A £20m package of support for our communities aims to ensure no-one is left behind as Swansea emerges from the pandemic.
From a freeze on the price of school meals and cheap car parking offers to more make-over grants for shop-fronts, a recovery fund being unveiled by Swansea Council’s Cabinet aims to benefit every community in the city.
The move is the biggest-ever package of targeted measures put together to give people in Swansea a helping hand out of the pandemic.
Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said: “The council was there for the people of Swansea throughout the pandemic and we will be there as our communities emerge from it.
“During the pandemic we helped keep the elderly, the vulnerable and homeless safe. We shared £130m in grants and rates relief with businesses. We built a hospital that’s a vital hub in Swansea Bay NHS’s vaccination programme which has seen more than 300,000 jabs in arms already.
“Now we’re emerging from the pandemic the council is aiming to put an extra shot in the arm of every community in the city. Every ward will share in a package of support because we want no neighbourhood to be left behind.”
Among the highlights of the package are:
- School meal prices frozen for the current financial year
- More than 20 new or upgraded children’s play areas
- Extra parking promotions for outlying retail areas
- Free wi-fi in communities
- Free use of non-3G sports and recreation playing fields for sports groups, charities and fetes.
- More dog waste bins and extra resources to tackle littering, weeds and overflowing bins
- More investment in the council’s popular PATCH road repair services
- Extras resources to tackle blocked drains and flooding in the winter
Also out of the council’s £20m recovery plan will come steps to spruce up community commercial areas in places from Mumbles and Morriston to Clydach and Killay. It’ll mean re-greening communities with more trees, designated planting areas, extra street furniture and removal of tired, broken-down street furniture that can’t be fixed.
In addition to that grants will be made available to tidy-up shop fronts across the city from Bishopston to Bonymaen and Gorseinon to Pontarddulais.
The council will be investigating how it can work with bus companies to provide some free services to families with school-aged children during the summer holidays. Park and Ride passengers will continue to receive discounted use for the next six months and shoppers in the city centre and Mumbles will see reduced parking offers.
The council is also putting together rapid response littering team to deal with surges in littering and overflowing bins. Unsightly litter trapped in hedgerows and roadside verges will also be tackled.
Traders at Swansea Market will get more rent relief on top of £1.3m in support they’ve already had to help secure their futures. That’s on the back of council investment in new toilets and a new meeting area at the award-winning venue.
Cllr Stewart said: “Thanks to the incredible work of the NHS in the vaccination programme there is real optimism for the future. Lockdown measures are being eased, businesses have been re-opening. We are, at last, able to meet friends and family indoors, visit the gym and go for a swim.
“We all have to remember the virus is still with us and we still have to follow the rules which remain. But now is the time to launch the recovery and the council wants to help our communities lead the way.
He said: “No community should feel left behind. In Pontarddulais, for example, shops will be offered grants to improve their frontages and the children’s play area will be upgraded. In Gorseinon we’ll be greening the High Street further with new planters.
“In Bishopston shopfronts will get the chance for face-lift grants and improvements to the bump track. In Bonymaen we’re looking at much-needed traffic calming measures and other road improvements.
“Shops in Sketty, Mynyddbach, Penclawdd and Dunvant as well as many other locations around the city will also have access to shop-front improvement grants.”
Cllr Stewart said: “The past year has seen unprecedented challenges and unprecedented change. It has been hard for many families and communities.