Nick Thomas-Symonds visited Noddfa Baptist Church in Abersychan to see the work of local volunteers who have developed and transformed the church grounds for wildlife and for people to experience nature.

The volunteers applied for a Wildlife Development Pack as part of the Keep Wales Tidy “Local Places for Nature” Scheme.

The package has enhanced biodiversity by replacing a grassy area of the car park entrance with wildflower turf that will form into amazing carpet of flowers next summer. Raised beds have been built over amenity grass and have been planted up with native, wildlife-friendly plants. Bee and butterfly hotels have also been attached to them and Apple trees have been planted around the grounds.

The project has enabled a wide range of groups to get involved, including the mother and toddler, Men’s shed, schools, youth group, play group, church women and men’s group.

200 adults access the site on a weekly basis, including many who do not have their own garden space or are in rented accommodation where they are unable to make good use of the space they have.

The visit provided the Torfaen MP the opportunity to discuss with Keep Wales Tidy other environmental programmes funded by the Welsh Government including Caru Cymru, National Forest and Eco Schools.

On the visit, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP commented: ‘It has been fantastic to visit Noddfa Baptist Church to see the wonderful work volunteers have done as part of the Local Places for Nature Scheme.

‘Outdoor areas are so important to people’s physical and mental wellbeing, and I know how much of a positive impact this will have on the community.’

‘I would like to thank Keep Wales Tidy for the invite to Noddfa Baptist Church, and the work they do with local organisations to protect and enhance our natural environment.’

Pastor John Funnell, Noddfa Church Abersychan, said:This project has allowed people from all ages and backgrounds to come together with a shared purpose that brings new life, exactly what church is all about.’

Deputy Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy Louise Tambini said:

“Over the past two years, people have really appreciated the value of nature and we’re delighted to offer again free garden packs to communities. We know that gardening and being out in nature has a positive impact on mental wellbeing, and it’s a great way to keep fit and meet new people. Through Local Places for Nature, we have created hundreds of new habitats and spaces for nature, which is vital in the current climate emergency and decline in biodiversity.”

“Thanks to the ongoing support of Welsh Government and our partners our garden packs include all the materials and tools you need to create a new space for nature and Keep Wales Tidy staff will be on hand to install the garden.”

Nick Thomas-Symonds with local volunteers and Keep Wales Tidy Project Officer, Thomas Board
Nick Thomas-Symonds with local volunteers and Keep Wales Tidy Project Officer, Thomas Board
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