The county of Rhondda Cynon Taff is made up of many small mining communities, stretching from the M4 motorway in south east Wales into the Brecon Beacons. It is home to around 300,000 people, including the larger towns of Pontypridd and Aberdare. This area, known informally as 'The Valleys', is unique in its industrial history and distinctive natural features not found anywhere else in the UK.
Over the past 18 months, Cynefin Place Coordinator for the area, Gabrielle Torkington, has been working with communities from across this diverse region to find out what is important to them in their neighbourhoods and where to focus her efforts.
There is a strong feeling among the community that a steady decline in community cohesion has been happening over the years, mostly due to people being unemployed for a long time, a lack of opportunity for young people and deepening poverty. While Rhondda Cynon Taff enjoys some of the most spectacular scenery Wales has to offer, community disengagement and active destruction of the green environment is a very real problem in the area.
Cynefin in RCT has facilitated a number of events across the borough together with other agencies that support local community action. The feedback from these events has informed the workstreams Gabi has developed, leading to a mix of projects from the hyper local to more strategic opportunities.
Since Cynefin began in April 2013, projects have included invasive species treatment and community training, neighbourhood involvement in flood mitigation and habitat restoration, exploring opportunities for community energy and crowd funding a community meeting place.
The ideas generated by local people have been incredibly diverse and continue to grow daily. Cynefin in Rhondda Cynon Taff is still looking for new ideas and ways to deliver projects. If you would like to get involved or just want to find out more please get in touch with your local Place Coordinator, Gabi Torkington, on 07966 984750 or at gabriellet(at)severnwye.org.uk.
Cynefin Rhondda Cynon Taff