Furnace to Flowers wins Grow Wild competition!

Monday 16th November 2015

Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) is absolutely thrilled to announce that it has won the first Welsh Grow Wild Award for Ebbw Vale project and gives a huge thank you to everyone who helped and voted to make Furnace to Flowers a success!

Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Furnace to Flowers in Ebbw Vale has been announced as the Grow Wild flagship site for Wales, winning the public vote to receive £120,000 funding. The site will transform parts of the former Ebbw Vale Steelworks site into a space flourishing with wild flowers for both people and wildlife to thrive. None of this could have been possible without the hard work of GWT staff, Trustees, Trusts and partners so we give a massive thank you to all involved in helping us realise Furnace to Flowers!

Furnace to Flowers is a project led by GWT that aims to engage communities through sowing and growing native wild flowers, to transform the extensive steelworks site, by creating a corridor of colour from spring to autumn. Sensory gardens, adventure areas and places to simply relax will be created as part of this exiting project. The project aims to boost local pride by providing opportunities for everyone to get involved.

While not only engaging all communities within Blaenau Gwent, the project will also showcase the benefits to other communities throughout the Welsh valleys.

Veronika Brannovic, GWT Project Lead for Furnace to Flowers said: “We would like to thank everyone who voted for Furnace to Flowers. Your support will allow us to turn our vision into a reality and provide the benefits we know the project will bring to local people. The site will provide a legacy for those who worked in the Ebbw Vale Steel Works, create a wild flower oasis for those who have lived with the consequences of deindustrialisation; and inspire future generations.

In addition to the £120,000 initial funding, the flagship site will also receive £15,000 in 2016 for continued activities with local people; especially focusing on those aged 12 to 25. The site will become the national example for how people and partner organisations can turn spaces into beautiful, inspiring and colourful wildlife havens.

The voting campaign saw a huge 17,521 people cast their vote for their favourite shortlisted site. The three projects in the public vote were: ‘Cwmbran’s URBANBuzzz’ in Cwmbran, led by Cwmbran’s UrbanBuzzz Partnership; ‘Discover the Diff’ in Cardiff, led by RSPB Cymru. And Furnace to Flowers in Ebbw Vale, led by GWT. Each project team pulled together their local, regional and national supporters to vote for their site online and by telephone from the 6 October to 1 November 2015.

The two runner-up sites will receive a £4,000 Grow Wild award to run a dynamic local project and continue developing their ideas. Grow Wild will continue to support these sites during 2016 to help towards finding alternative funding.
GWT’s Furnace to Flowers will run alongside the winning project in Northern Ireland. Both projects follow Grow Wild’s England and Scotland flagship sites, Tale of Two Cities in Manchester and Liverpool, and Water Works in Barrhead. Each site is designed to inspire Grow Wild participants, involve young people and leave a lasting footprint of the programme in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.