Young Caerphilly film-makers get animated thanks to new studio

The next generation of film-makers at St Martin's School, Caerphilly, are enjoying using a brand-new animation studio created with the help of local housing developer Lovell and housing association United Welsh.

Construction experts from Lovell – which is working with United Welsh to build The Beeches Village, a new development of high-quality local homes at the historic former Caerphilly Miners' Hospital - transformed an old stockroom at the school into a hi-tech animation studio. BBC Wales Today weather presenter Behnaz Akhgar and Cllr Michael Gray, Mayor of Caerphilly County Borough, officially opened the new facility which will enable GCSE and A level art and design students to develop their animation skills.

St Martin's School head of art Darren Latham says: "This brand-new facility means we can now teach the full range of animation techniques including 3-D and digital work. The students love it and couldn't wait to start using the new studio. It was something we have wanted to create for some time but the school didn't have the funds immediately, so we are incredibly grateful for the help from Lovell and United Welsh."

Steve Cranston, head of community investment at United Welsh, comments: "We are delighted that this investment is going to make a real difference. It's great to be able to help harness the creative energy that exists in our communities."

"Ensuring that we deliver benefits for the local community is an essential part of the project at the former Miners' Hospital," says Lovell regional director David Gough. "The hospital was founded through the generosity and community spirit of local people and we want to pay tribute to and build on that legacy by helping residents and local organisations throughout the redevelopment programme. We're thrilled to have been able to help create the animation room, a facility which will be a tremendous asset for students for years to come."

As well as clearing out, redecorating and carpeting the former stockroom, the Lovell team created a professional bespoke animation table which students will use for their animation work, in addition to equipping the studio with blackout blinds. All the work was funded by Lovell and United Welsh. One of the first projects being created using the new animation room facilities focuses on the nearby former Miners' Hospital itself, with students set to visit the development site where Lovell is creating 82 new homes. Lovell and United Welsh are also backing the campaign to refurbish the original home of the former Miners' Hospital and turn it into a community facility. The Beeches Village is a mixed tenure development of new two-, three- and four-bedroom homes, both for sale and for rent, in addition to new green spaces and public areas. The first new homes will be ready to move into this autumn.