I’ve been a freelance manager, project manager and consultant since 2011 delivering a broad range of services for clients ranging from a Local Authority, Registered Social Housing provider, other consultancy organisations, a University, and Community Organisations. I managed Gwynedd Werdd, leading on the commissioning and management of research to measure the economic potential of renewable energy in Gwynedd. This commission directly led to the establishment of the northwest Wales Community Energy Network and my host organisation Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig (DEG). I’m Wales Community Advisor for the Plunkett Foundation and Co-ordinator for Enterprising Solutions providing advice to communities about developing community-owned enterprises. I’ve been involved in business planning for community owned enterprises throughout Wales including the redevelopment of the Cletwr services near Machynlleth which now hosts a successful community-owned shop and café in a new eco-friendly building developed by the community at a cost of £750,000. I’ve also been involved in assessing feasibility for a number of community energy initiatives including business planning at Harlech Sustainable Energy, Neuadd y Pentref Pwllglas, and North Wales Wildlife Trust. I’m a Director of YnNi Teg, YnNi Llyn, Community Energy Wales and DEG and despite being originally from Australia, I’m able to work through both Welsh and English.
Tell us about your ongoing work for Renew, and how it fits with your day job/other work.
I completed the initial feasibility study and business planning for YnNi Llyn and led on the conducting of Focus Groups for the research project “Understanding, Promoting and Supporting Community Energy in Rural Wales”. I’m also leading on two WEFO projects for Small Scale Renewable Energy worth £4m and am coordinating the roll-out of Energy Local throughout Wales as part of work with Community Energy Wales.
For me Renew Wales is an extension of all this work, allowing me to share experiences between groups and address the broader issue of climate change. Governments, local and national are not willing to make the urgent changes required to mitigate the effects of climate change. It has long been a mantra of environmentalists, but it seems even more important now than ever, to say “Think Global, Act Local”. It is essential that communities take responsibility into their own hands to make the changes required and build a world like we want and deserve.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
In 2050, my kids will almost be my age now. I envisage them living in an area renowned for its environmental stewardship, known as a green landscape within a country reaping the benefits from 40 years of policy focus and action on sustainable development. Our rural areas will each have successful localised economies that form a broad network of supporting economies focused on retaining the benefit of our natural resources locally.
In 2050, Wales will recognise that sustainability of the natural environment, fulfilling employment opportunities and the Welsh language and culture are interlinked and this will bring about a renewed confidence in what we can achieve together.