There are many projects on Gower that use sustainability as a base for their activities and ways of working. Here is just a selection of them:
Down to Earth Project – a good example of sustainable business/ education
Down to Earth is a not-for-profit organisation with a 10 year track record in doing innovative outdoor experiences with vulnerable and ‘hard to reach’ groups of all ages. By engaging people in sustainable activities such as constructing timber framed buildings for example, participants get to learn new skills, work as part of a team and get to be physically active outdoors – all of which can help contribute to their general wellbeing.
Now occupying two sites, the organisation itself has many sustainable features in its makeup including producing all of its own electricity from solar panels, generating hot water and heating using a biomass boiler as well as growing organic food on site.
“…being outdoors and actually doing sustainability is great for increasing quality of life and well-being … in other words, it helps you feel better about yourself… it also acts a stepping stone for re-engaging in learning through appropriate methods and it does “that zero-carbon/climate change mitigation/adaptation/sustainable development/global citizenship/ESDGC thing” without using abstract/difficult to get your head around language. In other words, we get on with it, we try new things and sustainability is embedded throughout our entire approach”
See more about Down to Earth at http://www.downtoearthproject.org.uk/
Coeden Fach Community Tree Nursery – a community approach to protecting biodiversity
Coeden Fach is a not for profit/community lead organisation that specialises in growing native trees using organic methods from locally collected Gower seed. These are nurtured until they are ready to be sold as bare root trees for hedging and woodland planting.
They also work with a diverse number of community groups who visit the site for therapeutic work, and it is a place where people can grow and develop. They are always looking for volunteers to help nurture their trees and develop the biodiversity of the site and offer training courses throughout the year on subjects such as fruit tree grafting, green woodworking and basket making.
Local provenance/ native trees and shrubs are important because they have better survival rates due to being better adapted to local conditions. They help conserve local wildlife as there are differing characteristics to different species which influence things like when they come into leaf, flower and fruit and this is a fine balance between them and the wildlife they support.
See more about Coeden Fach at https://coedenfach.org.uk/
Gower Power – a good example of community organisation
Gower Power is a co-operative of people and organisations who want to establish Gower as a flagship for resilience and sustainability. It aims to encourage a “healthier relationship between people and the environment at a local level” and it does this through supporting the creation of “small social and ecologically focussed enterprises”.
See more about Gower Power at http://www.gowerpower.coop/
Two of its enterprises are Cae Tan CSA and Gower Regeneration Ltd.
Cae Tan is a Community Supported Agriculture Project (CSA) which works to the concept that producers and consumers take shared responsibility for how food is produced. It grows and supplies fresh, seasonal, biodynamic produce to its members weekly throughout the year. They offer volunteering and learning opportunities to a range of groups and individuals, such as local schools to raise awareness of sustainable farming and to reconnect children and young people to the land and their food.
See more about Cae Tan at http://caetancsa.org/en/
Gower Regeneration Ltd is a 1 megawatt solar farm that can produce enough electricity for around 300 homes. This community owned enterprise will also be used to generate funds that can then be used to help start other community projects and enterprises.
See more about Gower regeneration at http://regengower.co.uk/
Gower Heritage Centre – A demonstration of renewable energy use past and present.
Gower Heritage Centre is a countryside crafts centre and museum of rural life with a fully operational 12th century water powered corn and saw mill, a collection of antique farming and cultivation equipment, and a working woollen mill. There is a small apple orchard and the Centre holds an annual apple and cider weekend when a 150 year old mobile cider press is put to use. The centre also uses solar panels to provide hot water for the toilet block on site.
Encouraging people to learn more about the history and traditions of an area such as Gower also helps to preserve and nurture those features that help make a particular community and way of life unique.
See more information about the museum at http://www.gowerheritagecentre.co.uk/