Dave Gittins is the Place Co-ordinator who is working in the communities of Cefn Mawr to the south of Wrexham and Caia Park, close to the town centre. Wrexham is located in the North East of Wales and is the largest town in North Wales.
Wrexham became a significant town because of the abundance of coal, slate and other extractive industries. This focus shifted to manufacturing in the 70's/80's and the sector is now diminishing. This has resulted in job losses that affected both communities that Cynefin operates in.
Cynefin's work in Wrexham is focusing specifically on a number of initiatives in the areas of Caia Park and Cefn Mawr, as well as a county-wide scheme for renewable energy. This focus arose from a series of events which took place where a number of local groups, residents and activists identified some common themes. The focus of the projects was determined by looking at statistics such as Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) and by speaking to residents and support organisations from a number of different areas. A series of visioning events took place where people were asked what they were passionate about and what they wanted to change. These were open to residents from all areas in Wrexham and the priorities that were generated from these events provided a remit to work in two areas and to set up the Wrexham Energy Group which is looking to evaluate the opportunity for renewable energy over the entire county.
Caia Park is a large housing estate that was developed in the 50's and 60's. It is mainly social housing and has a population of approximately 12,000 living in 5,000 houses.
In Caia Park the work has been about bringing the groups together to see what skills and assets they have, what they would like and what they are willing to share.
Cynefin is now supporting Caia Park Partnership in developing Wrexham as a social enterprise place which aims to develop collaboration between and build the market for social enterprises Caia Crafts is one organisation within Caia Park Partnership that Cynefin is working with.
Caia Crafts offers people the opportunity to try wood working skills and helps people upskill. Dave has managed to find a source of free wood with the local National Trust property for them to reduce the money they spend on materials.
Cynefin is also working with Communities First in Caia Park and looking at developing a healthy eating event and a swap shop event to help reduce people's outgoings on food and encouraging reuse of unwanted items.
At the visioning events residents came up with an ambitious vision for Cefn.
"Cefn is in a fantastic location so has the opportunity to become a real "destination". A reunited community would create a pride of place and energy to maximise the enormous potential within the locality. The World heritage site offers an opportunity to develop tourism in the area creating jobs and turning apathy into aspiration so that the future of Cefn can be secured for generations to come."
As an old mining and industrial village, this is an area which is keen to 'green up' and work is now being done with the community to see how they can use redundant areas of land for the benefit of the community. Dave is currently supporting the community to look for potential sites that could be used as a community garden.
Dave organised a tourism conference in Cefn to work with businesses and residents to look at opportunities where tourism could create job opportunities. This led to two local businesses to work together to produce an exclusive aqueduct themed range of clocks. From this event a group has met in Cefn to look at other tourism opportunities and the group are now looking at erecting an arch at a view point down to the aqueduct and developing it as a picnic area.
Dave has also been working with Dee Valley Trust to look at making the organisation sustainable by finding alternative income streams. He has also been working with organisations in Wrexham to look at time banking. Wrexham Council is now leading a bid to the big lottery to pilot time banking in two areas of Wrexham.