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    Over the last six weeks members of the Save the Teifi Steering group/Ffynnone Community Resilience together with: West Wales Rivers Trust (who will be the lead on the project), Small World Theatre and spacetocreate have been working on an expressions of interest for Esmee Fairburn Blue Spaces – Wales project funding.

    This is what has been submitted…

    What would you like Esmée to support?

    Our proposal brings together citizen science, arts and activism to build on significant community interest in protecting the River Teifi and creating a powerful new movement for social change.

    A lack of regulatory staff on the ground creates opportunities to harness the local understanding of volunteers engaged in WWRT’s 13 ‘Adopt a Tributary’ groups. To encourage the behavioural and systemic changes needed, there is a need to broaden engagement beyond those with a current interest in river environments.

    We will deliver a two-pronged catchment-wide engagement and research project:

    1.       Visual monitoring and grading of outfalls (sewerage and surface water drains) under the Outfall Safari model and using sediment pathways mapping (example here) to identify and grade urban/rural sediment and nutrient contributing sources.

    2. Piloting a programme of experiential arts & engagement activities to measure what works best with different groups of people. Using this data to design future programmes to increase understanding and appreciation of the river and the actions needed to ensure its restoration & improvement.

    The citizen science output will be an interactive ArcGIS map with WWRT validated data and georeferenced photos which are extremely effective in highlighting issues, plus prioritising where on-the-ground interventions for delivery by WWRT, NRW, Welsh Water and landowners.

    The arts and engagement elements will widen participation in catchment wide programmes of work needed create a ‘People’s Plan’ for the Teifi, to restore the health of the river and fulfil the creative, human and economic potential of the communities that depend on it.

    How is your organisation well placed to deliver this change?

    West Wales Rivers Trust (WWRT) will lead this new partnership with Ffynnone Community Resilience, spacetocreate and Small World Theatre. The partnership will grow as the project develops a network to include more complete representation from the wider catchment of the Teifi.

    WWRT have worked hard over several years to build our community engagement skills, with the aims of connecting people with their local river and raising awareness of the improvements needed to reverse current declines in its health. We have good relationships with; community groups, landowners, Councils, Dwr Cymru, and have spent the last year building a strong network of local people passionate about doing more to protect their local river.

    WWRT have a proven track record of the delivery of community engagement and environmental improvements, having delivered multiple large-scale projects of this type.

    Small World Theatre, based in a near carbon zero building, bring their experience in creative consultation and using the arts to promote behavioural change, such as in community forestry in Sudan and refugee awareness in Wales.

    spacetocreate has a particular focus on using the arts for community led regeneration, most recently in The Lab, centred on the river in Haverfordwest. Both organisations have developed expertise in using a range of tools to measure impact using  key performance indicators such as:

    • Changing perceptions
    • Getting people involved
    • Influencing decision makers.

    This partnership has so much potential – started around the community’s concern about quality of water and loss of wildlife, to build a movement that really can affect change at every level.

    Information about the partners

    · Ffynnone Community Resilience is a Community Interest Company that has  established the Save the Teifi Community Group. The Community Group currently has 421 members who are largely associated with the communities of the lower Teifi, but its membership is growing and is starting to  encompass other concerned community groups within the Teifi catchment. The activities of the group are recorded on its web pages ( and via its Facebook Page (SavetheTeifi). The group is seeking to restore the health of the river and provides a broad base of volunteers to monitor river health, promote greater community understanding and hold authorities to account.

    · spacetocreate was co-founded in 2007 with the aim of improving access to    and widening participation in the visual arts. Under the creative leadership of its founders, spacetocreate has co-created projects and programmes of work with artists and musicians, film-makers and photographers, designers and animators, teachers, youth workers, architects and poets.

    The organisation has built a reputation for high quality, imaginative, participatory work with people of all ages and abilities contributing to individual and community well-being. The practice is socially engaged, primarily working with people who do not routinely have opportunities to get involved with the Arts.

    Most recently, spacetocreate provided creative leadership of the lab a multi  agency experimental participatory arts and regeneration partnership centred on the River Cleddau in Haverfordwest which over four years involved more than 7000 attendances at 70 events.

    • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by NDCrisp.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by NDCrisp.

    A note that the Esmee funding  is development funding only, so they are unlikely to fund an extensive programme of chemical monitoring. WWRT position with chemical analysis citizen science is that there is a wealth of data that either currently exists (in WFD & SAGIS) or is planned (full CSO monitoring) and is trusted by NRW/DCWW, and they are reluctant to spend funds on monitoring that isn’t supported by these organisations – both because these funds could potentially be better spent on addressing the issues and also because they do not want to waste community time, efforts and interest in data that is not going to be used (as they have previous experience of).

    WWRT current preference is for visual monitoring of outfalls (such as under the Outfall Safari model) – both sewerage and other surface water drains. Not only are photos and videos more effective in highlighting the issue from a community level, but it also provides them with important data on when outfalls are releasing when they shouldn’t be, which can be compare to DCWW records. There is some value in chemical water quality monitoring with citizen science – but they think this is limited to when funding is available for a specific failing river catchment, to help  to prioritise where interventions are most needed (i.e. agricultural pollution or urban point source inputs).

    There is clearly a national interest for citizen science and a great community for this with Save the Teifi. WWRT aim is to bid for a project along the lines of developing a model for effective citizen science that targets efforts for the greatest benefits, including take-up by government bodies and water companies.


    I have some good news to pass on regarding Save the Teifi and the Expression of interest for Esmee funding of the Collaborative… We heard this week that we have been invited by Esmee to have a conversation about taking this project to the next stage. This is largely about checking the suitability of West Wales Rivers Trust to manage the project – so will be in WWRT hands. Fingers crossed.


    WWRT conversation with Esmee went well, they said they could see the value in both elements of the project and the driving issues behind their need.

    A few things that came up which they said should be included/emphasised for the full application if we get to the next stage:

    • Emphasise the strength of partner skills/experience in engaging with disadvantaged communities
    • Explain how the above will be achieved – (e.g. offering to cover attendees transport costs, providing food and children’s activities to make attendance a benefit to families). But also can draw on the partnership strengths to enhance as this and this was a key reason for a joint bid.
    • Describe how the citizen science surveys will lead to future funding
    • Describe how community voices and the Peoples Plan for the Teifi are going to feed into citizen science and the other way round.
    • Ensure that there are a diverse range of  community voices in the Peoples Plan for the Teifi catchment.

    Good news – we are through to the next stage: which is the full application for the Esmee funding!

    We have 3 months to get a full application in – then it will be assessed. Assessment can take up to 3 months.

    Esmee raised the following questions. Any thoughts on these would be greatly appreciated. (The second question is technically more for WWRT as the lead for this project, but any thoughts would be appreciated):

    1. We are also interested in hearing more about your approach to co-creating a “people plan” for the Teifi, including with the diverse communities in a place, particularly those who experience discrimination or face barriers to accessing nature.
    2. We would also like to know how you will approach safeguarding, including how you will clarify responsibilities of your partners, given that community engagement will be done by them.

    I’m pleased to announce that the bid for funds has been a success. Watch this space for more details and next steps


    Llais yr Afon Project (Esmee Funded)

    We have received the start up documents from WWRT for the Esmee Fairburn Project – it will have a start date in March.

    Here is some of the salient information:

    A reminder of the organisations involved:

    • West Wales Rivers Trust (“WWRT”) acting as the “Lead Partner”
    • Ffynnone Community Resilience (representing the “Save the Teifi” group)
    • Small World Theatre
    • spacetocreate

    Here is a table of how the Esmee grant money is distributed:Project Financials

    Here is a Gant Chart of the Project Plan:

    See this link for a larger version:

    More details and how to get involved will be forthcoming as soon as possible.


    Here is the poster for the West Wales Rivers Trust (WWRT) visual water quality monitoring training and outfall safari session. Planned for Wednesday 5th June 10-14:00.
    Meet at Cenarth Falls Resort at Phat Forks restaurant for the classroom session before heading out for a loop walk round the village and river to identify water quality impacts, outfalls and put survey training into action.
    Parking is available free at Cenarth Falls Resort.
    Anyone wanting more info can get in touch Nathaniel at WWRT directly:
    This project is kindly supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation & Dwr Cymru’s Citizen Science Fund.
    If you could share the word amongst your contacts and socials it would be much appreciated


    Here is the link to the Small world theatre events 9 to 11 August created as part of this Esmee funded project


    Event ppster

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