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At a special event, held at the Arts Hall on the Lampeter campus on Thursday 17th March 2022, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) launched the Canolfan Tir Glas project.

As the University marks its bicentenary this year, UWTSD has now launched this exciting new vision for the future of its campus in Lampeter which builds on its world-renowned reputation as a centre for the study of the Humanities and multi-cultural and interfaith dialogue. The aim is to create a long-term offer for the campus and the town, underpinned by the principles of resilience and sustainability, which offers an opportunity to promote the area’s strengths and rural context. 

The term ‘Tir glas’ means a green and fertile landscape in Welsh which is derived from a series of short stories by D.J. Williams that portray the resilience and civility of the residents of Lampeter and North Carmarthenshire’s agricultural communities.

The University is working closely with Ceredigion County Council, Coleg Ceredigion and Coleg Sir Gâr, Lampeter Town Council, the Mid Wales Regional Skills Partnership, the Growing Mid Wales Partnership as well as the Welsh and UK Governments on developing Canolfan Tir Glas. The development has already received funding from the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund and from Cynnal y Cardi, Ceredigion’s Rural Development (LEADER) Programme, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.”

Gwilym Dyfri Jones, Provost of the Lampeter campus says: “As a core institution in the town, the University recognises that it has a central role to play in the regeneration of Lampeter in the post Covid period. The University sees itself as a catalyst for positive change that will be sustainable for future generations.

“As well as providing the town of Lampeter with a direction of travel, the vision for Canolfan Tir Glas is to provide an opportunity for the University to develop a new portfolio of programmes, working collaboratively with a range of local, national and international partners to enable Lampeter to become a centre of excellence in the areas of sustainability and resilience”.

“The pandemic has changed people’s attitudes towards the environment, health and wellbeing, and as the Welsh Government is increasingly emphasising the main principles of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, establishing Canolfan Tir Glas will is timely and a welcome development both locally and nationally”.

The six key and complementary parts of Canolfan Tir Glas are:

  1. The Pontfaen Food Village, which will enable UWTSD and discount food retailer Aldi to showcase and celebrate local food produce.
  2. Community Food Hub to provide a community facility to develop skills based on local food production.
  3. The Academy of Contemporary Food Wales to establish a central hub for food education and training, working with partners across Mid and South West Wales.
  4. A Rural Enterprise Hub to promote small businesses working in a rural context, specifically in the food and hospitality industries.
  5. The Wales Centre for Resilience and Harmony developed in partnership with the Lampeter Resilience Hub to develop courses in areas related to adapting to and counteracting the effects of climate change including in agriculture, horticulture, energy and construction.
  6. The CWIC Welsh Timber and Building Performance Development Centre in collaboration with Wood Knowledge Wales to provide resources and research to promote modern and sustainable methods of construction with the aim of decarbonising the construction industry in Wales.

Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor said: “Canolfan Tir Glas offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to redefine the University’s offer in Lampeter to deliver economic, social, cultural and environment benefits to Mid and South West Wales. The University and our partners aim to create opportunities that will upskill and reskill the area’s workforce, create jobs and attract further investment in the town and surrounding area.  In doing so, the aim is to create resilient communities so that people and places can flourish for generations to come”.

Following the launch, on Friday18th March, teachers from across Ceredigion were invited to an online educational course conducted by Professor of Practice Richard Dunne and Heini Thomas, Head Teacher at Ysgol y Dderi. Professor Dunne, the author of ‘The Harmony Teachers’ Guide’ provided inspiration and practical information for schools, MATs, teachers and other educators who are looking to apply Nature’s principles of Harmony to their own practice. With the help of Ceredigion County Council, Cynnal y Cardi, the University were able to translate Richard Dunne’s work into Welsh. A copy of the Welsh and English version will be distributed to all Schools in Ceredigion.

On Saturday 19th March the Campus at Lampeter was a buzz of activity as Canolfan Tir Glas hosted an Open Day with a programme of activities focused on the theme ‘Learning from Nature’. The taster sessions included contributions from academics, local experts in food and farming, students, local enterprises and social enterprises in the form of a range of talks, exhibitions, practical indoor and outdoor activities including guided walks around the campus and the town. The activities provided an opportunity to focus on the theme of resilience, including education, wellbeing, biodiversity and restoring nature.

The event was an opportunity for the public to engage with the University and to contribute to discussions and activities around resilience at the beginning of an exciting new era for the University at Lampeter and the community it serves.