Experts plot economic prosperity for region
KEY players in South West Wales's economy have been discussing how they can play their part in making the region more prosperous.
A workshop in the Liberty Stadium was attended by organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors.
SQW, a leading firm of economic development experts, is working with a number of organisations to develop a new economic regeneration strategy and action plan for South West Wales.
The work started in September and will run through to the new year.
The ultimate aim of the new strategy is to improve the prosperity of the region by building on its strengths and opportunities.
Some of the issues being considered are enterprise, innovation, investment, skills and social inclusion. This work is also intended to help the region identify its priorities for the next round of structural funding.
Nick Bradley, Swansea Council's cabinet member for regeneration, said: "Within the South West, we are taking a pro-active approach to delivering economic benefits for the region. We are looking to achieve this by harnessing collective resources, accessing new funding sources and developing cross-boundary partnership working to avoid unnecessary duplication.
"A report published earlier this year by the Welsh Government recommended Swansea Bay becomes a city region, and this work shows that we have already started the process of making sure that, as a region, we are in a position to make the most of our combined strengths in future. The level of attendance at the Liberty Stadium workshop demonstrates how much commitment there is to realising our goals."
Natural environment, quality of life and the region's thriving colleges and universities are among the common strengths cited for South West Wales as a region.
Swansea Council, Carmarthenshire Council, Neath Port Talbot Council and Pembrokeshire Council, the Regional Learning Partnership (RLP), the South West Wales Tourism Partnership and the South West Wales Economic Forum are all working with SQW on the strategy.
Dick Crawshaw, of the South West Wales Economic Forum, added: "Working as a single entity with a single voice, common vision and shared priorities will ensure that the South West Wales region capitalises on its strengths, targets and resources to back 'winners' and becomes more responsive to opportunities in growing markets.
"This will provide the change required to raise the economic performance of the region."
The new regional economic regeneration strategy and action plan will be published in the spring.