Get motivated to take enthusiastic action that will help you turn that dream into reality. One step at a time and you will surely achieve anything.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Carrie me and Support Swansea

Hi everyone! I'm Carrie and I'm looking for  businesses who want to promote themselves locally. I'm planning to be around town telling shoppers about what's in store for them. 

I'll have about 10,000 Carrie keyfobs ready to give away in a few days and once you are signed up for free you'll begin to get regular special offers by e-mail. Download and print off the vouchers for interesting deals.

Yes! We tried to lanch this a few years ago  and I've now come out of the Creative Ideas store-room and have been dusted down and re-branded because several traders have asked us to do so. I've changed my outfit and attitude. Last time shoppers paid for me but now I'm free. I'm a giveaway.

You've all seen Groupon and perhaps have taken advantage of the daily deals they have. Well I'm different. I don't take half of the deal price and my deals last longer than a day. I want you to discover new shops and products, new services and entertainent and I want to to try them out and come back time after time.

Swansea has much to offer and I'm looking to help knock down any barriers. I want you to come to town and have a great shopping experience. Worried about parking? The new bridge system is almost finished so there will shortly be little in the way of traffic delays there or along Oystermouth Road now.

PARKING is free for the first hour in the NCP car parks except Sundays. And there is plenty of room.

BUT BETTER. Parking at the High Street multi-storey car park after 10am is just £1 for up to 4 hours. And with the recent police initiative it is safer to walk down the High Street. 

AND ALSO St David's car park is now just £2.40 for up to 4 hours, although yo may not know this as there are no banners up or any other signs apart from an article in the Evening Post.

Watch out for new developments

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Swansea Card is coming


Chugging along

I mentioned that charity collectors are allowed to work the city centre free of charge. I totally agree that charities should be allowed to collect without being charged a fee by Swansea Council but the charity collectors, after referred to as chuggers, are paid and they can be intimidating. There have been nummerous articles about them right across the UK. 

It is understood that they might earn a basic pay of around £7 per hour but can be on bonuses giving them considerably more. If they are agency employees then the agency apparently earns a percentage of the direct debit that the giver signs on the street with the charity collector.

It will be interesting to see what it costs some of these charities to have collectors on the streets. In Scotland it is understood that Shelter pay out some £3m to chuggers and gather in £11m. That is a pretty high cost and just consider how many donations they may be losing where people find themselves offended by being accosted. I'm not saying that this might be the case in Swansea but it does leave a question mark. 

I see that the Evening Post posted my article last Thursday about the comparative cost of distributing leaflets in the city centre compared to other cities such as Cardiff and Newport. The council spokesman said that a fee waas charged to cover costs of controlling this activity.

Here is my response in a letter I have sent to the Evening Post. I hope they publish it.

"I do agree that it is necessary to have some control over the distribution of leaflets but why should there be such a high cost? I mentioned in my interview that both Cardiff and Newport do not charge local businesses and encourage them to advertise freely.

It is worth noting that both cities do control leaflet distribution and have guide-lines and application forms to complete. Neither charge as they told me that they consider this a valuable service to local businesses: one that they feel they should support.

Swansea council seem to seek ways to stealth tax local businesses wherever possible, and this hasn’t just applied during the recent cuts in their budgets. The charge for leaflet distribution goes back several years. I note that the Swansea spokesman claimed that charges start from £36 but this was not mentioned when I contacted the City Centre management team asking about charges. They only mentioned that charities can canvass free of charge (although I understand the canvassers are paid a commission) and certain bodies who claim freedom of speech such as political parties. It is also interesting to note that the Big Issue sellers do not pay. I was told that there is a maximum of 4 but it does sometimes feel that there is one on every street corner! I have nothing against Big Issue sellers and in fact after being around 40 years getting people on the first rung of the jobs ladder, they do a good job, but with a small city centre footprint more than two sees overkill.

Come on Swansea Council. Don’t be penny pinching skin-flints. I understand that you aren’t here to make money for local businesses but to ensure the infra-structure is there for businesses to succeed or fail dependant on their products, plans and management. How do you feel you are succeeding? Have you put in place that infra-structure?

A little bit of help would be most welcome by local independent businesses, particularly during these difficult trading times. You know that the high rents and business rates are crippling so here is your chance to help in a small way."

Change of ideas  I wonder how long social media will be the in fad? All I hear about is how important Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are. I am already beginning to feel that it takes a lot of time to reap small rewards. Maybe I am getting old!! But it seems to me that I am being attached on all sides by useless information that I don't need, personal facts that are too personal, friends that I've never met but want to tell me about their new car, fabulous holiday or party. Very few have comments added. Who do we write for. 

When we meet up with friends or meet business colleagues we have two-way conversations and are interested in each other. Facebook is very impersonal. And for many it seems to be like writing a personal diary - except I always thought diaries were private. 

What do you think?

Be successful with your Business.


I mentioned that charity collectors are allowed to work the city centre free of charge. I totally agree that charities should be allowed to collect without being charged a fee by Swansea Council but the charity collectors, after referred to as chuggers, are paid and they can be intimidating. There have been nummerous articles about them right across the UK. 

It is understood that they might earn a basic pay of around £7 per hour but can be on bonuses giving them considerably more. If they are agency employees then the agency apparently earns a percentage of the direct debit that the giver signs on the street with the charity collector.

It will be interesting to see what it costs some of these charities to have collectors on the streets. In Scotland it is understood that Shelter pay out some £3m to chuggers and gather in £11m. That is a pretty high cost and just consider how many donations they may be losing where people find themselves offended by being accosted. I'm not saying that this might be the case in Swansea but it does leave a question mark. 

I see that the Evening Post posted my article last Thursday about the comparative cost of distributing leaflets in the city centre compared to other cities such as Cardiff and Newport. The council spokesman said that a fee waas charged to cover costs of controlling this activity.

Here is my response in a letter I have sent to the Evening Post. I hope they publish it.

"I do agree that it is necessary to have some control over the distribution of leaflets but why should there be such a high cost? I mentioned in my interview that both Cardiff and Newport do not charge local businesses and encourage them to advertise freely.

It is worth noting that both cities do control leaflet distribution and have guide-lines and application forms to complete. Neither charge as they told me that they consider this a valuable service to local businesses: one that they feel they should support.

Swansea council seem to seek ways to stealth tax local businesses wherever possible, and this hasn’t just applied during the recent cuts in their budgets. The charge for leaflet distribution goes back several years. I note that the Swansea spokesman claimed that charges start from £36 but this was not mentioned when I contacted the City Centre management team asking about charges. They only mentioned that charities can canvass free of charge (although I understand the canvassers are paid a commission) and certain bodies who claim freedom of speech such as political parties. It is also interesting to note that the Big Issue sellers do not pay. I was told that there is a maximum of 4 but it does sometimes feel that there is one on every street corner! I have nothing against Big Issue sellers and in fact after being around 40 years getting people on the first rung of the jobs ladder, they do a good job, but with a small city centre footprint more than two sees overkill.

Come on Swansea Council. Don’t be penny pinching skin-flints. I understand that you aren’t here to make money for local businesses but to ensure the infra-structure is there for businesses to succeed or fail dependent on their products, plans and management. How do you feel you are succeeding? Have you put in place that infra-structure?

A little bit of help would be most welcome by local independent businesses, particularly during these difficult trading times. You know that the high rents and business rates are crippling so here is your chance to help in a small way."

What do you think?

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Buskers and entertainment galore in Oxford Street, Swansea


Started the day with a healthy sized slice of luxury victoria sponge. Healthy size but not healthy for my body, but perhaps I'm past that anyway.  
 
I always spoil myself when I go to First Call Coffee  in either the Orchard Street or High Street branches. They have such a great selection, any of which are made by Tony George on-site. As a qualified barasta he's pretty good with coffee too. And a little know fact is that he was the winner of the best cup of tea in the UK Tetley Tea competition about 4 years ago.  There's a great team at both branches and I'd highly recommend a visit.

Then I walked across to Oxford Street to see Disruption presented by the Elysium Gallery in Cradock Street. 


26 Artistes presented a range of entertainment that had the town laughing and enjoying themselves.  Some are shown here and include Frances race and her Cleaning Ladies cleaning up Swansea.Ten people dressed as old fashioned stereo-type cleaning women obsessively cleaning the street, two people dusting, two with sweeping brushes, two with vacuum-cleaners, two spraying the benches, another cleaning the cash point and another picking up rubbish. 





An opportunity to make comments by writing on the pavement with chalk was taken up by many passers-by. How lucky the Elysium Galley was to have such a sunny dry day for their disruption event
Sean Puleston and Erin Rickard presented Big Enough for Both of Us?  This was a conumdrum that neither could answer but they did pose other questions.




Elena Videnova danced as she transformed into a butterfly in a representation of shedding skins, shedding cultures and re-birth It provoked the audience to see the possibilities of transformation.

Elena gave out home crafted butterflies as a momento





Yes! A giant corset. And right next to La Senza presented by 4 Queens inviting the public to participate and interact with their own feelings and ideas that they could write on cotton strips using s felt-tip pen and then hanging on the giant corset









A straightforward busker? I' not sure. Watch this space.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Walk through Swansea with Council Leader Cllr Chris Holley

Saturday morning was sunny and bright at 6am. By 10.30 it was raining!! Council Leader Chris Holley was waiting in the car park opposite the Grand Theatre, brolly open.

We started our walkabout and I stopped a young couple to introduce us and asked what they thought of the City Centre. "The Quadrant Shopping Centre is fine but walk outside and everything looks tired and tawdry" they told us. 

Moving on we entered a children's clothes shop and asked again. Immediately a woman customer told us exactly what she thought about shopping in Swansea. "Car parking should be free otherwise everyone will go to nthe out-of-town shopping centres or Trostre at Llannelli. There is a good range of shops there and parking is free and nearby."  Cllr Holley explained that there is subsidised parking at the NCP carparks for one hour and that the High Street car park offers 4 hours for £1 after 10am but this was countered by the shopper who said she'd not park down there as she thought it not too safe an area. It is a difficult situation. On one hand the local council are promoting park-and-ride to keep traffic out whilst BIDs are encouraging people to drive into town.

In the Market we spoke with a trader who explained that he thought the market had become isolated for many older people who found it difficult to walk from the market to the bus station carrying their shopping. He went on to tell us that it was only just a few years ago when the Market was just so much busier. He thought it was a combination of reasons including the fact that most people were now struggling so they didn't have the money to spend. He suggested that some buses should pass the Market and be able to set down and pick up passengers. Although there were a couple of pick up spaces by the market this was insufficient. Cllr Holley said that the Market is the jewel in the crown as far as the city is concerned and is the reason many come into Swansea.

We called at a couple more shops but as the staff were serving we moved on. We stopped off at the Ole Coffee Shop in Oxford Street and had a welcome coffee, out of the rain. Speaking to the owner, Ali,  we were told that  trading was very difficult and that council actions were not helping. Ali said that he and many others he had talked to had little faith in the council employees where one department didn't know what another was doing. A major problem for the Ole Cafe was the high business rates. Cllr Holley explained that the Council were concerned with this but that the Welsh Assembly Government were responsible and it was they who levied the rates. He realised that this was a bitter pill to swallow and that the council  had made representations to WAG.

Ali also mentioned the changes in the streets and local junctions. Oxford Street now narrows at the end so there is only one lane, thus reducing traffic flow, then turning right towards the Kingsway the lights appear out of sync so there are hold-ups.

These views support the feed-back that I've had when I've been out on my own talking to shoppers and traders. A big concern is the one-way system and the fact that traffic is usually gridlocked on Kingsway at any but the quietest times and this does deter people from visiting Swansea. The roadworks over recent months have had a real impact of visitor levels as people are help-up a few times then decide not to bother anymore, so the city has lost footfall that will be difficult to bring back or replace.

Several have thought that the Kingsway is now a health and safety hazard with half the road being one-way whilst the other (for buses and taxis) is two-way. It is confusing even for regular shoppers and must be a cause for accidents. How many have there been in the last 123 months? Before long one will be fatal. If the extra space is needed for the bendy buses then how do they manage so easily en route to the overnight parking areas?

A common comment has been that Swansea has so much to offer, both in the city centre and out of town. Whether culture or action Swansea has it all. We should concentrate on a complete package but certainly it is time to shake the city centre up.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ferry Company Sinks

THE FASTNET Line Group of companies has been placed into lnterim Examinership by Justice Peter Kelly at a sitting of the High Court.

Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton has been appointed Interim Examiner.

The Cork to Swansea Ferry, operated by Fastnet, will discontinue its full published service with immediate effect.

All booked passengers will be contacted in the coming days, with full refunds been issued.
 
A further hearing date of 15th November has been set by Justice Kelly upon which the Interim Examiner will present a report on progress to the court.  

Mr.McAteer is hopeful that this Examinership will be resolved as quickly as possible.


About Fastnet Line:

The Fastnet Line companies are owned by the West Cork Tourism Co-Operative Society Limited which was formed in April 2009 and has over 400 members that have individually invested funds into the venture.

This is very sad news that after just two years and support from the Welsh Assembly Government  the Fastnet Ferry Company has sunk. This could have been a solid li9nk between Cork and Swansea bringing in visitors for short breaks and longer. It is understood that the exit from the ferry was planned to run through the city River Tawe entrance that would have shown visitors more of the city. It is hoped that this venture can be saved and runs again from April next year.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Under Milkwood performed at the Dylan Thomas Theatre

Under Milkwood is performed annually at the Dylan Thomas Theatre by the Little Theatre Company. This year the play was performed up to the same high standard that we have grown to expect.

When Dylan Thomas was staying in Wales in New Quay one winter, he went out early one morning into the still sleeping town and verses came to his mind about the inhabitants. He wrote the account of this as a short story named Quite Early One Morning (recorded for BBC Wales 14 December 1944 and broadcast 31 August 1945). He continued to work on the idea for eight years.

In Quite Early One Morning there are numerous ideas and characters which would be developed more for Under Milk Wood. For instance, the short story includes a 28-line poem of which this is the fourth verse (the name and the final line reappear in Under Milk Wood).

    Open the curtains, light the fire, what are servants for?
    I am Mrs Ogmore Pritchard and I want another snooze.
    Dust the china, feed the canary, sweep the drawing-room floor;
    And before you let the sun in, mind he wipes his shoes.

Thomas wrote to his wife, Caitlin, (about 23 May 1953, from the USA, on notepaper headed The Poetry Centre), towards the end of a long letter 'I've finished that infernally eternally unfinished 'Play' & have done it in New York with actors.'

The same year, he read a part of the script in public for the first time in Cambridge, Massachusetts at The Poetry Centre. Soon after, with others, he sound-recorded a performance at the 92nd Street YMCA in Manhattan.

On 9 September 1953, he delivered a full draft of Under Milk Wood to the BBC as he left for a tour of America, intending to revise the manuscript on his return.

Dylan Thomas is reported to have commented that Under Milk Wood was developed in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, as a way of reasserting the evidence of beauty in the world

The play opens at night, when the citizens of Llareggub are asleep. The narrator (First Voice/Second Voice) informs the audience that they are witnessing the townspeople's dreams.
Captain Cat, the blind sea captain, is tormented in his dreams by his drowned seafellows, who long to live again and enjoy the pleasures of the world. Mog Edwards and Myfanwy Price dream of each other; Mr. Waldo dreams of his childhood and his failed marriages; Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard dreams of her deceased husbands. Almost all of the characters in the play are introduced as the audience witnesses a moment of their dreams.

Morning begins. The voice of a guide introduces the town, discussing the facts of Llareggub. The Reverend Eli Jenkins delivers a morning sermon on his love for the village. Lily Smalls wakes and bemoans her pitiful existence. Mr. and Mrs. Pugh observe their neighbors; the characters introduce themselves as they act during their morning. Mrs. Cherry Owen merrily rehashes her husband's drunken antics. Butcher Beynon teases his wife during breakfast. Captain Cat watches as Willy Nilly the postman goes about his morning rounds, delivering to Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard, Mrs. Pugh, Mog Edwards and Mr. Waldo ("It's another paternity summons").

At Mrs. Organ-Morgan's general shop, women gossip about the townspeople. Willy Nilly and his wife steam open a love letter from Mog Edwards to Myfanwy Price; he expresses fear that he may be in the poor house if his business does not improve. Mrs. Dai Bread Two swindles Mrs. Dai Bread One with a phony fortune in her crystal ball. Polly Garter scrubs floors and sings about her past paramours. Children play in the schoolyard; Gwennie urges the boys to "kiss her where she says or give her a penny." Gossamer Beynon and Sinbad Sailors privately desire each other.

During dinner, Mr. Pugh imagines poisoning Mrs. Pugh. Mrs. Organ-Morgan shares the day's gossip with her husband, but his only interest is the organ. The audience sees a glimpse of Lord Cut-Glass's insanity in his "kitchen full of time". Captain Cat dreams of his lost lover, Rosie Probert, but weeps as he remembers that she will not be with him again. Nogood Boyo fishes in the bay, dreaming of Mrs. Dai Bread Two and geishas.

On Llareggub Hill, Mae Rose Cottage spends a lazy afternoon wishing for love. Reverend Jenkins works on the White Book of Llareggub, which is a history of the entire town and its citizens. On the farm, Utah Watkins struggles with his cattle, aided by Bessie Bighead. As Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard becomes asleep, her husbands return to her. Mae Rose Cottage swears that she will sin until she explode.

As night begins, Reverend Jenkins recites another poem. Cherry Owen heads to the Sailors Arms, where Sinbad still longs for Gossamer Beynon. The town prepares for the evening, to sleep or otherwise. Mr. Waldo sings drunkenly at the Sailors Arms. Captain Cat sees his drowned shipmates-- and Rosie-- as he begins to sleep. Organ-Morgan mistakes Cherry Owen for Johann Sebastian Bach on his way to the chapel. Mog and Myfanwy write to each other before sleeping. Mr. Waldo meets Polly Garter in a forest. Night begins and the citizens of Llareggub return to their dreams again.

Next week the Dylan Thomas Centre celebrate with a week of Dylan Thomas related performances and talks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Winterland set for sixth consecutive festive outing


WATERFRONT Winterland is returning to Swansea for the sixth consecutive time from the middle of next month.


It's now been confirmed that the attraction will bring festive cheer to the grounds of the National Waterfront Museum from November 18 to January 8.

The main Admiral ice-skating rink, a children's rink and Santa's Grotto will be among the fun.

A funfair and the Miles Hire Giant Wheel with spectacular views over Swansea Bay will also feature.

image depicting Waterfront Winterland LogoNew for 2011 is the chance to ice-skate and enjoy the fun until 10pm on New Year's Eve - just two hours before millions join in celebrations to mark the arrival of 2012.

Cllr Graham Thomas, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said: "Waterfront Winterland has become a key part of Christmas in Swansea since its inception back in 2006.

"It's an event that generates fantastic festive atmosphere that's enjoyed by thousands of people of all ages.

"It's hard to believe the year has gone by so quickly and that we have just a few weeks left until the Christmas countdown begins here in Swansea."

Other Christmas events people can look forward to include the annual Christmas Parade and switching-on of the festive lights on November 20.

A Christmas Market will also be held in the city centre from November 25 to December 18 and daily entertainment will be arranged in Castle Square from November 19 to Christmas Eve.

Pantomime fans have the chance to catch Aladdin at Swansea's Grand Theatre from December 16 to January 15.

Have a look at www.swanseachristmas.com for more information.

Let's Get things Going

 Press Release being distributed tomorrow

The challenge went out.  And Council Leader Chris Holley took it up and will be in the City Centre on Saturday 29th October between 10.30 and 11.30 talking to shoppers and business-people on how they view Swansea City Centre.

Mike Leahy, working with Tourism Swansea Bay, has been putting up ideas to promote Swansea and to bring some life and activity that will encourage visitors and heighten their shopping experience on his blog at www.mikeleahy.com. He then went on to challenge the Leader to some face-to-face exchanges. He said “I love Swansea and the whole area. There is so much for the visitor but I feel there is plenty that can be done by the Council to make the city centre more inviting, to improve their shopping experience without having to spend much money”. He went on to say “There seem to be too many groups discussing these issues but not a lot of action. Committees talk, individuals take action”

He has now met with Council Leader Chris Holley who has agreed to do a walkabout in the City and find out the best and worse things perceived by both shoppers and the retailers who serve them. The three main questions they will be asking are “What do you think is the best Swansea offers?”, “What is the worst thing?”, and “What would you like to see or what do you think would be an improvement?”

Mike Leahy has now discussed some of his ideas with Cllr Leader Chris Holley and had a further meeting with Cllr Richard Lewis, the City Ambassador. It has now been agreed that three ideas would be taken up at this stage as local trader initiatives and these are appointing a Town Crier who would be out and about throughout the City at the weekends promoting events and local businesses which would be funded by local retailers: creating an Artists Quarter similar the Montremart in Paris: and finally improving the busking to as near a level as that seen in Covent Garden. The finer detail hasn’t been agreed yet but there has been considerable backing from local traders who feel that much can be done to make the City Centre a vibrant shopping destination. 

Let's not let the sun set on these ideas. Lets put them into action.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bring in the "A" Team

It seems that the biggest hurdle to achieving anything in Swansea are the different departments that appear to overlap and who need to sanction the smallest change. A question of too many chiefs? Or maybe too many cooks!

Whatever the reason the simple answer for Swansea to progress is to have a small team who have autonomy and can get quick answers and decisions. A team of visionaries who are action driven to turn the city around. To come up with a plan and put it into place immediately. From little acorns big oak trees grow. 

It will take  more than a few nods and grunts to get this off the ground. There would be loads of opposition and many obstacles but a progressive council could cut the red tape and get this going so that there are results before Xmas.

Every day someone tells me they don't shop in Swansea anymore. Too any "Big Issue" sellers. The city is scruffy. Not enough choice. Parking is still difficult. No "Wow" factor. 


The time for Action is now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

An Opportunity to bring Shoppers to town

We should be planning for bigger better shopping experience
Can't we make the Winter Wonderland and Christmas Lights launch a bigger better experience like they are in Cardiff



CITY CENTRE TO STAGE DAY-LONG CHRISTMAS PARTY

Cardiff, named the 6th best shopping centre in the UK is planning a dazzling launch to the festive (lets call it Christmas and forget the local authority fear and political correctness) celebrations with a full day of free entertainment backed by the city centre traders.
Swansea should be focussed already on such an event. It looks like spending will be down as consumers tighten their belts so a bump start could be a great idea. What are BID doing? We need to climb up the ladder and become a shopping centre that visitors look forward to.

Swansea must stop being the bus pick-up point for Cardiff.

Why don't we have living statues around the city bringing some life!!  Why don't we have some real statues of local heroes? These could be the product of a local competition. And perhaps they could be sited for a couple of months and changed. With the huge number of creative artists in the area this is could be a great focal point.

Go to London and walk along the Bayswater Road. Why don't we have artists displaying their work on a Sunday morning along the High Street or in the park in front of the waterfront museum. Or even along Oxford Street. What a draw that would be. You could even have an artists quarter where artists are working outside like in the Montmartre area of Paris





You have to start somewhere and sometime. So why hasn't this been done before? Why can't it be up and running in a couple of weeks? Why can't the council just a few weeks? Local artists would love this and it wouldn't cost the council anything. Charge a few pounds if necessary: just a nominal amount  and certainly nothing for bonefide students at local colleges and universities.







Get rid of the paperwork. KISS - keep it simple, stupid. Issue licenses at £20 that are valid for 8 weeks as a starter. If it works - as it will - and bingo you will soon be drawing in more visitors. Don't be greedy. Look upon this as an investment.













Come on Swansea.This could be the beginning of something really big. Lets get those visitors excited and turn the tide so Cardiff folk come here.





Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Love Swansea Campaign

Bay of Life Campaign! I Love Swansea Campaign!

How many more campaigns are running right now to promote Swansea? Wouldn't it be better to get together and have a bigger impact? Divided we fall: united we stand!

It is now a week since I contacted the Evening Post to tell them that Cllr Chris Holley, Leader of the Council, will be accompanying me on a walk through Swansea talking to both shoppers and traders to get some gut reaction about what is good and bad in the city and ideas of what can be done to promote it as both a destination and shopping city. I should have thought it was pretty damned easy to connect this with the "I Love Swansea" campaign but it sees not.

I note in the Evening Post yesterday that the there has been no increase in usage at the High Street car park. I'm not surprised. I have asked several people in the city centre about the reduced parking fees and without exception nobody knew about it! There seems to be a poor mechanism for spreading information. I know there have been articles in the paper but I think most have been linked with safety or other negative issues.

At a meeting with Phil Roberts and two of his colleagues at the Civic Centre I suggested that perhaps free transport from the railway station to the bus station would be beneficial to rail travellers arriving in town but this was immediately rejected. This quick-fix would also encourage people parking in the High Street car park, particularly on wet or cold days and for those carrying bulky or heavy purchases.

Why aren't there Street Ambassadors giving out information? A couple of students giving out leaflets. Or perhaps the Street Wardens could give a helping hand whilst they patrol the streets. Couldn't BIDS help here too? They have put up some material in empty shop windows. Wouldn't a special parking offer be a great message in shop windows? How about distributing leaflets to the retailers. After all they are the biggest beneficiaries.

On the point of parking I still hear complaints from drivers that they are charged in the NCP car parks for their first hour on Sundays. Ballers clearly say "First Hour Free" it must be very small print about the £3 Sunday charge!!! The fact that parking is free in the council car parks on Sundays does not compensate.










Mike Leahy

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Clyne in Spring

An incredible park all year round but particularly in Spring. Apart from the gardens there is a lovely chapel tucked away and clearly visible from the road.

http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/~s442/clynechapel.htm

Friday, September 30, 2011

What a load of rubbish

Eric Pickles, the English Local Government Secretary has annjounced today that weekly refuse collections will be re-introduced across England. Over 170 local councils now have fortnightly collections and there are mixed feelings. Some folk think that the fortnightly collections are a backward step encouraging vermin and causing fly-tipping and smell. Whilst others feel that the suggested quarter £billion cost could be used better in other areas with the cuts facing cash-strapped councils.

Does this mean we might see Swansea follow?

How is recycling really going? Are we meeting our targets? What are the facts? I noticed yesterday that there are several black bags outside some homes. And I read somewhere that the accepted number is just two black bags a fortnight. For a family of 4 that seems extremely harsh. But is it true?
 
Interestingly I feel that the early morning  street cleaning is one of the best council services  know. These guys work in all weathers and remove last nights debris. My only concern is the ammount of chewing gum on some pavements. 

Your comments are welcome.

Iconic music festival at Swansea museum

It was one of the world’s biggest ever live music festivals and fans of icons like Jimmi Hendrix now have the chance to find out more about it at Swansea Museum. An exhibition devoted to the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival has opened up at the Victoria Road attraction until the end of the year.

The festival marked one of the last times legendary American guitarist Jimmi Hendrix took to the stage. It also included performances from stars such as Moody Blues, The Who and Jethro Tull. The museum exhibition features a huge selection of photos taken at the event by cameraman Charles Everest.

The photographer described the assignment as the most difficult he ever undertook. He spent five days and five nights not only taking images of the musicians but also of some of the estimated 600,000 festival-goers who attended. Joni Mitchell, Miles Davies and Kris Kristofferson were among the other acts to perform.

The exhibition also includes sculptures by Gut Portelli. They include Hey Joe, a piece that combines Hendrix and Vietnam, and Blow, a piece that features Miles Davies and his iconic trumpet.

Period guitars have been provided by Cranes Music and jewellery by Glenys Everest is on display. Copies of all the framed prints from the CameronLife Collection are available for purchase at the museum along with a large selection of other festival-related memorabilia.

Andy Rosser-Davies will be running guitar workshops throughout the exhibition. Hawkwind, Lovin’ Spoonful, Emerson, folk singer legend Joan Baez, emerging Brit star Donovan, Melanie, Free and Emerson, Lake and Palmer were among the others acts who took to the stage at the Isle of Wight Festival.

Jimmi Hendrix was found dead in London within weeks of his performance.

City Mascot

We have a mascot for the Swans and LC but I don't think there's one for Swansea City.




The term mascot – defined as a term for any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck – colloquially (informally) includes anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name. Mascots are also used as fictional, representative spokespeople for consumer products, such as the rabbit used in advertising and marketing for the General Mills brand of breakfast cereal, Trix. See the LC mascot to the right

And we have the Swan's mascot here on the left. In the world of sports, mascots are also used for merchandising. Team mascots are often confused with team  nicknames. While the two can be interchangeable, they are not always the same. For example, the athletic teams of the University of Alabama are nicknamed the Crimson Tide, while their mascot is an elephant named Big Al. Team mascots may take the form of a logo, person, live animal, inanimate object, or a costumed character, and often appear at team matches and other related events, sports mascots are often used as marketing tools for their teams to children. Since the mid-20th century, costumed characters have provided teams with an opportunity to choose a fantasy creature as their mascot, as is the case with the Philadelphia Phillies' mascot, the Phillie Phanatic.

Costumed mascots are commonplace, and are regularly used as goodwill ambassadors in the community for their team, company, or organization. Apologies for this being so americanised!! Bt you get the drift.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Carrie your Local Business Card

Carrie is your Local Business Card Another idea to bring business into the City Centre.

The Local Business Card was a front runner of the latest rash of discount systems now available such as Groupon.

The Local Business Card offers local businesses the opportunity to promote themselves through regular special offers. The project was developed some 3 years ago but didn't take off becase of the lack of local support. It is set up with window stickers, discount key-fobs and a dynamic website.

We have shown 3 Swansea Council dept directors and BIDS and are surprised that their enthsiasm didn't last beyond a few hours. This scheme, if used within the city centre would encourage consumers to spend more within the area.

The Local Business Card is a simple concept. Card cost £5 per year and entitle the holder to a range of discounts on a whole group of products and services. Traders pay £5 month and are able to put up a number of offers each year. The offers are promoted thyrough a regular e-mail newsletter with downloadable vouchers or a printed voucher sheet, dated with an expiry. The expiry is best to be short and can be anything from a discount,  money-off , 2-4-1 or anything that the trader wants. It is aimed at getting new customers and persuading existing customers to return more often. 


The card is in the form of a key-fob. Research has concluded that paperwork should be kept to a minimum and lost or stolen cards just replaced at a nominal amount. The card is a tool to increase footfall: who uses the card isn't important so it could be used by family members.  


This scheme is simple to manage. The card could be the "Swansea Business Card". It could be up and running in 3 weeks with a small budget and high impact.

Are you up for this Swansea Council?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chris Holley Leader of Swansea Council

Mike Leahy pleads . . . . .



Lets turn this . . . . . . . .










into this . . .

. . . . .  yes. A happy bunny!!










Seems to me that the Council are like a herd of rabbits (yes! herd may be a suitable word and it's the correct one) as soon as they see any event being organised, any business trying to make a profit, any householder wanting to make home improvements. They are blinkered and can only see "Health and Safety", "Compliance", "Planning Permission" or "Will we be sued?" and shout "STOP!", "NO!" or "YOU CAN'T DO THAT HERE!".

Come on Chris Holley, this is your opportunity to become a leader of men (and women) and show us that you are at the helm and that you are directing your band of merry men to slash the red-tape, become positive and find opportunities to bring the community together and not rend it asunder.

CHRIS HOLLEY THIS IS YOUR WATERLOO!