Young people commit to getting into rural skills

TRUSTED young people have been celebrated for their commitment and enthusiasm for learning new rural skills and gaining experience to build a better future in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.

Prince’s Trust Cymru and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority held a celebration event to thank the 18 to 24-year-olds who took part in the Get into Rural Skills Programme, for the positive contribution they played in helping Park wardens enhance and maintain the landscape for all to enjoy.

The Get Into Rural Skills project supports groups of young people who are not in education or employment work with wardens and community outreach teams, taking part in a range of activities and workshops that gave them a flavour of what it is like to work in the National Park.

The two-week partnership programme was made possible thanks to funding from the Arwain Powys Leader Programme.

Trainee Supervisor Ella Parkinson and Sustainable Communities Officer Ceri Bevan led the two week programme with Prince’s Trust Cymru Outreach Executive Fran Richley, taking them to a range of locations such as Waterfall Country, Craig y Nos Country Park and areas of the Geopark. Activities included making benches, repairing and making wicker fences and grounds maintenance.

Harri Davies, aged 22, from Craig y Nos says he has a complete different perspective on landscape management after completing the course.

“The next time that I’m walking across a connecting walk board bound with wire, I’ll know how and why it was made,” he said. “I really appreciate the architecture of the landscape now and understand far more about different habitats and wildlife.

“And when I visit Craig y Nos Country Park and sit on one of the benches outside the coffee shop, I can be proud of the fact I made these benches.”

Sam Flipping, aged 26 from Brecon, said at the start of the two weeks, everyone was very quiet and shy.

“I really came out of myself,” he said. “My confidence grew and we all ended up getting on really well with each other.”

Fran Richley said he has been working with the young people and the Rural Skills programme from the outset.

“And I have loved every moment,” he said. “I am so proud of this group and every young person who has risen to the various challenges the programme has presented. One thing’s for sure, seeing the young people at the beginning of each programme and comparing that with the young people I see at the end, is one of my favourite moments. They grow in so many ways through the elements of the course.”

Representing the National Park Authority and Powys County Council, Councillor Karen Laurie-Parry, met the group at the National Park Visitor Centre (NPVC) to hear about the challenges they met and what they discovered about Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.

“Partnership working is the key to meeting the challenges faced by our younger generation,” she said. “Projects such as this with the Prince’s Trust Cymru help us connect with the young people who are not in education or employment. Practical, hands-on activities show them how working in a rural environment can enrich the mind, keep you fit and active and provide a job that can help them build positive futures.

“The Authority’s partnership with the Prince’s Trust Cymru and Powys County Council, is a valued one as it helps us meet our duty to support sustainable communities.”