Growing Greener Communities

The Scarlets signed the bird boxes too

Yesterday I drove across Llanllwni Mountain with all the grass bedecked with spider’s webs and wild looking belted black cattle looming out of the mist from amongst the heather to see The Growing Greener Communities Project at Cantref Housing Association in Newcastle Emlyn. This was to be my first meeting with the project officer who is funded with an Environment Wales Management Grant and I was keen to see how things were going. With most of these new projects which EW funds having the right person in place is absolutely crucial to whether they will be a success or not so meeting the people is always a bit of an anxious occasion for me. Most of the projects need very talented staff who have a broad range of expertise in managing volunteers, engaging communities and some very specific skills around things like environmental management as well as being computer literate, good with figures and prepared to go that extra mile. So it is not surprising that I am sometimes disappointed but, considering how multitalented the officers need to be, it is surprising how often I am not. And yesterday was certainly not a disappointment. Not only was Rhiannon, my main contact for this project, as always, completely on top of all the paperwork and really on the ball but Jill, the new project officer, was everything you could want someone who is going to work with and inspire communities to be. Bright, bubbly, enthusiastic and willing to roll up her sleeves and pitch in, after only 12 weeks in post she is already achieving brilliant things assisting the Cantref communities in tackling the environmental issues on their estates. She is making relationships and consulting the residents and starting with the small things such as litter and recycling but will soon be moving on to helping them form their own green groups, start allotments etc. With a fair wind this project will revolutionise the way this housing association meets the challenge of enabling people to feel a pride and ownership of their communities.

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