The 4theRegion Monthly Meet Up

The 4theRegion Monthly Meet Up

The 4theRegion Monthly Meet Up

Bringing together our engaged community of regional businesses, organisations and citizens, our monthly meet-up is a forum to share updates, discuss regional issues and hear about great stuff that’s happening in South West Wales.  Everyone is welcome to join these calls, via Zoom, on the third Thursday of every month, 1pm-2:30.

MONTHLY MEETUPS

Our monthly meetup is the easiest way for you to join in the conversation, make connections and share your opportunities with our cross-sector regional network.  If you are a 4theRegion member and would like the opportunity to speak at one of these meetings, please get in touch with Lydia Fasham: lydia@4theregion.org.uk

The Year of Opportunities

In 2024 we are holding monthly meetups online via Zoom on the third Thursday of each month, which are open to all - part of our mission to connect, share and collaborate around OPPORTUNITIES in South West Wales.

The Year of Opportunities

Opportunities

January 2024

Kicking off our Year of Opportunities with an open conversation about why South West Wales really is a region of opportunities for people and businesses.

Catch up on the Event Notes and Recording

Creative Monthly Meetup

Creative

February 2024

What are the opportunities in South West Wales' creative sector?  In this discussion, businesses and organisations shared their perspective on why our creative economy is important, and what's happening.

Catch up on the Event Notes and Recording

Construction

Thursday, March 21st
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities in South West Wales' Construction sector? We'll be inviting participants to share positive reflections, projects, initiatives, organisations and opportunities within the construction sector in South West Wales.

Register via Eventbrite

Young People

Thursday, April 18th
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities for Young People in South West Wales? We are looking forward to hearing from young people who are making the most of the opportunities available, to live happier, healthier lives and be part of a thriving economy.

Register via Eventbrite

Regional Food

Thursday, May 16th
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities in the local and sustainable food sector in South West Wales? From local food hubs, to community growing projects, food partnerships and local produce markets, there are plenty of different ways that people and businesses can be part of our region's Good Food Movement.

Register via Eventbrite

Community Resilience

Thursday, June 20th
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities in South West Wales' Construction sector? We'll be inviting participants to share positive reflections, projects, initiatives, organisations and opportunities within the construction sector in South West Wales.

Register via Eventbrite

Circular Economy

Thursday, July 18th
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities in South West Wales' Circular Economy sector? We'll be inviting participants to share positive reflections, projects, initiatives, organisations and opportunities within the circular economy in South West Wales.

Register via Eventbrite

Transport

Thursday, September 19th
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities in South West Wales' transport sector? Hear from people and community transport groups who are trying to make a difference where they live, and explore how you / your business could get more involved in sustainable transport.

Register via Eventbrite

Buying Regional

Thursday, October 17th
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities in buying regional and local procurement in South West Wales?' Hear from people and businesses who are trying to make a difference where they live, and explore how you / your business could get more involved in buying from the region.

Register via Eventbrite

Green Economy

Thursday, November 21st
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities in South West Wales' Green Economy sector? We'll be inviting participants to share positive reflections, projects, initiatives, organisations and opportunities within the green economy in South West Wales.

Register via Eventbrite

Giving Back

Thursday, December 19th
1PM - 2:30PM
Online via Zoom

What are the opportunities for people and businesses in South West Wales to give something back? Come along to this open discussion about why South West Wales really is a land of opportunity, and how we can work together to help people and businesses thrive in our region.

Register via Eventbrite

May Regional Roundup 2023

May Regional Roundup 2023

MEMBER ANNOUNCEMENTS

CEIC Spring Conference 2023- Circular Economy: Future Vision for Wales

Over 120 Environmental champions from South Wales heard from a range of leading experts on the Circular Economy at the Circular Economy Innovation Communities (CEIC) Spring Conference on 24th March 2023 at Swansea.com Stadium. They offered innovative solutions to the global challenges of climate change and sustainability. Read More

17-year-old and family open artisan bakery in Neath

Rosa’s Bakery is located in one of Coastal Housing’s new commercial properties and offers artisan bakes with a Romanian twist, cooked fresh on site. “This is a new business which had been in planning for quite some time. Our head baker – and business owner – Rosa is just 17 but she’s wanted to be a patisserie chef since the tender age of 12!” Chris Cundill, Rosa’s dad, said. Read More

Design Crafts lecturer at Swansea College Of Art wins 2 Major Eyewear Design Awards

Ffin Eyewear by UWTSD’s lecturer Anna Lewis won the ‘Best men’s sunglasses of the year’, ahead of major brands like Eyewear by David Beckham, Morel and JFrey,  and ‘New designer of the year 2023’ category at this year’s  ‘Love Eyewear’ awards at 100% Optical in London. Ffin was also shortlisted in categories for ‘Best women’s Sunglasses’ with established brands such as Woodys,  Scotch and Soda and Vava. Read More

Pembrokeshire Surf School collaborates with UWTSD Adventure Filmmaking to showcase their Company

The BA Adventure Filmmaking students were tasked with creating social media video content for the Pembrokeshire Outer Reef surf school in order to promote their products and services in Tenby and Saundersfoot. Lecturer Brett Aggersberg said that this opportunity for students is “a fantastic way to start their career in Adventure Filmmaking. This is a dynamic industry that is growing quickly.” Read More

Prestigious New Role for JCP Solicitors’ Director, Andrew Meech

A Director at one of Wales’ best known law firms, Andrew Meech, has been appointed Under Sheriff of West Glamorgan. Andrew, who is a Director and the Joint Head of Commercial Litigation at JCP Solicitors, will bring his considerable drive and enthusiasm, as well as his very strong ties to Welsh business to this post. The Office of High Sheriff is an independent, non-political, royal appointment post that dates back to Saxon times. Read More

ADS Wins Major Contract With Pobl

A Swansea-headquartered contractor has been appointed to provide all the servicing, maintenance, repair and installation of domestic heating in the West of Wales for a social housing provider. ADS founder Andrew D’Auria said: “I’m delighted that by winning these contracts we’ve been able to double our workforce of qualified engineers, apprentices and admin staff, creating job security and new job opportunities in Swansea and across the region.” Read More

JOBS & OPPORTUNITIES

Work with ADS!

Due to new work streams, ADS are expanding and have currently got vacancies in several departments. If you’d be interested in a career with a forward-looking family business, then get in touch. If you’re a qualified electrical engineer, gas service engineers, gas service and repair engineer, bathroom installer, business admin officer, or builder supervisor, send your CV to marketing@ads-wales.co.uk

Higher & Degree Apprenticeships

Workforce planning is now an integral part of progressive and successful businesses. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David understand everyday business challenges and have, in partnership with employers, created an industry led apprenticeship programme, combining daily on-the-job practices with excellent academic tuition. Email apprenticeships@uwtsd.ac.uk, phone 01267 676814, or click here to find out more.

Job Opportunities and Working at Swansea University

Looking for a new job? Changing role? Interested in what Swansea University can offer you? A warm and welcoming University, they value people for their skills regardless of their background and are proudly named as a top employer in the annual Stonewall Equality Index. They know that people have commitments outside their job, so they provide a working environment that allows employees to achieve the right work/life balance. Read More

Job opportunities in the automotive industry

Whether you are looking to start your career or have a wealth of experience and knowledge in your chosen profession, Day’s Motor Group have a range of full time and part time job opportunities in the car industry to suit most people. If you’re looking for a new and exciting opportunity, then why not take a look at the job vacancies currently available by clicking here.

Vacancies at Bevan Buckland

Bevan Buckland are passionate about recruiting the best and providing a fantastic working environment. They are always looking for talented and ambitious people to join their ever-expanding firm. See their current opportunities here.

Job Vacancies at NPTC Group of Colleges

NPTC Group of Colleges is a thriving Further Education College, employing nearly 900 professional and dedicated staff, on a full-time, part-time and sessional basis, across 9 campuses throughout Neath Port Talbot and Powys. They are keen to recruit talented individuals who are passionate about helping them to deliver the highest standards of education and training to local people, communities and businesses. Read More

Pobl Group are difference makers

They work together as a team. They have great ideas, masses of experience and a huge passion for delivering a difference in people’s lives. Become a difference maker. Join the team

Join the Mrs Buckét team as a Mobile Cleaner! 

Benefit from flexible working, a competitive salary starting at £24,000, and career progression opportunities. Learn more about the role here.

Vacancies at The Queens Hall Narberth

The Queens Hall Narberth are seeking to recruit an empathetic individual with excellent interpersonal skills and a strong understanding of the value of volunteering for both the individual and the organisation. They are also seeking to recruit an individual with good knowledge of accounting and bookkeeping procedures to support day-to-day transactions at The Queens Hall Narberth. Read More

Finance role opportunities

Arvato are a trusted partner to both the private and public sectors, with expertise in delivering award-winning customer services, business process outsourcing and public sector and citizen services. With over 50 years of experience, they design and deliver innovative, individual solutions for some of the world’s most respected brands and UK public sector organisations, through long-term partnerships. They are currently recruiting a Finance Team Lead and a Financial Analyst.

Be part of a successful organisation

The roots of Pembrokeshire College can be traced back to 1956 with the main campus being situated in Pembrokeshire’s county town of Haverfordwest. They believe they have a responsibility to provide first class education and training to ensure that Wales has a workforce ready and able to meet the economic demands of the future and to promote community engagement in skills. Read More

Interested in joining the Gower Power Co-op Board?

Gower Power Co-op CIC is an organisation championing sustainability, well-known and well-loved throughout the region. As they move forward and their ambitions grow, they are keen to expand their board of directors. They are reaching out to people who share their vision of a fairer, greener economy, driven by the goal of well-being, in which people and nature are valued and supported. Is this you? Read More

Current Vacancies at Gower College Swansea

Looking for a fantastic opportunity to pass on your skills at Further Education level and inspire the next generation? Look no further! Here’s a list of Gower College Swansea’s current vacancies.

Vacancy | Skilled Grounds Person

Swansea City is seeking a skilled grounds person to join the club’s ground staff. A job description and details on how to apply can be found here.

John Weaver Contractors are recruiting experienced carpenters

John Weaver are directly recruiting carpenters, ideally with conversation experience. The award winning building contractor specialises in new build, refurbishment and conservation projects in Wales. To apply email contracts@johnweaver.co.uk 

Swyddog Cangen y Coleg Cymraeg

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David are proud of their dedicated and talented employees, and they are a team that works together to make a difference to the lives of their students and the communities they serve. They are now looking for a Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Branch Officer to join them permanently and full-time to work 37 hours a week. Read More

Gas & Heating Engineer

Coastal are a team in the truest sense of the word. They value relationships highly, so they invest in them daily. As a result, their workplace culture is safe, open, trusting, and respectful, which they think is critical to encouraging innovative ideas and approaches. They employ almost 300 people across South West Wales, empowering and trusting each one to do their work that achieves the best results for their residents, local community, and the planet. Read More

Digital Degree Apprenticeships

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s digital apprenticeship programmes have been developed by the academic team, in collaboration with employers, meaning they are always relevant to industry. Email apprenticeships@uwtsd.ac.uk, phone 01267 676814, or click here to find out more.

Living at Home Current Vacancies

Are you a compassionate and skilled care professional looking for a fulfilling career? Look no further! Living at Home is hiring! Join the team

TENDERS & CONTRACTS

Contract Notices for Carmarthenshire Council

Carmarthenshire County Council is refreshing the Framework for Domiciliary Care service and seeking to procure providers to deliver high quality care and support to all eligible service users within Carmarthenshire. They also wish to establish a new Construction Professional Services Framework and appoint suitably qualified consultants to provide it with property-related project management and full design team services.

Contract Notices for Swansea Council

Swansea Council are looking for contractors to redevelop and regenerate Castle Square, carry out electrical works at Glais Primary School and Pentrechwyth Primary School, rewiring at Gendros Primary School and Clwyd Primary School, connections on the DNO cable network, tank and water system cleaning and disinfection, and painting and decorating works, expand the Flying Start childcare offer, and deliver an illuminated light trail experience in the Botanical Gardens.

Contract Notices for Pobl Group

Pobl Group wishes to appoint contractors to undertake fire compartmentation works, carry out monitoring and evaluation of its penderi energy project in Swansea, and supply vehicles. 

Provision of solar generated electrical energy at public buildings within the property portfolio

Pembrokeshire Council is seeking an organisation to supply and install a portfolio of PV systems on a power purchase agreement type arrangement on council owned buildings within Pembrokeshire. This will be at no cost to the council. The buildings will primarily be schools and leisure centres but other building types may be included in the portfolio. Read More

UWTSD2223/193a. External Platform Lifts at Alex Building, Swansea and CAWCS Building, Aberystwyth

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David wishes to appoint a suitably qualified and experienced consultants, to design, manufacture, supply, construct, install, and commission two new external platform lifts. The lifts at both the Alex Building, Swansea and CAWCS Building, Aberystwyth must be installed within the dimensions indicated by existing restrictions onsite. Read More

Student Transport

This tender is for the provision of student transport for Gower College Swansea home to college bespoke buses (Gorseinon Campus) and ad hoc hire of buses (all campuses). Read More

Managed Security Services Partner – Caredig Ltd

Caredig procured a new managed services partner in June 2021 and transitioned to the new service provision in April 2022 for the outsourced management and support of its IT infrastructure, while continuing to manage core applications in house. At the time of this procurement, Caredig was still in contract for the provision of managed security services and so was not in scope at this time, however the contract for this is due for renewal on 20th November 2023. Read More

Supplier Event: 1 – 1 Communication Support for People who are Deaf or have Dual Sensory Impairment

You are invited to attend to gain information regarding Swansea Council’s aim to procure high-quality, 1 -1 communication support for people who are deaf or have dual sensory loss. Please register your interest by emailing liz.baglow@swansea.gov.uk by 12th May 2023. Please advise at the earliest opportunity if you require the services of a BSL interpreter. Event Date 22nd May 2023 11:00 – 13:00. This event will be delivered in person at Swansea Civic Centre. Read More

Contract Notices for Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales is awarding contracts for the purchase of 2 all terrain very low ground pressure multi-purpose tracked vehicles, sound monitoring equipment, and fencing in Pembrokeshire for the LIFE Quake Project.

Tender for the Supply of a Glovebox System

This procurement is to support the equipping requirements of the IMPACT building’s planned laboratory space within Swansea University Bay Campus, by seeking a suitable provider of a glovebox system. Read More

DEVELOPMENT

Former Swansea Debenhams Set to be Transformed

A landmark city centre building in Swansea is set to be brought back into use following its purchase. Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council leader, said: “The former Debenhams unit is important to the ongoing regeneration of the city centre, and the council is very keen to see it brought back into retail use as soon as possible.” He said the council will also be able to look at how the building can be refurbished and adapted for future uses. Read More

Beginning delivery of the Celtic Freeport – just one of Rainbow Coalition’s 2023/24 priorities

Establishing a company and investment board to begin delivering the Celtic Freeport, which promises to create 16,000 jobs in South West Wales over the coming years, is one of a number of key priorities for Neath Port Talbot Council’s Rainbow Coalition for 2023/24. The Celtic Freeport comprising Port Talbot and Milford Haven docks will involve supplying huge floating offshore wind turbines for a site in the Celtic Sea as well as green energy research. Read More

Plans for shipping container and flats development in Swansea

A Swansea street where goods were once unloaded from the River Tawe could soon feature commercial units made from shipping containers and a block of flats. Housing association Coastal Housing Group wants to create a two-storey shipping container development on the corner of The Strand and Kings Lane. There would be affordable one and two-bed apartments in a six storey-block to the side along with ground floor commercial space. Read More

SWANSEA BAY CITY DEAL

Supply Chain Lead – Homes As Power Stations Project

Neath Port Talbot Council is seeking to recruit an experienced Supply Chain Development Lead with a proven track record of leading and supporting businesses to maximise funding opportunities to diversify, develop and grow. This post has been created to support the Homes As Power Stations project, a regional project led by Neath Port Talbot Council as part of the Swansea Bay City Deal. Read More

Homes as Power Stations

Homes as Power Stations will be launching its £5.75m Financial Incentive Fund. If you are a developer of housing, a registered social landlord, local authority or private Sector, register your interest at HAPS@npt.gov.uk. Find out more

BUSINESS NEWS

Serco’s Restart Scheme and One Stop partner up to fill crucial job vacancies for the national retailer

Hannah Monaghan, from Serco’s Restart Scheme Employer Engagement Team in Wales, and Campbell Hutchison, People Partner for One Stop, a convenience store with over 900 shops in the UK, have been working together to solve One Stop’s recruitment challenges. One Stop faced a number of challenges, especially in South Wales, where there were a significant number of vacancies in the market, but were unable to attract and retain good job candidates. Read More

Researchers Reveal How Foundational Economy Can Boost Welsh Prosperity

New research, involving Swansea University, examining how the foundational economy can be supported in Wales is helping to inform government policy for the future. The foundational economy provides everyday goods and services on which we all rely to ensure our health and wellbeing. Care and health services, food, housing, energy, construction, tourism and retailers on the high street are all examples of the foundational economy. Read More

I ate at Carmarthen’s new small plates restaurant and you won’t be able to keep me away

Carmarthen’s newest restaurant is located on Nott Square. The historic building has been a bar and/or restaurant before, and has closed for different reasons (expansion and Covid respectively) but it’s now taken on a new lease of life as Shikaku, an Asian fusion restaurant which is the brainchild of local man Ben James. Someone who loves food and loves Carmarthen thought it would be irresponsible not check it out. Read More

The man who has transformed a derelict garage into a vibrant new artisan coffee shop in Swansea

Crafty Smuggler Café sits at the end of a row of terraced houses and has been beautifully renovated from a derelict building which had previously been used for storage. Bam Day said the coffee roastery and shop is currently a one-man operation with him roasting the coffee he serves himself. “I love every part of the process. That is what I think is the unique selling point, I think I’m the only roaster in Swansea. It’s just a passion for me.” Read More

The couple who saw their farm shop burned to ashes but decided to fight back

Eighteen months ago, Hugh Scale watched from one side of the road as his 40 years of hard work went up in smoke on the other. His business, the Four Seasons farm shop on the outskirts of Tenby, was all but gone. His wife Jennette turned to him and said that was it, she’d had enough. But Hugh, a self-confessed workaholic who initially started the business as a side-line for the family farm, did what he’s always done: carry on working. Read More

The mum and daughter duo opening Swansea’s first frozen yoghurt cafe

A mother and daughter duo from Penllergaer are getting ready to open Swansea’s first frozen yoghurt café – and it will offer at least six flavours of the delicious dessert and more than 40 toppings. Katharine and Jess Partner first launched their business, FrozziYo, in one of the temporary retail units near Swansea Arena last year – and it’s been so popular that they’re now gearing up to open a permanent venue on College Street off Princess Way in the city centre. Read More

Stack’D burger restaurant opens on Milford Haven waterfront

Following the success of Sand & Stone Kitchen in Broad Haven, owners Will Nicholas, Lauren Batstone and Courtney Batstone have decided to open a second burger restaurant in Pembrokeshire. Stack’D by Sand & Stone has opened in Sovereign House on Milford Waterfront on March 25th. The new site means that the business now employs around 30 people throughout the three venues. The menu at Stack’D offers smashed burgers, loaded fries and sides. Read More

Pembrokeshire company launches world’s first ‘Fortified Spirit’ with award win

Portafortuna XO (meaning ‘Lucky Charm’) marries 2016 vintage port with 15-year-old XO Brandy, augmented with Cognac and a bespoke recipe of hand-crafted, natural flavours – dark chocolate, burnt orange, rich vanilla and black cherry. It’s the first brand in 300 years to create a new style of drink by blending, maturing and bottling the fortified wine of port with the distilled spirit of brandy, making the world’s first fortified spirit, ‘Spirito Fortificato’. Read More

Black Pool Mill restaurant, near Narberth, to open soon

A new heritage dining experience which has created 35 new jobs is due to open in Pembrokeshire  this month. Following significant investment, the mill, which is set within Minwear Woods and close to Bluestone National Park Resort, will open its doors to the public on Friday, May 12, following careful renovation of the Grade II listed building and surrounding grounds, bringing much of the original building features back to their former glory. Read More

HEALTH & LIFE SCIENCE

£900K Funding to Develop Bespoke VR Training for Future Health Professionals

The use of VR will allow Swansea University to enhance their blended learning approaches and train individuals and teams in an immersive, engaging, and flexible way. Offering the very latest in healthcare training and staying at the cutting edge of immersive education ensures the University maintains its international reputation for innovation and excellence as they train the next generation of health professionals. Read More

Grant Set to Boost Researcher’s Mission to Explore Nerve Damage in the Brain

Dr Roberto Angelini has become the latest academic at Swansea University to receive the prestigious Academy of Medical Science Springboard award. The Springboard grant will allow Dr Angelini to cultivate nerve cells and build a model for measuring signal transmission between them, and he hopes this study could provide important evidence to support new therapies to treat neurodegeneration. Read More

Cancer: New blood test could catch prostate cancer early

People who do not have symptoms for prostate cancer could get a life-saving diagnosis with a new test for sugars in blood. Research at Swansea University is looking into the blood of those with the disease to help develop a test for early detection. Prostate cancer affects one in eight men in the UK and diagnosis has tripled over the last three years. Read More

3D Printed Vegan Nose Developed by Scientists at Swansea University

This process offers a sustainable and personalisable option for patients, utilising plant based materials and human cells to 3D print artificial nose cartilage. The Scar Free Foundation first launched a three year £2.5 million-plus regenerative research program at Swansea University. Focused on developing 3D ‘bioprinted’ facial cartilage, a key aim of this programme was outlined as alleviating the physical and psychological burden of scarring.  Read More

CIRCULAR ECONOMY & ENVIRONMENT

“Real appetite for green energy production in Wales” says Nordic renewables giant

The Norwegian renewables giant behind plans for a green hydrogen energy plant at a former Royal Navy armaments depot in Pembrokeshire has said there is real appetite for green energy production in Wales. Statkraft says its planned plant at Trecwm would generate around three tonnes of green hydrogen daily – enough for a single bus to travel more than 40,000 miles or the equivalent of 350 journeys from Fishguard to Cardiff. Read More

New Milestone for Green Hydrogen Project at Baglan Energy Park South Wales

Protium, Fuel Cell Systems, Enapter and the University of South Wales have commenced operations to generate green hydrogen at Baglan Energy Park. Commissioning Pioneer One marks a significant milestone in building a network of hydrogen generating facilities for the UK’s green hydrogen infrastructure. As a fully-fledged operation Pioneer One will displace up to 111 tonnes of CO2 per year which is equivalent to offsetting 113 London to New York return flights. Read More

A £15m net zero carbon school is being created in Neath Port Talbot

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Rhosafan will be packed with energy efficient technology including a ground source heat pump system and photovoltaic panels plus the use of local supply chains and local materials. The use of carbon intensive materials will be discouraged where practicable in favour of natural and renewable materials and the use of recycled materials, where appropriate, will be encouraged. Read More

Two new community food hubs to launch in Pembrokeshire

The Wales Community Food Distribution Project, led by PLANED, facilitates volunteers and customers to link with local food producers and suppliers to purchase fresh, great value local food. Both food hubs will run weekly – FRAME Haverfordwest on a Wednesday from 12 to 2 pm, at the same location as the Community Fridge; and Pembrokeshire Refill in Pembroke Dock will run on Saturdays from 12 to 4 pm – offering fresh vegetables, fruit and salad to order. Read More

VISITOR ECONOMY & TOURISM

Inside the brilliant new entertainment centre in Llanelli with bowling, darts, UV pool and a diner

A new “family entertainment centre” has opened in Llanelli. Pinopolis is centred around four lanes of ‘Brunswick Spark’ bowling and is the only place in Wales to offer this US-originated immersive and dynamic bowling experience. The huge 17,000 square foot complex, located at the former CEM Day’s car showroom, also boasts a UV pool, augmented reality darts, a soft play area for children, an arcade area, a diner serving delicious street food and a funky bar. Read More

A cheese and cider festival is taking place in Gower this month

Not many things are better than sitting in the sunshine, pint in hand, spending time with your loved ones and listening to live music – and this month, people from across Swansea and Gower will be able to do just that, as the popular annual Gower Cheese and Cider Festival returns. The event, also known as the Gower Cider and Music Festival, will be taking over the grounds of the Gower Heritage Centre in Parkmill village from Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21. Read More

The glorious new cycle route for all the family in Wales that takes you past beach, bay, woods and hills

In Swansea we have some of the best off-road cycling in the country and it’s getting even better with the investment that’s going in to expand it further. And, thanks to a recent extension, there is a brilliant route we just have to tell you about (if you haven’t discovered it already). Read More

You can now explore Swansea’s grim, gruesome and debauched side on a new walking tour

A new walking tour promises to teach people about the city’s darkest secrets of ‘murder, superstitions, debauchery and ghosts that lurk in every alleyway’. Swansea In Gloom has been established by HQ Urban Kitchen Cafe, which spotted an opportunity to tell people all about tales from the city’s history which many will never have heard before, giving a new perspective to buildings and locations they walk past every day. Read More

Medieval marketplace, puppet parade, choirs and folk music at St Davids Pilgrim Fayre

The Pilgrims’ Fayre on May 29 in St Davids Bishop’s Palace boasts an exciting family-friendly programme of performance, song, guided walks, a medieval marketplace, traditional skills demos, and film screenings. It marks the Ancient Connections project coming to a close and the launch of the Wexford-Pembrokeshire Pilgrim Way, with a celebration of communities past and present and the historic and future links between North Wexford and North Pembrokeshire. Read More

EDUCATION

From Tackling Youth Crime to Building New Community Links – Experts Examine How Physical Activity Changes Lives

Experts at the Welsh Institute of Physical Activity, Health and Sport (WIPAHS), examined four programmes which supported almost 4,000 young people across Wales to see how they could be optimised to help reduce young people’s involvement in crime. Among their findings was the need for forces to share best practices and improve communication about lessons they have learned by offering physical activities. Read More

UWTSD Swansea Triathlon 2023

Excitement is building ahead of the UWTSD Swansea Triathlon with staff and students in training for the event to be held in the city on 28th May 2023. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) is continuing its partnership with Activity Wales Events (AWE) this year to provide opportunities for students from a range of disciplines to be actively involved in the preparation for one of the city’s premier sporting events. Read More

Swansea Named the Safest Student City in Wales

The independent Complete University Guide has released its latest Crime Safety tables, delving into publicly available data. The results showed a positive picture for Swansea, ranking 6th, making it the safest place in Wales and top 10 for cities in England and Wales. Those heading to Swansea for university can have a great mix of that city experience while being reassured that their safety is being looked after. Read More

UWTSD Academy of Sport celebrates first Presentation Evening

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Sports Clubs celebrated success at their inaugural awards night. Since the launch of the Academy of Sport at the beginning of the Academic year, and working in partnership with the UWTSD Student Union, they are now participating in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) competitions, league and cups which has led to the formation of several new student sports clubs for teams and individual sportspeople. Read More

UPCOMING EVENTS

Tiny Tiger’s Kung Fu
Every Monday 09:45 – 10:45
The Queens Hall, Narberth
More Details

Free Yoga & Relaxation for women
Every Monday 14:00 – 15:00
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
More Details

Self Help Book Club!
Every Monday 16:00 – 17:00
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
More Details

Kung Fu Wales (Little Dragons)
Every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 17:00 – 18:00
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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VIP Class Acts
Every Monday 17:00 – 19:00
The Queens Hall, Narberth
More Details

Kung Fu Wales
Every Monday 18:30 – 20:15
Every Tuesday & Wednesday 18:30 – 19:30
The Queens Hall, Narberth
More Details

Community Yoga Class
Every Tuesday 12:00 – 12:50
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
More Details

Women’s Outdoor Walking Group
Every Tuesday 13:15
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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Choirs For Good
Every Tuesday 17:45 – 18:45
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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BUTI MVMNT
Every Tuesday 18:30
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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Zumba
Every Tuesday 18:30
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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Swansea Crafties
Every Wednesday 13:00 – 15:00
elysium, Swansea
More Details

The Big Clean Up
10 May 14:00 – 15:00
Swansea University Bay Campus (Meet at on the boardwalk behind the Great Hall)
Singleton Beach (Meet at The Secret Bar and Kitchen)
Swansea University Singleton Park Campus(Meet at the gates behind Taliesin Arts Centre)
Book Here

Access Pilates
Every Wednesday 18:00 – 18:55
The Queens Hall, Narberth
More Details

Life Drawing at elysium
Every Wednesday 18:30 – 20:30
elysium, Swansea
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Swansea In Gloom Walking Tour
10 May 19:30 – 21:00
HQ Urban Kitchen, Swansea
Book Here

Catalyst business networking – THE local independent not for profit event
11 May 07:00 – 09:00
National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne
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Social value and circular economy: impact on communities in Wales
11 May 11:30 – 12:30
Online
Hosted by CEIC
This is also a joint talk from Graham Hirst from Ministry of Furniture
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Walking for Wellbeing
Every Thursday 12:00
Sea wall opposite The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen, Swansea
Hosted by The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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3rd ANNUAL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION PGR SYMPOSIUM
11 May 12:00 – 17:30
The Mall, Taliesin Create, Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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Tyfu Tawe
Every Thursday 13:00 – 13:30
Swansea University Bay Campus
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Community Together Creative Writing Workshops
Every Thursday 13:30 – 15:00
elysium, Swansea
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The ‘Finance’ Series Season 1: Setting up Business Banking
11 May 15:00 – 17:00
Old Glan Afan School, Port Talbot
To book a place call 01639 340889 or email thebusinesscommunity@vivaporttalbot.com

Burlesque Chair Dancing Lessons
Every Thursday 19:30
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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Mike and The Mechanics Refueled!
11 May 19:30
Swansea Arena
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4 Week FREE Argentine Tango Beginner’s Course
Every Thursday 20:00 – 23:00
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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Access Pilates
Every Friday morning
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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Exploring Learning and Teaching Spaces Twalk
12 May 09:50 – 11:00
Swansea University Bay Campus
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The Queens Hall Food & Craft Market
Every Friday 10:00 – 15:00
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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Museum Little Mice – Mr Urdd
12 May 10:15 – 12:15
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
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Men’s Shed
Every Friday 11:45 – 13:15
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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Men’s Tai Chi Class
Every Friday 13:45 – 14:45
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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Embrace You! Women’s Wellbeing Group
Every Friday 15:00 – 16:00
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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Gower Constellations
13 May 09:30 – 16:30
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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Waterfront Vintage and Makers Market
13 – 14 May 10:00 – 16:00
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
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Swansea Comic And Gaming Convention
13 – 14 May 10:00 – 18:00
Swansea Arena
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Wales on Wheels
13 May 11:00 – 16:00
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
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Sound Journey (soundbath)
13 May 18:00
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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Eurovision Final Watch Party
13 May 19:00
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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Gambling & Gaming Harm Prevention: City & Guilds Accredited – FREE COURSE
15 May 10:00 – 12:00
Hosted by SCVS
Online
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Pembrokeshire Marine Code event – ‘Storytelling & Sense of Place’
15 May 14:00
Oriel y Parc Gallery & Visitor Centre, St Davids
Hosted by Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum
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FREE Monday Argentine Tango Classes in Swansea
15 May 19:30 – 22:30
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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Facilitation Skills
16 May 09:30 – 16:00
Face to face – Venue to be confirmed
Hosted by SCVS
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Five Week Practical Beekeeping Course
Every Tuesday from 16 May 10:00 – 15:30
National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne
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Swansea Marina Litter Pick
17 May 10:00 – 12:00
The Environment Centre, Swansea
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The Protection of Vulnerable People at Sea
17 May 12:00 – 18 May 17:00
Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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PGCE Welsh-medium Open Day
17 May 13:00 – 16:00
Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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Catalyst business networking – THE local independent not for profit event
18 May 07:00 – 09:00
National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne
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Drop-in sessions with your Local Area Coordinator
18 May 10:00 – 13:00
208 High Street, Swansea
Hosted by Switched On and The Environment Centre
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Wales Virtual Networking
18 May 13:00 – 14:00
Online
Hosted by FSB Wales
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The ‘Finance’ Series Season 2: A Quick Guide to Cashflow Forecasts
18 May 15:00 – 17:00
Old Glan Afan School, Port Talbot
To book a place call 01639 340889 or email thebusinesscommunity@vivaporttalbot.com

May Lunch
19 May 12:15 – 15:30
Blancos Hotel Hotel Bar and Restaurant, Port Talbot
Hosted by Swansea Bay Business Club
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Swansea College of Art UWTSD: Summer Show 2023 Opening Night
19 May 18:00 – 21:00
Swansea College of Art, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
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Limehouse Lizzy 2023
19 May 19:30
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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Repair Cafe (no need to book)
20 May 10:30 – 13:30
The Environment Centre, Swansea
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Come to Sing!
20 May 11:00
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
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Tune School with Cery Rhys Matthews
20 May 11:00 – 13:00
elysium, Swansea
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Swansea In Gloom Walking Tour
20 May 12:00 – 13:30
HQ Urban Kitchen, Swansea
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Workshop with Sama Fabian
20 May 16:00 – 18:00
The Swansea Wellbeing Centre
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Dance, Dance 2! Festival Edition
20 May 21:00
The Queens Hall, Narberth
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Welsh Tango All Day Spring Showcase: Workshops, Picnic and Live Music Milonga
21 May 10:30 – 19:30
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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WONDERFEST!
21 May 11:00 – 16:00
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
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Dave Gorman: Powerpoint to the People
21 May 19:30
Swansea Arena
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UWTSD Apprenticeships Roadshow Week
22 – 26 May
You name the time and the place and they will come to you! They will be visiting Pembroke, Haverfordwest, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Neath Port Talbot, Bridgend, and Cardiff
To make an appointment email e.hunt@uwtsd.ac.uk 

FREE Monday Argentine Tango Classes in Swansea
22 May 19:30 – 22:30
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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The Community Business Network: Supporting NPT Businesses to Develop & Grow
24 May 08:00 – 10:30
Old Glan Afan School, Port Talbot
To book a place call 01639 340889 or email thebusinesscommunity@vivaporttalbot.com

Yoga with Anna
24 May 09:00 – 10:00
elysium, Swansea
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The Green Recovery – A Toolkit for Organisations
24 May 10:30 – 13:00
The Environment Centre, Swansea
Hosted by SCVS
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Enterprise Meet & Mingle
24 May 14:00
Hosted by Swansea University
HQ Urban Kitchen, Swansea
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Talisman Poetry Open Mic
24 May 19:00 – 23:00
elysium, Swansea
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Swansea In Gloom Walking Tour
24 May 19:30 – 21:00
HQ Urban Kitchen, Swansea
Book Here

The ‘Finance’ Series Season 3: The Funding Fair
25 May 10:30 – 16:00
Old Glan Afan School, Port Talbot
To book a place call 01639 340889 or email thebusinesscommunity@vivaporttalbot.com

‘Salt’: Catrin Kean in conversation with Alan Bilton
25 May 19:00 – 20:00
Mumbles Tabernacle Church
Hosted by Swansea University
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Pembroke Drop In Business Support
26 May 09:00 – 12:00
Bridge Innovation Centre, Pembroke Dock
Hosted by FSB Wales
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Swansea QueerCon 2023
27 May 12:00 – 23:30
elysium, Swansea
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Jack Whitehall: Settle Down
27 May 15:00 & 19:30
Swansea Arena
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Towards Net Zero: Carbon Reduction & Energy Savings Training Course for SME
30 May 09:00 – 16:30
Online
Hosted by Business Swansea
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Print-Tastic Make & Take
30 May – 2 June 12:30 – 15:30
National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
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Swansea Marina Litter Pick
31 May 10:00 – 12:00
The Environment Centre, Swansea
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Catalyst business networking – THE local independent not for profit event
1 June 07:00 – 09:00
National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne
Book Here

‘Vulcana’: Rebecca F. John in conversation with Elaine Canning
1 June 19:00 – 20:00
Taliesin Create, Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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Ceramica Botanica
3 – 4 June 10:00 – 17:30
National Botanic Garden of Wales, Llanarthne
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Tune School with Cery Rhys Matthews
3 June 11:00 – 13:00
elysium, Swansea
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Welsh Tango Summer Masquerade Milonga
3 June 20:00 – 23:30
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
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FREE Monday Argentine Tango Classes in Swansea
5 June 19:30 – 22:30
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
Book Here

Invitation to Business Breakfast Club: Digital Apprenticeship
15 June 08:30 – 10:30
IQ Building, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea
To book email apprenticeships@uwtsd.ac.uk 

The time is now: Designing and implementing a circular future in Wales
4 July 09:30 – 15:45
Cardiff City Stadium
Hosted by CEIC
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Swansea University: NEW IPM 2023 – One Health
5 September 09:00 – 7 September 17:00
Hosted by Natural Products BioHUB
Swansea University Singleton Park Campus
Early Access – Book Here

Supporting Local

Supporting Local

At 4theRegion we’ve always been passionate about supporting local.

Swansea City Centre Conference 2023 Photos

When we spend our money with big businesses, most of it leaves our local economy and lines the pockets of distant shareholders. When we spend our money with a local small business, it creates benefits for local people, and recirculates in our economy, where it has a much more positive social impact.

Perhaps the most important thing for supporting independent retail in Swansea is for more of us to make the effort to support local whenever we can. How can people, businesses and organisations across Swansea collaborate to promote the cause of our local businesses?

This is why “Supporting Local” is the theme for our Swansea Conference. Last year we hosted the first major conference at the newly opened Swansea Arena, and we’re so excited to be back there once again on March 29th!

We’ll have a regeneration update from Rob Stewart, leader of Swansea Council, and major partners, about all the exciting development projects currently underway and coming soon. This’ll include news of the successful Leveling Up bid that will see significant investments in the Lower Swansea Valley and an update from Urban Splash, the development partner on the Seafront and other strategic sites across Swansea.

Swansea Council has said it wants as much work from regeneration projects go to Welsh businesses as possible. And it was good to see a regional firm like Ministry of Furniture be one of the first businesses to benefit from a project to redevelop Oxford Street’s former BHS and What! store into a new city centre community hub. Ministry of Furniture has been appointed to design the furniture and fixtures scheme, working on the contract with the council and main contractors Kier Construction. Ministry of Furniture worked for the council on the most recent fit out of the Civic Centre, largely with remanufactured furniture. As a boost to the circular economy, they aim to move the majority of that apparatus to the new hub.

Many people across our communities are struggling to afford healthy food for their families, an unacceptable situation that’s been compounded by the cost of living crisis. So what needs to happen to make healthy, affordable and locally produced food available to everyone in Swansea? How can we connect people to where their food comes from, and how to grow and cook it?

GRAFT is a garden and workshop, based at the National Waterfront Museum, working with local communities, schools and adult learners to grow food, preserve seeds, keep bees, and learn cooking skills in a clay oven. Volunteers are invited to join an intergenerational curriculum of outdoor learning, wellbeing and making connected to food. All of the garden’s infrastructure has been built by the team and participants who are learning woodwork and metalwork skills, alongside horticulture.

Farmers across our region face a huge number of challenges in a vulnerable and uncertain sector. The farming industry needs to substantially change to address the climate and nature emergencies, but farmers often feel unfairly blamed or misunderstood by people in towns and cities. How can proactively engage with local farmers to understand their challenges and how they can be better supported? Creating links between farms and local communities and customers is essential to relocalising our food supply chains and creating a resilient food system for Swansea.

Public sector procurement is often recognised as a key lever for change, with the potential to provide a steady and reliable market for locally produced food and drink. The Welsh Government has launched a new initiative meant to encourage more local spending on food by the NHS, schools and local government. But change isn’t happening fast enough. What are the challenges around putting more local food on the public plate – in hospitals, schools and other settings – and how can we overcome them?

At the Swansea Conference, Bwyd Abertawe, a local community based food partnership, will be launching the Swansea Food Charter, as part of their effort to get everyone working together towards making Swansea to become a Sustainable Food Place, where healthy, local and  affordable food is available to everyone, promoting the wellbeing of people and the planet.

At 4theRegion we believe that the creative industries present a huge opportunity for jobs, entrepreneurship, regeneration and wellbeing across Swansea. By investing in creativity we can breathe new life into our high streets and town centres. How can we make sure there are opportunities here in Swansea for people to develop rewarding careers, and build successful businesses, in the creative, digital, arts and cultural sectors?

People in Swansea have an amazing mindset and willingness to help each other out. Elysium have over 100 studios they can rent out across 4 buildings in Swansea. They started off in messy art painting and now have photography studios, TV broadcasters and other creative industries using the space. If you look at creative projects in other cities, there are lots of disparate studios that are always competing. We don’t seem to have that as much in Swansea. Of course, not everyone knows what’s here! How can we better promote and connect all the good stuff that’s happening, to strengthen the sector and engage more people in the arts?

How can we make sure that Swansea retains (and develops) a vibrant and diverse mix of independent retailers, in the face of huge competition from big name brands and online shopping? To survive and thrive as an independent retail business, entrepreneurs need to adopt innovative strategies that set them apart from the global competition. So how can local businesses in Swansea embrace technology?

Russell Greenslade, Chief Executive of Swansea BID, has said the majority of the independent businesses Swansea BID has supported in opening in the city centre in the past 18 months have a very strong digital channel presence.

He said “The strength of the independent business is being nimble enough to respond to trends and situations with instant decision capability. They can be better placed to find their niche, innovate, have more power over profitability, provide a personalised experience, and be their own boss.

“As businesses, we operate in different and more challenging environments since bouncing back from a global pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis. The challenges include staying relevant as customers evolve, embracing online shopping and harnessing the power of digital to help overcome challenges. Using technology to analyse our customer data, we can adapt accordingly to put customers first and use digital, data, technology and the intelligence they provide to improve the experience and anticipate customer needs enabling business growth.”

The Swansea Conference & Exhibition is going to be an unmissable day. If you haven’t yet booked your free ticket, please take a moment to do it now! There’ll be over 120 exhibition stands showcasing local businesses and community organisations, interactive exhibitions from the universities, Oriel Science, and Plantasia, opportunities to meet local companies, and a Youth Voice area celebrating some amazing young people. Find out about local job opportunities, meet new suppliers, pick up lots of free goodies, and feel proud of the people and organisations that make Swansea great! There’s something for everyone!

Acting today for a better tomorrow

Acting today for a better tomorrow

Nothing is more important than leaving the world in a better place than we found it for future generations. How can we ensure our children have full bellies and curious minds? How can we care for and share with others? How can we ensure we count the earth beneath our feet and in faraway lands as our equals?

No longer should we focus on growth, instead focus on thriving, wellbeing and resilience in communities. The battleground for next ten years is not harder faster life but more balance and better connections (Pic: Brennan Tolman)

In 2015 Wales introduced the Well-being of Future Generations Act, becoming the first country in the world to legislate in the interests of future generations. This inspired countries such as Canada, Ireland, Scotland and Gibraltar to introduce similar legislation. It also inspired the creation of the UN Special Envoy for Future Generations, with Nikhil Seth, the then UN Assistant Secretary General, saying “What Wales is doing today, the world will do tomorrow.”

The Well-being of Future Generations Act places a legal responsibility for policy makers to create inter-connected solutions to improve cultural, social, economic and environmental wellbeing, via seven goals, including ambitions for a healthier, more equal, and environmentally resilient society, and a wellbeing economy. Notably, the goal for a “prosperous Wales” doesn’t mention GDP, and instead defines growth in terms of “an innovative, productive and low carbon society which recognises the limits of the global environment”, with an emphasis on “decent work”.

The term in office of Wales’ (and the world’s) first Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, came to an end on January 31st. Derek Walker, currently also CEO of Cwmpas, replaces her, and we look forward to having the opportunity of working with him in his new role. Just before leaving office, Sophie Howe published her Future Generations Changemaker 100, which she described as “a list of some of the extraordinary people that my team and I have been inspired by over the seven years since I took up post”. 4theRegion are on the list (we’re number 4)! We’re so honoured to be on a changemakers list with Micheal Sheen!

At 4theRegion, we believe strong relationships and inclusive networks are essential if South West Wales is to respond positively to the challenges we’re all facing. Co-creation, collaboration and inclusion have shone through as key priorities in the implementation of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act – and that’s what we are all about!

The beginning and end of 4theRegion is young people. Younger generations are our future, so how can we equip young people across South West Wales with the skills and mindset to thrive?

How do we ensure every child gets to hear all the opportunities available to them?

We could get inspirational young professionals, who are more relatable, to speak them. We can encourage businesses to give young people an opportunity to volunteer, which is more beneficial to a day in school.

We should also consider the pressure of the question of “What do you want to do when you grow up?” and perhaps reframe it to be “What kind of person do you want to be when you grow up?” Do this next time you speak to a young person – placing the focus on the opportunity to build a happy, healthy and fulfilling future. Self belief, resilience and curiosity are key attributes that enable young people to seize opportunities and discover their own path.

Wales now has a new purpose driven curriculum, designed for well rounded, innovative citizens. It includes mental health education and eco-literacy, while encouraging young people to follow creative pursuits. We’re also moving away from traditional exams and moving towards learning for learning’s sake.

And how could we improve wellbeing for those who’ve entered the workforce?

A Senedd Committee has said Wales should make “serious moves” to introduce a four day working week. Wales has some of the longest working hours in Europe. Whereas, in Iceland 86% of workers work a four day week. A four day working week means you work reduced hours with no loss of pay. It’s argued it could improve mental health as shorter hours reduce the risk of stress, anxiety and burnout. It could reduce our carbon footprint by reducing commuting. It could have a positive effect on gender equality, as four day week pilots suggest women report the largest increases in wellbeing. It also appears to boost productivity. Countries where people work the least number of hours are actually more productive on an hourly basis.

The four day week debate also scratches the surface of an ongoing discussion among economists. GDP has long been used as the ultimate measure of a nation’s progress, often with the effect of seeing policymakers chase growth at any cost.

Of course it’s very easy to point to the headline grabbing changes. But we think often what’s more effective for cultural transformation are the small things (that are actually really big things).

We’re talking about the movement for real change within our communities. A conversation at a primary school, food bank, community garden or upcycling café is often more meaningful than an address to the UN or a keynote speech at a business event. These are the conversations that make a difference at a local level, sow seeds for the future, and that create a network of wellbeing roots in our very soil. They are the conversations that inspire hope in a world that could do with a little more hope. And that’s because these small moments build to become a powerful force for change from the core.

Research acknowledges that wellbeing means different things to different people and is best understood using methods that pay attention to how wellbeing is done by people, moment by moment.

No longer should we focus on growth, instead focus on thriving, wellbeing and resilience in communities. The battleground for next ten years is not harder faster life but more balance and better connections. And we need people who are in poverty involved in the discussion of the direction of travel for economics and wellbeing. Doing to people never works. This needs to be hyperlocal, because we can’t wait for large corporations and governments. As we do this we will make mistakes but we need to learn from each other to see what happens next.

It’s basically based on empowerment. Where people need empowerment, give them the resources, bits of help and guidance as and when necessary, but basically put them in charge. And that changes the dynamic, and makes people not hopeless and know they’ve got something they can do. Which is great!

Ask yourself how much can you do in your own community and become self-reliant? See who the connectors are. In different communities different people and organisations play that role. Make connections with people who are like minded. This can mean community hubs, engagement with outdoors, community engagement, local engagement (we’re passionate about this at 4theRegion, and want to see more deliberative democracy, people’s assembly, sense of agency around our own communities), and arts and crafts. What are businesses doing to support the humanity of the workforce?

A wellbeing economy demands truly transformative change. Yes, at a policy level, but that thinking has to have a place to live. It needs to live in schools, cafes, homes, shops, banks, in business, and in everyday life. In a wellbeing economy, we believe physical and mental wellbeing will be a fundamental measure of its success. It seems straightforward that if more people feel healthier in mind and body, communities thrive and the economy benefits.

Is it possible that Wales, supported by the Well-being of Future Generations Act, can lead the charge globally? We think so. Join Wellbeing Economy Wales at 7pm this evening to discuss what we need to change to make the wellbeing economy a driver of societal behaviour, not a trickle down consequence of coerced, second hand investment.

Oh and our third annual Swansea City Centre Conference takes place on March 29th. It’s set to be an incredible day, showcasing everything that’s great about Swansea and hearing from the people, organisations and businesses who are making change happen. It’s open to all, and YOU are invited!

Where does our food come from?

Where does our food come from?

We believe that access to locally sourced food is more important than ever. The last couple of years has demonstrated the weaknesses in global supply chains, and with the uncertainties around climate change and the political landscape, this isn’t going to get any easier!

Barbecue chicken breast served with spiced wedges and seasonal vegetables as part of our Gower Field to Fork project

Our grandparents knew where their food came from, and probably produced at least some of it themselves. But somewhere along the line we lost that connection. How do we get back these connections to our food? How do we get healthy, sustainable, locally grown food to local communities?

How can we reconnect young people with farming and the land?

Our recent Gower Field to Fork project looked at just that. Working with Bishopston Comprehensive School, Castell Howell, Gower Farmer’s Market, Red Media, Western Slade Farm and Little Walterstone Farm, we brought Welsh food to Welsh school plates.

Gower has a proud history of being self-sustaining in farming and food production. Not long ago, “everyone” had a garden and grew vegetables, kept chickens and so on. But over the last hundred years this has dwindled to the point where only one farm was able to produce the quantities of food needed for our project.

Castell Howell ensured farmers got a fair market price for their produce in the hope that they will be encouraged to continue growing, keeping local farmers and future generations of local farmers working and shortening our supply chains.

Locally sourced potatoes, beetroot, cauliflower, leeks, and honey were converted into delicious, fresh, nutritious meals, chosen by pupils for pupils, with beetroot brownies for dessert! The pupils were amazed food in supermarkets is flown half way around the world, when much fresher and more nutritious food can be grown on their doorstep.

The new curriculum allows schools in Wales to access more creative and holistic resources, so any lesson could be themed around sustainable food and farming. Learning about food means children are more likely to try new food, have better diets, have a better understanding of nutrition, learn life skills, and accept responsibility.

School gardens restore the soil, and help children learn in authentic contexts, connect with nature and their communities, boost their immune systems, reduce obesity, moderate moods, reduce anxiety, develop empathy, and practice risk.

All these things apply to adults too, and research has shown gardening will also reduce your risk of health problems such as stroke, depression or Alzheimer’s. There’ll always be a benefit from growing your own food, even if it’s just knowing that for the next few days you don’t need to go to the supermarket!

So what can we do to feed ourselves and be as self-sufficient as possible?

Local networks and community activism are a key driver for change, putting the issue of healthy local food on the agenda and leading grassroots initiatives. The Sustainable Food Places movement believes a transition to a healthy, sustainable and more equitable food system requires not just strong national policy but also collaborative action between local policy makers, businesses and communities.

Bwyd Abertawe, whose interim chair is 4theRegion’s Co-Founder Dawn Lyle, is seeking to make Swansea a Sustainable Food Place. It has recently secured Welsh Government funding to grow the Good Food Movement in Swansea, which will build public awareness and active food citizenship around good local food.

Bwyd Sir Gâr Food is also a member of the Sustainable Food Places Network, and is beginning its own very exciting journey to make Carmarthenshire sustainable by ensuring equitable access to healthy, high quality local food.

Access to land is reportedly the biggest constraint to growing more food locally. What if we created a directory of available land, and called on businesses and landowners to lease it at peppercorn rates? What if new developments included community allotments and green space? A lot of public land is unused because no one knows who owns it. If in doubt, surely just make the land available?

Community supported agriculture (CSAs) are partnerships between farmers and consumers in which the responsibilities, risks and rewards of farming are shared. They offer a guaranteed fair income for growers throughout the year, because households subscribe in advance and growers know that whatever they produce, they have a market for. Locally grown food is provided directly to households with a very low carbon footprint, and the money spent is retained locally, creating worthwhile employment for local people.

Cae Tan CSA has successfully proven over the last few years that growers can create an economically viable business, produce a good amount of food, and have a wealth of benefits in terms of community cohesion, the environment, and education.

Cauliflower mac ‘n cheese as the vegetarian option for our Gower Field to Fork project

And of course we also need more urban and peri-urban farming!

Room to Grow are already repurposing tired old concrete gardens and under used land and turned them into vibrant “Grow Your Own” spaces packed full of nutritious herbs and vegetables. They will help build and maintain your garden planters and raised beds, share the produce and even learn some great new recipes to help you get the best from your garden.

Meanwhile, Biophilic Living Swansea will feature two south facing greenhouses on the roof of a mixed use development. The largest greenhouse will be serviced by an aquaponics system designed to produce up to 4.5 tonnes of fruit, vegetables, salad and herbs a year. The aquaponics system will create a continuous cycle where waste produced by fish, living in onsite tanks, adds nutrients to the water which feeds the greenhouse plants. The water is then filtered and recirculated back into the system. The plan is that residents will run the farm as a social enterprise.

Finance can also be a barrier to growing local food. The Sustainable Farming Scheme will only finance farms that have more than three hectares in production. This would exclude many CSA schemes. A recent study by Food Sense Wales has shown small scale investment can have a significant and positive impact on horticulture businesses, with sales of vegetables increasing on average by 74.5%. Food Sense Wales is calling on the Welsh Government to create a new infrastructure grant scheme for small scale horticulture that would speed up the growth of the sector and lead to more sales of locally grown vegetables.

And what about more traditional farms?

Many farmers don’t like CSAs and see people growing their own food as doing it for fun. But we don’t feel farms are in conflict with CSAs. In fact, farmers in Pembrokeshire have already given access to growers. And with fifty hectares of land needed to provide a community with the horticultural produce it needs, clearly there’s going to be a need for larger farms. How do we proactively engage with existing local farms and farmers to understand their challenges and how they can be better supported? It’s clear we need more and better facilities for processing locally grown produce, such as abbattoirs, bottling, washing, packaging, distribution, processing and manufacturing facilities.

Community food hubs are another way to connect people to where food comes from. It’s a great model for suppliers and producers, because it creates a guaranteed marketplace that will generate vital incomes. Food hubs can’t compete with supermarkets on price for some foods such as pasta, but you’ll find your overall weekly shop should cost less. And it’s more nutritious! Despite this food hubs have experienced difficulties getting people to shop there. FarmCo found they needed to spend a lot of time and effort on marketing and customer retention, and ultimately market themselves as an online food shop, rather than a hub.

What can we do to support local producers?

Swansea Food Partnership aims to create a vibrant and prosperous food offer for Swansea, strengthen and shorten supply chains, enhance food tourism, and bridge the gap between rural and urban food. They have also carried out a feasibility study to map local produce and shorten supply chains, run in partnership with Urban Foundry and Afallen.

The Welsh Government has also launched a new online resource, “Buying Food Fit for the Future“, to encourage more local spending on food by the NHS, schools and local government to help support Welsh producers, create more jobs, and boost prosperity in local communities.

If you’re a business, do you serve locally sourced, seasonal food on your menus and promote its provenance? Do you have an ethical purchasing policy? Do you have land that can be made available for community growing?

As an individual, do you still shop at supermarkets or do you buy as much as you can from local retailers and producers? When you go to a restaurant, do you ask them whether the food is local? Whether the gin is local?

And we could go further. The Scottish Government recently passed the Good Food Nation Bill, which commits to making Scotland a country where people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve, and eat each day. Is this something we should be campaigning for here in Wales?

Access to locally sourced food is more important than ever. Our grandparents knew where their food came from, and we need to get that connection back!

On January 17th and 18th we’ll be hosting Food for the Region, sharing updates, explore emerging projects and encourage collaboration on all things relating to growing, producing, distributing, sharing and caring about food in South West Wales.

If you eat, grow or buy food, this event is for you! We’re inviting farmers, producers, distributors, processors, caterers, retailers, public procurement, regulators, communities, campaigners, and people who care about what we eat and how it’s produced, to come together once again to talk about what we want for our regional food system. You can register here

 

Gower beetroot brownies for dessert!

Everyone’s Invited

Everyone’s Invited

Community is essential to human wellbeing. Real community can’t be designed from above. We have to do it ourselves. It’s about taking responsibility for doing things in your local area to build and sustain community. The instinct to be social animals can’t really be stifled. Community will always try to return.

Camp for Climate Action, Murton, Swansea (Pic: Climate and Community)

The cost of living crisis, rising energy prices, and supply chain issues may create a context where people are more likely to conserve materials, reuse items, share things, and create circular economies. So how do we build a sense of community around practical climate solutions?

From tomorrow, communities will come together for the Great Big Green Week, the UK’s biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature. And everyone’s invited! In this blog post we’ll look at some of the events during the week in South West Wales, where you will have the opportunity to learn new skills, reconnect with nature, and develop the circular economy. You can see details of some of the events here.

Throughout the week, Climate and Community will be hosting a Camp for Climate Action. They are setting up carbon negative food growing using woodchip as a growing substrate and biochar as a soil amendment. The growing area will be an alley cropping system, long beds and perennial beds where trees and shrubs are planted next to swales (shallow, broad and vegetated channels). The site is full of wildlife and needs work to lay hedges, control bracken, dig swales for water conservation.

The camp is open to any volunteers interested in working and learning new skills, eating together and talking with one another. Most of us have lost connection with the cycle of production of daily objects. By harvesting and processing natural materials, then making useful objects with them, you can experience the entire production process, with which comes a recognition of what it takes to make things and an appreciation of the value of resources.

You can learn how to scythe! Compared to machinery, you have no pollution, no fossil fuels, less embodied energy in the manufacturing process, a longer life, less noise and soil disturbance, and wildlife have more time to get out of the way! Scythes can be used in (almost) any weather. And with a good technique, it’s good physical exercise and can be meditative and peaceful.

You can learn to restore hedges! In the past hedges protected livestock from wolves and bears. Today they provide food for humans, food and shelter for wildlife, and blossom for pollinators. They store carbon and prevent soil erosion. In cities, hedges are also better than trees at combatting pollution, because their leaves are at exhaust level, rather than up in the canopy.

You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about tools and sharpening, basketry, spoon making, and field cooking.

How far could you go? Well you could build your own home! There are real savings from self-building, as natural materials can be obtained free or at very low cost. Simon Dale did just that, and it cost him £3,000. His beautiful earth sheltered roundhouse, Berllan Dawel, sits in nine acres of rewilded forest garden and a plant nursery, all powered by off grid hydro-electricity.

Berllan Dawel is part of the Lammas Ecovillage, which aims to demonstrate a thriving example of low impact development, pointing the way for the truly sustainable rural developments of the future. Residents explore alternative models for living on the land, broadly in line with the Welsh Government’s One Planet Development policy. The homes are private, but some residents will welcome visitors who come with an open mind to learn more about low impact sustainable living. During Great Big Green Week you will have the opportunity to visit Berllan Dawel, and Hafan y Coed, where Keith Burgess specialises in plants and growing furniture.

For many people, growing your own produce, building your own home, and living a low impact lifestyle is appealing, but daunting. Only sixty three One Planet Development applications were made between 2010 and 2021, of which thirty nine were approved. However, on the whole these developments, many of which are in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, are over achieving in terms of their low impact objectives and have contributed to their communities through open days, tours and employment.

At any rate you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own produce. If you’ve got a wall, then you’ve got space for a vertical farm that can grow salad items and otherwise expensive herbs. You can pick (and donate) seeds at seed swap events. These events are important. It’s illegal to sell unusual seeds that are not on official national lists, so seed saving is a way of guaranteeing their survival.

And how about creating a community food garden?

The community of Monkton is no stranger to suffering and poverty. It’s in the lowest 5% in Britain in the index of multiple deprivation. But it’s in the top league for community power! At Dezza’s Cabin everyone skill shares at the weekly garden building club, whether it’s carpentry or cookery, healing, digging or food processing,. Recent learners teach onlookers. They are reclaiming a green future. If we want a world after fossil fuels this is where and how to start. To save the earth from being destroyed these young people will take the spirit of resilience and community shown by the gang of all ages and abilities, and none, building Parc Dezza, so that people might grow, eat and live.

Dezza’s Cabin was founded when a fourteen year old boy Dezza (Derek) hung himself at school. His mother founded Dezza’s Cabin within weeks. That was seven years ago. It now has shops and warehouses and a community centre. This is the community of Monkton’s first land claim. Many more young people have died, but a greater number have been saved by the actions of the Dezza’s Cabin volunteers.

And what else can we do to make local places work?

On September 27th, Dr Ben Reynolds, director of Urban Foundry, will share his expertise on twenty minute neighbourhoods. The goal is for cities and towns to be places that connect us to each other and what we need, where everyone can thrive without having to use a car, and quality of life is boosted for everyone. The idea is to ensure that it’s easy for people to meet most of their everyday needs by a short, convenient and pleasant twenty minute return walk. At a minimum everyday needs should include food, education, healthcare, financial services, employment, public open space, entertainment, a regular bus, tram or train service, walking and cycling infrastructure, and a mix of diverse housing types including genuinely affordable and social housing.

We’re passionate about repairing and reusing our everyday items. We believe that South West Wales must move away from our linear economy (make, use, dispose), closing the loop to conserve resources and ensure long term sustainability. A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. Because repairing and reusing means less waste is sent to landfill and we can all save money at the same time.

Repair cafes, run by The Environment Centre, The Stebonheath Centre, and the National Botanic Garden of Wales, will repair your bike, household items, gardening tools, clothes, jewellery, toys, ornaments, and even furniture.

There’s also a Zero Waste Scrap Store at The Stebonheath Centre. What have they got? Wool, ribbons, paint, material, ink, brushes, thread, papers, and lots more. It’s an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures for crafters and makers!

Fancy something more creative? Join Volcano Theatre’s Climate Change Action Community Arts Festival on September 24th, where there’ll be plenty of art, music and movement! You’ll have the opportunity to make a groovy belt, and a bug hotel from recycled items. You can also donate unwanted CDs to Beyond Recycling, which Smile Plastics turn into chopping boards, soap dishes, counter tops, and even furniture! They’re also looking for DVDs, batteries, corks, broken mobile phones, and wellies.

There’ll also be repair cafes and workshops, and opportunities to make better use of unwanted or seldom used items.

Swansea Library of Things is a new low cost borrowing initiative. Instead of buying a new item that ends up never being used again, members can pay a small fee to borrow it, use it and return it when they’re done with it!

Meanwhile, Matthew’s House will be collecting your unwanted good quality waterproof coats, trousers, socks and sleeping bags, and Swansea Underground Network’s Baby Bank will allow you to donate and receive baby items with no referral or paperwork.

And don’t forget, the XR Rebel Bus Tour comes to Swansea on September 28th. They plan to move about several locations talking to people, giving out leaflets and inviting them to a People’s Assembly at the National Waterfront Museum in the evening, where you can hear Ousmane Toure from Côte d’Ivoire talk about climate justice in West Africa.

Community is essential for human wellbeing. And everyone’s invited!

XR Rebels on the Bus Tour (Pic: XR Swansea)