Snowdonia tourist cash scheme to fund youth project
A pilot project asking tourists to put money into communities they visit in Snowdonia has raised enough to train nearly 50 young people in conservation and outdoor skills, organisers say.
Snowdonia Giving asks businesses in the national park to press visitors for a small contribution to add to bills.
Launched six months ago, so far 28 companies have signed up.
Nearly £3,500 in donations has been raised, with most going to a Snowdonia Society training programme.
John Harold, director of the society, said: "This is the Snowdonia Society's 50th anniversary and this is a real birthday present for us.
"What it does is it allows us to complete the circle of giving - visitors and locals giving voluntarily to these local businesses.
"We take our volunteers out to help look after Snowdon and the surrounding area, and this funding gives us the chance to give something back to those volunteers."
The Snowdonia Giving project cash will be used to give 48 young people the chance to learn both conservation and mountain skills, which will go towards an accredited qualification.
"What we find is, there are plenty of young people who are willing to come out and volunteer, many of whom would like to work outdoors, some of whom want to work in conservation," added Mr Harold.
"The problem these days is getting experience and getting that experience on your CV - and this is one of the things we can help them with."
Josh Feilden runs one of the firms that has been taking part in the pilot project, running a sustainable bunkhouse lodging business called Crashpad Lodge on the slopes of Snowdon.
He said visitors staying with him were eager to take part.
"It is surprising how much impact and how involved they want to be in it," he said.
"If they know they are putting money towards a good contribution, which it is going to go to, they are more than happy."
Another business owner, Ross Worthington, who runs the outdoor training specialists Raw Adventures with his wife Kate, who is also chairwoman of the British Mountaineering Council in Wales.
He is convinced the "exciting" project can expand and deliver even more for the communities across Snowdonia.
"We have a new season ahead, lots more engagement with people, with other companies, and it's looking like a really promising scheme," he added.
The project is due to run until October this year, with the social enterprise Arloesi Gwynedd Wledig pulling together all the strands of the scheme for now.
Its co-ordinator Rhian Hughes added: "It has been well received by visitors out there, because it is a voluntary donation and not something that is forced on the visitor, and people are quite happy to donate."