Swansea Seniors Find Joy, Fitness in Weekly Social Walks

Swansea Seniors Find Joy, Fitness in Weekly Social Walks

Each week a group of over a hundred seniors meet near the Waterfront Museum for a walk, cuppa and chat; an activity many say helps them stay mentally and physically fit.

Swansea Marina Social Walk is a weekly walk organised by the Swansea Council and the charity, Action for Elders. 

“I was suffering from depression, so it’s a very good thing to come here and I recommend it to everyone,” says 70-year-old, Mr Howard Williams. “I’ve been able to make new friends, and, uh, it’s benefited me both health-wise, and especially mentally, because other friends have suffered with different things, and we help each other.”

It was started after the Covid-19 pandemic as a means to help people come together after a long period of isolation.

Action for Elders Operations Manager Myles Lewis told Swan TV that while the walk originally started with six members, their group has now grown to 120 members. 

“I think it’s it’s such a simple idea, doing a walk but I see the smiles on people’s faces a lot of whom are widows who have lost partners, have no friends or isolated in the house,” he says. “So, I think it makes them look forward to a day of the week where they can come out, exercise, meet friends again, and have a tea or a coffee.”

However, Mr Lewis believes that the walk alone is not the best part of the activity for elders.

“I think the walk is obviously great and when you’re around the marina you can go along the beach but actually, I find that the actual tea and coffee after is the most important aspect,” Myles adds. “Because again, that’s how we can tackle loneliness is people making friendships within the group where they can exchange numbers and contact each other outside the group.”

Mr, Williams, who has been coming to these walks for over a year and a half says that the friends he made in the group, not only helped him combat depression but also saved him money.

“One garage quoted me a hundred and twenty pounds to take care of my car and one of my friends sent me to another garage and they then did the full job for 35,” he says. “I also advise others on gardening, painting and everything and we all help each other if we’ve got a problem.”

Each member can avail a free cup of coffee or tea after their walk.

Mr Lewis, who co-ordinates the walks, says though his job is challenging, he is driven towards it because he can see the change it brings to the members’ health.

“Split the walk into three lengths with the short walk being our shortest walk at only a mile long,” he says. “And we find people are not capable of doing that short walk, but when they do it consistently from week to week, they’re expanding their, lungs and getting more active and pushing themselves and some of them move on to the medium and even the long walk.”

Mr Williams, now a diligent member of the group, says that he saw a positive change in his physical health after coming to the walks.

“The amount of obesity in Swansea is absolutely ridiculous. I was putting on weight myself and it was making me ill,” he says. “There’s a shortage of beds in the NHS because of obesity so I recommend everybody get exercise.”

“After all, you would not want to carry 100 pounds of weight and not be paid for it. Yet, you’re doing it with your own body,” he adds.

Though it may seem intimidating to join a large group, Mr Lewis assures prospective new members that they can join anytime they want.

“We’re all friendly and we’re all welcoming,” says Mr Lewis, “ If you feel a bit anxious, because I understand coming to a group of about a hundred people you might feel a bit anxious — make yourself known to one of us and we’ll make you feel welcome and introduce you to some people.”


Schools to receive most of £3.8m investment for building repairs

Schools to receive most of £3.8m investment for building repairs

Over a dozen schools will benefit the most from a £3.8m joint investment by Swansea Council and the Welsh Government for essential maintenance and building upgrades in the city over the next year.

The council has approved the major programme of the works meaning that around £1.7m will be directed to these schools for repairing roofs, electrical upgrades, and other improvements.

Cabinet Member for Education and Learning Robert Smith said, “As a council, we recognise just how important education is not just to pupils, parents and staff but also to our city’s future economic well-being.”

“The maintenance and repairs programme is in addition to the record £150m investment in new and improved school facilities in Swansea under the Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme,” he added.

More than a dozen Swansea schools will benefit the most from this investment. (Picture for representation purposes)

The council’s toilet strategy is also set to receive £50,000 in addition to the £100,000 that was provided last year to maintain and upgrade the council’s network of public toilets.

Leader of the Council Rob Stewart said, “Despite less funding being available from the Government for this kind of work for the year ahead, we are once again investing significant sums on essential maintenance improvements for our schools and public buildings.”

Additionally, £600,000 has been set aside for emergencies and to maintain listed buildings including war memorials that the council has pledged to maintain on behalf of veterans.

Another £50,000 has also been earmarked for the council’s toilet strategy on top of £100,000 last year to maintain and upgrade the council’s network of public toilets.

“Our capital maintenance budget spending demonstrates how the council’s priorities match those of the people of Swansea and, at the same time, help make inroads into the backlog of maintenance improvements our schools and public buildings need,” the leader of the council added.

Important Venues in Swansea bounce back after the Pandemic

Important Venues in Swansea bounce back after the Pandemic

Swansea Council continues to fund major leisure and tourism sites to help them recover from the pandemic hit. Many visitors have flocked to these sites, thus helping the businesses grow.

Freedom Leisure, Wales National Pool Swansea (WNPS), Plantasia and the National Waterfront Museum are some of the sites that have benefited from the Council’s help.


Exhibition at Plantasia. Photo:https://www.plantasiaswansea.co.uk/exhibitions/

Let the numbers do the talking.

In the fiscal year 2022–2023 of Freedom, the number of visitors to the city centre LC and its other community leisure facilities increased by about 30% to over 1.8 million over the prior year. Revenue reached almost £8 million, up about 36%.

WNPS saw a rise in revenue of over £300,000, reaching over £1.3m.

Photo: https://www.swanseabaysportspark.wales/facilities-and-events/wales-national-pool-swansea/

Parkwood Leisure’s Plantasia experienced an increase in attendance from over 98,000 in 2022 to over 117,000, and income increased from over £200,000 to nearly £950,000.

The number of in-person and online visitors to the free-to-enter waterfront museum increased by around 10% to nearly 277,000.

Many venues and sites continue to face challenges in meeting energy bills and drawing visitors; however, the council is ready to extend its support to them.

Councillor Francis-Davies remarked: “We continue to be there for our leisure services partners during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis because they play a critical part in the life of our city and our local communities.”

The cabinet reviewed the Leisure Partnerships Annual Report, which examined the financial performance and visitor numbers for the city’s institutions that the council supports financially in a variety of ways for the year 2022–2023.

Cover Photo: https://museum.wales/swansea/

Council to set aside £1m for thriving sports clubs

Council to set aside £1m for thriving sports clubs

Several sports clubs at council-owned community playing fields across Swansea are set to receive a boost as the council plans to set £1m aside for changing room renovations. 

The funding will see facilities repaired, modernised and tidied up as community sports hubs are available to the whole community.

“Since the end of the pandemic and during the cost of living crisis, many sports clubs have been at the heart of their communities supporting the health and wellbeing of thousands of people in city neighbourhoods,” said Leader of the Council Rob Stewart.

“We’ve been talking to clubs about what the next steps should be and many called for changing rooms to be upgraded so they could be more easily used by women and girls and be more in line with the expectations of sports’ governing bodies,” he explained.

The council has previously allocated over £7m for over 50 new community play areas for children and planned to allocate £1m for a new generation of skate and BMX park facilities.

“Taken together they are the biggest investment in outdoor community play and sports facilities by the council in more than a generation,” said Councillor Stewart. “We’ve made this commitment because we saw just how important outdoor facilities have been to groups, families and individuals during the cost of living crisis.”

The changing rooms project was introduced last month at Swansea Council’s budget meeting and was approved by the full council; a report seeking funding for the scheme is set to be seen by the cabinet soon.

If the report is approved, an additional £1 million fund will be made available which councillors will be able to apply for to support more community projects and schemes in their areas.

Currently, the community budget scheme allows each member to use up to £15000 each year on qualifying projects.

Councillors have previously used these funds to support initiatives such as the provision of defibrillators, expansion of local wildflower planting programmes, sponsoring community events, and making small streetscape improvements such as sprucing up community gardens or giving public seats.


New Recruits appointed for the Maintenance of Beaches and Parks

New Recruits appointed for the Maintenance of Beaches and Parks

This month, approximately 30 recently hired operatives will head out to our parks and beaches to assist in maintaining the cleanliness and well-being of some of Swansea’s most beloved landscapes for both residents and visitors.

In February, over 180 individuals applied for seasonal positions with the Parks and Cleaning teams, with the goal of assisting in maintaining our most well-liked locations throughout Easter and the summer.

The six-month stay will run from now until September, to match the busiest season of the year.

According to Cyril Anderson, Cabinet Member for Community Services, everyone must do their part to leave our parks and beaches in the condition that they would like others to find them when they leave.

He remarked: “Littering is not only unsightly but it can also be dangerous. Bottles, disposable barbecues and dog messes are what people are concerned about the most because they put others at risk.

“In particular disposable BBQs buried out of sight at the beach retain their heat for many hours and can cause life-changing burns to children and other people who have no idea they’re there until they step on them.”

Anderson urges everyone to treat the parks and beaches with respect. For instance, take the dog poo home if you see that the bin is full. everyone can contribute a little.

In addition to picking up garbage, the summer beach cleaning crews will also help maintain the cleanliness of the council’s expanding network of Changing Places at locations like Knab Rock and Rhossili and remove weeds and sand from walkways and roadside areas.

Additionally, park recruits will assist our regular staff in maintaining our award-winning parks so that both humans and wildlife can take in the beauty and blooms.

Visit this link to learn more about the four award-winning Blue Flag beaches in your area: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/beaches

Visit this link to learn more about Swansea’s wonderful open spaces, including its Green Flag parks: https://www.swansea.gov.uk/parks

Cover Photo: Rhossili Bay https://www.swansea.gov.uk/article/24408/Rhossili-named-among-worlds-best-beaches

Swansea plans for new heating network in bid to become net zero by 2050

Swansea plans for new heating network in bid to become net zero by 2050

Swansea is planning a new low-carbon heating network to reduce its carbon footprint as part of its goal to be a net-zero city by 2050. The network will use excess heat generated from a large data centre that will be set up in Swansea Port as a part of a £4bn renewable energy project.

Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart said, “Working closely alongside DST Innovations and their partners, we’ve identified the opportunity for a low carbon heating network linked to the overall development that would heat many of Swansea’s major buildings in SA1 and the city centre.”

The council’s cabinet has now been asked to approve a study to explore the feasibility of the district heating network further.

Councillor Stewart said, “Along with the other aspects of this ground-breaking project it will significantly reduce Swansea’s carbon footprint while creating thousands of jobs and placing our city at the heart of global green economy innovation.”

The proposed heating network will be responsible for heating several buildings in the SA1 and city centre areas of Swansea by connected pipes.

These include the developments in the docks and SA1 area, the Swansea University campus on Fabian Way, the Civic Centre on Oystermouth Road, and buildings like Swansea Museum HMP Swansea.

The proposed heating network is part of a wider project that includes a tidal lagoon, a high-tech battery manufacturing centre, eco-homes anchored in the water and an oceanic and climate change research centre.  

“We’re all aware of the impact of climate change and the importance of taking steps to reduce its effects on us and future generations,” said Councillor Stewart. “This is why we’ve set a target of becoming a net zero city by 2050 and will continue do all we can alongside Swansea’s businesses and residents to reach that goal.”