Introducing the recipients of the £20,000 Community Changemakers Fund 2023

We’re delighted to have been able to share £20,000 between 25 organisations in South West Wales in the 2023 round of our Community Changemakers fund.

Now in its third year, the Community Changemakers Fund supports groups and organisations with great ideas for how to improve the wellbeing of their local communities.

It’s open to any group of local residents, community organisation, charity, community interest company or micro-SME that is based within 10km/6miles of a train station on the network, which covers the counties of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

We also award grants to organisations outside the given radius if they can show how the grant funding will support a community that is within the designated radius.

Here’s the lowdown on what we’ve awarded this year:

In Swansea:

Will’s Petting Farm, a small petting farm based on Gower received £941

The Shared Garden, a wellbeing garden in Dunvant received £964

Manselton Youth Club received £500

Friends of Coed Gwilym Park, Clydach received £728

Friends of Parc Melin Mynach, Swansea received £1000

Llansamlet Graveyard Community Garden in Swansea received £768

Gendros Primary School in Swansea received £1000

Felindre Welfare Hall received £999

Swansea Pride received £1000

In Neath Port Talbot:

Children’s Rights Unit Yo-Vo in Neath Port Talbot received £800

5th Port Talbot Beaver Scout Group in Neath Port Talbot received £700

Raw Performance CIC, which offers free outdoor fitness in Neath Port Talbot, received £500

Afan Ales Drunk Poet Society poetry night received £1000

Surf School Wales’ beach library in Aberavon received £750

In It Together festival, Margam, received £400

Ty Santes Fair church community centre in Skewen received £750

The Street Art Project with San Portablo in Neath Port Talbot received £900

Me Myself and I, a dementia charity in Neath Port Talbot, received £1000

Fuse Community Arts in Neath Port Talbot received £800

In Pembrokeshire:

Parc Helyg Community Gardens received £500

Pembroke Town Wall Trust received £1000

Megan’s Starr Foundation received £700

In Carmarthenshire:

Llanboidy Market Hall – Carmarthen – £1000

Llanfallteg Memorial Playing Field – Carmarthen – £900

Llwynhendy Craft Group – Carmarthen – £400

It’s impossible to give you the lowdown on all these amazing projects in one blog, so we thought we’d pick out one from each county.

Children's Rights Unit Yo-Vo project engaged in rock climbing.

In Neath Port Talbot, the Children’s Rights Unit Yo-Vo project – Your Voice Matters – is the Youth Council for care experienced young people. It’s a group of unique and diverse young people aged between 11-18 years of age.

As a group they have enjoyed rock climbing, trampolining, educational visits, bowling and cycling to name a few. They are passionate about Children’s Rights and making sure children and young people in care have a voice. The project aims to improve the lives and opportunities of young people.

Commenting on the Changemakers funding, Jannine Smith- Secretary for the Children’s Rights Unit said:

“We are very grateful to have secured funding from South West Wales Connected Community Railway Partnership. The Changemakers grant will allow care experienced young people to take part in activities that they wouldn’t usually be able to. The activities will be chosen by the young people, and will help to build their confidence and improve their health and wellbeing.”

In Swansea, Manselton Youth Club welcomes people aged 10-16 every Friday from 5 to 7pm. Commenting on the funding for Manselton Youth Club, Nicola Thomas, youth coordinator for Manselton Youth Club, said:

“The funding from Changemakers is going to make a big difference to our youth club, as we will be able to purchase cookery equipment, to allow us to continue to provide meals for our youths on a weekly basis.” 

Volunteers at Llanfallteg Memorial Playing Field

In Carmarthenshire, the Llanfallteg Memorial Playing Field has served as a community space for over 90 years. The park is a “Queen Elizabeth II Field in Trust” protected site. This legal status gives additional protection to ensure the field is kept as a community space for recreation and leisure in years to come. 

The park is managed by a team of volunteers, under the charity Llanfallteg Memorial Playing Field. Their duty is to ensure the future of the park through management, maintenance and essential fund raising to cover operational costs. Commenting on the funding for Llanfallteg Memorial Playing Field, trustee fundraiser for Llanfallteg Memorial Playing Field Nikki Browne said:

“We applied for the funding because we wanted to build a shelter in the children’s area, and to enable the children to decorate our metal storage shed with the help of a graffiti artist. It’s been brilliant to get the funding because now we can have a day in April when local graffiti artist Lloyd the Graffiti will come and do the graffiti, and some of the dads will build the shelter. Without that money, we couldn’t do those two wonderful things.”

Nicola Harteveld and her family representing the Community Coffee House

In Pembrokeshire, Megan’s Starr Foundation in Milford Haven was set up by Nicola Harteveld – who set up Megan’s Starr Foundation after losing her daughter Megan to suicide. The charity Our Foundation concentrates on providing help, advice and support to young people and parents, from a range of social backgrounds who are struggling with their mental health and well-being. 

Commenting on the Changemakers funding, Nicola Harteveld said:

“Our coffee house is a safe space where people can come and access support – whether it’s professional counselling, peer support, or just the opportunity to join classes like art or knitting. It’s a place to have conversations or sit in peace and quiet if you prefer.

“This funding is going to be instrumental in helping us to deliver those services and to fund new projects. It will help us continue to bring people together. It’s an honour to receive this money and to know that South West Wales Connected believes in us enough to want to help us reach our target groups, promote our services and raise awareness of what we do so that more people can access our support.”

Here at SWWCo, we’re delighted to be able to support these four recipients and all the others across our region. As you may know, SWWCo is hosted by 4theRegion, a membership alliance working to bring about positive change in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire – and the Changemakers fund is a way for us and 4theRegion to deliver on that promise.

Zoe Antrobus, co-founder and managing director of 4theRegion said:

“We’re delighted to have been able to support so many organisations doing incredible work to improve the communities in our region. This year’s fund attracted so many outstanding applicants and we can’t wait to see what they achieve with the funding.”

Eve Sherratt, community rail officer for SWWCo, added:

“The Community Changemakers fund is one of the highlights of our year. It helps us support the individuals and organisations that are creating positive change in the communities along out rail network. Well done to all this year’s recipients for their commitment and hard work in improving their communities.”

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