Social Farms and Gardens currently delivers a Wales wide programme to support community growing projects through mentoring and peer to peer visits. This involves meeting groups, understanding their current position, action planning where they want to be in the short/ medium/ long term and coming up with ways that they can achieve this through our mentors and visiting similar (more established) projects. This programme includes an education strand delivering climate change and sustainability, and delivering events. SF&G also delivers the Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS) which supports community groups to gain permission to access land including permission to grow on or manage green spaces, allotments, and community gardens. I am Wales Manager and over-see delivery of 1 CLAS officer and 1 Tyfu Fynu project worker in South Wales. I support groups directly 1 day a week as Business Development and Funding Officer for South Wales. SF&G wants to work with Renew to strengthen and consolidate partnership working that we have done in the past
Why are you drawn to this area of work, and how have you helped community groups take action in the past?
I have been supporting community groups and social enterprises across the Welsh Valleys for the last 14 years, supporting the development of many community groups and delivering business development for a range of small social enterprises. This has included supporting many environmental and recycling projects (including furniture recycling), and implementing environmental accreditations (including FSC, eco-centre), and developing environmental policies/ environmental management systems. My roles have covered every aspect of running a community group or enterprise on a day to day basis including policies, governance, marketing, funding, events, finance, training, and I have written and facilitated business plans and marketing strategies. I have supported them to “take action” in many different ways including running events to deliver a specific message and raise awareness, delivering taster sessions to engage and enthuse new audiences/ potential volunteers, and delivering training to deliver strong messages; one example is whilst managing a small environmental charity I ran workshops for local schools for national science week delivering debates around nuclear energy vs renewable, and looking at traditional low impact building techniques.
I am also a qualified trainer who has been delivering a range of confidence, employability and personal development courses so know how to write action and learning plans which are SMART and tailored.
I want to get involved with Renew to broaden my remit beyond community growing and to work with a wide range of projects and community enterprises to support projects to thrive in the area that I live. I am also passionate about tacking climate change and have a wide range of knowledge from my personal life about living more sustainably and reducing my carbon footprint.
What’s your vision of the area where you live and/or work in 2050? What will have changed and how will we have got there?
I have worked for years with Keep Wales Tidy and have done many litter clear ups around the area where I live. As time has gone on I have seen fly tipping seems to have reduced and our local park has gained Green Flag status supported by a very pro-active “Friends of” Group. With the local authority reducing its management of green spaces and community facilities due to budget restrictions, I hope to see more going into community management, and these spaces breathing a new lease of life supported better by the people who use them. I hope to see new phases of education projects going into schools, similar to Melin Homes Powering Up Communities project educating school children to turn off lights and generally conserve power, and also more people being encouraged to “grow their own” and “buy local”. I hope that the South Wales Metro and Cardiff City Region deal will see better investment in public transport and that people will have more affordable options rather than taking their cars to work.