Community groups and sporting clubs who benefited from Together in Wrexham grant funding throughout 2016 gathered to praise the scheme and its positive impact on the community.
The grants scheme allows a wide variety of groups to further their work and provide a new or wider range of services to members of the public – be that through outdoor work, the arts or sports.
Among the recipients of the funding was the Caia Park Partnership; a community group which runs a number of facilities in the Caia Park area of Wrexham.
The Partnership received £5,000 from the grants fund, which helped to support a much larger bid to the Welsh Government and the Big Lottery Fund, for a new community-run library and community enterprise units at its centre on Prince Charles Road.
The bid – submitted in September – amounts to more than £500,000, with the Partnership awaiting the result in the New Year.
Alison Hill, Chief Officer of the Caia Park Partnership, said: “If successful, this funding will have a profound impact on the local community – the library will provide a focus for learning, reading and breaking down isolation, while the new enterprise units will enable local entrepreneurs to set up new businesses and increase employment opportunities in the area.”
Also receiving a grant from the enabling fund was the Cunliffe Bowling Club, which used the grant to buy a lawnmower to help take over the maintenance of its grounds on Jeffreys Road. The grounds were maintained by Wrexham Council prior to the Club accepting the role of leaseholder.
Eryl Jones, Secretary of the Bowling Club, said: “We had to deal with a very poor old mower before, but we applied for the grant and bought a new Dennis mower- it’s absolutely marvellous and the green is in prime condition, and it’s very well looked after by two members.”
As part of the enabling scheme, a loan of £20,000 was given to Cefn Druids FC to install a new 3G pitch at its grounds on The Rock, Rhosymedre.
The grounds have been used to train other local clubs, including Penycae, Cefn Albion, Llangollen, Rhostyllen, Rhos Aelwyd, Coedpoeth and others – along with hosting 24 six-a-side teams in a soccer league on Sunday and Monday nights, and matches for disabled players and half-term soccer schools.
Bwlchgwyn Cabin Crew is a non-profit making childcare facility offering a quality, affordable, out of school childcare for children 2 – 13 years, accessible to all.
The services offered include a breakfast club, after-school club, Nursery Plus, holiday club and Playgroup with a view to allowing parents to be able to afford to return to employment and/or education.
Nicola Roberts, Manager of Cabin Crew, said: “The Together in Wrexham grant has allowed us to purchase new play equipment enabling us to develop new play areas within Bwlchgwyn Cabin Crew.
“These new areas have enhanced the play opportunities for the children attending and will encourage early language development and improve their knowledge, language and social skills.”
The Gwerin y Coed Forest Group, Ty Mawr, used a grant of £5,000 to expand its team of volunteers, who run weekly outdoor sessions for families with ADHD or autism.
The grant has allowed them to set up training sessions for parents and carers, focusing on wellbeing, social inclusion and peer support – as well as games, woodland crafts and outdoor cooking.
David Beasley, a parent volunteer at Gwerin y Coed, said: “Being here is great. You can talk to other parents who understand what the kids are like. It’s good for my wellbeing.
“It gets them out to communicate with other children and adults. It gets them out and enjoying themselves.”
The Vic Studios, a social enterprise which provides a place for young performers in Wrexham to perform and record their work, also applied for a grant.
The group was given £4,995 to develop the profile, organisational capabilities, delivery capacity and market positioning of the studio.
Mike Corcoran, a volunteer at the studio, said: “At the point of applying for Together in Wrexham Funding, Vic Studios was just opening its doors as a newly formed, independent social enterprise. The funds were essential to support our organisational development, growth and the re-launch of the studios, having previously been operated as a local authority service until 2015.
“Since then, we have seen our young beneficiaries perform to huge crowds in Wrexham Town Centre as part of the Focus Wales Music Festival, provided specialist support to over 130 individuals with a variety of complex needs, and welcomed almost 1000 people back into Vic Studios to record, rehearse and get creative!”
The THIS Project, which provides artists with a venue in Wrexham’s town centre, received a £1,990 grant to reactivate an elevator at its premises on Hope Street, named Undegun.
Dave Gray, organiser at the THIS Project, said: “Operating in a pop up environment we are not able to make extensive investment in the premises, but the small grant we received from Together In Wrexham allowed us to bring the lift of the building back into use, ensuring that all members of the community can enjoy the services provided in the building – not only the elderly and disabled, but also parents with pushchairs, can now easily make use of our first floor space.
“This has had a positive impact on our visitor numbers and helped us grow our creative community.”
Support from Together in Wrexham will also allow members of the Champions’ House recovery hub, run by the drug and alcohol support agency CAIS, to tackle anti-social behaviour and boost civic pride by offering free clean-up days in communities across the town centre.
CAIS was given a grant of £5,000 to support the clean-up days.
Volunteers from the Recovery in Action group will work with community councils to identify areas which could use a bit of tender loving care, before carrying out litter picks, weeding, painting and other works.
CAIS manager Leon Marsh said: “The team was praised for its efforts to tidy the Rhosddu area of Wrexham earlier this autumn – and now looks forward to using new equipment, purchased with the help of Together in Wrexham grant funding, to deliver more clean-ups this winter.”
“Many of our volunteers are in long-term recovery, and are now productive members of society having taken advantage of the support services on offer in Wrexham.”
Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities and Partnerships, said: “I was incredibly pleased to have met so many recipients of Together in Wrexham enabling funding, and to hear of the work they have gone on to do to support their respective communities has been fantastic.
“I look forward to hearing from other groups in future, and encourage anyone who may be interested or considering their eligibility for such a grant to visit the Together in Wrexham website.”