It is quite rare for us to write about something on our blog that is not obviously related to Halen Môn, which perhaps emphasises how important this project is to us.
Our mission statement has the word ‘sustainable’ in it, and sustainability works when it is at the centre of three huge areas – environment, economy, and a social structure.
As founders of Halen Môn and Anglesey Sea Zoo, both Alison and I have long been concerned with both environment and the economic aspects of running a thriving business. We have employed around 300 different people in the past 30 years (and even some of their children!) The social aspect is equally as important as the business side and natural environment, especially in an area where not everything is rosy.
Anglesey has areas of, to use the jargon, ‘multiple indices of social deprivation’. That means there aren’t enough jobs, there aren’t enough opportunities, there are too many retired people buying too many houses, some areas are dominated by second homes, and some of the brightest children from Anglesey leave and don’t come back. There are significant issues and we have to step up and do something – not talk about it or say that it is someone else’s responsibility.
So we are trying, with simple things – employing 23 people, buying from 37 Welsh suppliers and having regularly reviewed sustainable policies. We are also working with partnerships, groups and organisations that are being positive and proactive about change. From Menter Mon to Gorau Mon, we work with many different people.
Llyn Parc Mawr, is a small group doing hugely important work, in trying to reconnect villages and people with local woods, to utilise what they have on their doorstep and make a living in places where past jobs have disappeared. In Llyn Parc Mawr there are 50 acres of fantastic wildlife (including the beautiful red squirrel, many thanks for your photo, Peter) and yet that area just isn’t as economically or socially thriving as other parts of Wales. There were once forestry jobs and there could be again. There could be new opportunities for anyone to gain new skills in the woodland and wildlife and put them to use.
We are helping with time, surplus equipment and hosting meetings and giving access to facilities and our networks. Lots of other people are as well and you as a reader can be one of them.
The group has recently been shortlisted for an £12,500 award from Marks and Spencer’s Energy fund, and, to put it bluntly, we need your vote. With the award, the group could add solar panels, wood burners and a charcoal maker, and start the planning process to turn their temporary HQ – currently in an old shipping container – into a forest workshop that genuinely benefits the community. We have made a video telling you a bit more about the group and why this money could make a big difference.
Please vote on the Marks & Spencer’s website, as I type we are coming second, so we really need your help. Thank you/ diolch yn fawr.
Vote for Llyn Parc Mawr here – it’s quick I promise!