Coytrahen Community Association and £6,564 from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust
One of the ways that reach supports rural communities is by helping them to develop Rural Action Plans. This is a process through which people can voice their opinions on what action they would like to see happen in their area – action that relies on specific issues that are relevant to the individual community.
Coytrahen as a community, were helped by reach to produce a community action plan. reach contributed £2,000 to the process, which covered the costs of meeting venues, refreshments, consultation materials and design and printing of the finalised plan.
The Coytrahen Action Plan started with a consultation stall at the Christmas Fair in Coytrahen Community Centre in December 2011. Following the consultation, a community workshop was held to further map out the issues affecting the community. The Community Association produced a questionnaire, which was delivered by association members to all households in Coytrahen. “was an excellent response to the questionnaire’ says Mark Blackmore, Community Development worker for reach.” Each household was asked to prioritise the issues they felt were most important to them. The results of this consultation were discussed in a community meeting and from this the three top priorities were identified as improving the Community Centre, traffic through the village and preserving the history of Coytrahen.
Outcome and Impact
A working group was formed to implement the Action Plan process. The group worked with Llangynwyd Lower Community Council to address the traffic issues and the Community Association on improving the Community Hall. In addition, the group worked with the Coytrahen History group to work on the priority of preserving the community’s history. The group decided to apply for reach funding to improve the Community Hall, with the objective of attracting more people to use it. reach’s grant of £31,504 was match funded by £1,312 from the Coytrahen Community Association and £6,564 from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. The heating system in the hall was replaced, toilet facilities improved and a lounge area was created for smaller community groups to use as a meeting place.
“Now that this work has been completed, the Community Centre is definitely used more than it used to be” says Jean Faulkner, a member of the Community Association. “It’s a much nicer venue and has a far more pleasant atmosphere” she added.
The reach Action Plan group were also successful in reforming the Coytrahen History Group, which has led to achieving the objective of preserving the history of the community. “Before the Action Plan, we had a small History Group, which lacked direction and was not well attended” says Keith Faulkner. “We now have over twenty members who meet monthly” The History Group have catalogued a lot of old photos and documents and hope to display these in the Hall and also record them digitally. A recent competition, asking people to write a 100 word essay on an aspect of Coytrahen’s history that interested them was hugely successful. They are particularly proud that they have recorded people who live in the village, particularly elderly residents, so that their stories and histories are documented for the future.
“There’s always been a lot of camaraderie in Coytrahen, but the Action Plan has helped to add to this. reach were the driving force and spark to get it all off the ground”.Ken Faulkner