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Songs of Praise at the Vetch

Earthquake strikes central Italy, shocks felt in Rome and Venice




26 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.



Actor and campaigner Lord Rix dies aged 92


27 Aug

Temp 18ºC

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.

At least 250 are believed to have been killed after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy, causing extensive damage to buildings and blackouts.


The quake hit just after 3.30am local time and was felt across a large swathe of the country, including in Rome, where people in the historic centre were woken by rattling furniture and swaying light-fittings, followed by aftershocks.

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

Lord Rix

Brian Norman Roger Rix, Baron Rix, CBE, DL (born 27 January 1924) is an English actor and campaigner who has died.

Rix was born in Cottingham, East Riding of Yorkshire, the youngest of four children. His father, Herbert Rix, and Herbert's two brothers, ran the shipping (and subsequently oil) company in Kingston upon Hull, founded by his grandfather Robert Rix. As a good Yorkshireman, Brian, who was a talented cricketer, only wanted to play for the Yorkshire County Cricket Club (CCC) in his childhood, but when he was being educated at Bootham School, York his ambitions changed. He did play for Hull CC when he was 16 (and after the war for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the Stage and the Lord's Taverners) but during his school days his sister Sheila became an actress and Brian developed the same ambition – to go on the stage. All four Rix children had become interested in the theatre because of their mother, Fanny, who ran an amateur dramatic society and was the lead soprano in the local operatic society. All her children performed in the plays and two of them, Brian and Sheila, became professional actors. Sheila Mercier, as she was known, went on to play Annie Sugden for 25 years in the Yorkshire TV soap opera Emmerdale Farm having worked regularly with her brother in the Whitehall farces in the 1950s and 1960s.

Rix was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions, in October 1961 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at a friend's house in Surrey, and again in April 1977, when Andrews surprised him at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. He was also a castaway on Desert Island Discs on two occasions. The first was with Roy Plomley on 16 May 1960, which was also the first time a castaway was caught on film and broadcast the following evening. His second appearance was with Kirsty Young on 1 March 2009. In August 2016, Rix announced that he was terminally ill, and called for the legalization of voluntary euthanasia for those dying in severe pain.


His death was announced on 20 August 2016.

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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