As part of this year’s Eisteddfod AmGen events, Arsyllfa held a series of sessions relating to the economy in Wales. The first session ‘From the community up; A new way for market towns’ was an opportunity to look at how some Welsh towns had been affected by Covid-19 and how the communities had responded to those challenges.
The panel included individuals from community initiatives that have been working tirelessly over the last few years to try to mainstream a community way of working for the economy. Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones chaired a wide representation from Welsh communities, including Meleri Davies from Partneriaeth Ogwen in Bethesda, Nigel O’Gallaghan of Cletwr in Tre-Ddol, Clive Davies from the Society to Sustain and Support the Rural Countryside in Cardigan and Ceri Cunnington of Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog.
During the discussion a range of themes were mentioned when looking at what the future held for market towns and examples of good practice that have worked successfully in enterprise communities. One of the main points raised and relevant to the work of the Arsyllfa project is the need to invest locally. The panel highlighted that strengthening the value of the local pound can create a snowball effect in these areas by bringing more business into the area and providing more sustainable opportunities for local working.
This is Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, summing up the discussion
“There are very successful community initiatives in many parts of Wales. They are extremely effective as a way of running the economy since the money (employment, profits and investment) stays at a local level, which is much better than money and investment being taken out of local communities by large companies. That is the root of the circular economy. There are, of course, significant challenges: access to investment, to capital, to infrastructure, including digital. But there is so much innovation, so many good examples, and there is a positive and exciting story to be told on how market town communities can be sustainable, economically, environmentally and linguistically. Good places to live and work.”
If you would like to hear about the work of the community initiatives please visit the websites below: