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New scheme sheds light on promenade in West Cross

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Businesses and cyclists have welcomed an £80,000 new lighting scheme along the promenade in West Cross.

The low-level, environmentally-friendly lights are being funded by Swansea Council, thanks to a scheme for smaller-scale projects in communities across the city.

Each ward in Swansea is being given at least £36,000 to invest in new play equipment or other facilities as part of the scheme. This is in addition to local councillors using funding from their environmental budgets to boost communities.

Stretching for about a mile, the new lighting is aimed at further improving safety and accessibility for walkers, runners, cyclists and other promenade users when it’s dark.

An official switch-on of the West Cross promenade lights has now taken place.

The lights were officially switched on by Lord Mayor of Swansea, Cllr Mary Jones and her consort Cllr Mike Jones (Image: Swansea Council)

Dennis Dywer, of Ripples Café, said: “I’m a resident of West Cross and I have a business here on the promenade. It’s made a big difference – certainly to the business.

“It’s great to see many more cyclists using it day after day – not using their cars, supporting active travel and the very important climate change agenda.”

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John Sayce, Chair of Wheelrights – the Swansea Bay cycle campaign – said: “It’s a fantastic scheme. It’s something that we greatly welcome.

“This scheme will increase the amount of times that cyclists can safely cycle from Mumbles through to West Cross. This is a particular benefit to people who are not used to cycling.”

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Cllr Mark Thomas, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Enhancement and Infrastructure Management, said: “The low-level lighting delivers a big improvement, while ensuring the night sky is unaffected.

“The scheme is already proving very popular, but it will really come into its own during the autumn and winter, giving people even more time to enjoy the promenade.

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“Given how successful this scheme has been, we’re also exploring the introduction of similar lighting on other parts of the promenade to benefit even more residents, businesses and visitors to the city.”

The new lights along the prom in West Cross (Image: Swansea Council)

Cllr Andrew Stevens, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Business Improvement and Performance, said: “This fantastic new lighting scheme in West Cross is part an overall council investment that will ensure every ward in Swansea benefits from new facilities. Other examples include new play facilities already being enjoyed by children and families in communities like Grovesend.

“We’re so lucky to have a promenade that stretches alongside our world class bay, but we’ll keep doing all we can to further improve the facility for walkers, cyclists and other promenade users.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)


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British Transport Police

British Transport Police calls on bystanders to report sexual harassment on the railway

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British Transport Police (BTP) is encouraging the public to do their bit in helping us make the railway a hostile environment for sexual harassment, as reports continue to rise.

A new campaign launched today (Monday 4 July) – called ‘Speak Up, Interrupt’ – aims to empower bystanders and witnesses of all forms of inappropriate sexual behaviour on the network to report incidents or safely intervene where they can, while we continue to boost specialist patrols and target hotspot locations.

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Reports of sexual harassment and sexual offences to BTP have risen by 175% since before the pandemic (2019/20 compared to 2021/22). The force say this tells us that more people are aware that this behaviour isn’t acceptable, and that they are becoming more confident in reporting it to police – which is a step in the right direction, however there’s more to be done.

BTP say that they’re now calling on the public to help. Whether that’s by alerting police or taking simple and non-confrontational steps to interrupt or diffuse a situation if you see behaviour such as leering, catcalling, touching, pressing, upskirting, or indecent exposure.

This could involve speaking to police or rail staff; Giving the victim a way out of the situation by offering your seat; Interrupting the situation by striking up an unrelated conversation or standing between the perpetrator and the victim; Supporting the victim by asking them if they are ok; Or, if it is safe to so, speaking calmly to the person causing the issue.

Reports can be made by texting 61016 or via BTP’s new app ‘Railway Guardian’ now available to download on the Apple and Google Play store. The app also contains guides and advice on what information to report and examples of how to be an active bystander. In an emergency, you should always call 999.

BTP Sexual Offences Lead, Detective Superintendent Sarah White, said: “We must shift the focus away from just relying on victims to report sexual harassment to us, because everyone has a part to play in driving out this unacceptable behaviour.

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“We’re not asking people to police the railway, that’s our job. But small actions such as offering someone your seat if you notice them looking uncomfortable, alerting an officer, or reporting an incident to us can make an enormous difference.

“Your reports provide us with crucial information which helps us build a picture of what’s happening on the network so we can identify crime hotspots, deploy patrols to catch offenders, and crucially bring them to justice.

“As always, our officers are out across the network day and night looking out for you. Download our new Railway Guardian app for more information.”

The campaign has been developed in conjunction with rail industry partners, based on research from charities, campaign groups, and bystander behaviour experts.

(Lead image: British Transport Police)

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Charity

Swansea resident stars in film for homelessness charity Crisis

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Social justice documentary photographer and filmmaker, Alice Aedy, has produced two hard hitting and uplifting documentary films exploring the lives and experiences of two people who have experienced homelessness.

Working alongside Brother Film, a south London based production company, and award-winning director, Lucy Werrett, Alice Aedy’s films focus on the stories of Sylmarine and Swansea-resident John, their experiences of homelessness, and life in their new accommodation.

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Leading furniture retailer DFS, and Crisis, the national charity for people experiencing homelessness, commissioned Alice to create these films to showcase the incredible work that Crisis does to help those experiencing homelessness into permanent accommodation. The films also demonstrate how something as simple as a sofa can help people settle into their new homes and make it their own.

DFS has partnered with Crisis to donate sofas to members who have recently moved into new accommodation. A sofa means that Crisis members have somewhere to relax comfortably and enables them to have family and friends over, offering a welcoming space to be proud of – something that can help boost wellbeing and mental health.

Alice Aedy said: “Following the stories of John and Sylmarine through these films was an uplifting, but emotional experience. Hearing about their struggles with homelessness opens your eyes to the challenges faced by thousands of people up and down the UK and it’s a problem that is only growing.

“Crisis does extraordinary work to help those affected by homelessness and I hope these films serve as inspiration to those working to end homelessness and reassure those currently experiencing similar stories to John and Sylmarine.”

Kiran Ramchandani, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis, said: “Across Britain, 227,000 families and individuals are experiencing the worst forms of homelessness – this includes people sleeping on the streets, stuck in insecure accommodation like B&Bs, or forced to sleep in cars and sheds because they don’t have a place to call home.

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“Crisis’ mission is to end homelessness, and, through our services, we support people to find permanent housing. Our partnership with DFS is so important as it turns houses into homes where people feel safe, settled and can rebuild their lives.

“We’re grateful to Alice Aedy for telling the powerful stories of two people we support and doing so with such care and humanity.”

John from Swansea talked about his experiences of homelessness, and how charity Crisis have helped

Joanne Shawcroft, Group People Director at DFS, said: “Being comfortable in our own home is something many of us take for granted. A safe, secure and welcoming space can play an important role in helping people rebuild their lives and through our partnership with Crisis, we are proud to have helped many people to feel more at home.

“With the support of Crisis, we’re donating £200,000 of furniture to people who have experienced homelessness, just like John and Sylmarine.”

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UK Government

Council looks for people’s view on how £41m funding pot should be spent in Swansea

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Worth over £41m to the city, Swansea Council want people’s views on how funding earmarked for the city should best be used in the next three years.

Swansea Council say responses to an online survey will help them develop a local investment plan aimed at addressing the city’s needs and making the most of its opportunities.

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Feedback from residents and businesses is needed on a number of key themes by midnight on Sunday July 17. These include communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

Once finalised, the local investment plan will then help inform a regional investment plan for South West Wales, which is aimed at unlocking £138m of UK Government Shared Prosperity Fund money that’s already been set aside for the region.

Swansea is set to benefit from £34.4m of this core funding, as well as a further £7.2m to improve the numeracy skills of adults.

The Shared Prosperity Fund is the main source of UK Government funding replacing the European Regional Development Fund and European Social Fund that are no longer available following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, although it is not a direct like-for-like replacement. 

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “Many organisations throughout Swansea made use of EU funds, so we know they’re interested in helping us decide how this funding should best be used over the next three years. 

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“Other people and organisations will have their own views too, which is why everyone is being encouraged to fill out the survey that’s now live on the council website.

“This is an opportunity to help determine how millions of pounds of money will best be spent to boost our communities, businesses and skills, so I’d invite as many people as possible to have their say.”

The regional investment plan will be submitted to the UK Government by August 1 for approval in the autumn.

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