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Rail Partnership Funding Signals New Opportunities for Community Organisations

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Sixteen community-based organisations across South West Wales are to receive a funding boost following successful applications to an initiative delivered by the South West Wales Community Rail Partnership.

Launched in February 2021, the Partnership’s ‘Community Changemakers Fund’ is aimed at supporting people and organisations wishing to deliver improvements in communities across the region.

More than sixty applications were received from individuals and organisations seeking a share of the £16,000 fund, which was supported by Transport for Wales, Great Western Railway, Siemens Mobility and the Community Rail Partnership.

Administered by the Carmarthenshire Association for Voluntary Services (CAVS) and the Community Rail Partnership, between £300 and £1,000 was available to apply for; with the main criteria being able to demonstrate how funding and small interventions could improve community well-being and being located near the rail network.

Organisations celebrating the awarding of grant funding include:

  • Neath Port Talbot – Coeden Bywyd Horse Project Community Interest Company.  A small community initiative based in Pontrhydyfen near Neath, the group delivers mentoring and well-being sessions to young people with a small herd of horses who assist and facilitate in sessions.  The group will use their grant to construct an outdoor shelter that will allow sessions to be delivered in all weathers.
  • City & County of Swansea – Gowerton School Charity Committee Safe Cycling Project.  The school successfully bid for a grant to provide both cycle maintenance and cycle proficiency opportunities at Gowerton School, in addition to the delivery of a cycle safety course for children and adults.
  • Carmarthenshire – Ysgol Gymraeg Parc y Tywyn PTA.  The school, located in Burry Port, will use their grant to transform an internal area into a role-play village. The village will resemble elements of the seaside town with shops and amenities within the local community.  The village will support the development of the pupils’ literacy, communication and numeracy skills as well as their personal and social skills.
  • Pembrokeshire – Visit Milford Haven.  Led by a group of local community volunteers, Visit Milford Haven aims to champion the town as a visitor destination and an excellent place to live and work.  The group will use their grant to introduce ‘Ambassadors’ to help improve the visitor experience and promote the town as a great place to visit.  Volunteers will attend a one-day course and all who participate will receive a certificate for their workplace/business and Ambassador badge.

Full details of all successful applications can be found by visiting https://www.southwestwales.co/changemakers-fund/

Rachel Adams, a member of the Coeden Bywyd Horse project in Pontrhydyfen, said “Our project is about young people.  We help young people find a sense of wellbeing and gain confidence.  I help facilitate but it’s all about the horses!”

She continued;

“This funding will be used to build a shelter so the sessions can continue whatever the weather and people will continue to leave feeling happy!”

GWR Community Manager Emma Morris said;

“We have a specific pot of money designed to support community and not-for-profit organisations. These projects will help to enhance thousands of lives across South Wales and we know the funding will be put to good use.”

Rob Morris, Managing Director, Rail Infrastructure, Siemens Mobility UK&I said;

“I’m delighted that Siemens Mobility can support the Changemakers Programme. Initiatives like these help local people proactively drive positive change – particularly important in challenging times – and I’m pleased we were able to work with South West Wales Connected to create new opportunities for community engagement.”

Hugh Evans, head of community rail for Transport for Wales, said;

“We have been delighted to support this initiative.  Supporting local community organisations during these very difficult times is so important and the passion shown by each project is really inspiring.  Good luck to all and we look forward to visiting the projects in due course.”

South West Wales Connected,

“We are really excited to support changemakers within communities, who are stepping up to make a difference locally!  It has been really inspiring to hear about these projects and an honour to be able to help.”

Formed in 2020, the community rail partnership covers the rail routes west of Port Talbot to Swansea, Carmarthen, Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven and Fishguard Harbour.

Its objectives are to develop positive partnerships between the rail industry and local organisations to promote social inclusion, sustainability, health and well-being, green travel, tourism and economic development across the region.