The Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust is a small movement of people looking for positive change in their local community, initiated in the Garw Valley of South Wales. Their focus is on regeneration: to help maintain and build on the positive aspects of the local area.
Bro Garw believes that the key to reinvigorate the area, and create solid regeneration, is through the heritage and history of the Garw. If a local community remembers and respects its unique heritage and history, it provides a firm foundation for continued development to maintaining that area. Another key factor in continued develop is active citizenship, which means that local residents getting actively involved in generating and sometimes delivering new ideas.
Currently, much of the physical heritage of the Garw Valley is becoming forgotten. For example, many of the shops along Oxford Street (in Pontycymer) have gradually closed over the years with some buildings becoming run down.
The community has also seen empty, unattractive buildings with no use, such as the old soldier factory.
The Garw used to be a main community hub of places to shop, eat and drink, and generally to socialise, and we can learn from other communities experiences that a group of persistent and keen local people can make that a possibility again.
Local residents are proud of their environment which has experienced transformation through an excellent reclamation scheme that moved the spoil left from the coal mines that once operated there. Local people now have access to mountain walks, mountain biking tracks, lakes and waterfalls. However, without continual development, the environment will deteriorate. As council cutbacks take hold, the people of the Garw Valley are taking on the challenge, and taking responsibility for their own community.
The Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust is looking to assist local residents to maintain and improve the area creating positive impacts. They want to generate good ideas from locals who want to make the difference in their community.
Many other towns, cities and villages have experienced regeneration across the country, and even worldwide. It is possible to recreate a thriving local economy and bring wealth back into a community that needs it, especially if a community works together to accomplish this regeneration.
The Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust consists of a board of members, who live locally and want to contribute to the positive change and regeneration of the area. This change has been initiated recently, and they are still in the early stages of making the difference needed. Presently, Bro Garw have been utilising an online platform and digital ideas and rating tool, VocalEyes, to kickstart the generation of new ideas.
They have a group on VocalEyes, which allows people from the local community and Garw Valley area to contribute new ideas, as well as to rate other peoples’ thoughts. It is easy for local residents to join the platform; all you need to do is register with an email address and chosen password. Then locals will have full access to the VocalEyes platform, and particularly to the online Bro Garw community.
Through this VocalEyes ideas-generating platform, the Bro Garw Heritage Regeneration Trust intends to find the top rated ideas from local residents – to find out the best way that people believe transformation can be accomplished in the area. Then, when local residents have nominated the distinct, top idea, the Trust intends to take this idea on and make it happen in the local area.
The main goal of the Bro Garw is to kickstart positive change, starting one idea at a time. Once the top rated idea has been accomplished, and has achieved improvement in the Garw Valley, they will move on to the next highly rated idea… and so on. There are many devoted people that want to see change happen, and will help to initiate it.