Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations

third sector organisations

Developing more Resilient Communities in Wales

As part of the ongoing conversation on how Wales can develop more Resilient Communities, all this week we’ve been sharing a series of blogs offering different perspectives on the issues.

Here’s a look back at the week’s posts. Read all our blogs on Resilient Communities at WCVA’s blog site:

How Community Anchors can be key for local action

Cardiff Uni Resilience

Dr Eva Elliott from Cardiff University takes an historical look at the role of community anchor organisations in Communities First and in the context of Welsh Government’s desire to build a new approach to building resilient communities.

‘I have always been skeptical about the term resilience. In the context of steep inequalities it has seemed to me that the capacity to ‘withstand and respond positively to stress or change’ or to ‘bounce back’ from the assaults of economic downturns is not enough…’

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DOVE Workshop – Community Education Centre to Community Anchor Organisation

DOVE Workshop Resilience

Lesley Smith of Dulais Valley’s DOVE Workshop outlines how they have become an anchor organisation in their community.

‘DOVE Workshop is located in the Dulais Valley, an area that once provided opportunities for employment predominantly in the coal industry. The organisation was established in 1984 as a direct response to the threat to the industry and what that would mean to families…’

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Caia Park Partnership: Core Costs Covered

Caia Park Resilience

Alison Hill of Caia Park Partnership discusses their work as an anchor organisation, and how grant funding for core costs allowed them to become the community anchor they are today.

Generations of support

‘For over 20 years Caia Park Partnership (CPP) has been at the heart of the community of Caia Park, Wrexham. We are part of people’s lives and our activities have grown over the years in response to needs…’

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Cletwr – Community Shop to Community Anchor

Cletwr Resilience

We head to rural Wales where Nigel Callaghan explains how Cwmni Cletwr has evolved beyond its initial purpose of reviving the local shop to something much bigger and more diverse.

‘When we opened Siop Cynfelyn in the old Clettwr Services in Tre’r Ddôl, north Ceredigion,  in 2013 the intention was to run a small village shop and cafe, run by the community, for the benefit of the community. It didn’t quite work out that way! Run by and for the community, yes, but now it’s rather more than a small village shop and cafe. With hindsight, it should have been expected. I wonder how similar we are to others, who start off focused on a specific service, amenity or issue but soon evolve beyond that…’

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Reflections on the role of Community Anchors

Resilient Communities panel

Russell Todd, manger of WCVA’s Communities First Support Service, looks back at our week of themed blogs about community anchors and sees a prominent role for them if Welsh communities are to be empowered.

‘It has been a fascinating week reading about the different ways in which independent, community-owned organisations are supporting their communities: by helping develop social cohesion; providing crucial services and employment; advocating on behalf of communities; and combating negative stereotypes. It is clear how useful anchors can be complementing and enhancing public service delivery…’

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Resilient Communities: a third sector perspective

WCVA has been working with members and a range of partners to develop proposals on developing more resilient communities. Within this, we’re particularly interested in what needs to happen to achieve more empowered communities. We will share these proposals with our members and Welsh Government in the autumn.

You’ll find more information on this and how to get involved, plus podcasts, vlogs and other views from around the sector on our Resilient Communities Hub.


Volunteer story:Change Step

Hi. My name is Jason and I am a veteran from Wrexham, North Wales. I served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and saw action in the first Gulf War. Due to this action I went on to suffer from PTSD. For years I struggled to get help and I used to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. My life was going nowhere and I went from job to job not caring about anything. That all changed when I was introduced to Change Step.


Change Step is a peer mentoring service for military veterans who suffer with PTSD. The mentors are all veterans themselves and to me this is the reason why Change Step works so well.

I have been volunteering with Change Step now for 12 months and the change in me is amazing. The work they do is second to none in my opinion and I don’t know what I would be doing now without them.


The Change Step peer mentors can help with signposting to different agencies and services, such as counselling, benefit agencies and substance misuse services. They can also find and offer training courses suitable to the individual. On top of that, they are there to offer support in any way they can. The mentors themselves have been through similar experiences to me  –  it was so easy to relate and get along with them, as you felt that they knew exactly what you had been through, and that they had come through the other end.

Change Step often organises volunteer events in the local community. In the past we have helped tidy-up war memorials for Remembrance Sunday. This gave me an immense sense of pride and it was a good feeling doing something for the community. This year we are aiming to tidy-up 700 of the 2,000 war graves across North Wales. Again, this gives me and the other volunteers a great sense of pride. We have also worked alongside the Costal Rangers tidying up coastal paths, planting trees and clearing overgrown areas. These volunteer days not only benefit the community, but they are also good fun. The volunteering is therapeutic and working as a team is really good for people’s morale. I have seen great changes in veterans who join Change Step, even after just a few weeks with us, and these volunteer days fill them with a sense of pride and raise their self-esteem. For some of them, it’s the first time they will have socialised with others for a long time.

Twelve months ago I had no lust for life, no goals and no real interest in myself. I didn’t socialise and did not like going out in public because of my PTSD . The counselling they offered was superb and I can now leave the house without the feelings I used to get. Since being part of Change Step I have been on numerous courses, countless volunteer days and I, and others around me, have noticed a great change in me. This change would not have happened if it wasn’t for Change Step and I am so grateful.