A circle forms to save Things

Welsh government gave £600,000 to Pembrokeshire Circle: A network of repair cafes and a Library of Things. The financial downpour was due to Pembrokeshire’s achievement in leading recycling in Wales, helping Wales reach the top 5 recyclers in Europe.
Recycling is an imperfect art, depending on waste to energy plant. A better goal is to reduce. Enter Pembrokeshire Circle to Repair, Share and Extend the life and use of our Things. Caewch y cylch

£17,000 reaches the roots

Too often funding for good purposes creates another staff post or gets stuck in the admin net.
Grwp Resilience was given £17,000 of the Pembs Circle fund. The full sum went to 3 Grwp affiliates to develop repair workshops: The gardeners of Llangwm Allotments dug in for good health through lockdown. They will build a communal shed and repair gardening tools. Dezza’s Cabin gives peer to peer support for the growing number damaged by our society, they will repair bikes and clothes. Dig for Victory will sharpen blades and repair domestic items. They are creating a veg and peace garden to reignite the talent and comradeship of veterans, somewhat dampened by civilian life. Ail-cynnau y tân

Green grow the Communities-O

We uncovered 25 community growing sites (Tir Tyfu Bro) in Pembs, not counting council allotments. Some are mature, some dormant, most young and growing. Pembrokeshire Plots is our work strand to support and extend them. Pembrokeshire is surrounded by land yet there is famine in the towns and villages for land for personal and community growing. There are hundreds on allotment waiting lists, the number doubled in the first months of lockdown, Ffynnone Resilience’s Cilgerran survey shows the need goes far beyond official waiting lists.
Two short films transport you to examples of Tir Tyfu Bro. Cardigan’s Forest Garden is introduced by its founder, the culmination of his life’s work. He died after the film was made so it became his obituary. Dewi’s Acre is the child of a new partnership between an Eco group and a Cathedral, a seed of vigour.
Grwp made small spring payments to 5 Tir Tyfu Bro groups; COAST in Solva, Field of Beans in Boncath, Pencoed Gardens in Lawrenny, EcoDewi in St. Davids and Fishguard Allotments. There will be tours later, meanwhile the films show something is growing beyond vegetables.

Covid reveals which side our bread is buttered

Independent rural businesses selling local produce depend heavily on visitors. But visitors have been locked out for most of this Covid year. Grants from the UK have further tipped the scales away from the independents. Yet it is they who protect our food resilience through loyalty to local producers and their community. They have run deliveries throughout, to feed the frail and the shielding.
We asked our shop members, in sorrowful tones, ‘How are you?’ The answers surprised us.
“Our customers have been brilliant, we have done better than usual outside of the (visitor) season” says Suzanne Jones of Bwyd yr Byd, Crymych. “People seem to sense which side their bread is buttered.”
Wholefoods of Newport, the seaside town where shops depend on visitors, has kept on four members of staff and over 1000 product lines. “If this had continued we would go down to three, but as it is we are recruiting.” Clare told us. “I loved the pace, there was time to talk, to get to know customers better. I am nervous of the Summer, the intensity drains us.”
Paul Davies, the family butchers in Newport also needed three full time staff through the pandemic. With the visitors it would be four. He started in T.R Davies when he was 12 and everyone knew everyone. His shop is pretty well 100% local produce.
Pies, cakes, preserves, flour, milk, butter, eggs, veg, chocolates, cheeses, drinks in all these shops are made on the premises or locally. The range is growing.
The bakeries supplying the shops have grown through the pandemic. Torth y Tir is new, a recent Grwp affiliate. The St. David’s bakery grows its own wheat, a mix of old varieties which produce powerful bread. The dough from commercial modern wheats fails to hold its rise in our wet westerly weather as the grain starts to germinate early. It is a great feeling to have bread, butter, meat, milk, veg and more from the land you can see when you climb a hill or from a boat at sea.
Asked what message the shops wanted us to pass on, they said the same, “Thank you, thank you to our customers” I suppose the businesses’ lives are threatened by Covid and we are their NHS.
‘Gwneud yr pethau bychain’ The saint said. You could modernise to ‘Small is the new big’. It’s down on the streets where communities know each other and their shopkeepers, and their farmers and the land that provides, that the cells of a new viable human organism are forming.
Town centres are vital. Grwp Resilience will soon share a high street building with Clynfyw Care Farm. A street presence for the Grwp in the merry market town of Crymych – Hwre!

Democracy Dawns in Pembs.

Forever, it feels, government consultations have isolated the respondents and given all the power to the agency doing the consulting. It is fantastic to have this change with the Active Travel consultation from Pembs County Council. Add your view, it closes March 31st.

Climate: Mae Cynllun gael ei geni

Full council declared a climate emergency In May 2019. A year and a half later an Action Plan was born in time for Christmas.
The details reveal that PCC has a star whose light is hidden. The head of Sustainability has been cutting waste and energy use and installing renewables for decades, without fanfare.
The plan’s comprehensive scope, meticulous detail and accurate progress monitoring show that good government is not a myth, it is alive in secret pockets.