A Connected Community

On December 12th, a ‘Hub in the Pub’ meeting was held at The Artramont, Croesgoch, organised with local residents Andrew Phillips and Nia Jenkins, to discuss with people who either take a lead in working on behalf of the community, or have ideas on how we can make our place better. The summary that follows explains more:

What is the Connected Community?

The Llanrhian Ward comprises the communities and surrounding areas of Llanrhian, Mathry, Trefin, Croesgoch, Penparc, Castlemorris, Porthgain, Abereiddi, Abercastle, Llandeloy and Square & Compass. Within this area are a number of active community groups which include, but are not limited to:

  • Llanrhian Community Council
  • Mathry Community Council
  • Croesgoch Heritage Group
  • GTI
  • Cor Y Felin
  • Croesgoch WI
  • Mathry WI
  • Llanrhian Social Club
  • Camomile Club
  • Llanrhian Church Hall
  • Cyfefllion Croesgoch
  • Llanrhian Cricket Club
  • Mathry Forum
  • Trefin Arts & Crafts
  • Llais Rhian

Across venues and industries which include:

  • Trefin Village Hall
  • Llanrhian Church Hall
  • Mathry Community Hall
  • 6 pubs
  • 1 school
  • A number of churches and chapels
  • The shop / garage
  • A number of small businesses
  • A large farming community
  • The fishing and tourism industries

We have some isolated communities and people, an increasingly elderly population, a large number of second homes, but a very active community exists with some real community leaders.

We also have an opportunity to use funding from the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant (around 25k), and we can use this provided we are supported by 20% match funding in time / expertise / financial contribution.

Thanks also to Llanrhian Community Council who have committed £700 to the Connected Community idea.

In dialogue with a number of people, the thinking is that we can create a more connected community if we work more closely together.

Details of progress to date

Prompted by a well-attended community meeting last year, an Enhancing Pembrokeshire bid was submitted earlier this year by Neil Prior (under the constitutional organisation of Llanrhian Community Council) and approved in principle. The bid was to carry out some minor building works to Ysgol Croesgoch, to safeguard the school so that the school hall can be used as community venue more regularly.

The initial Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant meeting, held at Ysgol Croesgoch

However, over the course of this year, the school’s needs have taken priority with the possibilities of a Cylch being established there, but we are now in a position to press ahead with a resubmitted bid to get the building works done.

Why the school hall? Despite there being a number of community venues in existence, this is not to compete with them, but does offer a bigger space, Audio Visual equipment, a stage, parking, and to potentially fill a gap in Croesgoch that can open up to further afield. It also helps to promote our school.

The Enhancing Pembrokeshire grant looks to mitigate the impact of second homes, of which there are 83 out of 502 in the Llanrhian Community Council area. Very simply, it’s about promoting cohesive, self-sustained and vibrant communities.

Ideas that have been previously discussed include: Business network and mentoring, fitness and wellbeing (e.g. yoga), intergenerational classes for IT or learning Welsh, that draws in the whole community including our second home owners who may want to contribute.

The Discussion and Ideas:

With a wide-ranging discussion and plenty of contributors, the bullet points below capture our conversation to create a more connected community.

  • Garden show
  • A Social Media page
  • Flyers – for marketing
  • Community hub website
  • Revenue generating events
  • Cinema evenings
  • Musical events
  • Kayleigh dancing
  • Amateur dramatics (invite the Solva group to Croesgoch)
  • A re-run of the Abereiddi show
  • Poetry & Pints
  • Food and drink provision
  • A general catch up option, like the ‘tea & chat’
  • Also making the most of the existing facilities (like Trefin)
  • Fitness classes
  • Remove the barriers – e.g. pubs or churches can put people off
  • Facebook community groups
  • Llais Rhian as the central hub – the communication engine
  • Age group issue – youth club – young farmers
  • Youth leader in Trefin who’d be willing to start a youth club
  • The role of the community council
  • Feeling that the CC could help local causes
  • Bursary idea
  • Welfare committee
  • Barn dance
  • A community consultation / questionnaire
  • Needs to be sustainable, the structure is there (LCC)
  • Reinforce what already exists, but tap into many across the area.
  • Llanrhian Cricket Club – the world cup
  • Something for the people who aren’t here, e.g. PATCH approach
  • First Aid
  • Zumba / Keep Fit
  • Business network
  • The Park in Trefin – this needs sorting (and advertising)
  • Rural issues – Llanrhian – the mini Citizen’s Advice in the community
  • A list of people living on their own – the Solva care model?
  • Lift sharing
  • A baby group in Llanrhian exisits
  • To consider a central co-ordinator

In Summary

The Connected Community is not about the buildings, but the people. The overwhelming feeling was that we could be more connected across our area, and there seemed a genuine appetite from many to get involved.

The notes from the meeting were to be distributed, the Enhanching Pembrokeshire bid is to be re-submitted, and anybody in the community who is interested is invited to get further involved.

Next Steps

The next meeting will be on Thursday 13th February 2020 at The Artramont to progress the ideas discussed in December, but in the meantime, thoughts are invited on some practical actions to move things forward:

· A co-ordinator: it’s suggested that there is an overall co-ordinator for the Connected Community project. Subject to discussion, agreement and funding, this position could attract a small remuneration and would require overseeing the community project, from liaising with community members to schedule events, source the relevant resources, assign tasks to volunteers, help prepare budgets and act as a point of contact to all community members. Do you know anyone who might be interested?

· A name for the community venture.

· Volunteering. A few people have put themselves forward for volunteer positions. In order for this venture to work, we asked that people give of their time not only to attend events, but to help run them as well so are asking people to think about which skills they have and how much time they can spare.

. Considering a published list of all those involved in the community venture. This might include contact details, location and skills.

Do you have an idea? Would you like to get involved? If so, please do get in touch.

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