UWTSD is offering an ambitious and bold vision for Lampeter and the vicinity. It is a long-term scheme that will stimulate economic, social and cultural activity in the area and inject new life and energy into the town. It is a collaborative venture that will see the University working closely with Ceredigion County Council, Coleg Ceredigion and Coleg Sir Gâr, Lampeter Town Council, the Mid Wales Partnership and both the Welsh and UK Governments.
It it is successfully delivered, the vision could be replicated across the region and provide the Welsh Government with an example of best practice within the context of economic and social regeneration in rural Wales.
Tir Glas will develop and maintain an eco-system that will support rural infrastructure and act as a catalyst for the promotion of a resilient culture with a clear focus on food and hospitality. Sustainability and resilience will be at the core of the entire scheme, with these themes permeating through all its various components.
The vision has six key component:
- Pontfaen Food Village
- Community Food Hub
- Academy of Contemporary Food Wales
- A Rural Enterprise Hub
- The Wales Centre for Resilience and Harmony
- CWIC Welsh Timber and Building Performance Development Centre
These components will all be interconnected providing a unique opportunity for the town and the University to work together strategically for the benefit and prosperity of the local economy for years to come.
The Pontfaen Food Village concept will allow the University, in conjunction with Aldi, to showcase and celebrate local food produce, whilst the proposed Community Food Hub will allow the University to invest in a community facility for the rpomotion, understadinga and development of skills in relation to local food in Lampeter.
However, the most significant development will be the Academy of Contemporary Food Wales on the University’s campus. The aim is to apply for funds from the Mid Wales Growth Deal in order to establish a central hub for food education in the region, providing a strategic forum with partner organisations to assist in the direction an co-ordination of all aspects of food training across Mid and South West Wales.
The Rural Enterprise Hub will have an important role to play in promoting and supporting small businesses in a rural context, with a specific focus on the food and hospitality industries. The Hub will concentrate on providing support and training for those wishing to develop higher business skills and gain access to professional training.
The hub will also be home to a cluster of incubation units for graduates and local people wishing to establish their own businesses on campus.
The Wales Centre for Resilience and Harmony was formally launched on campus in November 2021. The Centre was instigated by members of the Lampeter Resilience Hub and will shortly boast a range of accredited and non-accredited course in areas related to adapting to and counteracting the effects of climate change. It will respond directly to the demand for resilience training within disciples such as agriculture, horticulture, energy and construction and aim to empower and support the community and economy of Lampeter and the neighbouring communities.
By establishing The CWIC Welsh Timber and Building Performance Development Centre, the University aims to collaborate with Wood Knowledge Wales to bring together dedicated resources and research in order to promote modern and sustainable methods of construction with the aim of decarbonising the construction industry in Wales in due course.
In order for the vision to bear fruit, the University is very aware of the importance of including the community in the developments from the offset. The community’s ownership of the developments will be key. In this regard, the goal is to build on current strengths and establish wealthy networks of partnerships locally, across Ceredigion and beyond. Communicating regularly on various platforms will be key to maintaining interest, encouraging participation and stimulating new ideas.
Our vision is to develop a unique offer in Lampeter by working closely with the local community, developing skill levels in the area, creating brand new work opportunities and attracting further investment to the town.
As the current pandemic has changed people’s attitudes towards the environment, health and wellbeing, and as Welsh Government is increasingly emphasising the main principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, establishing Tir Glas will be a timely and welcome development locally and nationally.