I have been working with Y Dref Werdd for 12 years now, developing a number of different projects during this period.
Y Dref Werdd was established to develop the local environment and the community itself by playing a large part in developing the local economy, the health and welfare of the population and lots more. My role within the project has changed since I started as an operational officer when the scheme started, to being the project manager today.
I was responsible for managing a very successful project funded by the Big Lottery for three years. This meant I had to manage staff and volunteers and their work programme. I was also responsible for managing project finances, providing regular reports to funders and the board of governors. But, perhaps most importantly, was my previous experience of working within the Bro Ffestiniog community. This was essential to be able to meet the objectives set for the project. We believe that collaborating with Renew Wales will strengthen the objectives of Y Dref Werdd for the future; therefore this is very important for us to move forward with our developments and our work for this community.
Why are you drawn to this area of work, and how have you helped community groups take action in the past?
As mentioned, Y Dref Werdd was established to protect the environment, environmental heritage, the health and welfare of the population and offering opportunities for the people of Bro Ffestiniog. Nothing like this exists in the area. Historically we have helped a number of local groups to operate. In 2012 the Bro Ffestiniog Allotment Association was established with the help of Y Dref Werdd and the group continues to be successful today.
More recently we have played a big role in the success of Gwelliannau Llan Ffestiniog to develop their community site, Cae Bryn Coed, in the village. We also collaborate regularly with the housing associations, Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd and Grŵp Cynefin, to develop projects which benefits their tenants. Y Dref Werdd is also an important part of Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog’s work, an umbrella group for all the social enterprises in the area, with a main focus of collaborating to develop the area and the local economy.
What is your vision of the region in 2050?
When looking at the present statistics for the area, it is clearly one of the most disadvantaged areas in Wales, an area that has the largest fuel poverty in Wales and has one of the highest percentages of unemployment in Gwynedd. The aim of Y Dref Werdd and our partners is to reduce this over the next few years. As well as this, one of the main things that we’ll be working on is reducing the issues that have an effect on climate change e.g. opening a zero waste shop in the area, tackling invasive species and raising awareness of the environment amongst the inhabitants. An experience of working in this community is the main thing that brings us to this conclusion.