• Hannah Garcia

News and loos

Hi everyone,

As we reach the end of November we wanted to look back on a year that's seen a few milestones for Railway Gardens, and think ahead to 2021. Remember back in February when so many of us met at the Old Library to discuss the site plans? We really miss being able to get together like that, but maybe it won't be so long until we can do it again safely.

Here's a little recap of news from the project since then:

  • We applied for planning permission and, with so many thoughtful and positive supporting comments submitted by you, in June this was granted.

  • We signed the lease! This means we can actually use the site now, rather than just gazing forlornly through the gates.

  • We held our first online community meetings.

  • The project got a name! You voted for Railway Gardens and now we're officially on the map.

  • We held our first event there, a plant giveaway as part of the Good Food Cardiff Autumn festival, well over 100 of you came along.

  • The project advisory board welcomed new members, including organisations such as Al-Ikhlas Centre, Oasis, Willow, Repair Cafe, Benthyg, and The Prince's Trust. We are so happy to have everyone involved.

  • The project's Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion group came together and held their first meetings.

  • We successfully reached the second stage of the National Lottery Community Fund's People and Places funding application - this felt like a big deal, as we'd been rejected twice.

We actually wanted to tell you a bit more about this last one as it has been the focus of the 'behind the scenes' work recently and whether our application is successful or not will shape when and how the project develops next year.

People and Places is the Lottery's programme offering funding of up to £500,000 for projects where people and communities are working together and using their strengths to make positive impacts on the things that matter to them the most. That's us! Thanks to the Welsh Government Landfill Tax Fund we have some money available to spend on groundworks, but we're applying for funding from People and Places to cover:

  • Site preparations - getting utilities, security, lighting and so on.

  • Pathways, landscaping, raised beds, trees and plants.

  • The community hub building and the things we need inside it like furniture.

  • The outdoor event space - pergola and lighting

  • Two part time staff roles - a project manager and community engagement officer

  • Activities at Railway Gardens for its first three years

  • Lots and lots of miscellaneous but important things, a mixture of physical things and running costs - wifi, training, translation, fire safety equipment, bins, signage, bike storage, a soil report, and many, many more.

Having reached the second stage of this application process we now need to submit a detailed project plan explaining pretty much everything about Railway Gardens: what it is, how it will make a difference locally, how it will make enough money to stand on its own two feet. The plan goes into detail on communications and marketing, equality and diversity, income generation, sustainability, recruitment and lots more. It shows a detailed breakdown of what everything will cost and how we've worked the costs out. All in all, it's a big old chunk of Railway Gardens love!

We've got another ten days to finalise this project plan then it will be on its way to the National Lottery Community Fund for their decision. We've been told we have around a 50/50 chance of being awarded the funds - please keep everything crossed! Becca says "We are approaching such an important milestone for Railway Gardens and I am both very excited and pretty nervous to submit this application! It's the largest sum we've ever applied for but we really believe that Splott and Adamsdown deserve this so we are working as hard as we can to make it happen!"

We'll update you as soon as we possibly can. In the meantime we need to thank a lot of amazing people who have worked to bring this funding application together and shared their time and advice... a big thank you to:

Noreen Blanluet, George Endicott, Mark Drane, Phoebe Brown, Lyndsey Halliday, Jeremy Sparkes, Nicki Grierson, Bethany Steer, Heather Jones, Emily Lee, Fiona Carmichael, Meredith Gatiss, Lucie Taylor, David Gardiner, Josie Driscoll, Jonathon Fews, Charlotte Ross, and Thomas Reay.

There's one part of the site we're not including fully in the Lottery application, and that's the toilets, as we're hoping to raise some of the funds towards the toilet block in other ways. Right now we're inviting everyone to make a donation to the toilets on behalf of a loved one this Christmas - a crap gift for a crap year if you like - and, just three days after donations opened, we've already raised £485!

We wanted to provide a bit of a breakdown of the costs of the toilet block so you know what we're aiming for:

Foundation: £1,600

Steel frame construction: £2,600

Structural Insulated Panels: £3,000

Door panels: £900

Roofing: £1,204

Flooring: £450

White goods, boiler, plumbing, electrical & installation: £2,800

Access kit (automatic door opener): £960

Solar power: ??? We're still working on the calculations for this bit!

Labour and installation: £3,200

Little note: we're still finalising the design with support from the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion group to ensure this toilet block works for everyone, so the layout in the image above and these costs may change slightly.

With VAT, this brings the total before solar to £19,744. In the new year we'll be starting a new fundraising group to work on ideas to help us reach this goal, do get in touch with Hannah on if you'd like to get involved.

Next year is going to be an exciting one for Railway Gardens - thank you for sticking with the project and for all your support. See you in 2021!

Becca and Hannah

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