A Community Assembly at the heart of a wildlife forest garden 💚

Denise Assembly ideas

Brilliant meeting with Denise today, about democracy, gardens and Community Assemblies


Denise is one of the collaborators on the Hope Garden. Long time community activist and now Community Assembly organiser extraordinaire, Denise is diving in to help out with the Local Places for Nature application after next week.

These are my highlighted notes from the meeting.

  • After excellent Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership , and when Dr Katy Peat gave her summary of the State of Nature report 2023 , Jake thinking about Biodiversity Assemblies as way to galvanise meaningful action.
  • Also, came across this paper For Democratic Governance of Universities: The Case for Administrative Abolition . What if every public body was run along truly equal and democratic lines? Just sayin’…
  • Using Google Docs for collaborating on application, because the collaboration features are much better than CryptPad . Which is a shame, because I really don’t like Google’s surveillance capitalism advertising practises and CryptPad is generally a brilliant, secure, Open Source alternative. But hey.
  • Denise will start editing work on Tuesday 6th February. Deadline for application 12th March.
  • Be aware of number of beneficiaries, a key metric. It is in the application. Actually surprised at how big a local impact the Hope Garden could make.
  • Possible tie-ins with local primary school, using Hope Garden as outdoor learning space for horticulture, wildlife and well-being. Be nice to introduce principles of Community Assembly to this learning space. Signage? Like stone tables of the 3 Pillars (1. Radical inclusivity 2. Active listening 3. Trust) 😂 Denise came across school in Neath where similar practices to Community Assembly, not sure if part of curriculum already? todo Jake to check with teacher.
  • Check Pembrokeshire index of deprivation. Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation
Deprivation map west wales and key

Cardigan in most 10% deprived

  • Offer Hope Garden as space for other schools in the area? Check with allotments, gauge feeling. Possibly BlueGreenCymru have more contacts, todo Jake check with Phil
  • todo Jake get in touch with ‘council for voluntary organisations’ in Pembrokeshire (equivalent in Ceredigion was CAVO), can get help with funding too. Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services
  • Possibly local woodland can supply wood for free for benches etc? check Coedmor National Nature Reserve, listed under NRW. Also, todo Jake get in touch with David Hunter from The Coppice Plot, enquire about workshops for creating wooden artefacts and structures.
  • Denise asked about possible walls for Assembly area, rather than just canvas. Possible problems with planning permission, much easier to stick with canvas. Not to say that walls can’t be added at later date. Also, can use temporary walls eg made out of hazel hurdles (see photo of hazel hurdles by Brandon Thatchers ).
Gabion, den and steps in a lovely little garden

Children’s den by David Hunter

  • Denise question: where can canvas be securely stored in case of gales, and where can it be dried? Also, where can benches be stored securely? And tools? Time for some timber framed structures! Log store / airing cupboard / tool shed See photo below of childrens’ den by David Hunter. Added to costs £6,000.
  • Scope for David to work with apprentice? todo Jake Add to economic benefits. Supporting small businesses.


  • Co-design
    • Pen Y Foidr allotment
    • Cilgerran primary school - walking, hi-vis jackets, teachers. Participants.
    • Consultancy BlueGreenCymru
    • Invite Wildlife Trust (contact from Ysgol y Ddwylan) & Keep Wales Tidy (ditto) to speak as input for first of 3? co-desgign assemblies
    • Invite Pembs. council. education - equivalent of Carmarthenshire outdoor learning lead, ecology - Local Places for nature equivalent. As inputs not participants.

The actual design workshops? 1. workshop 1 - wildlife trust. Also 10 minutes intro Denise. 2. workshop 2 - keep wales tidy 3. workshop 3 - bluegreencymru

Bunch of bullet points, what is covered in 10 minutes. Sticking to parameters. For local councillors. Local councillors – invite as a participant, not a councillor. For council officers - limited time. Like speed dating, if breakout group has question, council officer can ask it. Very important to have councillors & officers experiencing the community assembly process, as well as contributing.

Site survey, workshop, habitat.

Connectivity & cohesion between programmes - ecology, education, community group, food growing

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