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Games developers in £55k boost

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edwinahart1CHRISTMAS has come early for three Welsh games developers that have been awarded grants totalling £55,000 to build new gaming titles for Microsoft under an initiative supported by the Welsh Government. Dojo Arcade & Wales Interactive Ltd based in Pencoed Technology Park and Sky Fish Studios Ltd of Cardiff are the first in Wales t o participate in the Microsoft Greenshoots programme. Greenshoots is an incubation programme that has partnered with Creative England over the past two years and is now being piloted in Wales with support from the Welsh Government.

Microsoft’s Greenshoots programme provides young games development businesses and start ups with the funding, business support and mentoring they require to make commercially successful games for the Xbox One via the ID@Xbox programme, in addition to PC and mobile platforms. The three companies that successfully bid for funding will now get access to Microsoft’s BizSpark programme that will support the studios with a wealth of development software, expert guidance, technical advice and an introduction to investors. Agostino Simonetta, ID@ Xbox Regional Lead for Europe, said: “Following the on-going success of Microsoft Greenshoots in partnership with Creative England, we’re thrilled to be piloting the first cohort with the Welsh Government.

The participating studios are perfect examples of the kind of raw talent this industry attracts, and we look forward to working with them to bring their projects to market.” Cardiff based Skyfish Studios is a small start-up company that has three members of staff, all of which have graduated from the University of South Wales. Their firs gaming release, A Mechanical Story, which was released in November 2014, recently picked up a BAFTA Cymru for the Games and Interactive Experience category, and they are hopeful of similar success for a title to be released next year. Yucel Karamanli co-founder of Skyfish said: “Getting accepted by Greenshoots is a great step for our new game Elise: Unpainted Memories and incredibly encouraging. The funding will allow us to fully concentrate on making the game without worrying about the financial burdens we have as a small studio. This is a dream come true for any Indie developer studio.” Dojo Arcade was previously supported by the Welsh Government’s Digital Development Fund, and is now rapidly expanding and is a registered Nintendo developer. Tobias Johnson, of Dojo Arcade, said: “We are very lucky to be selected for the Microsoft Greenshoots and Welsh Government funding as the Wales games industry is rapidly growing.

It will enable us to complete our current title Creature Battle Lab and give it the polish it deserves.“ Wales Interactive has received five BAFTA Cymru commendations and a BAFTA Cymru Games Award, amongst others. It’s Managing Director David Banner, said: “We are delighted that Soul Axiom has been chosen as one of the recipients of Microsoft Greenshoots in partnership with Welsh Government. This is a another great achievement for our company and Greenshoots will not only help us take an exclusive version of Soul Axiom to Xbox One but will also give us invaluable international exposure for the title.” At the announcement of the news Economies Minister Edwina Hart added: “Games development is a rapidly growing sector of the creative industries in Wales and a highly competitive arena so I am delighted that some of our most promising companies will benefit from this initiative. “The grant funding, coupled with expert support from Microsoft, provides a tremendous boost for these Welsh indigenous creative businesses. Working with one of the world’s leading technology companies will provide them with a great development opportunity and an invaluable experience. “It will also help raise their professional profile amongst the international gaming community and I am delighted that support from the Welsh Government enabled this pilot to go ahead in Wales.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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New recycling facility opens for Carmarthenshire businesses

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A new commercial waste recycling centre located in Nantycaws has been launched today (Monday October 31) by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with CWM Environmental Ltd.

Located next to Nantycaws Household Waste Recycling Centre, the new facility will focus on providing an outlet for businesses in Carmarthenshire to recycle their waste responsibly, with the waste collected at the site recycled or re-used to create sustainable products whenever possible.

The paid for service accepts a range of materials including metal, cardboard, plastic, plasterboard, soil, hardcore, paint, glass, asbestos (double bagged), large white goods including fridges and mixed general waste.

Costs will be competitive to encourage as many businesses as possible to use the facility and will vary depending on the type and amount of waste presented.

A valid waste carrier’s certificate and waste transfer note will be required to use the site.

Cllr Edward Thomas, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services said: “We hope to significantly increase the amount of waste being recycled from businesses in Carmarthenshire thanks to the introduction of this new recycling centre in Nantycaws”.

“Our long-term ambition is to change the perception of recycling for businesses by supporting them to recycle as much as possible. We want to promote responsible waste practices in the county and minimise the levels of business waste being presented at our household waste recycling centres, which has risen in recent months.

The new commercial recycling centre will help to achieve Carmarthenshire’s ambition of delivering a circular economy throughout the county as well as becoming a leader in recycling and re-use within Wales.

For more information visit the recycling section of the Council’s website – Carmarthenshire.gov.wales/recycling

A circular economy focuses on eliminating waste by cutting down on throw away consumption and turning materials that would have previously been sent to landfill into a valuable resource.

This project has been funded through Welsh Government’s Circular Economy fund.

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National Botanic Garden of Wales welcomes new director

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Dr Lucy Sutherland is the new Director of the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

She has joined the Welsh institution from her role as a strategic consultant to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust which manages the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden and the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

She started in her new job on Monday October 24.

Dr Sutherland said: “It is an exciting and rare chance to lead a relatively young botanic garden through its next phase of maturity.

“It is also a unique opportunity at a time when the global population is facing multiple crises and there is growing ambition and support for addressing climate change and continuing efforts towards biodiversity conservation and a sustainable future.”

Dr Sutherland sees the National Botanic Garden of Wales as “continuing to have a critical role in this agenda.”

She is an Honorary Professor at the University of Adelaide and was previously the Director of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium in South Australia, Acting Director of the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the National Co-ordinator of the Australian Seed Bank Partnership.

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