SMALL STEPS - STRATA FLORIDA
Strata Florida Abbey is a major, but largely underdeveloped heritage site of Welsh national as well as international significance. In 2016 the Strata Florida Trust (SFT) purchased the Mynachlog Fawr farmhouse and buildings to the south of the Abbey. SFT’s purpose is to conserve the listed buildings and create the Strata Florida Centre (SFC).
The purpose of the Small Steps community-led project by Strata Florida Trust is to identify and co-ordinate a series of activities using and promoting skills centred specifically on heritage, building on local capacity within the community of Pontrhydfendigaid and its bro.
The project will work with the Community Liaison Group and the People’s Collection Wales to create two posts; a part-time Community Engagement Officer for 24 months, to have responsibility for delivering the Small Steps project and will work to the Trust Chairman. This will be supported by another part-time post for 24 months to assist with administration of the project.
It will be a major step in drawing together, cataloguing and making ready some of the rich Welsh region heritage for use in the proposed Centre. This will be a mechanism for supporting the local community by affirming and reinforcing its historic identity as well providing a process of economic regeneration through heritage by supporting the aims of the Strata Florida Trust at a critically important stage in its development of the Centre.
This project resulted in a full time role being created, that was split between two people to maximise the skill set obtained to successfully deliver the project. The community has engaged with the extensive and fascinating history and culture of Strata Florida. This has been online (through the website, social media, newsletter updates and events), and in person (through workshops, events, open days, volunteer activities and visitors to the site)
Volunteers have learnt skills through the project. Roles have included: gardening, events, taking part in our community textile project, community project campaigning, volunteering in our exhibition, and archiving, cataloguing and selecting items from the paperwork of Mynachlog Fawr farmhouse. The individuals involved have gained a wide range of skills which have provided them with enjoyment, social and community interaction, and training to support academic careers.
The Strata Florida Trust has grown in the number of activities being run, the number of visitors and the reputation of the organisation. This will benefit future projects and activities.
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.