Ceri Cunnington

#why #communitywork #ifnotuswho #tanygrish #BlaenauFfestiniog #Community #experience #Cymru #foundationaleconomy #penŵy

@CwmniBro @SiopOgwen @yr_orsaf


I was asked to write a ‘blog’ for DOLAN, an exciting new initiative we are part of and that is hopefully, a step forward in co-creating a better future.

However, this ‘blog’ has just turned out as a bit of musing by what my daughters would term a pen-ŵy, looking for any self-righteous justifications that might make sense of his ‘community work’. Unfortunately for my self-confidence the meaning of the affectionate term pen-ŵy is the direct opposite of its English translation ‘egg head’… …I have just opened my emails and another consultation form Welsh Government on how to work with communities………


I was raised in Tanygrisiau o’r Tangrish a mile down from the road from Blaenau Ffestiniog. We swam, dived and jumped off the dam In Tangrish lake. A lake that feeds a massive multi-national Hydro power station. We used to get chased from the lake daily during summer.


At 7 or 8 years old I remember being dragged to stand outside some gates with Mam and a group of her CND friends outside the new Nuclear power station in Trawsfynydd. No real idea why we were there but the placards were cool.

I never really understood either why the older lads on our street showed us how to pull two fingers, wave, turn around, and then ‘moony’ at the strangers that used to go past our street on the steam train. A train that back in the day used to take the slate away, by then carried people from ’away’ who used to stare down at us from their purple carriages. They’re just ‘Blydi posh tourists’ said Dad.


My mum is English and came to live here as a hippy in the late 60s and was intoxicated and integrated naturally to the heart of this special community. My father was a roofer, drinker, reader, coal man and occasional quarryman. Mam learnt Welsh, became a youth worker, town councillor, counsellor, lollipop lady and did home help care with Anwen next door for the older people in the village. A lucky and mostly sunny upbringing that was shaped by the community that I was a part of.


We had an old-fashioned community youth club in the village with ‘Prinsi’ as our guide. An opportunity to socialise freely, and without knowing it at the time, we cemented relationships, and shaped plans for the future.


Then on to Secondary school, and work experience in the local quarry as an electrician even though I had my mind set on being a thespian in Theatre Ardudwy.


The experience of catching the old Army lorry at 6am with the other quarry lads was a brilliant life experience and one that connected and rooted me in my community. I will be forever thankful to ‘Stan bach’ the foreman for that time.

I was one of the last 6th formers in Ysgol Y Moelwyn. Whatever you think about the education system, losing a 6th form is as massive a blow to a school and a community as is the loss of community youth clubs.


Forward then to college, Cardiff, Bristol, Croesor and Llanfrothen. Bonkers and brilliant days with my Anweledig brothers travelling around Wales seeing bits and bobs of the World and then settling over the mountain from Tangrish; in Llanfrothen.


Started a ‘real job’ then as a ‘community development officer’ for Bowydd and Rhiw Communities 1st. I didn’t realise there was such a place as Bowydd and Rhiw, I thought it was just one community. It was an amazing job. Being able to work and try and contribute to the community that I owed so much to. As someone said, “You actually get paid for giving a shit.”


The energy and atmosphere in the ‘old coop’ office at that time was pretty special. A group of young-ish local people with inspiring mentors working in an inspiring community. We were full of energy, we were bouncing, full of hope and ambition with a healthy attitude towards our work. Our motto was; “Right our job here is to put ourselves out of a job” We were far enough away from the bureaucracy of Cardiff and Caernarfon to have a freedom and trust to develop projects and social enterprises like Y Dref Werdd and Antur Stiniog. It was far from perfect, but we tried to learn from our mistakes. I like to think we learnt a lot. At the time we believed their impossible was possible, and I still do at 40ish.


Welsh Government pulled the plug on Communities First in the area in 2012 because the area wasn’t poor enough anymore according to their Welsh Index of Multiple deprivation. An index of Welsh Deprivation!?


There is massive potential within all our communities, all we need is confidence faith and an equal relationship with a bit of resource from our Government.


In Bro Ffestiniog alone there are over 15 social enterprises and businesses employing over 200 people offering countless opportunities, getting to grips with social problems and challenges while contributing sustainably to the economy in the same breath. Creating opportunities to enjoy, train or open doors for careers in the arts, care, environment, building, energy, and community tourism ‘sector’.


Exactly like the family firms rooted in the area like Roberts Ffestiniog, D&K, GEWS, Hughes Transport, Original Roofing Company, village shops and many, many more that employ hundreds and are at the heart of the community.


This is our foundational community and economy.


I think it’s obvious that successive models of tackling poverty and economic development have failed our communities. This is why we must all take stock and take responsibility. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?


The Hydro Power Station where we used to swim, jump and dive as children is now part of the ‘Engie’ company with a turnover of over £331billion in 2018 and they are now spending £90million directly on this site over the next two years.

The village has some of the highest fuel poverty rates in Wales and the UK.

Poverty, lack of confidence and food banks are rife. How? Why?


Trawsfynydd where I stood with cool placards as a child is going to cost billions to de-commission, re-build, plonk a nuke submarine factory on, or get covered in Rolls-Royce cement.


Let us not be blinded by the bullshit.


In communities throughout Wales, our resources were, and are being ripped and stolen from our hands daily. We must re-claim these resources, this economy, our confidence, and ambition from Blaenau to Blaina and from energy and tourism to the production of toilet rolls in Penygroes.


I know I make mistakes daily at work and in my personal life. I need to start listening more. We are all learning. Today more than ever let’s trust each other and work together instead of competing. Something is in the air in the slate towns of Gwynedd and our community of communities throughout Wales. Our confidence is returning.


Can we co-create a better future? Of course we can. If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?


Right back to the emails and community consultations…….


Tangnefedd.

Ceri Cunnington

#pam #gwaithcymunedol #osdimnipwy #tanygrish #BlaenauFfestiniog #Cymunedau #profiad #Cymru #economisylfaenol #penŵy

@CwmniBro @SiopOgwen @yr_orsaf


Ma rhywun wedi gofyn i mi ‘sgwennu blog i DOLAN. Menter newydd cyffrous sydd, dwi'n meddwl, yn mynd i fod yn gam enfawr ymlaen tuag at gyd-greu dyfodol gwell. Ond yn anffodus be sydd yn fan hyn ydi myfyrdodau Pen ŵy canol oed sydd yn trio cyfiawnhau, cymryd stoc a gwneud synwyr hunangyfiawn o’i ‘waith cymunedol’ ......a digwydd bod dwi newydd agor yn e-byst a ‘consultation’ arall gan Lywodraeth ar sut i weithio efo cymunedau...........................

Ges i fy magu yn Nhanygrisiau neu Tangrish, milltir lawr ffordd o Blaenau Ffestiniog. Nofio fel plant yn llyn Tangrish a neidio a deifio off y dam. Y llyn sy'n bwydo'r pwerdy hydro enfawr. Oedden ni'n cael yn hel o ‘na bron pob dydd yn ystod yr haf a ddim cweit yn deall pam.

Yn 7 neu 8 oed dwi'n cofio cael yn dragio gan mam i fynd i brotestio efo hi a criw o bobl leol eraill tu allan i giatiau Power Station Niwcliar newydd Traws. Dim rili syniad pam o ni yna ar y pryd, ond oedd y placards yn cŵl.

Do’ ni ddim cweit yn deall pam oedd criw o hogia hyn Cambrian teras yn dangos i ni sut i godi dau fys, codi llaw a troi ‘rownd a dangos ein tinau i'r estroniaid oedd yn mynd heibio’r stryd ar y trên bach. Trên oedd yn arfer mynd a llechi i Port ond rwan yn cario pobl pob dydd i syllu lawr arna ni o'i carijis piws. 'Blydi Tourists posh' di nhw medda’ dad.

Saesnes ydi mam, dod i fyw yma yn y 60s hwyr fel hipi a chael ei hudo a chymhathu yn naturiol i'r cynefin a chymuned arbennig. Dad yn döwr, yfwr, darllenwr, dyn glo a chwarelwr o dro i dro. Mam yn dysgu Cymraeg a dod yn weithiwr ieuenctid, cynghorydd tref, cwnselydd, dynes lolipop ac yn gwneud 'home help' efo Anwen drws nesa' a gofal i henoed y pentre. Magwraeth braf a lwcus iawn wedi siapio gan y gymuned o ni rhan ohoni.

Clwb ieuenctid hen ffasiwn gymunedol yn y pentre efo ‘Prinsi’ i’n tywys ni. Cyfle i gymdeithasu'n rhydd a siapio cynllunia’ a smentio cyfeillgarwch a dyheadau i'r dyfodol, heb yn wybod i ni ar y pryd. Mae colli clybiau ieuenctid cymunedol yn ergyd a hanner i’n cymunedau ni.

Ysgol Uwchradd Y Moelwyn wedyn a chael profiad gwaith yn Llechwedd fel electrician er bod fi di cael gofyn i fynd i Theatr Ardudwy fel darpar thesbian.

Roedd dal yr hen lori army i Llechwedd pob bora am 6yb efo gweddill yr 'ogia chwaral yn dipyn o brofiad ac yn cysylltu fi efo'n nghymuned ac yn rhoi gwreiddia. A fyddai’n ddiolchgar i ‘Stan bach’ y fforman am byth am y cyfnod yna.

O ni yn un o ddosbarth 6 ola’ Ysgol Y Moelwyn. Be bynnag da chi feddwl o’r system addysg, fel colli clybiau ieuenctid, ma’ colli 6ed dosbarth yn ergyd mawr i Ysgol ac i’r gymuned.

Ymlaen wedyn i Goleg, Caerdydd, Bristol, Chroesor a Llanfrothen. Blynyddoedd gwyllt, gwych, a gwallgo’ efo'm mrodyr Anweledig a chyfnod ffodus eto i weld dipyn o Gymru a gweld darna’ bach o'r byd a setlo wedyn dros y mynydd o Tangrish’ yn Llanfrothen.

Dechrau joban ‘go-iawn’ fel ‘swyddog’ datblygu cymunedol i Gymunedau 1af yn Bowydd a Rhiw. Do’ ni ddim yn gwbod bod 'na ffasiwn le a Bowydd a Rhiw ‘na swyddogion yn gweithio yna!? O’ ni meddwl na’ Blaenau, Glanypwll, Manod, Tangrish a Llan oedd ‘na. Un Fro ac un bobl ydi o ia? Eniwe, job anhygoel, cael y fraint o weithio yn y gymuned er lles y gymuned oedd wedi rhoi gymaint i mi. Fel udodd rhywun; 'you actually get paid for giving a shit'

Roedd ysbryd swyddfa'r hen coop ar y pryd yn eithaf arbennig. Criw o bobl 'eitha' ifanc efo cefnogwyr a mentoriaid cymunedol galluog oedd yn ymddiried yndda’ ni. Pawb yn egnïol, lleol, byrlymus, llawn gobaith, uchelgais a meddylfryd iach at y gwaith oedda' ni neud efo'r moto ‘Reit job ni fan hyn, ydi neud yn hunain allan o job’

Roeddem ni'n llawn egni ac yn ddigon pell o biwrocratiaeth Gaerdydd a’r Pencadlys yn Gaernarfon i gael rhyddid i gario ‘mlaen efo pethau a hyder a ffydd i ddatblygu a chydweithio ar gynlluniau fel Antur Stiniog, Y Dref Werdd a chwrs Cynefin a Chymuned. Oedd o'n bell o fod yn berffaith ond sw' ni licio meddwl bod ni wedi dysgu lot o’n camgymeriadau a chael lot o hwyl.

Ar y pryd roedda' ni'n credu bod eu ‘amhosib’ nhw yn bosib, a dwi dal yn credu hyn yn 40ish oed.

Nath Llywodraeth Cymru tynnu'r plwg ar adnoddau craidd Cym 1af yn 2012 gan nad oedd yr ardal digon tlawd ddim mwy yn ôl ‘The index of Welsh deprivation gan Lywodraeth Cymru’. Index of Welsh Deprivation mo!?

Mae 'na botensial aruthrol yn ein cymunedau ar draws Cymru yr unig beth sydd angen ydi ychydig o hyder, ffydd, cefnogaeth ac adnoddau gan ein Llywodraeth.

Ym Mro Ffestiniog yn unig mae 'na tua 15 o fentrau a busnesau cymunedol yn cyflogi dros 200 o bobl yn cynnig nifer o gyfleoedd ac yn trio mynd i'r afael yn uniongyrchol a rhai o rwystrau a phroblemau lleol. Yn yr un gwynt mae nhw’n cyfrannu yn economaidd a chreadigol at dyfodol yr ardal. Creu cyfleoedd i fwynhau, dysgu, gweithio ac ella siapio gyrfa mewn meysydd creadigol, gofal, amgylcheddol, adeiladwaith, ynni a thwristiaeth gymunedol.

Union ru'n peth ar fusnesau teuluol lleol fel D&C, Roberts Ffestiniog, D&K, GEWS, Hughes Transport, Original Roofing Company, Siopa Pentra’ a llawer mwy sydd yn cyflogi cannoedd ac yn galon i’r gymuned.

Dyma ein cymuned ac economi sylfaenol.

Dwi'n meddwl bod o'n gwbl glir bod modelau datblygu economaidd a rhaglenni 'trechu tlodi' y llywodraeth wedi methu ein cymunedau ni. Dyna pam rhaid i ni gyd gymryd gwynt a chymryd cyfrifoldeb. Os ddim ni, Pwy? Os ddim ‘rŵan pryd?

Mae’r llyn a’r pwerdy Hydro lle oedd a’ ni nofio, neidio a deifio fel plant, yn rhan o gwmni ‘ENGIE’ sydd efo turnover o £331billion a ma nhw gwario £90miliwn ar y safle dros y ddwy flynedd nesa.

Ma’ tai'r pentra’ gyferbyn lle oedda ni’n chwarae, yn dioddef o’r tlodi tanwydd mwya yng Nghymru, tlodi, diffyg hyder a banciau bwyd yn bla. Sut? Pam?

Ma’ Traws, lle oedd yr hipis a’r plentyn yn protestio, yn mynd i gostio biliynau i dad-comisiynu, ei ail-adeiladu, troi mewn i ffatri sybmarins niwcs, neu i gyfro mewn sment Royals-Royce.

Peidiwn â chael ein dallu gan y malu cachu.

Mewn cymunedau ar draws Cymru, mae ein hadnoddau wedi, ac yn cael ei rhwygo a’i dwyn o’n dwylo ni yn ddyddiol. Mae rhaid i ni ail feddiannu ein hadnoddau, economi, hyder ac uchelgais o Blaenau i Blaina ac o ynni i dwristiaeth ac i gynhyrchu toilet rolls ym Mhenygroes.

Dwi gwybod bod fi neud camgymeriadau yn ddyddiol yn fy ngwaith a fy mywyd pob dydd. Rhaid i mi ddysgu gwrando yn well. Da ni gyd yn dysgu. Heddiw fwy nag erioed, gawn i ymddiried yn ein gilydd a chyd-weithio yn lle cwffio, achos mae yna rhywbeth ar droed ac yn yr aer yn trefi chwarelyddol Gogledd Cymru a’n cymuned o gymunedau thu hwnt. Mae’r hyder yn dychwelyd.

Fedrwn i cyd-greu dyfodol gwell? Wrth gwrs. Os ddim ni, pwy? Ac os ddim rŵan, pryd?

Reit nol at yr e-byst a’r consultations…..

Tangnefedd.



Ben Gregory


#Penygroes #NorthwoodHygiene #cymunedau #communities #jobs #Gwaith #leftbehind #governmentinvestment #FoundationalEconomi #EconomiSylfaenol

@yr_orsaf @SiopOgwen @CwmniBro


(Scroll down for English)


Ni ddylai bwriad Northwood Hygiene i gau y ffatri bapur ym Mhenygroes synnu unrhyw un. Bu'r lle dan fygythiad cyn hyn, ond llwyddodd o oroesi. Ond ymddengys mai COVID-19 fydd yr hoelen olaf yn yr arch, yn ôl y perchnogion. Pa mor wir yw hyn?

Dyma yr hyn oedd gan y cwmni i'w ddweud wrth ddatgan eu bwriad i gau ar Fai 26:

"As part of a strategic review of business operations, given the rapidly changing landscape and market conditions, the Directors of Northwood Hygiene Products Ltd regret to announce the proposed closure of the Penygroes manufacturing facility, located in North Wales. This proposal affects 94 employees. As part of the review, various alternative options were considered, but the contraction in market demand as a consequence of Covid-19, and the subsequent significant fall in current and forecasted sales volumes has led to this very difficult decision being made." (1)

Felly bai y diffyg galw ydi'r rheswm, o ganlyniad i COVID. Ond 'roswch funud.

Onid papur tŷ bach oedd y peth mwyaf poblogaidd ddeufis yn ôl, gyda pobl yn ymladd drosto? Efallai mai'r diffyg galw mewn canolfannau cyhoeddus yw'r rheswm. Ond nid yn ôl y cwmni ei hun (2). Mae pencadlys Northwood Hygiene yn Telford

Ar Ebrill 9ed, dywedson nhw wrth ei papur lleol, y Shropshire Star, fod busnes yn ffynnu:

“Demand for our paper products has rocketed, especially that for toilet roll. In order to meet the current level of demand, staff continue to work 24/7 and many are working significant overtime,” says Northwood marketing manager Paul Mulready.

“We have recruited many new workers at our consumer division, Freedom Paper Products.”

Dyna brofiad y gweithwyr ym Mhenygroes hefyd, doedd y ffatri yno erioed wedi bod mor brysur ar ddechrau'r argyfwng.

Mae Northwood Hygiene wedi sicrhau cytundeb efo DEFRA i gyflenwi papur toiled fel rhan o becynnau bwyd y llywodraeth, ac maent yn hyderus ynglyn â'r dyfodol.

"Longer term there will be a step-change in people’s attitudes to hand hygiene and hygiene in general. Here at Northwood, we will continue to help educate people and provide the product ranges for people to maintain a hygienic lifestyle.”...... “We finished 2019 on a high, and the first few months of 2020 continued to show strong growth in all channels,” Paul says.

Yn yr erthygl, mae Paul hefyd yn brolio ymrwymiad y cwmni i gyfrifoldeb cymdeithasol corfforaethol, mwy na thebyg tra'n cynllunio i dorri 94 o swyddi ym Mhenygroes.

Mae trosiant y cwmni wedi cynyddu yn flynyddol ers 2015, gan ddyblu mewn pedair blynedd i gyrraedd £99 miliwn erbyn diwedd 2018. Gwelodd y cwmni ei elw gweithredol yn dyblu rhwng 2017 a 2018. Mae hyn wedi galluogi y cwmni o Telford i fynd ar sbri yn ystod y blynyddoedd diweddar. Yn wir, gwariodd swm saith ffigwr ar ddau beiriant yn safle Telford yn 2017, a llynedd, buont yn cael gafael ar/ perchnogi cwmniau yn Chesterfield, Oldham a Sbaen, gyda'r cyfan yn gwthio Penygroes yn is ar eu rhestr blaenoriaethau.

Mae'n wir nad oes ateb hawdd i hyn, ond un ohonynt yn bendant yw osgoi trosglwyddo symiau mawr o arian i gwmniau preifat i'w denu i deyrnasu yn y tymor byr. Rhaid i Lywodraeth Cymru weithio efo undebau, y gymuned leol, yr awdurdodau a'r asiantaethau i osod sylfeini perchnogaeth leol ar y safle.

Yn y tymor hir, rhaid i Lywodraeth Cymru flaenoriaethu buddsoddi mewn perchnogaeth gweithwyr neu gymuned, cael amrywiaeth mewn economiau lleol, a rhoi'r gorau i gefnogi cyfalafiaeth remp.

(1) Northwood Hygiene website:

(2) https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/business/2020/04/09/telford-company-is-on-a-roll-as-shelves-empty-in-stores/

Northwood Hygiene's threatened closure of the paper products factory in Penygroes should surprise no-one. The facilities have been under threat before, but have survived. But it looks like that COVID-19 will finally kill off the factory according to its owners. But is this true?

This is what the company had to say announcing the closure on May 26:

"As part of a strategic review of business operations, given the rapidly changing landscape and market conditions, the Directors of Northwood Hygiene Products Ltd regret to announce the proposed closure of the Penygroes manufacturing facility, located in North Wales. This proposal affects 94 employees. As part of the review, various alternative options were considered, but the contraction in market demand as a consequence of Covid-19, and the subsequent significant fall in current and forecasted sales volumes has led to this very difficult decision being made." (1)

So it's down to a shrinking market, because of COVID. But wait a minute. Haven't toilet rolls be flying off the shelves like never before? Perhaps it's due to the wider impact, as leisure and public facilities cut back. Not according to the company themselves (2). Northwood Hygiene is headquartered in Telford. They told their local paper, the Shropshire Star, on April 9 that business in their gigantic plant was booming:

“Demand for our paper products has rocketed, especially that for toilet roll. In order to meet the current level of demand, staff continue to work 24/7 and many are working significant overtime,” says Northwood marketing manager Paul Mulready.

“We have recruited many new workers at our consumer division, Freedom Paper Products.”

Workers in Penygroes tell the same story, a factory busy as never before.

Northwood Hygiene has secured a contract with DEFRA to supply toilet rolls as part of government food packages, and are confident about the future.

"Longer term there will be a step-change in people’s attitudes to hand hygiene and hygiene in general. Here at Northwood, we will continue to help educate people and provide the product ranges for people to maintain a hygienic lifestyle.”...... “We finished 2019 on a high, and the first few months of 2020 continued to show strong growth in all channels,” Paul says.

Paul also boasts in the article about the company's commitment to corporate social responsibility, presumably as they were making plans to make 94 workers redundant in Penygroes.

Company turnover has increased every year since 2015, more than doubling in four years to reach £99 million at the end of 2018. The firm also saw its operating profit double from 2017 to 2018. This has enabled the Telford company to go on a spending spree over the past few years. It spent seven figure sums on two machines at its Telford plant in 2017, and last year acquired companies in Chesterfield, Oldham and in Spain, all of which would have sent Penygroes further down its list of priorities.

There is no easy answer to this, but the one to definitely avoid is handing over large sums of money to private companies to entice them to grant temporary stays of execution. The Welsh Government needs to work with the unions, the local community, and authorities and agencies to set up local ownership of the plant. In the longer term the Welsh Government needs to prioritise investment in worker and community ownership, diversifying local economies, and ending their support for footloose capital.

(1) Northwood Hygiene website:

(2) https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/business/2020/04/09/telford-company-is-on-a-roll-as-shelves-empty-in-stores/


1
2

Blog Dolan