Our project Afon Cynon – A river for all, started in April 2020. The project was funded by Pen-y-Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and the Postcode Lottery. The project aimed to improve and enhance biodiversity through three main themes: Education, Volunteering, and meaningful Community Engagement.
We view the project as a great success having engaged over a thousand primary school children with rivers and their wildlife, as well as a group from a land-based college and over forty students from a local university, several of whom continue to volunteer with the Trust.
We have trained over forty volunteers in an accredited River Restoration qualification, over forty in River-fly Monitoring Partnership training, and several in a Water Safety certification. Several of our volunteers have progressed to find employment working in the sector, or have simply used their newly acquired skill to improve their improving their prospects.
We have forged very strong working relationships with three community groups in the Cynon valley: Cynon Valley Organic Adventures, Cwmbach Community Wetlands and the newly formed Friends of Cynon Valley Green spaces. We have held river clean-ups with all three groups, invasive species management, wildlife walks including bat nights, as well as Nature-Themed Family fun days throughout the catchment engaging hundreds of families with the river and its wildlife.
Our Smart Rivers project, a Wales first, studying river fly-life to species level, with volunteers as citizen scientists, has identified pressures upon the river, now being investigated further by Natural Resources Wales; as well as identifying several new species for the Cynon. We hope to secure further funding to deliver a similar project on the larger neighbouring Rhondda catchment, as well as continuing the legacy of our Cynon project works with the stakeholder groups, with whom we have established strong working relationships.