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Senedd21: Katon Bouzalakos | Propel Party | Swansea West

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KATON BOUZALAKOS
PROPEL PARTY CANDIDATE – SWANSEA WEST

1. Tell us about yourself:

We’ve asked Katon for a profile and are waiting for him to get back to us.

2. What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

We’ve asked Katon for a profile and are waiting for him to get back to us.

3. What will you do for your constituency/region if elected?

We’ve asked Katon for a profile and are waiting for him to get back to us.

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Swansea tourism accommodation businesses given funding opportunity

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Tourism businesses in Swansea could be in line for funding to help improve the quality of their visitor offer.

Swansea Council says its tourism fund can give grants of up to £8,000 for small accommodation providers based in rural or semi-rural parts of the city that employ 25 people or less.

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Eight tourism businesses benefitted from the first round of the scheme, which is part of the council’s overall £25m economic recovery fund.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism, said: “Our tourism businesses make such an important contribution to Swansea’s economy, so they’re very deserving of support from the council. As we emerge from the pandemic, grant schemes of this kind are more needed than ever, with tourism among the sectors that was hardest hit.

“The businesses that successfully applied as part of the first round of this funding scheme are already benefitting.

“Improvements of this kind will combine to further raise Swansea’s profile as a visitor destination, helping attract even more people here in future. This will then create more spending and more jobs for local people and local businesses.”

Run by Ellen and Andrew Taylor, Hillside Glamping Holidays in Llangennith (pictured top) was among the businesses to benefit from the first round of the scheme. Funding helped the business install wood panelling in its four glamping pod bedrooms and create a sheltered outdoor seating area for guests to enjoy stargazing.

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Ellen said: “We wouldn’t have been able to carry out all this work without the help of the council’s tourism support fund, so it’s made a big difference to our business.

“We’ve been able to do a lot more than we originally intended, with many of our return customers saying how much they love the improvements we’ve introduced.

“Thanks to the grant, we also achieved a Gold Award from Visit Wales for our glamping accommodation.”

Other businesses to have benefitted from the first round of the scheme included Clyne Valley Cottages, where the Keeper’s Cottage and adjoining Barn Owl Cottage have been refurbished. The funding also helped Tir Cethin Farm in Three Crosses with the purchase and installation of Scandinavian-style hot tubs for their guests to enjoy all year-round.

Head to swansea.gov.uk/tsf for more information about the tourism support fund and the chance to apply by the July 26 deadline.

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The council have said priority will be given to projects which are aimed at improving the visitor experience through upgrading the accommodation offer or achieving higher grading.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Art

Swansea students’ art showcased at global ‘Without Borders’ project

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Students and staff at University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD)’s Swansea College of Art are amongst 300 participants connected to 21 groups around the world who have contributed to a new global art project.

Without Borders’ has sought to remove barriers, create alliances, and connect with neighbours and aims to bring creative people together, to collaborate in an international touring exhibition of works on paper – a collection of artists pages.

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Without Borders has been curated by Jonathan Powell, Elysium gallery Director and Heather Parnell, artist, and co-editor of 1SSUE. The exhibition of artist works has now made its way from Kyoto to Nagoya in Japan on the next leg of its world tour.

At the end of this exhibition, these pages will be gathered together and forwarded to another venue to be dismantled and displayed, and then reassembled before moving again to the next location. The exhibition will travel the globe and at the end of the tour, the book will be placed in a special collection’s library.

UWTSD Cert HE Art and Design Foundation Programme Director Katherine Clewett said: “I am delighted to see that the exhibition has now entered its next phase. ‘Without Boarders’ Includes work by staff and students from Swansea College of Art in collaboration with Elysium Art Gallery

“It is an evolving digital project and physical exhibition, aimed at bringing together communities and artists from around the world.

“The exhibition title upholds ideas and perspectives concerning current socio-political boundaries. This project was an opportunity for students and staff to reflect on constricted connections, and to seek collective responses.

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“Swansea College of Art contributors comprises students and staff from Foundation, Degree and MA courses, exhibiting in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, photography, and stitch.

“We are again thankful to Jonathan at Elysium Art Gallery for inviting us to contribute to this timely exhibition and working with us as we follow it around the world.”

The student’s art at Elysium Gallery (Image: UWTSD)

Jonathan Powell said: “A big thank you to Izuru Mizutani – Director of the Art and Mind Center in Nagoya for hosting this ambitious exhibition. Also, a big thank you to Masahiro Kawanaka & Art Spot Korin in Kyoto for hosting us previously.”

Artist and project organiser Heather Parnell said: “This exhibition and what it stands for has become more significant than ever. Freedom to connect and share with our neighbours, without restrictions and in peace, is fundamental to human flourishing.”

In response to the crisis unfolding in Ukraine, a special ‘Prayer for peace‘ corner will be in place at the Elysium gallery. It is a place where artists express their intentions to pray for the safety of the Ukrainian people.

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Tourism

Top 5 romantic (but COVID-friendly) last-minute Valentines getaways revealed

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A last-minute Valentine’s Day trip might be essential if you and your partner are desperate to escape the UK’s dramas and chilly weather.

However, many travellers are still nervous about ever-changing restrictions and unsure where to try for their romantic getaway.

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To help plan a stress-free trip to remember, Quotezone.co.uk has rounded up some of the best Covid-restriction friendly Valentine’s Day getaways both home and abroad.

1. Lisbon, Portugal

If you’re looking for the perfect city getaway to sight-see with your partner, Lisbon is a one-stop shop. From beautiful cobblestone streets to cultural and historical attractions plus delicious local wines and delicacies, this mid-February escape can turn a dreary winter into an enjoyable and sunny one.

Even better, from 1 December people from the UK have been allowed to travel to Lisbon for essential and non-essential travel, meaning that a romantic trip is still on the cards. Further, mandatory negative tests will be dropped for those who are fully vaccinated.

If you do opt for Lisbon, be sure to check out:

  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • Pink street
  • Praça do Comércio
  • Lisbon Castle
(Image: Gaurav Jain on Unsplash)

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

If a quiet break is high on the agenda, Amsterdam is a must-see. Although the Venice of the North is holding onto some restrictions, including a 10pm curfew, limited capacity at bars and restaurants, and social distancing rules – this tulip filled gem is packed with culture and provides the perfect excuse for a quiet and restful getaway.

The plethora of options available to couples means you’ll never be bored. A go-to for couples is touring the canals on a pedal boat – but for a dose of culture, attend the theatres such as Pathe Tuschinski – or, if you’re looking to save some money, stop by the Concertgebouw for a free lunchtime classical concert.

(Image: Colin Watts on Unsplash)

3. Cotswolds, England

If you and your partner are looking to avoid airports and longer travel times, the Cotswolds could provide the perfect balance. Its stunning natural backdrop, and relaxed pace of life, provides the perfect staycation for a couple looking to escape the chaos of city life.

As of 27 January, making your way through the Cotswolds shouldn’t be an issue, as Covid passes are no longer required and face masks are no longer mandated anywhere – however some venues may impose their own restrictions.

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The Cotswolds is home to many top tourist attractions, including the 1,000-year-old Warwick Castle. But if you’re looking for something more niche, try hunting for antiques in Circencester or for a boozy night for two, be sure to visit Britain’s oldest inn, The Porch House.

(Image: Marko Hankkila on Unsplash)

4. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Voted one of the most Instagrammable* spots in Europe, Dubrovnik will not fail to capture the perfect romantic moment with its stunning scenery.

Most of Dubrovnik’s main attractions are open in winter, but note the reduced hours, generally closing at 3pm. That said, a walk around the medieval City Walls can be exceptionally impressive on a winter’s day especially without the big crowds.

Getting into Croatia shouldn’t be an issue provided travellers from the UK can present one of the following documents on arrival:

  • Proof of vaccination, or;
  • a negative Covid-19 antigen not older than 48 hours, or;
  • a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours, or;
  • a doctor’s certificate of recovery from COVID-19
(Image: Jad Limcaco on Unsplash)

5. Paris, France

The ‘city of love’ is the obvious choice for Valentine’s Day, given it’s filled with flowers, champagne and chocolates but Paris is also many couples’ go-to destination for its wealth of history and world-famous cuisine.

Even though Paris often comes with a hefty price tag, there are cost-effective options to make a memorable Valentine’s weekend. From taking a trip to Versailles and having a picnic in the Champs de Mars to enjoying the sunset from the rooftop of Galleries Lafayette, the options really are endless.

However, be warned, travellers who are not fully vaccinated will need to self-isolate on arrival in France for 10 days. Those that are fully vaccinated must:

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· Present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 24 hours pre-departure if aged 12 years and over.

· Provide a completed ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying you’re not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This can be found on the French government’s website.

Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “Countries across Europe are all at varying stages of dealing with Covid, creating confusion for many travellers who are unsure of where and how they can escape for a winter break. Our research will hopefully help make things easier for those looking to leave January behind and plan something to look forward to in February.

“Of course, it’s still important to exercise caution when travelling abroad. Covid-19 hasn’t ended just yet and trips abroad may still be impacted through illness or restrictions. If you are planning on getting away this Valentine’s Day do consider buying travel insurance when booking the holiday, rather than when the trip starts. This should ensure you are compensated if anything prevents you from travelling.” 

(Lead image: Juan Ordonez on Unsplash)

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