Janus, the Roman god has two faces; one that looks backward at the year that has passed and another that stares into the future. January is an appropriate time to look back and to look ahead, to reflect on Confluence and the experimental programme of arts-led regeneration in Haverfordwest. A time to review what has been achieved and the benefit this has given to the town. Everyone who has contributed over the last 3 years will have their own unique perspectives, and to put these in context here are some key facts:

• at least 7000 attendances were recorded at more than 70 events

• more than 50 artists, arts organisations and regeneration professionals have contributed from Pembrokeshire, Wales and the UK

• more than 90% of the artists and creative practitioners supported through the project live and work in Haverfordwest or surrounding locations in West Wales

The  programme culminated on Hallowe’en, with the River of Lights -a spectacle now in it’s third year, breaking new ground with more people than ever taking part -more than three thousand walked in the lantern procession through the town and along the river to gather in Fortune’s Frolic  and witness the fiery finale.

Last summer Confluence hosted a Conference for the Arts Council and the partners of the six other projects in the ‘Ideas, People, Places’ programme from across Wales. The theme of the event was ‘Legacy’. Through the autumn and winter months, the focus has been to build on the legacy of Confluence, actively seeking ways to capitalise on achievements so far and to provide a springboard to something new and regenerative continuing in the year ahead.

The Confluence vision to reimagine the ancient port as a vibrant and distinctive place, reconnected to it’s river and charged by the creativity of it’s people was a ten year one. The Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Great Place’ scheme would provide the opportunity to carry this vision for Haverfordwest forward with a new and wider partnership that includes local cultural and civic organisations. A bid was submitted in December, following a successful first stage application, and the outcome will be known by late March.

The aim of the Great Place Scheme is to put heritage and culture at the heart of the local vision for between 5 and 8 places across Wales, making a step change in the contribution of heritage in those areas, and embedding it in the places’ plans for the future.

Looking forward, a successful application would begin a new three year programme which encompasses:

  • The delivery of an arts programme inspired by and drawing on the town’s cultural and local heritage
  • Building an online resource to inform and encourage networking through local initiatives and organisations
  • Founding a new social enterprise  that will actively support and develop heritage and regeneration projects in the town, providing professional and regeneration expertise in funding, project management and architectural design for local community projects and  wider capital schemes in public spaces