Community-spirited neighbours who brought to life disused land in a Gwynedd village are building a new riverside walk thanks to cash seized from criminals.

Y Tir, part of the Dyffryn Ardydwy and Talybont Regeneration Group, is aiming to recruit a small army of young volunteers from the surrounding area as part of a plan to ‘banish boredom’ and bring young people and local villagers together.

The group formed in May last year to transform waste land in the centre of the village into 28 allotments and an orchard.

The allotments have since become a hive of activity and have helped to unite generations and connect villagers of all ages.

Now, the community project is expanding its work to include a picturesque new riverside walk connecting two sides of the village thanks to a £2,500 grant from the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner’s Your Community Your Choice Fund.

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 much of it has been recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Commissioner.

Grandmother-of-ten Kathleen Aikman, Y Tir Coordinator, said the grant would give young people the opportunity to develop new skills and expand their work experience in preparation for future employment.

She said: “There’s nothing for young people to do here at all. The swimming pool is closed, the youth club’s not running and because of Covid, young people have got into the habit of staying in their bedrooms playing on devices. It’s much healthier to be out in the open air.

“We’re hoping Coleg Meirion Dwyfor will help us to recruit young people to get involved.

“A lot of people have said they are keen to come onboard and now we have some money we will be able to do it as before we didn’t quite know how we could achieve our plans. We’ve applied for various grants and this is the best one we’ve received so far.

“The walk follows the stream and goes across two fields, ending up at the Gwynedd Pentre Uchaf Retirement Home. It’s going to cost a little bit of money to develop but now we have the cheque we’re going to get to work as soon as the weather is suitable.”

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 a 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.”

Y Tir began the cultivating land in September last year and have since developed 28 allotments opposite the village hall. The land is owned by social housing provider ADRA which bought it from Gwynedd Council and is leased by the group for the benefit of the village.

Kathleen, 74, said: “The land amounts to three or four fields from the village hall right down to the station.

“From last September, we have divided it into 28 allotments opposite the village hall and it has brought the community together.

“A lot of people who don’t know each other have signed up for allotments – there’s so much excitement. Then we had the idea of a river walk. It’s basically a flood plain so you cannot build houses there.

“Gwynedd Council gave us a small grant to provide something for older folks so we are putting that towards seating.

“It’s so exciting. Even the people who don’t have allotments are saying what a great thing it is for the village.

“We’ve applied for a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) grant to build an ornamental garden at that end of the walk for people to enjoy. It’s an amenity for the whole village.”

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 and for more on the North Wales Police and Community Trust go to