Archive for Current News

16 Nov 2012

A Little Help from Job Centre Plus

No Comments Current News, Current Vacancies

Department for Work and Pensions have announced that on 19 November 2012, they will launch ‘Universal Jobmatch’ – a new, free* online job posting and matching service.

This new online service will improve their recruitment service for both companies and jobseekers by speeding up the recruitment process, making it quicker and easier for companies to find suitable jobseekers.

Anyone looking for work will be able to set up an account, and create a CV or upload CVs they already have. The new technology will automatically match their CVs and skills to suitable jobs that are posted by companies on the new service.

From 19 November, companies will need to post all their jobs online using Universal Jobmatch, as it is replacing the current Jobcentre Plus vacancy services – Employer Direct, Employer Direct Online and Job Warehouse.

After posting a job, companies will receive a list of suitable jobseekers, ranked by best match first. They can then select the jobseekers they want to apply and invite them to apply online.

Universal Jobmatch will be accessed via GOV.UK which is replacing Businesslink, Business Gateway in Scotland, and Business Wales, and also replaces Directgov for jobseekers.  It will be available in Welsh and English.

Please see their frequently asked questions for more information

11 Sep 2012

English Language Courses (ESOL)

No Comments Current News, Current Vacancies

The Workers Education Association (WEA) has received a major funding boost from the Home Office and European Funds in order for them to provide English language classes in the Swansea Bay area. They are now looking for suitable individuals who can develop their work in coordinating activities for the classes to commence forthwith. Said Elaine Topping, the area Coordinator for WEA, “We are looking for Development Workers for the European funded Regional Essential Skills Project and the Home Office funded ‘English skills for Integration and Learning’ project”. Salaries will be in the region of £21,719 to £27,112. Anyone interested should email WEA directly at or telephone WEA’s regional offices.

 The new project workers will supplement WEA’s capacity to offer even more English language classes in the area. Currently WEA works in close partnership with Swansea Bay REC to deliver a variety of courses, both at SBREC’s premises in Grove House, Swansea as well as WEA’s own premises in Orchard Street and other community venues.

Swansea Bay REC’s Chief Executive, Taha Idris, OBE has been complementary about the partnership that has achieved so much in the past. He has repeated called for the extension of English language provision in order to enable people to positively contribute to the society that they have made their home. SBREC are due to restart all their courses in partnership with WEA very shortly. He asked for members of the communities to contact SBREC offices (Tel: 01792 457035) as soon as possible to ensure that they can be placed on one of the courses.

16 Aug 2012

A Ramadan Breaking of Fast Event at Swansea University

No Comments Current News

Muslims in the South West Wales region who commenced the blessed month of Ramadan on 20th July are now gearing up to the end of the month on or around Friday 17th or Saturday 18th August 2012.

Kim Collis Esq, the County Archivist at Swansea University Mosque

Ramadan is one of the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. It is a month when most people who follow the religion, and who are old enough, fast during daylight hours. This is a complete fast which includes abstaining from food, drinks and smoking.

The Swansea University Mosque Management Committee opened their doors to members of every community in Swansea in order to create an environment of sharing during the breaking of fast event. During this event, people who fast from dawn to dusk come together in a wonderful social environment to break their fasts with dates, milk and fruit juice. After the evening prayer, they have a meal together.  The fast allows Muslims to empathise with those who are less fortunate and to concentrate their minds on their spiritual selves; the social eating after breaking of the fast allows them to appreciate what they have and to build better relationships with one another.

One such event was attended by Swansea Councillors Mitchell Theaker, Andrew Jones, Geraint Owens and Pearleen Sangha as well as the County Archivist Mr Kim Collis, PC Chris Noblett and former Councillor Stuart Rice.

In order to experience a day of fast, Mr Rice had successfully fasted the whole day and Mr Collis had fasted almost entirely for the day. They spoke, to the gathered audience after breaking their fasts, about their experience of fasting. They complemented the community on the psychological effort that is required for people to have completed their fasts over the past few weeks.

12 Jul 2012

Swansea Bay REC’s Annual General Meeting

1 Comment Current News

Swansea Bay REC held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 11th July 2012 at Swansea University’s Council Chambers. At the AGM, members had the opportunity to elect the organisation’s Chair, Vice Chair and members to serve on the Executive Committee.

Mrs Angella Gullam, RGN from Neath was elected Chair for the second year. Mr Nick Tregoning was elected as the Vice Chair for the ensuing year. Newly elected members of the Executive Committee included Mrs Aisha Rasul Iftikhar (pictured below) as well as Mr Arjan Ali, Dr Minkesh Sood, Mrs Amy Moore and Mr Nick Tregoning (the four pictured right).
The meeting was attended by the general members with special guests including Deputy Lord Mayor of Swansea, Cllr June Stanton & Deputy Mayoress, Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr Martyn Peters, Vice Chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard Davies, Police Commander Superintendent Joe Ruddy and Swansea Fire Service Chief Richie Webborn.


12 Jul 2012

Law changes possible on wearing of religious symbols at work

No Comments Current News

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron has recently said during the Prime Minister’s Question Time that he may consider bringing in laws protecting the rights of people to wear religious symbols whilst they are at work.

Issues have arisen out of the 2006 case of Nadia Eweida (pictured right), a British Airways employee who was sent home because British Airways felt that her wearing of a cross was in violation of their dress code. Eweida took her case to the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal and then to the Court of Appeal in 2010, all of whom upheld the employers action. British Airways have since changed their policy on dress code to accommodate the wearing of religious symbols.

She has now taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights seeking justice. She is joined in her fight by a former NHS worker, Shirley Chaplin from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals NHS Trust.  Chaplin had been told that her wearing of a crucifix was in breach of the NHS codes on wearing of necklaces in hospitals on safety grounds.

The Prime Minister’ comments seem to suggest that regardless of the results of the European Court’s ruling, workers will be able to wear articles of religious significance in workplaces, should the law be  changed to accommodate this.

10 May 2012

SBREC Receives Equality & Diversity Award

1 Comment Awards and Honours, Current News

Bonymaen Community Partnership held its AGM and Awards Evening on 9th May 2012 at Cefn Hengoed Comprehensive School in Swansea. As part of the event, The Deputy Lord Mayor of the City and County of Swansea Councillor Dennis James presented Community Champions Certificates to acknowledge the hard work and achievements by individuals and organisations for the benefit of the Bonymaen community. Swansea Bay Regional Equality Council was recognised for helping mainstream equality and diversity in Bonymaen. Chief Executive of Swansea Bay REC, Taha Idris, OBE, JP received the Equality & Diversity Award on behalf of the organisation.

There were a number of other dignitaries from School Governors to Community Group Leaders as well as key Community Volunteers present at the Ceremony. There were performances from the school Choir, Drummers, Soloists as well as Bonymaen’s very own ‘Only Women Aloud’ Ladies Choir.

08 May 2012

Newly Elected Councillors

No Comments Awards and Honours, Current News

Swansea Bay REC would like to extend its congratulations to two newly elected members of local authorities in our area. Councillor Saifur Rahman has been elected from Port Talbot Ward of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Councillor Pearleen Sangha was elected from Uplands Ward of City & County of Swansea.

Saifur Rahman has been on the Executive Committee of SBREC for a number of years, whilst Pearleen Sangha joined the Executive Committee last year.

We wish them well for the next 4 years (and beyond) whilst they endeavour to fulfil their electorates’ dreams about council services as well as representing their electorates in all spheres of life. We have every confidence that these two will do their utmost for their electorates in the years to come.

08 May 2012

Bigger Heart Project – Helping Tanzanian Children

No Comments Charity, Current News

A recently started project is creating waves of colour wherever it goes. The Bigger Heart Project was recently started by a local businesswoman, Layla Yahya. The main aim of the project is to raise cash in order to buy educational support tools as well as toys, clothes and other similar items for the benefit of young people who are living in desperate situations in Zanzibar. A showcase event was held at the St Thomas Church Hall which attracted many artists who displayed their artefacts and sold them to raise the money for the project. The project expects to tackle many educational and health issues facing young people in Zanzibar. Mrs Yahya is no stranger to Zanzibar and she has herself witnessed the plight of young people there. This was the driving force which gave her the incentive to start the project. She has already taken some of these goods to the country in the past and expects that with the support of people from this area she will be able to enhance the project further.

25 Apr 2012

Mister Wales 2012 – Arnold from Dance Group A3

1 Comment Awards and Honours, Current News

We are proud to learn that one of the newest members of our communities has been selected as Mister Wales 2012. It is an honour and a matter of pride that Arnold Matsena, 22 of Swansea has received this coveted title. It was only two years ago that Arnold with his two younger brothers, originally from Zimbabwe but now permanently resident in Wales, impressed Britain’s Got Talent Judges when their act, called A3, stormed through to the final.

A3 are a well established group of street dancers who combine modern British music and dance with that from their Zimbabwean heritage. Arnold and his brothers have also appeared in Move Like Michael Jackson where they proved the brothers have individual talent which, when put together, forms a mesmerising act. They are not new to fame having won many competitions including medals at the 2009 World Street Dance championship.

Said Swansea Bay REC’s Chief Executive, Taha Idris ” I wish to congratulate Arnold on having received the Mister Wales Accolade in 2012. Arnold has worked with SBREC in delivering Schools’ Diversity Days where his performance has enthralled all the pupils. Arnold has a great heart as well as some oratory skills and it’s been interesting to hear him give his message of hope to the pupils during our Diversity Days”

Organisers of Mister Wales had this to say about the title:

“Mister Wales is an annual competition for young Welsh men aged between 18-29. The event runs annually alongside the Miss Wales competition to generate funds for our chosen charity The Joshua Foundation.

Each year, the new titleholder wins a trip to either Manhunt International or Mister World to represent Wales on this international stage. Arnold, having won the title will also get to judge the regional heats of Miss Wales title in 2013 and may receive a number of personal appearance opportunities. He will also receive (subject to fundraising) a series of overseas trips with The Joshua Foundation including three weeks in Australia.

It’s not a body building competition – but a good body helps of course!”

Congratulations Arnold. You have not just got the talent but also the grit to be Mister Wales 2012.

17 Apr 2012

Schools’ Diversity Day

No Comments Current News

During the past few months our team has delivered a number of diversity days for years 7 & 8 pupils in a number of schools across Neath Port Talbot and Swansea.

The ‘Diversity Days’ have incorporated a mixture of classroom based activities coupled with hands-on workshops where the pupils got involved in diverse activities ranging from Chinese ‘T’ai chi chiuan’ led by Leigh Evan to Brazilian art form of Capoera facilitated by Maxwell Freitas. The sessions were arranged in such a manner that pupils from year groups 7 or 8 were able to participate in each of the five or six activities that had been designed for them. African dancing led by a very able Nancy Buka; Turkish Belly Dancing organised by ‘Habibi’ who are one of the oldest groups of their kind in the area; Bollywood dancing facilitated by an expert dance teacher Sarita Sood and ‘Self Defence’ classes put on by Mohammad Ali Akbor were all popular. One of the most popular workshop across all schools was ‘African Drumming’ which was facilitated by Fox Kamio. All of our Workshop Leaders are experts in their field and have worked with pupils at various schools over a number of years.

During lunch, pupils were exposed to the tastes and fragrance of foods from around the world, all part of the experience that the pupils gained.

One of the more serious and thought-provoking workshops was led by Swansea City of Sanctuary and its volunteers. These workshops dealt with issues surrounding refugees and asylum seekers. It was interesting to note the pupils reactions to live examples of people who had sought asylum in the UK. Indeed the amount of knowledge that the pupils had in respect of asylum seekers required some myth busting. Most pupils were udner the impression that the total number of people who sought asylum in the UK exceeded 20% of the world’s asylum seekers, the reality being that it is a small fraction of those who sought asylum came to the the UK.

Swansea Bay REC’s own expertise in all mandates of equality was passed on to pupils when they participated in a quiz dealing with equality matters. This sought to give them information about race, gender, religion/belief, age, disability and sexual orientation discrimination.

It was extremely tiring for staff from Swansea Bay REC, teachers from the schools as well as all workshop leaders who nevertheless enjoyed the experience but the amount of enthusiasm  that the pupils showed in being able to learn and enjoy at the same time made it all worthwhile.

In the academic year 2011-12, Swansea Schools which benefited from Diversity Days were: Bishop Vaughan, Cefn Hengoed, Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr and Pontarddulais Comprehensives. In Neath Port Talbot, Dwr y Felin, Glanafan, Cwmtawe and Dyffryn Comprehensives. SBREC is currently overwhelmed with requests from many other schools, as far afield as Bridgend to deliver the sessions. We are advising them to register their interest and as soon as we are able to secure funding for these sessions we intend to take our innovative approach to those schools.

Swansea Bay REC would like to extend its appreciation to Amina Malik who organised all of these sessions. We are also grateful to our caterers, Karen Hartnell for providing such a diverse range of cuisines for the pupils to taste. Most of all we would like to thank each one of the schools for the hard work that their staff put in to make the days so successful.