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Swansea community groups urged to get their bids in for children’s activity grants

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Community groups and organisations across Swansea are being urged to help make it a Winter of Wellbeing for children and young people in our communities keeping them busy and active.

Grants of up to £10,000 are on offer to voluntary and community groups, including groups of friends, who’ve got bright ideas to help youngsters make the most out of the winter.

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People organising play activities, sports or looking to get useful equipment for their club or local community group can apply for the cash on offer from Swansea Council and the Welsh Government.

But the deadline for applications is 26th November and all goods or services must have been delivered by 31st March.

Elliott King, Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said the grants offer was a brilliant chance for communities to make it a warm, busy winter for young people.

He said: “Swansea Council is building on the success of the Summer of Fun and October half term programmes to bring our children and young people lots of opportunities this winter.

“Our Winter of Wellbeing plan for Swansea looks to our community groups, play projects, sports clubs, libraries, uniformed groups, friends groups and anyone who can offer activities for children and young people up to 25 to contact us to let us know how they can contribute.

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“We plan to list all of the opportunities on our website to give families details of everything that’s on offer in one place.”

Cllr King said: “Welsh Government and Swansea Council recognise the massive impact the last year has had on children and young people, who will have missed out on so much at the most crucial time of their lives.

“This will be particularly the case for younger children, those who have been shielding, have additional needs or for a range of factors have been unable to get out and have fun and to develop, but ultimately we want all children and young people of Swansea to enjoy a Summer of Fun to make up for this in some way.”

Bids can also be made by groups or organisations who want to expand their existing programmes or use the grant to help secure current projects for the future.

Anyone who feels they are able to contribute to the Winter of Wellbeing, including the potential for funding to support them to do this, should e-mail childcareandplaygrants@swansea.gov.uk for an application form or contact Stephen Cable on 07919 626728 for more details.

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Swansea

Free buses return to Swansea for Jubilee half-term

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Swansea’s hugely-popular free bus offer is back for the last weekend in May and the long Bank Holiday weekend at the start of next month.

There’s lots to do right across the city during half-term, the traditional curtain-raiser to the summer in Swansea.

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The council say whether it’s a trip to the Blackpill Lido, a journey to Singleton Park or a day out on the beach you’re looking for, their free bus services will be available for six days over the half-term period.

All bus passenger journeys starting and finishing in Swansea will be free if your journey starts before 7pm on Saturday, May 28th and Sunday, May 29th.

The free service will also be available before 7pm on June 2, 3, 4 and 5 so families can get out and about together without worrying about the fare.

All journeys need to start and finish within Swansea and the only services not included in the offer are First Cymru’s open-top bus between the City Centre and Mumbles and longer distance coach services.

The free travel initiative was launched during last year’s school summer holidays with tens of thousands of people taking the chance to travel for free to do the shopping, see friends for a coffee or visit local landmarks.

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Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, said the offer was back because of popular demand. He said: “The free bus initiative has been an incredible success over the last 10 months and now the summer’s coming and there’s a long bank holiday ahead, there’s another opportunity for everyone in Swansea to benefit.

“The feedback I’ve had from families worrying about the rising cost of living is that it’s made a real difference because they can spend their hard-earned wages on other things instead when they make their trips.

“There’s lots of council venues and events going on, indoors and outdoors, to enjoy for free and with free buses too, families have some great opportunities to plan inexpensive days out.

“At a time when people are having to make difficult choices due to rising inflation, energy and food bills, a little bit of help on the buses can make the difference between a trip out or staying at home.

He added: “Other local authorities in Wales and England have also been watching what we’ve been doing in Swansea and adapting the idea to support families in their areas too.”

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The free bus initiative applies to all bus journeys starting and finishing within the Swansea Council area until 7pm on days when the offer is running. Travellers will need to comply with any Welsh Government pandemic rules in force at the time.

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Motoring

Swansea tops UK’s motorcycling hotspots in new survey

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New research has identified the UK’s motorbike capital cities and towns, and when including surrounding areas in the postcode, Swansea has come out top – with an incredible 3.92% of the nations motorcyclists settling here.

Hosting 141,782 riders, Swansea offers both shoreline and lush, green scenic routes so its hardly surprising that the city is the UK’s number one biker hotspot.

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The new research by Bikesure has named Wales as the third-highest biker hotspot in the UK, with 9,514 riders per 100,000 people.

To calculate Britain’s biker hot spots, Bikesure analysed the latest Department for Transport data to identify the number of licensed motorcyclists in the UK in 2021. This data was then broken down by region per 100,000 people, allowing Bikesure to pinpoint the top three locations that Britain’s bikers reside. 

Whilst expected in a post-Covid world that new bikers in the UK would rise due to lowered restrictions and the backlog of learners, Bikesure’s research shows biking within Britain has seen a sharp increase. 

In 2021, 36.9k new bikers were registered in the UK. With discussions around the need to address climate change increasing, the findings suggest a shift in the way Brits are travelling. The return of bikers was particularly prevalent in Wales, which boasted rider growth of 114% since 2020.

Wales also tops the list when it comes to the greatest number of urban bikers, with both Swansea (141,781 actual riders) and Llandudno (77,803 actual riders) making the top ten town and city hot spots list with 6% of all urban riders living in these locations. Wales also had 5% of the 38.6k newly registered motorcyclists in 2021, boasting 114% growth since 2020.

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Bikesure asked bikers in the UK’s hot spots what they felt their region offered to riders. They said:

  • The North East offers great rural riding experiences, as voted by 72% of bikers in this region.
  • Scottish riders feel a sense of camaraderie with 71% of riders rating the friendliness of other motorcyclists highly.
  • Welsh riders were happiest with the accessibility of garages to upkeep and maintain their motorcycles, as voted by 81% of bikers.

Looking at newly licensed riders, although there was a decline in 2020, presumably due to Covid, 2021 was a bumper year with 38.6k new bikers. Looking at demographics, 3.6k newly qualified motorcyclists were aged 20-29 years old, but 2021 also saw the highest number of riders aged 60-69 get their licence, with 911 registering in the first three quarters.

Most of these new bikers can be found in the South East, with Reading and Guilford revealed as the region’s most popular biker towns. There were 7.1k newly qualified motorcyclists in the South East region – a year-on-year increase of 86%.

Large jumps in the number of new riders were also seen in Greater London, the East Midlands and in Yorkshire and the Humber.

The East Midlands is in fact home to 30% of the top 10 cities for newly registered motorcyclists. Nottingham, Derby and Leicester in the East Midlands saw 2.5k new bikers licensed in 2021. As a region, it saw an 106% increase in riders, meaning it was also among the top three fastest growing regions year-on-year along with Wales, and Yorkshire and the Humber.

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Business

The Secret Hospitality Group provides enterprise education programme to three Swansea schools

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The Secret Hospitality Group is thanking the local community for its support during COVID by providing the Bumbles of Honeywood enterprise education programme to three local primary schools – The Grange Primary School, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llwynderw and Brynmill Primary School.

Created by Swansea-based 2B Enterprising Ltd, The Bumbles of Honeywood is a suite of bilingual resources mapped to the national curriculum to help primary schools embed enterprise skills into their day-to-day learning. It’s delivered in schools via the 2B Enterprising Corporate Engagement Partner programme, which pairs businesses with local schools.

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As Corporate Engagement Partners, members of The Secret Hospitality Group have been visiting The Grange, Llwynderw and Brynmill primary schools to introduce the Bumbles of Honeywood programme and talk to pupils about what it’s like to run a business.

Cultivating entrepreneurship and enterprise skills from a young age has been shown to be of huge value in equipping pupils for their future lives and careers – and it’s now required as part of the national curriculum in Wales.

The Secret Hospitality Group is an example of entrepreneurship in action. It started life in 2017 with one venue, The Optimist in Uplands. In 2019 the company won the tender to run The Secret on Swansea seafront, and since then it has also taken on The Green Room next to Swansea Arena and the iconic Castellamare restaurant at Bracelet Bay.

Now the group has sold The Optimist to focus on landmark locations, creating venues that are as memorable as the views. As the company’s strapline says, “the view is just a bonus.”

The company was founded by brother and sister Lucy and Ryan Hole, who have since been joined by their siblings Amy and Tom. During the COVID lockdowns the team ran a coffee kiosk on the seafront in Swansea and the experience made them feel even more connected with the local community. Now they want to give something back by supporting three local schools.

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“Opening the kiosk was a turning point for us during the pandemic,” says Lucy. “We had such a great response from the community, and they rallied round when the kiosk was vandalised. The kiosk became a real hub and the beach just became alive. Now we want to give back to the community as a thank you for what they did for us during that hard time.”

Lucy and her siblings have chosen to support The Grange, Llwynderw and Brynmill primary schools because they are local to them and they have family links with two of them.

All the Hole siblings attended Brynmill Primary School, as did their father Greg Hole, who has run local news agents including Uplands News for decades. His father and grandfather, who ran the businesses before him, also attended Brynmill Primary School.

“We grew up in Uplands and used to walk through Brynmill Park to get to the school,” says Lucy. “We have really fond memories of the school, and all the teachers knew who we were because generations of the family had been there. It was a lovely school.”

Amy’s children attend The Grange Primary School and the family decided to also support Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Llwynderw to help bring The Bumbles of Honeywood to a local Welsh medium school too.

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The Hole siblings have gone into each school to meet with the children, talk about their businesses and introduce the Bumbles of Honeywood programme. They have also welcomed children to their businesses so they can learn more about how restaurants are run.

“The children were great,” says Lucy. “They wanted to learn and asked a lot of good questions. They were eager to learn the skills taught by the Bumbles of Honeywood programme: to be confident, brave, kind and strong.”

She and Ryan also enjoyed being able to demonstrate that there are many different paths to forging a successful career: it doesn’t have to include going to university.

“We didn’t excel at school, but I think making pupils aware of the different routes they can take is really important,” says Lucy.

2B Enterprising founder Sue Poole, welcomes their contribution.

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“It’s really important for the children to meet and talk to homegrown talent,” she says. “Lucy and her sister and brothers are local entrepreneurs who show the children what you can achieve if you work hard and support each other.

“It’s about the support you have from your family, your community, with everybody working together, businesses will succeed.

“The Secret Hospitality Group is a young company that started off with one small restaurant in the Uplands and is now opening iconic venues right across Swansea Bay.

“It’s exciting from that perspective, and because of the history of the family, who have been entrepreneurial for probably over 100 years, I think they’re really great role models for young people.”

Lead image: Children from The Grange Primary School visit Castellamare with (L-R) Lucy Hole, The Secret Hospitality Group, Abigail Cooper, Operations Co-ordinator, 2B Enterprising, Mrs Tucker, Teaching Assistant, Ms Suff, Teacher, Mrs Minty, Year 1 & Year 2 Teacher and Mrs Griffiths, Year 1 & Year 2 Teaching Assistant.

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