A patch of wasteland alongside an historic parish hall with spectacular views over the Menai Straits is to be turned into a community space for the residents of an Anglesey village using cash seized from criminals.

The village of Llandegfan, which enjoys a superb location, has an imposing Parish Hall, a Grade Two listed building, donated by the Rathbone family in 1904, which is the hub of village activities.

The hall, home of the local eisteddfod and the village youth club, has been massively renovated in recent years and is widely used for charity events and the local Eisteddfod while the village Youth club also meets there.

Cwm Cadnant Community Council has turned the playground outside into one of the best on Anglesey by investing in new equipment but the Covid-19 pandemic has had an effect on village life which the Council were keen to address.

Now the Council has been awarded £2,500 from the North Wales Police Commissioner’s Your Community, Your Choice fund to create a garden area complete with seating areas, trees, shrubs and flowers.

The initiative, also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and North Wales Police, is in its ninth year.

More than £400,000 has been handed out to deserving causes in that time and much of it has been recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Commissioner, Andy Dunbobbin.

Council clerk Alun Foulkes said: “With the village primary school closed there was nowhere for children and their parents to gather.

“We saw as many as 50 people in the playground by the Parish Hall. This was great to see but sad as well because there was not enough places to sit.

“We had the idea of creating a community garden alongside the building to create a  meeting space for local people.

“Our intention is to clear the area before planting some trees and other plants and install seating areas where people can come along, sit down and have a place to chat with perhaps a cup of tea.

“Essentially we are planning to extend the hall into the open air.”

Cwm Cadnant Community Council are keen to involve other organisations and has invited other groups to present their ideas for the land which has the remains of an old working mill nearby.

He added the Community Council have followed closely similar developments and projects by other community councils in Wales.

Alun Foulkes said that they were also looking at similar developments by other community councils in Wales and added: “We have every intention of being a proactive authority and this project is part of that aim.

“The local church has suggested planting a tree in the garden to commemorate the centenary of establishing the Church in Wales for instance.

“We are pleased to see that our work is being recognised by the Police and Crime Commissioner and by those that voted in our favour. We’re clearly doing something that people approve of.”

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “I am delighted that my Your Community Your Choice fund continues to support community projects across North Wales.

“This unique fund is demonstration of people power in action because it allows our communities to decide which projects should get financial support through our on-line voting system.

“There is an element of poetic justice in using money obtained through crime to address the problem of crime in our communities.

“It’s turning bad money into good and it’s making a real difference because it is local people who recognise and understand their local issues and how to solve them.

“This is a really positive aspect of the scheme and it helps bring us closer to those communities.”

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Allsop said: “I get particular satisfaction that part of the funding comes from the proceeds of crime, so that money is taken out of the pockets of criminals and their ill-gotten gains by the courts and is put back into community initiatives.

“It’s turning bad money into good and it’s making a real difference because it is local people who recognise and understand their local issues and how to solve them.

“Policing is part of the community and the community is part of policing and this scheme is a positive way of building trust in policing.

“It’s great to see those relationships flourish because without the community we won’t know what’s going on, without the community we won’t get vital intelligence, and we won’t solve crimes.”

PACT chair Ashley Rogers said: “These awards are important because they support community projects right across North Wales and it’s the communities themselves that decide where the money can best be spent.

“A lot of what we fund is aimed at providing something for young people to get involved with in their spare time, activities that can help to build skills and positive physical and mental health.

“We want to support communities so they are able to take responsibility for their own areas.

“Community groups and projects can do a great deal to make communities safer, reduce crime and reduce re-offending, it also sends a good message to the communities because it shows we are listening to them.

“The aim is to build up resilience in communities across North Wales to help vulnerable people and combat things like County Lines.”

For more information on the work of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner go to https://www.northwales-pcc.gov.uk/en/home.aspx and for more on the North Wales Police and Community Trust go to https://www.pactnorthwales.co.uk/