Presteigne Area Community Development Group
THIS IS HOW WE GOT HERE …
Back in 2015 Powys County Council employed consultants to help 4 pilot towns (Presteigne, Newtown, Builth Wells and Ystradgynlais) develop Community Action Plans (CAP) so that when funding came available for specific projects these towns would be able to back up their applications with evidence that this is what their towns not only wanted but needed. A detailed questionnaire was developed and posted through every door in Presteigne and Norton, and from those replies the Community Action Plan took shape. Some of those involved with the initial work then stayed on to do their best to facilitate the realisation of that CAP. Click HERE to see the latest version
THIS IS WHO WE ARE …
Maggie Taylor-Sanders – Chair (01547 560813 and 07718 738742)
Involved with general day-to-day life of PACDG, and various PACDG projects, including Community Energy project and Presteigne Plenty, works closely with the Town Council, applies for grants.
Terry Wells – Secretary (01544 260258 and 07766 097600)
Produces the Community News, and noticeboards around the town, replies to email enquiries, organises events, looks after Freegle re-use facility.
Maggie James – Treasurer (01544 267109)
Co-ordinates PACDG Project Teams, involved with Community Energy project and Presteigne Plenty.
Heads the Guerrilla Gardening project team.
Involved with Presteigne Dementia Friends and WI.
Heads the Clean and Tidy project and Presteigne Plenty.
Involved with Community Energy project, organises the volunteers at the Bring Site for Connect (previously Chamber of Trade), keeps an eye on the use of car parks.
Involved with tourism, Connect and playgroup, knows lots of useful stuff.
THIS IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN DOING ...
You’d think that we needed lots of money to be able to do anything of note in the town...well, we do...and we don’t!
THIS IS WHAT WE’VE DONE WITH VERY LITTLE OR NO MONEY...
Our teams have been working on various activities to improve the environment and support for residents, but also to provide extra interest for visitors:
The Guerrilla Gardeners have received donations of spare plants and have been planting up the un-loved green spaces with flowers, various herbs and even some tomato plants were planted in the shoppers’ car park beds which people were able to help themselves to. Guerilla gardening activity continues, there are more spaces in need of some TLC!
The Daffodils Group have planted up boxes in front of the Judge’s Lodging with heritage bulbs from Presteigne’s past, with notices explaining to passers-by what they are. Catherine Beale gave a talk on the subject to the WI, who are planning a produce a public noticeboard about the history of daffodil growing in the area. You may also have noticed many more daffodils in the verges this Spring, these have been planted over the last two years by the group from 100s of bulbs either donated by well-wishers or paid for by PACDG. More will be planted each year.
The Swift Group have commissioned the Knighton Men’s Shed Group to make more boxes for residents to purchase at cost to put on their house for this and next year’s arrivals. They organised a local swift expert to give a talk at the Assembly Rooms about Swift Conservation. They also arranged a couple of evening town walks to swift-spot in town. We’re hoping that further walks will be held this year when the swifts will be feeding young, so we can identify where they are nesting and add more boxes to encourage swiftlets to adopt Presteigne as their future ‘home town’.
The Bags for Life group (in association with The Salty Dog) turns old curtains, sheets and duvets into re-usable fabric bags in a bid to banish plastic bags from Presteigne. They are made by a team of willing helpers either at home or in the workshop we've set up above The Salty Dog. The bags are currently available at the tills of The Salty Dog, The Rowan Tree and Spar and are exchanged for a donation, with all profits going to help community projects in the Presteigne and Norton area.
The Presteigne Plenty group takes excess, locally-grown or foraged fruit and veg and turns it into tasty produce or useful items that are then sold at local fairs for the benefit of community projects in the Presteigne and Norton area. We work with anything, from windfall apples, wild garlic, gluts of gooseberries and blackcurrants and even piles of wood (to make bundles of kindling).
The Tidy Town group has organised several clean-ups and smaller ad-hoc litter-picks around Presteigne. Some litter-picking equipment has been purchased using money raised by Project teams. For larger pitter-picks, additional equipment is borrowed from Keep Wales Tidy and Knighton community group. We’re also currently trialing a regular pavement and gutter clean to complement the litter picks.
The Community News e-letter continues to go from strength to strength with a steadily growing circulation (see separate entry for the current issue, and links to all past issues of the Community News). Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be included on the mailing list.
Registers of all local area groups, clubs and organisations, and new one of meeting venues with their contact names and addresses have been prepared by PACDG and uploaded on to the Town website by the volunteer team at the Judge’s Lodging. Hard copies are available at the Library and Tourist Information Office.
A Register of local venues for hire has also been prepared by PACDG and uploaded onto the town website, again with paper copies available at the library and TIC.
Tourism – we are investigating suitable locations for a proposed World Signpost and a 3deg.West Meridian marker; and working with Pete Smith to explore the future of the Sleeping Dragon, which he made to commemorate the anniversary of the First World War.
Industry - we are working with Connect on a proposed project to identify and publicise companies on the two Presteigne business parks and other local businesses by producing a public register of local businesses, and campaigning for proper signboard for the parks.
We also support, assist and fund (where needed) other community groups such as Dementia Friendly Presteigne which continues to be very active making old and young alike aware of the special needs people with dementia have, by holding presentations and workshops in our schools and with other groups. They have organised drop-in open days at the Youth Centre for anyone who wants to know more, or to tap into the support they can offer.
Hustings events, for both local and national elections
You will be more than aware that we also organised two very successful hustings for 2016’s TC and PCC election, and the General Election, and will repeat this for future elections.
Presentation to Audrey
We had a lovely presentation on the High Street last year to celebrate Audrey Cole being in her shop for 50 years before retiring. It was a simple event to organise, but it made a great difference to her and spread a warm feeling around the town. Here’s the link to the clip BBC Hereford & Worcester produced, having got wind of it on local ‘jungle drums’. https://www.facebook.com/bbcherefordandworcester/videos/1498910026848067/
Insurance and banking.
As an established community organisation, we provide insurance cover and a ‘banking’ provision for PACDG project teams, and for associated groups such as Dementia Friends and Playgroup Mums.
We are working on bringing in funds from donations, sales of goods (Bags for Life and Presteigne Plenty) and grant funding for specific projects and are working with Connect (formerly the Chamber of Trade) to distribute the Bring Site income for projects of joint interest (e.g. Tidy Town). The TC grants PACDG a small annual precept, essentially to cover the cost of insurance.
Our second AGM was held 26th June 2018.
THIS IS WHAT WE’VE DONE WITH SOME MONEY …
As part of the remit of the Community Development Group (PACDG) we applied for and got a grant of over £2000 from the National Lottery for ‘Presteigne Area Community Involvement: Phase 1’ (note that it’s Phase 1 … there will be more!!).
We asked for money to cover these 5 projects:
1. Community communications: three notice boards and Community News
2. Community Groups Fair 2016 and 2017
3. Training in how to encourage community involvement
4. Public consultation, Assets and Services Consultation.
5. Celebrating our first year
1. Community Communications
- We installed a small Community Noticeboard on the wall of Dilwyn’s Solicitor in the High Street, with kind permission of the building’s new owners.
- We also commissioned a double, glass-fronted notice board for PACDG Community News and TC Agendas and Minutes, installed inside the archway at the entrance to the Library.
- We arranged a large community board in the Memorial Hall car park, which was generously donated and installed by McColville’s, including the removal of the fence and improvements to the entrance to the carpark. PACDG paid for the board header and have continued with its maintenance.
The Community News, compiled by our secretary, goes out by bulk email to local residents. Paper reading copies go to the Library and The Circle, and on noticeboards in Presteigne and Norton. We have ensured that the data we hold is fully compliant with the new GDPR requirements. To receive the News, email email@example.com.
2. Community Groups Fairs: ‘Ticked all the boxes’
Press Release extract about the 2016 Fair: 60 groups as diverse as Transition Presteigne, Men’s Shed, Young Farmers, Tai-Chi, Busy-Bee Quilters, Mid-Border Arts packed into the Memorial Hall until was full to bursting. Yet still they managed to squeeze in a selection of musicians who added a tuneful note to the buzz.
Visitors and those representing the various groups were impressed with the day: ‘Quite staggering to realise just how much does go on’. ‘I think everyone had fun and Presteigne is the stronger for it!’ ‘It ticked all the boxes, bringing everyone together for a very informative and enjoyable day.’
A second Fair was held in October 2017 also in the Memorial Hall which, in addition to showcasing local groups and clubs, included demonstrations and performances by local clubs, groups and musicians under a Presteigne’s Got Talent banner.
We plan to re-run the Fair every second year.
3. Training Workshops and other courses/conferences by PAVO and others
An enjoyable ‘Skills for Participation’ Workshop was put on in 2017 by PAVO for local people active in the community; all of whom were keen to find out about what helps and what hinders people participating in community work, and the benefits that can be gained from it for the individual and the community. There was representation from Whitton Community Hall, Knighton Men’s Shed, Young Farmers, Presteigne Carnival, and PACDG. Paid for by the ‘Awards for All Community Involvement Phase 1’ grant received by PACDG last year.
We continue to liaise with local organisations about PAVO courses, and other conferences and workshops of potential benefit, with financial support where needed.
PACDG worked closely with the Town Council designing and delivering the town-wide 2017 Assets and Services Consultation (see it HERE) seeking residents’ support for the Council’s negotiations with Powys County Council over assets and services in the town, some of which were, and still are, under threat. An overwhelming display of support for this was received (see it HERE).
There have been mixed results from the Town Council’s negotiations with PCC, (see results HERE):
- the additional cemetery land was acquired by the TC but a change of mind from PCC resulted in them purchasing the land from the TC and continuing to run the cemetery
- the future of the Library has been secured – in the short term – with the assistance of volunteers and a reduction in working hours for the remaining professional librarian
- the Old School remains under the ownership of PCC with the Youth Centre taking on a new lease for the building
- the Drill Hall is to be sold on the open market by PCC following the TC’s withdrawal of their Expression of Interest. This building is now unfortunately lost to the Community.
THIS IS WHAT WE’RE PLANNING TO DO NEXT ...
Community Action Plan (CAP) Review
We have now revisited the CAP and plan to extend this review in collaboration with volunteers from the Town Council, Connect, PNCS, etc. to check the ongoing relevance of this document to the town with special regard to the changes and reductions to assets and services, among other things. When it was created, PCC stressed that it was a ‘live’ document to be developed and pruned as the need arises.
Launch of more projects
PACDG will soon be consulting about the next round of projects to be launched. These will form the basis of the next grant applications. They will include:
- Space Walk. You may have seen a mock-up of this at the carnival, where visitors to the site voted 56:1 in favour. The intention is to create a new walking trail based on a one-billionth scale model of our solar system, the 1.39m diameter Sun will hopefully be on Stonewall Hill with the planets will scattered round the locality, taking in the Spaceguard Centre and Offa’s Dyke Path.
- Share. The idea of this venture is for the town to share its skills. Skills of all sorts but especially focusing on hand skills. We hope to find a venue where we can bring together a sewing room, a big kitchen, and a workshop etc., where skills can be shared and acquired.
- Dark Skies status for the town (PACDG will be supporting Transition Presteigne and the Marches Astronomy Group in this venture). If Presteigne receives this prestigious status it will be the first town in Wales and England to do so, and will compliment the Dark Sky Areas in the Brecon Beacons and Elan Valley.
Presentation to the Town Council
We will be making a presentation to the Town Council at their September 2018 meeting seeking their support for a second phase of community projects to help make life in Presteigne and Norton as sustainable as possible for the long-term future.
Launching a town-wide group (still looking for a name!)
There are many groups in Presteigne and Norton working for the benefit and well-being of the community. We will be calling them together to see if we can focus our efforts in the same direction to share help and expertise rather than us all working in isolation. In short we are hoping to have a common vision for the community for the next few years to see us through Brexit and inevitable cuts to our assets and services.
Past Community Newsletters.
Click the issue your require, Issue 98, Issue 97, Issue 96, Issue 95, Issue 94, Issue 93,Issue 92, Issue 91, Issue 90, Issue 89, Special Issue, Issue 88, Issue87, Issue 86, Issue 85a, Issue 85 ,Issue 84, Issue 83, Issue 82, Issue 81, Issue 80, Issue 79, Special Carnival Issue, Issue 78, Issue 77, Issue 76, Issue 75, Issue 74, Issue 73, Issue 72, Issue 71, Issue 70, Issue 69, Issue 68, Issue 67, Issue 66, Issue 65, Issue 64, Issue 63 B, Issue 63, Issue 62, Issue 61, Issue Sp, Issue 60, Issue 59, Issue 58, Issue 57, Issue 56, Issue 55, Issue 54, Issue 53, Issue 52, Issue 51, Issue 49. Issue 48, Issue 47A, Issue 47, Issue 46. Issue 45 A, Issue 45, Issue 43, Issue 42, Issue 39, Issue 38, Issue 37, Issue 36 ,Issue 35, Issue 34, Issue 33, Issue 32, Issue 31, Issue 30, Issue 29, Issue 28, Issue 27, Issue 26, Issue 25, Issue 24, Issue 23, Issue 21, Issue 20, Issue 19, Issue 18, Issue 17, Issue 16, Issue 15, Issue 14, Issue 13, Issue 12, Issue 11, Issue 10, Issue 9, Issue 8, Issue 7, Issue 6, Issue 5, Issue 4, Issue 3, Issue 2, Issue 1
Special Council Issue - April 2019
an information service from PAC - the Presteigne Area Community Development Group
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County Councillor Update
As the months are passing us by, it is time for a Spring 2019 Update. As Vice Chairman of Powys County Council I am required to represent the local authority at various events, one such event was the St. David’s Day service & parade in Brecon on March 1st, it was a wonderful couple of hours spent in the presence of the Welsh Guards.
Matters closer to home have included:
· The successful installation of a third defibrillator in the High Street. Dale from The Royal Oak & I have been working towards this for some time so it was especially pleasing to see it finally installed. Many thanks to all those who have contributed financially.
· The second phase of the Active Travel Route has been undertaken. I appreciate there has been disruption to people, especially those who live in Hereford Street, and I must thank everyone for their patience. It will be finished in a very short time and will be a real asset to the community once finished. Free parking permits are also available for residents of Hereford Street whilst the works are ongoing. As a consequence of the works, enhancements are being made to the John Beddoes school field entrance off Greenfield Road with parking available for the Bowling Green on match days. The drains have also been replaced in Hereford Street and the road is being resurfaced. Thank you once again for your patience.
· The decision to remove the large garden waste bins has been ratified by the Cabinet and they will be removed in the coming weeks. As residents we are being offered a door to door garden waste collection at a cost of £35 per year. You do not have to sign up to the service, it is completely optional. As a matter of interest Powys County Council was the only authority in Wales to not have been charging for this service in previous years. If you do wish to purchase a garden waste bin and have it collected every two weeks you need to sign up here https://en.powys.gov.uk/gardenwaste
· I am extremely pleased to be the Community Champion for the new initiative “Plastic Free Presteigne”. A small group of likeminded people have formed a group and are working towards making Presteigne a plastic free community. We can all make minor adjustments to our everyday life which can help protect the environment, such as choosing to purchasing fruit & veg not wrapped in single use plastic, ensuring we take our reusable bags to the shop, simple choices we can all make. This is an exciting opportunity for us and one which I hope people will embrace.
· I am also working with a small group of volunteers to try to get an Astro Turf pitch for Presteigne, and the surrounding communities. This would be a real asset for our community, but unfortunately will be an expensive venture. We have formed a committee and are having monthly meetings and the project is progressing, however it will be a long process. But certainly an exciting one. You can follow us on the Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/eastradastro/
· Sadly the council tax has risen by 9.5%. There are many reasons and I can understand people’s frustration in decreasing services and rising taxes. Powys County Council have made significant reductions in staffing and must now lobby the Welsh Assembly for increased settlements going forward.
· As you will know the Library was under serious threat of closing and, after negotiations with the cabinet member responsible for libraries, County Councillors were assured the library would be given a reprieve for 12 months if the council tax was increased. I now have to work with Cllr. Rachel and senior officers to ensure the future of our library.
· For information, I serve on the following committees: Presteigne Primary School Governor, Newtown High School Governor, Presteigne & Norton Town Council, East Radnor Sports Association Astro Turf Working Group, The Judges Lodging Board of Trustees, PCC Social Care Working Group, Powys Community Health Council. If you would like to contact me regarding any of these or indeed any local matters; complaints or compliments; please feel free to email me on email@example.com and I will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.
· Finally, all agendas and information regarding full County Council meetings can be found at www.powys.gov.uk Members of the public are welcome to attend to observe or can watch live on the webcast. You are also able to ask questions of the Cabinet, these must be submitted in writing in advance but if anyone would like to utilise this please do let know. For information the Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 16th May commencing at 10.30am.
Cllr. Beverley Baynham, Elected Member Presteigne Ward, Vice-Chair of PCC, Chairman of Radnorshire
Mayor’s Spring Update
· In December the Judge’s Lodging’s was handed over by PCC to the Trust now responsible for running the building. Work is due to start on the Judge’s Lodging’s imminently. The scaffolding has started going up for repairs to the roof and repainting of the front of the building. If you would be interested in volunteering to help welcome visitors and look after the shop (which is also being re-fitted) then go along and speak to Gaby.
· Once again the library came under threat, although a one year reprieve was agreed when the budget was finally set by PCC. The TC has formed a working group to formulate a response to PCC and work with them and our local library volunteers to ensure the safe future of this important facility.
· The work on the second phase of the Safe Routes to Schools project is nearing completion and PCC are to be thanked for securing the monies and using them in Presteigne.
· The outdoor gym equipment on Went’s meadow is now operational and we are now looking for grant funding to provide additional equipment for the children’s play area – hopefully an aerial ropeway to replace the one we had year’s ago.
· A further presentation on the Dark Skies project is being made at the beginning of our April meeting. So if you’re interested to hear about it do come along.
· Cllr. Rose Bamford has volunteered to represent the TC on the Plastics Free Presteigne project being organised by Transition Presteigne which was launched at this ,month’s farmer’s market.
· Following the success of the four ‘dog poo bag dispensers’, we precepted for three more. One will be in Norton and the other two, subject to approval, will be placed in Scottleton St (near the Day Centre) and Hereford St (by the Police Station).
· Welsh Water have confirmed that a new waste water treatment plant was included in their business plan for 2020-2025. We’re now pushing them for an early start date.
· Work on the new Community Barn on Went’s meadow is progressing well thanks to kind weather in Feb and March. It is hoped that it will be finished by the end of June. A big thanks you to all the volunteers involved.
· The move of our meetings to the Assembly Rooms has worked well. I would remind you that our May meeting, when the new Mayor is elected, will take place in the Courtroom of the Judge’s Lodging. The agendas for our meetings are posted on the notice board by the library door on the Thursday before the meetings which are held on the third Wed of each month. We would be delighted to see you there.
The nights are drawing out and the Magnolia trees are looking wonderful!
Cllr Colin Kirkby MBE - Mayor
If you have any questions on what's happening - or not happening - in our community, do let us know and we'll do our best to provide an answer, or at least point you in the right direction - simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. We're happy to help publicise community and charity activities and events (but only for events in the immediate Presteigne area) - email text (not poster images please) at least 3 weeks in advance to email@example.com. The Community News is published twice per month. Feel free to tweet or forward this issue to others