The future of BWT

Special Update for Members At the AGM last November and in my recent Chairs' Report in the Newsletter I discussed the work that the Trustees have been doing to review and refine the focus of the Trust. I am aware that there is both interest and concern about this process and I am also aware of the important role our membership plays in both supporting and shaping BWT. I can now tell you that, with the full support of my fellow trustees, I have formally put a proposal to Rob Pickford, Chair of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, that BWT merge with WTSWW. This was positively received by both WTSWW trustees and their CEO, Sarah Kessell. Their board is now discussing the proposal.

This is not a decision that we have taken lightly, but the trustees and our wider advisory group are unanimous in believing that the merger will be a positive and exciting opportunity for Brecknock. The merger process is still in its early stages, but now that we have had some preliminary discussions we are keen to keep you up to date with events and hear your opinions and concerns. With this in mind, there will be an opportunity to find out more about what is happening at a Question and Answer Session on Monday 9th October at 6pm at Llanddew Village Hall You can also contact me by email at: roseygrandage@outlook.com

There are a number of reasons why we believe that merger with another Trust is the best option for Brecknock. We are a small Trust in a wonderful area with a small, but supportive membership. In recent years, we have been lucky to receive some very generous donations and to have won important funding from the Big Lottery. Our day to day income however, is declining. It is difficult for a small organisation with a small team to raise money either from membership or funding bodies. Our financial deficit has been rising and is fast becoming unsustainable. We had hoped that a project, such as the hydro scheme, would provide a steady long-term income, but as you are aware we took the decision not to proceed with this due to an increase in costs and decrease in income.

Taking all of this into consideration, we believe the best way to maintain and develop our conservation work in Brecknock is to merge with another wildlife Trust. We need a Trust which has a common border with us, has a good track record of fundraising and which will give us access to a significantly larger demographic. Having considered all the options we feel that WTSWW is the best fit for Brecknock. We border WTSWW to the west sharing, amongst other features, the Beacons and two major rivers – the Taff and the Towy; our very successful Wild Communities Project is right on their border; their region encompasses the major urban populations of Wales and major universities. In addition they have a proven track record of merging Trusts, while promoting localness within a bigger organisation and wider region.

Our discussions are still in the early stages, however we have agreed that, should merger happen, Brecknock will remain as a local region within WTSWW; we will retain a team of staff for our area; there will be a Brecknock office; any funds restricted for use in Brecknock will be ring-fenced for use in Brecknock and there will be two places on the WTSWW board for Brecknock trustees.

There is real momentum gathering around the need for all the Welsh Trusts to work more effectively together to address the ongoing decline in wildlife and habitats in Wales. The Machynlleth Accord and The Ways of Working Report, which was commissioned to explore models and options including merger, recognises the importance of maintaining regional identity and localness. This is a core strength of the Wildlife Trust movement. If BWT does merge with WTSWW it will be on the basis that Brecknock remains a regional entity. All the work we have undertaken, including reviewing our reserves, finance, work plans and roles, has been done to ensure that Brecknock has a clear focus and a viable, effective future.

Rosey Grandage. Chair, BWT 07.09.2017

NEWS: BWT Trustees have been undertaking a review and refining the focus of the Trust which includes a proposal to merge with Wildlife Trust South and West Wales. The Trustees are aware that there is both interest and concern about this process but also aware of the important role BWT members play in both supporting and shaping the Trust. BWT Trustees would therefore like to invite all BWT Members to a Question and Answer Session on Monday 9th October to keep Members up to date with events and to hear their opinions and concerns.

The event will be on Monday 9th October 6pm-9pm at Llanddew Village Hall, please see our events page if you require directions.