Wales for Future Generations Award
Groundwork North Wales
Groundwork North Wales supports the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of communities across North Wales through educational projects and activities. The WeCare project was a three-year initiative which
began in 2019 to work with local communities to make environmental improvements to transform neglected green spaces. Passing on skills and know-how along the way, communities are armed with everything they need, to continue nurturing wildflower meadows, secret gardens and community growing space. Lorna Crawshaw is the charity’s Head of Programmes and Partnerships.
She explains: “WeCare has really exceeded expectations, despite the challenge of the pandemic.” The project aimed to educate and develop the capacity of some of North Wales’ most deprived communities to conserve and regenerate their local natural environments, and build pride in, and connection with, these environments. “Consulting with the local community was key to the success of the projects. Local schools were invited to join in to allow the children the opportunity to be involved and learn about pollinators and encourage an understanding and appreciation of the wider environment.”
In Bangor, part of an estate that was previously home to fly tipping, is now a place where the community have planted wildflowers and are growing vegetables. “We haven’t just given the space a makeover, the community now have the skills to carry on and enjoy the benefits it brings. We want the projects to continue long after we have left the site, but we never walk away entirely. We can always be called upon, it’s important to us that we leave a legacy,” says Lorna. In total, the project has improved 13 public spaces, removed 410kgs of waste from public spaces with 28,000 people benefiting from these activities.
The charity has also been delivering education to improve economic wellbeing. Focusing on those most vulnerable, the charity also supports people with advice on how to heat their homes efficiently. “More people than ever are experiencing fuel poverty. We’ve been delivering Energy Guidance and Advice for more than 10 years now, which means we go into people’s homes and help them make small changes to save energy.” In Buckley, the Refurbs Repair and Reuse Centre opened in June 2021. The team can educate and promote behavioural change on all things waste and recycling. The Centre brings the community together through regular repair sessions and upcycling workshops and creating new volunteer opportunities. Working with FareShare – the UK’s national network of charitable food redistributors – the charity is also making sure that food surplus is not wasted by running a community fridge from their Refurb Flint recycling centre. “The cost-of-living crisis and the heightened awareness of climate change is bringing about a renewed ‘Make Do and Mend’ culture so our client base is going to expand and expand,” says Lorna.