Rebecca Perry, Author at Monlife - Page 3 of 6

Countryfile Ramble for Children in Need

Get on your walking boots for the Rambling challenge 2021

Last autumn the Countryside Access Team and many others in Monmouthshire CC, undertook sponsored walks to raise money for BBC children in need.  This year, on Friday 8th October, the Countryside Access Team are undertaking their team meeting, whilst walking through Castle Meadows and along the canal. Usually the team has its meetings on Microsoft Teams, but this time we are going to walk and talk.  At the end we shall all generate some money in aid of Children In Need.  We are looking forward to getting some fresh air, enjoying the autumn colours and seeing each other “in real life” again!

We’re challenging other teams in Monmouthshire to do the same, so get out and have one of your meetings whilst walking!!! … Who can find the best view, picnic spot or project to visit?  Go that extra mile, put your boots on to energise your team and help children in the UK. Don’t forget to tag us in @MonLifeCountryside or @MonLife on Facebook and @MonCountryside or @MonLifeOfficial on Twitter. We’d love to see how you got on!


Why Walking Meetings?

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nothing will feel better than venturing out after an intensely focused morning at a desk.  Walk and talk with your team members about some ideas they have for new or existing projects.  We have all had over a year now of Teams meetings.  Take advantage of our beautiful landscape and getting outside can clear your head. Get some exercise and engage in our favourite type of discussion – the walking meeting.   Walking meetings are particularly useful when decision making, team building and bonding are of critical importance. They also enhance creative thinking.  The casual nature of walking and talking helps people let their guard down and ideas held back on Teams come spilling out.  A study published in the European Journal of Development Psychology found both children and adults performed a memory exercise better while walking than sitting. 

“The greatest mental benefits of walking are explained not by what it is, but by what it isn’t.  When you go outside, you cease what you are doing, and stopping trying to achieve something is often key to achieving it…And in some hard-to-specify way, even the distractions of walking – traffic noise, bird song, people – seem to help”.

Oliver Burkeman

We all spend too much time seated at our  desks.  Regular movement is essential to our well-being.  One study has found that 12 minutes of walking can increase happiness, vigour and attentiveness significantly more than time spent sitting.  


Tips for organising a walking meeting:

Though walking meetings are fairly self-explanatory, the following preparations can make them more fruitful:

– Those with, or who live with anyone who has Coronavirus symptoms, should stay at home.

– Let everyone know in advance where to meet, how long you will be outside and to wear suitable clothing.

– Make sure you choose a venue which you can all easily get to.

– Plan your route. Choose a venue where you can walk in a circuit to get back to the start and is not too strenuous or adventurous.  A simple walk around a park, wood or greenspace is good for walking/talking meetings. 

– Check what the weather will be like.

– Wear appropriate warm clothing and shoes.

– Bring snacks, a flask of coffee or other drink!

– Take regular stops so you can as a group discuss items together.

– Walk slowly, at a pace suitable for all and encourage everyone else in team to do the same.

– Breath and encourage mindfulness.

– Review relevant documents: know your meetings objectives and glance over supporting information beforehand.  Don’t forget to share any necessary information with participants.

– Use your smart phone to take voice notes and take follow up notes.

– Take a photo to use at your next Teams meeting.

– Use the environment to illustrate points, have a laugh and be proud that you did it together as a team.

Download your own Sponsorship Form HERE!


Improvements set for Chepstow Leisure Centre pool area

MonLife has announced a programme to carry out much-needed improvements to Chepstow Leisure Centre’s swimming pool hall.  These will include redecoration, an upgrade to glazing in the viewing area, a replacement ceiling, an LED lighting upgrade and installation of new air handling units.

Scheduled to start on Monday 25th October, the work will necessitate the closure of the pool.  The expected re-opening date is 4th January.  Meanwhile, the rest of the leisure centre will remain open and MonLife will automatically freeze the membership of its Aqua holders while work continues.

MonLife members with any queries about the pool area refurbishment should email: monmemberships@monmouthshire.gov.uk – meanwhile, groups with bookings for the pool have already been notified of the closure.  Anyone with a general query on the work should contact chepstowleisurecentre@monmouthshire.gov.uk.  MonLife will also launch a dedicated microsite on Tuesday 28th September with up to date information on the scheme’s progress and a list of FAQ’s.

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for MonLife, Councillor Lisa Dymock said: “I’d like to thank visitors to Chepstow Leisure Centre for their patience while work continues and I’m pleased that these refurbishments will provide an improved service to users of the leisure centre.  I’m also glad that many of the measures implemented will result in improved energy efficiency and reduction in carbon emissions.”


National Fitness Day

This year will see the 10th Anniversary of National Fitness Day. Every year National Fitness Day highlights the importance of physical activity in helping us lead healthier lifestyles and this year’s focus aims to show that fitness is for EVERYONE. In a time where health and fitness is more important now than ever, we hope that you will join us and the nation in celebrating National Fitness day and making this year the best yet.

MonLife is proud to support this cause as we understand the importance and impact that fitness can have on a persons life; whether it be physical health, mental health or simply socialising. Our four leisure centre’s in Monmouth, Abergavenny, Caldicot and Chepstow all strive to be a welcoming fitness hub for our local communities to work on getting back to fitness, getting back on track and getting back to feeling healthy and great. As part of our celebration and to give our communities the inspiration to get back to fitness, we are offering FREE five day gym passes across our sites. Terms and Conditions do apply.

In order to enquire about a 5 day free pass at your local gym, then simply pop in and ask or contact your centre directly via the following contacts:

In order to celebrate and build up to the big day, we have been using the hashtag #Fitness2Me as part of a campaign where people are invited to share what being physically active means to them. We want to encourage people from all walks of life, activity levels and interests to share what fitness means to them, it will inspire others to live happier and healthier lives through being active. So far we have had a great response from our members at our local centre’s…

We do however also want to highlight that National Fitness day is not limited to activities in your local gym or leisure centre. Alternatively, why not go for a nice walk at one of our Heritage sites? Below we have three different trails you can follow at Abergavenny Castle, Caldicot Castle and Old Station Tintern. These trails are there for your well-being and are a perfect way of getting fit and active! Take a look at our flip-book below to look at your local options and enjoy.


Play Schemes offer fun and activities to county’s young people

Children in Monmouthshire have enjoyed a fun-filled summer holiday, thanks to two successful play provision schemes offered by MonLife, the council’s tourism, leisure, culture and youth services body.

The Welsh Government-funded School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP) has provided healthy meals, nutrition and food education, physical activity and enrichment sessions to children in specific areas of the county during the summer holidays.

The free four-week programme has seen over 420 children sign up at five schools, with sessions at Overmonnow Primary and Kymin View Primary in Monmouth, Thornwell School in Chepstow, Caldicot’s Dewstow Primary and Deri View Primary in Abergavenny.  The response to the scheme was overwhelmingly positive with a large majority of children delighted to make new friends and try new sports.

Meanwhile, MonLife has offered the exciting and popular Monmouthshire Games, with a range of different interests and hobbies keeping children and young people active and entertained over the summer holidays. The five-week programme featured at all of the county’s leisure centres in Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow and Monmouth, with almost 900 youngsters participating.  Nearly all expressed their desire to attend future events.

This is the sixth year that MonLife has organised the Games. Aimed at children between the ages of 5 and 11, they have encouraged thousands to develop confidence, meet new friends and most importantly have fun through sport.    With challenges caused by the pandemic, this year’s events also aimed to help improve wellbeing and promote healthy bodies and minds.

Monmouthshire’s Cabinet member for Community Wellbeing and Social Justice, Councillor Lisa Dymock said: “The School Holiday Enrichment Programme and The Monmouthshire Games have been especially valuable during the pandemic, allowing the county’s children to be active, have fun and socialise.  They have been brilliantly organised by MonLife staff and give parents the peace of mind that their children are looked after in a fun and safe environment.”

The Monmouthshire Games and SHEP attracted a total of 7,750 attendances over the summer while children enjoyed 7,240 free meals provided in line with the wide range of benefits delivered by SHEP.  


Closure on footpaths in Caldicot and Rogiet extended

In December, Monmouthshire County Council made a Traffic Prohibition order to temporarily close footpaths 6 and 13 in Caldicot and Rogiet. The legal closure due to end on 23rd June has been extended for a further 6 months due to continuing safety issues.

Speaking on the closure, Councillor Lisa Dymock, cabinet member with responsibility for MonLife said: “We are deeply concerned that people are at risk. This section of footpath contains two live firing ranges and we have had reports about people continuing to use the path, wandering around the foreshore and elsewhere putting themselves in danger. An alternative route is in place following the Wales Coast Path, which is well signed and maintained and we appeal to people to use this path instead.

“A multi-agency approach is being taken to resolve the issues on this popular path. These include fly tipping, arson, vandalism, gates being left open, which allowed cattle to wander off, damage to the sea wall, illegal cycling, motorbike use and consideration of range safety measures”.

A Monmouthshire County Council spokesperson added: “Notices regarding the closure of the footpath and alternative route are available on Monmouthshire County Council’s website and we have been endeavouring to keep them up on site. However, there has been problems with individuals removing the signs. This is an offence, but it is also putting visitors and local people in danger and hampering our endeavours to deal with the issues”. If you or anyone should witness someone tampering with the signs, then please contact: countryside@monmouthshire.gov.uk


Refurbishment of Abergavenny Leisure Centre confirmed

Following the meeting of Full Council on Thursday 22nd July, Monmouthshire County Council has confirmed that the proposed refurbishment of Abergavenny Leisure Centre has been agreed.  To enable residents to see the full development plans and find out more, MonLife has today (Friday 23rd July) launched their new microsite www.monlifeleisuredevelopment.co.uk.

Monmouthshire County Council’s MonLife is committed to investing in projects which will benefit the health and wellbeing of the county’s community.  Its leisure centres provide a vital hub to support physical and emotional wellbeing across all age demographics. 

The proposed refurbishment of Abergavenny Leisure Centre will create a wellness hub over the first floor of the building, to create modern leisure facilities for the local community and helping to increase participation in regular physical activity.

The proposed new facilities will include:

·        Extended Fitness Suite

·        Power Assisted Exercise Studio

·        Dedicated Spin Studio

·        New Fitness Changing Facilities

·        Ground Floor Coffee Vending Offer

Councillor Lisa Dymock, Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for Community Wellbeing and Social Justice, said: “We are committed to investing in and developing leisure facilities across our county to support the health and wellbeing of our citizens.  The continued investment in leisure facilities will have a significant impact on wellbeing for not only now, but also for our future generations. I would encourage local residents to have a look at the plans and find out more about this exciting project.”


Here’s to a summer of fun in Monmouthshire – time to make some magical memories’

Make some magical memories this summer,’ that’s the message as MonLife, gets ready to welcome children and young people in Monmouthshire to its exciting wealth of activities and fun across the county. The Monmouthshire Games, indoor play centres, theatre events and many more activities have been organised with the intention of keeping children and young people active and entertained during the summer break.

The Summer of Fun kicks-off with ‘The Monmouthshire Games’ taking place between July 26th and August 27th, with action-packed days offering more than 30 different sporting activities that can be enjoyed by children and young people aged 5-11 years old at all four of the county’s leisure centres. The Monmouthshire Games provides a unique opportunity for both children and parents. Participants can meet new friends, develop new skills and confidence, whilst parents are content knowing that their child is safe, happy and having hours of sporting fun.

MonLife has organised free activities for the whole family to enjoy over August, including archery, a climbing wall, clay play, badge making, natural art collage and orienteering. Visit the MonLife Activities website to see what free activities are at your nearest local venue: Family Days – MonLife Holiday Activities.
The dates and locations are:

  • 10th August – Old Station Tintern 11:00 – 16:00
  • 11th August – Shire Hall 11:00 – 16:00
  • 17th August –Abergavenny Museum and Castle 11:00 – 16:00
  • 18th August –Caldicot Castle 11:00 – 16:00


MonLife’s Youth Service will also be providing a ‘Summer of Fun’ with provision for 11 years plus and a range of activities and opportunities including Graffiti workshops, outdoor activities, Skate Jam plus much more. 

Open-air theatre events at Abergavenny Castle grounds have also been scheduled this summer, with Horrible Histories: Gorgeous Georgians & Vile Victorians taking place live on stage on 28th July. There are plenty of other theatre events on at Abergavenny Castle throughout summer for all the family to enjoy, including The Great Gatsby (11th August), Pride & Prejudice (14th August) and David Walliams’ Mr Stink (22nd August).

Families can also book a visit to MonLife’s indoor play centre at Monmouth Leisure Centre this summer, which features an exciting three storey, action-packed climbing maze and a unique ‘beat the clock timing’ system. All of Monmouthshire’s leisure centre swimming pools are open for the summer holidays, including family bubble sessions, junior swim lessons and aqua classes.
Local swimming timetables can be found here: Swimming – MonLife Holiday Activities

Lisa Dymock, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing and Social Justice said: “MonLife has done an excellent job ensuring the children of Monmouthshire have a fantastic summer with all they have planned. There were less opportunities for children to enjoy a variety of experiences in 2020, this summer promises to be different with many new memory-making opportunities being held again. There is something for every child in Monmouthshire to enjoy this summer – sporty, creative, arts loving, or fans of the great outdoors – this summer will be lots of fun in the gorgeous, Monmouthshire, great outdoors.”

Summer of Fun is a Welsh Government initiative and runs from 1 July until 30 September. It provides a range of free leisure, recreational, sporting and cultural activities for children and young people aged 0-25 to help support their social, emotional, physical and mental wellbeing.

For more information on the events and activities in Monmouthshire this summer, visit: https://www.monlife.co.uk/monactive/childrens-activities/

Contact Us


Residents invited to share views on next phase of Active Travel consultation

Image courtesy of Sustrans

Monmouthshire residents are being asked to lend their views to the final phase of a consultation, which looks to improve the ways people in Monmouthshire get around in the future. The final phase of the Active Travel consultation will help in determining priorities for investment in the physical infrastructure of roads and paths suitable for cycling and walking as well as associated facilities. The Active Travel consultation is a requirement by Welsh Government under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013.

The first phase of the consultation, which launched in 2020, undertook substantial engagement with the community to identify routes and facilities to encourage greater levels of Active Travel in everyday lives. Now concluded, the consultation has successfully captured the responses of 2700 people and 370 routes have been identified for consideration. Over 500 comments on the strategic focus of Active Travel in Monmouthshire were also received. All suggestions have now been independently assessed to produce a revised final Active Travel Network Maps.

Residents can now view and give feedback on the final maps, which are hosted on the Welsh Government sponsored website Common Place: https://mccactivetravelconsultation.commonplace.is/.  Due to the level of detail on the maps provided it is suggested accessing the site via a laptop, desktop or tablet for greater levels of interaction.  This website is also the main website for engagement for those individuals aged 12 years and over with specific sessions taking place for primary aged pupils.  

To ensure good coverage of all groups in the community those that do not have access to a computer, alternative engagement methods of gathering responses are available, and can be viewed on https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/active-travel-consultation/  

The Council has been working hard over the last 12 months to increase the focus on Active Travel. The aim is to encourage those who can, to leave their cars at home when travelling to work, shops, schools, a place of leisure or to get to a train / bus station. Active Travel is not about walking and cycling for leisure but it could also significantly enhance leisure activities by helping link up existing path and road networks, and is an important contributor in addressing the current climate emergency – helping to reduce vehicle emissions. It also has the benefit of improving physical and mental wellbeing.

Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing and Social Development, Councillor Lisa Dymock said: “As we look to accelerate decarbonisation and focus on improving our natural environment, we must concentrate of finding more green and efficient ways to get around. We have learned a lot from the pandemic and previous lockdowns about how a reduction in the pollution caused by vehicles and other forms of transport really has a positive impact on our climate. The future of how we work and live also means we have more opportunities to make the most of active travel whether that be using our cars less or cycling places. We are working hard to ensure we have the infrastructure and policies to support these aims and we need the people of Monmouthshire to help us shape these very important decisions. Please take the time to have a look at the suggested routes and lend your views to the consultation.”

Residents with any queries are asked to contact either Sue Hughes, Active Travel Officer or Paul Sullivan Youth, Sport and Active Travel Manager ActiveTravel@monmouthshire.gov.uk  The consultation period ends 31st August 2021.


May Half Term fun with MonLife

This May Half Term we have a fun filled week of activities planned for children of all ages at our MonLife venues.

Nerys the Dragon and Ostin the Dormouse

Why not visit Caldicot Castle and Country Park and Old Station Tintern where you can say hello to our delightful new additions to the MonLife family; Ostin the Dormouse and Nerys the Dragon.

Ostin and Nerys feature between the pages of our new Explore and Create family activity packs that are available at both sites.  These fun-filled resources will enable you and your family to explore two of our fabulous attractions through a range of playful and creative activities and discover more about the nature and history of the sites.  The packs also include great ideas for continuing the fun at home.

You can collect Ostin and Nerys stamps and stickers for completed activities and even ‘transform’ you and your family into one of these cute characters using our Dormouse and Dragon photo cut-out boards.  Remember to tag us into your photos on social media.

Abergavenny Museum

Why not take a step back in time and visit one or our MonLife museums which are open throughout half term, enjoy the wonder of the history of Monmouthshire and open up this whole new world for your children.  Entry is FREE for all visitor s and your children can also take away quizzes and activity sheets to keep them entertained at home. 
For opening times please visit https://www.monlife.co.uk/heritage/

Our popular The Monmouthshire Games will be returning at all four of our Leisure Centres during half term week with a fun filled programme of activities.  You will need to book early to avoid disappointment as places are very limited.  Register your interest by clicking here and a member of the team will be in touch https://buff.ly/3y8jB6r For further information on The Monmouthshire Games please click here https://buff.ly/2ROnahB

Girl in swimming pool during swimming lessons looking at camera smiling holding hand in the air

If you are looking for some indoor fun then why not book onto one of our swimming sessions taking place at all four Leisure Centres by clicking on the following link and going through to the Leisure Centre of your choice https://www.monlife.co.uk/monactive/.

Monmouth Premier Play Centre at Monmouth Premier Leisure Centre after recent redevelopment
Monmouth Indoor Play Centre

Also don’t forget that our Indoor Play Centre at Monmouth Leisure Centre is now open, your place will need to be booked in advance so call the centre on 01600 775135.

MonLife also deliver Youth Work in the community through a range of activities and opportunities for young people aged 11 plus.  During the May half term The Attik (Monmouth) will be open Wednesday and Thursday 10am – 6pm, the Zone (Caldicot) Tuesday and Thursday 12pm – 8pm, the Cabin (Abergavenny) Tuesday and Wednesday 12pm – 6pm and Thornwell Wednesday and Friday 3pm – 8pm.  Positive Futures will be running on the Friday in all areas 6pm – 8pm. Each area will also carry out a litter pick on one day for each area for Keep Wales Tidy – Spring Clean Cymru.

For further information or if you need support please contact us via youth@monmouthshire.gov.uk


Rockfield residents encouraged to help develop community nature spaces in Monmouth

The Community Nature Spaces project is working to bring together communities and revitalise un-used or unloved playgrounds and make them accessible play areas that embrace nature.

Residents and stakeholders were invited to take part in a public consultation in February and by the end of March, Monmouthshire County Council and the consultants Pegasus had received in excess of 130 responses. Now, the council is asking residents of Monmouth’s Rockfield Estate to share their thoughts once again, in order to finalise plans for nine sites across the community.

The recent lockdowns have reinforced the importance of having a variety of good quality outdoor spaces that are easily accessible by everyone, so that they can spend time safely outdoors experiencing what nature has to offer in local neighbourhoods.

Ideas that fall within the Community Nature Spaces scope include community food growing, fruit trees and mini-orchards, re-wilding areas and the creating of mini-meadows on mounds and slopes for wild play and to encourage pollinators, and local provenance tree nurseries and planting for pollinators.

A spokesperson for Monmouthshire County Council said: “We’d sincerely like to thank everyone who has got involved and contributed so far – the detailed designs shaped by this consultation are now available on the Community Nature Spaces website (monnaturespaces.co.uk). We would now like to hear from local residents and groups that would be interested in becoming more involved in the project as it moves forward, or in specific aspects of the project, such as community food growing. The emphasis on community is key to this project coming to successful fruition.”

The detailed plans show the council’s current aspirations for the sites, subject to the further public consultation. Monmouthshire County Council have secured funding to deliver the Community Nature Spaces project during the 2021/22 financial year. In addition, separate consultations will be undertaken regarding the play areas at Hendre Close, Goldwire Lane and King’s Fee in Monmouth, which will all be improved for both play, enjoyment and wildlife.

Monmouthshire County Council has been working in partnership with Monmouth Town Council, Transition Monmouth, ACE (Action on Climate Emergency), Gwent Wildlife Trust, Rockfield Community Centre, the local schools and NRW (Natural Resources Wales) consultants Pegasus Group, and residents to develop Community Nature Spaces that benefit local communities at various locations, initially in Monmouth.

The Local Places for Nature funding is administered by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA) on behalf of Welsh Government.