Re-opening the only shop in the village, thanks to a National Lottery Community Fund grant

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Annual Summer craft fair held outside Siop Cynfelyn

Cwmni Cymunedol Cletwr re-opened the only shop in the village as a community enterprise in May 2013, after successfully securing £46,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund’s Village SOS programme and an extensive fundraising campaign.

The enterprise, includes a shop and café which has developed to become a hub for the community, running courses, organising local walks, providing help and advice and providing a focus for people to come together and socialize.

The shop is staffed by local volunteers together with several part time paid staff and a team of young workers.  A range of goods including local produce are sold in the shop whilst all the food is made in the café for customers to enjoy.

Here Shelagh Hourahane, Chair of Cwmni Cymunedol Cletwr explains the processes that were followed to involve the community in their National Lottery Community Fund application and the benefits the enterprise is bringing to the rural community in Ceredigion.

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Inside Siop Cynfelin

What’s your role?

I am the current chair of the Board of Directors and have worked with the project from the beginning. I also work as volunteer one morning a week and am a member of our fundraising group.

Tell us a bit about it…

The project was originally simply to re-open the shop and cafe and to provide these basic services. However, it has had a completely unexpected effect within the community by bringing people together and enabling new friendships; pointing the way towards a more resilient community; improving the economic basis of the village and providing opportunities for skills and personal development.

Where did the idea for ‘Cwmni Cymunedol Cletwr’ come from?

The idea came from the then owner of the premises, whose family had built up the original business. After an open meeting, a group of people took on the task of setting up the company and of bringing the vision to fruition

What processes did you follow to consult the community on your plans?

From the start of the project we have involved the community by asking their opinion, including them in decision making and consulting them on plans, especially those for the proposed new Cletwr building. This has been done by using surveys or questionnaires at each stage of our project and by keeping people informed through meetings and a newsletter three times a year.

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In the summer, Traws Cambria Horse Ride stop weekly for food

What benefits will the project bring to the communities involved?

A significant benefit has been the establishment of a profitable community run business providing essential services. Social and cultural benefits are also emerging, linked to the creation of a rural hub that will be able to work in partnership with a variety of agencies to provide outreach advice and support services.

What advice would you give to people who feel they don’t have the skills or confidence to apply for funding from the National Lottery Community Fund?

Start by finding out what skills and experience you already have within your community. It is surprising who will be able and willing to help when asked. Another good tip is talk to other projects, which have been successful in obtaining National Lottery funding. It can help to have suggestions from people who have already been through the process about how a proposal can be improved or can best fit the requirements.

What would be your top tip for other communities looking for funding an idea they have?

Work with your community to decide exactly what everyone wants to achieve and what are the top priorities. Then look carefully at how these match with the  aims and priorities of individual funding bodies.

You can view Cwmni Cymunedol Cletwr’s Business Plan and learn more about their range of activities at their website

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