fund.

There are several partner organisations who use the centre for their services and activities, and we regularly team up with them on projects. They have run Poetry Workshops with support from Literature Wales and match funded by Caerphilly County Borough Arts Development. CCBC’s family support teams use the garden cabin on a weekly basis and the youth service use the main hall for activities regularly. The company has sought other revenue streams with various classes including craft workshops, baby and parent groups and renting out office space to local small business. They also have availability for private venue hire, including the most recent project, hiring the hall for affordable wedding receptions, using local caterers and businesses, keeping that heart of the community at the forefront of their aims.

Libanus Lifestyle received £25,000 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This grant was dedicated towards Libanus Lifestyle through Caerphilly County Borough Council’s intervention of UKSPF funds. The grant was matched funded and was used to replace the roof of their premises.

Thanks to the new roof it has seen a huge reduction in the buildings heating costs, which means such savings can put back into running the centre. It has allowed their plans to turn the attic into a useable space.

Karen James said, “The support from Caerphilly Council has been amazing, the ease of applying for the grant and the support given, made what we thought would be a daunting process into an easy one. The funding has meant we can now make the centre sustainable as a commercial building with plans to access the attic space for further use. The worth of the help is more than just financial and will see us provide a long-term benefit to the community as a whole.”

Cllr Jamie Pritchard, Cabinet Member for Prosperity, Regeneration and Climate Change, popped by to see the work that the company was doing and commented “The team at Libanus work very hard in the community, so it’s been great to see this positive investment making a real difference.”