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Swansea crowdfunded projects start delivering return to communities

How the new blacksmith-made gate will look at the Swansea Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park.

New initiative Crowdfund Swansea is beginning to deliver benefits to people around the city.

Three groups raising funds through the scheme, driven by Swansea Council, have already hit their targets.

They are Pontarddulais Cricket Club, the Friends of Hafod-Morfa Copperworks and the Friends of the City of Swansea Botanical Complex.

Andrew Stevens, a council cabinet member for better communities, said: “It’s good to see Crowdfund Swansea giving residents new facilities and services.

“The projects are rooted in our communities and are driven for people in those communities.

“They all offer something important and I hope that many other schemes find success through Crowdfund Swansea.”

Crowdfund Swansea allows Swansea residents to raise funds for community projects.

Launched by the council in the winter, it is backed by specialist funding organisation Spacehive.

The council has set aside £75,000 and schemes can pitch for some of that. The council donated £2,500 to the Pontarddulais effort, £900 to the copperworks initiative and £2,700 to the botanical gardens campaign.

A Pontarddulais Cricket Club squad who were runners-up in a Cricket Wales T20 under-19s competition.

Pontarddulais Cricket Club has raised more than £24,000 with the help of the initiative to fund its first accessible toilet unit. The facility will be used by club members and visitors.

Club secretary Ben Roberts said: “With a number of our members and regular visitors registered disabled, this facility is long overdue.

“We also have young families who are members so this will provide a toilet and changing facility for babies and infants.

“We thank all our members, supporters and local residents for their donations. Without their generosity we wouldn’t have been able to fund this facility.

“I see it as a legacy to our former secretary Matthew Davies who, for some time, used a wheelchair and found it difficult to fully enjoy his time at the club.

“The same went for my grandfather Tom Coles who used to watch me playing junior cricket from his wheelchair despite the ground lacking the right facilities for him.

“Now we’re putting that right!”

Another Crowdfund Swansea initiative has seen the club reach past its initial £220 target for a Covid-19 emergency response fund. This is helping the club to cover overhead costs such as electricity, water and broadband fees during the pandemic.

Mr Roberts said: “As this cricket season will be significantly shorter than usual it’s not right that we push for membership fees so our supporters now have the option of backing us financially through crowdfunding. They’ve been very generous indeed and we’re very grateful to them.”

Formed more than 140 years ago, the cricket club has more than 400 members, four senior teams and eight junior and youth teams.

Members of the Friends of Hafod-Morfa Copperworks.

Fundraising through Crowdfund Swansea means that the Friends of Hafod-Morfa Copperworks can develop a volunteer community centre on the site of the historic industrial complex which is undergoing regeneration.

The funds raised – more than £2,600 – mean that a mobile building donated by a local contractor can be fitted out to equip the facility to support the work of the Friends group.

It will support a guided tours programme and will be used to house displays and exhibitions.

Its presence will raise the profile of the site and increase volunteer engagement. Last year volunteers completed the restoration of an historic crane now re-installed back in the site’s Musgrave Engine House.

The Lower Swansea Valley became the world’s leading centre for copper smelting in the 18th century. The Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site is of international importance, becoming the world’s largest copperworks in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century.

The council secured a £3.75m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for the expansive Hafod-Morfa site’s transformation work, with additional works to other historical buildings in the vicinity funded by Welsh Government Transforming Towns funding.

The council worked with partners – including Penderyn Whisky and Swansea University – to create the National Lottery Heritage Fund bid.

Two engine houses have been subject to some restoration that was grant funded by Transforming Towns, Cadw and the council.

Geoff Dendle, of the friends group, said: “We’re very grateful to the council and Spacehive for launching this crowdfunding initiative.

“I also thank members of the public who’ve supported us, colleagues in the group who have promoted it and the two councillors most local to the copperworks, Bev Hopkins and Mike White. They each made a generous donation from their community budget which helped us to reach and exceed our target.”

Welsh blacksmith Eifion Thomas is to create an eye-catching new nature-themed steel gate for the Swansea Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park.

How the new blacksmith-made gate will look at the Swansea Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park.

The work has been made possible by supporters of a Crowdfund Swansea appeal by the hardworking Friends of the City of Swansea Botanical Complex.

They asked supporters to help raise £5,000 – and they did.

Jane Terrett, of the friends group, said: “Knowing that the local authority could support our Spacehive campaign if it was shown that the local community were actively pledging was a key factor that encouraged us to take part.

“A huge amount of work went in behind the scenes for the campaign to be successful but it was well worth the effort in the end.

“We can’t thank the people at Spacehive enough. They were incredibly helpful whilst setting up our Crowdfund Swansea page.”

The new entrance gate is part of a continuing project to enhance the much loved gardens and to improve this space that matters to the local community.

It will be individually designed and handcrafted by Mr Thomas, of Pembrokeshire.

Jane said: “We encourage the local community to get out of doors and to engage with the open spaces freely available on their doorstep.

“Promoting access to the outdoors can have a positive difference to health and wellbeing.”

Crowdfund Swansea initiatives are showcased on the project website as they bid for public support.

Successful projects will be in addition to schemes already delivered by the council. Crowdfund Swansea complements the council’s regeneration work, specifically that by partnership body Regeneration Swansea.

For more about Crowdfund Swansea log on to www.spacehive.com/movement/crowdfundswansea.