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Llanfyrnach: Community wind turbine was more than a decade in the making

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AFTER a long and bumpy journey, a community group from North Pembrokeshire are finally about to install a 700kW wind turbine on Trefawr Farm in Llanfyrnach.

Cwm Arian Renewable Energy – a community benefit society run by local residents and based in Hermon Community Resource Centre near Crymych – will be very relieved to see the community wind turbine installed by the beginning of October.

The project received planning permission from the Welsh Government in 2016 for the 61 meter high wind turbine, which is set to generate over 2,000 MWh every year – that’s enough electricity to power around 500 homes each year. Although the electricity grid technology doesn’t allow the wind turbine to power local homes directly, all the profits gained from selling the electricity will be paid into a community fund, which will be distributed to local community projects, businesses and individuals for activities which benefit local people and the environment.

“We’ve worked really hard for over a decade to make this project happen” said Cwm Arian director Holly Cross, “and it hasn’t been easy, but we’ve been determined to see it through because it’s just such a good idea to make money for the community from clean energy!”

The group has been supported with advice and development funding from the Welsh Government Energy Service, and in May this year were offered a low interest loan from Development Bank of Wales to enable them to buy and install the wind turbine. It is due to be delivered and installed on the 9th October, and after a few weeks of tests and checks, will start generating electricity (and money)!

Daniel Blackburn, who is also a director of Cwm Arian and part of the small team of locals working hard to realise the project, is hoping for a windy winter – “We’ve heard from the pioneers of Welsh community renewable projects like Transition Bro Gwaun and Awel Aman Tawe that their community wind turbines have generated quite a lot more income than they had expected, so we’re hoping it’ll be the same for our community”.

The project will be opening a community share offer in 2020, and is benefitting from the chairman Cris Tomos’ experience of setting up successful community share offers that have helped people take ownership of their assets across the county – “We’re looking forward to inviting local people to become members of Cwm Arian and invest in the renewable energy scheme. Even a small investment will earn them a better interest rate on their savings than if they keep their money in the bank, and will also help Cwm Arian pay back the bank loan sooner so the community fund will grow quicker – it’s a win-win situation for everyone!”.

With climate change and environmental problems in the news almost every day, Cwm Arian Renewable Energy is showing what a small group of determined individuals can do to find solutions for a greener future for their community.

To find out more about Cwm Arian Renewable Energy’s wind turbine project, and keep up to date about the community share offer and the other sustainability projects they are running in North Pembrokeshire, visit their Facebook page or their website.

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Youth centre conquers coast path challenge to get the Point Across

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YOUNG people from the Fishguard area recently stepped up to the mark to take on a walking challenge set by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Ranger, Richard Vaughan.

Members of the POINT Youth Centre had been tasked with completing a 22-mile sponsored walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – one mile for each year Richard has worked for the Park Authority.

Richard said: “I was so pleased to see 17 young people take part in the Get the POINT Across challenge, some of them giving up three days of their summer holidays to boot.

“The POINT team certainly went the extra mile and more, walking from Poppit Sands back to the youth centre in Fishguard, which is a total of 27 miles.

“I’ve worked with POINT for around 15 years and have seen how the centre encourages young people to play a positive role in their community. It was great to help them raise some money to continue this work, while they also discovered parts of the National Park for the first time.”

POINT was set up to provide young people aged 11-25 gain the self-esteem, skills and self-confidence to cope with the personal problems during the transition from childhood to adulthood.

The drop-in centre provides a safe and welcoming place six days a week with a range of activities, community projects, workshops and trips. Many have a particular emphasis on the environment such as the John Muir Award and beach cleans.

All the proceeds raised during the walk will go to POINT and Get the Boys a Lift, a not for profit based community interest company (CIC) working to better improve mental health within the community.

To view a video of the Get the POINT Across challenge on the POINT Youth Centre’s YouTube channel.

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New mosaic for Pembrokeshire School

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PUPILS attending Haverfordwest High School after the summer holidays were welcomed back by two new mosaics at the main entrance.

The artwork was the result of a series of free summer workshops for families of pupils from the ten feeder schools aimed at aiding the transition from primary to secondary school.

The workshops were run by Springboard – a Learning Pembrokeshire project for families – and Haverfordwest High School and led by local artist Paul Webb.

Participating families were tasked with creating two large scale mosaics to welcome students at the main entrance.

The finished mosaics incorporate the emblems of all 10 feeder primary schools along with the new Haverfordwest High logo thus ensuring that new pupils feel the connection between past and present on the learning journey at their new school.

Amy Delaney, Springboard Advisor on the project, described it as a fun and rewarding way to enable families to support their children through transition to secondary school.

“Working with other families to produce this amazing piece of artwork has helped both adults and children to feel engaged with the school and more confident about the transition to secondary school.”

Heather Cale, the headteacher of St Marks,Church in Wales VA Primary School in Merlins Bridge, said: “The head teachers of the feeder primary schools have been delighted with the transition project. It has given pupils and families the opportunity to work together, make new friends and to get to know their new school.

“As head teachers we have committed to working more closely together across our cluster, for all learners from 3 to 19 years. This is a wonderful  beginning, and we thank all those involved for their commitment and participation.”

Lauren Davies, Head of Year 7 at Haverfordwest High said the school was thrilled with the success of the project and the positive impact it has had on so many families.

She continued: “We are committed to providing a smooth transition between primary and secondary school for all pupils in the Haverfordwest cluster, and we are continually reviewing and developing transition opportunities in line with the new curriculum.

“Springboard were able to support us with offering something creative and ambitious for last year’s transition. We are already planning another project for the current Year 6 pupils and their families from our partner primary schools.”

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday

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THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm. The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years. £2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.     

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.
More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.

At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.
She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities. I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”

The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.

James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.
James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community. The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”
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