THE BIGGEST ever investment for south west Wales has been secured following the approval of the ground-breaking Swansea Bay City Deal.
UK and Welsh Government Ministers will visit Swansea Bay today (Mar 20) to sign the deal together with members of the Swansea Bay City Region Board.
Leaders from Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire councils are celebrating having secured the £1.3billion deal that will transform the economic landscape of the area, boost the local economy by £1.8billion, and generate almost 10,000 new jobs over the next 15 years.
Eleven major projects will now get underway, delivering world-class facilities in the fields of energy, smart manufacturing, innovation and life science, with major investment in the region’s digital infrastructure and workforce skills and talent underpinning each.
The total investment package is made up of £241million of UK and Welsh Government funding, £396million of other public sector money and £637million from the private sector.
The Swansea Bay City Region Board – including the four local authorities together with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Hywel Dda University Health Boards, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity St David’s, and private sector companies – worked under the Chairmanship of Sir Terry Matthews for over a year to develop and submit the City Deal proposal to the Welsh and UK Governments.
It culminated in a pitch to Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales, and other UK Ministers and their advisors, following months of rigorous challenge and negotiation.
There are three specific projects for Carmarthenshire – a Wellness and Life Science Village in Llanelli; a creative industry project at Yr Egin in Carmarthen; and a skills and talent initiative which will support skills development for all 11 projects.
The Wellness Village and Life Science Village at Delta Lakes, is being led by the council, under the ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) programme, which is a partnership between Hywel Dda and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Boards and Swansea University.
The £200million project aims to create 1853 high quality jobs and boost the economy by a staggering £467 million over 15 years.
The proposals include an Institute of Life Science with laboratory and clinic space and an incubation facility for business start-up, research and development; a wellness hub incorporating a new ‘state-of-the-art’ sports and leisure centre, a wellbeing centre, a wellness hotel and an assisted living village all interlinked and set within a ‘green’ eco-park.
Yr Egin involves the construction of a creative and digital hub and the development of a creative industry sector cluster. It will create around 203 jobs and help the local economy, along with boosting the Welsh language.
A skills and talent initiative will provide educational and training pathways to support the next generation workforce delivering specific sector skills required in order to meet the demand of the City Deal themes of Digital, Life Science and Wellbeing, Energy and Smart Manufacturing.
Carmarthenshire County Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “This is a unique opportunity for Carmarthenshire and the wider region to increase prosperity and opportunity. The City Deal will help the long-term sustainability of the economy in Carmarthenshire, creating jobs, growth and training opportunities.
“This is a truly exciting time for the region; the level of investment we are talking about is incomparable to anything we have seen before. The City Deal will allow us to deliver what we have worked so hard to achieve and local people and businesses will soon start to reap the benefits.”
Cllr Rob Stewart, lead Leader of the Swansea Bay City Region and Leader of Swansea City Council, said: “This is among the biggest investments Wales has ever seen, so it’s an historic day for the Swansea Bay City Region.
“The City Deal will improve people’s lives in Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot and Pembrokeshire by generating up to 10,000 jobs and investing in world class technology that will revolutionise the way sectors like energy, social care, healthcare and entrepreneurship are delivered and supported here.
“This has always been about making sure South West Wales gets its fair share of investment for the benefit of our residents.
“The state-of-the-art projects the investment will deliver will turbo-charge the regional economy and help attract even more investment in future.
“The approved City Deal is also terrific news for our businesses because not only will the introduction of cutting-edge digital infrastructure help embrace and harness innovation, but the construction of new developments will boost the regional supply chain as well.
“Enormous credit should go to everyone involved in the City Deal bid. The ‘Team Swansea Bay’ approach between partners in the public and private sectors will considerably benefit many people in the near future, with our focus now on aggressive spending to ensure residents reap the rewards of the investment as soon as possible.”
Mark James CBE, lead Chief Executive of the Swansea Bay City Region and Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “This City Deal is a once in a generation opportunity to further consolidate the region’s role in technological innovation.
“The Swansea Bay City Region will now lead innovation in developing and commercialising solutions to some of the most pressing challenges in the fields of life sciences, energy, smart manufacturing and digital networks in both urban and rural areas.
“This is a unique opportunity to increase prosperity and opportunity for the region.”
Care home honour Armed Forces Day
PLAS Y DDERWEN in Johnstown will be celebrating Armed Forces Day on Thursday, June 28, with a big brew up supporting SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity.
SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families. Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.
Janet Williams, Activities Coordinator, said: “It is very important that we keep the memories of those who fought alive and that we also think about those involved in conflicts around the world today. We welcome anyone that wishes to attend and will have the chance to meet the team and look around the home.”
Plas Y Dderwen is part of Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, supporting older people living independent lives over the last 25 years.
Barchester services include residential care and nursing care as well as expert dementia care.
Huge Brecha Forest West wind turbine project complete
ALL 28 turbines at Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm are now operational and exporting renewable energy to the National Grid, Innogy Renewables UK Ltd has announced.
With an installed capacity of 57.4MW, Brechfa Forest West can generate enough renewable energy to meet the equivalent energy needs of approximately 38,800 average UK homes, which is almost half of all the households in Carmarthenshire.
Martin Kelly, innogy’s Project Director said: “The last turbines have now been commissioned. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their patience and support during the construction phase. We will now continue to work with Natural Resource Wales (NRW) to complete all remaining reinstatement activities.
“We are really proud of what has been achieved here as a team with NRW and our Contractors. With all turbine components safely delivered to site and lifted into place, over 20km of tracks within the forest created or upgraded and a new circular walk created to improve visitor’s experience; the construction has been an engineering success and all carried out safely with no lost time due to injury or incident.”
This announcement also marks the launch of the much-anticipated community benefit fund, worth £459,200 a year.
Following a competitive tender, innogy has selected Antur Teifi as the fund administrator and Severn Wye Energy Agency to provide community development support and maximise the benefits of the fund.
Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “I am delighted Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm is now operational. It is the most recent example of our approach to using Welsh Government estate to deliver benefits for Welsh people whilst at the same time decarbonising our energy system. I am pleased that the Community fund will be delivered alongside the leisure improvements the development has funded, which are benefiting the local community and future generations.”
Kevin Harrington, Business Development Manager from Antur Teifi said: “We are thrilled to have won this contract and excited by the huge potential and significant opportunities that the Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm Fund can deliver.
“The fund is now inviting applications for funding and for more information please visit our website: www.anturteifi.org.uk”
Onsite, construction and testing activities are drawing to an end. Reinstatement works will continue as well as the implementation of innogy’s habit management plan. innogy will continue to carry out these works in close working partnership with NRW and is delighted to have also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work towards NRW’s vision of developing Energy Parks fit for our futures.
Gordon Baird, NRW’s Energy Delivery Programme Project Manager said: “This is an exciting moment for the Brechfa Forest Wind Farm Project.
“Our joined-up work with innogy on the NRW Managed Estate has demonstrated that together, we can deliver significant renewable energy and help to build a prosperous and sustainable future for Wales.
“And the recent signing of the MoU signals NRW’s intention to work with all developers who wish to use the Energy Park concept to develop Wales’ renewable energy profile.”
Contactless donations for Tŷ Hafan
TŶ HAFAN has introduced an even easier way for the people of Carmarthen to donate much needed funds. The children’s hospice charity has installed a contactless shop window, located at the front of the Tŷ Hafan store on Merlin’s Walk in Carmarthen town centre.
The window is an integral part of the charity’s Summer Appeal, which sees Tŷ Hafan asking for donations so children with life-limited conditions and their families can continue to receive comfort, care and support during short break care that is so vital for them. Carmarthen shoppers can make donations by merely tapping their debit or credit cards on a contactless terminal affixed to the window, donating a fixed fee of £2.
As summer approaches, many families are preparing to pack their cases in readiness for a summer holiday, but for many Tŷ Hafan families, they are packing theirs in preparation for a stay at the hospice – which, for them, is the only family holiday they will ever have.
Beth Morgan, Tŷ Hafan’s Head of Hospice Services, explained that caring for a life limited child turns parents into full-time carers and the previous life they once had is no longer recognisable.
She said: “Some of our families spend every day living in fear for their child. Parents can become exhausted and emotionally drained from sleepless nights, constant worry and guilt towards not spending as much time with their other children, as well as enduring financial stresses and practical difficulties of caring for their child on a daily basis.
“That’s why our short break care service is crucial. We help to temporarily alleviate the stresses by giving the whole family a much needed holiday. They enjoy sessions together in the hydrotherapy pool, day trips to the beach and a good night’s sleep – things that sound so simple to us but for them are impossible in their day to day lives. By the end of their stay, parents are physically and emotionally in a much better place.”
One family to have benefited from Tŷ Hafan’s short break care is the James family from Aberystwyth. Bridget James has been taking her daughters Elain, 8, and Martha, 4, to Tŷ Hafan since Elain was just a one year old. Elain was born with multiple, complicated heart conditions and a rare genetic disorder. Although her condition is currently stable, it could only be a matter of time before it deteriorates.
Bridget said: “It’s so ironic really that we live in a seaside town, yet it’s Tŷ Hafan that is our family holiday.
“I don’t relax at all at home, so for me, the stay at Tŷ Hafan is my only break for what feels like such a long time. When we stay, there are no day-to-day pressures, Martha can just play and enjoy herself and I can feel myself starting to unwind as the days go on. Just like any holiday, when the week is over it’s back to reality, but at least I have found some more strength, ready to go again.
“For my family and the many others that Tŷ Hafan supports, a Tŷ Hafan holiday means making memories and special moments that matter, and having time to properly switch off. It’s just the perfect family holiday.”
The Carmarthen store window is compatible with any contactless credit or debit card. It’ll be displayed from Monday June 18, during shop opening times, for the duration of the Summer appeal, during which time the charity hopes its funds will be boosted by the Carmarthen community tapping for Tŷ Hafan.
For more information on the Summer appeal, visit www.tyhafan.org/elain.
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