What is 'Cynefin'?

The Cynefin project, which was funded by the Welsh Government, finished on 31st March 2016

Cynefin finished in March 2016.  For further information on project achievements, please go to the Resources page where you'll find : The Final Learning Report (an external evaluation), Ways of Working, Final Quantitative Data, Workstreams, Introduction to Case Studies, Case Studies, Place Studies and Common Themes.

The Final Learning Report is an independent evaluation of the work carried out over the course of the project while the other documents give snapshots of activity facilitated by the Place Coordinators. (Welsh translations are available on request).  These studies demonstrate how Cynefin operated according to the principles of being led by place-centred priorities and facilitated more joined-up collaborative working. The project brought together different parts of a community - local residents, community groups, local businesses, youth groups and organisations that deliver services - to help to improve the places where they live or work, making it cleaner, safer and generally nicer to live in as well as helping to provide more opportunities for business and for people to work and improve their incomes.

The Well-being of Future Generations Act is an opportunity to make a positive change around how Wales does business and the Cynefin programme has highlighted how communities, town and community councils, local authorities, NRW, the third sector and many more have started working towards a shared vision to meet long term economic, social, environmental and cultural needs of the country.

Cynefin 'Place Coordinators' worked in eleven different communities across Wales. These areas were:

Every community has its own strengths and ...

Every community has its own strengths and problems. The Place Coordinator's job was to talk to people who live and work in the community and find out what they think these strengths and problems are and what could be done to improve things and open up opportunities.



The Place Coordinator and the community will work ...

The Place Coordinator and the community worked together to decide what could be tackled by the community as well as what government and other service deliverers could do to help. Actions included making the area cleaner; increasing and improving available outdoor spaces; improving the opportunities for jobs and training; improving the health of people in the area or developing a plan to cope with a local emergency such as a flood.

The Place Coordinators are also

The Place Coordinators also helped communities find opportunities to gain from good things in their area: maybe there is unused land that could be used to grow local food or potential for the community to generate their own energy?



While doing this, communities can ...

While doing this, communities can help themselves to feel safer and stronger by thinking about how they might deal with a flood or other extreme weather and to develop their skills so they are better able to deal with the difficult economic times that we are all going through.

Making our communities safer ...

Making our communities safer, healthier and cleaner places to live, work, and for our children to grow up in, is a job for everyone. Working together can make what seems like an impossible task much easier to achieve.

The Cynefin Way of Working

  • The Cynefin way of working is flexible to local needs and opportunities, recognising that what's right for a busy, urban area of central Cardiff might not be right for a Valleys town with a lot of natural assets but limited job opportunities or a more rural area of Anglesey with difficult public transport links.
  • The Cynefin way of working opens up opportunities for communities to be entrepreneurial.
  • The Cynefin way of working finds opportunities for Action Learning so that communities, organisations and businesses can reflect, learn and improve as they go; sharing this learning with others to change behaviour and influence policy development.
  • The Cynefin way of working finds opportunities to empower communities, helping to build local capacity.
  • The Cynefin way of working joins people up, builds networks and challenges ingrained silos.
  • The Cynefin way of working acts as a translator, the middle ground between the top down and bottom up, acting as independent advocates for place and communities in the process.
  • The Cynefin way of working coordinates and facilitates within place, helping to get the right people involved and develop a sense of community.

Project Lead

Dr Simone Lowthe-Thomas

Executive Officer, Wales / Swyddog Gweithreddol

Severn Wye Energy Agency / Cymru Asiantaeth Ynni

Funded By