May I remind your readers that there is still time to vote for the Penparcau Community Forum in the WCVA Welsh Third Sector awards in the ‘most admired organisation’ category.
Four years ago the Welsh Government slammed the door shut on Penparcau when the previous Communities First project was closed.
However, as a resilient community we weren’t prepared to allow the initiative to be taken away from us and the forum was launched as a community development initiative to engage and collectively empower the community of Penparcau, with the core value of social justice as our fundamental guiding principle.
In partnership with organisations who share our values and principles, in particular the People’s Health Trust, sources of funding have been accessed to put into practice the expressed needs of the community, most notably a new minibus and the extension currently being built alongside the former boxing club building, which will provide a much-needed community centre with extensive and comprehensive facilities for all, especially young people and families.
Community engagement activities provide an opportunity for residents to participate and get involved; the recent delivery of Christmas hampers to senior citizens is an excellent example of this, together with the ground-breaking history and heritage group which is currently working on a project about the history of Pen Dinas iron-age hillfort, to develop a sense of civic pride and place in Penparcau.
In a wider context, the success of the Penparcau Community Forum is an example to the Welsh Government as communities secretary Carl Sargeant seeks to develop a new tackling-poverty agenda across Wales.
To local authorities the forum presents the ideal basis and opportunity for partnership working in the development of local community services and facilities; especially in times of cuts and austerity, as it can crucially access and facilitate external sources of funding for the benefit of all.
Call in to the Penparcau Community Office to volunteer and get involved. Vote for the Penparcau Community Forum via www.wcva.org.uk/what-we-do/celebrating-the-sector/third-sector-awards-cymru/penparcau-community-forum
Dylan Lewis, former mayor of Aberystwyth (2012-13), 1 Maesmaelor, Penparcau, Aberystwyth.