Cardigan’s 4CG Cymru project has won the top overall National Towns Alive Award
The project, which started as an affordable car park for Cardigan town centre to boost visitors to the high street, now has a range of community-owned facilities. Only ever receiving £2000 in grant income, 4CG has now generated – via a community share issue and then through reinvesting trading revenue from car parking and other asset development – over half a million for capital asset purchases, and ongoing revenue to use developing further projects to benefit the community.
Through these funds 4CG Cymru has now been able to open an eco shop at which local people can buy and sell their goods, provide funds to open the Cardigan And District Agricultural and Maritime Museum, renovate buildings to provide affordable accommodation for local families, purchase buildings to be used for the community. They also hold a local produce market in town every Thursday, and the project is installing 4CG wifi masts throughout Cardigan to create affordable internet for residents and visitors. The income from the car parking has facilitated the renovation of an old bike shop to create Jig So Children’s Centre which supports vulnerable children and families.
This project shows how keeping local money circulating within a local economy has a ‘multiplier’ effect, strengthening the foundations of the town and benefit the whole community. Using community shares to begin local involvement, an initial, popular project – cheaper local car parking – has lead to a portfolio of community owned assets generating footfall and income for the town of Cardigan.
Commenting after the awards ceremony in the Houses of Westminster, local MP Mark Williams said;
'It was great to see such an enterprising local community led project be awarded nationally for its success, and I commend the hard work of Clive Davies, Aled Rees, Cris Tomos, and Richard and Shan Williams, and all other volunteers who are involved.
'The town of Cardigan is entering an exciting new phase, and with groups and projects like 4CG Cymru we can be assured that the benefits this will bring can be secured for Cardigan’s future.
‘The project has empowered local people and has demonstrated how community solidarity can overcome the negative influences of big outside developers, and other towns will be well advised to look at the innovative work that is being undertaken in Cardigan and follow suit. Community engagement is of critical importance to the project’s success, and the fact that so many local people have made a financial contribution to it speaks volumes.’
Chris Wade, Chief Executive of AMT Towns Alive, commented:
“4CG Cymru 2010 Ltd is a national inspiration for its spirit of self-reliance that is helping turn around a small and struggling town centre. Local people have had the ideas, raised the money and delivered the results.”