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Songs of Praise at the Vetch

BHS vanishes from British high streets this weekend as Lady Green faces pensions bill




28 Aug

Temp 18ºC

On Saturday 28 August (Bank Holiday Sunday) at 3pm there will be an open air Songs of Praise led by the Salvation Army Band & Songster Brigade on the Vetch. If raining the event will take place in the Salvation Army in Richardson Street.



This video is about Swansea City, it starts from the River Tawe and shows the streets in the city and ends down on the bay. The songs are sung by the Welsh Choir - We'll Keep a Welcome - and the beautiful voice of Russell Watson singing his version of Calon Lan.


29 Aug

Temp 15ºC

Throwing open the doors to Innovation in the Welsh NHS

Local student wins placement at Tokyo University

Olchfa School pupil and Swansea University graduate Jay Jones has successfully been awarded an internship with a Tokyo University.

Jay, who currently lives in Sketty and is 24 years old, took his A levels at Olchfa School then went on to read History at Swansea University, graduating in 2013.


Jay developed the desire to work abroad after volunteering to teach children in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Bogor, Indonesia during 2015. Jay then took the Swansea University Cambridge English CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) course during January – March 2016, obtaining a very good PASS B grade.


Jay will be setting off for Tokyo in September and spending just over three months at the Toyo Gakuen University (TGU). Speaking about his placement Jay said:


“ I am really looking forward to working with staff and students at TGU helping them with their English language development. My role at the University will be to assist with the internationalisation of the campus, to provide an outlet for students to practice their spoken English, to run English conversational classes, and to assist teachers and lecturers by giving presentations and speeches about life in the UK.

British Home Stores will disappear from high streets across the country this weekend when it pulls the shutters down on its 22 remaining stores, from Swansea to St. Albans, drawing an end to nearly 90 years as a stalwart of town centres across Britain.

Jay Jones

“ If I get the opportunity I’ll also speak about Wales and its beautiful countryside and beaches and the warm welcome they would get if they ever have the chance to come to visit. I won’t be attempting to teach them any Welsh – the English language can be difficult enough without attempting to get them to pronounce Welsh place names and phrases !  


“ I will be returning to Swansea after Christmas to catch up with my family before setting off in Spring to experience and learn about the different cultures in Europe. I hope to go back to work for Select English at their summer school in Tudor Hall, Oxfordshire next summer before finally securing a year-long teaching job abroad.”  


Peter Neville, who manages Teacher Training in ELTS, commented; “ It is gratifying to see Jay’s success in obtaining this placement. Like so many of our CELTA trainees Jay has gained a life-changing qualification that lets him make a real difference to his own prospects and the chance to work positively in an international environment.”


Major Stephen Westwood and Unitas Chair Quentin Hawkins hope that visitors and Christians from across the city will take the opportunity to come and sing praises to the Lord together. Unitas represents a wide range of city churches and this celebration gives us all a chance to join together with holiday visitors to our city.


For more information contact Unitas Chair Quentin Hawkins on 01792 413639, Major Stephen Westwood on 01792 645636, or myself John on 07979 482527

The new wind turbine on Fabian Way. The new wind turbine on Fabian Way.

Welsh Water have installed a 79m wind turbine at their treatment plant off Fabian Way. The not-for-profit utility was given permission for the turbine on appeal after Swansea Council turned it down, the turbine would produce just over a quarter of the energy required to operate the treatment works.

Welsh Water had previously hoped to install a 104m turbine at the treatment works, but this was refused, prompting the utility to pitch the case for the 79m one. Council planning officers turned down the latter application, saying it would result in significant adverse landscape and visual impacts, while being "visually prominent" for drivers and cyclists on Fabian Way.


Concerns about the turbine were raised by, among others, Swansea University, which said there was the potential for vibrations to affect highly sensitive electron microscopes at the new Bay Campus nearby.

But Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector Hywel Wyn Jones overruled the council on appeal. He said the turbine's contribution to Welsh Government renewable energy targets would be significant, and that the structure would not cause significant harm to the landscape.

He added: "I have also found that the scheme would not cause unacceptable harm to the living conditions of local residents or the working environment in nearby commercial and educational premises." There is already a 43m wind turbine operating at Swansea Docks, and site owners Associated British Ports won an appeal to install a 77m one at Queens Dock last year. The wind turbine which is only 100 yards from the dual carriageway can be seen going east just past Port Tennant.

The new wind turbine on Fabian Way.

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With the Welsh National Health Service facing an ever growing demand for healthcare provision, coupled with financial pressures on all parts of the system, delivering an effective and sustainable service is a challenge stakeholders across Wales are coming together to address.

Launched in May 2016, the Swansea Healthcare Innovation Partnership Programme (SHIPP) is a flagship pan-Wales programme that will speed up the number of new healthcare innovations getting into the hands of clinicians and healthcare workers within the NHS service in Wales. The fund supports projects derived from healthcare innovation taking place in Welsh universities, Health Boards and NHS Trusts, providing initial proof of concept funding of up to £50,000 to support the early stage development of new technologies that will have a significant impact on patients’ well-being.  


Since the programme began, a pipeline of 14 projects has been developed, with 6 initially shortlisted, 5 of which have been awarded a first round of funding for projects to run from 1st July to the 31st December 2016. Successful projects have been selected for funding by a commercial panel comprised of venture capital fund managers and intellectual property experts.  Funded projects were chosen on the basis of their commercial viability and their potential long-term impact on healthcare in Wales.


SHIPP, which is still open to new enquiries, builds on the success of InvestorG8, a £450,000 Welsh Government funded initiative that supported 9 projects over a 10 month period, with 8 new companies or joint ventures being launched as a result.  InvestorG8 has already yielded a number of substantial offers of investment into these new businesses, and has delivered a 10 fold return on the public funding received in 2014.


Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “This programme is about developing new innovative technologies to improve outcomes for patients and getting them into the hands of clinicians faster, whilst making money spent on the NHS go further.  This team has an impressive track record of developing research-derived technologies commercially; as well as improving health and care services the SHIPP programme aims to create new businesses, supporting jobs and growth in Wales.”


One of the funded projects involves clinicians from Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Swansea University/Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, which will result in the development of a healthcare app for use by the general public, designed to help people ascertain whether they, or people they care about, are likely to be suffering from an eating disorder.   The App will be free to use and released early in the New Year.


Dr Mark Bowman, SHIPP Programme Manager commented: "We are delighted to have identified, approved and funded a wide range of projects in such a short space of time through the SHIPP programme.  Having received enquiries from all over Wales, there is clearly strong evidence of the demand for this programme.  We very much look forward to working with a variety of projects, all of which have the potential to deliver significant healthcare benefits for the Welsh NHS and its patients.”


Dr Gerry Ronan, Head of Commercial Services at Swansea University said: “This is yet another example of the ambitious approach to Open Innovation being adopted by Swansea University.  Our aim is to apply our highly distinctive and outcome-driven approach to developing healthcare innovations.


We welcome the opportunity to deploy our proven processes and procedures within an NHS environment.  Thanks to Welsh Government part-funding, Swansea University can now offer the Welsh NHS a fast track to successful commercialisation of their healthcare innovation projects.”


If you are a healthcare professional working in the Welsh NHS and are interested in working with Swansea University to develop an innovative product or service, please contact

Dr Mark Bowman on

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3rd - 4th SEPTEMBER

Swansea BHS Store Swansea BHS Store

This Sunday BHS, which began as a shop in Brixton in 1928 before cropping up in hundreds of British towns and cities, will permanently close all its last shops, including branches in Norwich, Leicester, Romford, York, Exeter and Belfast. It will vacate all the premises by August 30. Administrators Duff & Phelps, which has sold BHS’s online and international operations to the Qatar-based Al Mana Group, said in July that all 114 BHS stores still trading would close before the end of the summer, with its flagship Oxford Street store first on the list. Today BHS officially vacated the premises of 13 former shops, including in Liverpool, Brighton, Bromley and Croydon, after ceasing trading earlier this week.


Shops have been plastered with “closing down sale” signs and have stayed open to shift cut-price stock, while staff have been handed notice dates and redundancy packages. But workers have complained about being “held to ransom” by BHS’ administrators, with some employees claiming that they have been threatened with losing redundancy pay if they leave before their notice period or refuse to help dismantle shops. BHS’ collapse into administration last April has cost 11,000 jobs and left 22,000 pensions in the lurch, prompting a lengthy parliamentary inquiry into its former boss Dominic Chappell, as well as one-time owner Sir Philip Green.


MPs have strongly criticised the actions of Sir Philip, who sold BHS for £1 to Retail Acquisitions in March 2015, after taking huge sums of money out of the company. Retail Acquisitions was being run by Mr Chappell, a three-time bankrupt. Reports last night claimed that Sir Philip's wife, Tina, could be forced to plug the £571m black hole in BHS's pension scheme. Sir Philip is currently in negotiations with the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) about the deficit, but regulators have become frustrated by delays, according to the Mail.


It said sources close to the PPF have considered issuing Lady Green, who controls the companies that own the Green family's assets, with a "contribution notice" if Sir Philip does not pay. The retail tycoon has pledged to resolve the issue, and trustees and regulators are reportedly prepared to accept a payment of around £350m.


A spokesman for The Pensions Regulator said: "Our focus is on achieving the best possible outcome for members of the BHS pension scheme and pension protection fund levy payers. Our discussions with Sir Philip Green and his advisers are ongoing."


A spokesman for Sir Philip and Lady Green could not be reached for comment.


Swansea BHS Store