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Gower power picks sweet partnership to cut food waste and feed those in need

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A Gower-based solar energy provider has pledged match-funding to a Swansea group which organises apple harvesting from overlooked trees and orchards to feed those in need in the area.

The partnership with Cyfoeth y Coed/Sweet Pickings is part of Gower Power’s ongoing Community Benefits Fund work, which uses any profits from its solar farm to benefit local groups and eco projects.  Gower Power has just launched a new 100 percent green energy tariff for with energy generated in Gower going to fuel up to 300 Swansea homes and businesses.

Gower Power Director, Ant Flanagan

Gower Power Director, Ant Flanagan says: “Our ethos at Gower Power has always been about ploughing profits back into the local community and projects like Sweet Pickings is the kind of grassroots scheme our funding panel likes to support. Over the years Gower Power has helped to fund Mor Restaurant, Matt’s Café, Big Meadow CSA, Clydach Community Garden, Swansea Wellbeing Centre and others. And as take-up for our clean energy tariff continues, we hope to back more valuable local schemes like these. 

“Sweet Pickings has set up an ingenious plan to map overlooked tree sites, harvest the fruit and distribute it to people who need it. We will match any funding they during the first week of June as part of the Crowdfunder they have set up to help their scheme come to fruition.

“We are excited to have launched our new Gower Power tariff, in partnership with Ecotricity and we have had a number of householders and businesses sign up to make the switch already. We know people in Swansea have an appetite for making simple changes that are good for the planet, and they can find out more about making the switch at Gowerpower.coop.”

Details of the crowdfunder can be found here.

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Anna Williams from Cyfoeth y Coed/Sweet Pickings said: “We’re really grateful for Gower Power’s generous contribution to the crowdfunder for our project Cyfoeth y Coed / Sweet Pickings. This fundraiser covers one time setup costs that will create the foundation for future harvests at minimal cost.

“We’re doing this by creating a database of all the geographical, legal, and other information associated with fruit picking and by buying harvesting equipment such as ladders, picking poles and hard hats to use for years to come. This equipment will be housed at the Tool Library at the Environment Centre where it can be borrowed by the public at any time we’re not using it.

“We’ve been fortunate that numerous people have already sent us over 80 tree locations all over Swansea. We’ve partnered with Fare Share Cymru who will distribute, what we estimate will be approximately 3000 kg of fruit, to over 24 community organizations including Matt’s Café, the East Side Food Bank and Unity in Diversity.

“The scheme will begin to resolve the paradox that in Swansea an enormous amount of apples, and other tree fruit, are wasted every year while many people in the same city struggle to afford fresh fruit. This project creates a new, resilient, low carbon food source for Swansea and prevents the emissions caused by transporting unwanted fruit to Carmarthen as garden waste.”

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Gower Power’s Solar Storage, a project made possible with support from Welsh Government Energy Service and European Regional Development Funds, will enable up to 300 local homes and businesses to be supplied with green energy from the solar farm owned 100 percent by community benefit society, Gower Regeneration Ltd.  All profits from the project will be ploughed back into local grassroots community projects like Sweet Pickings.

The 1MW solar farm at Killan Fach Farm, Dunvant, began generating power on March 31st 2017 and became the first community owned solar farm in Wales after a successful share offer raised around £900,000 from ethical investors, largely in the Swansea area.

Gower Power Solar Storage has teamed up with leading green fuel provider, Ecotricity as part of the project, and they will provide the necessary customer services and billing. Ecotricity will be able to top up any electricity that isn’t generated onsite site with 100 percent renewable sources, and also offer Gower Power Solar Storage customers carbon neutralised gas.

It is expected that the solar farm will generate clean, renewable electricity for 30 years, and over time will produce a surplus of around half a million pounds.

Find out how to switch to 100 local clean energy via Gower Power here: https://www.gowerpower.coop/buy-green-energy/


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  1. Pingback: Council invests £18,000 to boost community crowdfunding efforts – Swansea Bay News

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Environment

Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

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From endangered bats to moths, beetles and unusual critters, a Swansea suburb is giving locals an opportunity to discover exactly what’s living on their doorstep.

The Cadle Heath BioBlitz event funded by the Swansea Nature Partnership on Saturday, May 14, is a day packed with scavenger hunts, guided walks, opportunities to learn about the wildflowers, bugs birds, reptiles and mammals and help to gather important nature data by recording the unusual species living in this urban heath.

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This nature reserve is one of Swansea’s best kept secrets and stretches from behind Swansea Community Farm on Carmarthen Road, to popular shopping-destination, Pontarddulais Road Retail Park.

The event, which is organised by Swansea Community Farm, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre and Penderi Green Regeneration project, will take place between 10am and 3pm at the farm. Followed by a bat walk at 8.30pm, giving people the chance to listen for the elusive, red-listed, Lesser Horseshoe Bat in its natural habitat.

Kate McCabe from Pobl, leading on the Penderi Green Regeneration Project, said: “This is an exciting event for us. Cadle Heath is one of the best examples of urban heathland in the country and we are proud to have such a rich, exciting space for nature in the heart of Swansea’s Penderi region. The fact that the heath is home to a red-listed bat species is something we should be really proud of and something we should protect and celebrate.”

“Cadle is in such a highly populated part of Swansea that it is often overlooked, and people don’t often realise the hidden haven that exists for local wildlife. This family-friendly event will really bring the area to life, giving people a unique opportunity to really explore the area with the guidance of passionate scientists and nature experts.”

Katharine Aylett, from Swansea Community Farm, said: “We are proud to be hosting such an important and exciting event for the area, and to be partners of Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. At Swansea Community Farm, we know the positive effect activities like this have on the community and local wildlife; it’s about raising awareness of the natural world and bringing people together, outdoors. 

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“The Penderi Green Regeneration Project itself, is vital to the area and is already having a clear impact on this part of Swansea. We’re looking forward to working with them on future events and initiatives.”

The Penderi Green Regeneration Project is an initiative to support local people in their desire to improve green spaces in their area which will help boost health and wellbeing. Through a series of physical and educational opportunities, the initiative will bring the wider neighbourhood together to regenerate green spaces in the Penderi area of Swansea.

Funded by UK Government, under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Pobl Group is able to deliver the Project with the help of key partners, Swansea Environment Centre, Room To Grow and the Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

For more information on the free event, visit: www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

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Environment

First Minister celebrates 10 years of the Wales Coast Path

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The First Minister will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Wales Coast Path with a visit to meet volunteers and walkers.

A year long programme of events and activities celebrating the Wales Coast Path will take place throughout 2022, including walking festivals, virtual challenges and art installations.

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Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty.

The 870 mile path guides walkers along Wales’ picturesque coastline, weaving its way past a hundred beaches and sixteen castles.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coastal path is one of the crowning glories of Wales and one of the proudest achievements of devolution.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the management of the path. Particularly the staff and volunteers, who are out in all weathers, working hard to maintain the path to such high standards.

“If I had to choose my favourite stretch of the path, the portion between Pendine and Amroth would be a candidate: starting in my own home county of Carmarthenshire, and ending in Pembrokeshire. It may not be the most well-known part of the path, but it offers huge variety: some challenging climbs, outstanding variety of flowers, secret coves and plenty of historical interest”.

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The Welsh Government will build on the successes of the first ten years so that more people are able to enjoy the path, from more backgrounds, more easily, and with more benefits for local communities, businesses and the environment.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, asked Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore to undertake a review of the Wales Coast Path.

A small group, drawn from academia and the public, private and voluntary sectors was established to undertake the review.

The Group reflected on the key achievements over the last decade and identified how to maximise opportunities for the future.

Their report has been published on the Welsh Government website today (11 May).

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The review recognises the potential value and challenges of the Wales Coast Path. It contains 19 recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider when developing its future strategic approach to the path.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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