How Did PLANED Start?
The organisation that would become PLANED began as a small group of volunteers who wanted to make a difference in their community of Narberth. Today this organisation, PLANED, shares good practice with people from all over Europe and further afield.
In 1979, Bloomfield, a 19th century house in Narberth, previously a private residence, was used by the local council as a rating office. It was in poor repair and up for sale.
A group of volunteers successfully campaigned to save the site for community use. By 1986, the old building was a thriving community, sports, leisure and day centre, with a steadily growing range of classes and activities. It put Narberth back on the map after suffering a decline when the cattle market and other businesses closed. It generated a sense of pride and a ‘can do’ culture.
The success of this community campaign gave a core group of volunteers the impetus to form TCRI – the Taf and Cleddau Rural Initiative – which was set up in 1987.
It set the blueprint for the community development formula that was developed by SPARC – South Pembrokeshire Action for Rural Communities – and is alive and well in PLANED today.
The main ingredient is the communities themselves – there has to be a will to make a difference. If people have recognised the need for change and reached out for help to make that change – they are on their way – PLANED can facilitate the next step.