GwyrddNi

Community, Third Sector • Gwynedd

Bringing people together in local Welsh-first community assemblies to create and then implement Climate Action Plans in five areas of Gwynedd.

  • The GwyrddNi team
  • Children on our circular tour of local climate initiatives.
  • We held Community Assemblies on the Climate in five areas.

by Gwyneth Jones, GwyrddNi Communications Manager

Our story

We believe that the best people to shape the future of a community are those who live there; people who know their locality, their neighbours, the history of the area and what its main needs and strongest assets are.

In 2022 and 2023, a series of Community Assemblies on the Climate were held in five areas in Gwynedd (Pen Llŷn, Dyffryn Peris, Dyffryn Ogwen, Dyffryn Nantlle and Bro Ffestiniog) to answer the question: How can we in <area> respond locally to Climate Change?

Postal invitations were sent to all residents of our five areas, with a maximum of 50 then selected from those interested (as representative a sample as was possible from respondents). Through a series of sessions, assembly members then defined what was important to them in terms of responding locally to climate change - highlighting what was already happening, what needed to happen, and where they felt their energy was best placed.

The Assemblies were funded by the Climate Action Fund (from The National Lottery Community Fund), with six social enterprises working together to run them: Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig (DEG), Ynni Llŷn, Cwmni Bro Ffestiniog, Yr Orsaf, Partneriaeth Ogwen and Cyd Ynni. In addition, an Education Programme was run alongside, giving schoolchildren the opportunity to present their own ideas to the adults' assemblies.

The result of this was the creation of five community Climate Action Plans, which can be seen on our website: www.gwyrddni.cymru

Since late 2023, GwyrddNi has received further funding from the National Lottery Community Fund to start implementing the ideas in the Action Plans. There are several projects that have spawned from GwyrddNi: from moss mapping walks to planting local food, to bike rental schemes and a pickling shed... with several more projects currently in the works!

Our advice

Here are some of the things we've learnt so far from our Community Assemblies on the Climate:

Recruitment

*Meet people where they are - visit community groups, formal and informal groups, workplaces, go to networking events, go to schools, college etc - go to the people, don’t expect or hope that the people will come to you.

*Allow for a good window for recruiting - ideally around 3-4 months.

*If possible, share all dates that people will be asked to attend at the sign-up process.

*Ensure partnerships engagement on all levels from the start of the recruitment period.
*From the very beginning, make it as clear as possible to people what’s involved and if it will be a bilingual process.

Assemblies

*The assembly process is still new to many people and many struggled with the pace of the process, keen to jump straight to solutions.

*The quality of sound can make or break an assembly - if possible, you need microphones and speakers, with roving microphones for contribution from the floor.

*Live minute taking on screen (e.g. via Google docs) works well

*Get as much summary and reporting work as possible done in the room, so that reporting is simple but also accurate in time and place.

* The informal time at assemblies (e.g. for coffee and cake) is just as valuable as the facilitated activities - this is when relationships are built and connections made. And people appreciate being fed good food!

Language

*Budget for professional simultaneous translation is essential if running bilingual assemblies.

* Explain in detail how to use translation equipment before starting any sessions and iron out any issues - many people will not have used them before.

*If possible, work with the same simultaneous translator throughout the project so that they become familiar with the work and the assembly members familiar with them.

*At times we offered for people to work through the medium of Welsh or through the medium of English or on a mixed language table. Some assembly members appreciated this offer. It works well when working on generic work (e.g. skills sharing or values building)

*At our assemblies we aimed for everyone to communicate in their language of choice, so if on a bilingual table, we as facilitators offered to translate into English for Welsh speakers contributing in Welsh, or members could contribute in Welsh and summarise in English. If facilitators are doing this it is helpful to have someone else taking notes so they can focus on the translation.

Facilitating

*Try to get as much learning/experience/feedback as possible of facilitation as a priority.

* If possible have no more than 6-8 members at each table.

*Getting people up, moving around and meeting other people is important. Short breaks are good for this.

*Having members in the room and members on zoom requires more set-up time, more staff, and more technical support - this is a specialism in itself.

Read our full report here:

https://www.gwyrddni.cymru/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/GwyrddNi-From-Assemblies-to-Action.pdf

As we move into our Community Action Phase, we are constantly learning about collaboration, project management, working with partners and volunteers, and many other things. Stay tuned - we are sure we will have a wealth of learning to share as the project grows!

Our metrics

Here are some 'hard' outcomes from GwyrddNi’s Community Assemblies and Education Programme:

*430 adults engaged during engagement process

*154 organisations engaged during engagement process

*182 adults followed the GwyrddNi assembly journey from beginning to end

*564 pupils took part in GwyrddNi’s Education Programme

*Five community Action Plans created

*27 community groups formed to start taking action locally

*Support and enthusiasm locally for the plans to be implemented

*New relationships and connections established between members

*Partners seeing more interest and enquiries into their work

We are currently in the process of finding an organisation to conduct a Monitoring and Evaluation process for our Assemblies. In the meantime, as we move forward into the Community Action Phase, it is important for us to think about how we are measuring success. This will depend on the project, as there are such a wide variety of projects contained under the banner of GwyrddNi - in some cases, miles travelled on sustainable transport and carbon emissions saved will be relevant (for example with cycling schemes), with others kWH of energy produced with renewables.

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Location

Gwynedd

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation & Adaptation

Reach

Area, Region

Organisation

Community, Third Sector, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Carbon Copy

Updated Jun, 2024

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