Llangollen is to share in a £500,000 lottery bonanza won by a community charity to fight rural poverty in Denbighshire’s Dee Valley.
The money from the Big Lottery Fund will help extend the reach of Corwen-based South Denbighshire Community Partnership to local organisations in Llangollen and its surrounding area and will be spread over four years to autumn 2024.
It will be administered by SDCP through their Your Place Or Ours project and is their second major lottery grant, following the award of £350,000 30 months ago to work with older and vulnerable people in the Edeyrnion area around Corwen.
A launch at Pentredwr Community Centre was attended by Clwyd South AM Ken Skates, the Welsh Government Economy Minister, who said: “This is a wonderful boost for the Llangollen area which has its share of rural poverty and the issues of isolation, particularly among the elderly and vulnerable.
“It is also good to see that South Denbighshire Community Partnership which has been doing a fantastic job in the Edeyrnion area around Corwen will now be able to extend their services to this end of the Dee Valley.”
In the last three years SDCP have built up a wide portfolio of services including meals-on-wheels, a lunch club, community transport, green energy generation, grocery and prescription delivery – even the delivery vehicles is electric.
They have also worked closely with Citizens Advice Denbighshire to help local people claim almost half a million pounds in benefits in the last six months, £347,000 since lockdown started in March.
SDCP Community Engagement Officer Sally Lloyd Davies said: “We are working with and co-ordinating existing groups and organisations in the Llangollen area which have a similar agenda to ours.
“It means they can make use of the expertise we have gained in recent years in improving the lives of the vulnerable, the isolated and those in poverty.
“There are some fantastic local groups across the Llangollen area and they’re doing great work and this grant boost will enable us to work together in the future.”
Ticky Lowe, Pentredwr Community Association Events and Funding Officer, said: “Being part of the SDCP project will bring huge benefits for our rural community – giving us much needed access to transport, the meals on wheels service and also offering advice to our residents on benefits and grants which they could be entitled to via links with Citizens Advice Denbighshire.
“The SDCP approach is to work with the community to identify our particular needs and offer help accordingly and I think this approach will be welcomed.”
Heulwen Wright, Chair of the Friends of Pengwern Community Centre, has also welcomed the cash injection and the expertise SDCP bring and she said: “It’s really fortunate and exciting that SDCP are rolling out these services in Llangollen. It’s nothing but a positive for the town, the community and individual groups.
“SDCP’s support will also help our team at Pengwern deliver our services and projects more easily and assist the different local community groups to work together to bring benefits across the area.”
Denbighshire County Councillor for Llangollen Graham Timms said: “This grant funding will bring huge benefits to the many organisations that already exist in the Llangollen area.
“They have been offering help to our residents for many years but the extra expertise and experience of SDCP will be invaluable in supporting their work and this is a fantastic opportunity to expand the support offered to our communities.
“There are particular problems in an area that is largely rural, which leads to isolation for many, and in this current crisis it is clear that many more people locally will be in need of help and the demand for support will be much greater from all ages, many of whom have not needed help before.
“It’s my wish that this new opportunity will help us all to rise to the challenge ahead and enable our communities to be much stronger together.”
His fellow Denbighshire Councillor, Melvyn Mile, added: “I’m delighted that SDCP have had this funding to extend their operations into Llangollen, Llantysilio and Pentredwr because there are many groups here who will benefit from their experience.
“That includes the Cittaslow Committee of Llangollen Town Council who are in contact with many local groups who would benefit from the kind of support SDCP have provided in Edeyrnion.”
SDCP Project Manager Margaret Sutherland said: “We will be in Llangollen two days a week working with local organisations, many previously unfunded, who have been doing amazing work with volunteers and we will share our expertise, knowledge and skills to help these groups become more resilient and sustainable for the longer term.
“We know Llangollen has similar needs to Edeyrnion in terms of meals on wheels, services for the vulnerable and community transport and one of the first steps will be to assist Citizens Advice Denbighshire to extend its service in Llangollen from half a day to two days.”
Llangollen will also soon have additional community transport based in the town complementing the existing services as well as a lunch club and new social groups and SDCP plan to build partnerships with existing groups in and around the town.