NEWS AUTUMN 2020

The journey so far

The first lockdown showed the power of communities to rise to the challenge, and support everybody individually. Over 90 groups formed in Pembrokeshire. 

We brought the community coordinators together in weekly zoom meetings. This became Pembs Community Support Netork. PAVS provided ongoing support. This helped the County Council share more responsibility with communities. Later we put on large zoom discussions to agree the world we wanted to emerge into. 

As a result the Rhwydwaith – Resilience network was set up to build self reliant communities able to deal with present and future challenges in a way that is kind and inclusive to people and nature. It will link local businesses, government and community. It is working in Pembrokeshire, but the work is crossing boundaries. 

 LAND FOR THE LOCALS 

 Large zoom meetings during lockdown, and applications for allotments show a surging need for land for people to grow food and enjoy health and collaboration. 

PCC is working with the Rhwydwaith to begin to meet this need. 

Cilgerran people said YES to land for community food, in a survey by the local resilience group. Cilgerran council gave them a patch to test the dream, and Cilgerran Fruit and Nut Club was born. 

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PARC Y DRE BY ROSIE GILLAM

Parc Y Dre, is used by ramblers, dog walkers and holds the village football pitch. Cilgerran Festive Week, uses the Parc for the Carnival, Donkey Derby and a bonfire on Guy Fawke’s Night. To the rear of the pitch, an area formerly tennis courts, was derelict and overgrown until the Orchard project began. 
It could become a uniquely beautiful, diverse, well used and magical place for people to care for nature. 
We could grow fruit and nut trees, feed ourselves and connect with each other. People can pop in on the way home from school or the shop, it would give isolated people a chance to meet in a safe environment and a good purpose for doing so. This is an opportunity for young people to engage with food production and provide an appealing space in which to play and learn. 
Rosie is an advisor member of the Rhwydwaith. 
The dream is taking root, creating a forest garden to feed present and future generations, humans and birds, bodies and souls. 
One small step to a safe future, many more are needed. 
The Rhwydwaith is working with Pembrokeshire Council property officers to develop more land for community growing.

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PEMBROKESHIRE PLANS

We sent letters to PCC with evidence of the need for land for food growing. There was a result. 

“The development plan for Pembrokeshire is delayed due to Covid and the need for new approaches. This has provided an opportunity to discuss the need for more land for green spaces including growing food “ writes Sara Morris the Development Plans and Conservation Manager. “Evidence and information from people in the community helped make the case to look at community growing within the LDP2” 

Get in touch with ideas for land for community use, especially for food growing to meet a surging need. 

The use of our green spaces will be discussed by communities during Place Planning. Place plans will influence planning decisions. The process will start in the Park area and spread through the county. 

Sara is an advisory member of the Rhwydwaith 

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PENALLY CRISIS

In September this year the UK government suddenly cleared the military barracks in the village of Penally and crammed in around 200 asylum seekers. They paddle through pools to get to the loos, many are blocked, and endure bleak grim punitive conditions. We helped them form a constituted organisation so that, like the workers in our industrial revolution, they turned oppression into organising and discovered its power. Before the end of the first meeting they had subgroups for English teaching, art, buddying up, trips and volunteering. Within a week they had 4 classes a day and many trips and volunteering groups going out. They also write polite but firm letters to the management and have been given a classroom and part time use of room for a gym. We delivered donated equipment. The journey remains wild, with bad and good, despair and hope in close succession.

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TESTIMONIALS

from Penally Camp residents on volunteering

Meeting friendly lovely people and families which accept us to eat together at the same table and have wonderful conversations is the best thing right now. Thanks Vicky Moller for such opportunities and Salute to the hard organising you are doing

I am so thankful for a great hospitality And it’s a really a wonderful day for me 
Finally I feel so happy and feels relief 
At the end I met a lot of kind hearted people in community and all of them as family to us

Greatly I am indebted to you for all you have done for us.. shout out Vicky, and her team as well. Thank you a lot. 
We had an excursion for two days outside the camp for avoiding our depression, and we really have been enjoying, and working (volunteering work) as well as we laughed, and cooked. 
We made new friends, we joined with the British, Welsh community

 
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Cris Tomos
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THE GREEN BLUE ECONOMY, AND HYDROGEN

We are tidying up our waste stream but the economy is still pumped by oil and gas. And its black heart is in beautiful Milford Haven, pictured. The oil soaked heart has been erratic of late and its deep shadow of poverty is spreading. The Council’s success in yr pethau bychain (the small things) has won investors to partner with it to prepare the entrance of the Blue Green economy, and the Hydrogen kingdom. For the transplant to work we need surgeons - engineers and managers of integrity and ability. Rather than closing our eyes and praying, let’s open them to provide scrutiny and support.

WHERE ENDS MEET, THE CIRCLE ECONOMY

Sir Ben Fro, the Welsh name for our county means the last and also means the head community. It is a county of contrasts: Extreme highs of rainfall in the north and the second sunniest bit of Britain in the South. Springboard of eco pioneering in the North and Fossil fuel hub in the South, buzzing market towns, depressed urban towns, wealth and poverty, we excel in opposite directions in one county. Is it time to draw the ends together? 

Welsh government has launched a circular economy strategy. It seems Pembrokeshire got there ahead of the plan with soaring recycling rates. 

Cllr Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment wrote: 

“I cannot thank Pembrokeshire residents enough for engaging with the new kerbside sort system and becoming the top recyclers in the country. 

Welsh Government named Pembrokeshire the best-performing local authority area for recycling from April 2019 to April 2020. A total of 72% of all household waste was recycled during the period – the highest figure Pembrokeshire has ever seen. 

Cris Tomos is an advisor member of the Rhwydwaith 

Pembrokeshire is now number one and Wales itself has the 2nd highest recycling rate in Europe and the 3rd highest in the world. The new statistics show that we in Pembrokeshire are passionate about recycling. As so many have said, there is no Planet B. We must all do our bit for future generations.’ 

DYLAN WRITES

“My typical summer’s day goes something like this: 

First thing in the morning, around 6am, I usually log onto the computer and check the robotic milking machines whilst having my breakfast and watching Peppa Pig at home with the kids. I really appreciate this time with my family, but also like the fact that I can see what my cows are up to"

COOPERATING WITH COWS

Supermarkets extended their stranglehold over farmers and wiped out more retailers during Covid as government subsidised them. From deeper roots some farmers and growers met a hunger for quality and natural food, and flourished during Covid. 
Dylan Roberts, son of 3 generations of farmers under Mt. Carningli, Newport, transformed his milk farm. 
The cows are grass fed, he avoids ploughing, they choose when to go in to be robotically milked. He minimises chemicals and concentrates. The milk is not homogenised or standardised. 
The wide necked glass bottles are easy to wash. He delivers locally 3 times a week. Sales were triple his expectation, and continue to rise.