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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: sam.giannini@kilimanjarolive.co.uk

Access Improvement Grants are now available

Amanda Harris in Chepstow during her epic journey along the Wales Coast Path. Credit @amandascoastalchallenge
Amanda Harris in Chepstow during her epic journey along the Wales Coast Path. Credit @amandascoastalchallenge

Applications are now open for two new Access Improvement Grant schemes aimed at improving access at Monmouthshire’s visitor attractions or visitor related events.

The two grant schemes are funded under the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.  The first is an Access Improvement Events Support Scheme, which offers revenue grants of up to £5,000 for applicants looking to improve access at visitor related events and/or to offer new inclusive activities at events in Monmouthshire.

The second is an Access Improvement Capital Grant Scheme, offering capital grants of up to £25,000 to organisations in Monmouthshire seeking to improve access at visitor related attractions and events.

Applications for both grant schemes will be assessed on a rolling basis between now and the end of December 2024 (when the scheme closes) or before if all the funding is allocated.

Monmouthshire County Council Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement, Cllr Angela Sandles, said: “These grants provide a great opportunity to improve the accessibility of events and attractions in Monmouthshire for the benefit of everyone, whether they are here for a day, a week or a lifetime. I would urge any organisation who thinks they might be eligible to put in an application.”

The grant schemes are part of a wider UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund project to develop Monmouthshire as a destination for all. Other planned activities include developments to improve the accessibility of the destination website, www.VisitMonmouthshire.com and specialist advice and training for tourism businesses on access and inclusivity.

You can read more about both new grant schemes and the eligibility criteria here: www.visitmonmouthshire.com/destination-management/access-improvement-grants.

Monmouthshire County Council Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement Cllr. Angela Sandles
Monmouthshire County Council Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement Cllr. Angela Sandles

New sports facilities at Caldicot Leisure Centre.

Photo on the new MUGA at Caldicot Leisure centre. From left to right, Cllr Jackie Strong, Cllr I R Shillabeer, Caldicot Town Council, Chair of Monmouthshire County Council Cllr Meirion Howells, Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Martyn Groucutt, Joe Killingley, Caldicot Leisure Centre Manager and Jack Harris, Community and Sport Development Officer.
Cllr Jackie Strong, Cllr I R Shillabeer, Caldicot Town Council, Chair of Monmouthshire County Council Cllr Meirion Howells, Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Martyn Groucutt, Joe Killingley, Caldicot Leisure Centre Manager and Jack Harris, Community and Sport Development Officer.

Monmouthshire County Council held an official opening of the Caldicot Leisure Centre’s new basketball, netball and tennis courts on the 1st of November.

The dual-use site will cater for both curriculum usage, with the on-site secondary school and local cluster primary schools, as well as the community usage during evenings and weekends, thanks to the new LED bulb floodlights above the courts. Bookings can be made via the website, app or at the reception in the leisure centre.

Caldicot Leisure Centre provides a fantastic base for many clubs, especially during the winter months. In addition to the new dual-use courts which have brand new state-of-the art height-adjustable basketball hoops, that cater for all ages and abilities, visitors can access a floodlit 3G pitch (FIFA approved), full-size Astroturf pitch, multipurpose sports hall, fitness suite, squash courts and a 20m swimming pool. To find out more about the leisure centre, please visit https://www.monlife.co.uk/monactive/caldicot-leisure-centre/.

Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement, Cllr Angela Sandles, said: “The new courts that are officially opening today will play a crucial part in allowing local pupils, youth groups, residents and the wider community to lead a healthy active lifestyle all year round. I can’t wait to see everyone reap the benefits of this amazing new facility.”

Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement Cllr Angela Sandles Joe Killingley, Caldicot Leisure Centre manager on the new improved Basketball court at Caldicot Leisure Centre
MCC Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement Cllr Angela Sandles Joe Killingley, Caldicot Leisure Centre manager on the new MUGA at Caldicot Leisure Centre

Spooktacular fun for all the family in Monmouthshire this half term

Half term is nearly here and this autumn there will be a host of family fun to enjoy up and down Monmouthshire.

From swimming to crafts, football to something spooktacular, there will be something for the whole family to enjoy over the week of autumn half term (October 30 – November 5).

MonLife are laying on an array of activities to keep your little ones occupied during half term.

There will be swimming, football and the return of the Monmouthshire Games.

During half term, MonLife will also hold FREE Active Play sessions at Abergavenny, Chepstow, Caldicot and Monmouth leisure centres. The ‘Play’ programme is 1 hour 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. 

MonLife also will be holding free Stay and Play sessions during half term, where children and families can freely choose from many activities including, physical play, arts and crafts, den building or wherever their imagination takes them. Please note that parental supervision is required for children under the age of 11!

At Caldicot Castle, visitors can enjoy a ghoulish time this Halloween with a series of family-friendly one-hour sessions.

Halloween crafts and games will be in the banquet hall, followed by a scary scarecrow pumpkin trail through our courtyard and towers.

Tintern Old Station offers more scary fare, where children can enjoy a spooky pumpkin trail, Halloween mask-making, and craft activities.

Welsh Museums Festival is back this coming October, with a whole week of special events and activities for all ages at museums across our sites. Abergavenny, Chepstow and Shire Hall museums are also getting into the spirit of things with Halloween craft events – no booking required. Also, have fun with friends and family at our half-term craft afternoon for kids led by the creative MonLife Heritage Museums Volunteers, Thursday 2 November 2-4pm, The Drill Hall, Lower Church Street Chepstow.

Join us at The Zone, Caldicot or The Cabin, Abergavenny youth clubs for our Halloween Parties between 4-9pm on Tuesday 31st October.  These are an open session for young people to attend with Halloween themed activities for ages 11+

Take a bird’s eye view of the humans in a brand-new family show from M6 Theatre at The Borough Theatre this half term. Filled with clowning, original song and beautiful shadow play, this highly physical show uses minimal language to tell a tale about taking care, discovering what’s important and learning how to fly.

If your appetite for all things spooktacular has not yet been sated, the libraries in Abergavenny, Monmouth, Chepstow, Caldicot and Usk are all laying on themed events too.

In Chepstow, you can even search for the Golden Ticket, which will be a ticket hidden every day in the library throughout half-term in the children’s area. Speak to a member of staff to claim your prize.

Cllr. Angela Sandles, cabinet member for equalities and engagement, said: “Half term in Monmouthshire this autumn is sure to be enjoyed by children and their parents across the county.
“There is so much to do and I cannot wait to hear about all the fun being had at the various spooky events.” To find out more about all the events and activities across Monmouthshire this autumn half term, visit Events – Monlife

Leaders of the future inspired to become Young Ambassadors at annual conference

Monmouthshire school children have been getting inspired to become leaders through sport thanks to the return of the Bronze Young Ambassadors Conference.

The annual conference took place at Gilwern Outdoor Adventure Centre on Friday 20th October.  Children in year 6 represented primary schools right across Monmouthshire with the focus of the conference centred around health, wellbeing, physical activity and leadership.

Throughout the day the Young Ambassadors took part in a variety of workshops – such as mentoring their peers, public speaking, and pupil consultations – as well as practical sessions delivered by external partners.  Since 2017, more than 5,300 pupils have taken part in the year 5 playmaker programme, with more than 350 then going on to represent their school in the year 6 Bronze Young Ambassador programme. The programme, which has been recognised as best practice, is now being replicated nationally and internationally – proving a platform for young people to develop their leadership skills through sport.

The Bronze Young Ambassador Programme is the start of the journey for many young people with four leadership academies established across all comprehensive schools in Monmouthshire.  The leadership academies continue to embed messages set in the programme and provide opportunities for young people to support physical activity within their school and local community, whilst gaining vital volunteering experience.  A clear route has been established for young people to develop their skills and gain employment opportunities through the playmaker to post 16 employment pathway.

As well as the young ambassadors, in attendance on the day were the Chair of the Monmouthshire Council Meirion Howells and Cabinet Member for Equalities & Engagement Angela Sandles.

Cllr. Sandles said: “The Bronze Young Ambassador Programme is such an important tool to promote the benefits of sport, physical activity and healthy living.  It was great to see so many enthusiastic young people here in Gilwern today. They took to the activities whole-heartedly and seemed to get a lot out of the day.  I look forward to seeing how our Young Ambassadors use what they have learnt today to help spread positive messages of wellbeing back at their schools.” For more information on Sport Development programmes, or to contact the team, please email sport@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Partnership project to improve sustainability of the public rights of way network

Following a successful application to the Welsh Government’s Access Improvement Grant, Monmouthshire County Council is launching the Paths to Community Project. 

This project focuses on developing ways to make the public rights of way network more sustainable in the long term and will contribute towards social justice, wellbeing and resilient communities targets.

Part of the project enables Monlife Countryside Access staff to work with community volunteer groups, providing them with materials, training and information, while making physical improvements to signage and the accessibility of routes.

To expand upon this project, Monmouthshire County Council has signed a Service Level Agreement with Ramblers Cymru – the first of its kind in Wales or England.

This will allow the Council to utilise part of this Welsh Government Access Improvement Funding to work with three more community volunteer groups in Monmouthshire. The funding will be administered by the Council, with Ramblers Cymru providing a full-time officer to provide a programme of events, training and engagement to reach wider audiences. 

A public launch event is being held between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday, October 28 at Magor and Undy Community Hub. This event will allow residents to come along and learn more about the project and how they can get involved.

Cllr. Catrin Maby, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and the Environment said: “We are delighted to be working with Ramblers Cymru to help improve local paths and access to nature. The new Service Level Agreement with the ramblers is a significant partnership which allows us to improve the public rights of way here in Monmouthshire. This will provide residents and visitors with the best routes to go walking or hiking, connecting communities and local economies.

“Our paths are gateways which connect our communities and help us get out into the natural environment. I would urge anyone interested to join the Walk and Talks events and the launch on October 28.”

Angela Charlton, Director of Ramblers Cymru said : “We are looking for volunteers to get involved with our work to help us put walking at the heart of communities and provide people with the opportunity to learn new skills. If you are passionate about walking in your community, then we would love to hear from you.”

Walk and Talks events:

Monmouth: Wednesday, October 25, 2pm to 4pm, starting at the Skatepark car park, Rockfield Road, Monmouth, NP25 5AS

Usk: Thursday, October 26, 2pm to 4pm, starting at Cefn Illa Nature Reserve car park

If you are unable to attend one of the events and would like to get involved or find out more, please contact rhys.wynne-jones@ramblers.org.uk

We would love if you could help us by filling out this questionnaire on Public Rights of Way in Monmouthshire to help us with our ‘Paths to Communities’ project launching this week. CLICK HERE

All welcome to help shape the future of visual arts in Monmouthshire

Ann Sumner and Beth McIntyre meeting with Emma Bevan-Henderson, Chair of the Abergavenny Art Festival meeting at the Makers Crafts Gallery in Abergavenny 

Creative Conversations in Usk

A meeting to explore expanding the opportunities for artists and craftspeople in Monmouthshire with an introduction from photographer Will Davies.

Usk Community Hub & Library, 35 Maryport Street Usk NP15 1AE

Wednesday 15 November 12.30 – 2 pm

Creative Drinks in Caldicot

Join us for this informal networking event for visual arts creatives in Monmouthshire. The evening with start with a talk from local artist Alison Heard. Alison is the founder of The Art Club Social, operating in the local area since 2019.

TogetherWORKS, Woodstock Way Caldicot NP26 5DB

Thursday 16 Nov 2023 6 – 8 pm


Following a successful application to Cardiff University Centre of Creative Economy by Monmouthshire County Council, SumnerMcIntyre have been appointed as Freelance Project Arts Producers to lead an exciting project to map the visual arts in Monmouthshire and scope out the opportunity for a Creative Cluster in the region.

The project team are keen to hear from as many people as possible who are involved in the visual arts in Monmouthshire or people who would like to contribute to shaping a future cultural policy, including venues, galleries, sculpture parks or studios. Across the next three months (October – December), creative residents of Monmouthshire have an opportunity to respond to a short survey, which can be found here: https://forms.office.com/e/Ny02P2zYxA.

There will be an opportunity to also network with SumnerMcIntyre at a series of networking events across Monmouthshire. 

The first networking event will be held on Friday, 20th October, at Wye Valley Sculpture Park, 2pm-4pm. Further details can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creative-tea-in-tintern-tickets-726142621127?utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-medium=discovery&utm-term=listing&utm-source=cp&aff=ebdsshcopyurl

For the latest news and updates on events or on how to contribute to this project, please visit: https://www.monlife.co.uk/heritage/ 

Cllr Angela Sandles, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Engagement, said: “This is such an exciting time for arts in Monmouthshire, I look forward to hearing everyone’s creative ideas and input. It will be great to see the development of a clear vision and collective goal for the future. I can’t wait to learn and see the opportunities that will come from this project and the success it will bring in developing a creative economy in Monmouthshire.”

About the team: Beth McIntyre, who comes from Monmouth and Ann Sumner have worked together for many years, having first met as colleagues at the National Museum of Wales. Ann is a former Head of Fine Art and Beth was Senior Curator (Fine Art – Prints and Drawings) at the museum. Together, they have extensive experience researching and scoping projects, leading consultations, organising networking events and working with artists.

Get more from your journey when you active travel in Monmouthshire

Monmouthshire County Council is celebrating 10 years since the Active Travel Act was launched in Wales.

Although the concept of active travel has been around for a while, not everyone is familiar with the term. Active travel describes making essential journeys, such as travelling to work, on the school run or travelling to appointments, by foot or by wheeling. The wheeling part can cover bicycles (electric or just by pedal power), scooters, wheelchairs, adapted bicycles or mobility scooters etc. 

Cllr. Catrin Maby, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “I would like to thank all of Monmouthshire’s residents who actively travel, walking or wheeling for essential journeys such as the commute to work. People of all ages and abilities can wheel or walk, and every journey we take without the car contributes to making a real difference. 

“We are blessed here in Monmouthshire with beautiful countryside a stone’s throw from our towns and villages, so choosing active travel has the added benefit of being able to really connect with nature and see things you simply don’t get the chance to when driving. Find out more about active travel in Monmouthshire by visiting the MonLife website and discover what’s happening in your area.” 

To find out about active travel projects visit https://www.monlife.co.uk/outdoor/active-travel/ and click on one of the towns listed. There are schemes being progressed across the county, so now’s the time to embrace active travel and get more from your journey. 

Llanfoist to Abergavenny Active Travel bridge works commence

Artist's impression of the new Active Travel bridge linking Llanfoist and Abergavenny

As part of the Welsh Government Active Travel funding awarded in 2023/24, phase 1 construction on the Llanfoist to Abergavenny Active Travel bridge (artist’s impression above) will commence on Monday 18th September, 2023.

The works comprise of earthworks for the south ramp only initially, on the Llanfoist side of the River Usk and will take approximately four weeks to complete. These establishment works will be carried out by the Monmouthshire County Council’s operations team. Access to the bank will be maintained.

Construction will be paused over winter, after which the remaining elements of this ramp, the northside ramp and the main bridge structure will be constructed next year. It is currently planned to be completed by December 2024.

This work does not include any routes within Castle Meadows this year. The planning application for the Castle Meadows paths will be considered at the October planning meeting at Monmouthshire County Council.

For further information on the Llanfoist to Abergavenny Active Travel scheme, please see: https://www.monlife.co.uk/castle-meadows-faq/

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: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/monmouthshire-youth-service

For more information, sponsorship opportunities, or to volunteer, please contact gavinbreen@monmouthshire.gov.uk