During the initial consultation the community said they wanted the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund to:
– Help make sure that community spaces align with community needs (i.e. space for young people, health hubs, disabled access etc)
– Make sure buildings and spaces are fit for purpose across fund area
– Help build a sustainable network of well used community buildings
– Establish and support multi-functional hubs
– Consider how schemes to reduce bills could make community facilities more affordable
Since then, the fund has supported over 35 community buildings and spaces with funding of just over £2 million.
The fund has supported small scale improvements such as new doors and frontage at Resolven Library and Abergorki Community Centre, upgrading heating systems in Ferndale and Blaengwynfi social clubs to reduce costs, installed new toilets in boys and girls club in Treorchy as well as community centres in Hirwaun. Funding has supported flooring in Gwynfi Miner’s Community Hall, new equipment in Cymmer Library, installation of a sauna in Rhigos sports hall and paid for new windows at Aberdare rugby club.
As well as smaller grants, there have been flagship building developments the fund has supported through the Vision Fund:
– £137,677 for Too Good to Waste to help them expand their offering across area and renovate and move into Treorchy showroom. This development created jobs and volunteering opportunities, brought a derelict building back into use and brought the leading re-use charity in South Wales up to the top of the Valley.
– The Fern Partnership (TFP) received a grant of £206,356. TFP is a social enterprise specialising in a joined-up approach linking childcare (providing quality, flexible and low-cost childcare services) and community development. TFP took on the management of the former Infant School in the centre of Ferndale – transformed and launched it in July 2019 as a multifunctional ‘Hwb’, housing a nursery, library, job search support services, co-ordinated provision of information and advice, and community spaces available for all to use. More than 10 new posts were created. Alongside capital and revenue funding from a range of sources, a Vision Fund grant of £206,356 contributed to capital costs and is supporting staff costs in the Hwb’s first year of operation.
– A £100,000 grant to Age Connects Morgannwg will support the employment of key staff and initial running costs for the new Cynon Linc project in Aberdare. Cynon Linc is transforming the old St Mair’s building into a resource for the whole community, continuing to focus on the provision of facilities and support for older people. The building will be refurbished, and an extension created to provide space for community activities and events, nursery provision, GP surgery, therapy rooms for hire, and a social enterprise Bistro. Welcoming the grant, Rachel Rowlands, Chief Executive of Age Connects Morgannwg, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund. The current St Mair’s Centre plays a really important part in the lives of the people who use it. They find friendship there; they can eat a meal with company, and they get involved in groups and activities which keep their minds and bodies active. Our Cynon Linc project will retain the valued services that current users enjoy whilst introducing new, sustainable activities that the community has said they would welcome. This new and exciting project is the result of real partnership working between the community, the third sector, the local authority and local NHS Trust and we look forward to continuing that good work for many years to come.”
– Funding of £74,981 has been awarded to Glynneath RFC to carry out significant improvement works to the Club and its facilities. The “Community Transformation Project” will deliver new pitch side and perimeter fencing to enclose the playing area. The car park will also be re-surfaced with dedicated Disabled Access bays formed. Providing level threshold access into the club allowing access for all. Refurbishment of the rear changing rooms for use not only by male teams but also providing additional changing room and shower facilities for girls and ladies teams moving forward.
Community assets are far more than just the physical community building- the people that make up that community and their skills, entrepreneurship, experience and knowledge that are the real assets.
There is a long way to go before this fund can say it has had a real, lasting impact on community facilities’ sustainability – sustainable management of community facilities requires investment in community capacity / community engagement. A viable and empowered community requires independent community groups with an enterprising approach, who have the vision and drive to have a voice and take ownership. Community groups often require support and investment over time to achieve this.
Our dedicated Supporting Communities Team are working on Vision strategies for each area within the fund area of benefit. The Supporting Communities Programme uses an asset-based approach to building community capacity and are working with communities to discover and build on what works in communities across the Fund area of benefit; bringing people together to identify what matters, plan what is possible and connect people and organisations to take action that has a positive impact on economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits to communities in the area of benefit. Work has started in the four areas with three vision strategy workshops were held prior to lockdown in Hirwaun, Treorchy and Croeserw.
If you have an idea for a small project that will have a real impact on your facility, if you want to consult with your community to identify new ways to use your facility or if you have a big, exciting visionary project in mind – talk to us or our Supporting Community team!