A community project which is bringing heritage to life at Cardiff’s largest prehistoric site has received a £70,000 donation from Wales & West Housing (WWH) to create a new children’s play area.
ACE’s (Action in Caerau and Ely) Hidden Hillfort Project at Caerau, Ely, is exploring the history and archaeology of the Iron Age Caerau Hillfort and the surrounding area, helping to connect communities with their heritage.
The sponsorship has been used to create a new ‘heritage-themed’ children’s play area at the site as part of the Hidden Hillfort Project. The playground was officially opened on Friday, September 3 at an open event which was attended by local families, Cardiff Councillor Peter Bradbury, members of the UNITY community group who helped to design the playground and WWH Community Development Officers.
The playground designs have been developed by local people in collaboration with specialists Green Play (https://www.greenplayproject.co.uk/) and are designed to explore aspects of the monument’s 2,000-year-old heritage through play; including round-house features, stepping stones of time and slides that go down ‘rampart’ defences.
Housing provider Wales & West Housing donated the sponsorship as part of its Making A Difference fund, which works with its suppliers and contractors to give back to the local communities through supporting sports and community groups.
“The Hidden Hillfort is a fantastic project that is giving local people, including many of our residents, the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the history of the area where they live as well as creating play facilities for local families.”
Anne Hinchey, WWH Group Chief Executive
“The project is harnessing the untapped potential and creative talents of local people, including a group of our residents, who have been involved in designing the playground for their children and future generations.
“The community surrounding Caerau Hillfort has faced significant economic and social challenges, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, so I hope the playground will bring many hours of fun and happiness to the community. I also hope that people from across Cardiff and further afield will visit and enjoy this hugely significant site.”
“This incredibly generous and significant funding will help us make Caerau Hillfort a really special place where young people can have fun learning about the important prehistoric past of their community.”
Dave Horton, Director of ACE
“This funding from WWH makes such an important contribution to the project, particularly for local families with young children who have been missing out on play because of a shortage of local outdoor play areas. It also acts as a fun and exciting way for local people and visitors to learn about the Hillfort’s amazing past, acting as a gateway to the monument very near to the start of our new heritage trail”
About the project
ACE – Action in Caerau and Ely was formed in 2011 by residents with support from the Welsh Government’s Communities First programme. The organisation seeks to identify, nurture and celebrate the unique skills and resources that have been ignored or neglected by those who see these local communities as ‘a problem that needs solving’. ACE has developed a range of projects and activities, many of which are based at their community centre the Dusty Forge, including: a food pantry and shop, community gardens, health and wellbeing groups, a community arts project, training opportunities, a Repair Café and more.
The Hidden Hillfort Project was developed by ACE in close partnership with local people and schools and working alongside Cardiff University, Cardiff Council and the Museum of Cardiff. An £830,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been secured towards the delivery of a £1.6 million project to create a Hidden Hillfort Heritage Centre at the site along with accessible heritage trails, interpretation, learning and creativity opportunities.