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More acclaim for Copperopolis – involving communities in Swansea’s history

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Hafod-Morfa copperworks on the banks of the river Tawe, before regeneration work began

The Copperopolis project, which is at the heart of regenerating Hafod-Morfa copper works, has been selected as an example of how universities across Wales are working with their communities, creating social and economic benefits.

The project, led by Swansea University, has involved community groups, schools, colleges and charities. The focus has been on regenerating the Hafod-Morfa works, which was once the centre of the world copper industry.

The work has illuminated the rich industrial heritage of the Lower Swansea Valley and its importance to the city.

Dr Alex Langlands of Swansea University history department, who heads the Copperopolis project, explained: “The work that the University has done, with partners, has raised the profile of the rich industrial heritage of the Lower Swansea Valley. We’ve shown just how important the copper industry has been to the city of Swansea and its story.

We want to spend even more time working with communities, charities, schools, colleges and businesses. The aim is for us to understand community needs better, so we can contribute to social benefit and economic regeneration in the region.”

Professor Louise Miskell of Swansea’s History Department said: “Research led by the History Department has revealed that ‘Swansea Copper’ had a global reputation in the 19th Century. It’s a key part of the identity of the city and something we want all current residents, young and old, to know about and be proud of.’

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The film about the Copperopolis project was one of a series shown at an online event run by Universities Wales, which represents universities across the country.

The event was held to launch a new Civic Mission framework to help universities build upon the ways they work with people, schools and communities. Wales Education Minister, Kirsty Williams MS, gave the keynote speech.

Developed by Wales’ Civic Mission Network, the framework will support universities in delivering significant economic and social benefits by connecting more closely with communities across Wales and further afield.

Lynnette Thomas, Chair of the Civic Mission Network, said: “Universities in Wales have long been rooted in their communities, with a proud history of working with people, public services and business.

In the Civic Mission Framework, universities have an effective tool that will enable them to continue and build on this work to support our communities in much needed areas to help create a more resilient and equal Wales.”


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Gardening

Hospital’s flower power proves big success with patients

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A summer of sun and extra flower beds have blossomed into the perfect partnership for patients’ wellbeing at Singleton Hospital.

The recent prolonged sunny spells – the hottest recorded for Wales in 30 years – have provided ideal conditions for hundreds of begonias to bloom.

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This year, the health board has invested in additional raised beds around the hospital to increase the positive impact on the wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors.

Betty Foley has worked at Singleton as a volunteer for over 15 years.

Seeing a large number of patients, staff and visitors during each shift, she has heard a lot of positive patient feedback for the flower features.

She said: “I deal with a large number of patients and visitors coming into Singleton and a lot of them have passed comment on how lovely the flowers look around the hospital.

“A lot arrive through the main reception and they’re welcomed by a really colourful bed of flowers, which can give you a bit of a boost when you’re going into hospital for treatment.

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“I’ve been told countless times recently by patients that they sit in front of the hospital where the benches are and the flowers take their mind off things.

“Small things like that can really make a big difference to your day.”

Christian Berndsen, gardening maintenance, and his team put the bedding plants in at the end of May.

He said: “We’ve used a lot of different types of begonias as they have a variety of bright colours that really catch the eye.

“The flowers have benefited from a great summer of sun.

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Nick Davies, and Christian Berndsen in front of one of the flower beds (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

“I’ve had a lot of comments while we’re around the hospital, which is nice. The intention was to give anyone who uses the hospital a nice, bright collection of flowers to look at around the site.

“Seeing bright flowers such as the begonias can give you a bit of a lift, so it’s been lovely to hear that patients love them as it shows it’s having a positive effect.”

Singleton has also benefited from a wooden sculpture of an oak dragonfly, which features on the Crush Hall roundabout which is situated between the main entrance and the maternity and child health building.

That has been funded by Biophilic Wales and designed by local sculptor Simon Hedger, and adds to a creative corner in the hospital grounds.

Nick Davies, Estates Officer at Singleton Hospital, added: “The flowers and sculpture certainly improves the appearance of the hospital. As we have a lot of patients, visitors and staff coming to this hospital we firmly believe that first impressions are very important.

“If you’re waiting for an appointment or are visiting family or a friend, it’s nice for people to see and offers a little lift. In addition, it’s a natural habitat for small wildlife such as bees and butterflies.

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“Christian and the gardening team have done a great job brightening up areas around the hospital, and we’re really pleased it’s impacted patients in a positive way.”

Lead image: Volunteer Betty Foley, Nick Davies, Estates Officer at Singleton Hospital and Christian Berndsen from gardening maintenance at the Crush Hall roundabout display. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Comedy

Welsh legend Max Boyce is coming to Swansea Arena

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Following a sell-out tour in 2022, Welsh legend Max Boyce is coming to Swansea Arena with a special 50th anniversary concert.

The iconic Welsh comedian, singer and entertainer is due to play Swansea’s newest concert venue on Saturday 4 March 2023.

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Glynneath-born Max rose to fame in the 1970s with a musical comedy act rooted in his passion for Welsh rugby.

His very first recordings were made at the Valley Folk Club in Pontardawe in 1971 and featured several tracks that became his signature tunes including including Hymns and Arias, Duw it’s Hard and Slow – Men at Work.

At his brand new Swansea Arena show he will be performing a musical version of his lockdown poem When Just the Tide Went Out for the first time. Since its release in 2020 it has been something of an internet sensation and been viewed nearly 8 million times. It was titled ‘Pick of the Week’ on Radio 4 and features in his number 1 best-selling book, Hymns and Arias.

Max will also be performing some of his other famous songs which have endeared him to both young and old alike. Don’t miss the chance to see this inspired, and inspiring entertainer, whose songs and stories have become part of Welsh Legend.

The one-off show is hard to miss, and definitely one that for years to come you’ll be able to say: “I was there!”

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Max Boyce performs at Swansea Arena on Saturday, March 4th 2023. Tickets go on pre-sale Monday 15 August at 10am with general sale online from 12pm.

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Food & Drink

Swansea rated the best place in the UK for a Thai Takeaway

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person eating using chopsticks

A new study has revealed that Swansea is the best place to find a top quality Thai takeaway in the UK.

This is from HouseholdQuotes who analysed Just Eat data in 523 locations across the UK to discover the best places for 20 cuisine types.

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While coming top for Thai takeaways, Swansea ranked a solid 146 out of 523 UK towns and cities for its overall takeaway offering.

While other Swansea Bay towns didn’t rank quite so highly, if you’re after a different kind of cuisine Port Talbot placed 29th for Pizza.

Indian is Llanelli’s speciality takeaway of choice, with the town ranking 72 in the UK.

Bridgend take-out lovers head for fish and chips, with the town coming in at 225 out f the 523 UK towns and cities surveyed.

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