A Denbighshire social enterprise is in the running for a major award after boosting the economy of the south of the county by over £4 million in just three years.
South Denbighshire Community Partnership (SDCP) has been short-listed in the prestigious Steve Morgan Foundation Awards for its pioneering work in the Dee Valley area, including Llangollen, in fighting rural poverty and isolation.
Their services were extended to the Llangollen area in January after they won a £500,000 lottery bonanza to fight rural poverty in the Dee Valley with the cash to be spread over four years to autumn 2024.
Now they are appealing for local supporters to vote for them in the Awards which cover North Wales, Merseyside and Cheshire, in the over £250,000 category for Charities and Social Enterprises making the Most Local Impact.
In the past three years SDCP, a grant-funded community charity with its headquarters at Canolfan Ni in Corwen, has helped local people claim unpaid benefits, introduced community transport along the Dee Valley, run a meals on wheels service and even pioneered a hydro-electric power scheme.
That quarter of a million figure is dwarfed by the economic and social impact made by the small team and their willing volunteers that operate from the community centre of Canolfan Ni on London Road, Corwen, and which extended its services to Llangollen earlier this year.
SDCP Chief Officer Margaret Sutherland said: “We’re thrilled to have been short-listed for this major award and for a small organisation here in the Dee Valley to be named alongside major charities and organisations from across Liverpool and Cheshire.
“We feel it is recognition for the work we and the people of Corwen and the Dee Valley have done to make life better for the local community and in particular for those suffering from poverty and loneliness.
“Now we’d just like to appeal to our many supporters to help by voting for us at https://stevemorganfoundation.org.uk/ by the end of the year as those votes will count towards 20 per cent of the final decision.”
The awards were launched in 2001 by multi-millionaire businessman Steve Morgan CBE, the founder and former chairman of housing giant Redrow who lived in Ruthin for a number of years and even played rugby for the local club, and over the past 20 years his Foundation has donated over £300 million to charities.
SDCP’s work locally with Citizens Advice Denbighshire (CAD) has helped people in the Edeyrnion area claim £1.8 million in benefits in just over two years with 70 per cent of that money spent locally and with each £1 estimated to be spent three times, providing a £4.1 million boost to the Dee Valley economy.
SDCP Chief Officer Margaret Sutherland added: “We have received huge support from the Wales National Lottery Community Fund and worked closely with CAD who were an integral part of the bid that we made for funds to fight rural isolation and rural poverty.
“We are working to reduce fuel poverty through the Corwen Energy Local scheme and we also work with CAD on their school uniform recycling and on helping people reduce their energy costs and on debt.
“This is helping people in very difficult circumstances, many of them are very worried about debt but although they were eligible for these benefits but they just weren’t claiming them.
“We work across so many areas of need and the activities we organise and provide at Canolfan Ni are so important as are the links our Meals on Wheels service and prescription and grocery deliveries create with some of the most isolated people in the community.
“We live in a spectacularly beautiful area but often that beauty hides real poverty as well and its part of our mission to reach out to people in need and connect them to their community.”
Among the most recent activities to be launched at Canolfan Ni is an arts and crafts group run by mum-of-three Kelly Kibble-White, from Cynwyd, who said: “SDCP are great and they work so hard here.
“I became involved because they organised activities for the children over the summer and it really was a lifeline for me.
“They do so much and the vulnerable in our communities rely on them so much.”
SDCP also receives funding support from other sources including Betsi Cadwaladar Health Board, Morrison’s, Moondance, Community Foundation Wales and Cadwyn Clwyd, while continuing to work closely with Denbighshire County Council on joint Community Development and Community Transport schemes.
Their rural transport services include bus trips on their 16-seater community minibus while their fleet also includes a Toyota Rav 4 hybrid SUV and an MG electric and a Peugeot van cars, used for dial-a-ride and meals on wheels service – they also provide two electric vehicle charging points at the rear of Canolfan Ni.
The Partnership serve Corwen and the surrounding villages of Glyndyfrdwy, Carrog, Cynwyd, Llandrillo, Gwyddelwern, Betws Gwerfil Goch, Melin Y Wig and Bryneglwys, an area covering 100 square miles and this year extended its activities down the A5 to Llangollen.
Community Engagement Officer Sally Lloyd Davies said: “This is an area where there is a great deal of rural poverty with older people often living in isolated areas and in the pandemic it has been a very frightening time for them.
“At the height of the pandemic we have been a vital link for many isolated people, bringing them shopping and prescriptions, making regular buddy phone calls for a chat and just being a friendly face dropping in.
“We sent out a flyer to every household in Edeyrnion, over 1800 homes, with a phone number for people to contact us and our volunteers have been brilliant whether it’s taking calls or making deliveries and making phone calls to vulnerable people to make sure they’re well and just to have a chat with them.
“Every Tuesday we’ve been phoning the people who registered for our shopping service to take their orders, we’ve done the shop on Wednesday and we deliver on Thursdays.
“There’s been a great response to our appeal for donations to the food bank as well and we’ve kept people up to date with posts on Facebook.”
For the latest information on SDCP go to https://www.facebook.com/sdcpartnership and for those in need of support contact SDCP on 01490 266004.