An event held in Waen Wen Community Centre, Trebanog brought together those who live in the area with organisations that have worked to develop the outdoor space around the area. These ‘capital works’ work forms part of the wider Trebanog Project, which has been heralded as ‘an outstanding approach to regeneration.’
The Trebanog Project is part of Ideas : People : Places, an Arts Council Wales funded initiative exploring how arts practice can influence regeneration. It was delivered in partnership with local housing association Trivallis, Valleys Kids and Artes Mundi.
Tracey Cooke, senior regeneration programmes manager at Trivallis, said: “The Trebanog Project is an example of partner organisations working together with the community to achieve great things.
“We were experiencing significant anti social behaviour issues in the area including fly tipping dog fouling and the use of scrambler motorcycles in the area. We needed to address these issues with a different approach and this is where The Trebanog Project was born. The capital works followed 2 years of work and creative conversations with the community.
“Funding from Arts Council of Wales meant that we have been able to invite internationally renowned artists Owen Griffiths, Nils Norman, Rabab Gazoul and Lucy and Jorge Orta to work with people of all ages in the community to help shape what they wanted to see from the regeneration and future projects in the area. The result has been a truly engaged community, who are at the heart of every decision made for how the area looks and works.”
Features of the capital works included replacement and alteration of the boundary walls around the community centre, widening and extending of the footpaths in the area and the development of seating areas and growing areas for use by the community groups in Trebanog. An art installation by Studio Orta features cloud seating designed to allow people to sit and enjoy the view from Trebanog over the valley.
Tracey added: “Intervention Services LTD was the nominated contractor for the capital works. They used direct local labour for the project and have worked tirelessly through tough weather conditions to get the works finished on time. We are so proud of this project that will make a real difference to the lives of people living in Trebanog.”
During the launch event, children and their families were invited to explore the newly developed space through an Easter egg hunt. Over 70 people took part in the activity, which was conducted by Mike and Roz who work at the centre.
Evie Jones is 11 years old and from Trebanog, she said: “Before any work had been done in the area, people didn’t appreciate it. Now the work has been done it looks really nice and I think this will make a lot more people come outside and enjoy the space. They’ll look after it and respect it a lot more.”
During the event, Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales spoke to guests about how the regeneration project was a great example of doing things differently. The Commissioner said: “Described as a ‘space for social learning, creativity and inclusion’ the Trebanog Project is an exceptional example of all the things the Well-being of Future Generations Act envisages.
“Working with the community the project brought different perspectives into how previously disused and dreary space could be developed. It gave the people of Trebanog the opportunities to get involved in arts and culture along the way and draw on the skills of talented artists and the internationally acclaimed Artes Mundi.
“It’s also great example of all seven of the Act’s well-being goals in action; not just the goal of a vibrant culture, but those things that might not be so obvious: greater community cohesion through volunteering and meeting new people, equality of access to experiences for kids, greater prosperity through new skills, and the long-lasting health benefits of making new friends and gaining confidence.”
Sian Tomos, director of enterprise & regeneration at the Arts Council of Wales, said: “Our Ideas: People: Places programme has allowed us to work with different partners such as housing associations and people in their neighbourhoods to make their ideas about the places where they live, work and play a reality.
“They have achieved extraordinary things in Trebanog and we are so proud of what the talented team of artists has achieved. We hope that this will encourage others to embrace the role that creativity and the arts have in improving the quality of people’s lives.”
The event finished with free family fun where members of the community were able to explore the new capital works with hot dogs and snacks. The centre managers provided free use of the bouncy castles for the children on behalf of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council.