Dinas Community Action Plan 2017 Update
Dinas Community Action Plan - 2017 Update Re-do pagination when final text/format sorted
Introduction to Action Plan Process
Reviewing the 2011 Action Plan
Action Plan Area
Buildings and Land Owned by the Community
Yr Hen Ysgol
Dinas Cross Memorial Playing Field
Dinas Community Forum Environment Group
Dinas Community Forum Energy Group
Format of 2016 Visioning Workshop to update the 2011
1. Community facilities and Community centre
2. Heritage and History of Dinas
3. Recreation and Environment
4. Community Services
Other issues raised at the workshop
Appendices: 1. Schedule of activities at Yr Hen Ysgol 2. Friends of Yr Hen Ysgol 3. Dinas Cross Memorial Playing Field draft development plan
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Cover photograph courtesy of J.T. Whicher
Introduction to Action Plan Process The Dinas community has been working with PLANED (Pembrokeshire Local Action Network for Enterprise and Development) since 2010 as part of an ongoing action planning process. This approach not only recognises all that is best about a place but looks at ways of working collaboratively. It makes the most of everything local: from celebrating heritage to identifying enterprise opportunities, with an overall aim of strengthening the communityâ€™s economy and general wellbeing for a sustainable future. An up-to-date Action Plan sets out local initiatives and is evidence that a community has come together to plan for the future, get projects underway and regularly review progress. It is a vital piece of evidence when applying for project funding. It is integrated and innovative, encourages networking and takes account of the wider area context on a national and Welsh Government level, including, for example: the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015; county plans like the Pembrokeshire Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2017-2022; and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Local Development Plan 2 (due for adoption end 2019 to guide development until 2031). Updating Action Plans keeps the process open to all, encouraging long-standing and newer residents not only to have their say but also to get involved in making things happen. PLANED and other agencies can provide support where required but this is really about communities doing it for themselves. The first Dinas Community Action Plan was compiled in 2011 when the Dinas Community Forum, an umbrella organisation representing a range of local interests, was formed to take forward projects identified through a community visioning exercise. Much has been achieved since then, and in 2016 the Community Forum decided to review and update the 2011 plan, inviting residents to a workshop to review progress and identify new targets, which are set down in this updated Action Plan. Reviewing the 2011 Action Plan At a visioning workshop held on 7th October 2016, Margaret Jones, the Community Forum chairman, welcomed participants, explaining that the Community Forum had brought everyone together with a common cause. Community momentum over the past decade had contributed to the successful development of Yr Hen Ysgol as the village community centre by dedicated volunteers. Community Forum groups had specifically taken forward community projects identified in the 2011 Action Plan.
Action Plan Area Dinas is a rural community of approximately 650 people located in North Pembrokeshire. The main village is clustered along the A487 midway between Fishguard and Newport. Noted on the OS map as ‘Dinas Cross’, the parish actually comprises a number of discrete settlements including Brynhenllan, Pwllgwaelod and Cwm-yr-Eglwys. Fringed to the south by the Preseli hills, many dwellings are detached, ranging from isolated hill farms to substantial ‘Sea Captains Houses’. Dinas Island is a large agricultural holding owned by the National Trust. There are other agricultural holdings either side of the promontory. The area has a tradition of welcoming visitors. There are a number of holiday properties, some owned by families who first discovered the beauty of the area during the 1950s, and several high quality B&Bs and caravanning/camping facilities. MAP to be inserted MAKE LARGER THAN 2011 VERSION
In North Pembrokeshire the place names are predominately Welsh. ‘Dinas’ means ‘city’ in modern Welsh but in Old and Middle Welsh it meant ‘fort or citadel’. Welsh is the main language for 7.4% of the population, as opposed to 5% in the rest of Pembrokeshire and 4.9% in Wales. Welsh and English are mingled in everyday usage, with church and chapel services conducted bilingually for example. This reinforces a strong sense of pride in Welsh tradition and culture while extending a welcome to newcomers and visitors, many of whom choose to retire in the area. Younger members of the population often leave the area for education and employment, some to return in later life. Statistics show that the ‘dependent’ population (under 16 and over 65) is slightly higher than in Pembrokeshire generally (68.1% as opposed to 67.4 and 58.2 % for the whole of Wales). There is a particular appreciation of the beautiful environment and what it offers in terms of recreation. These special qualities of this part of North Pembrokeshire are recognised by its inclusion in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. While residents are generally satisfied with their quality of life, access to medical services and public transport can be limited. The Community Forum, reinforcing a tradition of consideration for others, is working to encourage improved facilities and services at a local level to ensure a sustainable future. (Statistics taken from north east section of Pembrokeshire Profile 2011)
Buildings and Land Owned by the Community There are two principal community-owned facilities in Dinas: Yr Hen Ysgol and the adjacent Dinas Cross Memorial Playing Field. Yr Hen Ysgol - see Community Facilities Theme 1 below Yr Hen Ysgol, formerly the Victorian village school, is the community centre for the village. When Dinas Primary School closed in 2002, a Volunteer Steering Committee ensured continuing use of the facility. Once the building was officially gifted to the people of Dinas by the Barony of Kemes in 2005, its new legal status was enshrined as a company Limited by Guarantee in 2006 and as a registered Charity in 2008. Yr Hen Ysgol Dinas is now managed by volunteers via a Board of Trustees/Directors and a Management Committee; financial controls are exercised by the Treasurer. Its charitable purpose is to provide 'facilities' for the benefit of the community; the Charity does not provide 'services'. Provision of 'services' rests with the individual volunteers, groups and societies who use the building as beneficiaries of the Charity. Yr Hen Ysgol has been steadily upgraded according to a Strategic Plan, which is regularly revisited. Most of the improvements have been dependent on securing capital grants, many of which require 'match funding'. In response to this need for extra capital, the Friends of Yr Hen Ysgol was set up in 2009 - see Appendix 2. The first priority was to make the building watertight, which was achieved by replacing flat roofs with pitched ones; new Velux windows simultaneously improved natural light. The hallway has been refurbished; an enlarged storage area created, and disabled access improved. Equipment in the commercial kitchen has been substantially upgraded and the toilets have been refurbished to a high standard. Key grant support was initially provided by PLANED. Other funders include PAVS, Comic Relief, Awards for All, and South Hook LNG. In 2015, the Main Hall was completely refurbished to a very high standard with a Big Lottery People and Places grant, supplemented by Awards for All. In 2016, Bara Brith cafĂŠ opened as a commercial enterprise in the Front Room, with refurbishment costs being provided by the Friends and the cafĂŠ proprietor. Current projects for which funding has been secured include new flooring for the kitchen and a new entrance between the kitchen and the Meeting Room. Running costs are met by room hire charges, fund-raising events throughout the year, donations, and an annual contribution from Dinas Community Council. The whole building is Wi fi enabled and the new website www.yrhenysgoldinas.org.uk/ looks attractive and has a direct link to Facebook, which is very popular and useful for promoting community events. The website provides comprehensive information on facilities, activities, events and booking procedures, There is ample on-site parking at Yr Hen Ysgol and layout improvements are planned for 2017. 5
Dinas Cross Memorial Playing Field - see Recreation and Environment Theme 3 The Playing Field was gifted to the Community in 1955. The deeds are held on its behalf by the Community Council, which is the 'holding trustee'. The Community Council holds the land on behalf of the Playing Field Committee, which was registered as a charity in 1998. The Charity's Trustees are responsible for management and maintenance. The main purpose of the Charity is to improve the 'grounds' and 'facilities' for the benefit of the community. The Charity does not provide 'services' for the community. The responsibility for all 'services' rests with individual volunteers and groups who may wish to use the facilities as beneficiaries of the Charity. Although the Playing Field Committee had lapsed in recent years, the community showed renewed interest in 2016 and a new Playing Field Committee was established in January 2017. Dinas Community Forum Environment Group In 2014, the Group produced a series of six illustrated 'Dinas Circular Walks' leaflets, available in hard copy from local outlets and via Yr Hen Ysgol website. Volunteers planned the routes, took the pictures, wrote the text, and secured a Little Green Grant to cover the printing costs. The leaflets have been hugely popular, especially with tourists. In 2016, the Group took on two significant projects. First they made huge improvements to Yr Hen Ysgol garden, clearing overgrown areas and designing and initiating a planting scheme. The garden is now an attractive outside space, and has been greatly enjoyed by Bara Brith clients among others. Forum volunteers also widened Yr Hen Ysgol entrance, and with the assistance of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, repaired a section of the surrounding stone wall. Second, the Group tackled maintenance projects in the Playing Field. They trimmed trees and bushes and cleared ditches and ground waste to great effect. These impressive improvements have set the scene for further development of the Playing Field - see Recreation and Environment Theme 3 below. From 2017, the Group will be planting and managing the community flower beds adjacent to the main road. Dinas Community Forum Energy Group The Energy group thoroughly researched renewable energy options with the help of outside consultants provide by Renew Wales. In particular, the Group looked at solar energy, ground-source heating, and the feasibility of replacing the Yr Hen Ysgol oil boilers with biomass boilers. Although none of these options proved cost-effective at the moment, this is immensely valuable groundwork and will be essential to take forward any initiatives in the future.
Format of 2016 Visioning Workshop to update the 2011 Action Plan 6
Four themes were chosen for discussion: Community Facilities and Community Centre; Heritage and History of Dinas; Recreation and Environment; and Community Services. To address these themes, four tables and flip charts were each facilitated by a community forum member and participants moved round each table to ensure a broad representation of community interests; age; knowledge; and experience. Their observations and ideas form the basis of this updated action plan. Themes 1. Community Facilities and Community Centre The ‘facilities’ provided by the charity Yr Hen Ysgol, Dinas encompass quality spaces, furnishings and information - see page 5. The building has been continuously improved and maintained to a high standard over the past ten years, and is available for booking by individuals, groups, societies and ‘service’ providers. As a result of the improvements, its popularity as a venue has increased significantly. Having completely refurbished the Main Hall in 2015, the next priority for Yr Hen Ysgol Dinas charity is to refurbish and improve the Meeting Room from 2017 onwards. There is a fully fitted kitchen with a comprehensive range of crockery and utensils and a high capacity cooker and dishwasher. There are 100 chairs and 20 tables available for those who book the facilities and there is storage capacity for equipment. The toilets, including a disabled toilet, have recently been completely refurbished to the highest standard. The Front Room is occupied by a recent innovation - Bara Brith Café - which is booked and managed through an annual contract. The food is ‘homemade’ and of a very high standard and the ambience is welcoming and relaxing. It has become the natural meeting place for those in the community who wish to socialise. During the Workshop, there was enthusiasm for the improvements already achieved at Yr Hen Ysgol and strong support for the planned developments which will encourage the provision of more services at the facility - see Community Services Theme 4 below. A Community Worker has been contracted by Yr Hen Ysgol to improve the community facilities, including: Proposals put forward at the 2016 Workshop:
More effective communication, information and promotion o A more comprehensive and regularly updated website o Social media development. Production of a ‘Community Booklet’ and ‘Welcome Pack’
2. Heritage and History of Dinas The proposal is to build a small extension to the hallway of Yr Hen Ysgol and create a ‘heritage display area’ for the benefit of the community - grant funding will be 7
required for this. This ‘facility’ would be looked after and managed by Dinas Historical Society. No ‘services’ will be provided by either Yr Hen Ysgol or Dinas Historical Society. The ‘facilities’ provided by the charity Yr Hen Ysgol, Dinas would encompass quality space, interactive equipment, digital information and display panels. There was strong support at the Workshop for (i) developing a ‘heritage display area’; (ii) displaying selected thematic material, including for interactive display; (iii) an archive of Dinas history in which local historical material would be available for consultation; and (iv) installation of 'Family Tree' software for individual use. During the Workshop, there was considerable interest expressed in ‘Heritage services' at the facility’ that would need to be run by volunteers, groups and societies. The proposals included:
Research family history using the software provided by the facility
Add further interviews to community’s oral history archive (individuals/groups)
Interested groups develop Heritage Walks and add to ‘Circular Walks’ leaflets
Organise Heritage Tours around the village: building on previous walks and hamlets of Dinas could each be done in turn by interested groups.
Dinas History for school pupils: a class project to include themes such as cottages, farming and ancient landmarks were thought suitable.
3. Recreation and Environment (mainly related to the Playing Field) The 'facility' provided by the Dinas Cross Memorial Playing Field Charity is described on page 5. At a public meeting in October 2016, there was strong support for the new draft development plan of the Playing Field and its key components (see Appendix 3 draft development plan). Workshop participants were also supportive and made additional suggestions: Current draft proposals for the facility include:
Childrens Play area: relocate and develop with new equipment.
Parking area: next to Yr Hen Ysgol parking area, size to be agreed.
Skateboard area: some questioned the need and its current position.
All-weather track: Playing Field periphery for pedestrians and cyclists
Seating: will be repaired or replaced in 2017
Tree planting: yet to be designed in detail 8
Other suggestions put forward at the Workshop included:
Garden Area: a sensory/interactive area yet to be designed.
All-weather pitch: - a good idea, but prohibitively expensive for current use.
Integrate the Playing Field and Yr Hen Ysgol - a good idea which will be designed into the new plan as both facilities are seen as being complementary.
‘Services’ that could be run by volunteers, groups and societies Suggestions put forward at the Workshop included:
Environmental Walks - Extension of the six ‘Dinas circular walks’ that have been well received
Allotment and garden - for independent groups to consider
- the responsibility of individuals and groups.
- for independent groups to consider
- might warrant further exploration in the future
Community Services for Young and Old in Dinas
This section focuses on community ‘services’ which are provided by individual volunteers and volunteer groups such as Age Concern, the Luncheon Club and Cymdogion Dinas. Most of these groups use the ‘facilities’ provided by Yr Hen Ysgol and ‘Bara Brith’ café has become the natural meeting place for those in the community who wish to socialise. A Community Worker has been contracted to improve communication through use of the Yr Hen Ysgol website and social media; to prepare useful information and accessible material for the community; to identify ‘community needs’ and ‘service providers’ and to act as ‘facilitator’ with volunteers, groups and other ‘service’ providers. The Community Worker will not be providing ‘services’ for the community.
The following points were raised during the Community Forum meeting:-
- essential to underpin all service provision. The Community Worker could organise surveys in conjunction with volunteers.
Services for young people
- the Community Worker could explore options once accurate breakdown of the community is established. Provision could include: Play school, youth workers, children’s holiday club
Good Neighbour Scheme - Community Worker and volunteers could investigate the continuing need for a Good Neighbour Scheme such as Cymdogion Dinas. Community Events
- Community Worker in conjunction with volunteers could organise and schedule a series of ‘themed’ events for the young and the old
Help & Advice sessions
- Community Worker could investigate the provision of advice from charities, Citizens Advice Bureau; AM/MP Outreach ‘services’ for older people etc.
Health & wellbeing
- Health and well-being classes could include first-aid classes, meditation, counselling for vulnerable groups, dementia - memory sessions, stroke rehabilitation etc.
Other group activities
- for Community Worker to map existing provision, identify gaps such as; transport provider groups, car share scheme etc.
‘Service’ providers volunteers needed
- Welsh classes - conversational Welsh, gardening and environmental advice, guides for walkers, reading group, cookery classes, art workshops, etc.
Most of the suggestions outlined above will only happen if local ‘volunteers’ are willing to put in time and effort to organise, prepare and deliver these ‘services’.
Other Issues raised at the Workshop Other points raised but not directly addressed at the Workshop included:
car share schemes and community transport
affordable and sheltered housing
Key messages Yr Hen Ysgol Community Centre is a 'Facility for All’ – from new-born to oldest in village – and is truly inclusive. Services – there is a need for more volunteer-led services to feed into the community facility to ensure it is busy, attracting people of all ages, and therefore continues to be sustainable.
Appendix 1 - Schedule of Activities at Yr Hen Ysgol Weekly Activities Happy Mondays Singing for Fun Table Tennis Bridge Club Dinas Community Forum Environment Group Therapeutic Yoga Hatha Yoga Quilting Sun Salutation Yoga Meditation Yoga Magic the Gathering TCG Monthly Activities Film Club Lunch Club Merched y Wawr Women's Institute Community Council Yr Hen Ysgol Management Committee Quarterly and other Activities Yr Hen Ysgol Trustees Dinas Historical Society Yr Hen Ysgol fund-raising events: Christmas market; Summer BBQ; Spring and Autumn social events 12
Appendix 2: Friends of Yr Hen Ysgol Friends of Yr Hen Ysgol was set up in 2009 to help ensure the charity has a sound financial basis for the future. Over 40 local residents have become Friends since then by making regular or one-off donations to the 'capital fund' to improve community facilities in the building. While most of the costs for large projects are covered by external grants, financial input from the Friends is vital to top-up grant aid to ensure projects are completed. Furthermore, grants awarded by external bodies now require a substantial contribution from the recipient as a condition of the award . Initial projects supported by the Friends focused on making the building weatherproof by replacing flat roofs with pitched roofs, replacing ill-fitting windows and renovating damp walls. Subsequently, improvements have been made to the hallway, toilets, and store areas. Several projects are now being considered which will require support from the Friends. These include renovation of the meeting room, improvements to the kitchen and creating a heritage display area. In summary, the Friends 'capital fund' has been instrumental in maintaining the momentum of the development programme and is a key element underpinning future strategic plans for Yr Hen Ysgol and the community it serves. Further information on the Friends is available on the website www.yrhenysgoldinas.org.uk
Appendix 3: Dinas Cross Memorial Playing Field Draft Development Plan - 2016