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Community social centres

The Red and Black Umbrella community centre (formerly The Tredegar pub in Adamsdown) is coming close to its first birthday (October I think) running as a community social centre, based upon squat principles. That said, they are currently closed for August both for a break and to deal with a bug problem: Looking at their previous listings, they mostly deal in showing films, workshops and quiz nights.

Also, over the last two months a new community social centre is also being established in Roath at the former Gaiety / Spin bowling on City Road. This is another building that has remained empty for a number of years now and is falling into a poor condition. The squatters in there at the moment say they are cleaning the place up. Their vision for the place seems much more arts ortientated than the Red and Black Umbrella, with more focus on gallery and performance space. But the venue is still in a state so none of these activities have started yet. There is also an ongoing legal dispute with the owners that they discuss on their website. They also started a petition for people who support their work:

I've no idea whether there are any links between the people running the two venues. It seems possible since this is overlapping with the closure of the R&B Umbrella while the bugs are being sorted.

Obviously the legality of this is disputable, but I'm always a fan of communitities working for a better local environment so I wish them luck. The Gaiety is a big old place, so what they can do to it with no money is unclear. But I would look forward to it opening again even if it is in some kind of off the wall social space. Would be great to see a local group succeed where the developers have failed.

Anyone agree?

Re: Community social centres

It's sometimes been said that Cardiff's cultural offering, compared to somewhere like Bristol for example, is a bit 'top down' rather than organic....WNO, BBC Orchestra, BBC, WMC, S4C etc etc

Anything that adds to Cardiff's cultural canon especially something organic and community led AND brings into usage previously decaying buildings can only be a good thing.

Re: Community social centres

If I had a pint with them I'd find them ideological left wing people who would annoy me (much like the 18 year old me would bug the tits out of contemporary me)

That said, I'm 100% behind them on this, especially the gaity on City Road.

The council have kept the gaity empty due to the saturation policy (i hate the saturation policy more than almost anything else the council does) this is a consequence of their idiocy, so I'm glad to see it.

Good luck to them.

And as Karl says, while Cardiff's cultural offering is generally good, it is a tad top-down, so it's nice to see some 'bottom up' things too. Bristol annoys me a bit with it's general crustyness, but a bit of it wouldn't go amiss here.

Re: Community social centres

On a related subject Canton Police Station in Cowbridge Road East is on the market. It's difficult to see the building or the site being attractive to commercial developers in the current climate.

It strikes me that it would be a great opportunity for Chapter to develop a second set of incubators / studios similar to Market House. It's a proven model in cultural and economic development terms and Chapter always has a long waiting list for tenacncies.

Re: Community social centres

I don't know too much of the details here, but also perhaps similar are the two artists studios Tactile Bosch and the Boiler House, that are next door to each other in old warehouses in the Old Victoria Buildings, Andrews Road in North Landaff.

I believe Tactile Bosch has been there since 2000, while the Boiler House is only a couple of years old, and focuses on street art. I don't think these are squats, as they have funding from people like the Arts Council of Wales, but I do not know what the legality is.

Anyway, I understand the buildings they are in is due to be knocked down in the coming months, so both studios could be looking for a new home. I always thought they were a bit isolated from the centre of the city where they were so maybe a move southwards would do them well. I hope they don't just disappear.

Anyone here know why the buildings might be knocked down? Is there a different development going on there now?

Would be great if they could move to the Gaiety and it all became a great creative space in Roath (what with Gallery 39 now located off City Road on Oxford Street). But I don't really see that happening. I suspect the owners of the Gaiety will get it cleared out and back to being empty and on the market soonish.

Re: Community social centres

Bailiffs unsuccessfully tried to evict the occupants of the Gaiety / spin bowling on City Road today, according to this report:

Re: Community social centres

Also, the Red and Black Umbrella re-opened in early September, so I guess it is not related directly to the Gremlin Alley squat.