© Stephen Miles Photography
South West Wales Connected is a new Community Rail Partnership established by Transport for Wales and hosted by 4theRegion. The overall purpose of Community Rail Partnerships is to encourage greater use of rail services through increased participation of local communities in their rail line and by a range of activities at and surrounding their station to provide economic, social and environmental benefits to the region’s residents and visitors.
This Community Rail Partnership was formed in March 2020, just as the UK entered lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, we are not promoting rail travel or encouraging visitors to this region. Instead, we have formed a temporary steering group to enable the CRP to build relationships and establish itself in readiness for full operations as lockdown ends.
Structure & Governance
As a new Community Rail Partnership, we are encouraged to innovate and develop new ways of working, to create greater economic, social and environmental value for communities served by the railway and for the wider region. Our aims are as follows:
1.1 To unlock the potential of the rail network to support the well-being of people and the planet, in alignment with the seven Wellbeing Goals of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2015), by working with people, businesses and communities within reach of each station.
1.2 To develop the use of the rail network to strengthen business, employment, social, cultural and leisure connections between people, businesses and communities across the four counties of Neath Port Talbot, Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.
1.3 To facilitate full use of station infrastructure and support placemaking around stations, by involving and empowering people, businesses and communities within reach of each station.
1.4 To encourage greater use of the railway by people and groups with protected characteristics under the Equality Act, and leverage the rail network to improve social, cultural and economic inclusion throughout South West Wales.
1.5 To encourage collaboration among tourism networks, local authorities, transport operators, regional destinations, communities and businesses to encourage use of the rail network and greater active travel for visitors and residents.
Governance & Structure
The SWWco CRP is a ‘stand-alone’ project hosted by 4theRegion cic, supported and funded by Transport for Wales Rail (TFWR), with separate financial and governance structures. The role of 4theRegion cic is to provide an independently managed entity that enables the CRP to employ staff and receive capital or revenue funding and other support to deliver its objectives.
Approximately ten Partners will be appointed to form the Core Group, to include Transport for Wales, 4theRegion and representatives from a mix of organisations from the four counties of Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea. The diversity of membership should reflect the strategic role of the CRP not just to focus on transport but wider social, environmental and economic objectives. The Partners will appoint the Community Rail Officer who will be accommodated at the 4theRegion office in Swansea. This group will meet at least monthly.
There will be a wider membership to encompass the wider community and its organisations. This wider group may be invited to establish sub groups on a task and finish basis and will report directly to the core group.
Membership of the South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership is open to any local or regional organisation with an interest in furthering the aims and objectives of the partnership such as local schools and colleges; environmental groups; chambers of commerce and trade; BIDs; tourism organisations; county, district and parish authorities; third sector organisations; rail user groups and relevant train operating companies.
The community rail partnership is a non-campaigning, non-party political organisation and therefore political parties are not eligible for membership.
3. Accountable Body
As an unincorporated association, South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership has no separate legal status. For accounting, purchasing and employment purposes 4theRegion cic shall be the accountable body of the South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership.
The South West Wales Connected Community Rail Partnership will seek to engage the services of a suitably qualified community rail partnership officer. This officer and any other persons employed and managed by the accountable body on behalf of the CRP will, unless otherwise agreed, solely undertake tasks and duties agreed by the Core Group and in accordance with objectives set by the core group.
4theRegion cic shall ensure the community rail partnership officer complies with the employment terms and conditions set out in the contract of employment and will ensure they are managed by a suitable and relevant departmental or senior manager.
[Further detail coming soon.]