Regional Food Conference April 2022 Follow Up

Regional Food Conference April 2022 Follow Up

FOOD FOR THE REGION APRIL FOLLOW-UP

Regional Food Conference April April Banner

5th April 2022

A Major Conversation about our Regional Food System, brought to you by Swansea Environmental Forum, Grwp Resilience and 4theRegion.

Following the first Regional Food System Conference in October 2021, we regrouped to share updates, explore emerging projects and encourage collaboration on all things relating to growing, producing, distributing, sharing and caring about food in South West Wales.

The goal was to share perspectives and co-produce priorities for regional collaboration and to bring local residents and organisations back together to discuss initiatives to transform our regional food system here in South West Wales.
 

Click here to download the full event report.

Click here for the previous event report

EVENT RECORDING

Catch up on the full event recording and listen to presentations from thought-leaders and experts in the food sector. Click the video at the timestamps listed below to jump to their appropriate segment.

0:02:44 Dawn Lyle, 4theRegion
0:25:00 Augusta Lewis, Bywd Sir Gar Food
0:41:40 Peter Howells, NFU Cymru
1:00:00 Alice Coleman, WCFD PLANED

Subscribe to our Youtube channel and save our Food & Farming playlist to be notified when new videos are uploaded.

Thematic Priorities

Local Authorities & Policy Makers

  • We need to get policy makers more involved and increase the amount of support available for smaller scale producers, growers and suppliers.
  • A policy-led top-down approach is needed to change the systems.
  • Are we able to better map out what’s working? Local growing projects, schemes, etc. Identify the gaps and best practices that could be scaled up.
  • Evidencing our needs better, particularly around land. 

Communities

  • We perhaps need to shift our collective regional identity towards the sense of ourselves as a food producing region.
  • Connecting farmers back to their communities is also a huge benefit to all concerned.
  • Promoting ‘local’ isn’t the only thing but is a principle that may be getting traction with influential bodies and could be the door into the wider changes that are needed around production methods, etc. By local do we mean regional or national?

Individuals

  • Consumers should ask where their food comes from.

Businesses & Producers

  • We need more urban and peri-urban farming.
  • To get people in using food hubs, we need a massive marketing push.
  • Ultra processed food is often cheaper and therefore it brings us back to the issue of food poverty.
  • The impact of food price inflation is yet to be fully felt.

Education

  • Food growing needs to be part of the national curriculum. 
  • Food for life partnership is in England and luckily more schools are getting involved, but sustainability and food growing needs to be in mainstream culture.
  • When an effective food labelling system incorporates the real price of food – including environmental impacts – this may encourage people to avoid some supermarket products and look local.
  • Educating and informing businesses has the potential to trickle down to educate the consumer.
  • The new curriculum allows schools in Wales to access more creative and holistic resources.
  • Help schools to map the life cycle of food at different levels. 

Health

  • Regenerative practices produce crops with increased levels of phytonutrients – needed for human health
  • We need to teach a lot more about links to food/nutrition and our health.
  • Online marketing campaign comparing the nutritional value of local produce vs mass produced produce.
  • Hidden costs of cheap foods are in the health sector, and loss of money in the local economy.

Procurement

  • The impact of world events has a major impact on supply chains.

Environment

  • We need to change the way we farm – stop ploughing, increase soil biology, use traditional seed varieties, small scale mixed farms. We don’t need toxic fertilisers and synthetic fertilisers. 
  • Anaerobic digestion using animal manure and turning it into renewable energy.
  • There could be a lot of work done to loosen compacted soils. Regenerative farming practices.
  • There needs to be more focus on carbon net-zero strategy. 

Land & Forestry

  • Farmers in Pembrokeshire have given land access to growers.
  • Social Farms and Gardens have some good resources and support for how to secure long-term success for community growing projects leasing private land.
  • CSAs are reaching out to farmers to discuss common problems and find solutions.  
  • Land management skills are also in short supply.
  • A farmer must be sure his or her land is being well managed.
  • The land around rural and town communities should be ring-posted for the needs of the community.
  • Regarding access to land, it’s not just the land availability, but the type of land suitable for different types of production, 
  • I think we need to better understand and evidence the demand for land for food growing / production so that the task can be more specific / informed.
  • The size of land to produce adequate amounts of food to feed large numbers of people. 
  • Start up funding for infrastructure etc, business support, finding experienced growers or training new entrants etc. 
  • For successful food businesses, it’s more of a collaborative approach than just relying on farmers offering up land.
  • The key to diversifying food production will be whether subsidies will be available for small-scale intensive horticulture enterprises of 5 acres and under or not.

NEXT STEPS

Prior to this event, we supported Bwyd Abertawe in hosting an online food assembly for the City & County of Swansea – the first step in Swansea’s bid to become a Sustainable Food Place. Find out how you can get involved by connecting with the group on Facebook.

We are collaborating with Wales’ Wellbeing Economy Alliance “Transformational Food” meeting, bringing together all those working on the food system across Wales. If you are doing something interesting related to food – or thinking about it – or if you would like to hear what others are up to across Wales, please come along on Thursday 12th May from 7pm!

Food will be a key theme at our Green Recovery Conference & Exhibition on June 16th. Hosted on behalf of Swansea Council, we are showcasing businesses, projects and organisations who are leading the city’s green recovery. Register for free here, and if you’d like to be involved, please contact zoe@4theRegion.org.uk

And if you are working in this space, have a project in mind, have information or updates to share, or would like to fund or support regional initiatives relating to food, please reach out to us so we can connect, amplify and collaborate! Contact zoe@4theregion.org.uk.

Regional Food Conference 2021

Regional Food Conference 2021

PROJECTS  > FOOD FOR THE REGION PROJECT PAGE > FOOD FOR THE REGION

FOOD FOR THE REGION

5th & 6th October 2021

A Major Conversation about our Regional Food System, brought to you by Swansea Environmental Forum, Grwp Resilience and 4theRegion.

Hosted over Zoom over two consecutive days, the Regional Food System Conference brought together over 100 people to discuss the issues and opportunities relating to our food system in South West Wales.

The goal was to share perspectives and co-produce priorities for regional collaboration, by creating space for a wide diversity of people to participate in conversations about what’s important, what they’d love to see, and how we can make change happen.

 

Click here to download the full event report.

Click here to view the follow up event report.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAID

Prior to the conference, we invited thought-leaders and experts to discuss their perspectives on key issues and opportunities relating to our regional food system, including Patrick Holden from Sustainable Food Trust, Katie Palmer from Food Sense Wales and Jane Powell from Food Society Wales.

EVENT RECORDING

Catch up on everything that happened over the two-day conference by tuning in to the event recordings below.

ARISING ACTIONS & THEMES

In the face of climate change, worsening wealth and health inequality, and other multi-dimensional crises, food can be a powerful force for good, reconnecting us with our natural world, with our local places, and with each other – and making us more resilient, as people and communities. Given this immense potential, the truth is that none of us is doing enough, to support and scale the healthy, fair and regenerative food system we want to see.

This report sets out what can be done, and what needs to be done, by us all.  We hope you feel inspired to be part of the solution, and to be part of the change you want to see in the world. Keep in touch! There is lots to do!

NEXT STEPS

None of us can transform the regional food system on our own, but by working together with the right vision and level of ambition, our region can lead the way in Wales and the World.  This is just the beginning of an ongoing change process that will involve us all working together over time. We plan to reconvene at approximately 6 monthly intervals to keep things moving forward.

Following the conference, we now have a number of emerging projects for which we are seeking support and involvement.  In Swansea, Bywd Abertawe is a new collaboration seeking to establish Swansea as a “Sustainable Food Place” – please connect with the Bywd Abertawe team.  4theRegion is now talking to a number of food producers, outlets and distributors to explore opportunities for collaboration and scaling-up – a conversation we would welcome you to be part of if you would like to be involved.  And we are planning a programme of work to engage with hospitality businesses in 2022, to explore opportunities for more local sourcing. 

Our full Event Report covers more of the emerging projects, next steps, and ideas for how YOU can support regional food in your community or organisation.  All partners are requested to put the subject of transforming our regional food system onto their upcoming meeting agendas. We invite you to present this report to your colleagues and agree actions appropriate to the scale and influence of your organisation. If you would like us to come and speak at an upcoming meeting, please ask!

We have agreed to keep in touch by means of a regional email list for all those interested in and/or active in transforming our food system. If you have updates or information to share, or if you would like to join the list, please email zoe@4theregion.org.uk

And if you are working in this space, have a project in mind, or would like to fund or support regional initiatives relating to food, please reach out to us so we can connect, amplify and collaborate!

Regional Food Conference April April Banner
Regional Transport Conference 2021

Regional Transport Conference 2021

MOVING FORWARD TOGETHER

9th & 10th February 2021

A Major Regional Conversation About Transport, brought to you by Swansea Environmental Forum and 4theRegion, sponsored by Natural Resources Wales and South West Wales Connected.

Hosted over two consecutive days via Zoom, the Regional Transport Conference brought together around 150 people to discuss the issues and opportunities relating to transport in South West Wales.  A detailed report of the Event Aims, the format of the event, and feedback from participants is available as a PDF here:  EVENT REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

TRANSPORT ROUNDTABLE

Regional transport thoughtleaders were invited to discuss their perspectives on key issues relating to transport, two weeks prior to the conference, in a roundtable discussion, recorded and released as part of our podcast and Youtube series, Build Back Better.

PRESENTATIONS

READ OUR MANIFESTO

Capturing the key messages from this two-day co-production event, here are some of the recommendations and responsibilities for communities, businesses, organisations and individuals at every level.


What Local Authorities Can Do

  • Co-production – talk to communities about sustainable transport
  • Prioritise investment in active travel routes
  • Support active travel with street lights, secure bike parks…
  • Create bus lanes!
  • Lead the way by switching to EV fleet (as in Swansea)
  • Provide staff with access to pool cars, e-bikes and e-scooters
  • Re-establish the waterways – use local canals
  • 20mph zones to improve cycling safety and deter cars
  • The biggest deterrent to cycling is safety!

Planning Policy

  • The planning system needs to catch up with WBFGA goals
  • Town Centre First – no more out of town developments
  • Develop supplementary planning guidance
  • Insist on active travel and public transport strategies
  • Don’t permit new homes to be built that require car ownership
  • Encourage community car-share schemes and renewable EV charging
  • Insist on bike storage for every home
  • Secure bike storage for every business / destination
  • Stop allowing low density out-of-town developments
  • Offer workshops and support for developers to promote best practice
  • Promote the vision of the 5-minute town/city
  • Encourage resources back into communities to reduce need to travel
  • Stop building hospitals that can only be reached by car!
  • Revise Local Development Plans to reflect the WBFGA

Communities

  • Create mobility hubs with shared ebikes, e-scooters, bike storage
  • Crowdfund for EV charging and EV car share co-ops (dan@awel.coop)
  • Set up a Bike Library, provide road cycle training in the community
  • Establish local groups (eg Living Streets) to create change locally
  • Keep it local: buy local and use local services
  • Promote and coordinate lift sharing (eg local Whatsapp groups)
  • Withdraw mileage reimbursements for local councillors/officers
  • Refund transport fares instead!
  • Make cycling or walking to school the norm – work with schools
  • Promote/support community transport options that already exist
  • Establish a community transport and taxi company
  • Recruit local volunteers as community drivers – provide shared vehicles
  • Help people become confident public transport travellers
  • Invite Transport for Wales to come and talk to your community
  • Encourage stories and visible representation in active travel

Bus and Train Operators

Treat service users as the experts!  We need to involve people who use public transport and those from seldom heard groups, at the start of transport design and ongoing. People who use the transport systems have got the answers, and sometimes these are cheap and simple things to implement.

  • We must enable bikes on buses and trains as a priority
  • Empower communities to design their own networks
  • Involve young people in designing campaigns to promote public transport
  • Involve disabled communities in designing support for accessible travel
  • Accessible timetables and information – colour coding can help.
  • Promote Traveline Cymru – collaborate to offer the best user experience!
  • Use technology to enable personalised travel plans
  • Collaborate and integrate with community transport organisations
  • Connect up transport modes – every bus should go to the train station!
  • Increase the number of bus stops around town
  • Plan a mix of express/direct and stopping / “round the houses” buses
  • More more space for wheelchairs on buses
  • Proactively address isolation, depression and health inequality
  • NPT, Swansea, LLanelli & Carmarthen are ideal regional hydrogen electric bus routes
  • Improve the profile and promotion of public transport
  • Make transport interchanges more welcoming and safer
  • Safe waiting rooms at all stations – safety concerns deter travel
  • Waiting rooms and toilets need to be open outside of ticket office hours
  • Recruit local volunteers to support people with additional needs
  • Involve communities around stations – eg community gardens, social enterprises
  • Promote discounts such as My Travel Pass – https://mytravelpass.gov.wales/
  • Public transport needs to be cheaper.  Or free.

 

VIEW THE EVENT REPORT

Employers & Businesses

  • Talk to staff about how they could reduce car use
  • Make reducing car use / decarbonisation a KPI
  • Choose office locations in town centres / public transport hubs
  • Ensure staff have other options – then charge for car parking
  • Promote, coordinate and incentivise car sharing for staff
  • Reward / incentivise active travel and public transport use
  • Provide showers and changing facilities to support active travel
  • Ditch the dress code – accept people in bike gear at work
  • Support staff to buy bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters (eg Wheels to Work)
  • Consider setting up a bike library
  • Be flexible about start/finish times to enable public transport use
  • Enable a mix of home working to reduce commuting
  • Provide staff buses to and from nearby communities (eg DVLA, Amazon)
  • Employers could collaborate and pool resources
  • Get support to install EV charging points
  • Set up an EV pool car scheme so staff access to cars only when needed
  • Stop reimbursing car mileage – pay for public transport fares instead
  • “40p per mile for cycling, not petrol!”
  • Meet clients at sustainable travel hubs eg train stations / town centre
  • Recommend sustainable travel options to clients and visitors
  • Make international travel a rare exception – meet online
  • Join the Swansea Bay Sustainable Travel Planning Forum (j.cornelius@swansea.ac.uk)
  • Talk to local bus operators to make the case for new services

General Comments

  • Transport should be regarded as a universal basic service – like healthcare and education.  Plus decarbonising transport is a priority to avert climate disaster.  Lobby your politicians to make it so!  Demand that governments stop spending money on new roads, and put that money into public transport services instead.  Public transport needs to be cheaper.  Or free.

  • Investment in rail is welcomed, but buses carry more people and reach more communities, so we will get much more ‘bang for the buck’ by investing in bus services.  If governments are going to bail out transport operators in hard times, and subsidise their operations (ie socialising the losses), it should be possible to make greater demands and re-regulate the transport industry to provide universal access to decent services.

  • We need much more infrastructure for electric vehicle charging across the region, but private EV cars are not the answer and won’t address the climate crisis or transport inequality.  EV Car Share projects should be supported in communities and by employers – so that people can have access to a car without needing to own one.

  • In towns and cities where sustainable travel options exist, and once governments have invested significantly in those options, we should support new legislation that makes car users pay the true cost of car use (eg congestion charging, parking charges, tolls).  In rural areas, those same policies would be unfair and would worsen travel inequality.

  • Planning policy is a key lever.  We must stop allowing low density out-of-town development which makes people car-dependent, and embrace a “town centre first” approach for residential, commercial, leisure and health developments.  Locating jobs, services and facilities in local communities will help make sustainable places where people don’t need to own a car.

  • Fair pay and conditions for delivery drivers and cyclists – which is a growing sector thanks to the growth of online ordering.  Van delivery drivers are paid per parcel thereby incentivising drivers to drive fast and unsafely.  We need a real living wage paid to all workers.

 

REGIONAL TRANSPORT MANIFESTO

Capturing the wisdom and insights shared during the 8 hours of discussion over the two days of the conference, we made extensive notes and recordings, which were later analysed and summarised into a concise list of recommendations.  These recommendations not just for politicians and council executives, but for businesses, employers, transport operators, communities and individuals – because we all have a part to play in creating a more environmentally sustainable, and more equal and accessible, regional transport system.  The recommendations that were co-produced by 150 conference participants have now been published as a clear and easy-to-read Regional Transport Manifesto. 

Click through the slides below, or view the PDF here:  SWWCo Regional Transport Manifesto 2021.

PARTICIPANTS & FEEDBACK

What did you like about the event?”

  • Ability to have a say
  • Opportunity for everyone to share concerns and put forward ideas – a good mix of people from different places and, organisations and interests
  • The breakout sessions were full of interesting information and ideas
  • Wealth of ideas, appreciated and facilitated by the organisers
  • The cross section of professions/perspectives represented at the forum
  • Good level of discussion via break out rooms
  • Plenty of positive interaction
  • It was virtual and didn’t involve lots of people driving to the venue
  • The efficiency of break-out rooms, discussion and back into the main room was seamless
  • That participants were able to contribute freely and there were lots of good ideas.
  • The opportunity to exchange ideas with a wide range of individuals and organisations
  • Lots of different representatives….. not just the usual suspects! Also very well run.
  • Very well organised, with a good structure over the 2 days. 
  • I would like to be involved in helping with a car share group.
  • Everyone was encouraged to contribute. Breakout rooms efficiently handled. 
  • Great atmosphere.
  • Positive conversation amongst a wide range of people. Space for creativity.

The chart shows the mix of sectors that conference participants represented, which was an unusually good mix of public, private and community perspectives.  The event was intended to be an inclusive online event for car users, transport users, cyclists and pedestrians, even those who had never been involved in conversations about transport before.

Overall, how would you rate the event?”

To capture the wisdom and insights shared during the 8 hours of discussion over the two days of the conference, we made extensive notes and recordings, which were later analysed and summarised into a concise list of recommendations, which we have published as a Regional Manifesto. 

SWWCo Regional Transport Manifesto 2021

A key point to note is that our manifesto includes recommendations for all of us – not just for the politicians and council executives, but for businesses, employers, transport operators, communities and individuals. Everyone has a part to play in the transition to a greener, healthier, more equal, more integrated, more accessible and more affordable transport system for South West Wales.

EVENT REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

NEXT STEPS

Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend and contribute to the wide ranging discussion.  This regional transport conference was the biggest and most inclusive conversation about travel and transport that South West Wales has ever seen, and tapped into the huge desire people have to discuss the issues and get their voices heard.

This is just the start of what we hope will be an ongoing conversation leading to real change for good. There was a consensus that we should keep this conversation going, with a regular regional community-led transport forum through which people can engage meaningfully with decision-makers, transport operators and each other.

If you are a regional organisation that recognises the need to involve communities more in your service design, strategy or policy development, or if we can support your upcoming consultations or community engagement objectives, please get in touch. We welcome the support of regional partners and look forward to hearing how you intend to address the recommendations of this conference.

And if you are someone who would like to stay involved with conversations and activities relating to travel and transport in our region, one way you can do this is to reach out to us (email zoe@4theregion.com) and ask to join the Community Rail Partnership.  We will also be emailing all conference attendees with future events that we think you will be interested in – and we invite you to keep us posted about your transport related projects and initiatives so that we can share, connect and support!

4theRegion Members Conversation

4theRegion Members Conversation

4theRegion Members Conversation

Thursday 19TH March 2020

4theRegion held an engaging online conversation exploring how we can enhance community resilience and how current events will impact our future. 

Event report

On Thursday 19th March, 4theRegion hosted an online conversation on Zoom for members across South West Wales, providing them with a platform to discuss how their businesses and communities are adapting according to current events.  This event report aims to capture key themes that arose during this meeting.

We are finding ourselves in uncertain times and there is no doubt that businesses across the region are going to need to adapt and innovate to survive. This conversation focused on empowering people, crowd-sourcing wisdom and actionable ideas and exploring ways we can develop stronger community networks. 

Appreciated enquiry was a key theme through this discussion, focusing on asking positive questions in order to focus on our strengths. When we focus on our strengths, we are more empowered than if we were to dwell on fear. What would we like to see emerging from the current situation? Where do we see opportunities, causes for hope and approaches to future action?  

EMERGING THEMES

  • We need to keep calm and support one another. We should continue to support each other, remain positive, happy and allow leadership to shine through, especially during uncertain times.
  • There’s a natural inclination to return to our personal experiences to guide us. There is an importance to retain perseverance and determination. Reflection helps to identify resolutions.
  • We need to remember our purpose, why we are here and who we are here for. We all have our struggles and whether it’s personal or business we need to be there for one another.
  • Those with leadership responsibilities need to allow for time and space to reflect.  Well-being is vital and it’s important to avoid becoming sucked into the mentality of “we have to solve everything”. Let’s be curious about what will emerge and trust the process.
  • An acceptance of the current situation becoming a new way of life. Maintaining effective communication and relationships are vital. There is an importance of nourishing ourselves through networks and drawing on the wisdom and experience of others.

Future Hopes

  • We have the opportunity to become more environmentally sustainable. The environment is experiencing a positive impact through less travel.
  • Stronger community ethos to continue. Communities are rapidly mobilising and breaking down barriers, ensuring the well-being of our peers is seen to. We want to see a world where we’re living in a fairier, happier and more localised world, where scarce resources see more efficient use.
  • Embracing of IT and the digital age. More organisations are being forced to learn more about trading and working online. Increased confidence in our own abilities and more efficiency and purpose around what we do.
  • Finding solutions for those who are experiencing loss of income. We want a shift in priorities for funding and resources. We want to see communities transformed by grassroots.
  • We may become more comfortable with uncertainty. We have a shifting paradigm and have been mobilised by fear. Leaders in our communities are stepping up and replacing fear with love.

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NEXT STEPS

Despite the uncertain times, conversations like these showcase the resilience and positive mindset that remains in our community networks. Technology has allowed us to mobilise support groups for those in need across the region as well as allowing many businesses to adapt and continue operating. The success of this conversation allows for continued discussion regarding future plans and ambitions, whether it be personally or virtually. 

If you would like to be a part of future conversations, please contact dawn@4theregion.com and zoe@4theregion.com or follow us on our Eventbrite page.

 

 

Event Report – Community Rail Partnership

Event Report – Community Rail Partnership

South West Wales Community Rail Partnership Event

Friday 24TH January 2020

Swansea Train Station

On Friday 24th January, 4theRegion held a launch event for the community rail partnership. This is our write up of the event, intended to capture the key discussion points and themes.

Event report

In partnership with Transport for Wales (Rail), 4theRegion is now host to a new Community Rail Partnership for South West Wales, covering the four counties of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. 

Held at the Grand Hotel opposite Swansea Train Station, the Community Rail Partnership launch event brought together people and organisations from across the region, to discuss the potential to make change happen for the region, by working together under the banner of the new CRP.

The Community Rail Partnership seeks to connect a team of organisations, businesses and individuals who want to see the region flourish in alignment with the 7 well-being goals outlined in the Well-being of Future Generations Act. By maximising the beneficial impact of the rail networks and existing services, we can aim to generate more footfall, spending and activity within the heart of communities across the South West Wales region. 

The new CRP will aim to engage with communities, businesses and organisations along the South West Wales rail network in order to champion all of the unique identities of each location, create a shared sense of place and facilitate collaboration towards achieving greater social, environmental and economic value in the region.

emerging themes

  • The creation of a South West Wales Community Rail Partnership a benefit to local communities – The CRP can be utilised as a voice to improve transportation in the region, providing a beneficial effect on local economy.
  • Cycling, leisure and transport – Better joined up working between different modes of transport. Opportunities for better cycle storage on Transport for Wales. Promotion of accessible information regarding cycle routes to encourage leisure and tourism in the region.  
  • Local economical and environmental benefits – Using sustainable transport to reduce the carbon footprint of individuals in the region. How would we encourage commuters to leave their car and use the rail network?
  • Disused spaces along rail networks could be used as hubs for business and social enterprise. Transport for Wales want to see train stations developed into hubs for business and community use.  Vacant station buildings could be adopted and repurposed.  Train stations could play a bigger role in local communities, bringing people together, addressing social exclusion and community cohesion.
  • Inter-connectivity and identity – Aim to bridge the four regions of South West Wales. Celebrating the unique identities of local destinations would benefit a wide range of businesses and individuals.

challenges

  • Timetables don’t always align to local events – Improved travel synchronisation with major events such as sport and festivals could be beneficial to the regional economy.
  • Community transport connectivity – Public transport services require improved connectivity and delivery of travel information in order to encourage commuting via public transport.
  • Accessibility – Promotion of South West Wales as a region. People may not be aware of what’s on their doorstep due to lack of communication and distribution of information.
  • Transport, travel and the environment – Key challenges in a world needed to reduce carbon emissions whilst promoting access to the natural environment. How can we encourage people to consider public transport as the first option?
  • Frustrations over limited / unreliable services.  While the CRP can build a business case for continued investment in more trains and services, the purpose of the new CRP for South West Wales is not just to talk about the trains, but to leverage the benefit of the services we already have, to connect the regional offer and encourage more joint working.

 

NEXT STEPS

During this first conversation about the new Community Rail Partnership, we heard from diverse organisations and individuals, about their priorities and ideas.  4theRegion has subsequently drafted a document outlining the purpose of the new CRP, its proposed structure, and a job description for the new Community Rail Officer.  These documents are will be published during March 2020, but you can review the drafts at the following link.  Please get in touch with your thoughts and with any questions!

Community Rail Partnership for South West Wales – Mission & Structure

All questions and comments should be directed to dawn@4theregion.com and zoe@4theregion.com 

 

The Art of the Possible – Procurement Forum

The Art of the Possible – Procurement Forum

4theRegion in partnership with EFT Consult convened a forum at The Grand Hotel in Swansea with interest in local economic development. Our goal was to foster discussions centered around the importance of retaining regional spending and how this can be achieved within the existing statutory framework and procurement laws.

Community wealth building has emerged as a powerful approach to local economic development, reorganising local economies so that wealth is not extracted but broadly held and recirculated within the region. These ideas are being applied by a growing number of businesses, public and social sector organisations across the UK who are now driving a shift in economic development thinking.

Obstacles & Challenges

  • End user to procurement specifying the needs – No opportunity to think local/different.
  • Ensuring design of scope is right before procurement process begins
  • Public Sector places too much pressure on SMEs and not enough value.
  • Frameworks can be limiting and can include poor quality suppliers.
  • Social value procurement needs to be at middle management level, needs more time & less pressure to make decisions.
  • Limited ability to appoint prime contractors and influence the supply chain.
  • Short term budget-setting gets in the way of life-cycle. Cost of bidding can be a deterrent.
  • Social value procurement needs to be at middle management level, need more time & less pressure to make decisions.

what’s working well?

  • A growing desire to change for the benefit of the communities.
  • Growing tendency not to award completely on price.
  • Swansea Council have been able to put in contracts under 140k to be awarded to local businesses.
  • Notable changes being made on sustainability, such as supermarkets changing packaging.
  • Dynamic purchasing systems provide a good database of supplies to streamline procurement with better options and choices.
  • Good intentions behind legislation and policies and a willingness to innovate. Laws such as the Well-being of Future Generations Act are tools for positive change.
  • Contractors and suppliers collaborating to bid. Contractors have an efficient understanding of the working environment and the needs of the client.

Other ideas

  • Encourage transparency within procurement, allowing information accessible to all and more ambitious uses of community benefits clauses in contracts.
  • Collaboration between local counties, cross-border working and resource sharing driven by county councils and embedding of community values.
  • Implementation of a circular economy and encouragement of repair, reuse, recycle and reduce.
  • Focus on encouraging new market entrants and growth of existing businesses.
  • More case studies of bad practice and lessons learnt from experiences. Opportunities to scale up good examples.
  • What can we learn from the Preston model as an example of distinct economic development and how can we transform the way we work in South West Wales to achieve similar outcomes for our region?

Noted organisations

  • AB Glass
  • Antur Teifi
  • BESA
  • Bloom Procurement Services
  • Bridgend County Borough Council
  • Business Wales
  • Caerphilly CBC
  • Cardiff Capital Region City Deal
  • Cardiff Council
  • Cardiff University
  • Carmarthenshire County Council
  • Castell Howell Foods
  • Ceredigion County Council
  • CLES
  • Coastal Housing Group
  • Create Construction
  • EFT Consult
  • Family Housing
  • Gower College Swansea
  • Gower Gas & Oil
  • ION Leadership Swansea University
  • KEL
  • Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service
  • Milford Haven Port Authority
  • Natural Resources Wales
  • Neath Port Talbot Council
  • Office of the Future Generations Commissioner
  • Orcogen Limited
  • Perago-Wales
  • PM Developments
  • Procum Ltd
  • Public Health Wales
  • rc2 Property & Regeneration Expert
  • Regional Learning & Skills Partnership
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC
  • SCVS
  • Severn Wye Energy Agency
  • South Wales Police
  • Specialist Engineering Contractors Group
  • Swansea Bay City Deal
  • Swansea Council
  • Swansea ITeC
  • Swansea University
  • Tai Ceredigion Cyf
  • Torfaen County Borough Council
  • VH Procurement
  • Wales Co-Operative Centre
  • Welsh Government
  • Welsh Procurement Alliance
  • Yolk Recruitment