Weekly Diary of TARAGGAN

November 5th 2016

Taraggan community garden project receives £5000 from Police and Crime Comissioner’s Partnership Fund

Taraggan, a community garden project in Bargoed has been awarded funding of £5000.00 from the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent’s Partnership Fund which is funded by the proceeds of crime awarded to the police and from the sale of unclaimed found property.

It’s been over six years since work began on turning a derelict piece of land into a thriving garden by community members. The local community has been a key part in developing the project, with local schools and community groups having their own plots on the site. 

Volunteers from Gofal’s Pathways to Employment project help out at Taraggan in a variety of ways, and they have been involved in the application and costing process for this pot of funding which has once again been successful.

Gofal are delighted to maintain this close relationship with the project, and look forward to seeing our Pathways volunteers involved with Taraggan benefit from the grant which will go towards new tools, materials, wet weather clothing and accessories to help them when they volunteer at the gardens.

The latest round of the Commissioner’s Partnership Fund was made available in June 2016 for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups in Gwent involved in activities that have a positive impact on their communities.

Each group was able to apply for between £250 and £10,000 and had to demonstrate how their project delivered against specific areas of focus highlighted by the Commissioner which include preventing crime; protecting people from serious harm; taking more effective action to tackle anti-social behaviour; and providing better opportunities for some of the most vulnerable and excluded people in the community.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said:

“I would like to congratulate all the projects funded on their success. This money will have a real positive impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and will offer opportunities for people who are disaffected or disengaged. It’s fantastic to see the ill-gotten gains of criminals being put back into the hands of the law-abiding majority here in Gwent.”

John Pritchard (Treasurer) & Ron Cooper (Chair) from Taraggan added:

“We are delighted and grateful to receive these funds which will enable us to provide much needed tools, accessories and materials for the extension and our volunteers at Taraggan”.


November 6th 2015.

Weatherwise it has been another awful wet week for TARAGGAN.We have been unable to get onto the plots and the contractors for the extension to TARAGGAN (Groundcare) have come to a full stop also. The earth removing work has created a vast hole to the western end of the gardens now filled with rain water. At the committee meeting tonight I am going to suggest we diversify into another health giving pastime and open up the TARAGGAN open air swimming baths!! (Can you remember the original Bargoed open air pool?)

November 13th. Hedgehogs:-

We have had two sows (female hedgehogs) in our allotment gardens for three years now. Doris, who had a litter of six hoglets earlier this year has her nest box on the southern end and Gwladys has hers on the northern end. Poor old Brychan, the boar (male hedgehog), has no nest box he sleeps sometimes in the bottom of an old plastic compost bin.

We have had to move Gwladys and her three hoglets in a very delicate operation from behind the sheds to a safer location because of the extension works.

November 20th 2015:-

Yet another awful wet week and no further work on the extension to the project.

There was a short break in the weather on Tuesday where we took full advantage and managed to open four Runner Bean trenches in readiness for next May.

The forecast is an improving one for next week which might allow the volunteers to clear a few plots in readiness for the start of the winter digging and farm manure spreading. If the ground dries up sufficiently we will also put some garlic in and split three rhubarb crowns. AND should it be as cold as the forecast has suggested we have some of this seasons runner bean and broad bean tops to burn, (there could be a fight for that job!) then spread the ashes over the patch for spring planting onions

The extension to the allotment under water 20th November 2015


John surveying a possible future rice plot!


November 27th 2015:-

The weather did not improve last week. If anything it was worse. The long range forecast could not have been more wrong. The forecast said it would be cold but dry, it was warm and wet! Surely the rain will stop soon? None of the plots can be worked but the contractors (Ground Care) did manage a day’s work on the extension.

Let’s see what next week brings- Monday doesn’t look good.

What about some fish to go with that rice –

Healthy eating is what we are all about!


December 3rd 2015

Due to the continuing deluge TARAGGAN has the tidiest sheds and greenhouses ever seen on an allotment! [Unable to work outside]

Winter digging (any digging) firmly on the back burner now. Still waiting for manure. The farmer is having problems because of the weather too.

The greenhouse could be a boat soon!


It’s me again-where’s my beachcaster!


December 10th 2015

Poor weather continuing through most of the week. We have had six weeks of almost incessant rain. Where is it all coming from? Surely there can’t be any more left up there!

Very little work on the allotment and no work at all on the extension to the allotment. The contractors need to be aware that the deadline for completion is March 2016.

TARAGGAN volunteers and service users will be in recess from tomorrow (Dec 11th) until the end of February 2016. Ron and John will continue with daily checks and some maintenance.



What is TARAGGAN Educational Gardens?

TARAGGAN is an acronym for Tenants And Residents Association Green Gym And Nursery.

It is situated on the Gilfach Estate adjacent to the Community Centre in Bargoed.

TARAGGAN is led by a committee of like minded people who want to improve their environment and provide cross generational links for people to grow organic fruit and vegetables. The committee officers are:- Chair Ron Cooper, Treasurer and chief gardener John Pritchard, Ceri Fox, Mary-Anne Marriott, Michael Hiles and Julie Pritchard. We also have a retired GP on our committee, Dr David Williams. (Doctor Dai). There are ten other committee members, some of them are long standing volunteer workers.

In 2007 it was a derelict brown field site that had become an area where all sorts of anti social behaviour was prevalent. From an initial idea from Ron Cooper and a lot of support and guidance from Mentro Allen it has now been converted into an organic garden and allotment site for children, the elderly, people with learning difficulties, mental health issues and people with physical health issues. Anybody can turn a green field site into a brown field site but it takes a lot of hard work and determination to turn a brown field site into a green field site. For this we must thank the children of Park Primary School, Saint Gwladys Primary School, children of the Gilfach estate, the many volunteers from the Job Centre, PRESS, GOFAL, Montana Care and many others. The allotments have no carbon footprint, we use no mains water, electricity or gas. We collect our rain water in barrels and all our green waste is converted into compost. It could be argued that we have a negative carbon footprint because we also re cycle some of the housing estates waste.

After a lot of preparatory work the gardens were officially opened on 24th May 2010.

 TARAGGAN viewed from the double gates looking south towards the open fronted classroom at the top end of the allotment.


TARAGGAN and the Queen’s Award

We have achieved many awards amongst them there have been 3 CCBC Mayors Awards, 3 Green Flag Awards and 4 environmental awards. The most prestigious of these was being recognised by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 2nd in 2013 and awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. As with all of our awards we are very proud of this great honour.

The logo for The Queen’s Award which appears on TARAGGAN letterheads and TARAGGAN polo shirts.


John outside Buckingham Palace 22nd May 2013 prior to going into the Garden Party. Just after this photograph was taken I ‘helped’ the palace gardeners (the men in green polo shirts just behind me) remove the last of the spring display of flowers. Just doing my bit for her Majesty!


Mr Simon Boyle Lord Lieutenant of Gwent talking with local children after presenting The Queen’s Award. His patience and time he gave to the children was admirable.



More children enthralled by our Lord Lieutenant as he congratulated them for all their hard work. Photo taken by the standing stones in the “meet and greet area”.

It was such a hot day as you can see by the way the children are dressed. Mr Boyle must have been cooking in his uniform.



Another Award

John, Mary Anne and Ron collecting an award.

Mary Anne is holding the glass obelisk trophy.


The phenomenal 20ft x 10ft recycled plastic bottle greenhouse built by Mr Keith Fairhall and ably assisted by the children of the estate. All 2600 bottles (counted by Jake Rees ) were destined for landfill.

 large bottle green house

John and Ron, brothers in spades (forks, rakes and hoes) surveying the Golden Acre soon to be an acre and a half.


The first Rhymney Valley Literature and Music Festival was held at TARAGGAN Educational Gardens in July 2015 and will be a regular annual event.

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Julie Ann Pritchard, poet, writer and organiser of the first ever Rhymney Valley Literature and Art Festival after the successful TARAGGAN event with tears of joy. (Photo taken in the adjacent Community Centre)


Poetry and music at TARAGGAN

Julie performing in the open fronted classroom.