Hwb y Gors
Emily Hinshelwood, Creative Director, Awel Aman Tawe
Awel Aman Tawe is a community renewables charity set up in 1998 to address the climate emergency while supporting community resilience.
We have set up the two largest renewable energy co-ops in Wales: Awel Co-op and Egni Co-op. These support schools and organisations to reduce their carbon emissions and become more resilient. We also plough hundreds of thousands of pounds back into the community via environmental projects and climate education.
The idea behind Hwb y Gors is to create a community hub which is dedicated to building a zero-carbon community. We believe that the changes we need to make in order to curb our carbon emissions can be fun, creative, healthy and above all bring the community together.
We want the Hwb to retain the bustle and chatter that it once had as a school. We want it to be a space for ideas, for creativity, for growth and for nurturing, all with a low carbon footprint: 90kW of solar on the roof, a 50kW ground-source heating scheme, cork insulation and traditional lime render.
It has a strong arts focus, because we believe that the arts – through improvisation, play and imagination – have a significant role to play in addressing the climate crisis. We want to build positive partnerships with other organisations who have the same drive for a positive, ethical, sustainable future.
The community is actively involved in parts of the refurbishment – for example, we’ve uncovered 62 windows which had been concreted over. We are working with stained glass artist Simon Howard-Morgan who is running workshops with 62 participants to make new stained glass panels for these windows. We have also worked with over 150 people to create a heritage quilt for the café that remembers the school and the history of the area.
To be a success, Hwb y Gors will be a thriving hub for the local community and beyond. We want our community to be an example to the world of how to go zero-carbon while improving our well-being, our resilience and our long-term prospects.
Hwb y Gors will host a repair café, a library of things, a community transport scheme as well as running a broad programme of workshops that help people to take climate action in all areas of their lives.
We also want to build partnerships with communities and organisations beyond the local area. We know that addressing the climate emergency requires us to work together, to pool resources, to make connections. We want to share what we know and we want to learn from others.
We are close to Y Bannau: The Future and we foresee plenty of potential for working alongside the National Park – especially with our Nature Positive programme which aims to create a sustainable, edible, restorative garden in the playground of Hwb y Gors.
For us Y Bannau: The Future is a positive vision for change. It believes in possibilities whilst supporting people to take the right action, whilst imagining the future we both want and need.