Rebecca Perry - Monlife

The Stranglers Announce Special 50th Anniversary Live Summer Show at Caldicot Castle

Sharing a Golden year for The Stranglers & Caldicot achieving town status

Plus Buzzcocks as special guests – Saturday 8 June 2024

Tickets on sale from 10am Friday 1 December

British punk/rock icons, The Stranglers, bound into their 50th anniversary year with the announcement of a special live summer performance at Caldicot Castle, on Saturday 8 June. Sharing their 50th year with Caldicot, as it celebrates 50 years of town status, this will be a glittering golden celebration that Caldicot will never forget. The Stranglers are one of the longest surviving bands to have originated in the UK punk scene, and they bring their special Golden Anniversary summer show to the precipice of punk power, as they are joined on the night by friends, Buzzcocks.  

Celebrating their ground-breaking career in the industry, which spans five incredible decades, The Stranglers will ignite Wales as they bring their extensive catalogue of chart hits to life in this one-off performance.  Choosing the omnipotent medieval backdrop of Caldicot Castle as their stage, and with the open starry skies to drench them in moonlight, this promises to be a spectacular and unforgettable performance that punk fans won’t want to miss.

“50 years, and what a raging punk journey the music of The Stranglers has had,” comment the band, “There’s such a wide and diverse catalogue of songs that we want to share with everyone, so we’ll be hand selecting the best tracks to perform live on the night.  Blasting out those punk/rock classics, under the Welsh sky and overlooked by the stony walls of Caldicot Castle, that’s going to be a special experience for us all.  And we’ll be flying the flag for Caldicot too, as it celebrates its 50th year of achieving town status, so it’s a golden night for us and the town, and we’ll be celebrating with you.  A night to remember for everyone one.  We can’t wait.”

Monmouthshire County Council Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement, Cllr Angela Sandles, said: “It’s wonderful to see Caldicot Castle again attracting iconic bands to perform here. We look forward to welcoming The Stranglers and The Buzzcocks to our fantastic county and especially to Caldicot Castle, a picturesque venue for any concert. What a way to celebrate Caldicot’s 50th anniversary as a town!”

Tickets on sale from 10am Friday 1 December

The Stranglers


The Stranglers: are an English rock band who emerged via the punk rock scene. Scoring 23 UK Top 40  singles and 19 UK top 40 albums to date in a career spanning five decades, the Stranglers are one of the longest-surviving bands to have originated in the UK punk scene.

Formed as the Guildford Stranglers in GuildfordSurrey, in early 1974, they originally built a following within the mid-1970s pub rock scene. While their aggressive, no-compromise attitude had them identified by the media with the emerging UK punk rock scene that followed, their idiosyncratic approach rarely followed any single musical genre, and the group went on to explore a variety of musical styles, from new waveart rock and gothic rock through the sophisti-pop of some of their 1980s output. They had major mainstream success with their 1982 single ‘Golden Brown’.  Their other hits include ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Peaches’ ‘Skin Deep’ ‘Always the Sun’ and ‘Big Thing Coming’.

Buzzcocks: are an English punk rock band singer-songwriter-guitarist Pete Shelley and singer-songwriter Howard Devoto formed in Bolton in 1976. During their career, the band combined elements of punk rock, power pop, and pop punk. They achieved commercial success with singles that fuse pop craftsmanship with rapid-fire punk energy; these singles were later collected on Singles Going Steady, an acclaimed compilation album music journalist and critic Ned Raggett described as a “punk masterpiece”.

For more information contact Samantha Giannini, Kilimanjaro Live  Tel: 07932 820952  email:

Celebrate diversity and inclusion at Pride in Usk

Put on your most colourful and expressive outfit and embrace the love and unity at Pride in Usk on Saturday 26th August.

Owain Glyndwr Park will be the location for the celebration of unity, fun and inclusivity, where all are welcome, which starts at noon and runs through until 8pm.

Pride in Usk is a family friendly community event, to foster a sense of community, promote understanding and advocate for equal rights for all, irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation. The event will feature a diverse array of activities and entertainment that will cater to people of all ages, backgrounds, and identities.

Key highlights of Pride in Usk:

  • Main Stage Extravaganza: Prepare to be entertained with live music performances from talented artists, heart-warming speeches from LGBTQ+ advocates and drag performances that will light up the stage with glamour and empowerment.
  • Vendor Village: Discover a bustling marketplace with vendors offering rainbow merchandise, local crafts, delicious food and refreshing beverages to keep attendees energised and hydrated throughout the day.
  • Community Engagement: Connect and learn from various LGBTQ+ organisations and allies at the event to learn about their initiatives, support networks and resources.
  • Inclusive Environment: Pride in Usk is committed to providing a safe and inclusive space for everyone, free from discrimination, prejudice and intolerance.
  • A Clothes Swap Activity: A cornerstone of this event is a commitment to creating an environment that fosters inclusivity and enjoyment for all ages. A clothes swap is being held, which is not merely an exchange of clothes; it represents an opportunity for all people to delve into the realm of self-identity through their appearance and clothing choices.

The event is open to people from all walks of life, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Attendees are encouraged to wear their most colourful and expressive outfits to celebrate love, pride and unity.

Cllr. Ian Chandler, Monmouthshire County Council’s LGBTQ+ Champion, said: “Pride at Usk is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our whole community in an inclusive and positive way. Whatever your gender identity or sexual orientation there’s a place for you at Pride at Usk. So come along and enjoy the entertainment, marketplace and meet others from our fabulous county and community. We are looking forward to seeing everyone at Owain Glyndwr Park to celebrate Pride at Usk. The event will showcase the community that we live in and that, irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation, Monmouthshire is a place for everyone.”

Pride in Usk is made possible by the dedication and support of sponsors, volunteers and the local community; aiming to create a day filled with unforgettable moments that leave a lasting impact on everyone.

Join in the celebrations at Owain Glyndwr Park, Usk NP15 1AD, on August 26th, 2023, from noon to 8pm and be a part of this inspiring and uplifting event.

Free tickets for the event can be found here:

For more information, sponsorship opportunities, or to volunteer, please contact

Spring into Easter holiday fun with MonLife

If you’ve been looking for things to do during the upcoming Easter school holidays then look no further, MonLife has the answer – a whole programme of activities and events to keep children of all ages entertained.

MonLife Heritage has hatched some plans for family fun at Old Station Tintern, Shire Hall, Monmouth and Caldicot Castle which include egg decorating Easter bonnet kits, craft activities plus much more! They have also created play-filled spaces for children to play freely, surrounded by history.

When you visit Caldicot Castle and Old Station Tintern please make sure that you say hello to Nerys the dragon and Ostin the Dormouse! Nerys is the Caldicot Castle dragon and Ostin is the Old Station Dormouse and they are full of fun!  You can find Nerys and Ostin between the pages of our brand new Explore and Create family activity pack which you can purchase on site.

The ever-popular Monmouthshire Games (TMG) returns to all four Leisure Centres across Monmouthshire from Monday 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th April, and Wednesday 12th – Friday 14th April. It’s a chance to learn new skills, build confidence, meet new people, and most importantly, have fun through sport. Each day promises to be action packed, and booking is essential as there are 30 spaces available per day. Children and young people between the ages of five and 11 will get the chance to experience, across the sessions, over 30 different sports. Sessions run from 8am to 5pm, and it costs £21 per day. Places can be booked by clicking HERE.

MonLife Active Play programme which will be taking place across Monmouthshire is 1 hours and 55 minutes where children aged 5-11 can be left with our highly trained and experienced playworkers and choose from a range of activities to play including physical play, arts and crafts, archery or wherever their imagination takes them. Parents will need to complete a registration form to book their children to attend. Further information on venues and how to book can be found on the MonLife Holiday Activities Website link below.

Monmouth’s Play Centre at the town’s Leisure Centre will also be open, offering three-storey action-packed fun. There’s even a special enclosed toddler area. Adults can relax with a cup of tea in the café, with free wi-fi access available. Don’t forget the swimming pools, gyms and classes are open throughout the holidays (excluding Friday 7th and Monday 10th ).

For more information how to book and ideas visit:

Important Turner painting of Chepstow Castle coming home

Thanks to funding secured from the Arts Council England / V&A Purchase Grant Fund and National Lottery support, Museums Association Beecroft Bequest, The Usk Valley Trust and MonLife museums’ acquisitions fund, a ‘local treasure’ – a painting by JMW Turner – will be coming home to Chepstow soon. Turner’s watercolour of Chepstow Castle is one of only two works by the artist known to capture the iconic view of the castle by the River Wye.

MonLife Heritage have acquired the beautiful landscape which will be on display in the summer at Chepstow Museum and it is hoped that as many local people as possible will visit to view the painting and be inspired by it.

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) is acknowledged as arguably the greatest of the British ‘Romantic’ artists, and is often referred to as “the painter of light” due to his ability to evocatively capture vibrant landscapes and seascapes on paper and on canvas.

The Chepstow Castle watercolour was painted in 1794 when Turner was just 19 years old and it is thought to have been created as a result of the artist’s first tour of South Wales. Once on display at Chepstow Museum, the painting will help tell the story of not only 18th century Monmouthshire, but of Turner’s love of the county.

Cllr. Sara Burch, Cabinet Member for Inclusive & Active Communities, said: “It’s fantastic news that the painting will be coming back to Chepstow where Turner painted it at the age of 19. It will become the jewel of Monmouthshire’s collection of paintings and drawings inspired by the Wye Valley. I hope today’s young artists will see it and be inspired. We had thought purchase of a significant artwork like this was out of reach, until generous funders stepped in to save the painting for the nation and for Monmouthshire.”

Turner’s painting will be display in Chepstow in the summer, in the meantime to find out about Monmouthshire museums and their current exhibitions visit

Monmouthshire’s Youth Service gears up for successful 2023 after receiving Welsh Government accolade

MonLife’s award-winning Youth Service is gearing up for another successful year after recently securing a Bronze Quality Mark for Youth Work in Wales.

The Youth Service received the Welsh Government accolade following a week-long assessment of its services in October 2022, with the award officially given on the 17th of November 2022.

The Quality Mark is awarded to organisations and service providers who meet a range of criteria as set out by gold, silver and bronze standards and supports the aims and objectives of the ‘Youth Work Strategy for Wales.’ The Quality Mark is regarded as being the only system available in Wales that can meet a profession-specific set of standards.

Assessment for the award focuses on:

  • Performance management
  • Quality of youth work practice
  • Young people’s learning and development
  • Legal requirements

Following the assessment, MonLife’s Youth Service was recognised for its work in developing positive relationships with young people, helping promote learning and achievement, and for providing opportunities which are educative, empowering, participative, inclusive and expressive, and extends their knowledge, skills and understanding.

The team and its services were also regarded as having a clear vision and strategy for young people, having a plan to measure the impact and effectiveness of its services and ensuring all work with young people is linked with local and national policies.

The accolade comes as the Youth Service gears up for an ambitious 2023, with the key focus on ensuring young people from 11 to 25 years old can develop holistically through a range of activities and opportunities. This work includes the delivery of youth clubs, youth centres, school holiday provision, the Shift project which supports young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing, participation work including Engage 2 Change (Monmouthshire’s youth council) and LGBTQ+ support including ‘Equality Street’ – an award-winning service.

Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Active Communities, Cllr Sara Burch said: “Our youth services are a fundamental part of ensuring young people are given opportunities to help them learn new things, form new relationships, expand their minds and in turn thrive as members of our community. I am delighted the excellent work carried out by MonLife’s Youth Service has been recognised and I look forward to seeing these excellent programmes welcome more young people over the coming year.”

Cllr Martyn Groucutt, Cabinet Member for Education added: “Education and learning opportunities for our young people certainly do not stop at the classroom door, and youth services play a key role in giving our younger generations a well-rounded experience within our communities. This award further demonstrates our commitment to providing young people with every possible chance at being the best version of themselves. Well done to all involved.”

For further information on MonLife’s Youth Services, visit:

Milestone reached in Active Travel bridge for the Wye at Monmouth

Images: Artist’s impression of a possible design for the proposed Active Travel bridge across the Wye at Monmouth

Proposals for a new Active Travel crossing of the river Wye at Monmouth have taken a major step forward. The proposed design for a bridge for pedestrian and cyclists has now been submitted for planning. The project, which is supported by the Welsh Government’s Active Travel Fund, aims to create a new safe route linking Monmouth and Wyesham that avoids the vehicular traffic on the busy Wye Bridge. It is to be noted that the existing Wye Bridge pavement will remain if the new bridge is constructed.

‘Active Travel’ describes journeys with a purpose, such as to and from school or a place of work, undertaken by foot or by bicycle. The current Wye road bridge (A466) is not suitable for Active Travel purposes and a separate car-free crossing has been developed by Monmouthshire County Council in partnership with Welsh Government, Transport For Wales, Sustrans, WSP, Monmouth Town Council, Natural Resources Wales and Haberdashers Schools.

The plans can be viewed, and comments made, on the planning website at entering application reference DM/2022/01800.  Public access computers are available at Monmouth library if required.

Cllr. Sara Burch, Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Active Travel, said: “I’m delighted that we are moving towards making this project a reality. The new bridge will make a big difference to the people of Monmouth and Wyesham and visitors to our county.  It will make it easier to walk or cycle to work in town and for children and young people to go to school. Completing this project is a priority as part of our Active Travel plans and I look forward to being able to update residents further in due course. So many people have said that they did not feel safe walking or cycling across the existing bridge that it’s right to make it a priority.”

Cllr. Catrin Maby, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment, added: “Supporting Active Travel is a vital part of our work to tackle the climate emergency. This new bridge will enable more people to leave the car at home and travel by foot or by bike away from traffic; making commuting easier, more enjoyable and more environmentally friendly.”

The bridge forms part of a comprehensive suite of Active Travel plans for the town, with improvements proposed linking Wyesham to the new bridge and from the new bridge to the Kingswood Gate development. Subject to securing planning permission and funding, Monmouthshire County Council expects to construct the bridge in 2024/5.

For more information about Active Travel in Monmouthshire visit

Visitor to Caldicot leisure centre returns to thank those who helped save his life

A visitor to Caldicot leisure centre recently returned to thank the centre’s staff for their quick response when he suffered a potentially fatal medical emergency earlier in the year. Alan Owen of Carmarthen suffered a cardiac arrest while he was at a Walking Football Tournament at the leisure centre on Sunday 3rd April 2022.

The immediate intervention of staff and players at the event is credited with saving his life. Alan was given CPR and a defibrillator was used prior to Alan being airlifted to Heath Hospital Cardiff, where he underwent surgery to have an ICD (implanted cardioverter defibrillator) and stents fitted.

During Alan’s return visit to Caldicot leisure centre last month, he met Kirsty Burnett, Briden Whitbread and Duty Officer Justin Aylett, to thank them for their life saving actions. All the leisure centre’s staff were delighted to see Alan looking so well.

Alan Owen with colleagues whose quick actions saved his safe in April 2022
Alan Owen with colleagues whose quick actions saved his safe in April 2022

All MonLife leisure centres across Monmouthshire have monthly training for all lifeguards on CPR and using the defibrillator machines to ensure they are prepared should a medical emergency occur

Cllr. Sara Burch, cabinet member with responsibility for Inclusive and Active Communities, said: “I am so proud of our colleagues at Caldicot leisure centre for their quick thinking intervention, without which the outcome could have been very different. It really does show the importance of having training in CPR and the use of defibrillators. I am very pleased to see Alan so well recovered and thank him for his kindness in coming back to visit Kirsty, Briden and Justin, and the rest of the team in Caldicot.”

Alan Owen said: “Without the early intervention of the players and staff who performed CPR and administered three shocks via the on-site defibrillator, I would not be alive today. The training that the staff undertook and put into practice on that day contributed to saving my life.”

CPR training can make the difference between life and death, and anyone can learn. The British Heart Foundation’s website has a helpful introduction to the basics:

Gwent-wide projects come runner up at the Landscape Institute Awards

GGGP Team at the Awards on the 24th November 2022

The Gwent-wide Nature Isn’t Neat and Gwent Green Grid Partnership Team (GGGP) attended the Landscape Institute Awards 2022 on the 24th November.

The team came runner up in both categories they were short listed amongst national and international submissions.  Firstly, for the Excellence in Biodiversity Conservation and Enhancement professional category for their Nature Isn’t Neat project and secondly, for a Partnership & Collaboration award which recognises exceptional work in landscape as part of the Gwent Green Grid Partnership.

The Landscape Institute Awards is one of the biggest events in the industry, celebrating people, place and nature, and the many ways that landscape projects can connect them. It celebrates spaces that people can be truly proud of, with there being over 200 entries in total this year, including 53 from international entrants.


The Gwent Green Grid Partnership is a new ground-breaking regional collaboration that aims to improve and develop “Green Infrastructure”; a term used to describe the network of natural and semi-natural features and green spaces, rivers and lakes that intersperse and connect our villages, towns and cities as well as helping to support job opportunities within the area. Green Infrastructure has a crucial role to play in addressing nature, climate change, health and economic emergencies.

The Nature isn’t Neat project is establishing joined-up green space management to create wildflower-rich pollinator habitats across Gwent local authority areas – Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport, and Torfaen – as part of the Gwent Green Grid Partnership. Nature isn’t Neat aims to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators, the actions that we can all take to support them, and how these can have a positive impact on other important issues such as reducing the decline in wildlife and lessening the impacts of climate change.

Monmouthshire County Council Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment, Cllr Catrin Maby said: “We are very excited that both the Gwent Green Grid Partnership and the Nature Isn’t Neat project have been shortlisted for the Landscape Institute Awards in London, getting the recognition they deserve on a national scale. Both of their approaches are crucial in protecting and enhancing our special landscapes, developing green infrastructure and helping address the decline in biodiversity and challenges of climate change. We are lucky to have such excellent professionals as well as such a stunning landscape to work with.”

These projects are supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Enabling of Natural Resources and Well-being Grant.

If you would like to find out more about what these projects do, please follow these links:

Gwent Green Grid PartnershipGwent Green Grid Partnership – Monlife

Nature Isn’t NeatNature Isn’t Neat – Monmouthshire

Community artwork in Abergavenny inspired by nature

The community artwork, with mosaic flowers, person, and insect, installed in Bailey Park, Abergavenny
The community artwork installed in Bailey Park, Abergavenny

New nature inspired artworks are appearing in green spaces across Gwent, encouraging more people to value the nature we can find in our communities.

The pieces have been developed as part of the Nature Isn’t Neat project, which aims to raise awareness of the decline in pollinators and encourage local action, including embedding a regional meadow management approach across the Gwent area.

Over the summer, communities have been busy designing and building mosaic artworks with artist Stephanie Roberts, that reflect the beauty of nature in their local green spaces.

The artworks are situated across Gwent, in Gilfach, Bargoed, Bryn Bach Park, Tredegar, Rogerstone Welfare Grounds, Rogerstone, Fairhill, Cwmbran.

Bailey Park, Abergavenny is home to the Monmouthshire sculpture, located near to the Rugby Club. The mosaic celebrates the humble daisy and its role for pollinators with an iridescent thick-legged flower beetle stealing the show.

Nature Isn't Neat bilingual logo with bee, beetle and flower

The new community artworks celebrate the relationship between wildflowers, pollinators and people of Gwent. The artworks will be the focal point of a celebration in the spring, looking forward to an exciting season of nature ahead.

Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment, Cllr Catrin Maby said: “The new artworks celebrate the Nature Isn’t Neat approach and the positive effect it can have had on wildlife and pollinators across Gwent. Selective mowing allows grasses and wildflowers to thrive for longer is supporting pollinators and a diverse range of wildlife generally.”

Cllr. Sara Burch, Cabinet Member for Inclusive and Active Communities, said: “It’s fantastic to see this community project taking pride of place in Bailey Park. It was heart-warming to see how many local people went along to the workshops to work on this artwork in the summer. It’s not only a great testament to Nature Isn’t Neat, but also to the community spirit in Abergavenny.”

This community art project is supported by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe Investing in Rural Areas and is funded by the Welsh Government’s Enabling of Natural Resources and Well-being Grant.

Welsh Government logo
Gwent Green Grid logo

Looking for a truly historic half-term? Welsh Museums Festival has it covered

Dragon lore, Pirate Codes, Time Travel and Treasures, and Crafts are on offer as museums across Wales are busy brewing a potent potion of inspiration for a bumper historic half term, as the Welsh Museums Festival ensures plenty of activity to delight locals and visitors of all ages. And with the cost of living soaring, this year’s festival will have more FREE festival activities than ever before.

Speaking about the festival, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden said: “Wales’ excellent museums support our sense of nationhood and wellbeing. They are also key to our tourism economy. At a time when families and individuals across the UK are struggling with increased living costs, we feel passionate that Wales’s story and our treasures remain accessible to all. Welsh Government is therefore proud to support Welsh Museums Festival to offer a packed fortnight of events for all ages, welcoming visitors and supporting our communities, with an engaging array of events and activities in museums across Wales. And importantly, enabling more of these events than ever before, to be offered free of charge.”

Welsh Museums Festival is made possible by funding from Welsh Government. It is an annual event presented by the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales, which is the advocacy body for museums and galleries and those working in this sector within Wales. It currently represents over 100 unique Accredited Welsh museums, from small independents to national museums. Together, these invaluable collections tell the story of Wales, and are a treasured resource for learning, exploration and knowledge about our local and national identity, and how we have lived here in Wales since the dawn of time.

Launching the programme for this year’s Festival, Nêst Thomas, President of the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales said:I’m grateful to our fantastic museums for taking up the gauntlet of participating in a longer festival this year, so that we can support local tourism economies and our communities to have a historic half term. It feels particularly important at this time of increased financial hardship, to do as much as we can to support our visitors’ wellbeing, and so we’re delighted that more Festival activities than ever will be free of charge. Come along to discover our treasures, to enjoy historic hullabaloo, to solve riddles, to learn, to make and craft, to discover a wealth of stories, to time travel and enjoy.”

In Monmouthshire, MonLife Heritage is offering a number of free activities in partnership with the festival. 

A key theme of this year’s festival is ‘treasure’. Festival events will explore treasures held in museum collections and asking questions such as ‘what do you treasure?’ and ‘why?’. To that end, the festival will be engaging visiting teenagers in a Photography Competition which encourages them to creatively explore some of their ideas about treasure, while children will enjoy hunting for Black Bart’s treasure chest by solving a series of riddles and cracking a secret code.

Oh, and did we mention dragons? Look out because ‘Here Be Dragons’! A clutch of baby dragons has hatched and run a mock in a number of our museums and sharp, young eyes are needed to help track them down. All through Welsh Museums Festival, afflicted museums will be engaging visitors help round them up and return them to the wild so that they can grow big and mighty like the dragon on the Welsh flag.

We are also running specific events. Whilst the leaves are turning and our wonderful wildlife is getting ready for the colder days ahead, drop in and join us for free half term fun with our autumn animal clay play days from 11am-3pm on the following dates:

Monday 31st October at Shire Hall Museum, Monmouth

Tuesday 1st November at Abergavenny Museum and Castle.

Thursday 3rd November at Chepstow Drill Hall.

Children must be accompanied by an adult.  No booking required.

Cllr. Sara Burch of Monmouthshire County Council said: “There are plenty of playful family activities at Abergavenny and Chepstow Museums this week. There are opportunities for children to dress up in costumes, play a game of ‘throw the fish in the basket’, chalk the longest line you can, or grab a ‘horse’ and canter down the corridor. From mud kitchens and chalkboards to dressing up and toys and games, there is something to make a visit full of fun.”

The time travel ends on 6th November full programme details will be available on on the festival’s website