Just back from the official switching on of our micro-hydro turbine with special guest Roy Noble. Excellent turn out with a whole raft of people from organisations we have worked with along the way. It has been a long hard struggle through mounds of red tape and interminable grant application forms, but thanks largely to a nice £400,000 grant from the department of that nice Mr Huhne we got there in the end.
Gave me a chance to do something we rarely do enough of in the Valleys - brag about what we have done. There is a tendency to under play our achievements. This is something we see a lot in Wales in our schools as much as anywhere, where we have some hugely talented young people who hide on the shadows resulting often in a lack of self-confidence.
There is of course a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but we do need to be more assertive as a nation and as individuals (well some of us do!).
Communities first has come in for a battering, in many case rightly so, but I am proud to say that in Cwmclydach we have got it right. It is an organisation which is benefitting the community. We set up a Development Trust which is the ‘business arm’ and through that now own and run a Community Centre and a Day Nursery. We employ around 20 staff and have been able to offer training opportunities to people via various projects such as the Future Jobs Fund.
Running alongside that there is the Cambrian Village Trust which offers free football coaching to local schools, drew down grants to build a multipurpose all-weather sports facility, and runs the lakeside café bar. Again this offers local employment and training opportunities.
The amount of money that has been pulled down into this tiny community in the Rhondda Valley is huge - it is almost frightening on the odd occasion when I sit down and actually go over what it is that myself and my fellow Directors are responsible for.
So it was good today to be able to celebrate that and to think that I have been involved in making a difference.