FIRST minister Carwyn Jones was in Gwent to officially open the new Aberbeeg Community Centre.

The Argus reported in August how the Aberbeeg Community Project was taking over the village’s Senior Citizens Hall because the senior citizens group could no longer maintain the building.

Communities First, Blaenau Gwent council, Linc Cymru and local residents worked together over the past three weeks to clear the hall, and get it ready for yesterday’s official opening, attended by the First Minister, Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies, Blaenau Gwent mayor Mike Bartlett and ward councillor Hedley McCarthy.

It is hoped the new centre will become home to community groups including a sewing club, cycling club, arts and crafts and an environmental club.

It will also house the village’s Flying Start project, and there are hopes to expand the building in the future.

Cllr McCarthy said he hoped the new centre would mark a “reversal of Aberbeeg’s fortunes”

after losing pubs, shops, a post office and its hospital over the last few years.

Mr Jones, who unveiled a commemorative plaque, said: “There are so many communities across Wales where facilities have declined year on year, and communities can think it’s inevitable that the community will go down. But what we see today is a centre opening because of the work of the local people. It is fantastic to see it open.”