Category Archives: Well-being of Future Generations

GSWAG: Keeping Data Live

Does your organisation have the right kind of data to future-proof decisions?

Hear how Gwent Strategic Well-being Assessment Group’s (GSWAG) are looking past traditional data sets to make their decisions about well-being. GSWAG want to know more about local conditions for well-being from the lived experiences of their residents, and are looking at likely future trends that may face the Gwent area over the next 25 years, to help better prepare and plan for the future. They’re using a very different type of data than they’re used to, getting out of their comfort zone to shape their decisions with future generations in mind. Watch our vlog to find out more

Loftus Village Association

Alison and Bron from Pobl Group have blogged for us ahead of our Building Resilient Communities event on the Loftus Village Association – an intentionally created community that they have been a part of from the beginning.  Come and join us at the event to find out more about the successes and challenges that this community, and Pobl, have had during their journey together.

The Loftus Village Association journey began in 2014 when Charter Housing (now Pobl Group) began the process of trying to find 19 households keen to move into Loftus Garden Village under a shared ownership scheme, and also at the same time to become co-operators.

It was a curious top down approach to setting up an intentional community.

Generally speaking Co-housing projects begin with a group of people who for various reasons want to share space and some time together, whereas we had the homes, but no people!

We had carried out some market research and identified a group of people who were interested in the idea back in 2012/13.  So we began contacting those folk, and interestingly one of those did see the idea through to the end, and 6 years on is now on the Co-op’s management committee.

A lot of people liked the idea of living in Loftus Garden Village.  It’s a particularly beautiful new housing development, and that wasn’t a hard sell.

Also most people liked the idea of living in a street where they know all their neighbours before moving in, had a sense of community, felt safe and enjoyed  living in a visually attractive environment…..so ‘Greener, Cleaner, Leaner‘ living soon became LVA’s values.  However it was all the legal/financial paraphernalia that went with it that many found a stumbling block.

Finding a financial and legal model was a headache for Pobl as an organisation and also for our would-be co-operators.  We examined a few legal and financial models before coming up with a version of our own that felt right for us and also the co-operators.  That done the co-operators had many months of working together to draft a management agreement, as well as months of training sessions on how to work together co-operatively.   The management agreement has given the Co-op the responsibility of collecting the rent, being involved in resales and ‘staircasing up’ (to own a higher percentage) and taking on the early stages of any neighbour complaints.  (none so far).

We lost people, we gained people and eventually ended up with 19 households comprising a complete mix of ages, numbers, and backgrounds.  For some it was their first home of their own.  Being a member of the Co-op meant that you could buy with only a 30% share, making it more affordable than most shared ownership schemes.  For others they were starting out again after changes in circumstances, and for some it was a home for retirement.

To keep morale going while waiting for the builders to ‘hurry up and get on with it’ our co-operators enjoyed fun tasks like choosing their kitchen and bathroom, tiles and flooring, discussing what to do with their community garden and building  (a garage), and generally getting to know one another.

There was an application system to ensure we found people who did genuinely want to be part of a community and support one another, rather than just live in a nice house. Would be co-operators had to fill in a section asking them to indicate how much time they could offer each week or month.

Two years ago the street moved in…bit by bit, with great excitement.  There was a huge amount of camaraderie with lots of ‘lending a hand’ with the trials of moving in.

The Co-op has achieved a beautiful community garden, two shared spaces, an office and a garage where garden tools are stored and kept.  They have held numerous social get togethers (often involving the wider community), including Carols by the Christmas Tree, Halloween, Easter celebrations, a Play Street event, where the road was closed for children to play.  Household costs i.e. boiler servicing and energy charges, are reduced via collective bargaining, and they have a reduced Carbon footprint from other streets by sharing power tools.

They have just held their third annual general meeting.  It hasn’t been a bed of roses, and it won’t ever be.  They complain about one another sometimes, complain about Pobl, and generally don’t really want to do the boring stuff.

But they are a community, and they certainly appreciate the power of that, and wouldn’t want to change it.

GSWAG: A Collaborative Partnership

Partnership working is the way forward for public service delivery. Partnership is hard work, we know that. But the benefits to public services are huge.

We recently got to hear about Gwent Strategic Wellbeing Assessment Group’s (“GSWAG”) approach, so we went along to one of their meetings.

We heard how they are working in partnership to achieve more by learning from each other, by collaborating on the same agenda items. They’re working under the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, putting some of the five ways of working in practice. They’re able to avoid duplication, share their expertise by utilising a common language and giving each other the space to ensure they can discuss areas of contention in a constructive way. They recognise that by working in partnership, they can go far further and achieve far more than they would alone. You can find out more by getting in touch with Bernadette Elias or Lyndon Puddy.

Safer Newport – a local area focus plan

Ahead of our event ‘Working in partnership: Holding up the mirror’, Tracy McKim @Lady_McK from Newport City Council, tells us about the partnership between the Council and the Police following a crisis in the Pill area of Newport. Come along to our events in Cardiff and Llanrwst to see Tracy’s workshop where, along with Gwent Police, she will be discussing in more detail the partnership working to help improve this area of Newport.

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Following serious public disturbances in the Pill area in the Autumn of 2016 the Council and Gwent Police led a partnership response known as the Pill Area Focus Plan.  The Council’s Policy and Partnership team brought together key stakeholders working in Pill including Gwent Police, the Council’s Youth Service, City Services, Environmental Health, and Trading Standards services along with partners including Newport City Homes and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and a number of other service providers and put in place a wide range of interventions with the aim of:

  • Improving the wellbeing of the Pill community
  • Addressing the crime and ASB issues that concern the community
  • Building the community’s trust and confidence in the key partners
  • Promoting community involvement, a sense of pride and empowerment

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Key actions

The partners working in Pill are focusing on the key issues identified by local people.  Actions to date include:

  • A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was put in place by the Council to give the Police new powers to tackle three of the most common forms of anti-social behaviour, namely street drinking, use of psychoactive substances and anti-social gangs.
  • Seven ‘Pill Action Days’ have now been held with Council officers working alongside the Police and South Wales Fire and Rescue to enforce the PSPO, ensure private rented accommodation is safe and that traders, licensed premises and taxi companies are acting responsibly. The Action Day held in June also involved the Heddlu Bach/Mini Police (from Pill Primary School) in raising speed awareness and promoting recycling.
  • Gwent Police Operations Jewel and Gravitas targeting drug supply have resulted in 61 arrests and multiple convictions centred on addresses in Pill. Bikes used by drugs runners have been seized and destroyed.
  • An anti-gang message drama production has been shown in Newport Secondary Schools with a positive reception from pupils and staff.
  • A range of diversionary activities for young people have been delivered by the Youth Service, Newport Live and community organisations e.g. ‘The Bigger Picture’.
  • One of only three Mini Police projects, currently in Wales, is now running in Pill Primary School with an aim of building trust between the police and the community and developing young people’s learning, skills and experience.
  • The Council and other partners have supported the regular community clean-ups organised by Pride in Pill releasing staff to volunteer alongside local people.
  • A diversionary pathway is in place for sex workers to ensure that they are offered the multi- agency support they need, recognising that they may be victims of exploitation whilst also using enforcement powers against persistent offenders and kerb crawlers.
  • A joined-up approach to environmental enforcement has been developed by the Council e.g. closure notices for problem properties in Pill and planning enforcement for an unauthorised dwelling in the area.
  • Environmental Health and the Fire Service have undertaken several joint inspections of HMO properties and have identified unlicensed HMOs as well as safety defects.
  • Newport City Homes are progressing the £10m regeneration of their properties in Pill which will help to ‘design out crime’. They will shortly be opening a Community Hub in the Francis Close area to accommodate local groups and services, with the ‘Bigger Picture’ youth organisation based there.


Improved public perception

At the outset of the Pill project in January 2017, a community safety survey was undertaken so that residents could identify the issues that were of greatest concern, and to establish a baseline from which progress could be measured.  A follow-up survey was undertaken in October 2017 and the results indicate encouraging progress against key public perception measures.

  • The number of people who say they feel very unsafe walking alone after dark has fallen from 64% to 41%  (-36% improvement)
  • People who say that crime and ASB is more of a problem than last year has fallen from 43% to 26%  (-40% improvement)
  • People who say that they are satisfied/very satisfied with the service provided by the police and their partners has increased from 22% to 36%  (+63% improvement)
  • People who say that the service provided by the Police and their partners has got better compared to last year has increased from 15% to 38%  (+153% improvement)

Next steps

We are mindful of the need to make sure that the early progress is sustained over the long term.  All key partners have indicated that they intend to maintain their focus on Pill, in terms of neighbourhood policing resources, holding regular Pill Action days, enforcement activities and improving engagement with the local community.  The Pill Area Focus work programme will now be developed through the Public Service Board’s Wellbeing Plan interventions and Safer Newport. The Pill Area Focus work forms a model for the way in which we will need to work moving forward and in line with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act – with a focus on integrated wellbeing goals, through collaborative working, with the involvement of communities and mindful of preventative approaches and long-term impacts.

A short history of the Food Group of the Wales Regional Centre for Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship

In September and November this year, we are working in partnership with Bangor University’s Sustainability Lab on the RCE Cymru event – ‘It’s good to share’, held in Bangor and Cardiff. Ahead of the event, Jane Powell has blogged about her experience of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) and the interesting history of the Food Group.

It’s fascinating to hear how this research has evolved over the years and has helped to shape the Food Manifesto for Wales along with the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. I am excited about the prospect that our young people in Wales are helping to shape the food system for the better.

Here’s Jane Powell sharing her project…

When I first came across the idea of a Regional Centre for Expertise for sustainability education – and RCE – for Wales, in 2008, I was sceptical about the latest acronym. It sounded so bureaucratic. But then I heard Julie Bromilow of the Centre for Alternative Technology talking about an RCE she’d visited in Japan, and the possibility of being part of a global network to solve a global problem seemed very appealing.

At the time, I was the Information Officer at Organic Centre Wales in Aberystwyth, organising school visits to farms and locally sourced school meals alongside my regular editorial duties. It was rewarding, but I longed to be part of something bigger, to compare our work with what others were doing, and to see how far we could take it. Above all I wondered what exactly we were doing. How were farm visits supposed to change anything? Why were the school meal projects so powerful, while running a stand at an event could sometimes be very tedious?

Perhaps the RCE could be a way of shaking things up, I thought. So I jumped at the chance to join a subgroup that would look at food education, along with Julie, Dr Jane Claricoates from the RCE secretariat at Swansea University and Dr David Skydmore of Glyndŵr University. Our first task, in 2011, was to write a topic paper, which explored what ‘transformative education’ might mean in the context of food and drew on our respective experiences as well as the research literature.

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Next, we organised an event at Coleg Powys at which we used reflection and leisurely discussion to investigate how students, lecturers and local food producers related to the food chain. This was intended to give an idea of how food education could be effective, by connecting with people’s existing understanding and values. It also revealed the richness of the human experience that lies behind the facts and figures of the food system.

After that, although we attracted some new members and continued to meet for a year or two, the group began to disperse. Illness and job changes were part of that, and maybe the RCE was too peripheral to our various job descriptions to get the attention it deserved. However, the central concept of collaboration between higher education and practitioners turned out to be very durable, as did our question about what makes food education transformative. The Food Group morphed into an enquiry held by a loose network.

In 2014 funding from the Welsh Rural Development Programme to Organic Centre Wales allowed us to take this to a new level with an action research project we called Food Values. This took research from social psychology and applied it to food education, and it turned out to be a powerful approach which brought fresh insights to many of us involved with food education. It later became the basis for the Wales Food Manifesto which holds a vision for a Welsh food system that is held together by shared values of care, fairness and equality.

Food Values exemplified the ethos of the RCE, even if it wasn’t technically part of it. It was a collaboration between higher education, in the shape of Dr Sophie Wynne-Jones and her colleagues first at Aberystwyth University, then Bangor, and the wider community, exemplified by the Public Interest Research Centre, Organic Centre Wales and a host of NGOs and individuals, from Age Concern in Gwynedd to the United Reform Synagogue in Cardiff. It enabled a very rich and inspiring exchange between academia and practitioners that benefited both sides.

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When you regularly teach groups and organise community events, as I do, it’s easy to get burnt out and demotivated. The connection with researchers can bring a fresh perspective that allows us to go deeper into our practice, and to take more satisfaction from what we are doing well. For academics, I imagine, it must be rewarding to be involved in projects that have an immediate benefit and show theoretical principles at work in everyday life. And although we didn’t manage to make any connections with the global RCE network, that would obviously add yet more value to the process.

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The Food Group is dormant now, but its work lives on, and there is so much more we could do.  As Welsh schools prepare for a major reform of the curriculum and the Well-Being of Future Generations Act starts to take effect, the opportunities are huge. Could RCE Cymru in its new guise offer the opportunity for another round of collaboration on food education? Read our blog and get in touch with Jane Powell.

Jane Powell worked for Organic Centre Wales from 2000 to 2015 and is now a freelance education consultant and writer. She is Wales coordinator for LEAF Education, a member of the Dyfi Biosphere Education Group, and editor of the Wales Food Manifesto. Based in Aberystwyth she is active in community food projects, including a garden at the university. Her website is www.foodsociety.wales.

Circular Economy in Wales

circular economyThe Good Practice Exchange is always looking out for innovation and interesting ways of working, so when we found out about the Circular Economy Research Group’s work, we were keen to share.

Dr Gavin Bunting is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director for Innovation and Engagement in the College of Engineering at Swansea University He has written a blog ahead of the RCE Cymru ‘Good To Share’ event we are working in partnership with, to be held in Bangor and Cardiff.

The group has been involved in some really interesting research on how we can reduce waste in Wales, and create a circular economy, which could see Wales benefiting by £2 billion a year. It’s ideas like this that are going to shape Wales for future generations, with sustainable development at the heart of their work. Have a read of his blog below to learn how the Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group for Wales have worked collaboratively, making strides towards achieving the goals of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015


The UK generates 200 million tonnes of waste ever year with almost a quarter of that going to landfill, whilst many of the resources needed for critical applications such as power generation, communications and medical equipment are becoming more scarce.

In addition, most of us have come across the scenario where it’s cheaper to buy a new printer, washing machine, phone, etc than it is to repair or upgrade it. Why should this be the case?

One solution to tackle this excess waste and obsolescence is to move to a circular economy where products are designed:

  • To last longer
  • To be upgraded, repaired and re-used
  • To enable easy recovery and recycling of constituent materials they contain at the end of the product’s life

The potential economic benefits to Wales of operating a circular economy have been estimated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to be £2bn annually, for the two sectors of: medium-lived complex goods, e.g. automobile, electronic equipment and machinery; and fast moving consumer goods, e.g. food and beverages, clothing and personal care.

Moving towards a circular economy requires a multi-disciplinary approach, encompassing research and innovation into areas such as: designing products for refurbishment and re-use; developing new materials and extracting useful resources from natural materials; developing new business models that incentivise the manufacturer to design a product for longevity; and investigating how can we communicate the opportunities and challenge perceptions of circular economy.

We have a lot of this expertise in Welsh universities and by working together we can address circular economy challenges. I therefore worked with with colleagues in the Higher Education for Future Generations Group, Wales, the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Wales, the Welsh Government and Swansea University to set up the ‘Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group for Wales’.

I therefore worked with with colleagues in the Higher Education for Future Generations Group, Wales, the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) Wales, the Welsh Government and Swansea University to set up the ‘Circular Economy Research and Innovation Group for Wales’.

The proposed aim of the group is to connect complementary expertise and experiences to facilitate circular economy innovation and research in Wales, achieved through the following objectives:

  • Provide a forum to share good practice and facilitate knowledge exchange between academia, business and policy makers.
  • Through collaboration, increase circular economy research capacity in Welsh institutions.
  • Engage with industry to develop industry led research.
  • Provide evidence to inform Government policy and programmes.
  • Develop an online forum to facilitate exchange of good practice, funding opportunities, news and events.
  • Showcase the network’s circular economy outputs internationally, thus supporting the development of international partnerships.
  • Collaborate on curriculum development and training.
  • Work with the Global Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) network (acknowledged by the United Nations University) to share learning and good practice at regional, national and international levels.

I chaired the inaugural meeting of the group on the 8th June, where we had representatives from: Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, South Wales, Swansea, and Trinity Saint David universities. Dr Andy Rees, Head of Waste, Welsh Government, set the scene providing some useful statistics and outlining Welsh Government policy instruments for innovation in the circular economy.

It was a productive meeting, where we discussed ideas on how we could collaborate on research, teaching, knowledge transfer and informing government policy. When it came to research it was thought that that we shouldn’t just focus on circular economy specific calls for research funding – there are opportunities for circular economy to add novelty to a wide range of research areas. It was also highlighted that we need to look at how we improve communication of the circular economy to industry and public in order to encourage innovation and change. In particular, linking to competitiveness when communicating with industry is important, as well as focusing on sectors important to the Welsh economy.  The British Standard for Circular Economy, BS-8001, could provide a useful lever to engage with companies and existing academia-industry networks such as ASTUTE can provide an established route for knowledge transfer.

A core aim of the group is to encourage collaboration; this will initially be facilitated by providing a directory of expertise, so members can easily identify potential collaborators for research. In addition, we will also set up a regular email bulletin and a forum for members to discuss areas of interest. To keep a group such as this working needs good secretariat support, which Ann Stevenson from Cardiff University, has kindly offered to provide.

Moving forward, we will hold another meeting of the group in the autumn and will run sessions at the RCE Cymru Conference on the 8th November 2018, in Cardiff, where we hope to have some inspirational and productive discussions.
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If you are interested in being part of the Group, or would like to find out more please contact Dr Gavin Bunting on g.t.m.bunting@swansea.ac.uk, 01792 602802.