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?  


  • 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.



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.


  • 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.



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