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Ceredigion feels benefit of flower campaign

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Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.11.32ACCORDING to research released recently, positive lasting changes in the community have been made by people from different backgrounds and walks of life, brought together by the UK’s biggest ever wildflower campaign, Grow Wild. 

Grow Wild’s achievements include a number of locally funded projects in Ceredigion, and projects such as these have seen the campaign land a place in the finals of this year’s National Lottery Awards, the vote for which ended on Wednesday (Jul 20).

Forest Research (the Forestry Commission’s research agency) conducted independent research online and in focus groups which shows the massive impact the project has made across the nation. Community co-operation has been boosted by the programme and scores of people have been inspired to take positive action for nature in their area. Three million people to date have been involved with Grow Wild, from inner cities to the Scottish Highlands, sowing enough seeds to cover 3.7 million square metres (enough to create a metre-wide path of wildflowers from Land’s End to John O’ Groats – almost four times). That even includes those who have sown flower seeds throughout Wales.

Semi-structured interviews and focus groups conducted by Forest Research at Grow Wild community projects and flagship sites revealed the opinions of 135 people. Many interviewees claimed they had learned from one another and felt this coming-together was essential for improving the community.

48% of community projects funded by the wildflower campaign have been centred in the 30% most deprived areas of the UK since 2014. According to post code analysis using the Indices of Multiple Deprivation, 18% of funded projects were in the 10% most deprived areas this year alone.

Forest Research also found that Grow Wild’s seed kits are having an incredibly significant impact at the most deprived areas, and people from these areas are benefiting the most from the programme. Those who received seed kits in deprived areas were far more likely to claim they learned about their communities and about wildflowers.

Blooming Wild Cardigan, a project run by 4CG (the Society to Sustain and Support the Rural Countryside) and funded by Grow Wild, has continued to inspire young people to seek creative ways to positively impact the environment. An example of this can be found at Pendre Art Cafe, where the group has been knitting bees to educate the public about the importance of wildflowers and pollinating insects.

Gwenda Mark, Project Leader, said: “Our knitted bees are all across town, with labels saying ‘please take me to the bee hospital at Pendre Art Cafe’, where people are given a packet of seeds and instructions on taking care of wildflowers. We have seen the flowers springing up everywhere, including in Wellington boots. The group are now busy as bees knitting wildflowers for a big art installation. Every week different people turn up and it’s been a great way for the community to come together through craft, nature and growing activities.”

Almost 20% (over a quarter of a million) of Grow Wild’s seed kits have gone to groups aged 12-25, proving that young people are indeed getting involved with the project in their communities. Many projects have been funded to specifically target this age group.

After receiving a free packet of seeds from Grow Wild, 60,000 people took part in the Forest Research’s online survey. 79% said they felt a greater sense of responsibility for native wildlife, 73% said they felt connected to something bigger, and 61% said they spent time sowing seeds with their families.

Because Grow Wild sent them free kits, 87% felt their group learned about wildflowers and 22% continued to do something for their community, like setting up a project.

Programme Manager of Grow Wild, Philip Turvil, said: “We’re delighted to see that our wild flower campaign is making a real, quantifiable difference to communities in the UK. More people are enjoying nature and appreciating the value of improving the wildlife where they live.

“We’re particularly excited by our nomination for a National Lottery Award – thanks to Lottery money, so far three million people have taken part in our campaign, through receiving our native wild flower seeds, community funding and by participating online. Achieving national recognition would be an incredible honour and a reward for everyone who’s taken part, including the many enthusiastic volunteers across Wales, and will help to secure the future of UK native wild flowers.”

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Community

Council recognised for its work on domestic violence

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In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported being a victim of domestic abuse.

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has once again been recognised for its work to combat domestic abuse.

It has achieved the White Ribbon UK accredited status for the second time running and departments will continue to work to raise awareness around domestic abuse and to contribute to ending male violence against women.

In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported as being a victim of domestic abuse.

The White Ribbon campaign is a global initiative that encourages people, especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.

Domestic abuse affects both sexes with the largest number of violent incidents involving men against women. 

To show its commitment County Hall in Carmarthen will be lit up in purple on White Ribbon Day on November 25 and the White Ribbon flags will be flying in council buildings at Llanelli and Ammanford.

A message will also be printed on staff payslips signposting them to support channels.

Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Communities Partnership, Cllr Ann Davies, said: 

“I am pleased that we were again successful in receiving accreditation from the campaign and recognising the work we have done and also plan to do going forward as part of our commitment to ending domestic violence. The figures in the last 12 months are still too high and that is those that have come forward to seek support. The pandemic has seen a significant rise in the number of referrals so it is vital that we do whatever we can to encourage people not to remain silent and speak out and seek support.”

Support and advice for anyone affected by domestic abuse is available by calling Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800.

For local advice you can contact Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service (CarmDAS) on 01267 238 410 who provide support to both men and women 9am-5pm.

More information on the campaign can be found on the White Ribbon website

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Community

Let’s get digital – Ceredigital

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Internet of Things

A NEW section, ‘Ceredigital’ dedicated to digital services, is now available on Ceredigion County Council’s website.

Ceredigital aims to provide clear information upon how digital technology can be used to support business growth, the economy, the quality of life for residents, tourism and the environment.

It covers a range of work and projects that the Council is currently involved with to improve the provision of digital technology across the county.

Information on the following services is included in the new section:

  • Broadband
  • Mobile
  • Digital Skills
  • Public Wi-Fi

It also includes information on the creation of a LoRaWAN network that the Council has been creating across the county which will accelerate the ‘Internet of Things’ innovation within the region; an open network used to improve business efficiencies.

Councillor Clive Davies, Digital Champion for Ceredigion County Council said: “Having access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity has quickly become essential for everyone. The last two years have seen more people working from home than ever before, and the only way many of us have kept in contact with friends and family is through online catch-ups. It can be confusing and time consuming when you have connectivity issues and don’t know what support is out there.

“I’m very happy to announce that this new section is available. This resource can assist residents and businesses in finding out how to improve connectivity, funding that is available to do this, brushing up on digital skills, as well as providing details upon fixed and wireless projects that are currently being undertaken with Ceredigion.

With a county-wide LoRaWAN Internet of Things network, the largest in Wales, now is the time to focus on data innovation. This is no longer the gift of large organisations, or so called “Smart Cities”, we have the solid foundations of a rural smart network available right now, that can enable data driven decision making to take place right here in Ceredigion, enabling efficiency savings, and new product offering and opportunities as we recover from COVID-19”.

So, if you or your business is not reaching its digital potential for one reason or other, head over to Ceredigital to see what options are available to you right now.”

The new Ceredigital section can be found here: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/business/ceredigital.

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Community

Helping you to make a difference in your community

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Ceredigion Rural

THE CYNNAL y Cardi Local Action Group is launching a new Grant Fund, as part of the Cynnal y Cardi LEADER scheme, which will support small scale LEADER activity in Ceredigion.

The fund will provide small-scale financial revenue to support pilot projects, feasibility studies, facilitation, networking activities and training and mentoring ideas. Applications are welcomed from organisations in the third, public and private sectors. They must meet the criteria and priorities of the Local Action Group.

The Grant Fund will focus on the following priorities from the Cynnal y Cardi Local Development Strategy:

  • supporting activity with the aim of strengthening opportunities for developing Ceredigion’s circular economy
  • supporting early intervention for the development of pre-commercial activity with the aim of developing entrepreneurial activity
  • strengthening community resilience activity with a focus on the role of Town and Community Councils in supporting and engaging with their communities
  • developing opportunities for re-engaging people and reinvigorating community activity following COVID-19 and piloting innovative uses for community facilities

The Cynnal y Cardi LEADER Grant Fund, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council, is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Economy and Regeneration, said: “We understand that COVID-19 has made the past two years a tough time for the county, and in light of the pandemic, the priorities for Ceredigion’s Local Development Strategy have been reviewed in September 2020. This new grant scheme provides opportunities for us to tackle the issues and build on the opportunities following COVID-19 within our communities in order to strengthen our resilience. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

The first closing date for submitting your applications is 17 January 2022. Submissions are welcome in Welsh or English. You will need to discuss your ideas with the team. Contact the team by email at cynnalycardi@ceredigion.gov.uk or visit www.cynnalycardi.org.uk for more information.

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