Expanding the Community Link Officer role

Funded through Pembrokeshire County Council’s ‘Enhancing Pembrokeshire’ Grant, and supported by Llanrhian Community Council, the Llanrhian Connected Community project has been awarded £14,520 of funding to build on the progress made in 2021.

The project started in Jan 2021, with some modifications to the school hall at Ysgol Croesgoch to enable it to be used more frequently as a community venue, and also had an allocation of 240 hours for the year to employ a Community Link Officer. Following a recruitment process the role was awarded to Nia Jenkins in January 2021, and she has put in place the building blocks and been a key part of the team, which has also included a handful of volunteers who have been active in the community, organised events, and helped set the direction of travel for 2022.

It’s therefore good news that I’ve been successful in securing further funding for 2022 from the Enhancing Pembrokeshire grant, supported by Llanrhian Community Council, which means that the community link officer hours can be increased from the 240 hours allocated in 2021 to 540 hours in 2022. As Nia has indicated that she’d like to continue, I will be proposing to Llanrhian Community Council that we retain her services. However, I’d like to see if we can find someone in the community who might have the time and expertise to work alongside Nia as a second Community Link Officer, so if that’s you then read on.

Funded for one from January 2022 year, the Community Link Officer role is essential to the cohesion of the project with responsibility for a number of activities. The role is remunerated and will report to  Llanrhian Community Council.

The Community Link Officer(s) will:

  • Be responsible for the development and coordination of programs and events;
  • Develop and implement marketing plans to create awareness of and engagement with the project within the community;
  • Ensure the successful sharing of information and coordination of events;
  • Take bookings for the community hub at Ysgol Croesgoch;
  • Develop and maintain close relationships with community groups, key members of the community and local government agencies;
  • Remain aware of potential volunteer and financial opportunities that may help maintain the project in the future;
  • Report progress to Llanrhian Community Council,
  • Have the opportunity to shape the role to ensure that the project meets its objectives.

The Community Link Officer(s) role will be ideally suited to someone who:

  • Lives in the Llanrhian Community Council area;
  • Is an active and engaged member of the community;
  • Is a Welsh speaker;
  • Has experience of and can evidence community engagement;
  • Has marketing experience, including online marketing;
  • Is able to work with community groups and local government agencies;
  • Can work flexible hours when required (including evenings and weekends);
  • Is digitally competent and comfortable using video-conferencing technology;
  • Is reliable, diligent and passionate about the area we live in.

The funding allocation is for a total of 540 hours, and will be allocated between the link officers depending on expertise and available time to commit to the project. At a rate of £18 per hour, it will be paid by Llanrhian Community Council as gross, not PAYE, so the individuals appointed will need to take responsibility for their own tax and National Insurance contributions.

If you’d like a refresher on what the project is all about, you can visit the connected community website here or read a brief explainer here.

If you’d like to consider yourself for the role, please get in touch for an informal conversation or send an email to neilprior@outlook.com explaining why you’d be suitable for the role by Jan 5th 2022.

The Connected Community – an explainer

Our Connected Community project will be hosting the first ‘This is Your Community’ Day at Ysgol Gymunedol Croesgoch on 30th Oct 2021. If you’re not sure what it is, here’s an explainer of what the project is all about.

This is Your Community

What is it?

The Connected Community project is a ‘pathfinder’ project that is working to create a stronger and more resilient local community across the Llanrhian ward. It’s funded by the Enhancing Pembrokeshire grant and Llanrhian Community Council.

What is it doing?

A small team of local residents, including myself and Nia Jenkins, Community Link Officer, are working to help support and promote existing local community groups, understand the current and future needs of the community, and create a long-term vision for the betterment of our area.

The project has also enabled the school hall at Ysgol Croesgoch to be modified for wider community use, set up a website here, and is building a directory of voluntary, sporting and community groups, as well as a directory of local businesses to connect people and enterprise across our area.

We’ve also been working with Nesta who have chosen us as one of three pilots across Wales to generate insights, impact and learning which can help policy makers understand how national strategy can support communities to thrive. (We’re very excited about this!)

What does it mean for people in our area?

We’d like to be able to help ‘connect’ people to their community. That might be through small acts of everyday kindness, by introducing them to a community group that enables them to feel that they can make a contribution, by helping to combat loneliness and isolation, by networking between individuals and groups to generate ideas and projects, to promote our local businesses, and by running events that help raise aspirations and achievements. What we plan for the future will be based upon understanding the needs of people in our area, and may include tackling big topics such as housing, climate and tourism.

How will we know if we’re successful?

Working with communities can be complex, and to achieve big changes can take time. But, by taking it step by step, by building relationships across our area, and from the small acts of everyday kindness through to creating a long-term plan, we can strengthen people’s sense of belonging, and create a more resilient and connected community for all of us.

Who can get involved?

Anyone from across our area can get involved, whether you’re a full time resident or second-home owner. You might have a specific idea or skill, you might be able to volunteer, and even if you only have a little time to offer, we’d love to hear from you. This is about trying to strengthen what we already have and create change for the better, one step at a time, so get in touch with me or niajenkins@hotmail.com if you’d like to be a part of it.

Community Link Officer

Llanrhian Connected Community – Community Link Officer Job Description

Funded through Pembrokeshire County Council’s ‘Enhancing Pembrokeshire’ Grant, and supported by Llanrhian Community Council, the Llanrhian Connected Community project has been awarded £11,536 of funding to facilitate the establishment of a community hub utilising Ysgol Croesgoch’s School hall, the appointment of a Community Link Officer for one year, and provide funding for two print-runs of the Llais Rhian newsletter whilst developing its digital presence. The project will be supported by ‘in-kind’ voluntary contributions from local residents in the areas of business mentoring, environmental services and wellbeing and volunteering. The project will also consider establishing a Steering Board to help create momentum, provide direction and foster a sense of community ownership.

There a number of aims of the project, which are to promote:

  • Community cohesion – a community that is characterised by a common community identity and sense of belonging to the area for all residents;
  • Community resilience – to take collective action to increase the community’s resilience, to come together to identify and support vulnerable individuals,  and to take responsibility for the promotion of individual resilience;
  • Raising overall standards of achievement – through the business and professional mentoring scheme that we plan to run, supporting local people and by helping people to contribute to protecting our environment.

Funded for one year, the Community Link Officer is essential to the cohesion of the project with responsibility for a number of activities. The role is remunerated and will report to  Llanrhian Community Council.

The Community Link Officer will:

  • Be responsible for the development and coordination of programs and events;
  • Develop and implement a marketing plan to create awareness of and engagement with the project within the community;
  • Ensure the successful sharing of information and coordination of events;
  • Research and implement a community calendar to share projects and events with the community via every accessible method;
  • Take bookings for the community hub at Ysgol Croesgoch;
  • Develop and maintain close relationships with community groups, key members of the community and local government agencies;
  • Remain aware of potential volunteer and financial opportunities that may help maintain the project in the future;
  • Report progress to Llanrhian Community Council, and the Llanrhian Connected Community Steering Board (once established);
  • Have the opportunity to shape the role to ensure that the project meets its objectives.

The Community Link Officer role will be ideally suited to someone who:

  • Lives in the Llanrhian Community Council area;
  • Is an active and engaged member of the community;
  • Is a Welsh speaker;
  • Has experience of and can evidence community engagement;
  • Has marketing experience, including online marketing;
  • Is able to work with community groups and local government agencies;
  • Can work flexible hours when required (including evenings and weekends);
  • Is digitally competent and comfortable using video-conferencing technology;
  • Is reliable, diligent and passionate about the area we live in.

This role is for an initial period of one year to prove the concept, and will offer a salary of £4,320 for 240 hours work (20 hours per month). It will be paid by Llanrhian Community Council as gross, not PAYE, so the individual appointed will need to take responsibility for their own tax and National Insurance contributions.

If you are interested in applying for the role, please send your CV and covering letter explaining why you would be the ideal candidate to the Clerk of Llanrhian Community Council, Vanessa Walker, via email to vanessa.walker@outlook.com by 5pm, Friday 27th November 2020. Interviews will be conducted via Zoom following submissions and shortlisting, with a decision being made by Friday 11th December.

The starting date will be agreed with the successful individual following their appointment, but this is likely to be January 2021.

For an informal conversation and to find out more, please contact Neil Prior on cllr.neil.prior@pembrokeshire.gov.uk or 07834 093181.

Community Consultation

At Llanrhian Community Council, we’ve been thinking about what to do with the playpark and pavilion in Trefin. You might not even know it’s there, but some years ago the field was transformed into a multi-sports court, a pavilion, a playpark, a small astro-turf area and an open community space. If you know it, you’ll also know that it’s now looking very sorry for itself.

That’s why we want to get the community involved to offer some ideas for what it could be used for again, and so there’s a ‘Community Consultation’ event on Saturday March 14th from 10am to 1pm at Trefin Village Hall, where you can say your piece or just find out more. Even if you can only pop in for 10 minutes, it would be great to see people there to contribute. The event is being supported by PLANED, and whilst it’s a starting point, it’s an important starting point to see how we can take things forward.

Finally, and really importantly, this is not just for Trefin! We would love to see people coming from elsewhere in our locality, as it’s a facility that could be of great benefit to all. Please get involved!

Newsletter: December 2019

In this brief update on what’s been going on across our area recently I’ll touch upon:

  • Abereiddi
  • Highways (Square & Compass and Croesgoch)
  • Transport (Castlemorris)
  • The ‘Connected Community’ project
  • Waste changes
  • Broadband survey
  • Climate change working group
  • And a general round up…

Abereiddi has been an ongoing issues for some time, and the intensification of commercial activity has been something that many people have expressed a view on. My own view is that we need a long term solution, and whatever your opinion might be, some clarity has been offered following the Planning Inspectorate’s public inquiry recently. You can read the report here under the ‘Decision and Outcome‘ heading. In a nutshell, the Inspector has dismissed the appeal against enforcement, ruling in favour of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Turning to Highways (or roads for those not accustomed to council speak), the speed of motorists in Croesgoch and Square & Compass continues to concern many people. I’m pleased that we have some new ‘lines and signs’ in Square & Compass, following the repainting of lines and rumble-strips in Croesgoch earlier in the year. I’ve now asked the highways department to do a ‘before and after’ assessment of speeds, so that we can compare the actual data to see if they’ve made any difference. I’ll keep you posted.

New signs and road markings to remind motorists that there is a speed limit of 50 mph.

On a related subject, I’d like to thank a resident who contacted me to discuss the public transport provision for Castlemorris. This is a difficult one to manage, as there is now an improved T11 service with increased frequency, but some less frequently used routes have been cut. There is, however, an ‘on-demand’ service through Bwcabus, but it isn’t really being used. I’m planning to hold an awareness / Q&A session in early 2020, so please let me know if you’d like to attend, or just want some more information.

Thinking about our wider community, there was a great turnout for the Connected Community project meeting recently. Working alongside some very community minded people and local leaders, we’re looking at how we can connect more people and projects across our region. We’re holding another event in February, so please take a look at the notes from the meeting and get involved if you’d like to.

On a County-wide level, the recycling changes kicked in during November. The Council has had a bit of stick for the roll-out, but when you consider that this is for around 60,000 households across Pembrokeshire, on the whole it’s bedded in well, although I did have to personally deliver a number of boxes and bags for the new system and I’ve had a few teething problems to sort (pun intended). As the collections have changed, did you know that you can sign up for free text and email reminders? It’s a very handy service and you can subscribe quickly and easily, and never forget a bin day again.

Never miss a bin day again by subscribing to the free text message / email reminder service

On a related note, I’m really pleased to be a member of the Council’s Carbon Net Zero working group. In no way am I an expert in this, but I put myself forward as I’m keen to learn more and also find ways to influence behaviour change. Alongside the chair of the working group and a council officer, we held a really good debate in the council chamber recently to ask residents what their views were. It was well attended and I’m hopeful that we’ll hold more in the future. In the meantime, I’m interested in ‘expert citizen’ views, so please, get in touch if you have ideas or suggestions on how we can get to carbon net zero by 2030.

Something that I was pleased to have an early part to play in was the work with the UK government on rural broadband. In essence, Pembrokeshire County Council has secured funding to assist in the roll out of broadband in rural areas: something that is very relevant to our community. Can I please urge you to register an interest through the website here as the more people who complete this brief survey means the greater our chances of being prioritised.

If you’re interested in getting better broadband, please complete the survey here

On a final note, there’s much more that I’ve been involved in, from helping to resolve the sewerage issues in Porthgain, to representing residents in front of the Council’s Planning Committee. It really is a privilege to serve, and I couldn’t do it without people picking up the phone, or emailing, or getting in touch through my facebook page with a query. Some issues are easier to resolve than others, and some can take some patience and figuring out, and although I won’t always get it right, I will do my best to understand the issue and see how we can take it forward.

About to address the Council’s Planning Committee

Thanks for taking the time to read this brief update, and please do get in touch if there’s anything I can help with.

A Connected Community

On December 12th, a ‘Hub in the Pub’ meeting was held at The Artramont, Croesgoch, organised with local residents 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.