Cwm Arian (Silver Valley) is a rural area located where North Pembrokeshire, South Ceredigion and West Carmarthenshire meet and is characterised by small settlements and a dispersed population with a relatively high percentage of Welsh speakers. The name Cwm Arian was adopted to represent the area when
local development organisation PLANED carried out community action planning to find out what local peoples' 10 year vision was of their neighbourhood, taking into account human resources, natural assets, culture, language and heritage (there are old silver mines in the village of Llanfyrnach, hence the name!).
The action planning process created a community association, Cymdeithas Cwm Arian, which represented all the active community groups in the area. Amongst other things, the need for support for groups wishing to develop community energy projects was identified, and so Cwm Arian Renewable Energy was founded. We subsequently constituted CARE as a community co-operative in 2011, registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts, with the support of the Welsh Government Ynni'r Fro programme.
All of CARE's assets are subject to a restriction on their use (an asset lock) ‘for the purpose that is for the benefit of the community’. To see more about our finances you can view our annual accounts here.
CARE operates a democratic committee of volunteers who make shared decisions, and we are driven by our constitution to:
establish a low carbon economy within Cwm Arian and its surrounding area
invest benefits within the locality
prevent or relieve poverty
subject our processes to evaluation so that our developments can be replicated elsewhere
We are working in and beyond the Cwm Arian area to achieve those aims through education, awareness raising, renewable energy generation, provision of advice and support, and by establishing examples of villages, community groups, buildings and activities which show how healthy, happy and inclusive a low carbon lifestyle can be.
MEET THE TEAM...
Has worked within the environmental sector for many years in community development and creative projects, and has experience of self-build and alternative building materials and methods. She is currently co-managing CARE's Studio for a Community and Growing Better Connections projects. She has extensive experience in administration and finances in the not-for-profit sector, and is clerk to Clydau Community Council.
Has experience supporting environmental, community benefit projects both locally and overseas for two decades. He has run his own UK leading business delivering carbon reductions in transport for the last 13 years, right up to the present. He has been a Renew Wales Coordinator and was also a project coordinator on the Supporting Resilient Renewable Communities project and has more recently been co-manager for CARE's wind turbine project. He has experience in self-build property, is trustee of a local community transport association and a committee member for Bwlchygroes community hall.
Has worked in the third sector locally for over 3 decades and has expertise in managing large grant budgets for community development projects. He has particular experience in helping initiate and manage many local, innovative, successful community share offers, and as a director of the West Wales Credit Union gained additional unique experience in community finance. He is a community (Crymych Ward) and county councillor who has been appointed to the management cabinet of Pembrokeshire County Council, with special responsibility for the environment and Welsh language.
Growing Better Connections Project Officer
Has been working with trees and woodlands for over 20 years, with a focus on ecological and social benefits. He has helped to deliver environmental projects in the UK and overseas, through which he gained experience in agroforestry systems and forest habitat networks. He is always seeking ways that we can increase the value of our renewable natural resources, and share the services they provide in our lives and enterprises.
Growing Better Connections Project Office
Has worked within the charitable, environmental and horticultural sectors for over a decade, specialising in, local food production and land-based training. Louise holds a masters degree in Product Design, with additional qualifications in permaculture and biodynamic land management. Having set up and managed a CSA vegetable box scheme, she now lives with her partner on a 2 acre smallholding in Carmarthenshire, growing food to furnish a veg box for her neighbours, as well as aspiring to self-reliance. Louise has a range of educational experience, teaching animal husbandry, pasture management, horticulture and permaculture design to various learners, including those with learning differences. Louise is fervent about ecology and this is reflected in all of her land management practices.
Has previously worked as a climate scientist with Met Office, he is a chartered engineer, member of the Institute of Physics and holds a Ph.D. in glaciology focusing on the Greenland ice sheet. Chris also holds masters degrees in computational physics and Earth system science, and studied energy systems and environmental decision making with the Open University. He now lives with his partner and two children in West Carmarthenshire on a One Planet Development in a self-built, off-grid, zero-carbon house. They have a two acre orchard, keep bees, chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks. He is also a member of the Centre for Sustainable Energy board of trustees and the One Planet Council, a voluntary organisation which supports and promotes the One Planet Development policy.
Has moved to Wales in 2017 following an interest in living in a rural environment. Previous experience includes environmental campaigning, working with NGOs and local groups, and pursing an ongoing interest in renewable energy. He has spent time in different community environments including involvement with collaborative self-organising groups, and has an interest in supporting community initiatives.
Has expertise in renewable energy technologies, industrial building development and is a committee member for local Bwlchygroes community hall, which is undergoing refurbishment. He has received a doctoral qualification in renewable energy engineering and has worked for many years in this field.
Contractor: Energy Service
Gerry moved to Pembrokeshire in 2013 and now lives on a small holding. Originally trained as a Civil Engineer he has experience in a wide range of construction and engineering projects, large and small. He has worked in both the Public & Private sectors. He has extensive knowledge of design & build projects, project programming & management, pricing and procurement. Gerry has always had an interest in home energy and before working with CARE advised a small group of people on their home energy and home management. When the opportunity came along to promote Smart Meters and give support to people to understand their energy bills etc it was a natural fit to join the team.
Volunteer & Training Officer
Raised in Maenclochog, attended Ysgol Y Preseli, he spent much of his youth exploring the Preseli hills and surrounding areas. Spent a large portion of his early working career in the IT sector and later diversified into the Social Care sector working at Coleg Plas Dwbl and Clynfyw Care Farm.
In his spare time he enjoys a bit of vegetable growing, (although seemingly gifted at growing a huge variety of weeds and less so the veg), keeping tabs on developments in technology and science with a focus on energy systems and computing.
Volunteer & Training Officer
Sara is an activist and campaigner who has worked extensively with international NGOs and grassroots campaigning groups on land rights and environmental justice. An experienced facilitator she often works professionally with volunteers and activists to design and deliver creative approaches to community projects and local campaigns. Sara and her colleague Huw are currently working on developing a wide range of exciting and engaging ways for volunteers to get involved with Cwm Arian. Raised in Dinas Cross, Sara attended Ysgol Bro Gwaun and spent much of her spare time going on local adventures with friends. She now lives in Rhos and still spends much of her spare time going on local adventures with friends.
Rural Social Enterprise Development Officer
Has worked in fundraising and project management for international and local community projects in the UK, France and Egypt. She is passionate about biodiversity, community and local economy. Naomi has a Masters degree in international project management, and has spent many years working for small and impactful NGOs. She is currently on the steering group for the project Trefdraeth am Natur / Newport for Nature, and is setting up a market garden near Felindre Farchog.
Naomi is working on the Resilient Enterprise Programme,
Rural Social Enterprise Development Officer
Has worked in the third sector for the last 5 years. Previous to that he has 10 years of professional experience working within the design industry. He holds a Bachelors degree in Product Design Engineering, as well as additional qualifications in prototyping and Earthship building. He has brought his design experience to community based Zero Waste initiatives, and managed a Resource Recovery Centre after New Zealand’s last major earthquake in order to deconstruct and reuse building material from derelict houses.
Nicky is passionate about realising the potential of our resources through community building, permaculture principles, observing natural systems, co-creating / co-designing, circular economies and helping others to realise their own individual potential through realising their ideas.