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Community Voice, Community Choice Participatory Budgeting Event 1

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Participatory Budgeting has come to Blaenau Gwent, and we need YOU to decide where £250k of public budgets should be spent!

About this event

Participatory Budgeting is a decision making tool, where community groups are able to apply for an amount of public budgets, and the wider community decide where the money should be awarded.

Anerurin Bevan Health Board have made £250,000 available for community groups and organisations with project that help the community recover from COVID-19, and support the wellbeing of the community.

As we have had a whopping 89 applications, we will be holding 4 events:

  • Sunday 19th September, 11 - 1 pm
  • Sunday 19th September, 3 - 5 pm
  • Sunday 26th September, 11 - 1 pm
  • Sunday 26th September, 3 - 5 pm

A list of the projects that will be shown in this event can be found below, please review the list and ensure that you intend to attend the correct events. We need YOU to come along and vote for where this funding should be spent - so get involved and influence how our public budgets are spent in our online events!

Each registrant will be sent a Zoom link the day before the event - there will be only one voter per device.

Voters must be at least 16 years of age.

On the day, you are required to stay for the whole 2 hour event, and vote for each project.

Head4Art – We’ll Meet Again

£6,000

To aid COVID recovery we will create a pathway of arts activities supporting older people and families on a gentle and safe journey that will build their confidence to reconnect with each other and local cultural venues. This will start from their own comfort zones at home (via craft packs and online opportunities), to open air and socially distanced activities in community spaces, ending in reconnection events in cultural venues offering a route for continued creative and social engagement.

Our key outcomes we hope to achieve are:

• Re-establishment of the Golden Memories community singing group at The Met, Abertillery to continue its role in supporting the wellbeing of older people affected by dementia.

• Improved wellbeing of families, especially younger children, through taking part in professional arts activities unavailable to them in isolation, broadening their experience and stimulating imagination.

• Increased creative participation.

• Assisting the recovery of hard-hit local cultural venues and arts community

BG Kidz – Children’s Christmas Appeal

£10,000

We run the Christmas Appeal for vulnerable children snd families each year. This funding will be used to purchase Xmas Eve boxes, Christmas stockings, Christmas presents and Christmas food parcels for those vulnerable children living in poverty in Blaenau Gwent.

Our key aims are to:

• Support Covid recovery

• Support vulnerable children and families

• Give children a better start in life

• Build resilient communities

Aberystruth History and Archaeology society - Cwmcelyn digital history project

£3,000

We are a registered charity that run history and Archaeology community projects throughout Blaenau Gwent. The funding will be used to create a interactive digital model of the Cwmcelyn valley and four historical sites within the valley these will be a prehistoric hut, a medieval farm a WW1 firing range and the Red Ash East levels. The model will be used in local schools, clubs and museums to educate people on the history of the valley. This will be a community project run by the Aberystruth History and Archaeology society.

The project will be a community project run bey the Aberystruth History and Archaeology society. Members of the public and children from local schools will be able to come along to the Cwmcelyn valley on a number of reconstruction days. This will involve them taken part in digital reconstruction of the sites using 3D cameras. They will also be to take part as characters in the model. I.e., Bronze Age People, Medieval farmers, the 3rd Monmouthshire regiment, and coal miners.

Aneurin Leisure Adult Community Learning - Festival of Learning

£461

We are committed to supporting and improving community life through Learning by providing high quality learning opportunities for adults across Blaenau Gwent.

We are planning to offer 5 free classes over the October half term week. These would include Pottery, Goldies sing-along, Basic IT Skills, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and Yoga. The funding would cover Tutors wages, materials, and room rental. To ensure we reach adults throughout Blaenau Gwent, the sessions would take place at EV LAC, Cwm Library, Tredegar Library, Brynmawr LAC and Abertillery Library. By offering the free sessions, we believe it will increase individual and community participation in a safe and friendly environment. We will be supporting individuals in the COVID recovery to enhance their confidence in engaging within the community again, whilst offering them an opportunity to learn something new and meet new people. The sessions will contribute towards the BG Wellbeing Plan objectives of safe and friendly communities, prosperity and making healthy choices.

Garnlydan AFC under 11s - Floodlights for pitch

£9,225

The funding will be used to provide the correct lighting for winter training at our pitch. We are a small club without enough funds to consistently train in the winter months. Having a field we can use throughout the winter will benefit massively not only our junior section but also our senior section and will also allow us to tempt more age groups and grow as a club with the prospect of sustained training throughout the year! We are a club who survive with not to no help and this would be huge!

This project will greatly benefit our whole club and our wider community! Being able to train and play all through the year will massively increase not just the mental wellbeing of our players and future players but physical wellbeing also! We are a small club and we cannot sustain consistency in winter training so this project will benefit not only the players we already have at the club but will help grow the club and enable us to grow and give more opportunity to keep active.

Sirhowy Community Centre Ltd - Sustainable Food Project

£9,360

We are a community centre run by volunteers. This funding would be used to purchase food to enable us to extend our food share into a sustainable food project for the next 12 months. We have fresh produce but would like to add to this by providing tinned food and other essential items such as flour etc to ensure the families that are struggling during and after covid 19 can provide balanced meals throughout the week which are healthy and filling for both themselves and their families. This in turn allows them to eat healthy and therefore wellbeing also improves

Not just our community we welcome everyone so our project will help all communities throughout Blaenau Gwent. By providing food that is well balanced and freely available it will help their with wellbeing choices. By attending users make friends which helps with isolation & loneliness that covid have enhanced. Food share helps with environment as food going to landfill is eliminated. Each family that uses will save money therefore they can build a brighter future and prosper.

RCT People First Limited - Stepping Out

£6,373

RCT People First is a charitable self-advocacy organisation that supports adults with learning disabilities to co-produce existing and new health and social care services for adults.

The Stepping out project will use the funding to:

• Run a series of online health & wellbeing focus groups to explore barriers to health & well-being

• Work with Gwent Wildlife & Brecon National Trust to run 4 local walks across Blaenau Gwent & Brecon National Park Plus Geo-cashing at Bryn Bach Park

• Organise educational visits to Bedwellty House & The Owl Sanctuary

• Contribute to transport, support costs, refreshments, stationary, administration, communication, and tour/educational fees

Short Term Outcomes:

• number of adults with learning disabilities involved

• No of Walks & educational visits

Long term outcomes:

• To reconnect people with learning disabilities with local community facilities and people

• Boost mental health & physical well being

• Increase con6dence, self esteem

• Encourage people with learning disabilities to spend more time in green spaces and how to bring nature into their daily lifestyle and for them to become more active

• Reduction in negative emotion

Kidz r us - Can it - recycling project

£10,000

Kidz r us is a not for profit performing arts organisation. We run numerous activities for children including dance, drama, summer clubs, fitness classes etc and also are a huge benefit to the local community. We have over 500 children entering our building each week and strive to give children new skills to benefit their everyday lives and future careers.

The funding will be used to go towards an original show called Can it. This will demonstrate the issues of climate change and recycling. Our 13&14 year olds will be performing the show and this funding will be used to help raise awareness for the cause. It will help with advertising costs (outdoor advertising screen) directors fees, new projectors and new lighting facilities. We hope with this project, the children will educate adults and students on the impact of Climate change.

We believe this will educate people. We will work closely with local comprehensive schools to deliver the recordings in order to demonstrate the importance of recycling. It will also allow children to demonstrate their acting, singing and performance ability and improve their skills. We also hope it will create a change (no matter how big or large) within the ozone layer and will create a basic knowledge of what can be recycled and how recycling can be made interesting and fun.

Nantyglo FC CIC – Playing Field

£10,000

We are a community-based football club, wishing to improve the drainage of our playing field. The grant will be used to put in place a works project to improve the footpath on the playing field. It has become such a major problem rubbish, drug paraphernalia, etc, that we are being forced to call off games, which is affecting our rental income and we are in danger of losing players as they will become disillusioned from not being able to play. It is clear that this position cannot continue.

Improve pitch access so growth football within our local area can be sustained, the club has grown over the past few years and the seven directors and volunteers want to ensure we support the growth of sports within Blaina and its surrounding area, Improving the foot path will support the youth teams staying in sport be we are hoping it will reduce the amount antisocial behaviour by creating an environment to crime rate to a minimum.

Gwent Valley Centre of Mission - Holiday Happenings

£596

Gwent Valleys Centre of Mission is a partnership between Church Army and Monmouth Diocese (Church in Wales), which is committed to bringing practical and spiritual hope to the isolated communities within the Gwent valleys. At the heart of the project is the desire to share the Good News of Jesus with others in words and actions. It is hoped that it will be a bridge between the church and the local community.

"Holiday Happenings" are activity mornings which we plan to run during school holidays. They are family activity mornings, involving art and craft activities, which are free to attend and take part in. School holidays can be long/expensive, and these activity sessions provide a space for families to come and spend a few hours together each week and enjoy some arts and craft activities. These sessions are free to attend (with people able to give a donation towards the cost if they wish to).

A positive outcome of this project would be in providing a space where families can enjoy activities together, perhaps learn some new skills, and enjoy time together in a low-cost way. It will hopefully enable families to get to know one another, provide a safe and friendly space where children and parents can be together during the holidays, and give families a chance to have positive activities to do during school holidays.

The Wyndham Vowles Community Centre - Free for all

£7,200

The funding would be used to allow free access to existing groups who use the community centre for 12 months. Allowing groups free access would allow them carry on providing exercise and wellbeing for the community. With Blaenau Gwent being one of the most impoverished areas in Wales funding would ensure residents old, young, and new, on low incomes and coming out of furlough would be able to access classes to help maintain and improve their lifestyle without the worry of cost.

In the short term would help our group users re-establish themselves after lockdown and help them grow once public confidence after lockdown begins to rise. Happy, mentally, and physically fit residents help improve local community outlook.

RTB Ebbw Vale Bowls Club – The Community Club Providing Sport For All Ages

£7,400

We would use the funding to purchase a brand-new lawn mower to help with the maintenance of our two bowls greens. We currently provide sporting facility for over 65 playing members along with a number of community groups who use our greens. We require a new Baroness LM56 - Cylinder Mower to help our greens maintenance volunteers cut our greens to ensure they are playable for our playing, social and community to use.

Our long-term aspirations would be to increase participation within our club and increase playing membership by over 50% over the next two years and increase community participation Bowls is assessable for people off all ages, sex or disability which is evidenced by our diverse membership. Community groups including the local Glyncoed community group and Hospice of the Valleys use our facility for various groups throughout the year. We want to be accessible to the communities of Blaenau Gwent.

Oriel Trinity Gallery CIC - Creative Writing for Wellbeing

£4,625

We are a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers due to open in October 2021. We will host exhibitions by established and emerging artists living in Wales as well as community art exhibitions. We will host workshops in a variety of creative disciplines.

Funding will be used to provide free writing for wellbeing workshops at locations across Blaenau Gwent connecting people and places to improve mental and physical wellbeing post pandemic Using a variety of techniques, the workshops will focus on reconnecting with ourselves, our communities and our environment, finding pathways to wellness through the power of creative writing. The groups will be small, safe and no writing experience is necessary. Five locations, 5 x 2 hour workshops per series.

Short term up to 50 people across BG can benefit from writing for wellbeing. Participants will gain wellbeing tools to use for the future, meet new people and enjoy being creative. We’ll use the short WEMWBS tool to evaluate the effect of workshops on wellbeing. Long term outcome: The workshops can create writing for wellness networks across BG, contributing to the range of creative wellbeing activities. A book of writings reflecting the workshops could be produced if participants so wished.

Central Baptist Church Tredegar - Craft Club

£1,000

We are a local church group who knit to support families with premature and stillborn babies. This funding would be used to purchase wool, needles and materials and to pay for postage to send packages, such as baby blankets, hats and knitted and crocheted items for still born babies, to charities and individuals who request our knitted and crochet items. They contact us and make a request and we create them and post them. This includes covers for cannulas to prevent babies pulling the cannula out. We do this as volunteers.

We want to support families who have still born babies or premature babies at their time of need. We also support the homeless and people suffering from dementia. Our creations are very much in demand, so this money will help us to help a lot of people in Blaenau Gwent. A £1,000 would allow us to carry out our knitting for around six months to a year. We send our creations to local churches, hospitals, and nursing homes in the area.

Abertillery Splash

£10,000

We would like to have a splash park made within our community. We believe it would enhance children’s mental well-being and gain key skills. It’s outdoor so it’s safer from COVID. The children can gain water skills, social, emotional, cognitive & physical skills. Children are constantly learning through play. Increased interaction with others of all backgrounds and abilities. Help them gain more confidence and self-esteem. Increase physical activity, help boost mood and reduce stress.

It will improve children’s mental wellbeing within the community. It gives somewhere for the children to go as we have nothing else like this within BG. It will bring the community and people together and will create a sense of belonging. It will help and grow kids’ creativity and imagination. Good health and well-being is a key enabler of successful learning as outlined in the ‘Health & well-being area of learning’ in the new curriculum for Wales 2022. Children are more active when outside also.

Nantyglo RFC - Banna Park Green

£9,537

Nantyglo RFC recently took over the running of the Banna Park and pavilion as part of an asset transfer. We are keen to promote the Banna Park as a community hub. The funding will be used to fence the perimeter of the old bowling green as it is currently deemed unsafe for sporting activities as a ditch surrounds it. The fencing will mean that the area can be used for sporting activities and outdoor events. It will become a focus for community wellbeing and develop community links.

The Banna Park Green will be a focus for community events such as concerts, in conjunction with BGFM Radio, and other community-based events. It will provide a safe space for adults and children to engage in sporting classes and activities. It will be a focus for the community to support each other's health and wellbeing. It will be a much-needed resource for the community of Nantyglo and wider area to meet within walking distance of their homes.

Mens Den Explorers

£5,000

Explorer activities are planned for twice a month. The project is 100% supported by the current membership, which is growing. The trips will be a mixture of no cost, walks and visits to local sights of interest. Plus similar coach trips to, museums, towns, leisure activities, bowling, crazy golf etc. These trips would incur a cost for transport, lunch etc, as required. The aim is to spend a large percentage of trips in Blaenau Gwent and further afield.

We are addressing issues of isolation and loneliness for middle age/senor men recently exacerbated by Covid 19. The Explorer sub group is a new group to assist members to get out and enjoy new experiences and places together. Some members have physical and mental health issues to deal with and even Long Covid. The activities will help build relationships and confidence. Long term benefits will be, new friendships, increased health & well being after the effects of isolation during the pandemic.

Blaina Town Band - Post COVID Community Wellbeing Regeneration

£2,800

Blaina Town Band is a Brass Band consisting of Senior, Intermediate and Beginners sections, (a total of 36 members at present), all of various ages from 8 - 80. With an emphasis on youth as we are very keen to start an academy. Our aim is to perform music for the education, enjoyment and above all the mental wellbeing of our members and the general public as we emerge from the emotional trauma and physical restrictions of the past 18 months or so. We also have a Senior Citizens group of about 20 who use our band premises' facilities once a week and they are all thrilled to be back to some level of normality.

Our kitchen/welfare facilities are the original fitments from 1993 when the building was erected and are in a sorry state. We need a complete refit of base units, work tops, sink unit and taps, and a new fridge, tiling and new flooring. We tend not to use it at the moment because the units smell of damp. What joy it would be to be able to make refreshments for the band when we have rehearsals and for social events in the hall. Also when the Senior Citizens meet they could also have refreshments.

From a community aspect it would make a huge difference. The hall could be a focal point for other small groups to use such as knitting classes, art exhibitions, book clubs, birthday parties, choral societies and so on. Regenerating a community spirit that has been lost through this pandemic. Getting people to participate in activities again, meeting friends and socialising once more. What an opportunity for our community!

Llanhilleth Tenants & Residents Association - Friends of Granny's Wood

£1,194

We believe that our project has the potential to provide important inter-generational activities back into our community, sadly lacking during the Covid pandemic period. The “Friends” group will maintain and develop Granny’s Wood and so promote community project participation and improve community wellbeing. We would use the funding to purchase brush cutters, provide approved training in their safe use and maintenance and obtain appropriate insurance cover for volunteers.

Creation of the group will contribute to community wellbeing by encouraging inter-generational community engagement and participation and improve community awareness and ownership. The wood provides opportunities to enjoy the wonders of nature in peaceful and tranquil surroundings, recent ornithological surveys show 30 species present. We are presently in discussions with Small Woods Wales regarding woodland wellbeing sessions.

Blaina Community Centre - Rehabilitation after Covid-19 (RAC19)

£8,623

We support those ‘at risk’ from specific medical conditions into physical activity. We want to provide activity for people who are suffering with the effects of long Covid -19. With this funding, we will pay a highly qualified personal trainer twice a week for an hour-long session. It will pay for room hire, Cleaner before and after use. PPE equipment and promotion to get the project off the ground. This will allow our residents who are suffering from long covid effects to come along to physical activity for free. The program is for 6 weeks, this is the recommended level of time for patients to adjust and build up their strength. The project is for 50wks with new participants every 6weeks.

The project will be designed around individual symptoms, condition, health & exercise history. It is carefully prescribed & delivered by a highly qualified Personal Trainer. Although the recommended plan will vary significantly depending on the severity of the virus suffered and the post-viral symptoms to be addressed, common elements will include: COVID19 specific initial assessment of pulmonary, cardiovascular, muscular levels/strengths. We aim to get our customers actively on their feet again.

Blaina Community Institute Ltd - Drop in Cafe

£10,000

To extend our volunteer Tea &Toast mornings. Blaina has no cafe where the community can meet. Funding will be used to convert an existing space into a cafe enabling young and old to meet and talk. With mental health issues and loneliness in society exacerbated by Covid, Blaina is devoid of a place to meet. Sharing conversations, experiences and problems can help with these issues, and benefit all members of the community. The site is level, ground floor, with disabled access and toilet facilities.

Tea and Toast mornings will resume immediately with huge support. Advertising will extend attendance short term. Long term aims will be to expand into a multi-use cafe. A Youth Cafe Day could allow young people to participate; discussion days can introduce “Chats” on issues challenging the young, like LGBTQ+ and gender, climate, environment, mental wellbeing and diet. Mixed events encouraging old and young to volunteer and talk to and help each other can be organised. A Youth Council can be formed.

Hermon Cemetery Trust - Cemetery regeneration

£6,000

This funding will be used to keep the cemetery tidy, graves visible and provide access for all public, particularly disabled and prevent fly tipping and drug users gathering and discarding dangerous equipment. Volunteers and paid mowing etc have transformed the area to the benefit of the community. The site has been derelict for 50 years and fundraising to continue has been stopped by Covid. Funding will maintain the site and continue the pride of the community in the site, for which they have worked hard.

Short term the cemetery will be cared for and still look clean, tidy, and cared for, as opposed to the overgrown filthy derelict site which existed before the Trust. Long term it will maintain the good work of the Trustees and the community itself and carry on the improvement for the residents. Access to graves will be improved with surfaced pathways, instead of uneven surfaces. At present access is impossible for aged, infirm and the disabled. Funerals will be held again after many years.

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Organizer MutualGain

Organizer of Community Voice, Community Choice Participatory Budgeting Event 1

We train people to build social capital or we build it for them!  

What does that mean? well it means we care about connecting conversations that take place in communities with conversations that take place in organisations.  

Why? Because we love people; we love democracy, and we love the differences of opinion that people have. We think our society needs more authentic collective community conversations so that we can learn together and learn how to disagree together.

How? we use strengths based approaches to engagement which means we build on what is strong and not what is wrong.  We think everyone has something valuable to share and we particularly value the voices that are often unheard - they have a lot worth listening to! 

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