I’m Vanessa Garwood. I’m working with the Cabrian Mountains Initiative Community Interest Company (CMIcic) mainly in Mid and South Powys but if needed over the border in parts of Ceredigion where CMIcic operates. After a number of years as a director of the CMIcic I now help with organisation policy. The CMI works through, co-operation, collaboration and networking to enable business development, encourage collaborative and partnership working and develop the recognition of the CM as distinct and special but mostly to explore innovative approaches to sustainable development. There are strong links between the aspirations of Renew and several CMIcic purposes to carry on activities which benefit the community of the Cambrian Mountains: 1) work with communities, local producers, tourism providers and others to support the development of sustainable, rural communities; 2) sustain the natural environment, the built environment and the heritage of the area; 3) enable the provision of ecosystem services to the benefit of the wider society through securing carbon in the soil, improved water storage and quality, flood management and the provision of opportunities to enjoy the countryside; 4) promote the highest standards of land management within the area of the Cambrian Mountains
Why are you drawn to this area of work?
I am good at getting to the issues that people care about and helping them to visualise solutions. My strengths are based on my breadth of experience. I have the benefits of working in the public, private and voluntary sectors and running my own businesses. I have experience of social and economic community development, with an interest in rural sustainability. I have supported the development of multi-use facilities, encouraged community involvement in strategic planning, local action plans and village appraisals.
A career in community development means a knowledge of existing and past projects – I believe sharing the experience of others inspires ideas. I have practical experience of setting up groups, governance and coaching groups and individuals. Experience of evaluation and an interest in results based action means I am good at seeing the big picture – working with communities is often about joining up the dots – how can local action make a difference – the focus for a community may not at first be to address climate change but the results of action can be linked and begin to make a difference. Building on local strengths and encouraging lateral thinking is something I want to help to develop.
What’s your vision for 2050?
By 2050 I’d like us to have stopped talking about it and be living low carbon lives. Let’s not to have a regional vision, it’s not a regional problem, it’s a global one. Current targets may not be as stretching as some would like but they are there – so let’s stop talking and planning and get doing.
A better understanding of how what we do impacts now and highlight the effect we will have in the future. We might get there by ensuring everyone has awareness as a part of day to day living – education can motivate and activate.