Nature-based projects in Newtown get £723,000

Five nature-based partnership projects in a mid Wales town have been given £723,000 to develop their work.

Dolerw Park, Newtown
Dolerw Park, Newtown

The aim is to pilot new ways of managing Newtown’s nature and green spaces to make the town a "viable and vibrant place to live, work and visit".

An organisation called Open Newtown has received the money from the Enabling Natural Resources and Well-being (ENRaW) fund of the Welsh Government. It will be launching a series of partnership projects.

Lynne Burns, who will be managing the five projects, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the ENRaW funding. These new projects bring together a strong partnership of local organisations to collaborate in a way that enables our natural resources to be linked to people’s wellbeing.

“By engaging people and businesses, our aim is to pilot and develop viable support services based on our natural assets in Newtown. The projects will test what communities can achieve, given the right support, access to land and freedom to do what they do best.

“One of the most exciting projects will see young people in Newtown working with Kerala Irwin, Open Newtown’s youth engagement officer to investigate Newtown’s ecological footprint and to plan for a sustainable future for the town.”

Open Newtown is a development trust and social enterprise which manages 130 acres of green spaces in Newtown.

The Wellbeing in Green Spaces project will see Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, Cultivate Co-operative and Oriel Davies Gallery working in partnership to harness nature, food, and art, in the town’s green spaces to deliver health and wellbeing services.

Carla Kenyon, the head of wellbeing at Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust are thrilled to be a partner in this exciting project, and we are very encouraged that Welsh Government are committed to investing in wellbeing and nature initiatives for the benefit of people living in and around Newtown.”

The Building Resilient Businesses project is a partnership with Ponthafren, Circular Economy Mid Wales and Robert Owen Community Banking Fund. It will offer wellbeing support to business owners and staff, environmental efficiency audits and a loan fund to provide support services to the town’s businesses.

Open Newtown’s Sustainable Farming project, with partners Robert Owen Community Banking Fund and the Severn Rivers Trust, will support a group of 25 upper Severn farmers near to the town to enhance land and water management and biodiversity.

The One Planet Generation project will see Open Newtown working with local young people to investigate environmental impacts and what we can do, as a community and individuals, to reduce it. This project will also develop a programme of outdoor, nature-based activities for local children in Newtown

The Open Events project will involve Open Newtown working in partnership with Oriel Davies Gallery to develop a programme of diverse events to celebrate the town’s natural resources.

These new projects are being supported by the Welsh Government Rural Communities - Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government until June 2023.

Open Newtown is the trading name for Going Green For A Living Community Land Trust Ltd, a not-for-profit, social enterprise based out of Newtown Powis. Open Newtown is unlocking the economic potential of the green spaces and river include creating opportunities for sports, recreation, events, well-being, tourism and the local economy and community.

In 2019, 130 acres of green space and river were transferred from Powis County Council to Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Town Council and sublet to Open Newtown.

Open Newtown secured £1.1 million funding from the National Lottery Community Fund Wales to support community-based developments in the area.

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