Taf & Cleddau Rural Initiative (TCRI) started in 1987 and involved 18 villages and small towns in the Narberth and Whitland area.
The objective was to demonstrate that by involving all sectors of the community and local authorities and development agencies as partners in an integrated approach, they could address the needs and develop the opportunities of the area.
Through its partners, TCRI offered support and funding. The effect was an increased level of activity – economic, social, cultural and environmental – which aimed at generating a more sustainable, long-term prosperity for the area.
Much thought, effort and public consultation was devoted to designing and implementing a consultative, democratic structure to ensure maximum participation for the residents of each small community.
TCRI worked initially with ‘committees’ which developed into Community Associations. Through a series of public meetings, they carried out village appraisals and agreed Action Plans. A range of local people were involved in every step. Community representatives were appointed to the TCRI board of management.
The communities developed projects, including enhancement schemes, ranging from restoring village pumps to establishing public gardens. Alongside this, community facilities were improved, local history researched and interpreted and opportunities for business and enterprise explored.
Key factors for success were:
- Local people had a stake in seeing community projects succeed– they were improving the area for themselves and for their children – the next generation.
- Confidence and experience grew and communities reviewed progress and moved onto more ambitious projects.
- The process was kept open so that a range of community interests were addressed – from setting up a playgroup to establishing luncheon clubs for older people. In between there was sport, culture, heritage and much more.
- They were supported along the way by specialist partners, ranging from the Welsh Development Agency to Dyfed Archaeological Trust, as well as working with local authorities.
- It was all part of a bigger picture. TCRI was part of a Welsh Rural Enterprise Initiative and also the Countryside Commission’s experimental Community Action projects. Sharing good practice was embedded from the start.
In two years TCRI proved that the Bloomfield blueprint could be extended into a wider community project. Its achievements were nationally recognised – in 1991 TCRI won the Times/RIBA Community Enterprise Scheme Award.