There was a good turn-out for the Annual General Meeting of the Llanwrtyd & District Heritage and Arts Centre held on the evening of 29th August 2018.
The minutes of the last AGM were agreed and the Chairman’s and Treasurer’s reports were given.
Chairman’s Report to AGM Llanwrtyd and District Heritage Centre –
29th August 2018
Another eventful year has passed since our last AGM and I am pleased to announce that the Centre goes from strength to strength, with our visitor numbers maintaining an upward trend, our finances in good order and our art galleries fully-booked. I have below outlined in more detail the activities and changes at the Centre during the last 12 months.
In October, after 6 years’ service Pat Dryden retired from her position as Admin Officer. A new position of Public Relations Officer was advertised at the start of 2018, and Lynne Brookes was the successful candidate. Lynne brings with her a wealth of marketing experience and is working towards raising public awareness of the Centre and also working closely with volunteers, managing the rota, organising social events, trips and producing a regular newsletter. This year we have had weekly mentions in the What’s On sections of the Brecon and Radnor Express, as well as articles and adverts in The Cambrian Times, County Times, Mid-Wales Journal, Carmarthen Journal, The Brecon and Radnor Express, The Post and the lead article in The Wales Art review (http://www.walesartsreview.org/arts-and-heritage-in-llanwrtyd-wells/). We also had a mention in an article about Llanwrtyd in the travel section of The Daily Telegraph and the Centre is now included in all the tourism websites relating to the area.
At the start of this year, our treasurer was successful in an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the funding of a mentor to advise us on project management, governance and marketing. Heritage consultant Andrew Deathe from Swansea has been appointed to the position and his brief is to help trustees gain the skills required to develop a successful long-term future for the Centre. Andrew will also be working with the Town Council and local businesses.
We have seen an increase of 10% in visitor numbers and have welcomed many overseas visitors from countries including Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, France, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Poland and USA amongst others. Once again, our visitors’ book is full of complimentary comments and we currently have a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor, with 21 out of 22 reviews giving us an ‘excellent’ rating and the other ‘very good’. This season several visitors have made use of our archive to research pictures or information about ancestors – something which is very satisfying, considering how much work went in to building the archive in the early years of our project (please see letter from Dilys Nicholson). Plans are afoot to recommence archiving items loaned to us by local residents, and others further afield who have connections with Llanwrtyd.
Our art galleries have hosted exhibitions including: painting, sculpture, digital art and photography with more art, sculpture and woodwork to come before the end of the season. In July we became an international venue by hosting French artist Helene Forgeaite from Meriel and we are already taking art gallery bookings for 2019.
During the closed season Rob Thomas once again hosted our monthly talks and lectures and he has already started planning for the upcoming winter (please see details elsewhere). We also hosted a solo guitar concert by Tim Edwards. The Centre has also been used as a venue for outside organisations to hold meetings, including Cymdeithas Cymraeg Llandrindod, Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society, Cambrian Mountains Initiative, Spa Towns Wellness Group and PAVO (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations). All organisations were very impressed with the surroundings and the facilities.
Pat Jones has introduced many new products to the retail range, so please feel free to browse at the end of the meeting. There are also raffle tickets for our big annual draw available at the reception desk.
Prior to opening this year, a small group of volunteers converted the small middle room into a commemorative display to mark the centenary of the end of World-War 1. This display has greatly impressed with some visitors being moved to tears. This display will stay in place until remembrance Sunday, when we will open for the day as part of the commemorations. The knitted poppies which form part of the display will be donated for sale during next year’s poppy appeal. On the Saturday evening before Remembrance Sunday, there will be a Concert of Remembrance at the Centre featuring Llandovery Male Voice Choir (for more information see details elsewhere)
We also have a temporary display to mark the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Heart of Wales railway line as part of celebrations taking place in towns up and down the line. It is also the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Congregational Chapel where we are seated today, and we have an event to mark the occasion on Sunday 23rd September. There will be a walk from Gelynos graveyard (the site of the original Congregational Chapel) to the Heritage and Arts Centre, where there will be a Victorian Tea and a talk on the history of the chapel by Susan Price.
Finally I would like to thank all the stewards, trustees, volunteers, friends and donors for their contribution to another successful year at Llanwrtyd and District Heritage and Arts Centre.
Election of Trustees
Sarah Jones and Paul Schofield stood down as trustees and were duly re-elected for the forthcoming year.
The year ahead looks promising with the town appearing more vibrant with the addition of three new shops, bringing back to life a number of the buildings in the town.