This month Bute Park will celebrate the first anniversary of its Education Centre.
The unique facility, which was officially opened last year, provides a venue for a range of educational and nature-based craft activities, and also lets families pick up a variety of guided trails and activities to go out and use in the park itself.
Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, Cllr Huw Thomas said: “In the last 12 months the Education Centre has already reached out to large numbers of people in the community, giving them the opportunity to understand more about the park’s rich history and wildlife.
“As well as being a venue where schools, community and educational groups can further their learning about the park, it also gives an insight into the work that goes into creating the floral displays across our city through its views out over the Council’s working plant nursery.. .
Unsurprisingly, it has also proved to be a popular and distinctive venue for organisations and businesses to hire as an inspirational alternative to regular meeting rooms and conference centres.
“The Education Centre has been a welcome addition to Bute Park and already has established itself as an important facility which will continue to be well used by the people of Cardiff.”
The centre, set behind a new garden wall, plays on the concept of a ‘secret garden’ and is accessed through a large, beautifully carved oak door. The panels of the door were specially designed by local wood carvers as part of the ‘’People’s Door’’ competition and help tell the park’s history through imagery.
Cardiff Council’s award-winning horticultural apprentice scheme also uses the centre as a training resource for staff and visiting students.
Over 35 different groups and organisations have chosen to use the centre for a diverse range of functions including workshops, team building, training sessions, meetings, book launches, conferences and children’s events, all of which help sustain the free public use of the facility.
Regular events include the Friends of Bute Park’s Wildlife days, talks and lectures on the history or wildlife of Bute Park, as well as botanical art classes. ‘Painting in the Park’ is run by local artists Christine Wilson and Louise Young and offers people the chance to improve their technique in botanical illustration in the park’s beautiful setting.
Louise said: "The Education Centre is beautifully situated for classes like ours, surrounded by the park and looking out on the plant nursery.
“The peaceful atmosphere of the building encourages creativity and learning and having the lovely cafe close at hand is much appreciated by our students.”
Over 3000 members of the public have utilised the facility since it opened its doors free of charge on weekends and school holidays last February.