Monthly Archives: June 2016

Swansea’s Vegan Festival comes to the Brangwyn Hall

Swansea Vegan Festival 2016 will take place at The Brangwyn Hall this summer.  To be held on Saturday 16th July, this will be the third festival held by local organisation Swansea Vegfest. After the unprecedented success of last year’s festival, it is set to be their biggest and best event yet. Doors open at 11am with the festival running into the night. Entry is £1, with under 12s free.

There will be around 70 different businesses and organisations exhibiting on the day, covering everything from delicious hot and cold food; sweet treats; ethical fashion; health and beauty and animal welfare. There will also be various talks, cooking demonstrations and discussion groups taking place throughout the day, as well as a kids’ zone with activities. Attendees can then party into the night with live music, films and a bar from 6pm.

Photo2Swansea Vegfest is a not for profit organisation. It consists of a handful of passionate volunteers who are on a mission to educate and support those interested in a vegan lifestyle and raise awareness of animal welfare issues. Organiser and local business owner Karen McCloy says: “The vegan scene in Swansea and South Wales is very much part of a growing trend, and we are confident that this is going to be our most successful event yet. We are thrilled to have so many local, independent businesses involved in the festival and we will be showcasing the wide range of products they have to offer – particularly when it comes to food! We’ve got all sorts, including Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, pizza, raw foods and cakes. There will be something for everyone on the day, whether you are a vegetarian or vegan, a foodie or just looking for a fun day out. You won’t be disappointed!”Photo3

For more information please search ‘Swansea Vegfest’ to find the Vegfest page on Facebook. Alternatively, visit or follow @SwanseaVegfest on Twitter.


Discover your community with a Green Map

Have you picked up one of Sustainable Swansea’s Green Maps yet? The team based at the centre have produced a number of Green Maps for the community.

We asked Delyth Higgins, member of Sustainable Swansea Team, to tell us more about this unique mapping system in which Swansea is leading the way. Here’s what she told us…

Locally-led green map projects create perspective-changing community experiences which can act as a means for decision-making and action.

Mapmakers use universal icons  teamed with local knowledge to enter sites which show green living, ecological, social and cultural resources. For example, sites where you can recycle, green spaces and wildlife sites, places to buy local or organic food or fair trade products and also community centres, libraries and so on.

Sustainable Swansea has been at the forefront of green mapping in Wales and has published 13 maps.  These range from themed maps, such as the Faith map and Alternative Transport map, to community maps for areas such as Penlan, Gower, Pontarddulais, St. Thomas and Port Tennant, Morriston, and now, the latest one is for Central Swansea.

The team engages with local people and groups to see what entries they think should be on the map for their community as they have the local knowledge.  The purpose is;

  • To map the resources in the area
  • To increase community awareness
  • To inspire collective action and help people to be more active in their community
  • To help with regeneration and increase pride
  • To highlight good and recognise not so good sites

As a result, the Sustainable Swansea Team hopes that both the mapmaking process and the resulting printed map helps raise awareness of local resources and motivates people to become more involved in their local community.

The Green Map® System has been promoting sustainable community development since 1995 and promotes inclusive participation worldwide, using mapmaking as the medium.  The movement has spread to over 845 cities, towns and villages in 65 countries.

Copies of the Central Swansea green map are available from many places around the city centre including musuems, cafes, shops, YMCA, SCVS, Community Centres and of course at the Environment Centre.


Hip hip hooray for volunteers

The centre joined Volunteers’ Week (1st to 12th of June) celebrations by hosting a Thank You BBQ to recognise our volunteers’ contribution. We really value their hard work. Some of whom have been with us for 20 years!

This year we are doubling our efforts to involve volunteers in every aspect of our work. We’re recruiting a team of young people to advise our trustee board, we’re developing new ways people can get involved including creating micro and virtual volunteering roles and we are going to be championing to our members good practice in volunteer recruitment and management.

We know that the majority of Swansea’s environmental community groups are volunteer-led and we want to say a huge Volunteers’ Week thank you to everyone out there who helps protect, conserve and enhance our local environment and make our communities more sustainable.

We also want to say a big thank you to Swansea Volunteer Centre at SCVS who are supporting us in developing our new volunteering programme. If you are running a group and need help and advice on anything to do with volunteering we recommend their service.

For this month’s edition of Green Light we wanted to highlight volunteering so we invited Julia Manser, Volunteer Development Officer at SCVS to tell us more about the its value. Here’s what she had to say….

Volunteering is the backbone of a civil society, it underpins every community, our community.

Volunteering provides people with experiences useful to developing work skills, provides opportunity to use skills developed through life and to become involved with causes that affect us all and offers a way we can be involved in actions to make differences and achieve positive change.

The variety of volunteering opportunities is as diverse as the people who undertake volunteering. It is a misconception to think that volunteers are older retired people. Recent research reported in Guardian last November suggested that the most prevalent volunteering age is 25 to 34 year olds. A report from the voluntary sector consultancy nfpSynergy, called The New Alchemy: How Volunteering Turns Donations of Time and Talent into Human Gold, says the proportion of 16 to 24 year olds who have volunteered in the previous three months has increased from 15 per cent in October 2004 to 33 per cent in July this year.

We must not forget that large sections of our volunteers are in all age groups, from all backgrounds and are motivated by a range of reasons. Volunteering roles should be designed that will attract people for differing reasons, helping our charities and projects be sustained by the variety of people that will also be looking to benefit from these projects. Volunteering provides an opportunity to increase wellbeing of the population at large, those who are volunteering themselves and for the benefit of the environment as a whole. Figures from 2014 suggest there are 931,000 volunteers across Wales. Volunteers provide a range of services and enjoy an array of experiences within their volunteering

Swansea Volunteer Centre at SCVS provides a service to people looking to find the right volunteering opportunity for them and to organisations looking for volunteers. For those who are interested in finding our more about the range of 300 + volunteering roles in the local area and for people who wish to talk through the series of options with a trained advice and guidance worker, Swansea Volunteers Centre offers face to face and telephone appointments you can pre-book by calling 01792 544000.  We upload local volunteering opportunities on the Volunteering Wales website

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of volunteers that began in 1984 and takes place every June. Up and down the country there have been events aiming to recruit, reward and recognise volunteers. This year the week was extended in order to mark celebrations associated with the Queen’s 90th birthday. The Queen has been patron to more than 600 charities and organisations and so the week has been extended to a fortnight to encompass a Patrons lunch on 12th June.

Charities across the country are hoping that Volunteers Week 2016 provides an opportunity for people thinking about volunteering to make contact and add their voice to the collective value, that is voluntarism. Does that include you?

Julia Manser SCVS Volunteering Services Team

Further reading:



What’s new at The Environment Centre

From July we will be hosting a series of discussions and activities for you to exchange ideas and take collective action. These will all take place in our café which we are renaming The Exchange Café.

The centre is going to be focusing on some of the biggest issues the planet faces today and encouraging people to take small actions which can make a big difference.

Plastic, is it so fantastic?

We think reducing it is one of those big issues. Throughout July this will be our focus. We hope that you will follow us on twitter and share on facebook to help us raise awareness of our need to reduce our plastic habit.

We hope you will join us for our first Exchange Café event on the 10th of July from 3-6pm when we will be hosting a community discussion on how we can reduce plastic in Swansea.

Want to see what other events we have planned at the cafe, take a look at the programme:

Exchange Cafe Programme

Our shop is also going to re-launch in July too. This year we’re going to be taking sustainable shopping to another level and we hope that you will like our new packaging free ethos. More will be revealed in our July newsletter. Right now you can refill household cleaning products at our Ecover Refill Station, which is unique to Swansea, so come and fill your boots….ooops, we mean bottles!