Spring Into Action – a volunteer showcase event being held on 25th April at Plas Pentwyn, Coedpoeth. Come along and see how varied and important volunteers are to local organisations, groups and the local community. There will be various hands on activities for you to try out, from cider making to scything.
A multi-million pound project to turn a historic former steelworks into one of the UK’s foremost industrial heritage sites is appealing for more volunteers.
The Brymbo Heritage Trust already has a small army of over 120 people giving their time and energy to transform the derelict site near Wrexham.
The Trust has begun a £5 million project to restore buildings at the old Brymbo steelworks which in its heyday employed 2,500 people and shipped high quality steel around the world.
Steel was first produced at Brymbo in 1796 and when the plant closed in 1990 with the loss of 1100 jobs it was a devastating blow to the area but the Trust’s ambitious plans are already bearing fruit – literally.
An orchard is producing apples which are being made into cider, beehives are being introduced for honey, a fossil forest uncovered by open cast mining is being preserved. There are also ambitious plans in the pipeline to reconnect the steelworks site to the rail network.
More volunteer-power is needed though and rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd have teamed up with Wrexham County Borough Council to hold a volunteer training day next month.
It takes place on Thursday, 25th April, at Plas Pentwyn, Coedpoeth. The event will provide an introduction to volunteering for local people keen to play a part in their communities.
The event involves Brymbo Heritage Trust, Minera Quarry – where the North Wales Wildlife Trust have a major scheme in place – and several projects and groups in the Wrexham area. This will included Groundwork, the Woodland Trust, AVOW, Plas Pentwyn Garden Group and Coedpoeth Camera Club.
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.
It is paid for by Cadwyn Clwyd from LEADER funding through the Wrexham Local Action Group. There is still approximately £500,000 of funding available in Wrexham from a pot of £2.6 million from part of the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.
Lynze Rogers, Volunteers Co-ordinator at Brymbo Heritage Trust, said: “Volunteers are the backbone of what we do here and we have over 120 of them doing all sorts of jobs here and we need more, particularly people who are willing to get their hands dirty to transform this site.
“It’s a huge area and is so important for its history but also for its fossil forest, the wildlife here and the projects like our Brymbo Heritage Cider and the beehives.
“We still need more volunteers, particularly people who want to get hands on. There are lots of benefits for them too because volunteering like this is a great way to meet people, learn new skills and it can be a pathway to employment.”
Volunteer Holly Wilcock, 29, from Rhos, said: “I came up here for a walk one day, met the people and ended up volunteering.
“People always said I could sell sand to the Arabs so I set up an e-bay site to sell things we’ve had donated and it made over £2,000. I used to work in retail but I enjoyed the fund-raising here so much that I applied for a job with the Hope House charity. I got the job but I still volunteer here.”
Holly has been learning to weld, taught by Paul Bowen, 58, from Southsea, who worked in the inspection department at the steelworks for four years.
Paul, is passing on some of his skills to some of the volunteers and he said: “It was the best steel in the world and I enjoyed it here, if they’d kept it open I’d probably still be working here. I loved the people, the family atmosphere and the friendliness.
“I came back a few years ago for an open day and I’ve been coming back ever since. I love volunteering here, and I get lots of satisfaction out of doing it.”
Frances Suckley, from Brymbo, has been a volunteer for the last four years and her father, Eric Newsom, was an engine driver at the steelworks.
Frances said: “It’s part of our heritage that needs preserving for the community and it keeps me out of mischief and keeps me fit.
“I have done a course on using a brush-cutter; we cut down trees and bushes. I’ve done a welding course recently, so if we need any gates fixing I can do that – it’s about having a go.”
Donna Hughes, Business Partnerships Officer for Cadwyn Clwyd, said: “There are so many opportunities for volunteering here in Wrexham and so many projects, it can lead on to so much more.
“For young people it is also good to have on your CV and for everyone it is a chance to put something back into the community, learn new skills, meet people and to work in a variety of areas across a range of interesting and engaging projects.”
Hayley Morgan, of Wrexham County Borough Council, said: “This event is to showcase the work of all our groups in the local area and how Brymbo, Minera, Nant Mill and Bersham are linked by a shared industrial heritage, the people and the environment.
“It’s about getting involved across the board because the skills of those Brymbo volunteers could benefit activities taking place at other projects such as Minera Quarry or the lead mines and vice versa.”
For information about the Volunteers Open Day contact Hayley.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01978 667328.
SPRING INTO ACTION
THURSDAY 25th APRIL 2019
PLAS PENTWYN, COEDPOETH, LL11 3NA
ACTIVITIES & TASTER SESSIONS INCLUDE ORIENTEERING, BUSHCRAFT SKILLS, FOSSIL FINDING, APPLE PRESSING & CIDER MAKING, MAKE YOUR OWN BIRD FEEDER, SCYTHING, CRAFTING & SO MUCH MORE.