Buying more from each other

Buying more from each other

What can we do to keep more of our spending in the region? By this we mean both the money we spend as individuals and businesses, and the public money spent by local authorities and major organisations.

Did you know if every individual and business in South West Wales spent an extra £100 a year with regional businesses we’d have an extra £108m circulating and multiplying in our economy? This doesn’t just keep more wealth in our local economy. Buying more from each other helps develop supply chains and creates more opportunities for people and businesses.

This principle is already well understand, for example the Well-being of Future Generations Act says public organisations should spend 95% of their budgets within Wales. But there remain a lot of barriers to buying locally. Local businesses struggle to compete against online shopping and out of town retail parks. Tendering processes are complicated and place a lot of pressure on suppliers.

So what’s working well in the region?

Swansea Council has been able to put out contracts worth under £140,000 to local businesses, and recently announced that firms in the Swansea Bay City Region benefitted from £34.6m from the construction of Copr Bay phase one, with £17.9m benefitting Swansea based businesses.

Community wealth building means local economies are reorganised so that more wealth is retained locally and income is recirculated. It’s emerged as a powerful approach to local economic development, with progressive procurement as one of its main pillars. Progressive procurement can develop dense local supply chains, SMEs, employee owned businesses, social enterprises and cooperatives and other forms of community business. These types of businesses are more likely to support local employment and to retain wealth and surplus locally.

Hywel Dda University Health Board want to adopt a more locally focused approach to procurement, driven by community wealth building principles. They recognise the potential of working with other anchor institutions (organisations which have an important local presence, such as councils and universities) in areas of common spending, such as food procurement and collaborative working, in order to maximise the local impact of £2.5bn in total spending in the Health Board area.

So what more can we do?

There are clearly some areas the government would need to lead on, for example taxation of big corporations to help create a level playing field for local businesses. But there are also things we can do as businesses, communities and individuals. It’s been great to see the creation of a directory like South Wales Food & Drink, which helps connect people with local food and drink producers! Food and drink are relatively easy to procure locally, but how do we improve procurement of other local goods and services such as clothes and stationery? Could they have their own directories to connect suppliers with customers? And what if we had local distribution centres for food, clothes and stationery, operating in a similar way to an Amazon Fulfilment Centre?

We also need to consider the environmental impact of what we buy. Natural Resources Wales estimates nearly 90% of our carbon emissions are from procurement. And this isn’t just an issue for the public sector. By producing, distributing and purchasing the things we need as locally as possible we can all help reduce carbon emissions. Think of all those empty offices. Imagine if they were vertical farms providing local communities with nutritious locally grown food!

At 4theRegion, we know that if businesses and organisations in South West Wales buy more from each other, we can keep more wealth here in our local economy, develop our supply chains, and create more opportunities for people and businesses.

If you agree that buying locally is important, and want to be part of an alliance that work proactively to enable more local sourcing at all levels, please join us! Subscribe to our newsletter, become a member, come along to our events, or get in touch!

Successful CRF Projects in South West Wales

Successful CRF Projects in South West Wales

Earlier in the year, local authorities across the UK were invited to submit proposals for projects to be funded by the Community Renewal Fund.  We’ve been waiting with fingers crossed for the successful projects to be announced, and we are delighted to say that the news is IN!!!  Here are the projects in our region (Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot) that have received a combined £10m funding from the UK Community Renewal Fund!

Carmarthenshire – £2.9m in total for:

  • Banc Sgiliau Busnes Sir Gar/ Business Skills Bank Sir Gar (BSB Sir Gar)
  • Carmarthenshire Towns Recovery & growth pilot
  • Carmarthenshire’s Old Towns – Their Past, Present and Potential
  • Digging Beneath the Surface – Archives, Archaeology and Access in Carmarthenshire
  • Dreigiau CYCA Dragons Y cyfle i fynnu – the opportunity to thrive
  • Enterprise Carmarthenshire
  • Llanelli Town Centre Ambassador and Delivery Service Project
  • Rapid Skills Shortage Response
  • Regenerating Llanelli
  • Revitalise Rhydaman
  • Supporting the Welsh language in business and communities

Neath Port Talbot – £2.4m in total for:

  • A roadmap for restoring, enhancing and connecting Green Infrastructure for people and nature in a post-industrial landscape
  • Digital Bridges -Bridging the Digital Divide
  • Neath Port Talbot Third Sector Grant Scheme
  • Next Steps – Employability Support and Work Experience
  • Supporting Business Growth and Innovation

Pembrokeshire – £2.9m in total for:

  • Climate Adaptation – Addressing climate risks in Pembrokeshire’s Communities
  • Developing the Pembroke Town Walls Management Plan
  • Ecosystem Enterprise Partnership – Building Natural Solutions
  • ESP – Enterprise & Skills Pembrokeshire
  • Feasibility Study – Winter Tourism in North East Pembrokeshire
  • Passion & Parking at Freshwater West – working together for a sustainable future
  • Pembrokeshire Open to All
  • Resourceful Communities: Towards a wellbeing economy
  • Thrive Project

Swansea – £2.6m in total for:

  • Community-led Sustainable Transport Solutions – Investing in Communities and Place
  • Cowork Local (Swansea)
  • Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon
  • Enterprise Swansea
  • Pathways to Work Swansea
  • Penderi Green Regeneration
  • People with Disabilities Employability and Enterprise Project (Swansea Project)
  • Swansea Business Support and Green Recovery
  • Time to Learn and Work

4theRegion is excited to be part of a number of these successful project bids, and we will share more information soon on all the exciting projects that are set be delivered under this programme!  Please subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media to stay updated!

Click here to see the full UK list.

October Regional Round-Up

October Regional Round-Up


Job Vacancies with 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. Read More

Mobile Tyre Fitter

Day’s Motor Group is looking for an experienced mobile tyre fitter to join their growing team. This is a great opportunity for an experienced mobile tyre fitter to join a fantastic company. Previous tyre fitting experience would be advantageous. Read More

Current Jobs at Family Housing

Family Housing always look forward to welcoming new people into their organisation. People who want to make a positive difference to the lives of Family Housing’s tenants and find ways to help them develop vibrant, inclusive communities. Read More

Bid Writer/Fundraiser

YMCA Swansea have an opportunity to fill a brand-new role within the charity – a Bid Writer/Fundraiser to research, design, write and submit detailed applications for revenue funds to support our services. This will be an exceptional opportunity for a gifted and driven individual to build new networks and to establish, develop and maintain new fundraising initiatives for the charity. Read More

Project Manager (Climate Action)

The CAE are looking for a Project Manager who will work solely on their Climate Action programmes, supporting the implementation of the organisation’s climate change strategy and action plan. Through their activities, The CAE work to raise awareness to marginalised BAME communities, inspiring changes in action in their day to day lives. Read More

Jobs at Natural Resources Wales

Natural resources in Wales are fantastic – rugged mountains and woodlands, beautiful landscapes and coastlines, and amazing wildlife. The people who work in Natural Resources Wales have the knowledge, expertise, and passion to help make the sustainable management of natural resources a reality. Read More

Job Opportunities with Llamau

Llamau are hiring! If you would like to join a fast-paced, dynamic company that works every day to end homelessness in Wales, apply now! Read More

Job Opportunities with Bevan Buckland

Bevan Buckland are looking to recruit a Tax Assistant (Graduate/School Leaver) at their Swansea Office. You will have responsibility to assist in the delivery all client’s projects and will demonstrate expected and acceptable behaviours in line with the Firm’s values and build positive relationships with clients and staff. Read More

Dine & Do Good

‘Dine & Do Good’ is a really simple idea: Llamau are approaching local pubs, restaurants, cafes and takeaways to take part, by encouraging their customers to Dine & Do Good, by adding a voluntary £1 (or more if they wish) donation to their bill. Read More

Current Jobs at Gower College Swansea

Gower College Swansea’s mission is to inspire and support their learners to achieve their full potential through the delivery of the highest quality of education and training. Thanks to their highly committed and talented staff, they are able to provide outstanding learning and training opportunities for young people, adults and employers across South West Wales. Read More

Work with the National Botanic Garden of Wales

The Garden offers a range of job opportunities from horticulture and education to administration and catering. All types of job opportunities currently available at the National Botanic Garden of Wales will be listed here.

PLANED are hiring for two key roles

Do you have demonstrable enthusiasm for communities within South West Wales? Do you want to join a forward looking, positive and high performing organisation? PLANED are looking for two Development Project Officers covering Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire. Read More


Main Contractor for Pencerfnarda Farm Development

Following planning committee approval, Pobl Group are now looking to appoint a contractor to deliver their Pencefnarda development in Penyrheol, Swansea. Read More

Contract Notices for Swansea Council

Swansea Council is seeking to appoint contractors to provide balcony repairs to various properties, property insurance in respect of leasehold flats excluding broker services, outright purchase of up to 2 18 tonne GVW 4×4 chassis cabs, voice entry systems, SAP business objects support and maintenance, assistance with LoRaWAN and sensor implementation and associated tasks, domestic rewires, and a framework agreement for the provision of engineering services.

Supply and Installation of Play Equipment and Safety Surfacing

The purpose of this tender opportunity from Swansea Council is to obtain a fixed rate price and illustrated layouts for the supply and installation of new playground equipment and where applicable safety surfacing and other features at Port Eynon, Gower, West Cross, Coed Bach Playground, Blackpill Lido Playground and Bracelet Bay Playground.

Nant-y-Caws Landfill Site Phase 1 Leachate Effluent Treatment Plant Operation

Carmarthenshire County Council is responsible for the safe treatment and disposal of leachate arising from a closed landfill site at Nant-y-Caws, Carmarthen. The Council wishes to invite tenders for the operation and maintenance of the plant with suitably qualified and technically competent personnel. Read More

Wales Pension Partnership Private Markets Investments

Carmarthenshire County Council is the Host Authority for the Wales Pension Partnership (WPP). The WPP is now looking to develop a range of Private Market Sub-Funds which the Constituent Authorities (Local Government Pension Funds) of Wales can use to obtain the private market exposure that they require to meet their locally decided strategic asset allocations. Read More

Contract Notices for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David

University of Wales Trinity Saint David looks forward to receiving your tenders for the removal and replacement of the existing rooflight at the T&L Building on Carmarthen Campus, to undertake maintenance work to the roof of the BBC Building, and a research project into the oral Welsh achievement of two cohorts of learners.

Contract Notices for Pembrokeshire County Council

Pembrokeshire County Council wish to appoint a creative events management company to provide a complete turnkey event management service for the organisation of 2 public events and work with communities in North Pembrokeshire as part of the project Ancient Connections. Applications are also invited from firms wishing to tender for the provision of printing services.

Commercialising Innovation in Health

Swansea University are interested to learn more about best practice in publicly provided health organisations globally, but particularly in the UK for creating value from enabling and accelerating the adoption of innovation, and exploiting intellectual property. Read More

Tendering opportunities for Neath Port Talbot Council

Neath Port Talbot Council invite tenders for a parcel of standing timber comprised of an estimated 180-300 cubic metres over bark of Corsican pine and the roadside sale of between 150 – 200 cubic metres of beech timber.

Diesel Fuel Contract

In order to undertake its businesses effectively and efficiently, CWM Environmental Ltd. requires a reliable contractor to supply Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD) fuel for on road vehicles via a card/at the pump solution and deliveries to bulk/tanks across 4 sites for the use in plant machinery. Read More


Carmarthenshire Council has appointed a contractor to start building the Wellbeing Village

Bouygues UK (pronounced “Bweegs”) has been appointed to design and build Zone 1 of the Pentre Awel development at Delta Lakes.  This is one of the approved City Deal projects, and will bring together life science innovation, community healthcare and modern leisure facilities at the 83-acre site on the Llanelli coastline.  Preconstruction works are now starting, with construction set to commence next year.  Read More

Award winning company appointed to lead £750m Swansea regeneration

Swansea Council has appointed award winning regeneration company Urban Splash as its preferred development partner for a number of key sites, including the Civic Centre, Swansea Central North and a plot of land running alongside the River Tawe in the St Thomas area of the city. At 4theRegion, we are really interested to hear that a development partner has been appointed and we look forward to understanding more about their vision for Swansea. Read More

The living wall that will be created in the heart of Swansea city centre

Work is well underway on the 1.1-acre coastal park next to Swansea Arena, which will see the city transformed through the green space. It will soon be planted-up and steps will be carried out to put a ‘living wall’ on the Oystermouth Road side of the car parking structure underneath the coastal park. The coastal park forms part of the new £135m Copr Bay phase one district, which is being developed by Swansea Council. Read More

Mixed-use proposals backed for city centre

Future phases of Swansea city centre developments and investments have been unveiled as a mixed-use destination with investment in lifestyle, family experiences and retail to help increase the number of visitors. Aimed at helping create a more vibrant and sustainable city centre in coming years, proposals include improvements to Swansea Market, public art, more greenery, a new street food market, and a new public area for families. Read More

Planning committee approval for 44 new socially rented homes

Pobl Group’s development at Pencefnarda Farm, Penyrehol, was approved by Swansea’s planning committee on Tuesday 7th September 2021. The new homes will provide much needed social housing for the local area, as well as a new substantial public open green and natural play area. Read More


Multi-million pound life science project set for approval

Major plans for a new £132m life science, well-being and sports campuses project in Swansea that’s expected create over 1,000 jobs are gathering pace. The project is one of nine forming part of the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal investment across the Swansea Bay City Region. The two-site, phased project is estimated to be worth more than £150m to the regional economy. Read More

Government Backing for Job-Creating Green Economy Plans

The UK and Welsh Governments have approved the £58.7m Swansea Bay City Deal’s Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth programme which aims to support the creation and safeguarding of 1,320 jobs in the green economy through seven interlinked projects. The programme aims to establish the Swansea Bay City Region as a leader in low carbon growth and the green economy. Read More



Chef who’s worked at top European restaurants opens 12-seater diner with foraged produce in Pembrokeshire

Annwn, a new fine dining restaurant which showcases locally-sourced and foraged produce has opened in rural Pembrokeshire. Matt Powell, a chef with over 20 years experience who has worked for Raymond Blanc and in Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe, is the person behind the new venture. He said: “We’re really focused on our local surroundings. Pembrokeshire’s produce is amazing, we’re really spoilt for choice when it comes to ingredients.” Read More

‘We quit our jobs to pursue our dream when a double tragedy made us realise how short life is’

After a very difficult year, best friends Jayne Libby and Racheal James decided to follow their dream and open Morriston’s newest café, Dessert World. Racheal said: “We realised life is too short to not take these chances.” Situated on Clase Road, Dessert World will serve a wide range of desserts, ice-creams and coffees. Read More

New plant based café opens in Swansea Market

Nonna’s Deliciously Different specialises in sweet treats and desserts. The idea behind the stall came from Penllegaer couple David and Barbara Johnson. The couple were inspired into the plant based industry after their daughter became a vegan several years ago. Barbara said “There was so little options for my daughter whenever we went out for food. I wanted to change that”. Read More

I left my job in Costa to start my own coffee shop

Having received praise for revitalising one of the Costa Coffees in Swansea, Maurizio Pozzi decided he wanted to do more. Armed with years of knowledge and a passion of creating an “experience all for the customer”, he wanted to take a risk and start his own independent space. OneSixty Coffee Bar in the heart of Port Tennant has been described as “a little jewel of a place” in an often forgotten part of Swansea born out of Maurizio’s desire to do his own thing. Read More


Carmarthenshire Council has appointed a contractor to start building the Wellbeing Village

Bouygues UK (pronounced “Bweegs”) has been appointed to design and build Zone 1 of the Pentre Awel development at Delta Lakes.  This is one of the approved City Deal projects, and will bring together life science innovation, community healthcare and modern leisure facilities at the 83-acre site on the Llanelli coastline.  Preconstruction works are now starting, with construction set to commence next year.  Read More

Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research Launches App to Support Digital Inclusion of older persons

The app links directly to the International Day of Older Persons’ main theme of Digital Equity for All Ages, “bringing awareness of the importance of digital inclusion of older persons, while tackling stereotypes, prejudice and discriminations associated with digitalization”. The Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research aims to improve the lives of older people through research, policy and practice. Swansea University and Bangor University are its central partners. Read More

Six Swansea projects funded as part of £6.5 million for life-saving research in Wales

Six Swansea University researchers have been awarded funding by Health and Care Research Wales to investigate topics ranging from sun safety policies in primary schools to the impact of COVID-19 on people with epilepsy. Read More


Swansea Council pushes ahead with Dragon Energy island plan

Swansea Council has asked for funding to develop a business case for a tidal lagoon. The Dragon Energy Island includes underwater data servers and up to 10,000 floating homes and businesses as well as tidal turbines and the solar farm. Cllr Andrea Lewis, who has the climate change portfolio, described it as “hugely exciting” and “a game changer”, and that – if replicated elsewhere – an industry which would help the UK become self-sustainable in terms of energy. Read More

High-tech electricity project coming to Swansea

Norwegian energy company Statkraft has planning permission for what it terms a greener grid park, comprising two large rotating stabilisers, batteries and inverters, kept within a 109 by 100m compound. It’s a mix of engineering and tech which essentially act as a shock absorber to provide stability when there are sudden fluctuations in the grid, for example a power station going offline or a problem with a high voltage cable. Read More

Energy Positive Bay Technology Centre on track for completion by end of 2021

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Bay Technology Centre, sited on one of Wales’s premier business parks in the heart of South Wales, is on schedule to be completed in December of this year. The £7.9m three-storey office and laboratory space, located at the M4-side Baglan Energy Park in Port Talbot, will host different size units for start-up companies, indigenous businesses and inward investors looking for a base to set up and grow their operations. Read More

Carbon neutral potatoes are UK first

The home of the much-loved Pembrokeshire potato has added a new iconic product to supermarket shelves with the launch of the UK’s first carbon neutral potato. Root Zero planet friendly potatoes are grown in Pembrokeshire by Puffin Produce and have been launched into 200 Co-op stores across the UK. Read More


Festival held to celebrate the life of Swansea Jack

The famous Welsh dog rescued 27 people from the North Dock and River Tawe area of Swansea between 1931 and 1937. Jack acted as a guardian angel for that part of the city – keeping an ear out for cries of help from the water. He first rescued a 12-year-old boy in June 1931, and his second rescue was just a few weeks later when he saved a swimmer from the docks in front of a large crowd. Read More

Inside the abandoned island fort off the Welsh coast where you can now have a sleepover

It’s the eerie abandoned island fort off the West Wales coast that dates back to the mid 19th century. Built to defend the Royal Naval Dockyard at Pembroke Dock against a Napoleonic invasion, Stack Rock Fort’s long, winding, labyrinthine corridors once reverberated to the sound of shell fire and the 150 soldiers stationed there. However, now Stack Rock Fort is available to visit and spend the night for the first time since its colossal cannons finally fell silent. Read More

Free buses returning to Swansea for Halloween and Christmas

A free bus promotion is set to return during October half term and the Christmas Holidays with specific dates yet to be announced. The previous initiative introduced for the month of August saw 220,000 passengers make use of the scheme. Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: “Families have told me what a difference it’s made for them. They’ve been able to enjoy days out without worrying about the cost of travel.” Read More

More acts have been announced for the new Swansea Arena

We’re very excited about Swansea Arena. Six shows have now been announced for the new venue. Rob Brydon, Katherine Ryan, Alice Cooper and The Cult, Diversity, John Bishop and Oti Mabuse are set to perform at the 3,500 capacity attraction, which is set to open its doors for the first ticketed shows in 2022. Read More

Swansea creatives can bid for new council support of up to £1,500

Cultural organisations and self-employed creatives in Swansea’s arts and heritage sectors can apply for up to £1,500 to help them present their work to new audiences. Swansea Council has launched the offer of support for locally-based arts, cultural and heritage organisations and freelance art, culture and heritage practitioners. Applications will be accepted from now until October 31, with the council aiming to make decisions swiftly. Read More

New campaigns aims to attract thousands of visitors to Neath Port Talbot

A new tourism campaign fronted by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council is being launched this month. The Dramatic Heart of Wales campaign is hoping to attract tourists to the area for overnight stays towards the end of 2021 and into 2022.The campaign will highlight the rich natural beauty, world-class adventure activities and unique heritage that can be found within Neath Port Talbot – ‘The Dramatic Heart of Wales’. Read More

Stunning outdoor ‘dining bubbles’ have returned to Mumbles

Gorgeous outdoor ‘dining bubbles’ have returned to Mumbles promenade – and they’re perfect for autumnal evenings with loved ones. Bistrot Pierre Mumbles has confirmed the two “Bistrot Bubbles” have made a triumphant return. Diners can reserve a bubble for between four and six people and have their meals and drinks served to them in their own private dining globe – while enjoying the incredible sea views without being exposed to the elements. Read More

Swansea Grand Theatre opens for the first time in 18 months and this is what’s on

Autumn highlights include In The Night Garden on October 13 and 14, The Bootleg Beatles on October 23, Al Murray on October 29 and The Circus of Horrors on November 3. Swansea Grand Theatre’s traditional panto will return from December 10 until January 2, with this year’s production being Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs starring Colin Jackson, Kev Johns, Britain’s Got Talent finalist, comedian Jon Clegg, Emma Kirk and Zoe George. Read More

The top rated Welsh beach on Trip Advisor ‘just like being in Spain’ may surprise you

In fact, it is Tenby Castle Beach, the smallest of Tenby’s three sandy beaches and only about 150 metres wide, narrower during high tide. At low tide, there are plenty of rock pools to splash around in. The sandy cove is stooped below the iconic multi-coloured cottages of Tenby, on the south side of the cobblestoned town. Tenby Castle Beach is named so because it is overlooked by the ancient ruins of Tenby Castle. Looking the other way, out to sea is St Catherine’s Island, a tidal island complete with a Napoleonic Fort. Read More

A prosecco festival is returning to Swansea next month and it will serve gin too

The nights are drawing in and the weather has started to turn darker and gloomier – but an epic drinks festival is sure to brighten up autumn. After being forced to reschedule during the pandemic, the festival is back in Swansea on November 13 and bigger than ever. Prosecco fans will be spoilt for choice with the UK’s “largest selection of fizz available by the glass,” whilst a diverse menu of gin, flavoured gin and ‘fizzy cocktails’ will also be available at the event at Brangwyn Hall. Read More


Swansea Retains its UK Top 25 Position in the Guardian University Guide 2022

Swansea University is ranked 24th in the UK in the Guardian University Guide. Professor Steve Wilks, Provost at Swansea University, said: “These latest rankings in the Guardian University Guide are an excellent result for Swansea and it is wonderful to see the hard work and commitment of colleagues across the university recognised in this way. Despite the challenging times we have faced over the past year, we have retained our position as a UK top 25 university and have remained the highest-ranked university in Wales for the third year running.” Read More

UWTSD appoints a Director of Marketing and Communications

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has appointed Jonathan Batty as its Director of Marketing and Communications. Jonathan will be responsible for leading the development and delivery of an integrated marketing and communications strategy across the University. He said “I was motivated to join UWTSD as I believe the university is ambitious to become globally recognised and respected.” Read More

Gower College Swansea to get world-class skills boost

The College is one of 12 leading institutions (colleges and Independent Training Providers) to have been selected to join the skills revolution by becoming part of WorldSkills UK’s Centre of Excellence. The Centre of Excellence – partnered and funded by educational charity and awarding body NCFE – will see more than 40,000 young students and apprentices, from all socio-economic groups across the UK, armed with world-class skills. Read More

Simon Wright Appointed UWTSD Professor of Practice

Simon Wright, restaurateur, broadcaster, food writer, and consultant has been appointed to the role of Professor of Practice by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. His expertise will be pivotal in assisting the University to develop initiatives which aim to deliver economic, social and cultural growth linked to local food and hospitality, sustainability, agriculture and rural entrepreneurship. Read More


IWA Professional Training: Decision Making in Wales
12 October 09:30 – 13 October 14:00
Hosted by the Institute of Welsh Affairs
Book Here

Financial Management Training 5 | Margin/Cost Control
12 October 11:00
Hosted by Business Butler
Book Here

Preference Rules of Origin – Virtual/Online
13 October 09:30 – 13:00
Hosted by Chambers Wales
Book Here

Homemade Candles Course
13 October 10:00 – 13:30
National Botanic Garden of Wales
Book Here

Virtual Open Evening – Teacher Training
13 October 19:00
Hosted by University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Book Here

Business Swansea Start-Up Enterprise Club – Sourcing Start-Up Finance
14 October 10:00 – 11:30
Book Here

HMRC: Transit Part 2 – Inbound & Outbound Processes
14 October 11:00 – 12:00
Hosted by Chambers Wales
Book Here

Meeting the Challenge in Wales: Becoming a Sustainable Small Business
15 October 09:00 – 12:00
Hosted by FSB Wales
Book Here

Advice and guidance for sedentary working
15 October 12:30 – 13:30
Hosted by Wellbeing through Work
Book Here

Sleep Out 2021
15 October 18:30 – 16 October 07:30
Anywhere that isn’t your bed!
Hosted by Llamau
Sign Up

17 October 19:00
Queens Hall Narberth
Book Here

Circular Economy & Green Economy | Sector Forum
18 October 12:00
Hosted by 4theRegion
Book Here

Coastal Communities Adapting Together (CCAT): Exchanging Knowledge and Best Practice Across Borders 2021
19 October 10:00
Book Here

Financial Management Training 6 | Customer Attrition

19 October 11:00
Hosted by Business Butler
Book Here

Incoterms – Virtual/Online
20 October 09:30 – 13:00
Hosted by Chambers Wales
Book Here

Path to Net Zero: Shaping the sustainability of business

20 October 10:30 – 11:30
Hosted by Chambers Wales
Book Here

Coastal Communities Adapting Together (CCAT): Exchanging Knowledge and Best Practice Across Borders 2021
20 October 10:00
Book Here

Wellbeing and Resilience
20 October 13:00 – 14:00
Hosted by Wellbeing through Work
Book Here

Classification of Goods – Virtual/Online
20 October 13:30 – 17:00
Hosted by Chambers Wales
Book Here

Trading with the Caspians: Opportunities and Routes to Market
21 October 08:00 – 10:00
Hosted by Chambers Wales
Book Here

Coastal Communities Adapting Together (CCAT): Exchanging Knowledge and Best Practice Across Borders 2021
21 October 10:00
Book Here

Business Swansea Support Hour – Recharging your Networking Skills
21 October 10:00 – 11:00
Book Here

ION Open Doors
21 October 11:00 – 12:00
Hosted by ION leadership
Book Here

Wales Virtual Networking
21 October 14:00 – 15:00
Hosted by FSB South Wales
Book Here

Masterclass | The Power of Organisational Charts
25 October 16:00
Hosted by Business Butler
Book Here

VAT Rules when Exporting and Importing in a post Brexit world
26 October 09:30 – 12:30
Hosted by Chambers Wales
Book Here

Understanding Young Carers
26 October 09:30 – 12:00
YMCA Swansea
Book Here

Financial Management Training 7 | Gap Analysis / Cross Selling
26 October 11:00
Hosted by Business Butler
Book Here

Trading with Turkey – Virtual Training course
27 October 10:00 – 12:30
Hosted by Chambers Wales
Book Here

Business Support Hour – Understanding your Customer
28 October 10:00 – 11:00
Book Here

The Reading Room: Food & Farming

The Reading Room: Food & Farming



Across Wales, there is a huge amount of work, thought-leadership, strategy and policy being developed around the future of our food, the future of farming, and how we can build a more sustainable system.  To provide resources to accompany our Food System Conference for South West Wales, we are sharing some interesting reading, as well as useful links and organisational profiles, in an attempt to provide a useful hub for those who want to immerse themselves in this topic!

Please submit your links, organisations and articles to add to this list.

Ahead of the upcoming regional Food System Conference for South West Wales, we talked to Patrick Holden, founder of the Sustainable Food Trust and himself a West Wales dairy farmer, about the challenges and opportunities for transforming our food and farming sector.
Patrick Holden in Conversation with Dawn Lyle #Food4theRegion

The Welsh Government has announced that it will create a Community Food Strategy during its current term.  Jane Powell explores the benefits of a comprehensive community food strategy that would consider land use for Wales.  “Such a food policy could help us decide what our land is for, as well as pulling together other threads, from farming and the economy to health and social inclusion.”
What Wales Could Do With A Community Food Strategy

From shorter food supply chains to a focus on education and understanding, the Wales Food Manifesto is a citizen-led campaign for a food system that will protect and respect people and nature.  The draft version of the manifesto is now open for comments and feedback.  
Wales Food Manifesto (Draft)

Jane Davidson chairs the Wales Inquiry for the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission, and this 2020 report draws from their conversations with people across the nation, illustrating the incredible work already underway. “These inspiring stories show a surge in energy and appetite for new ways of sourcing and growing food and a new appreciation for the role of the countryside.”
FFCC Wales Field Guide for Future Generations

Food Policy Alliance Cymru is a coalition of organisations and stakeholders building and promoting a collective vision for the Welsh food system, through collaboration, engagement and research.  Their 2021 Manifesto envisions a food system that eliminates food poverty, supports population health, provides good jobs and focuses on sustainable, zero carbon faming for nature and climate.
Food Policy Alliance Cymru Manifesto

After four years of hard work and collaboration with numerous farmers, organisations and experts, The Sustainable Food Trust has created a measurement framework for on-farm sustainability, called the Global Farm Metric, which covers 11 categories of sustainability.  “We need a common approach to measuring a farms impact on the environment, economy, and society”.
Read about the Global Farm Metric

Community Growing & Local Food Roundtable
4theRegion assembled a group of thoughtleaders from across South West Wales, to discuss the local food movement and the increased interest in community growing.  Featuring Neil Barry & Witchhazel Wildwood from Swansea Community Growing Network; Tom O’Kane & Jessie Kidd from Cae Tan CSA, Gareth Davies from Pembrokeshire Community Food Network, and Maggie Vicuna from the Forest Garden Project.

4theRegion spoke to Ben Reynolds from Urban Foundry about the website, South Wales Food & Drink, and why creating and sustaining a market for local food is so important.  Food and drink suppliers from across South Wales can list themselves on the website to benefit from co-promotion with likeminded businesses across the region.
South Wales Food & Drink:

Boosting horticulture farming is key to the Welsh Government’s plans to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and is identified by their Green Recovery Taskforce as a route to accelerating Wales’ transition to a low-carbon economy and a healthier, more equal nation.  Tyfu Cymru (Grow Wales) provides funded, tailored support to Wales’ horticulture sector, and has published a Commercial Horticulture Action Plan for Wales.
Tyfu Cymru and the Wales Horticulture Alliance

Please book your place at 4theRegion’s upcoming food system conference!  This will bring together everyone who cares about the future of our food and farming system, to share perspectives and agree priorities for government, businesses and civil society.  If you eat food, you are invited!  Listen, learn and share your views at this online event over two days, 5th and 6th October 2021.
Register Your Place

Measuring a Wellbeing Economy in Wales

Measuring a Wellbeing Economy in Wales

Wellbeing Economy Wales is embarking on a volunteer-led project to create the Wales Wellbeing Economy Index – a visualisation of relevant and meaningful data that frames the wellbeing economy in a way that everyone can understand.  It’s part of a wider mission to broaden the understanding of (and engagement in) the idea of wellbeing economics in Wales. 

The intention is to create a set of indicators that measure and track the progress of the wellbeing economy at a local, constituency or regional level; and which is updated regularly, eg quarterly, so that it is useful and relatable for people.

At tonight’s monthly discussion forum, Stephen Priestnall from Wellbeing Economy Wales provided an introductory overview to the project, which is in its very early stages.  The team is inviting input, insight and involvement from the wider community across Wales – anyone who shares an interest in measuring, tracking and visualising “wellbeing economics” at a local or regional level, or who might have datasets or expertise to contribute.  Opening the project up for early feedback and reflection is part of WEW’s commitment to co-production and partnership working, and the team was incredibly grateful to all those who took an interest in the work and contributed their thoughts.

The current proposal is to seek data that measures five components of a wellbeing economy:

# Sustainable Private GDP
# Economic Cooperation
# Social & cultural wellbeing
# Environmental Wellbeing
# Value of public services provided

Participants queried who the measurements were intended for, and whether they would be useful, meaningful or engaging at a local or oganisational level, to inform decision-making or the focusing of changemaking work at the level of local communities.  The discussion also explored the difference between measuring “wellbeing” (like, for example, mental and physical wellbeing, which is perhaps subjective, qualitative, and hard to measure) versus measuring “wellbeing economics” – which is something we are all seeking to define and understand more clearly here in Wales!

Watch the recording – click here to view the full discussion via Zoom

Stephanie Howarth, Chief Statistician at the Welsh Government, also spoke at the meeting, and provided an overview of how Wellbeing is already being measured and tracked in Wales, through Wales’ Wellbeing Indicator Framework – a set of 46 indicators mapped to the seven wellbeing goals of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.  Steph explained that the indicators in Wales were intended to “measure progress towards the Wales we want”, and to be:

# Short & Manageable;
# Coherent and fit well with other indicators;
# A measure for the whole of Wales;
# Resonant with the public

Making data meaningful for the public is agreed as the key challenge, and one of the ways Wales has sought to achieve this is through naming it’s indicators in ways that make sense to people – for example statistics relating simply to “healthy babies” rather than more technical definitions.  Stephanie’s team are currently inviting feedback and insight as part of an ongoing consultation about the Wellbeing Indicator Framework, asking what possible gaps there might be, and how the data could be made more useful.  Take a look at the blog to submit your comments:

One key reflection from tonight’s discussion was the importance of localised data, and the ability for communities and local decision-makers to be able to access and “drill down” on data for their local places.  There was a strong consensus in favour of interactive, filterable datasets that are accessible for ordinary people, and Steph agreed that this is an area worth investigating.  Stephen affirmed that the WEW project will seek to use and distribute its data on an open data platform, so that anyone can engage with it.  The aspiration is that the data be useable at a local level, so that we can interact and drill down, bringing communities together to discuss what the data means to them; what its implications are, and what it tells about needs, strengths and challenges.

There were a number of valuable contributions from colleagues across Wales, shining a light of different aspects of the question of measuring wellbeing.  Jonathan Richards, with colleagues, has done a lot of work around measuring the value of public services, and also reflected on some very useful work happening elsewhere, including in Birmingham

At Bronllys Well Being Park, colleagues have designed a comprehensive wellbeing survey, for which they are keen to partner and seek funding – looking at wellbeing through a psychometric lens.  And Barry Farrell noted that their survey work has identified 97 important indicators of well-being in 8 dimensions: Employment & Income, Housing & Environment, Food & Nutrition, Transport, Energy, Leisure, Community, and Physical & Mental Health.

Ellie Harwood, from the Child Poverty Action Group and the Anti-Poverty Coalition said that they have collected a lot of data on child poverty, but that is has been a challenge to get people to use the data they produce.  Her insight was that data becomes most meaningful and actionable when it is provided at a local level, for example by ward – where it feels real and tangible. 

Meanwhile, David Llewellyn from the NHS in Wales advised that they are creating a local wellbeing index intended to stimulate and provoke enhanced community discussions, “such that we can support and co-produce with communities to support wellbeing. It’s still in development but we would be very happy to learn from others”.  

The meeting also reflected on WHY measuring and tracking wellbeing data feels IMPORTANT, and what our ultimate purpose should be as we seek to create and distribute new KPIs.  We heard powerful insights about the importance of good data for determining what is required for change and how to improve things, as well as the power of data to inform community conversations and drive innovation. 

All too often, data is used retrospectively to prove that something has worked and secure future funding – but perhaps our core focus should be on finding and distributing data that inspires us to action – that motivates and empowers us on an individual level, to play our part in making change.  As Vicki Moller commented, “Data has to mean something to locals and lead to action… or so what!?”

What we measure, as a society, also reflects what we value – and perhaps in seeking to find effective measures for the wellbeing of people and the planet we will be able to more strongly advocate for those shared values, and change the culture of society in that direction.  Seeking alternatives to narrow economic evaluations like GVA and GDP is important work if we are to change what we really value, and what we invest in, as a society.  And “wellbeing economics” perhaps provides a new way for Wales to define our own agenda, distinct from those in Westminster, and to build on the achievement of Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and take it forward to better implementation and delivery.

Wellbeing Economy Wales is a volunteer-led organisation, part of the global Wellbeing Economy Alliance, working to make the vision of a “wellbeing economy” more visible, more credible and more meaningful, here in Wales.  As a founding member, 4theRegion helps to host the monthly Wellbeing Economy Discussion Forum on the second Thursday of each month.

Register via Eventbrite for upcoming events or contact for info.

Transport in South West Wales: a bold vision for the future

Transport in South West Wales: a bold vision for the future

The climate crisis, social inequalities and health issues have created an urgent need to reduce journeys by car. Key stakeholders in transport in South West Wales recently came together for a roundtable discussion on the topic. Here’s what they had to say.

To listen to this roundtable discussion, please click here

South West Wales faces significant air pollution challenges as a result of an overreliance on cars – but with the South Wales Metro integrated travel network on course for completion, there are reasons to be optimistic. This is according to panellists in a roundtable discussion held by 4theRegion in advance of Moving Forward Together, the regional transport conference it is hosting on February 9 and 10 in collaboration with Swansea Environmental Forum, with sponsorship from South West Wales Connected community rail partnership and Natural Resources Wales.

Philip McDonnell from Swansea Environmental Forum set the scene, highlighting the fact that since 1990, UK carbon emissions have decreased 40%, largely due to changes in the way we generate our electricity. Emissions from transport, however, have not decreased much because, despite improvements in engine and fuel efficiency, the number of vehicles on our roads has increased.

He noted that COVID-19 has caused a temporary dip in emissions, but he does not expect this to last having seen how quickly we returned to old habits as soon as lockdown ended.

“In July last year, car use was back at around about 80% of pre lockdown levels,” he said.

Tom Porter from Public Health Wales highlighted the health cost of car emissions: air pollution does not just affect our lungs; it affects many of our organs and even affects babies in the womb, causing low birth weight. 

“It’s not just about the impact on them as babies,” he added. “It actually has an impact on their educational prospects, on their job prospects and on their general health as well.”

He added that as rates of air pollution are higher in areas that are more deprived, this creates an additional disadvantage for the people who live there.

Mary Sherwood from Fairer Future, a poverty and equalities consultancy, picked up on the theme of social inequality, noting that since 2014 the cheapest way to get about has been by car – yet many people cannot afford one, so they are forced to take public transport, which often entails a greater cash outlay and longer, more convoluted journeys. Often public transport cannot take a person exactly where they need to go, so they have to resort to taking taxis. Meanwhile, those who can afford cars are often contributing to pollution in the areas inhabited by the people who cannot afford cars.

Sherwood also highlighted another source of transport-related inequality: the fact that investment favours the way in which men use public transport.

“There’s a huge body of research that says that women and men use transport differently,” she said. “Women use buses more than men, and men use trains more than women. 

When you look at the investment across the UK over the last 15 years, it’s all been in rail, and hardly anything in buses or other localised transport that allows women to make the short journeys that they need to do.”

Andrew Davies, former chair of the ABMU Health Board, agreed that the impact of poor air quality is felt more severely in poorer communities. 

“Just to put it in perspective, the Royal College of Physicians in 2016 estimated that 40,000 people a year died as a result of poor air quality,” he said.

When it comes to tackling the problem, he warned that it’s not enough to simply pay lip service to it.

“It’s all very well having action plans, but they’ve got to have teeth: the 2006 Transport (Wales) Act has never been enacted,” he said, adding that increasingly, he expects inaction to have legal consequences.

“The courts are going to get involved in these issues,” he said. “Public bodies will be held to account and may well be found guilty and have to pay considerable penalties for poor air quality.”

He added that on a per capita basis, Swansea has the worst air quality of all the cities in the UK – and the main culprit is road traffic.

Jeffrey Davies from Neath Port Talbot-based community transport provider DANSA outlined the organisation’s own plans to help reduce pollution by switching to electric vehicles.

“As an organisation, just on fuel alone we produce 140 tonnes of CO2, and to get rid of that you need to plant 280 trees annually,” he said.

Equipped with a number of vehicles ranging from cars and MPVs to 16 and 30-seat minibuses, DANSA is well-equipped to provide a more flexible form of transport than regular bus and train services, taking vehicles into residential streets to pick passengers up from their homes. During 2019, DANSA provided transport for over 75,000 people in Neath Port Talbot. 

Alan Kreppel, former chair, Traveline Cymru, agreed that the future of public transport lies in flexibility that truly meets travellers’ needs.

“Many journeys now are not a simple single journey,” he said, adding that the model of taxi service Uber may point to a solution. “Supposing we introduced an Uber concept, with a vehicle that was an electric vehicle, which works exactly the same way, but three, four or five people can get into it if they’re all going to the same place at the same time,” he said.

He also highlighted the need to make public transport a quicker, more efficient alternative than sitting in the car, ensuring, for example, that buses do not get stuck in traffic.

4theRegion chair Dawn Lyle drew comparison with London, where considerable efforts have been made to keep bus traffic flowing freely.

“You can sit in traffic in a car in London and see the buses passing you by; it’s quicker to get somewhere by bus,” she said. “Also, there’s the congestion charge, and the parking is so impossible, you would never take a car into central London.”

Mark Barry, professor of Practice in Connectivity at Cardiff University, agreed that major steps are needed to deprioritise car travel.

“We’ve allowed our lives and our urban realm to be built around cars the last 50 years, and nobody’s paying the full price of car use,” he said. “We’ve got to have a serious and sensible conversation about external costs of those choices.”

He highlighted multiple issues that are feeding the problem of car use, including the fact that places of work and hospitals have in recent decades been built in places you can only reach by car.

“There’s a serious conversation to be had about levying on drivers the full costs of car use, because currently they’re hugely subsidised and all the negative costs of car use are not counted in road appraisals,” he added.

When it comes to public transport, he said the key is to integrate different modes of transport into a single network – as is being done with the South Wales Metro.

“If we can link all those together with technology, end to end, you begin to have a transport network that works,” he said. “There is an opportunity for a dedicated commuter rail network that can then be the backbone of how we integrate bus services into that. 

“The challenge though, is that rail infrastructure is not a devolved matter. Wales has had such a poor share of UK rail enhancement investment over the last 30 years, it’s frankly embarrassing. The UK Government needs to meet us halfway.

“People criticise the Welsh Government, but in the time since the South Wales Metro was announced, they’ve created Transport for Wales (TFW) and they’ve undertaken the biggest, most comprehensive procurement in rail industry history and the biggest in Welsh Government history. They’re now, via TFW, designing South Wales Metro, and even with COVID, in the next few years, they’re going to turn it on. I think the problem is people don’t believe it, because nothing like that has happened before. But yes, it can happen in Swansea Bay.”

Jayne Cornelius from Swansea University, formerly SWWITCH Regional Travel Plan Co-ordinator, agreed that it’s essential to have a joined-up approach that enables people to get to their destinations as quickly as, or more quickly than, they would with a car.

“The number one change that we found led to behavioural change in terms of getting people out of their cars is making the journey quicker,” she said. 

Within five years, Swansea University has increased the proportion of students using public transport from 24% to 57%, reducing 12% of the traffic on Fabian way, which had been related to the University.

It has achieved this by making car travel unattractive: there is a charge for parking, and car parking is further away from the from the university buildings than the cycling facilities. On top of that, the university provides cyclists with showers, drying facilities and workstations where they can carry out repairs. The university is the first in Wales to achieve gold level accreditation as a Cycle Friendly Employer.

A related achievement is that the buses to and from the university tend to be full.

“Public transport is only environmentally friendly if those buses are full,” said Cornelius. “If they run in empty, you may as well have cars on the road. What I want to see next is for those buses to be environmentally friendly; they need to be hydrogen and they need to be electric.”

Porter added that as well as making car travel unattractive, there is a strong case for providing financial incentives for choosing less-polluting alternatives. As an example, he cited a scheme in America where employees received a cash reward for choosing not to travel to work by car.

“Suddenly, miraculously, overnight, a lot of the cars in carpark spaces started to drop away,” he said. “We need both carrots and sticks to drive behaviour change.”

Christine Boston from Sustrans added that when new developments are being created, it’s vital to factor in active travel – that is, travel by bike or on foot – from the outset.

“In a hew housing development, you should put the cycle path in there first, making sure it’s connected to the public transport network,” she said. “There should be also storage facilities for bikes, and it should be the same for hospitals.

“At the moment 62% of the transport capital budget is still being spent on building new roads. We now need ambitious leadership, we need brave decision making, that shows a commitment to addressing the climate crisis.”

She added that while electric cars are part of the solution, there is also an opportunity to encourage community-based car club car share schemes to discourage individual car ownership.

Concluding the discussion, Lyle said that while there is clearly much that can be done on a local and regional level, there also needs to be major investment in infrastructure changes, shaped by ambitious initiatives and bold leadership.

“It’s a balance of looking to government, and looking to local authorities for leadership, as well as engaging with employers and businesses and companies to look at the practical things that they can do,” she said. “And then at a community level, it’s about looking at alternative options and ways of meeting local needs, and how we can empower those to make a real difference. 

“But we must not lose sight of the absolute imperatives. Changes to our transport system are not just a ‘nice to have’ and ‘wouldn’t it be better’. There is a climate emergency, and we must change our transport system.  It’s going to be uncomfortable, and some people are going to find travel and transport more difficult. But the health imperatives, the social equality imperatives and the climate imperatives, are there: we need to make a change.”

Join the discussion on February 9 & 10. Sign up here.

You can find the full conversation on the 4theRegion YouTube channel below: