Twenty organisations and community groups in South-West Wales have been awarded grants to help them improve their local communities.
The funding, totalling £15,004.23, comes from the 2022 Community Changemakers Fund, an initiative by South West Wales Connected (SWWCo), a Community Rail Partnership set up to support the communities along the railway line throughout Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.
SWWCo is hosted by 4theRegion, a community interest company based in High Street Station, Swansea, which also backs the Community Changemakers initiative.
The Community Changemakers fund, now in its second year, directly supports local groups and organisations who want to drive positive local changes in communities along the South West Wales rail network.
Each group or organisation was able to apply for a grant of between £300 and £1,000. The main criteria was to demonstrate how the funding will improve community well-being and/or sense of place.
Peter Richards, from the Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company, who were awarded £950 from the fund said: “This grant will make a tremendous difference. The long ladders we bought with the grant will allow us to get rid of vegetation, such as ivy and buddleia which is damaging the monuments.
“We have many visitors on the site such as school children studying the monuments, tourists and members of the local community. The grant will enable us to make benches so that people can sit down and view the impressive monuments.
“By fostering a connection with history and the environment from a young age, perceived barriers about heritage being only for older middle-class people can be broken down, increasing interaction with history and actively engaging future generations.”
Carmarthenshire Wellbeing Project is another group who received funding from the scheme.
Stephanie Latham, Senior Support Worker at The Wallich said: “Our Wellbeing Group’s allotment is a really valuable activity, offering people a place to chat, tackle loneliness, learn new skills and benefit our environment.
“With the help of The Changemakers Fund, we’ve been able to buy vital equipment to grow food, keep everyone safe and dry and make the project the success it is today. The funding award has really taken our project to another level, growing a community.
“Thank you, Changemakers, you have really made a difference to helping people who have faced challenges with homelessness, mental health, trauma or more.”
In Pembrokeshire, Peter Llewellyn, Trustee of Hubberston and Hakin Community Centre said: “The Trustees at the Community Centre are delighted to have been awarded a grant from Changemakers to help support its future sustainability.
“The grant will enable the Centre to fully utilise the solar energy generated by our 33 PV Solar Panels by installing a solar battery storage unit. This will ensure that as opposed to exporting our surplus solar energy to the national grid we will be able to store it for use at the Centre for our many evening activities.
“The delivery of the battery itself is expected in the coming weeks and we are extremely grateful to Changemakers for their support.”
Full List of Funding Recipients
Neath Port Talbot
The Friends of Neath Abbey Iron Company were awarded £950 to obtain ladders to continue maintenance on the ironworks.
Port Talbot Sea Cadets were awarded £500 to carry out more community projects.
Neath Port Talbot Children’s Rights Unit was awarded £600 to support activities within the Girls’ Rights Group.
Carmarthenshire Wellbeing Project was awarded £970 to continue development with their allotment project. Supported by The Wallich Carmarthenshire Floating Support service, they recognise the need for ‘spaces for opportunities’ and will use the allotment as a vital part of recovery.
Llanelli & Mynydd Mawr Railway Company Limited were awarded £1000 towards the cost of a replacement portable toilet block for placement on their site at Cynheidre.
New Leaf were awarded £500 to contribute to their Creative Empowerment Coaching service, which empowers individuals to pursue a career in the creative industry.
Paul Sartori Hospice at Home were awarded £952 towards costs involved with the formation of a community choir.
Rosemarket Local History Society were awarded £665 to design and build a website which will become the focal point of communication and a resource for the community.
Grwp Resilience were awarded £400 to support and extend community gardens in Pembrokeshire to meet the demand for allotments and community growing spaces.
Friends of Jubilee Park & Nature Trail were awarded £609 to replace old and dysfunctional tools for maintenance within the park.
Pembrokeshire People First (Project Name “Môr”) were awarded £500 to buy art tablets to loan out to people who don’t have access to this type of equipment.
The Queens Hall Narberth were awarded £790 to deliver a series of ‘Community Clean-up & Big Soup’ events in Narberth in collaboration with other non-profit organisations in the area.
Hubberston and Hakin Community Centre were awarded £1000 to install battery storage in order to store solar electricity generated by their 33 PV solar panels.
Clarbeston Road AFC were awarded £1,000 to refurbish a Portakabin that was gifted to the club in 2020.
Long View Residents were awarded £300 to clean up and enhance the concourse and the green space adjoining the platform of the Pembroke Dock station.
Cae Tan CSA were awarded £612.92 to extend the impact of their Grow from Home project.
Volcano Theatre Company were awarded £962.30 to purchase art supplies and refreshments so that the men’s group can meet weekly at Volcano.
6th Llangyfelach Scout Group were awarded £705.79 to update play and sports equipment, such as indoor and outdoor footballs, cricket and baseball sets, an obstacle course set, a parachute and bean bags.
Loughor RFC Junior Section were awarded £1,000 to support the purchase of trees and hedgerows to enhance and develop a green site within their sporting complex site.
Friends of Dunvant Park were awarded £487.22 to improve the park by adding play equipment, benches, and resources for activities within the park.
South West Wales Connected Community Rail Officer Ashley Morgan said: “We are delighted to deliver this new round of funding after the highly successful first round in 2021, which saw a broad range of exciting projects being funded across the region.
“We are passionate about supporting local people who aim to improve their communities in innovative ways, making small interventions that help create pride of place and promote well-being in the community. The recipients of this year’s grants embody that vision and spirit, and we can’t wait to see how their work progresses.”
Dawn Lyle, Chair of 4theRegion, said: “We know that local people living in communities are best placed to know what’s needed – not top-down interventions. The Community Changemakers Fund is designed to empower local people who want to make the changes from the ground up.
“We were overwhelmed by the creativity and community spirit of this year’s applications, and we are thrilled to be able to help them progress their initiatives. 4theRegion is committed to creating positive change throughout the region and this project will certainly help to achieve that.
“We look forward to announcing the 2023 Changemakers Fund later this year.”
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