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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

New healthy heart project to help patients in North Ceredigion

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PATIENTS in North Ceredigion will now benefit from a new project which will offer psychological support to those at risk of heart problems.

Hywel Dda University Health Board has funded this project which offers advice and support for patients with cardiovascular risk factors.

This new Clinical Health Psychology pathway will run the in North Ceredigion Cluster which covers seven surgeries. The scheme aims to prevent the escalation of cardiovascular disease and cardiac events including heart attack and stroke.

Support will be provided in a primary care setting for patients with two or more of the following modifiable risk factors:

Elevated blood pressure

Elevated Cholesterol

Elevated HbA1c

Clinically overweight or obese

Chronic stress

The pathway offers emotional support to help make changes to patients’ lifestyles, including managing stress or improving their health and fitness, ultimately helping to reduce cardiovascular risks.

Rachel Herrick, Clinical Lead Psychologist for the pathway, said: “Anxiety, depression and stress are risk factors for the onset, development and prognosis of cardiac problems. Lifestyle factors including diet, sleep, and activity levels also play a major role in the onset of cardiovascular diseases.

“By providing psychological techniques and therapy, we can prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. Learning to manage stress, anxiety and depression and following a healthy lifestyle will significantly reduce risk, as well as improve overall quality of life and general health outcomes for our patients in North Ceredigion.”

If you would like to self-refer to this pathway, please telephone and leave a message on 01267 246917 or email clinicalhealth.psychology.hdd@wales.nhs.uk

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Construction work due to begin on transforming Lampeter Leisure Centre next month

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AS PART of Ceredigion County Council’s wider Through-age and Wellbeing Strategy, Lampeter Leisure Centre will transform into a Wellbeing Centre. 

The Wellbeing Centre will provide a wide range of services that consider and improve the physical, mental and social aspects of an individual’s wellbeing. These Through-age services will include skills and employment advice, hardship and housing support, services for young people, support for carers and early support for Mental Health.

The Wellbeing Centre will also provide increased access to information, advice and assistance for residents on all council services. Providing opportunities for people to be physically active will remain a core component of the Wellbeing Centre. The proposed redevelopment will see a new fitness suite created on the ground floor, a spin studio and a multi-purpose room that can accommodate exercise classes on the first floor. 

To aid the transformation, Lampeter Leisure Centre will have to close to ensure that the essential building work can begin. The work is due to begin mid-July 2022.

An agreement has been put in place with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s to use their leisure facilities on their Lampeter campus while the work is being undertaken, meaning that all current users of the Leisure Centre will be accommodated.

The Council and the University are committed to continuing to work together even after the construction of the Wellbeing Centre, to ensure that there is provision within Lampeter for all sports and activities currently being played at the Leisure Centre to continue and develop.

Catrin M.S. Davies, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Customer Services, said: “This significant capital investment in Lampeter Leisure Centre will ensure the future of the Centre for years and will meet the growing needs of children, young people, individuals and families in Lampeter and the surrounding area.” 

Use of the facilities at the Lampeter Campus will start week commencing Monday 11 July 2022 and will continue until the building work is complete which will be early in 2023.

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New grants scheme launched to break barriers to accessing nature

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A £2MILLION funding pot designed to bolster community resilience by harnessing the power of nature is set to be launched by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) this summer.  

The launch of the Resilient Communities Grant Programme stems from calls for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a recovery which places a stronger focus on action for nature and a recovery that spreads to every part of society.

 The Welsh Government’s declaration of a Climate and Nature Emergency has also galvanised communities, businesses and public bodies in Wales to work together to mitigate against and adapt to the impacts of climate change, now and in the future.

The Resilient Communities Grant will provide communities with the opportunities to restore and enhance nature in their local areas, particularly in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities, and those with little access to nature. Supporting the provision of more green space will also support the changes needed to make to society to respond to the challenges of the climate emergency and reverse the decline in biodiversity.

 With applications set to open in July, NRW is urging projects from across Wales to develop and submit proposals that have at their heart:

  • Opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion, particularly amongst communities that have less access to quality green spaces.
  • Creative ways to reconnect people with nature and their local environment to improve physical and mental health, confidence, self-esteem and encourage ‘green behaviours’.
  • Promoting health and wellbeing through therapy and nature, particularly interventions that tackle health inequalities.
  • Nature-based solutions that help communities feel safer and secure, for example improving greenspaces blighted by criminal activity.
  • Creating more opportunities to access nature, especially where this need is reflected in future development planning.
  • Opportunities to improving community awareness and understanding of climate risks, empowering communities to be involved in decision-making and taking action to tackle climate change impacts.
  • Ensuring communities feel a sense of connection and empowerment with their natural environment and have an active role over how it is managed and improved.
  • Creating opportunities for education and involvement in citizen science so communities have a better connection and greater understanding of their local environment and the benefits that a healthy environment can bring.

Gareth O’Shea, Director of Operations for NRW, said: “We have seen people connecting with nature during the Covid-19 pandemic and a greater appreciation of the way in which it underpins our health, our economy and our wider wellbeing.

“There has also been increasing recognition that the climate and nature emergencies are upon us, and its impacts are being felt amongst the parts of society that have contributed least to its acceleration. More needs to be done to mitigate and adapt now.

“Our Resilient Communities Grant Programme seeks to support that effort – providing communities with the opportunities to meet these challenges in a number of ways.

“From promoting the benefits of greater access to nature, tackling loneliness and exclusion and empowering people to influence the decisions made in their local areas, we’re encouraging people to submit proposals that can make a significant difference to the health, wellbeing and resilience of current and future generations.”

The Resilient Communities Grant Programme can provide 100% funding and applications are welcomed for amounts from £10,000 to £250,000. Applications can be made across different places and address multiple themes. Applicants who collaborate with other partners to submit joint applications are also warmly welcomed.

For further information on NRW’s Resilient Communities Grant Programme and the upcoming webinar, please visit: Natural Resources Wales / Current grant funding opportunities or contact grants.enquiries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

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