A Talgarth author has shone a light on community initiatives in the Brecon Beacons, with his book 'Community in the Brecon Beacons and Beyond'. The book, written by Alan Lovell, looks at how people have responded to challenges and issues that have been experienced in their communities.

The book, which includes local history, and is published by Aspect Design, explores how communities work hard to show their pride in their town or village by responding to challenges and how that attitude has made a difference in the area.

The idea came to Alan during his appointment as a Welsh Government Member of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, where he joined the Sustainable Development Fund panel. As part of that role he would overlook applications related to community resilience initiatives and sustainable living proposals.

"It was during this time that I became aware of a number of community initiatives which impressed me greatly," Alan said. "I promised myself that when my period of appointment was complete, I would study the community initiatives in more depth. From that research flowed recommendations to look at other community initiatives and, gradually, the ideas for the book began to crystallise."

Community in the Brecon Beacons
Community in the Brecon Beacons by Alan Lovell (Jack Strange)

One of the stories includes the 'Brecon Buzz' initiative, which is a plan to inject 'buzziness' into the Brecon high street, highlighting independent businesses and creativity.

"I felt truly humbled by the generosity of spirit displayed by those I was interviewing and their desire to make a positive contribution to the community endeavour in question, making the life experiences of others just that little more tolerable and pleasurable."

Featured in the book are initiatives that have made it wider in the world, and Alan believes that more should be done to ensure communities are staying proactive. "The values which underpin cohesive communities will be fundamental in explaining how successfully, or not, we navigate the coming years and decades. Communities in the Brecon Beacons will not be immune from these challenges, but, maybe, just maybe, the strength of communities as reflected in the various community initiatives could be the glue that holds us together."

Alan hopes that the heart-warming tales of community spirit can help encourage people to go out and find local initiatives, or even start their own. "To feel inspired by and emboldened by the endeavours of the community initiatives featured in the book and, maybe, to join a local community initiative, whatever it might be. If one does not exist that appeals, then consider starting a community initiative with like-minded people. That is how practically all of the community initiatives featured began, including those which have since been adopted by communities around the world."

The book can be found in outlets such as Brecon Books, the International Welsh Rarebit Centre, and CRiC in Crickhowell.