Working on the community fund – a local perspective

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Local Engagement Officer, Rhys Lewis talks about his experience of working with local people on the Community Fund and the exciting times ahead as we move onto the next stage.

“As we move onto the next exciting stage of the Pen y Cymoedd Community Fund I have begun to reflect on my time with the Pen y Cymoedd team so far. The Vattenfall Pen y Cymoedd team has met thousands of individuals, organisations and groups across the upper Valleys of Rhondda Cynon Taf and Neath Port Talbot over the past year. Those who live and work in these areas have certainly taken the Pen y Cymoedd Community Fund to heart, demonstrated by the thousands of ideas and suggestions that have been sent in.

The methodology employed during the community consultation phase, placing those who live and work in the upper Cynon, Rhondda and Afan Valleys at the centre of fund, has been groundbreaking. We were very keen to foster a ‘bottom up approach’ with regards to how the fund will operate and serve the people and organisations of the upper Rhondda Cynon Taf  and Neath Port Talbot Valleys.  Over the past few months we have been busy working through the thousands of responses that we have received. The themes that have emerged from these responses directly reflect the projects local people want to see in their areas.

We have laid firm community  focussed foundations that will ensure that as we now move from the ideas and suggestion phase of the fund to setting up the fund management body, the communities surrounding the Pen y Cymoedd site will guide and steer how funding is allocated in 2016. By placing the community at the very core of the Pen y Cymoedd Community  Fund from the very beginning of the community consultation phase, the community has now become tied to the development of the fund management body and future community projects.

With a strong and robust community based emphasis from the very inception of the Pen y Cymoedd project, the Community Fund is now well placed to move onto its next phase. The next phase will focus on re-engaging with those who have registered an interest in the fund during the consultation phase.  I am confident that the Pen y Cymoedd Community Fund will deliver the projects people in the upper Afan, Rhondda, Neath and Cynon Valleys want to see in their respective localities, but we will need your help. I urge all those who have registered an interest in the fund so far, and those who may have read or heard about the Community Fund in the intervening time, to stick with us as we develop the fund with you to deliver the projects that you want. We will be doing our upmost to keep you informed along every step of the way.
I predict exciting times ahead for the people of the upper Cynon, Rhondda, Neath and Afan Valleys!”