Sophie Howe visited the National Park to see the sustainable development principles set out in the Well-being of Future Generations Act in practise. She is one of the first Future Generations Commissioners in the world following the introduction of the Well-being of Future Generations Act in Wales last year. The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has embraced the opportunities and challenges offered by the Act and were delighted to present some case studies to the Commissioner.
The Commissioner saw Brecon Mind in action at Brecon allotments where the Sustainable Development Fund has been supporting a local group from mental health charity Mind to use the benefits of growing flowers, fruit and vegetables to support positive personal development.
She met local Town Councillor Trudy Stedman from Hay-on-Wye who has been working closely with the local community and the National Park Authority to produce a Place Plan for Hay-on-Wye which describes how the community would like to see their town and community become more resilient over the coming years. The Authority have been experimenting with using popular online game Minecraft to engage younger residents in particular with the process of planning the future of the town. The Commissioner was shown the work that had been undertaken to design Hay in the online world of Minecraft.
The Commissioner met Mark and Hilary Davies of local business Glanpant self catering, Mark and Hilary have both received the three day training to become Ambassadors for the National Park enabling them to offer even more local knowledge to their guests.
The Commissioner also watched film of three projects: The Geocaching project encouraging physical activity in young people, Buggycise working with new Mums on exercise in the outdoor environment and Skills in Action providing paid trainee warden placements with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.
Speaking after the visit the Commissioner said
““I am two thirds of the way through the way through my personal commitment to visit each of the public bodies in Wales. I have been so impressed by the energy and enthusiasm the communities in the National Park have shown. I am particularly keen to see a focus on positive experiences in the early years of all our children’s lives and the National Parks can offer them a playground and a classroom – the Authority has shown it is interested in working with partners to develop these ideas.
“Each of the projects was unique and all of them have elements which other communities in Wales could benefit from and, for me, this demonstrates why all our public bodies need the five principles within the act to support a new way of working together, rooted in our communities, to ensure we sustain the long-term benefits to the well-being of future generations. The health benefits of engaging with the distinctive environments of our three National Parks are enormous and protecting them as resources for our future generations is an essential part of this.”
The National Park Authority’s Chair – Mel Doel said
“I was so impressed with the Commissioner’s drive and enthusiasm. Her commitment in taking up our invitation to come and see how we are engaging with the Future Generations bill speaks volumes about her determination to ensure that this ground breaking legislation brings real benefits to the people of Wales. We are looking forward to working with her team on rolling out some of the key ideas about the importance of environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being enshrined in this Act.”