Work wise I am a community development worker for a Newport based housing association. I currently manage an environmental project ( encouraging community growing ), a money advice team, and various individuals and tenant groups who want to do something positive in their neighbourhood and need support. I also support and was involved with setting up Newport’s first cooperative housing scheme. When I’m not working I basically carry on being a community worker in my spare time. I am currently chairperson of Maindee Festival Association. The festival is a free community arts event in Newport which has been running for 22 years. We have a parade, 3 stages, featuring music, dance, spoken word, and generally attract around 5,000 visitors. I am treasurer and founder member of Maindee Unlimited a community led regeneration charity. We run the community library, are about to take a lease on another piece of unwanted council land, including the public toilets (currently closed). Maindee Festival Association became involved with Renew when I was approached and asked to become a coordinator in Newport.
Tell us about one or more experience of your work with Renew.
The Woodlanders are a small community organization that have a license from Newport City Council to hold activities in Woodland Park and help the council to maintain it. The Woodlanders wanted to plant up an area of the park as an orchard. With help from mentor Gareth we chose 12 apple, pear and plum trees, all local native species, and planted them on the wettest, coldest day of the year in November 2015. The creation of the orchard has led to several spin offs. Three local schools decided to get involved and they have each planted a fruit tree. They now pay regular visits to the park, and have carried out meadow growing experiments in the orchard. The orchard has led to an annual Apple Day event in the local library. The group bought a juicer. On Apple day they make apple juice, hold an apple cake contest, guess the type of apple, plus lots of art, craft and apple type quizzes. It’s a fun day and much enjoyed. This year is it’s third year and the event has been extended to a bring and share community supper. Library volunteers now also help to organize it. I think it’s a nice example of quite a small amount of help from Renew which is still reaping fruit in environmental community activity.
What is your vision of your region in 2050? What will have changed and how will we have got there?
My vision is that there will be more community activism and people taking an active role in their community. There will be a ban on plastics and the local take aways and cafes will only serve food in receptacles that people have brought with them. Maindee Unlimited will have set up a partnership with Newport Wastesavers to encourage commercial food recycling. The small takeaway businesses ( of which there are many ) don’t currently recycle food as it is cheaper for them to put it in landfill. e will all have electric cars and air pollution levels will have dropped. All the small pockets of green space will be growing fuit and vegetables and pollinators. There will be more trees! We will have got there by people being encouraged by local and national government to have a go at doing stuff and be trusted to do it.