The new Community Changemakers Fund will directly support local people and organisations who want to drive positive local change in communities along the South West Wales rail network.
The initiative has been launched by South West Wales Connected (SWWCo), a community rail partnership set up to support the communities along the railway line throughout Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea. SWWCo is hosted by 4theRegion, a community interest company based in High Street Station, Swansea, which is also backing the Community Changemakers initiative. The grants will be administered by the Carmarthenshire Association for Voluntary Services (CAVS) and are designed to be easy for local people to apply for.
The aim of the fund is to support communities along its railway lines to make change happen in their local places. The initiatives could include COVID-safe community events, creative and cultural initiatives, projects to clean up or improve local spaces, projects to support local businesses or “buying local”, projects to promote sustainability or climate action, projects to promote walking and cycling, and much more.
Each person or organisation can apply for a grant of between £300 and £1,000. The main criteria is that groups can demonstrate how the funding will improve community well-being and/or sense of place. They will need to state what the money will be used for and what difference their project will make. Their project will need to start and finish during 2021.
South West Wales Connected community rail officer, Jennifer Barfoot said: “We are passionate about supporting local people who aim to improve their communities in innovative ways, making small interventions that help create pride of place and promote well-being in the community. This new fund is designed to be easy to apply for, and will support changemakers within local communities around railway stations, helping them to bring about exciting change in their areas.”
Jackie Dorrian, health and wellbeing officer with the Carmarthenshire Association for Voluntary Services, which will be administering the grant, said: “South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership has launched this new community grant fund to support communities along the railway line to make change happen in their local places. It will assist local people to make their area more attractive, not only for themselves but for others who visit the area. It will help to bring more community focus to the area and enhance what is available.”
Head of community rail at TFW Hugh Evans said: “We are pleased to be match funding this initiative. This fund will help local people bring about real improvements in their communities and will also help raise the awareness of the rail industry. We’re committed to reaching out to local communities and are very much looking forward to seeing what projects this funding helps to get off the ground.”
Dawn Lyle, chair of 4theRegion, said: “We know that local people living in communities are best placed to know what’s needed – not top-down interventions. That’s why we’re delighted to be able to help make these grants available for “real people!” If you have a great idea for improving your community and live in an area served by the South West Wales rail network, I urge you to get in touch and find out more about how to apply. 4theRegion is committed to creating positive change throughout the region and this project will certainly help to achieve that.”
To apply, please go online to www.southwestwales.co/changemakers-fund/