An initiative that has seen almost £60 million invested in projects, securing more than 1,400 jobs and helping Wales lead the way in sustainable development, is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The Welsh Government-funded Environment Wales partnership has been instrumental in the development of 2,200-plus project across the country, ranging from recycling and community growing to habitat management and marine conservation.
Environment Wales has fostered many new projects and seen several go on to become some of Wales’ finest innovative ventures. A dedicated development officer advises, signposts and supports groups, while a range of grants is tailored to the different stages in project delivery.
Cwm Harry Land Trust has had community growing and food waste projects registered with Environment Wales since 1999. ‘Pioneering ideas need fertile soil to take root and be nurtured,’ said Project Development Worker Richard Northridge. ‘It's the nurturing bit that Environment Wales is so good at.’
Other supported initiatives include community farm Menter y Felin Uchaf in Pwllheli; wood reclamation, green composting and environmental education centre Moelyci in Bangor and marine conservation charity Sea Trust in Fishguard.
Environment Wales was one of the first Welsh Government programmes to promote sustainable development. Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, John Griffiths, AM, commented that its achievements and unique way of working had established it as the Government’s flagship sustainable development initiative, saying: ‘It makes a big difference throughout Wales and says much about how people want to help to look after their communities.