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Council helps young people kick-start their careers



Hundreds of people are gaining valuable experience in the workplace thanks to two Swansea Council initiatives that help them find work.

The Workways+ scheme offers training, paid work experience and volunteering opportunities to unemployed people over 25 to help them improve their lives and find employment.

It has already supported more than 1,000 people living in Swansea. Some have benefited from paid work experience opportunities in the council’s waste department.

As part of the council’s economic recovery plan and in response to the impact of the pandemic, the council is now offering more than 300 paid work placement opportunities to unemployed people through Workways+ and fellow employment scheme Kickstart.

These opportunities are available across a range of roles in local businesses and organisations, with more than 100 positions based at the council itself.

The UK Government’s Kickstart has seen more than 20 new recruits join teams such as parks, building services, waste management and security.

All recruits are supported by department managers, with wrap around support being provided by a team of experienced mentors and employer liaison officers in the council’s economic development and external funding team.


The support provided has been key to help young people realise their potential, increase their skills and maximise their chances of accessing employment opportunities following their placement.

Yousef Alzyoud (Image: Swansea Council)

Yousef Alzyoud, aged 44, of Penclawdd, began a Workways+ placement with the council’s waste management team, June 2021.

He said: “Before starting the placement I was struggling with being unemployed and not being able to provide for my family.

“I’m now supporting them without needing to claim state benefits, which is a positive outcome for us all.

“Since joining Workways+ my mentor has helped me every step of the way and supported me with applications and my CV.


“My paid work opportunity at the council is giving me much-needed hands-on work experience.

“It’s boosted my confidence and wellbeing, and the staff here are extremely supportive.”

Craig Cherrington (Image: Swansea Council)

Craig Cherrington, 39, of Morriston, began a Workways+ placement with the council’s waste management team, June 2021.

He said: “This opportunity has been excellent – it’s got me back into work and has boosted my confidence.

“I love working with the team in the council’s recycling centre and get so much out of the fact that I’m working with the public and enjoying what I do.


“The support given by the Workways+ team is amazing; they’ve been there the whole time, helping me on this journey and giving me this amazing opportunity.

“I’d recommend Workways+ to everyone on benefits as it really is a way of getting you back into work and back on track. Go for it, it’ll change your life!”

Raymond Davies (Image: Swansea Council)

Raymond Davies, 18, of Townhill, began a Kickstart placement with the council’s waste management team, July 2021.

He said: “Kickstart has turned my life around and has helped me out a lot.

“If a young person’s struggling to find work, I recommend speaking to their work coach.


“My placement is going really well, I’m learning different things and I’m happy where I am, hoping to get a full-time job.

“I get along with all the other workers and everyone’s decent.”

Daniel Thomas, 25, of Treboeth (pictured top), began a Kickstart placement with the council’s waste management team, August 2021.

He said: “Kickstart has given me the opportunity to build on skills and experience within the workplace.

“I’m really enjoying my placement – it’s nice to be earning proper money working with a great team.”


Robert Francis-Davies, council cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We want to help Swansea people into work. Kickstart and Workways+ may be the schemes for many people and businesses.

“This type of initiative is helping Swansea to lead the way out of the pandemic. Our city’s £1bn regeneration programme will also be a major driver of future success.”

Alyson Pugh, cabinet member for supporting communities, said: “The council does a lot to help local people and Kickstart – which has seen opportunities for around 100 young people to work within the council – will mean more skills and confidence among the local workforce.

“I’m delighted that young people joining the council on this scheme feel so positively about our work with Kickstart.

“Workways+ is also proving to be popular and successful.”


As an approved Kickstart Gateway the council can help employers secure funding to cover those placements.

Kickstart provides funding for employers of all sizes to take on those on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The £2bn initiative is part of the UK Government’s plan for jobs across England, Scotland and Wales.

Employers and young people interested in considering Kickstart’s six-month job opportunities in Swansea can find out more here – Inquiries:, 01792 637112.

Workways+ has been supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government. To find out more about Workways+ phone 01792 637112 or log on to

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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




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


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

To find out more about the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, visit

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Council backing for Small Business Saturday




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.


“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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Oak tree marks contribution of Jewish refugees




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.


“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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