Village Halls: Neuadd Goffa Trefdraeth
When I met with Julie Slack, bookings and events manager and volunteer at Newport Memorial Hall, she had been in post since January 2019 and was working hard to keep Newport Memorial Hall on the map.
Julie is also a ceramicist who runs a group on Wednesdays between 1pm and 3pm.
Does she use the medieval kiln?
Julie shakes her head. “We have a new kiln. The medieval kiln, which was discovered when foundations for the Memorial Hall were being dug in 1918, is an incredible find but it isn’t in working order.”
I recall the grand opening in 2018. It was really well attended.
“It certainly was, but we have a great community here and the hall is always well supported. It’s quite amazing that the people who first discovered the kiln did everything they could to keep it safe. It’s been looked at every now and then over the years, but it was only a couple of years ago that Lottery funding came up with the money for us to restore it.”
Apart from the kiln, which is a must-see if you are in the area, Newport Memorial hall boasts a full-size stage in the main hall with two other rooms for hire. The Main Hall has room for 300 standing; the newly created Garden Room (100 standing) looks out onto a quiet, secluded garden; and the committee room has space for meetings of up to 30. There is also a full-sized, fully equipped kitchen, which could be available for a pop-up café or restaurant.
The building is accessible at the front via a removable ramp, and there is parking for about 10 cars. A walkway that goes down the side of the building on either side provides access to the kiln area and the garden and Garden Room. Just inside the front entrance are a disabled toilet and a ladies and gents. They don’t have a hearing loop at present, but it is something they are considering installing.
The hall has an alcohol licence and a fully stocked bar. The building is heated by solar energy and any excess is fed back to the system. The committee room requires 50p pieces to feed the meter. Julie assures me that the building is warm in winter.
I asked her how the place is run.
“ We have a fantastic committee of volunteers, who meet bi-monthly. Altogether we have about 40 volunteers, though we are always looking for new people to join us. There is always a lot to be done. Volunteers are rewarded for their work with free tickets to events and with Time Banking credits.”
In addition, there are two paid posts: the cleaner and Julie’s post of 10 hours for booking and events, although, she does many more hours voluntarily, and it is clear that she loves the place and the people.
A wide range of activities takes place on a regular basis for all ages, and the hall is used regularly for sports such as badminton, and for a range of exercise classes. In addition, there are yoga, regular meditation groups, children’s activities, art groups and seniors meet-ups.
What events are planned for the start of 2020?
“There is so much going on here for all ages. It really is a very busy hall, with both regular groups and one-off events. It’s best to check out the website or Facebook page regularly for a full programme, hire costs and other news.
“If anyone is interested in running regular groups or activities, we have a few spare times. We are also happy to hear from anyone wanting to make one-off bookings or volunteer with us.”
People should contact Julie Slack at :
Newport Memorial Hall,
West Street, Newport, Pembrokeshire, SA42 0TF