June Monthly Meetup – Community Resilience

June Monthly Meetup – Community Resilience


4theRegion Monthly Meetup – Community Resilience

Creative Monthly Meetup

We are lucky in South West Wales to have a strong third sector and a wide array of grassroots organisations working hard in our communities.

This month, our regional discussion brought together a dedicated and passionate group of community development people – from large charities like Faith in Families, to established organisations like PLANED, from small CICs and charities, to individuals with an idea and a desire to do good in their communities.

We asked, What Does Community Resilience Mean to You?  and What is Needed?

You can catch up on the full meeting recording, or view the PDF notes from the meeting here.

Full Meeting Recording

Meeting Highlights & Notes

What Does Community Resilience Mean to You?

Community resilience is about providing young people and adults with the resources to live active and independent lives, empowering them to participate and shape what happens in their lives and the places where they live. It is about collaboration—understanding and listening to local people and truly seeing things from their point of view before deciding anything. Building on people’s own knowledge of what their community needs and working together on those things is crucial.

Community resilience also involves being able to deal with and be prepared for change. This ensures that our community groups and organisations can survive and stay active over time. Resilient communities have an active network of local groups and organisations, but these groups face many challenges. How can we ensure that organisations remain resilient? Factors such as people coming and going, government changes, policies, and access to funding all influence how a community group can handle these challenges.

Community resilience is also about climate change adaptation. It involves developing good functional relationships with the people we interact with daily, creating strong networks. Local food systems and food resilience are also key components, including community-supported agriculture and community-based growing.

Thank you to everyone who shared your valued perspectives during this insightful discussion – a must watch for anyone trying to understand how to contribute to growing resilience local places and cohesive communities in South West Wales!

Coming Up in July 2024:

March Monthly Meetup – Construction

March Monthly Meetup – Construction


4theRegion Monthly Meetup – Construction

Creative Monthly Meetup

It’s always interesting to discuss our regional construction sector.  So much good stuff happening, but so many missed opportunities.  Local firms missing out on local contracts; challenges around recruitment and getting young people into the sector; and just not enough quality firms to meet the demand that exists.

This month, our regional discussion brought together a diverse mix of people and businesses from our network, to explore “opportunities in and for the regional construction sector”.

You can catch up on the full meeting recording below or click here for the full meeting report.

Full Meeting Recording

Meeting Highlights & Notes

“There’s a significant skills shortage in the industry, leading to the reliance on foreign workers. Collaborating with Gower College, efforts are being made to train students with the necessary skills, tailored by businesses to bridge these gaps across various sectors. Courses are now offered at night to accommodate working individuals, proving popular and beneficial. The construction sector offers lucrative opportunities, such as bricklayers earning £500 per day and quantity surveyors starting at £35k annually. It is essential to change perceptions and promote construction as a desirable career path for future generations.”  Mike Kavanagh

“Collaboration is essential for advance notice of opportunities. It is not easy to put a collaborative bid together; time is needed for trust and arrangements to be established. If notices come to the market too late, it is hard to collaborate on those bids. Think NOW about coming together as a network of companies, ready for contracts in the future. Small SMEs can unite, bringing together all trades, and establishing a coherent unit that can enter the bidding process as a group.”  Peter Austin, Swansea Bay City Deal

“The procurement agents (buyers) should take that on, rather than bundling big lots together. Buyers need to make those contracts accessible. Currently, it only happens with the smallest, unprofitable aspects of work, not the big profitable stuff. Lazy or risk-averse buyers. We have been utterly unable to access work through the city deal. All the big contractors are closed to our particular trade.”  William Silverstone – Silverstone Green Energy, Pembrokeshire

“We have many people here in South West Wales who don’t know about all the opportunities available. We are in a privileged position to hear about the fantastic opportunities in our region, but we really need to get that message into communities and colleges. We need to reach young people with these messages. The opportunity is for our young people and those living here now, so they can stay and thrive in the communities they have grown up in. We need to make people realise this.”
Zoe Antrobus, 4theRegion

“The size and opportunity in retrofitting buildings to meet 2050 environmental standards are substantial. The average cost of a retrofit for a dwelling is £60,000. With 328,000 dwellings at £60,000 each, this represents a £19.7 billion opportunity. Even with a smaller scale, there’s still a £14 billion market in retrofitting, which could translate to £140 million in annual expenditure within our region, creating 4,000 jobs with good salaries. This could be a transformational opportunity for our area.  Twenty-five per cent of this contract value is in overheads and profits for the main contractor. There is a huge opportunity for local entrepreneurs and a significant need for training!”  William Silverstone – Silverstone Green Energy, Pembrokeshire

“It is a practical reality that only a few contractors in Wales are equipped to manage large contracts. Clients should clearly specify in the procurement process their preference for a significant portion of the budget to be spent locally. It is also important to acknowledge that many local companies may not have the capability to undertake the projects being put out to tender. How can a contractor grow to a size where they can handle such levels of risk and capacity? It would be beneficial to receive insights on this matter.”  Peter Austin, Swansea Bay City Deal

May Monthly Meetup – Regional Food

May Monthly Meetup – Regional Food


4theRegion Monthly Meetup – Regional Food

Creative Monthly Meetup

Connecting all the good things happening around local and sustainable food across South West Wales

This month, our regional discussion brought together the four local food partnerships – Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, to update on their activites and priorities.

It was great to hear about all the work that the food partnerships are taking forward, and useful to connect the dots across the four counties.

You can catch up on the full meeting recording, or view the PDF notes from the meeting here.

Full Meeting Recording

Meeting Highlights & Notes

Click to read the full report with updates from the 4 partnerships:

  1. Sue Latham from PLANED, Pembrokeshire
  2. Mary Duckett, from Bwyd Abertawe, Swansea
  3. Phil McDonnell from Neath Port Talbot Food Partnership
  4. Augusta Lewis from Bwyd Sir Gar

Coming Up in June 2024:

April Monthly Meetup – Young People!

April Monthly Meetup – Young People!


4theRegion Monthly Meetup – Young People!

Creative Monthly Meetup

What are the opportunities for young people in South West Wales?

This discussion emphasised the importance of engaging young people in South West Wales and ensuring their active participation within their communities. There was a strong focus on involving them directly in decision-making, and ensuring that young people are well-informed about available opportunities, from apprenticeships to outdoor learning to life coaching!

Hear from numerous regional organisations about their projects and initiatives for and with young people.  As usual, collaboration across different sectors is essential to create more inclusive opportunities and make young people feel valued, connected and supported to thrive in South West Wales.

Full Meeting Recording

Meeting Highlights & Notes

Colleagues from across our region share their updates and announcements as part of a co-created celebration of the array of opportunities for young people in South West Wales!

James Dovey from the Battle Arcade Project, Llanelli – Engages young people in building arcade machines and learning to use CNC machines, exposing them to new technologies and ways of working.

Zubs Iftikhar from YMCA, Swansea – Offers a comprehensive range of projects supporting young people: 5-day open access Youth Service drop-in; LGBTQ youth group available on Tuesdays; YTalent music project; Young Carers Service for individuals up to age 25 – and so much more.  Keen to work with local organisations to support young people.  If anyone would like any further information please get in touch Zubs@ymcaswansea.org.uk

Ffion from Working Options – Recently expanded into Wales, focusing on employability and life skills for ages 12-19.  Provides industry insights and skill sessions, emphasising transferable skills.  https://workingoptions.org.uk/  ffion@workingoptions.org.uk ! Please feel free to reach out as we begin to expand into Wales to inspire and support the next generation.

Ruth Robinson from SCVS – For those that are working with volunteers aged 14-25 in Swansea we have a Youth Bank Grant available. This up to £1,000 to support youth led ideas. For more information Ii can be contacted at ruth_robinson@scvs.org.uk

Alex from Pembrokeshire County Council Business Support Team – Organising a 2-day boot camp for young people’s business start-ups, covering branding, marketing, and social media for individuals aged 16 and above.

Ruth from Selva Coaching – A new social enterprise aimed at coaching young people in their 20s on identity, life goals, and core values.  If you have a person in their 20s in your life who is feeling lost and not sure what to do next please send them my direction as I can offer them some free 1:1 coaching as part of my pilot project.

James Morgan from Swansea Arena – Developing new projects including setting up a music tech academy to offer students real-world, hands-on experience.  The creative sector is growing, and the arena wants to platform and promote local musicians and artists.  jamesmorgan@theambassadors.com

Keith Harries from Coleg Sir Gar – Currently offering free numeracy training for people aged 19+ through the Mulyiply project. Details are available on the college website.

Tom Moses, CWBR Youth, PLANED – Highlighted the importance of showcasing positive things to young people and discussed how to amplify these initiatives.  Focuses on connecting young people with town councils and has been successful in integrating them into decision-making processes.  Announced a new project bid for a regional project to connect young people with elective representatives and community project leaders to enhance youth voice.  Looking for collaborators for this initiative. To share the learnings from the Cwbr Youth project – online event Tuesday 23rd 7pm tom.moses@planed.org.uk

Rhys Harries from Inspiring Skills – Skills Competition Wales, which provides vocational competitions for young people to showcase their skills.  Winners get the opportunity to progress to UK and World Skills competitions.  Emphasises nurturing mindset skills as well as vocational skills, with support from colleges.

Claire Reid, Gower College Swansea – Fantastic opportunities being shared here. It would be great to collaborate to support our 4,500 full time and 10,000 part time learners across the Swansea area and beyond. As Enterprise Champion I am passionate in supporting students across all learning areas and at all levels of study. Please do get in touch. claire.reid@gowercollegeswansea.ac.uk

Will Evans, founder of Will’s Petting Farm, Swansea – Will is a young entrepreneur;  Excited about working with schools and children to show the lifecycle of a chick, helping connect children with nature and animal care.  will@willspettingfarm.co.uk

Sue Poole from Young Dragons – Focused on promoting opportunities in the construction sector across the region, to primary age children, with special attention to introducing careers to females in construction.  Collaborates with various construction companies through the City Deal, Cyfle, and Raven Delta Group.  www.young-dragons.co.uk

Andrew Veevers from Mosaic Professional Development – Discusses the gap between teaching and professional development, promoting experiential learning as a new way to engage with professional development.  CMI highlighted that 82% of managers lack formal training; his approach is proactive in helping people develop necessary skills.

Ian Howells from ACO Training – Offers apprenticeships in Business Admin and Accounting to young people.

Jessica Davies – DVLA – Runs DVLA’s Employability Skills programme, offering free skills sessions within Swansea, NPT, and Llanelli.  Facilitates mock interviews and provides CV tips (general and Civil Service-specific), also demystifying the Civil Service to make it more accessible to those without degrees.

Lucy Cummings from PLANED – Acts as a catalyst for care-focused micro-enterprises in Carmarthenshire.  Provides one-to-one support for setting up and expanding micro-enterprises in the care sector.  Also facilitates a network group for social workers and health board staff.

Saadia Abubaker, founder of Saadia Speaks – Runs a youth empowerment platform aimed at inspiring, uplifting, and empowering young people, especially those from minority ethnic backgrounds.  https://www.saadiaspeaks.com/

Tasmin Lee Peckham from Educ8 Training Group – Offers apprenticeships through the Welsh Government, working directly with employers to recruit apprentices from school and provide accredited qualifications.  Apprenticeships fully funded in Wales for both existing and new staff – TasminP@educ8training.co.uk

Geraint Turner, Swansea MAD – There are a series of webinars and workshops with young people in May-June being run by youth organisations across Wales.

Ashley Davies from Canolfan Gwili – New venue available for all kinds of events, centremanager@llanedi.org.uk

Caroline from Swansea College of Art (UWTSD) – Graduate Summer Show is on Friday 17th May 6-9pm Alex and Dynevor Campus. Please come and join us to celebrate the wonderful creative students we have.

Lynette Anthony, Cyfle Building Skills – Shared Apprenticeships and Work Experience in Construction.  www.cyflebuilding.co.uk   lynette.anthony@colegsirgar.ac.uk 

Final Notes

  • In the chat, participants asked whether there has been any thought to have a regional conference around young people – all the organisations that work with them coming together and showcasing success stories.
  • If any of these new connections turn into collaborations then please reach out to us at 4theRegion and let us know – these are good news stories that we would love to share!  lydia@4theregion.org.uk 
  • Participants are encouraged to promote and apply FGA ways of working and goals across their projects.
  • Open invitation for collaboration among partners on various initiatives to further enhance opportunities for young people in the region.

Coming Up in May 2024:

South West Wales Without A Car

South West Wales Without A Car


Co-created with regional partners, this sustainable tourism guide features amazing regional destinations, together with travel information, encouraging more people to visit and explore South West Wales – without a car!

Published in March 2024, we are now distributing this book with the support of GWR, TFW and tourism partners within the region.  Can you help us get this into people’s hands? 

If you would like to receive a box of these sustainable tourism guidebooks showcasing our wonderful South West Wales, please use the form below!

Request Your Free Books

February Monthly Meetup – Creative Region!

February Monthly Meetup – Creative Region!


4theRegion Monthly Meetup – Creative Region!

Creative Monthly Meetup

What are the opportunities for the creative sector in South West Wales?

Creativity and the creative sector encompass a wide variety of practices, including architecture, culture, broadcasting, digital, and writing.  We’re looking for opportunities in the creative world for businesses in South West Wales to THRIVE.

South Wales as a whole is experiencing a huge boom in opportunities, particularly in the creative sector and in the Cardiff area. It’s exciting to see the growth, but it might be that South West Wales isn’t quite getting it’s fair share of activity, so what can we do to strengthen the sector here?

Catch up on the full recording below, or review the notes from this event:


Meeting Highlights & Notes

To set the scene and connect to a sense of purpose, we asked the question: Why does this matter to you, and why does it feel important? Here are some key points people shared:

  • Creative industries often offer work-based qualifications. One of these is Educ8 Training, which offers work-based qualifications fully funded by the Welsh Government.

  • Creativity can be a great initiative to get involved in collaboration, the amount of resources is amazing. You can achieve a lot by working together. The creative sector can be a very lonely place if you work alone.
  • No business succeeds on its own. You need clients. We all feed off each other. We thrive off of relationships with others. Understanding what’s out there is a fundamental part of being a successful business.
  • How can we bring creativity into our working practices to drive higher productivity and a happier workforce?
  • The beauty of Swansea and West Wales is that we’re prepared to work together and network. Going east towards Cardiff may be a bit more competitive. Collaboration and working as a community makes us stronger.
  • We should understand what’s needed to encourage students who study here to stay and work within the region.  Keeping talent here in our region and encouraging them recognise the opportunities on our doorstep is important.
  • We all need creativity, no matter what line of work we’re in.


A wide range of organisations and businesses were represented at this event:

  • Art of Balanced Life
  • Bauer Media
  • Bevan Buckland
  • Big Ideas Wales
  • Cwm Arian
  • Dynamic Development
  • e-development
  • Educ8 Training
  • elysium Gallery
  • Focus Futures
  • Future Clarity
  • Future Generations Commissioner’s Office Wales
  • Green Light Technology Solutions
  • Haverhub
  • iNNOVATION Photography
  • Omni Marketing Agency
  • Planed
  • Plantasia Tropical Zoo
  • Severn Screen
  • Solar Wheel
  • Stori Cymru
  • Swansea Council
  • Swansea University
  • Taliesin
  • Urban Foundry
  • Waters Creative
  • World Horizons
  • Yr Egin


    • The new Swansea city developments indicate that the city is successfully developing during a time and climate where other areas are neglected.
    • Lots of opportunities can come out of regeneration and developments across the region.
    • The creative sector has historically been a purpose of regeneration. We need to be careful not to stifle creativity or not lead it down a forced path. Grassroots projects can make a tangible difference.

    Education, Skills and Work

    • Educ8 Training offers work-based training, fully funded by the Welsh Government.
    • There’s more desire for young people to take a risk and set up their businesses.
    • Based in SA1, UWTSD’s Innovation Matrix offers an incubation space for student start-ups. The opportunities that the Innovation Matrix offers are vital for growing enterprises. The Innovation Matrix also offers the highest rate of start-ups in the UK.
    • Big Ideas Wales supports people aged 16-25 years of age.  They can assist in supporting young people through their entrepreneurship journey.
    • CEMET supports businesses with access to R&D, software, and hardware development. They have extensive experience with a wide range of creative and innovative technologies.
    • Focus Futures, delivered by Business in Focus, provides a mixture of support, guidance and opportunity around self-employment and enterprise. 

    “Networking is a big thing. We need to start shouting about creative entrepreneurs and start to show that artists aren’t just walking around with a flat cap and a dog on a string. The beauty of Swansea and West Wales is that we’re prepared for collaboration.”


      • Cartref Creative is a newly launched creative network that covers the region.

      • We’re seeing local businesses use one another more, keeping the spending in the region.

      • Taliesin with Elysium has been hosting the Swansea Young Musicians Network, providing a space for young people to engage and connect through music. 

      • A lot is happening at Yr Egin involving film and digital media. You can view the upcoming events here.

      “If our creative sector was thriving it wouldn’t be so hard to find creative talent/professionals for our business.”

      If our creative sector was thriving…what would that look like for you?

      • More opportunities becoming available for young talent.
      • Less struggles with finding commercially-based staff with creative talent in the region.
      • There would be more creatives in the board room.
      • Get creatives who use co-working spaces more involved in the planning and design stages of projects.
      • Everyone would be working together.
      • There would be a Universal Creative Income. 
      • People would develop a sense of place, find value in their communities, and feel a sense of pride for staying after graduation to be a part of a thriving creative community.
      • Every town should have a creative quarter where creativity can thrive!  Large disused buildings could become hubs for creative people to come together and collaborate. 
      • We need to feel like collaborators and friends rather than competitors.
      • There’s a relationship that happens between local businesses and creatives.  The cafes, record shops, galleries, etc are all places for creativity to happen.
      • Creatives don’t always know how to make an income using their talent, there should be more opportunities for people to learn how to sell themselves.

      Thank you to everyone who attended! We found this meeting to be a very exciting discussion about the year ahead, and we believe that South West Wales is full of opportunities. We will be going in-depth across a range of topics going forward, so please click here to see future events.

      If you are a 4theRegion member and would like to speak at future events, please email lydia@4theregion.org.uk.