Focus on ... POLITICS
The Penparcau Community Forum is a community project which has recently become the focus of considerable political attention: the organisation’s community office was opened by Vaughan Gething during his time as deputy minister for tackling poverty; has been visited by two Welsh party leaders, Leanne Wood and Kirsty Williams; local and regional AMs, together with the former deputy speaker of the House of Lords Baroness Kay Andrews. All were inspired to visit an independent organisation that is taking a distinct community development approach to tackling social exclusion and that operates outside of the Welsh Government’s flagship £40 million per year Communities First anti-poverty strategy.
Located just south of Aberystwyth, the PCF was launched in response to the political decision taken in 2012 to re-structure the Communities First project based upon the rankings of the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) without any objective audit of the programme. Invariably, Communities First became urban-orientated in terms of its location, demographics and focus, and ‘clustered’ within the areas of south and north-east Wales with an industrial heritage. This process removed Communities First status from the more diverse rural areas of ‘special interest’ that had been part of the programme for over ten years, such as Tregaron & Uplands and Bro Dyfi, and also from specifically targeted ‘pockets of deprivation’ across Wales such as the Oldford estate in Welshpool and Penparcau & West Aberystwyth.Sign in to read more
Dylan Lewis is an experienced community development practitioner and consultant. He worked for the former Penparcau & West Aberystwyth Communities First project. He is now a director of the Penparcau Community Forum, a trustee-director of Community Development Cymru, and was Mayor of Aberystwyth from 2012-13.