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Newtown’s new riverside visitor and community centre named Hafan Yr Afon

Hafan Yr Afon, Newtown.

Open Newtown’s new community and visitor centre has been named Hafan Yr Afon, which translates to River Haven or Haven on the River.

The new centre, located on the banks of the River Severn alongside Back Lane car park, forms an attractive gateway to Newtown’s green and blue spaces.

Owen Durbridge, chairman of community focused development trust Open Newtown, said: “This exciting and environmentally sustainable building will continue to deliver Open Newtown’s ongoing ethos of well-being, kindness, sanctuary, inclusiveness and biodiversity, whilst promoting outdoor activities.

“A welcome break, an attraction, a new experience, encouraging people to explore our river walks and areas of natural beauty.

“This new facility will enable Open Newtown to further develop our Forest and River School experience, which will be accessible to all.

“As an organisation, Open Newtown is passionate about involving young people, supporting the beginnings of a community youth cafe and we will continue to deliver and support local events.”

The Hafan Yr Afon project has been supported by the Welsh Government, National Lottery Community Fund Wales, Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and Powys County Council. It has been built by by local contractor Pave Aways, after a public competitive tender process.

Robert Roffe, the National Lottery Community Fund in Wales’ head of Mid and West region, said: “Hafan Yr Afon seems to be the perfect name for this new community haven by the river.

“The centre will offer a wonderful space, drawing both people from Newtown and visitors into the green of the park, by the flowing river. It’s great to see Open Newtown embracing the Welsh language with the National Eisteddfod starting in August.

“We are looking forward to Open Newtown’s next announcement about the centre. We supported Open Newtown in 2019 with a grant of over £1 million, made possible by players of the National Lottery, one of the £30 million in grants that good causes receive every week across the UK.”

Councillor David Selby, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for a More Prosperous Powys, said: “I am delighted that the aptly named Hafan Yr Afon building is to open to the public soon.

“This iconic building is a major development for Newtown and surrounding area to serve both residents and visitors alike.  It will be a gateway to the open spaces and to the town, providing advice, activities, community spaces and refreshment. Well done to all those involved and a warm welcome to Hafan Yr Afon.”