Matthew Rhys Backs Fishguard and Goodwick Regeneration Plan

From Anne-Marie Moreno and Tim Spelling

Some useful things have come out of lockdown: out of monthly chats during those long months of 2020 on that well-known video conferencing site came a number of ideas for helping to revitalise what this group of cousins saw as a rather tired Fishguard. This led to their drafting a letter to the local press and social media and now the shortly-to-be-launched crowdfunding campaign: Fishguard & Goodwick: Funding for the Future.

The Evans family cousins – some of whom grew up in Fishguard and Goodwick, others who cherish fond memories from many holidays spent there over the years – decided that rather than just lament the empty shops, they would try something more constructive. Their aim is to raise £30,000 for projects that will benefit local children and teenagers, as well as visitors to the area.

Matthew Rhys

Actor Matthew Rhys, who has strong family connections to Fishguard, has lent his support to the campaign.

He says: “Some of my earliest memories were forged there. Playing on the beach in Goodwick and running its breakwater, to crab fishing in Lower Town, Fishguard remains a magical place for me. Especially now, given these trying times for tourism, this campaign comes at a critical time. The need for not only drawing people to this beautiful corner of North Pembrokeshire, but also keeping local people here is more important than ever. When all things are normal again (or near enough), one of my greatest hopes is to see the fruit of this labour and see Fishguard and Goodwick thrive again. I wish this project well.”

The proceeds from the campaign, launched on St David’s Day on the Crowdfunder platform, will be shared among three projects:

  1. The cousins plan to help buy a replacement for the much-loved but recently-retired helter-skelter slide outside the OceanLab on the Parrog seafront. Acquired recently from the County Council by SeaTrust Wales, OceanLab is embarking on an exciting new phase of development which will contribute to the post-Covid-19 recovery of the twin towns and the wellbeing of the area’s wildlife.
  2.  It will also provide funds for Theatr Gwaun’s Show up Saturday programme of exciting creative workshops aimed at teenagers and young adults.
  3. It will contribute to the Chamber of Trade and Tourism’s efforts to improve tourist information on the Parrog and in the town, and provide start-up funds for its North Pembrokeshire guided tours by minibus venture, already successfully trialled before Covid-19 struck last year.

There is a strong drive to revitalise the two towns, and much of this is crystallised in the County Council’s Strategic Regeneration Framework 2019 for Fishguard and Goodwick which identifies them as being a key hub in Pembrokeshire. At both public and private level, regeneration is underway, but funding will of course be a major hurdle. While some of the projects outlined in the SRF will require six-figure funding and more, the cousins have focused on three areas highlighted in the Framework as strengths – development of the Parrog (where OceanLab’s presence is pivotal), Theatr Gwaun (one of only two theatres and three cinemas in the county), and tourism which is the main source of income for the towns.

Local hospitality provider Fishguard Bay Resorts has kicked off the funding campaign with a £500 pledge. MD Mark Whitehouse says: “We’re really pleased to offer our continued support for these projects.  Positive change and improvements are becoming ever more apparent and it excites us to be part of that in some small way.  Onwards and upwards for Fishguard and Goodwick!”

The cousins are also keen to tap into the wider global community of people for whom Fishguard and Goodwick are a special place; Tim Spelling and Ann-Marie Moreno say: “From what we have seen on social media there is a good deal of hiraeth out there, and there are also great local people working hard to make things happen.

“Within the greater regeneration funding picture, we had to focus on tangible, achievable targets. We are delighted to see what is already happening – for example restoring the Square in Fishguard as a place to meet. There are many other deserving causes such as the Ein Hanes history centre or any number of local clubs and associations. If we hit target with this campaign, hopefully we may have some surplus funds available for other projects.”

Cousins Crowdfunder was launched on 1 March and raised £8,500 in the first three days.

“This started out as simply a way of our giving something back to a place that has given us so much pleasure over the years,” say cousins Tim Spelling and Ann-Marie Moreno. “We are delighted to see how local Fishguardians – individuals and businesses – as well as many “expats” are getting behind this appeal.”

For more information contact the campaign co-ordinators:

Ann-Marie Moreno   

Annmarie.moreno@virginmedia.com  

07717 028230                                                                                                                               

Tim Spelling                            

timspelling@outlook.com

07957 376012

WWW.CROWDFUNDER.CO.UK/FUNDING-FISHGUARDS-FUTURE

Kitty Parsons

Kitty knows that she will always be an incomer, but this is to be her sixth summers. The wet and grey days of winters have not diminished her love of Pembrokeshire, but she is always grateful for the golden light of spring and summer. Her love of the sea sustains her even through the darkest of days and she can often be found at high tide bobbing about in Fishguard harbour at high tide, often with seals in attendance. When not freezing in water she is usually at her computer. She says" Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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