Celebrating Projects and Communities in Wales
The Wales Committee of the Big Lottery Fund recently got out and about in West Wales to visit a few of the funded projects that look to improve the local environment and offer opportunities to the people of the area.
Local AM Simon Thomas joined the committee for the visit of Hanes Llandoch in St Dogmaels, which, through The People’s Orchard project, offers training and educational opportunities to locals while looking to recreate and expand the parish’s historical orchard. For more information regarding The People’s Orchard, click here.
Mr Thomas sat down for a lunch of locally sourced food at the centre’s café before getting his hands dirty as he helped plant a fruit tree and also met with volunteers who helped secure the £247,000 grant from our People & Places programme.
Next up was a tour of Cardigan Market Hall, situated in the heart of the town. The market has been managed by Menter Aberteifi since July 2014 and, with the help of a £109,974 grant from the Coastal Communities fund, the organisation has created a vibrant hub for local traders and producers.
With freedom to roam the market, many of the committee members spotted a bargain, from birthday cards to antiques, and were given an explanation of how the market has gone from strength to strength under the new management as it achieved sustainability. The Committee met with Rhian Blackford, the market hall manager and whose post was funded by the grant, and given a tour of the spectacular guildhall which has hosted the market since 1860 and where Menter Aberteifi has managed to support local businesses whilst also increasing publicity and raising public awareness of the market. You can learn more about the market here.
A short walk across the road is the historical Cardigan Castle and the next stop on the tour. This was the first stone castle built by a Welsh prince, Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd in 1171, and is now a cultural hotspot that offers educational, environmental and social activities and events. Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust were awarded a grant of £743,345 throuth the Community Asset Transfer programme for the transfer of the Council owned castle and work on refurbishing the building.
There is also a plan in place to provide local unemployed people with a number of job and apprentice opportunities in the capital and project phases which would target the 30.7% of the working population in the area that are currently economically inactive. More information on Cardigan Castle can be found by following this link.
The last stop on the tour was The HUTS Project in Newcastle Emlyn as the Committee visited the therapeutic workshop which supports and provides opportunities for people with long term mental health problems and people with learning difficulties.
The grant of over £400,000 will fund the continuation of the workshop, which promotes activities and life skills such as crafts and IT lessons, as well as add a home befriending scheme. To date they have over 100 members that attend the workshop and 21 living in rural isolation that are being supported through the Befriending Service for South Ceredigion and are looking to build on this to offer even more support. If you’d like to know more about the work of The HUTS Project click here.
The event was a learning experience for all, including Adrian Webb, Chair of Wales Committee, who said: “It was a great pleasure to see first-hand the remarkable difference that National Lottery funding is having through the projects we fund. Meeting the people who benefit from the services provided by projects such as HUTS is both humbling and inspirational.”