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Sustainable Communities

Helping communities to become more sustainable is at the heart of PLANED’s work and facilitating community participation with an integrated approach to local development is our key objective. PLANED encourages the involvement of all local people and organisations to work together to improve the quality of life in their community.
The Sustainable Communities Pembrokeshire project receives funding from the EU and the Welsh Government under the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007 – 2013. This is how PLANED has been funding its work with communities and in recognition of this an extension and enhancement of the project was granted to enable the project to continue until the end of 2014.

The project is based on the ‘Leader’ methodology of a bottom-up approach and with a focus on innovation. At the outset the project aimed at greater community participation in planning and implementing local social, regeneration and economic growth solutions, enhancing the environment and combating climate change. Community capacity building, linking between sectors, supporting networks, encouraging innovation and the piloting of new approaches as well as supporting capital projects for village enhancement are among the key activities of the project.

Examples of what has been achieved are in our Case Studies.
The PLANED approach to community engagement begins with time spent getting to know the community by meeting with community councils, various voluntary organisations, local businesses and key stakeholders. As a result community members participate in Visioning Workshops which are facilitated by PLANED staff and held over several evenings. Using community focused tools and methodologies, these fully participative workshops include identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, a community and skills audit, creating a record of the community’s unique and distinctive identity, leading to sustainable project planning. All of this information is collated by PLANED staff and discussed at working groups to produce an integrated Community Action Plan.

PLANED has been working with communities in Pembrokeshire for more than 20 years. Hear from the people themselves on what they have achieved with a little help from PLANED.

Action Planning & Consultation

Action Plan Fan 4WDevelopment of Community Action Plans and Hub Area Development Plans. An Action Plan provides an overview of the whole community, identifies local need and local opportunities, represents a forward look at the changes a community wants to see, and identifies the organisations needed to help implement the Plan. These Action Plans can lead to the strengthening of existing groups and creation of new ones, the enhancement and creation of local amenities and new opportunities to link into strategies and Hub Area Development Plans.

In order to take the Action Plan forward, PLANED supports the community to form a Community Forum (where one is not already in existence) that is open to all members of the community. PLANED will prepare publicity, arrange meetings and events, share good practice and support the Community Forum by improving communication and signposting to partner organisations and projects. Community Forum members are encouraged and supported to establish relevant working groups to take forward specific project proposals identified in the Action Plan.

Support Community Projects

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Projects are identified in Community Action Plans and Hub Area Development Plans. PLANED’s approach at ‘turning ideas into action’ encourages working groups to look at strengths and opportunities that exist locally, for specific projects what can be done locally and who can help, and then identify the next steps, for example liaising with service providers etc.

Through a number of initiatives PLANED may be able to offer financial support for projects identified in Community Action Plans and Hub Area Development Plans which contribute to local regeneration and economic growth.

The Project Officer will establish costs associated with those projects to be supported and PLANED will oversee the delivery of the works in the role of facilitator but ‘ownership’ of the project remains with the relevant community group. Projects may range from town centre enhancement to ensuring a community facility is fit for purpose, to environmental improvements to footpaths.

These works will be informed by studies, surveys, plans and other documents carried out by groups to ensure that a rigorous approach is taken to project planning and management to ensure long term viability of spend. In addition the commitment of communities and stakeholders time and in certain cases cash will further ensure the projects are supported.

For information about the project funding please speak to a PLANED Officer.

Community Consultative Forum

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PLANED has established and continues to support a Community Consultative Forum, whose purpose is to bring together Community Forums and Associations to share experience and good practice, along with Community Councils and other agencies. The Forum meets twice yearly and is an opportunity for communities to discuss challenges and solutions across the country.

Pictures from Healthy Living Event held on 19/05/10
Pembrokeshire Community Buildings Forum 29/10/12
Having a long track record in rural regeneration PLANED has also helped the development of a number of self-sustaining networks:

Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group
Pembrokeshire Sustainable Agriculture Network (PSAN)