Recognition for volunteers in the environment

It’s rare that the volunteers/ environmental sector gets the recognition it should, considering the thousands of hours committed by many volunteers to improve their local environment for everyone. So, on the On the 9th of August 2012 it was with great pleasure and excitement that I, the Groundwork Wales Development Officer for Environment Wales, donned my suite and spangle shoes to attended the Neath & Port Talbot Environment Awards 2012.

For the third year running the environmental department at Neath & Port Talbot council pulled out all the stops to deliver a showbiz style glitzy evening, including a three course dinner (made with local ingredients) host Iolo Williams and of course the crowning jewel of the evening the nominated community projects, including two Environment Wales registered groups:

Arena Pontadawe registered with Environment Wales three years ago and since then they have been improving the Riverside Park for both visitors and wildlife. In recognition of this hard work the group won the Green Business/Charity of the year for the second time running.

Glyn Neath Training Centre: After nominating the group for Green Project of the Year I held my breath as the envelope was opened: After setting up in 1984 the group have been tirelessly working to see a number of projects move to fruition including a charity shop and community allotment supported by Environment Wales. In addition to the allotments the group, for the last few years, have been lovingly re-instating an old walled garden set within an historic estate at Rheola. The 1.5 acre garden now boasts three original message green houses, Polly tunnel, wildlife pond and lots of growing space. Food from the garden is either sold through the centre or, for the most part, used in the group’s cafe and nursery.  When the envelope was opened and the winner was announced as Glyn Neath training centre the group were once again thrust onto the podium to receive the Green Project of the Year award and the work that they have undertaken was a shining example of what can be achieved when you have the will power and self belief.

I was so please for the groups, who turned up for a pleasant evening with friends and had an enjoyable evening, then went home with two awards, a good feeling inside and even more motivation to carry on the good work.

 

Steven Bromley

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