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BCIA Finalist 2021

Finalist BCIA Community Engagement Initiative of the Year 2021.

The Regency Restoration Community Engagement Plan was nominated as one of 6 finalists nationally in the British Construction Industry Award category for the Community Engagement Initiative of the Year.

The Regency Restoration project was recognised for its benefits to the local area: “Tourism is the beating heart of Carmarthenshire worth more than £330m a year to the county. This will be an important addition to the great and growing heritage offer we have for visitors to Carmarthenshire and the region,” (Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, Mark James). Considering the importance of tourism to the community it was crucial that this key tourist destination – the ‘National Botanic Garden of Wales’, remained accessible during construction.

As part of the Regency Restoration Community Engagement Plan [RRCEP], ‘hard hat tours’ were set up to engage visitors from the local region to see the transformation and become involved in the legacy. Early archaeological work saw key heritage uncovered that continued throughout the construction process. The supervised tours, led by the project team and supported by trained local volunteers, gave a ‘behind the scenes’ experience of the 3-year construction phase. WM Longreach and their local stonemason (who also taught at the local college) were on hand to discuss the project, with these tours always fully booked demonstrating their success.

Boosting the economic benefits of the project to the local community further, the Plan [RRCEP] promoted local procurement from the early planning stages, engaging local consultant ecologists, designers, and engineers through the construction phases, with support from local stonemasons, steel fabricators (bridges), material suppliers (stone for cascade water features, roads and landscape paths), blacksmiths (railings) and tree surgeons (site clearance and felling ash die back).

Maximising the educational potential of the 200-year-old landscape, rich in heritage and ecological education opportunities, during the construction process was at the heart of developing the engagement plan. Liaison with local educational establishments (primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, Universities), charities and societies together with public meetings, allowed numerous educational activities to be developed by the client and supported by the delivery team. The shear breadth and inclusivity of these activities, tours and presentations set this community engagement initiative apart. Not only did they engage local children, teenagers, and students across the community but also a wide range of adults (local volunteers and society members). Many of these tasks contributed to the project completion, relating to necessary documentation or protection of heritage and the ecology during the construction process.

British Construction Industry Award Judges commented that there were many: "laudable aspects of this project. The involvement of the general public of all ages during the restoration period was inspired and well managed.”