Sharing Learning at the Climate Change Commission Wales

On 5 March 2015, I attended the 33rd meeting of the Wales Climate Change Commission – an independent body set up to advise the Welsh Government on climate change and to help mobilise action. I attend for WCVA (EW’s administrative core partner) as a representative of the third sector and see this as a key opportunity to share some of the insights gained from working with the 300+ EW registered project network.

The day started with an address from the Minister for Natural Resources and Food, Carl Sargeant. He outlined his aspiration for Wales to become a net carbon zero country and spoke about the need to challenge all sectors to take action on climate change and to make this a cross government priority. He later released a Ministerial Statement on the delivery of WG’s Climate Change Strategy which contained commitments to carbon budgeting, public sector leadership and a clear pathway to decarbonisation.

The day went on to include discussions around a range of issues including engagement of young people, energy efficiency, green growth, the role of the arts in culture change and recent research papers on green infrastructure and car clubs.

What struck me was that in almost all these discussions there was learning to be shared from EW funded projects – whether this was Cilgwyn Community Association’s feasibility study into a Rural Electric Vehicle Car Club, the Energy Diary project of the Household Energy Service, the Emergence project working to help embed sustainability within the arts sector or the countless woodland, community garden and site management projects that EW supports that contribute to green infrastructure. It made me feel very proud to be reminded once again how many EW supported projects are delivering so many different outcomes for people, for nature, for the green economy and for community resilience in the face of the climate change challenge.

More details about the work of the Climate Change Commission Wales can be found at

Clare Sain-ley-Berry, Environment Wales Coordinator


Transition Bro Gwaun’s Community Cafe ‘Making a meal’ of surplus food

Whilst attending an Environment Wales Grants Advisory Panel meeting earlier on this year, I was lucky enough to visit Transition Bro Gwaun’s community cafe for lunch with colleagues to sample some of the food that they lovingly prepare. The cafe based in Fishguard, imaginatively transforms food destined for landfill into healthy, affordable meals for the community and has recently celebrated its first birthday.

On arrival we were greeted by a friendly volunteer who had recently been successful in securing a Jobs Growth Wales post with the cafe, which she was obviously thrilled about. We were then welcomed by Chris Samra, Director of Transition Bro Gwaun and Tracey Whistance, the current Environment Wales Management Grant post holder who oversees all of the group’s projects and supports their volunteers. Tracey gave us a quick tour of the cafe and its facilities and described how the whole community had worked together to get the cafe to the point it was at; the building, leased to the group by the Co-op on a peppercorn rent, was in dire need of attention and so local businesses and community members came together with materials, skills and much needed energy and although there was still plenty of work left to be done in terms of making the building more energy efficient, the cafe was able to open its doors to the paying public.

The community cafe prepares food in an energy efficient manner and reduces carbon emissions by preventing an average of 100 kilos of food going to landfill each week.

bag designThe obvious problem for a cafe serving donated, surplus food is that it is impossible to predict what might come in on any one day and so the cafe’s chef needs to be both flexible and inventive! Local businesses and members of the community bring food donations daily and collections are also made by volunteers. The food comes from a four mile radius and so food miles are low and the food which is largely perishable can therefore be used quickly. We were told that donations were so abundant that the cafe now needs to identify a manageable volume and are looking at preserving food with a shorter shelf life. The group is also looking at working with other local cafes in order to further limit food waste. Whilst we were at the cafe a community member dropped in an opened box of cereal and although it was explained that the cafe were unable to use opened products to prepare their meals, it could however be added to the pig bin – very little is actually thrown away! Menus also state that if you tend to eat larger or smaller portions, then these can be catered for.

Whilst at the cafe it was clear that it was of value to the community with customers coming and going for the duration, but the cafe also acts as a service point for the local Credit Union and the group also provides Pembrokeshire Action to Combat Hardship (PATCH) food parcels for the community which are partially made up of donated food items.

No opportunity to spread the transition message is missed as artwork representing the transition ethos adorns the cafe’s walls for all customers to see.

I must confess I do tend to be guided by best-by dates on food and steer away from items that are within a day or two of their best-by date, but after my visit to this inspirational community cafe, I am rethinking my approach and am trying to limit my level of food waste by planning ahead and not buying too much – even when there is a buy-one-get-one free offer!

Kate Fletcher

Chwarae cynaliadwy gan fudiad creadigol RAY

Mae Amgylchedd Cymru yn cefnogi mudiadau ledled Cymru i fynd ati i wirfoddoli dros yr amgylchedd. Un o’r grwpiau hyn yw RAY Ceredigion, drwy ei brosiect Ailgylchu a Stôr Sgrap mae’r staff a’r gwirfoddolwyr yn troi sgrap yn drysor.

Sefydlwyd RAY Ceredigion yn 2001 fel rhwydwaith y tu allan i’r ysgol i gefnogi gofal plant cofrestredig y tu allan i’r ysgol yn sir Ceredigion. Ers 2005 mae’r mudiad wedi ehangu ei gylch gwaith i gefnogi cyfleusterau chwarae mynediad agored, hyfforddiant ac addysg i blant a’r rheini sy’n eu cefnogi fel staff neu wirfoddolwyr. clonc a chreft 1Fel rhan o’r ehangiad hwn cymerodd y grŵp stôr sgrap drosodd a sefydlwyd yn wreiddiol gan Gelf-Eco, grŵp bach o Aberystwyth dan arweiniad gwirfoddolwyr a oedd yn casglu deunyddiau nad oedd ar neb eu heisiau a elwid yn ‘sgrap’ a’u troi’n gelf. Roedd y stôr sgrap yn gweithredu ar raddfa fach; casglwyd deunyddiau gan y grŵp a’u defnyddio gan weithwyr chwarae Crefft RAY yn ystod eu sesiynau ag ysgolion, clybiau ar ôl ysgol a chlybiau ieuenctid. Roeddynt yn gallu gweld y potensial i ddatblygu’r agwedd hon ar eu menter: drwy chwarae creadigol, roedd yn meithrin allfa greadigol i bobl ifanc ddylunio eitemau unigryw gan ystyried materion cysylltiedig â chynaliadwyedd ar yr un pryd. Wrth ailddefnyddio deunyddiau nad oedd ar neb eu heisiau, lleihaodd y grŵp y deunyddiau crai a ddefnyddiwyd mewn gweithgareddau crefft a throi eitemau a oedd wedi’u hesgeuluso yn gynnyrch o werth ynddynt eu hunain.

Gyda chymorth datblygu a grant gan Amgylchedd Cymru mae RAY Ceredigion wedi llwyddo i ddatblygu’r stôr sgrap ymhellach drwy gyflogi Rheolwr Stôr Sgrap a Chydlynydd Gwirfoddolwyr (rhannu’r swydd). Mae’r cynnydd mewn capasiti wedi galluogi’r grŵp i gynnig gweithgareddau amrywiol am ddim gan gynnwys ‘Hwyl i’r Teulu ar Ddydd Sadwrn’ pan fo cyfranogwyr yn gwneud eitemau o ddeunyddiau sydd wedi’u hailgylchu megis barcud o fagiau plastig, blodau o boteli plastig a chlociau o hen recordiau. Mae grŵp newydd, Clonc a Chrefft, yn cwrdd ar fore Mercher i wneud crefftau o ddeunyddiau sydd wedi’u hailgylchu; mae’r aelodau’n gwneud powlenni a rygiau hyfryd. Llwyddodd y grŵp i gael grant hyfforddi gan Amgylchedd Cymru a gynorthwyodd staff a gwirfoddolwyr fel ei gilydd i ddarganfod technegau crefft newydd gan eu galluogi i ehangu eu sgiliau a datblygu syniadau a chreu nwyddau ar gyfer gweithdai crefft.

clonc a chreft (2)Mae elfen Cydlynu Gwirfoddolwyr y rôl yn cefnogi gwirfoddolwyr presennol a newydd y prosiect. Anogir y gwirfoddolwyr i rannu syniadau a defnyddio eu sgiliau creadigol i hybu’r prosiect. Ymysg y gweithgareddau a wna gwirfoddolwyr y mae: casglu a didoli deunyddiau ‘sgrap’, hyrwyddo a hysbysebu’r prosiect a helpu i ddylunio a chynnal gweithdai i unigolion a grwpiau lleol. Un o’r gwirfoddolwyr yw Louise James, unig riant sy’n byw yn Aberaeron. Fe ddechreuodd hi fynd i’r sesiynau mamau a phlant bach gyda’i merch, gan weld y ffordd roedd y prosiect yn datblygu sgiliau cymdeithasol a datblygiad ei phlentyn drwy chwarae â chrefftau ac roedd yn awyddus i gefnogi’r prosiect. Unwaith y dechreuodd ei merch hi yn yr ysgol, fe welodd hi gyfle i wirfoddoli gyda’r prosiect. Nid yw hi wedi edrych yn ôl ers hynny. Mae gwirfoddoli wedi galluogi Louise i ddefnyddio ei sgiliau creadigol i ddysgu i eraill sut i greu a saernïo eitemau o werth ac ymwneud yn fwy â’r gymuned. Pan ofynnwyd iddi beth mae’n ei olygu i wirfoddoli i RAY Ceredigion, atebodd Louise:

‘Rwyf wrth fy modd! Rwy’n mwynhau celf a chrefft ac yn hoff o wneud pethau gyda’r peiriant gwnïo ac unrhyw beth creadigol. Roedd gwirfoddoli’n golygu fy mod yn gallu defnyddio fy nychymyg creadigol, a dysgu oedolion eraill a phlant. Rwy’n hoff iawn o gymdeithasu a chwrdd â phobl ac mae yna lawer o gyfleoedd cymdeithasu yma yn RAY. Mae’n gymaint o gymorth i mi, rwy’n mynd allan ac yn cymryd rhan yn y gymuned.’

Mae RAY Ceredigion wedi’i leoli yn Aberaeron ac maent bob amser yn awyddus i glywed gan ddarpar wirfoddolwyr i roi help llaw yn y stôr sgrap, i gael mwy o wybodaeth ewch i

Sustainable play by creative RAY

Environment Wales supports organisations throughout Wales to take voluntary action on the environment. One such group is RAY Ceredigion, through their Recycling and Scrapstore project the staff and volunteers turn trash into treasure.

RAY Ceredigion was established in 2001 as an out-of-school network to support registered out-of-school childcare within the county of Ceredigion. Since 2005 the organisation has widened its remit to support open-access play facilities, training and education for children and those that support them as staff or volunteers. As part of this expansion the group took on a scrapstore which was originally established by EcoArt, a small volunteer-led group based in Aberystwyth that collected unwanted materials termed clonc a chreft 1‘scrap’ and transformed it into art. The scrapstore was functioning on a small scale; materials were collected by the group and used by RAY’s Craft play workers during their sessions with schools, afterschool clubs and youth clubs. They could see the potential in developing this aspect of their enterprise: through imaginative play, it fostered a creative outlet for young people to design bespoke items while at the same time consider issues around sustainability. Re-use of unwanted materials helped the group to reduce the amount of virgin materials used in craft activities and turn neglected items into products with intrinsic value.

With development and grant support from Environment Wales RAY Ceredigion has been able to further develop the scrapstore through the employment of a Scrapstore Manager and Volunteer Coordinator (job share).  The increase in capacity has enabled the group to offer a range of free activities including ‘Family Fun Saturdays’ where participants make items out of recycled materials such as kites from plastic bags, flowers from plastic bottles and clocks from old LP’s.  A new group, Clonc a Chrefft, meet each Wednesday morning to craft using recycled materials; the members make bowls and beautiful rugs.  The group were awarded a training grant by Environment Wales that helped both staff and volunteers to discover new craft techniques; this enabled them to expand their skills and develop ideas and create goods for crafting workshops.

The Volunteer Coordinator element of the role supports existing and new volunteers involved with the project. The volunteers are encouraged to share ideas and use their creative skills to progress the project. Activities undertaken by volunteers include: collecting and sclonc a chreft (2)orting ‘scrap’ materials, promotion and publicity of the project and helping to design and deliver workshops to individuals and local groups. One such volunteer and is Louise James, a single parent living in Aberaeron she started to attend the mother and toddler sessions with her daughter. She saw how the project developed her child’s social and development skills through craft play and wanted to support the project. It wasn’t until her daughter started school that she saw an opportunity to volunteer with the project she started and hasn’t looked back. Volunteering has enabled Louise to use her creative skills to teach others how to create and craft items of value and to become more involved in the community. When asked what it means to volunteer for RAY Ceredigion, Louise said:

“I love it! I enjoy arts and crafts and like to make things with my sewing machine and just anything creative. Becoming a volunteer meant I was able to use my creative imagination, teach other adults and children. I love to socialise and meet new people and there is lots of socialising opportunities here at RAY. It’s such a help for me, I get out and involved with the community.”

RAY Ceredigion are based in Aberaeron and are always interested in hearing from potential volunteers to get involved with the scrap store, for more information please visit

Diogelu Coetiroedd ar gyfer cenedlaethau’r dyfodol

I’r plant a fynychai ysgol Miss Trotter yn Ffordd y Gogledd yn y 1940au, roedd ymweliad gan ei chyfaill J. R. Tolkien yn agoriad llygad gan amlygu apêl y chwareli a oedd wedi bod yn wag ers amser maith uwchben Heol yr Ysbyty lle gallant nawr gogio bod yn hobit go iawn.

Erbyn hynny roedd y domen rwbel a wyneb y graig a oedd wedi’i ddatgelu eisoes wedi’u cytrefu gan eithin, banadl a choed bach gan gyfuno bron yn ddi-dor â Choed Penglais. Roedd y coed hyn wedi bod yn amlwg iawn uwchben ochr ogleddol y dref ers talwm a bron yr unig beth a oedd ar ôl heb ei gyffwrdd o ystad wreiddiol Plas Penglais. Roedd trigolion Cae Melyn a Dan y Coed, dwy ystad dai fach a adeiladwyd yn ddiweddarach islaw Coed Penglais, wedi dechrau pryderu fwyfwy am amlder y tanau, sbwriel a dirywiad cyffredinol yn iechyd y goedwig.

Team and groupArweiniodd hyn yn y pen draw yn y 1980au hwyr i Gyngor Sir Ceredigion gomisiynu adroddiad yn edrych ar ‘safleoedd a allai gyfrannu at les economaidd, cymdeithasol ac amgylchedd y dref’. Datblygwyd sawl cynllun o ganlyniad gan gynnwys syniad y Parc Poced – sef ‘man gwyrdd naturiol bach sydd o bwys amgylcheddol neu hanesyddol yn y dirwedd’. Disgrifiad eitha’ da ond gan nad oedd Parc Poced Penglais yn swnio hanner cystal â Pharc Natur Penglais, dyma oedd yr enw swyddogol wrth i bethau symud ymlaen.

Yn gynnar yn 1991 cynhaliodd y cyngor ymgynghoriad cyhoeddus yn Amgueddfa Ceredigion gyda dros 300 o bobl yn bresennol. Sefydlwyd Grŵp Cefnogi Parc Natur Penglais o ganlyniad er mwyn rheoli’r parc ar y cyd â’r cyngor. Enillwyd Gwobr Tywysog Cymru yn 1993 yn gydnabyddiaeth o gyswllt agos pwyllgor Parc Natur Penglais â Chyngor Sir Ceredigion ar ran y gymuned leol, ac yna cafodd y parc ei ddynodi’n Warchodfa Natur Leol yn 1995, yr un gyntaf yng Ngheredigion. Enillwyd gwobr Dyn a Biosffer Gwarchodfa Natur Drefol UNESCO yn 1997 – yr un gyntaf yng Nghymru.

Yn y blynyddoedd diwethaf mae cymorth parhaus gan Amgylchedd Cymru wedi helpu i ariannu prosiectau megis clirio eithin, adfer a chodi waliau cerrig, ac adfer llwybrau.

I’r rhan fwyaf o drigolion Aberystwyth, mae Coed Penglais yn darparu cefndir gwledig i’r dref ac yn llythrennol yn rhan o’r olygfa ond does bosib na fyddai llawer sy’n edrych fyny o’r strydoedd prysur yn gweld colli’r goedwig gyfnewidiol hon pe na bai hi yno. Wrth i ddatblygiadau barhau ar safleoedd maes glas yn wrth ymyl rhiw Penglais, dylai trigolion ac ymwelwyr fel ei gilydd fod yn ddiolchgar bod yna bobl sy’n gweithio’n galed i sicrhau bod y goedwig hanesyddol hon yn ddiogel ar gyfer cenedlaethau’r dyfodol.

Prosiect Parc Natur Penglais


Preserving Woodlands for future generations

For children attending Miss Trotter’s school in North Road in the 1940s, a visit from her friend J. R. Tolkien was a revelation and enhanced the appeal of the long abandoned quarries above Infirmary road where they could now play at being real hobbits.

By then the spoil tips and exposed faces of rock had already been colonised by gorse, broom and small trees and were merging almost seamlessly into Penglais Woods. These woodlands had long dominated the town to the north and were almost all that remained pristine and untouched from the original Plas Penglais estate. The residents of Cae Melyn and Dan y Coed, two small housing estates later built in fields below Penglais Woods, had become increasingly concerned about the frequency of fires, dumping of rubbish and the general decline in the health of the woodland.

This eventualTeam and grouply led in the late 1980s to Ceredigion County Council commissioning a report looking at ‘sites that could contribute to the town’s economic, social and environmental well-being’. Various schemes followed including the idea of a Pocket Park – defined as ‘a small natural green area which has wildlife or historical importance in the landscape’. A pretty good description but as Parc Poced Penglais didn’t sound nearly as good as Parc Natur Penglais, the latter became its official name as matters moved on.

In early 1991 the council hosted a public consultation at Ceredigion Museum attended by over 300 people which resulted in the setting up of the Parc Natur Penglais Support Group to manage the park jointly with the council. A Prince of Wales Award came in 1993 in recognition of PNP committee’s close liaison with Ceredigion County Council on behalf of the local community, followed by the park’s designation as Ceredigion’s first Local Nature Reserve two years later in 1995. A UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Urban Nature Reserve award came in 1997 – another Welsh first.

In recent years continuing support by Environment Wales has helped fund projects such as gorse clearance, dry stone wall repair and construction, and path restoration.

For most residents of Aberystwyth, Penglais Woods provide a rural backdrop to the town and is literally part of the scenery but many looking up from the traffic-choked streets would surely miss this ever changing ‘forest fleece’ if somehow it were not there. As development continues apace on greenfield sites bordering Penglais hill, residents and visitors alike should be pleased that there are those working to ensure that this historic broad leaved woodland is preserved for future generations.

Parc Natur Penglais Conservation Project

Caffi Cymunedol Trawsnewid Bro Gwaun Gwneud pryd o fwyd dros ben

Wrth fynd i un o gyfarfodydd Panel Cynghori Grantiau Amgylchedd Cymru yn gynharach eleni, roeddwn yn ddigon ffodus i ymweld â chaffi cymunedol Trawsnewid Bro Gwaun am ginio gyda chydweithwyr i gael blas ar y bwyd maent yn ei baratoi â chariad. Mae’r caffi yn Abergwaun yn trawsnewid bwyd yn greadigol a fyddai fel arall yn mynd i safle tirlenwi yn brydau bwyd iach, fforddiadwy i’r gymuned ac mae newydd ddathlu ei benblwydd cyntaf.

Wrth i ni gyrraedd cawsom ein croesawu gan wirfoddolwraig gyfeillgar a oedd wedi llwyddo’n ddiweddar i gael swydd drwy Twf Swyddi Cymru gyda’r caffi, ac roedd hi’n amlwg wrth ei bodd. Cawsom ein croesawu wedyn gan Chris Samra, Cyfarwyddwr Trawsnewid Bro Gwaun a Tracey Whistance, deilydd swydd Grant Rheoli Amgylchedd Cymru sy’n goruchwylio holl brosiectau’r grŵp ac yn cefnogi’r gwirfoddolwyr. Dangosodd Tracey ni o gwmpas y caffi a’r cyfleusterau gan ddisgrifio’r ffordd y bu i’r gymuned gyfan gydweithio i gael y caffi i’r pwynt hwn; cafodd yr adeilad ei brydlesu i’r grŵp gan y Co-op yn rhad, ond roedd angen gwaith mawr arno ac felly daeth busnesau a phobl leol at ei gilydd gyda deunyddiau, sgiliau ac egni yr oedd mawr ei angen ac er bod digonedd o waith ar ôl i’w wneud o ran gwneud yr adeilad yn fwy effeithlon ar ynni, roedd y caffi yn gallu agor ei ddrysau i’r cyhoedd.

Mae’r caffi cymunedol yn paratoi bwyd mewn modd effeithlon ar ynni ac yn lleihau allyriadau carbon drwy atal, ar gyfartaledd, 100 cilo o fwyd rhag mynd i safle tirlenwi bob wythnos.

Y broblem ambag designlwg i gaffi sy’n gweini bwyd dros ben a roddwyd iddo yw ei bod yn amhosib proffwydo beth sydd am ddod mewn bob dydd felly mae angen i gogydd y caffi fod yn hyblyg ac yn ddyfeisgar! Mae busnesau a phobl leol yn dod â rhoddion bwyd yno bob dydd ac mae gwirfoddolwyr yn cynnal casgliadau hefyd. Daw’r bwyd o gwmpas pedair milltir ac felly mae milltiroedd y bwyd yn isel a gellir defnyddio’r bwyd yn gyflym, sy’n bwysig gan fod y rhan fwyaf yn fwyd darfodus. Cawsom wybod eu bod yn cael gymaint o roddion nes bod angen i’r caffi erbyn hyn ganfod faint sy’n ymarferol ac maent yn edrych ar gyffeithio bwyd sydd â chyfnod silff byrrach. Mae’r grŵp yn edrych hefyd ar weithio gyda chaffis lleol eraill i leihau gwastraff bwyd ymhellach. Tra roedden ni yn y caffi, daeth rhywun lleol i mewn gyda bocs grawnfwyd a oedd wedi’i agor ac er yr eglurwyd nad oedd y caffi yn gallu defnyddio bwyd sydd wedi’i agor i baratoi eu prydau bwyd, roedd yn bosib ychwanegu’r grawnfwyd i’r bin moch – ychydig iawn sy’n cael ei daflu! Mae’r bwydlenni hefyd yn nodi, os ydych yn arfer bwyta mwy neu lai, y gellir darparu ar gyfer hynny.

Wrth fod yn y caffi, roedd hi’n glir ei fod o werth i’r gymuned wrth i gwsmeriaid fynd a dod drwy’r adeg, ond mae’r caffi hefyd yn fan gwasanaeth ar gyfer yr Undeb Credyd lleol ac mae’r grŵp hefyd yn darparu parseli bwyd PATCH (Pembrokeshire Action to Combat Hardship) i’r gymuned sy’n cynnwys bwyd a roddwyd i’r caffi.

Ni chollir yr un cyfle i ledaenu neges trawsnewid wrth i weithiau celf sy’n cynrychioli naws trawsnewid addurno waliau’r caffi i bob cwsmer gael eu gweld.

Rhaid i mi gyfaddef fy mod yn tueddu i gael fy arwain gan ddyddiadau ‘ar ei orau cyn’ ac yn cadw i ffwrdd o eitemau sydd o fewn diwrnod neu ddau o’r dyddiad, ond ar ôl ymweld â’r caffi cymunedol hwn, rwyf wedi cael fy ysbrydoli i ailfeddwl ac rwy’n ceisio lleihau faint o fwyd rwy’n ei wastraffu drwy gynllunio ymlaen a pheidio â phrynu gormod – hyd yn oed os oes yna gynnig prynu un, cael un am ddim!!

Kate Fletcher