In 2013 Crickhowell High School supported an idea around setting up a small woodland group and potential environmental classroom as part of the School Eco Club. Some development work was undertaken by The Green Valleys CiC in the Co-ordinator role with Renew Wales, working on the principle of peer to peer support. The co-ordinator then called in Llangattock Green Valleys as a Mentor, once the activity moved forward.
Students met regularly and set their own agenda on projects they wished to undertake. There are specific timetables which students and teachers need to work with and any outside community involvement is often at the bottom of the agenda so the first consideration is time. This included when to meet, for how long and the best way to fit with the school timetable.
Crickhowell High School discussed what they wanted to do and then created an action plan.
There were many obstacles to overcome with the major one being access. The group came up with its own idea on how to access the site which is leased from a large estate by Llangattock Green Valleys. The main issue in this instance was achieving disabled access across a stream which flows into the River Usk a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Consultation was important and as the Mentor encouraged the Eco Club to negotiate and consult with Brecon Beacons National Park and the local Town Council and County Councillors. They all supported and contributed to the project.
Renew Wales appointed two mentors to the project, in order to provide support and guidance in setting up and developing the scheme.
With this particular project some elements needed to be undertaken by Llangattock Green Valleys and the project is ongoing. It has taken over a year to get to a final stage due to difficulties with planning permission for a small wooden bridge for access and overcoming some issues on the lease as well as insurance. The final push will be bringing students and community volunteers to build the bridge giving access to the environmental classroom and woodland area for the school to encourage a woodland group.
Along with Crickhowell High School Eco Club, there will also be a small sustainable woodland group, and an environmental classroom.