The project is being delivered by the Five Communities Group and it will commence with the establishment of a steering group with a minimum of one person from each of the five history groups. These societies encompass 8 villages and 1 town in Pembrokeshire. All the societies involved are on a continuum of progress in cataloguing and archiving their resources. Full membership of these groups is in excess of 200, with others from the locality attending events or lectures.
A suitably qualified person will be employed on a two-year basis under the management structure of PLANED and each area will have an equal designated timeframe. Each society will have an individual strand in the newly created website ‘Heritage Pembrokeshire’ and will complement other local websites e.g. Explore Pembrokeshire.
This process will develop and strengthen heritage links between the five communities creating a deeper awareness of a sense of place. This supportive network will benefit all groups in researching and delivering future projects and can act as a prototype for linking other history societies in the future.
Despite challenges around Covid, the project did establish its networks and has enabled a high level of improved communication between societies, as well as increasing the confidence and capacity of members and communities alike. This stand-alone pilot project was unique and served its purpose in evaluating the collections of photographs, documents and artefacts held by individual history societies. The unique cataloguing system was created to be accessible for all and to provide a format for future societies. The Project team tell us that ‘the pilot was all about social cohesion – bringing the community together so that their shared history/heritage is better understood. However, the loss of the history talks and other social events has been keenly felt. It is anticipated that the continuation of the shared learning and discovering new facts about our communities will begin to lift the seclusion brought on by Covid lockdowns’.
‘’There is such a demand for this measure of help and support from other history groups, a second phase would be of an immense assistance to the teams of volunteers who run exhibitions, open days, guided walks, publish books and provide access to eminent speakers’’.
The project did want to see a longer period encompassed to allow more history societies to take part. In a more ‘normal’ time, the training would have taken place face-to-face, and members of the societies would have been encouraged to work and learn alongside the project officers.
Arwain Sir Benfro and the LEADER Programme concluded in December 2021 once all projects were completed and funding exhausted. There is now no dedicated support upon the completion of the LEADER Programme in Pembrokeshire. Should you have any queries, PLANED as the previous administrators, may be able to assist, or similarly for wider questions on the LEADER Programme in Wales, please contact the Wales European Funding Office (WEFO).