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:

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

      Cartref Creative — A New Network for Creatives

      Cartref Creative — A New Network for Creatives

      Cartref Creative held its first event on Wednesday the 24th of January at the Urban Kitchen in Swansea. Cartref Creative is a new network for creatives that was born out of conversations at the 4theRegion conference in 2023.

      The network is a home for creatives that aims to create spaces – both digital and physical – where creatives across the region can meet, socialise, learn and collaborate. It was founded by digital creator James Dovey, graphic designer Alice Jones, writer and producer Roger Williams, filmmaker James Owen of Stori, creative problem solver Lee Bazalgette and director of Waters Creative, Rachael Wheatley.

      The team have wrestled with how a network for creatives across west Wales should operate and have designed Cartref Creative to be a movement that will evolve to meet the needs and desires of the creative community over time.

      Cartref Creative is run by creatives. This is one of the principles that makes Cartref Creative different. Creatives will set the agenda and realise the initiatives. Live events will happen in different locations across west Wales and across creative disciplines.

      The digital platform will offer a place for individuals to promote their work and there will be a library of resources to inspire and educate.

      At the Urban Kitchen event, three creative leaders from west Wales spoke about their experience of running a creative initiative. Richard Davies of Parthian Books, Brigid Loizou of art gallery Studio Cennen in Llandeilo, and Alun Jones of the digital agency Libera, shared the story of how they started and grew their operations and spoke of the challenges and opportunities of running their businesses in west Wales.

      The event was sponsored by Sky Ad Smart, and Peter Roberts and Huw Potter spoke of how their operation works and how creatives might be able to work in partnership with them to create content for advertisers.

      The Cartref Creative team invite creatives living in south-west Wales to sign up to the mailing list by going to and would like to invite individuals interested in becoming an organiser of events to get in touch.

      Rhwydwaith i bobl greadigol sy’n byw yn ne orllewin Cymru yw Cartref Creative. Bydd y grwp yn creu gofodau – digidol a go iawn – ar gyfer crewyr sydd eisiau cyfarfod, cymdeithasu, dysgu a chydweithio. Bydd y platfform digidol yn safle we sy’n hyrwyddo gwaith yr aelodau ac yn cyhoeddi adnoddau addysgol ac ysbrydoledig.

      Yn y digwyddiad byw cyntaf yn Abertawe ym mis Ionawr buodd y cyhoeddwr Richard Davies o Parthian Books, Brigid Loizou o Studio Cennen yn Llandeilo ac Alun Jones o’r asiantaeth ddigidol Libera yn trafod eu busnesau a’r heriau sy’n eu hwynebu nhw. Noddwyd y digwyddiad gan Sky Ad Smart.

      Mae Cartref Creative yn awyddus i drefnu digwyddiadau yn y Gymraeg. Os hoffech ymuno â ni yn y daith ewch at

      January Monthly Meetup – Year of Opportunities

      January Monthly Meetup – Year of Opportunities


      4theRegion Monthly Meetup – The Year of Opportunities

      The Year of Opportunities

      Our first Monthly Meetup of 2024 brought our cross-sector network together to discuss South West Wales as a region of OPPORTUNITIES!

      We know people are facing problems, challenges and obstacles… but we also know that South West Wales is FULL of opportunities for all of us to live happier, healthier and more prosperous lives. We invited participants to share positive reflections, projects, initiatives, organisations and opportunities in South West Wales.

      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 is it important that we amplify and share opportunities in South West Wales? Here are some key points people shared:

      • There’s lot of support out there for all needs and areas.
      • Small businesses all over the region are trying to grow, and they should keep going and stick at it.

      • Research indicates the importance of looking outward, collaborating, and diversifying.

      • Better collaboration, networking, and communication are key.

      • The Bantu word “Ubuntu”, which can mean “I am because of who we all are.” which highlights how it’s important for communities to work together.
      • Sharing opportunities in South West Wales is important for regional growth and development, as it not only attracts talent and investment but also contributes to the overall economic and social well-being of the community.

      • By highlighting opportunities in South West Wales, we not only empower individuals, but also inspire a sense of community pride, encouraging residents to actively contribute to the region’s success.


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

      • 2B Enterprising
      • Acuity Law
      • Age Cymru West Glamorgan
      • Andrew Scott
      • Bic Innovation
      • Bouygues
      • Business Wales
      • Bwyd Abertawe
      • Charly Cope VA
      • Coastal Housing Group
      • Cwmpas
      • Cyfle Building Skills
      • DST Innovations Ltd
      • Elysium Gallery
      • EYST
      • Find a Business Expert
      • Fresh Creative
      • Garrison Farm
      • GLTS
      • Howden Insurance
      • Modoto
      • Neath Port Talbot CVS
      • Pitman Training Swansea
      • PLANED CWBR Youth
      • Plantasia Tropical Zoo
      • Regional Learning and Support Partnership Carmarthenshire
      • Serco
      • Silverstone GE
      • Solar Wheel
      • Sunny Recruitment
      • Swan TV
      • Swansea Bay City Deal
      • Swansea University
      • The Swansea Positive
      • Totec Recruitment
      • Urban Foundry
      • Vibe Youth
      • Village Hotel

      Appreciative Enquiry

      Development Opportunities

      • Exciting new developments coming to Swansea will lead to more jobs and opportunities.
      • Swansea Bay City Deal projects are providing many opportunities across the region. 
      • Opportunities in the renewable energy sector. South West Wales has so much potential to become a strong region for renewables.
      • Swansea’s regeneration and redevelopment. Skyline up to Kilvey Hill is an interesting opportunity. 
      • There’s excitement surrounding connecting South West Wales to the wider world.
      • Opportunities for whiskey lovers to take a tour of the new Penderyn Distillery in Swansea!

      Opportunities for Young People

      • Increasing the number of opportunities for young people, particularly in the construction and civil engineering sectors. For example, 4theRegion member Cyfle Building Skills.
      • Inspiring primary-aged children in enterprise education to create a stronger future workforce and ensure young people are enabled to be contributing members of society.  As a bonus, it is also fabulous for meeting social value/community benefits initiatives.
      • 2B Enterprising – enterprise schools project! 1000 sessions delivered in schools!
      • Plantasia in Bloom competition for schools and community groups during the May school holidays (28th May) creates opportunities for children. The competition has a theme of recycling, and we are looking for companies to get involved and provide prizes for the competition winners. Email to register. More information can be found on Visit Swansea Bay’s website.
      • Job opportunities in growing industries such as technology, renewable energy, and tourism.
      • Initiatives promoting entrepreneurship and supporting young business leaders. Better Jobs Better Futures at Gower College is an example of this.

      Funding Opportunities

      • People and community groups in SWW can apply for a grant from our new charity, the Swansea Bay Foundation (donations from successful regional businesses giving back to the regional community.)  
      • Access to Work funds are available to help people with disabilities in their work/academic life.
      • Excited about the Shared Prosperity fund from Swansea Council, and how accessible applying for this is, and the help that the council provides.  (Note: All councils across the UK will have their own Shared Prosperity Funds)

      “We think it’s important to connect around what’s working well, and what we’re excited about. What are you excited about?”

      Career & Skill Opportunities

      • Excitement around social mobility and giving people in the region opportunities in the legal profession. 
      • Opportunities for young people to get involved in community councils in Pembrokeshire via the Community Youth Work Team.
      • People should be empowered to connect with their local communities to discover opportunities.
      • Even voluntary work can be great for people’s well-being and is a way to discover opportunities and gain transferable skills.
      • Cartref Creative is a new creative network created to amplify the talent that can be found in the region and explore how we can support one another.
      • Serco Training and Recruitment Solutions (STARS) will be supporting employers with training and recruitment support for another two years.
      • 4theRegion will be holding a Start-Up Expo on the 6th March, a day before the 4theRegion Swansea Conference. Both events are great opportunities to network with businesses and organisations across the region.
      • 4theRegion also hosts events covering many sectors, which are a get opportunity to network and find out what’s going on across the region. You can find out about upcoming events here.

      Opportunities for Community Engagement

      • Bringing people together around art projects, working together, and giving those opportunities to a wide range of people. 
      • It’s great to see Swansea becoming more multicultural and vibrant, there have been a lot more opportunities for ethnic minorities these past few years.
      • More and more community transport schemes are popping up, which is great for people to access opportunities. 
      • Community hubs can provide opportunities to gain skills, make friends, and other positive connections. It’s an opportunity to get involved with the community. 
      • The growth of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farms helps the community a lot. This opportunity is great for people living in urban areas who would like to volunteer with food-growing projects. CSA farms include Cae Tan and Big Meadow.
      • Opportunity for small producers to take part in local produce markets (such as the Swansea Bay Street Markets organised by Urban Foundry)
      • Opportunity for food and drink producer businesses of all types and sizes to register with the new phase of the Cywain project. They can then benefit from a wide range of industry-focused activities and support to help them to grow their business.
      • The Swansea Positive is a recently launched newspaper celebrating all of the great things happening across Swansea. It will be a collaborative effort, so people are invited to see how they can get involved by emailing the team.
      • 4theRegion’s monthly newsletter is packed full of opportunities from across the region and is a collaborative effort from its members. You can find past issues of the newsletter here, and also subscribe here.

      “What does a year of opportunities mean to you? What does success look like, and what would you like to see happen in the region?”

      What would you like to see?

      • Maximising every opportunity and get involved with everything going on across the region. 
      • 4theRegion is great at linking and connecting, and it’s important to have clearer signposting to where opportunities might be. 4theRegion will be flourishing even more.
      • Communities of practice, working together to share learning and tackle challenges
      • Young people seeing the opportunities available to them right here in South West Wales!
      • Hoping to see more happening within the green economy, especially around community agriculture and food growing. 
      • Supporting each other, making referrals to organisations that can support and keeping procurement in the region.
      • Success could be seen in the adoption of innovative technologies and practices from the universities.
      • Measure success by the number of jobs created in the region.
      • The establishment of new businesses, expansion of existing ones, and a boost in regional employment rates.

      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

      Green Economy Skills Roundtable 2023

      Green Economy Skills Roundtable 2023


      Green Economy Skills Roundtable 2023

      Green Economy Conference Roundtable Skills

      Partners from across South West Wales came together to discuss some new initiatives to support the development of green skills across a variety of sectors.

      This roundtable is part of a series of conversations focused on the region’s green economy. The Green Economy Conference, happening in November, aims to bring together businesses and organisations to discuss the growth of the green economy in South West Wales. This roundtable featured discussions on various projects and initiatives related to skills development in areas such as renewable energy, construction, digital sector, and more.

      The focus is on preparing young people for future green careers, raising awareness about the opportunities in the green economy, and bridging the skills gap in the industry. Collaboration and working together across the region are seen as crucial for success.

      The projects, initiatives and themes are captured in the event report below.


      Event Recording

      Projects, Initiatives and Themes

      Rob Holdcroft, Development Coordinator for the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership.

      • A number of projects have been authorised via the Swansea Bay City Deal Skills and Talent programme.
      • The Pembrokeshire Passport to Employment project will teach students between 5 – 19 year old about the renewable sector and opportunities within the sector.
      • The Low Carbon Net Zero Awareness Raising pilot will raise awareness of zero and low carbon technologies in the construction sector.
      • The Digital Sector pilot in Neath Port Talbot will demonstrate the need for enhanced digital skills in the green and renewables sector.
      • The Swansea University-led Battery Manufacturing Skills pilot will build on skill gaps in battery manufacturing and supply chain by providing training, upskilling, and re-skilling to higher skilled students and the local workforce.
      • All of these projects and more have come from research to identify skills gaps and new skills that will be required for a greener economy.
      • We need to engage industry. We can create skills, and a skilled workforce but if those jobs aren’t available because industry isn’t moving at the pace they need to, it could create stagnation. We need the industry to move on this as well.

      Kathryn Dunstan, Director of Partnerships, NPTC Group

      • We’re seeing changes that are leading to uncertainty. We’re finding it difficult to pin down what’s going to be needed. There’s a lot of opportunities but nothing is quote tangible yet.
      • How can we prepare for something we don’t really know for certain how it might look like in each of our regions?
      • We’re involved in managing and supporting the training programs for the Homes as Power Stations project and developing resources for schools and colleges to share.
      • The college will launch the Net Zero Academy in the Autumn. We need adult learners and upskilling of existing employees to immediately fill the short term gaps in labour markets at the moment.
      • The Academy will also showcase the career pathways possible for younger learners and that green careers can be developed.

      Andrew Selby, Electrical Commercial Coordinator, Gower College Swansea

      • Preparing young people is the right way to go, particularly primary school-level. 
      • We’re seeing a massive demand for upskilling, with over 300 people taking the Solar PV and Battery Charging Course course over the last 18 months.
      • It’s crucial to understand what’s required from a school level and how that feeds in to higher level skills. 
      • There’s an urgent need for something like a renewables apprenticeship and pathway for higher degrees. Upskilling is good for supporting the market, but we need to identify needs and what pathways and career developments are available for young people.

      Donna Griffiths, Business Development Manager, Bouygues

      • There’s a need for more education around parents, teachers and influencers such as Careers Wales staff. 
      • Green skills and green jobs are relatively new terminologies and parents are unsure about how to encourage their children and transferability of skills within colleagues to consider it as a long term career.
      • Refurbishment and repurposing of buildings is a key business line because of Net Zero Carbon aspirations. 
      • Bouygues is working with the RLSP to deliver hands-on, real world life experiences to a cohort of young people in Llanelli, providing an opportunity to be part of the Pentre Awel project. 

      • There are pockets of really good practice, but it isn’t widespread. A lot of it comes down to businesses that want to be more forward thinking, but may be hampered by contracts and what public sector demands.

      Arwyn Williams, Head of Faculty for Engineering, Computing, Construction & HE, Pembrokeshire College

      • Pembrokeshire College have engaged with two secondary schools to deliver a GCSE equivalent program to learn about renewable energy within industry.
      • The local Education Authority is leading on a skills barometer working with primary schools. Pembrokeshire college is developing materials to fit in with the new curriculum for Wales and to raise awareness of opportunities in the green sector.
      • Engaging with parents is equally as important as engaging with children from a young age. Parents need to understand the potential careers their children could go for.
      • Pembrokeshire College is working with the Seren Network to provide more activities across the region.
      • They are hosting a robotics club for primary and secondary school leaners to learn about coding robots from basic to advanced functions.
      • Destination Renewables is a pioneering program delivered to 16 to 18 year olds to engage them with industry partners and learn about a range of jobs from project management, procurement to engineering and construction.
      • The college has recently gained funding to roll out similar programs across the region so local colleges can engage with local industries relevant to them and their area.
      • There’s a lot of activity happening in the region in regards to green energy. There are many companies in the region that are really struggling to recruit individuals with the skills.

      Bruce Fellowes, Head of GCS Training, Gower College Swansea

      • Gower College’s Energy Centre is involved in a lot of renewable skills, such as solar, thermal, air source, ground source heat pumps, Solar PV charging.
      • The Energy Centre also offers battery storage, electrical vehicle charging and service in e-bike maintenance. 
      • We’re looking to expand into wind turbines and hydrogen by sharing practice with Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire. 
      • Staff are currently on courses themselves to understand these new technologies more because it’s ever-changing. 
      • We need to become more involved with schools and parents. Parents can be very influential in what their children do.
      • If parents have a better understanding about green skills and green careers, then that can help with younger ages making career choices. 

      Rachel Cook, CWIC, UWTSD

      • We work closely with contractors and industry to understand what needs are. How can we address the needs imminently, and understand green career pathways?
      • Within CWIC, we’ve been focusing on how we can address industry needs immediately, especially with the focus on climate change. 
      • We’re looking at existing job roles and getting them to understand the importance of their role within the bigger picture. 
      • We’re focusing on new build and retrofit and creation of a suite of eight mini-courses consisting of a range of green construction skills. 
      • We want to give hands-on training. We’re giving the up to date information with industry experts. We’ve consulted with HE and FE across Wales, as content and connections are developed it can be more widely used.

      • Given the climate crisis and where the skills crisis is with industry, we need to change the culture, so that we do work together and come forward because of the urgency that changes need to happen now.

      Sue Poole, Young Dragons

      • We’ve just completed our Swansea Enterprise Challenge, with over 500 young people going to Castle Square to sell the wares they’ve been making in school.
      • There was an unbelievable amount of children with a focus on climate change. Many were making products out of reusable materials, growing plants, etc.
      • The new project Futurescape is a new initiative aimed at tackling future skills shortages within the building services sector.
      • The project will see VR used in the classroom to introduce young people to the variety of roles within the construction sector they may not be aware of. 
      • It’s possible that many of the jobs that these young people will be taking possibly don’t exist as yet.
      • We need to engage with teachers and parents to introduce them to skills needed in the future. 

      Next Steps

      Green Economy Conference Roundtable Skills

      This roundtable was part of a series that bring together experts to discuss the green economy relating to a number of themes. These roundtables were held in the run-up to the Regional Green Economy Conference 2023, taking place on the 22nd November.

      The Regional Green Economy Conference is a major regional conference and exhibition, new for 2023, bringing together projects, businesses, organisations and key stakeholders in South West Wales’ green economy, together with people of all ages and from all walks of life, for an unmissable day of connecting, showcasing and knowledge sharing, with the goal of getting everyone working together for a resilient, sustainable future for the region.

      Click here to book your place at the Regional Green Economy Conference!