Carmarthenshire Micro-village

‘A Design for Life’

A Proposal for change in the delivery of Supported Accommodation for Young People with complex needs in Carmarthenshire

The Clos Sant Paul young person’s homelessness project in Llanelli has, since 2002, achieved excellent outcomes with over 70% of Residents moving on positively, 5 residents moving onto University and numerous local and national awards for innovative work.

However, this was all achieved in spite of the building and its location. Crime statistics identify that the area within 1Km of the project records very high levels of crime including anti-social behaviour and drugs. The building also has no reception area making the security of the building problematic, no outside space and little privacy.

In order to overcome the highlighted locational challenges, we propose building a micro village in Carmarthenshire; a development of 15 self-contained sustainable homes on a site with communal work and socialising spaces, laundry, growing spaces, poultry and bee keeping and space for sports based activities. The homes will be timber framed and well insulated, each with a bed, living and cooking area, shower and toilet. Two of the homes will benefit from disabled access.

The communal space is of particular importance to this project as this will be the hub of the project which provides space for community activities and development. It is envisaged that the community will come together to prepare meals, have regular meetings on how the site is managed, provide space for the delivery of sessions on relevant identified topics as well as group support sessions and training opportunities. The resources will also be available, by arrangement, to external clients from The Wallich and partners.

The micro village will have a strong emphasis on growing its own crops, raising poultry keeping bees and managing its own maintenance. This will be coordinated by a caretaker, who will also mentor and train the residents to develop skills in these areas and take ownership of these responsibilities. The site will benefit from CCTV, full digital inclusion, and provide communal social and domestic areas, providing opportunities for residents to develop practical and social skills, subsequently, promoting the community aspect of the project and reducing isolation.

The site will operate an ecological and environmentally friendly approach to resource generation, consumption/efficiency and re-cycling. Electricity will be generated by photovoltaic panels connected to the mains, toilets could potentially be composting, and rainwater will be harvested. Depending on the site, an ecology report could be commissioned and the recommended measures introduced to enhance the site’s biodiversity. It is the view of The Wallich that young people have the opportunity to be introduced to 21st century ecological and environmental technology and living.

The micro village concept was introduced to The Wallich by Nerina Vaughan, Architectural Technologist, in 2016 and there are currently no micro villages (of any kind) for young people who are homeless in the UK.

The Wallich is currently searching for a suitable site and is in discussions with various funding providers to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project.