We have three finalists in our Environmental Community Group Category, each working to bring about a green Welsh future in their own way.

This award, sponsored by Western Power Distribution, was open to any community group in Wales that is working to create a more sustainable place to live and work.

Judges in this category will be looking for inclusive groups that have made real achievements against their goals - communicating their message effectively and getting their community active.

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Our nominees are: Brymbo Heritage Orchard Project, The Size of Wales's Youth Climate Ambassadors, and Egni Coop.

Brymbo Heritage Orchard Project

This group, led by a dedicated team of volunteers, has spent the past four years rewilding the site of Wrexham's former Brymbo Steelworks with heritage Welsh apple and pear trees, as well as planting trees at carehomes and schools.

The project began with 83 fruit trees, and now has hundreds planted across Wrexham county. Thousands of litres of juice, cider and vinegar have been produced from the fruit - and the proceeds from their sale are then invested back into the project, making it almost entirely self-funded.

The National Wales: The team at Eyton School pressing apples with schoolchildren (Photo: Ken Matthews)The team at Eyton School pressing apples with schoolchildren (Photo: Ken Matthews)

The team says anybody and everybody is welcome to take part in their project, with young and old from schools and carehomes in Wrexham starting and maintaining their orchards.

Volunteer Ken Matthews said: "The initial nomination was fantastic recognition of the  work the Brymbo Heritage Orchard Project have carried out, but to get short listed was something else.

"I never believed we could get such recognition for our volunteer work in the community and schools in our area."

Youth Climate Ambassadors

In just a year of meeting, the Youth Climate Ambassadors have been very busy. 

Brought together by The Size of Wales, a rainforest conservation charity, the YCAs are a group of 12 young people aged between 16-17, who are passionate campaigners for climate justice.

The group has held two national youth climate conferences in their short time together, meeting with the Welsh climate minister and the United States Embassy - and ran a campaign to get out the youth vote during May's Senedd election.

The National Wales: From top left: Matouš, Shenona, Leo, Caitlyn, Ellie, Manon, Poppy, and Maham (Photo: Size of Wales)From top left: Matouš, Shenona, Leo, Caitlyn, Ellie, Manon, Poppy, and Maham (Photo: Size of Wales)

Poppy, 16, from Newport, said: "I joined the network because I believe that climate change is quite possibly the biggest and most paramount issue of our lifetimes.

"Despite this, I don’t believe that it is given anywhere near the amount of consideration by world leaders that it should have and often goes unaddressed.

"I wanted to be a part of an organisation where, as a young person, I am able to help the fight for Climate Justice and have my voice not only respected, but amplified in making real changes."

Egni Coop 

Established in 2013 by the community renewable energy charity Awel Aman Tawe, Egni Cooperative develops rooftop solar energy panels for buildings across Wales. 

To date, Egni has provided solar power at 88 sites in Wales, and says that it has reduced carbon emissions by 1,000tonnes per year.

The National Wales: Egni Cooperative helped schoolchildren put together their own sustainable space capsule (Photo: Egni Coop)Egni Cooperative helped schoolchildren put together their own sustainable space capsule (Photo: Egni Coop)

The co-op has partnered with councils including Newport City council, Swansea council and Pembrokeshire. They installed over 1,700 solar panels on the roof of Newport's National Velodrome of Wales - the largest rooftop solar panel array on any building in Wales, which they say generates enough clean energy to power 190 average homes per year.

The group also engages with the community through educational projects, and ran a Moon Mission project through Pontardawe Arts Centre that saw more than 1,000 schoolchildren work on creating a sustainable space capsule.

The National Wales: Children at Golden Grove Primary School took part in an educational project with Egni Coop recently (Photo: Egni Coop)Children at Golden Grove Primary School took part in an educational project with Egni Coop recently (Photo: Egni Coop)

 

The National is hosting the Environmental Awards in conjunction with headline sponsor Dŵr Cymru and the awards will be broadcast on 4th November.

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