Case Study: Little Bryn Gwyn, Down to Earth Project
The award-winning Down to Earth Project is a social enterprise specialising in sustainability education and eco building. The project uses traditional and sustainable building methods to offer fully accessible and inclusive construction experiences to diverse community groups, particularly from ‘hard to reach’ and disadvantaged backgrounds.
Down to Earth has been operating from its base in Murton, Gower since 2005 but has recently been developing a second Gower site at Little Bryn Gwyn, near Cilibion. The first building constructed on the new site, as part of their 'Building Communities' scheme, was a spectacular training centre built almost exclusively with natural and locally sourced materials such as round wood larch and straw bales. The BREEAM “Excellent” centre showcases the very best of natural and contemporary construction on a commercial level and features a stunning reciprocal frame roof, and a floor to ceiling glass frontage.
But the inspiring design and clever use of materials is only part of the story. The building scheme incorporates accredited training for adults from homeless, drug and alcohol, mental health, asylum seeker, physical disabilities and other vulnerable groups that have been able to learn new skills and develop their self-confidence.
The development of the six-acre Little Bryn Gwyn site is a joint venture with the charity Valley Kids and is primarily funded by the Big Lottery Fund People and Places programme and the Welsh Government Communities Facilities Programme. In addition to the training centre, a large barn has been constructed to house a workshop and storage, and work will soon begin on a residential centre for 25 guests.
To visit the project's website - click here.
To watch a short video showcasing the building - click here.