THE head of a recording studio destroyed by the weekend’s devastating Cwmbran fire has said he plans to rebuild.
Gareth Leaman, from Newport, established Social Soundwaves, a community-based organisation running creative arts workshops for young people across South Wales, in 2015.
He was about to launch its new recording studio, located alongside youth enterprise centre Randomz Ltd, at the Avondale Industrial Estate, when it was ravaged in The Football Factory blaze on Saturday night.
Mr Leaman said: “I left the building a few hours before the fire. I had been recording a young band in the studio.
“I was having a curry and went on Facebook. Someone tagged me in a video of the fire. I couldn’t’ believe it. I didn’t know what to do.
“I rang the manager of Randomz and he said ‘It’s really bad’. When I asked if there was anything left of the studio he said ‘No, it’s gone’.”
A South Wales Fire and Rescue spokesman said yesterday that the cause of the fire remains undermined, but that the building is now collapsing.
He also confirmed that a fire investigation team is assessing the site.
Losing the studio and equipment means Social Soundwaves will have to half the amount of sessions it can provide, Mr Leaman added.
“I have portable recording studio, but the studio and instruments are gone,” he said. “Work on the computer is gone. Young people’s music, lyrics and photos are all lost.”
The project works with vulnerable and disaffected young people, using music to help them overcome issues or trauma they have faced in their lives.
“It’s heart breaking for young people who use the services,” Mr Leaman said.
“It’s like a second home to them. They come to us nowhere else to go and they feel part something.
“I feel like I’m responsible for these kids because for many of them that’s all they have.
“But we are not going to stop. We will rebuild.
“We will try to find a new premises and try and set up a new studio.”
Social Soundwaves is now appealing to people who might have any unwanted instruments or studio equipment they can have to continue their work.
Anyone interested in offering support can contact them through their Facebook page www.facebook.com/SocialSoundwaves.