Money to help conservation charity get off the ground

A NEW charity which aims to get an Amman Valley community more involved with bird conservation through woodwork, has received a financial boost thanks to the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority (BBNPA).

The Initiative for Nature Conservation Cymru (INCC) Community Connections Project has been awarded match funding of £3,231 from the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

A grant of £2,785 is available this year to help volunteers make around 100 bird boxes which will be strategically placed in Cwmamman Woodlands to monitor birds such as the Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart in the area.

The Community Connections Project will work with local volunteers and community groups in the Amman Valley to build and install dozens of specially designed nest boxes for the increasingly rare Pied Flycatcher. This small woodland bird returns to Wales for a few months each spring to breed, before making the return journey all the way back to West Africa. Despite a long-term decline in the Pied Flycatcher population, Wales still remains a relative stronghold due to its preferred habitat of upland oak woodland, where it feeds on caterpillars and other insects.

Chair of the SDF committee Deborah Perkin said: “We are always delighted to see new groups forming across the National Park to support our wildlife and our communities. It’s particularly pleasing to see the charity’s partnership with Cwmamman Town Council and their excellent woodworking facilities.

“Making bird boxes and monitoring the birds that use them is vital conservation work, and I’m sure it will be hugely enjoyable for all the volunteers involved.”

Once the bird boxes have been installed, the charity will be recording the species of birds and other wildlife in the local woodland and sharing this information with BBNPA ecologists and other organisations. A further £446 is available next year (2019/20) to host guided walks and evaluate the impact of the project.

Chief Executive of INCC Rob Parry said: “The oak woodlands of the Amman Valley should be an ideal habitat for Pied Flycatchers and other migratory and resident bird species. Thanks to the partnership, INCC can now celebrate the wildlife of the valley with the local communities and help them take a leading role in the nature conservation of the area.”

Community Development Officer for Cwmamman Town Council Robert Venus left the Amman Valley for some years to work in cities and says he fully appreciates the comments of residents and visitors to the valley who say our natural spaces are our greatest asset.

“We’re very pleased to be working with INCC in the delivery of this project,” he said. “I feel it will have a significant impact on the future sustainability of our ecology and support community well-being through interaction with our greatest asset.

BBNPA Chief Executive Julian Atkins said the Authority are keen support charities, which help us achieve our aims of conserving local habitat.

“The social and environmental benefits that this project brings meant that members were happy to support the charity get off the ground,” he said. “We were really encouraged that the charity plans to use community resources available at the Cwmamman Town Council run Hearth Workshop.”

For more information on SDF contact or ring 01874 624437. For more information on INCC Contact Robert Jones Parry or ring 01558 667181.