The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm community fund has invested almost £122k to kick start a project aimed to educate, build skills, and empower children and young people across the Afan Valley.
The KnowURights project is a three-year campaign being actioned by the Children’s Rights Unit in Neath Port Talbot. The project launched in the summer to raise awareness of Children’s Rights, address issues raised by children and young people and support them in having their voices heard.
Project Officer Clare Pritchard has spent the past few months visiting the villages that make up the Afan Valley and has started to listen to children and young people’s feelings, concerns, and worries.
She said: “I have already collated some valuable information on the issues closest to the hearts of the children across the county. This will help inform the priorities for the campaign, while also helping to empower children and young people to lobby for change themselves.”
Louise Morgan–Doyle at Ysgol Cwm Brombil said: “The children are really excited to be involved in this project and already have so many ideas for things they would like to change or improve in the local area.”
Executive Director of Pen y Cymoedd, Kate Breeze, said: “Although the project is in its infancy, it has great potential to have a lasting impact on the Afan Valley. Not only will it ensure that children’s rights are rooted in everyday life, but it will also encourage children and young people to stand up for their beliefs and be involved in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to issues that directly affect them.”
The first nine months of the project will be spent carrying out an extensive scoping exercise; to get to know the community, build relationships, understand the barriers to embed children’s rights and work together to develop solutions and project direction. The remainder of the project will involve supporting children and young people to realise their rights, have their voices heard and become active citizens, while also learning new skills to empower them to get involved in community life.
The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund was established in 2017 by energy company Vattenfall and is designed to provide local individuals, groups, organisations, charities, and businesses in Upper Neath, Afan, Rhondda and Cynon Valleys with the opportunity to apply for funding to improve and grow a local service, product, project, or activity.
Now in its fifth year, the fund has already catalysed a total of £20.1 million of community investment in the Welsh valleys, supporting more than 450 local projects and businesses in its first five years of operation.