Awards celebrate how Welsh communities are making effective use of land to tackle climate change

Social farms garden

On 16th March 2022 at 5.30pm, Social Farms & Gardens highlighted the work communities are doing to access underused land to help build resilience to climate change in Wales. 

Through its Community Land Advisory Service Cymru programme, Social Farms & Gardens will celebrate 15 projects who are succeeding in the following:

  • Building the health and wellbeing of participants 
  • Increasing the amount of community grown food 
  • Making effective use of underused spaces across Wales. 
  • Increasing social prescribing activities 
  • Enhancing nature 
  • Boosting local economies 
  • Combating loneliness 
  • Building new skills and confidence 
  • Increasing community connections 
  • Outdoor learning and education 
  • Building self sufficiency 
  • Increasing local food 
  • Cooking with fresh ingredients 
  • Reducing carbon footprints 

Mike Parker, broadcaster and writer will host the online awards. Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change will provide a recorded address.

Kate Macrae, wildlife enthusiast, stated “I would love to wish awardees all my congratulations for they wonderful work they are doing and congratulations for creating places for wildlife and communities to flourish.” 

Community garden

Through Welsh Government support, Social Farms & Gardens works with public and private landowners to make land more available for community land-based projects. Projects like ‘Carmarthenshire Wellbeing’ are able to support homeless people in Llanelli, to grow local food, reduce loneliness and isolation and help them gain new skills to get back into employment.

‘BRACE’ in Llanyfellin and ‘Dewis Acre’ in St David’s, are able to increase the self-sufficiency of the community, embrace nature and reduce their carbon footprint. All the awarded projects featured, have completed a Social Farms & Gardens Site Resilience Plan to demonstrate to public bodies and potential funders their attributes and achievements in line with the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 Goals. 

people in garden

This year we have been fortunate enough to have our groups back at their sites and so we have been able to, with the help of TAPE Community Music and Film, celebrate these groups and their work through several short films filmed at their sites. The films will be shown in four regional clusters at the Awards Ceremony and will later be hosted on our website. 

Social Farms & Gardens Wales Manager, Gary Mitchell says "If Wales is to address its climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, public and private landowners must offer up more land for green projects.” 

Garden

The recently released report by the Institute of Welsh affairs, canvassed opinions from community groups who had tried to gain or had managed to gain, access to land for their green space projects. They described their experiences as ‘challenging and unpleasant due to the lack of a clear process’ and ‘demoralising’. ‘They described public bodies as ‘incredibly challenging, frustrating, and time-consuming to work with’. They showed ‘a lack of flexibility’ and a ‘lack of knowledge on community ownership’. Projects found ‘considerable issues with timings causing grant funding to disappear as they waited’. 

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