* From left, Howard Sutcliffe, of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB; Haf Roberts and Cara Roberts of Cadwyn Clwyd’s Green Communities Project, and Haf Jones, of Conwy County Council. Picture by Mandy Jones Photography.
Towns and villages across
North East Wales are being challenged to come up with innovative green projects
to earn a slice of a £1.3 million fund aimed at boosting the local environment.
The Green Communities Fund
aims to provide money to kick-start sustainable community-led projects and is
being launched this month across the rural areas of Denbighshire,
Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham.
Up to 30 towns and villages
across the region can benefit and are being invited to submit their proposals
for schemes which can range from creating bee gardens to bio-diversity
corridors and bicycle networks.
It is being administered by
rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd and funded by the Welsh Government Rural
Communities Rural Development Programme funded by the European Agricultural
Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), and Welsh Government.
Project Lead Haf Roberts,
based at Cadwyn Clwyd’s Corwen office, said: “The message is to bring people
and nature together because one of the lessons from Covid is how important our
green spaces are to our physical and mental well-being.
“The quality of the local
environment directly affects us so this initiative aims to help improve and
enhance community green spaces, strengthen local biodiversity and mitigate the
effects of climate change.
“The projects need to be
community-led so that local people have a sense of ownership and ensure they
continue to provide value over time.”
They aim to deliver the
wellbeing goals in the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing and Future Generations Act
by focusing on Covid recovery and green growth at a community level.
It is a Welsh Government
scheme under the ENRaW Fund (Enabling Natural Resources and Well-being) to
support improvements to where people live, work and play.
It covers the rural areas of
the four counties where biodiversity projects and green infrastructure can help
green the environment and communities.
Cadwyn Clwyd’s partners in the
project include Denbighshire County Council, Conwy County Borough Council,
Flint County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council.
Howard Sutcliffe, of the
Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, said: “The
time is right now as we’ve entered a world of climate change and green
infrastructure with COP 26 just around the corner and this project is all about
improving the quality of life, especially after the pandemic.
“This project really brings
green values into the community and we will see the benefits on the ground for
all the community such as tree-planting, electric charging points and projects
everyone can benefit from.”
Haf Jones, Conwy County
Council Community Development Officer, said: “We are fortunate to be surrounded
by beautiful green communities in this area and this project will involve
people in those communities after 18 months of Covid restrictions.
“So many have discovered the
countryside during lockdown and hopefully they will continue to enjoy the
peace, tranquillity and fresh air which is also so important for our mental
health as we slowly adapt to life after lockdown.”
Haf Roberts added: “We are
looking for good ideas that communities can get involved with to transform
their local environment.
“These can range from
developing community gardens and orchard planting to energy efficient
improvements to community buildings.
“Improvements that enhance
access to services and facilities will also be considered in the context of
greening the local environment.
“We want community groups to
be innovative with ideas around using their green spaces in interesting and
inventive ways and encouraging all members of their locality to take part and
benefit from this activity.
“There is an element of time
pressure because this is the last round of European funding that is coming
through so we need communities to get their expressions of interest in quickly
as the project ends in June 2023.
“It’s a tight schedule but it
is a golden opportunity for rural communities to take responsibility and take
advantage of this project.
“We have wonderful assets in
our countryside and this is about managing them and improving them and one of
the key aims is to create more community-owned green spaces and more community
involvement in their local environment.”
Communities with an idea for a
project within the eligible counties can declare an interest by filling in the
form available on the Cadwyn Clwyd website at http://cadwynclwyd.co.uk/green-communities/
Since 1995 Cadwyn Clwyd has
attracted nearly £30 million in European and domestic funding for North East
Wales’s rural areas across sectors such as the environment, food and drink,
tourism and rural services to support communities at the grass root level.
* For more information about
Cadwyn Clwyd contact them on 01490 340500, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or go