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Fund established to support city’s veterans

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Swansea armed forces veterans are being urged to take advantage of a Veterans’ Fund set up by the Council.

The £25,000 fund was agreed by the Council as part of its budget for 2021/22 and armed forces veterans can apply to the fund for help.

The fund is among a range of support available to veterans or serving members of the armed forces under the council’s Armed Forces Community Covenant.

Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said: “On Remembrance Day we should never forget that support for the armed forces is a year-round duty for us all.

“The veterans’ budget aims to provide a little bit of extra support to veterans or serving members of the armed forces.

He said: “The fund will support initiatives which address veterans issues, and the veterans themselves.  The fund welcomes new initiatives/innovations and will seed fund new ideas.

“Charitable or voluntary organisations, those with charitable objectives and not-for-private-profit organisations, are eligible apply. If the grant is to support an individual the grant will be paid via the applicant organisation, individuals cannot apply for Grant funding directly.”

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Wendy Lewis, the council’s armed forces champion, said: “I meet with veterans and veterans’ groups frequently and I know just how important it is to them that the community around them are supportive.

“I’m confident this new fund will also make a difference to those who need it.”

Cllr Lewis said: “Communities in Swansea have a proud heritage of service in the armed forces. Our support for past and current members of the armed forces is unstinting and year-round.

“As a council we’ve also made a commitment to adopt our city’s community war memorials and cenotaphs to ensure they are looked after for future generations. It’s been a job the veterans have done for many years.

“But we want to reassure them that their communities are playing their part too for the future.”

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The application page for grants will be going on the Council’s Armed Forces web page in the coming days.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Gardening

Dobbies marks ‘Bring your Christmas Tree Home’ Day at its Swansea store

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Garden centre Dobbies is encouraging people in Swansea to think sustainably this Christmas, as they mark ‘Bring your Christmas Tree Home Day’ (4 December 2021).

Dobbies’ annual ‘Bring your Christmas Tree Home Day’ takes place on the first Saturday of December and marks the day most shoppers visit their local garden centre to pick up their real cut or pot grown Christmas trees.

Ethan Firth, Dobbies Little Seedling Ambassador

This year, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer has launched a new range of real Christmas trees for every space at its Swansea store, making it easier to find the perfect tree no matter your style or budget. From small trees like the pot grown Picea ‘Conica’, ideal for compact spaces; to the slim grade Nordmann Fir, perfect for tight spots; to the impressive Premium grade Nordmann Fir for large rooms, there is something for every home, so you can do Christmas your way.

This ‘Bring your Christmas Tree Home Day’, Dobbies is encouraging shoppers buying real trees to think ahead about how they can reuse their Christmas centrepiece once the festivities are over. The garden centre has announced its top tips on how people can repurpose their cut Christmas trees to create a wildlife haven for small animals and insects to shelter in during the winter months and reduce waste in the new year. This is part of the #SustainableDobbies campaign, in which the retailer raises awareness of sustainable products and practices for customers and supporters.

Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles said: “Choosing a real tree is one of the most-loved Christmas traditions, and on this year’s ‘Bring Your Christmas Tree Home Day’, we want to encourage people in Swansea to be mindful of how they can recycle their cut real trees once the festivities are over.

“Cut real Christmas trees can be a great tool when it comes to creating a safe place for wildlife to shelter during the winter months, so we’re delighted to show people how they can make use of their trees once the Christmas decorations have come down.”

Fay Vass, Chief Executive of British Hedgehog Preservation Society said: “We’re delighted that Dobbies are shining a light on ways in which people can create a safe space for hedgehogs and other wildlife in their gardens. Hedgehog numbers are in decline, and they have recently been added to the UK Red List as a species that is vulnerable to extinction. We all need to play our part in improving their habitat and we hope people will take advantage of these tips to help create a safe place for wildlife in their gardens.”

Marcus has outlined a step-by-step guide on how people can reuse their real cut Christmas trees to make a wildlife haven in their gardens in the new year:

  1. Remove the tree from your house carefully to stop any loose needles from dropping. Marcus recommends wearing thick gloves to protect your hands.
  2. Using a good quality pair of secateurs, starting from the top remove each branch as close as possible to the main stem.
  3. Stack the branches together four or five pieces high and place onto soil or leaves under large shrubs, trees or hedges.
  4. Repeat this process until all the branches are used. This will provide a great shelter for small animals and insects to protect them from the worst of the winter weather. Marcus points out that the needles and branches will breakdown over time to produce organic matter than will enrich the soil.
  5. For the main trunk of the tree use a pruning saw to cut into 30cm lengths, which can then be stacked to make a mini log pile which is a great habitat for wildlife to shelter in.

Dobbies is encouraging the children who attend its Little Seedlings Club to take the lead in creating wildlife shelters.

Ethan Firth, Dobbies Little Seedling Ambassador, adds: “Christmas is a time to create fond

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memories and what better way than to keep a memory of Christmas whilst considering the environment and being sustainable all at the same time! I plan to re-pot our family pot grown Christmas tree and reuse for next Christmas, and the cut Christmas tree in my bedroom I’m going to recycle and make a hedgehog shelter.”

To find out more about Dobbies, visit dobbies.com

To find out more about the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, visit britishhedgehogs.org.uk

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Business

Council backing for Small Business Saturday

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Swansea Council is backing Small Business Saturday by continuing to encourage people to shop local.

Being held on Saturday December 4, Small Business Saturday is a UK-wide grassroots campaign that encourages people to support small businesses within their communities.

The Swansea Council plea follows on from the authority providing over £150m of support to local businesses throughout the pandemic.

Grants of up to £1,000 are being made available to support start-up businesses, with grants of up to £10,000 being provided to help businesses throughout the city upgrade the look of their properties.

Free bus travel schemes are helping support local shopping, along with the provision of free outside public space use for businesses to expand. The council is also helping businesses by working with the Welsh Government to provide grants through the Transforming Towns scheme.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “Our local, small businesses have been there for us throughout the pandemic, and the council is there for them too.

“So as well as all we’re doing as a council to help our small businesses as part of our economic recovery fund – which has now been increased from £20m to £25m – we’d also continue to encourage people throughout Swansea to support their local traders both on Small Business Saturday and beyond.

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“This is important because it boosts our local economy while helping sustain and create jobs for local people.”

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment, Regeneration and Tourism, said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of communities right across Swansea, so they rightly deserve our backing.

“From innovative new businesses to those which have been in our communities for generations, many people enjoy the retail and social opportunities they provide both in the city centre and throughout all others parts of Swansea. This is an especially important time of year for our businesses too as we head towards Christmas, so I’d encourage as much support as possible.”

The council has also launched a Shop Local Swansea campaign to encourage people to shop more locally by supporting smaller, independent businesses in their communities. The campaign includes a Shop Local webpage with listings of businesses in communities including Clydach, Gorseinon, Gowerton, Killay, Morriston, Mumbles, Pontarddulais, Sketty and Uplands.

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Swansea

Oak tree marks contribution of Jewish refugees

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An oak tree has been planted in the grounds of Swansea’s Guildhall to mark the 80th anniversary of the Association of Jewish Refugees.

The national charity, which supports Holocaust refugees and survivors living in Great Britain, is planting 80 native oaks at different sites across the country.

Swansea Council was eager to support the initiative to recognise the huge contribution Jewish refugees have made to the city and the UK.

Council Leader Rob Stewart and Lord Mayor Mary Jones were joined by Norma Glass MBE, a leading member of the Jewish Community in Wales, 

and representatives from the inter-faith community and the City of Sanctuary.

Cllr Stewart said: “It is a privilege that Swansea is one of the 80 locations chosen for this fantastic initiative by the Association of Jewish Refugees.

“We are proud that Swansea welcomed refugees at a time of crisis and celebrate the contribution that they have made to the city over so many years.

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“Equally we must never forgot that so many millions were not so lucky and perished in the Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.

“On December 10 Swansea will declare its intention to become a Human Rights city and today’s events are a step towards that, sending out a clear message that Swansea is a safe and welcoming place to live.”

Ms Glass said: “On behalf of the Swansea Jewish community we are so grateful and appreciative of this thoughtful gesture by Swansea Council for this memorial of 80 years to be marked by the planting of a tree.

“We thank all those involved in the organisation of this event and feel honoured. Shalom “

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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