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Vital Support at the Gwynedd Community Hubs

A network of Community Hubs, supported by Cyngor Gwynedd, is helping people all over the county access vital support, especially given the current economic and social challenges people are facing. 

The hubs are run by the communities themselves, providing all sorts of support by bringing together services, local groups and agencies to inform the local response according to the needs of the area.

For example, the hubs help people access financial benefits and advice; give assistance with transport issues; offer support to people who are isolated due to their own personal circumstances. 

One of these hubs is Y Dref Werdd, which is at the heart of the community at Ffestiniog and helps around 300 people a month.

Gwydion ap Wynn has been a project manager at Y Dref Werdd since 2015. He explained that the hub can bridge the gap in support services and offer guidance and advice to people facing challenges or problems.

Gwydion said: “This area is a unique place with unique people and Y Dref Werdd offers support and assistance in the community. 

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“We help with whatever problem comes in through the door. If we can’t solve the problem ourselves, we can signpost people to other services.”

The Dref Werdd office is open three days a week, providing help with all sorts of problems, for example:

  • if a person needs help filling out a form to get a Blue Badge on their vehicle or to get a bus pass;
  • if a family is concerned about energy bills and wants to know what support is available to heat their home;
  • someone is among the growing number of people struggling to access good food due to complex reasons such as costs, lack of transport provisions or shops closing.

As well as help with practical and financial matters, hubs like Y Dref Werdd provide an emotional lifeline giving people opportunities to spend time outdoors, learn new skills and contribute to the community.

Gwydion ap Wynn added: “Y Dref Werdd has a commercial garden that we have developed on land we are leading from Cyngor Gwynedd. 

“The land is a brown-field site a lot of clearing work has been done. It’s a space for the community where we grow food all year round and it’s also a place for people to come and spend their free time, to volunteer and to help out.”

Councillor Nia Jeffreys, Deputy Leader of Gwynedd Council and Cabinet Member who leads on poverty prevention matters, said: “Supporting local people so that they’re able to cope with life’s challenges is a priority for us at Cyngor Gwynedd, and we’re very proud of the work we’ve been doing with the Community Hubs all over the county.

“The hubs are run by the communities themselves and the invaluable work they do reflects the specific needs of that area. It’s also great to hear about how the hubs work in tandem with other services to meet the needs of the people of Gwynedd.

“If anyone out there is concerned about their personal situation, or that of someone they know, I would encourage them ask for help at their local hub. If you’re affected by the cost-of-living crisis and you’re struggling to make ends meet, or maybe it’s difficult for you to access the help you’re due because you have difficulty filling out forms or don’t have a reliable internet connection. 

“Whatever is preventing you from finding answers to your problems, help is available at your local community hub.”

Volunteering opportunities are also available through the network of hubs.

Councillor Nia Jeffreys added: “Volunteering is very rewarding, not only are you helping someone else but you’re also building up your own skills and it’s an opportunity to make new friends and to meet people.

“If you like helping others and think you can contribute, or are looking for work experience, I would encourage you to contact your local community hub to see what opportunities are available. 

“There is information about the Community Hubs on Cyngor Gwynedd’s website, as well as a short film giving a taste of the work that Y Dref Werdd does. I would encourage everyone to watch it – the stories of Rhian the Wellbeing Worker and Charlotte the volunteer and how the y Dref Werdd contributes to the life of Blaenau Ffestiniog are truly inspirational.”

To learn more about Gwynedd Community Hubs, and to watch the video, visit www.gwynedd.llyw.cymru/CostOfLivingCrisis and select the ‘Further support and Community Hubs’ box.