Environment Centre (Swansea)
|Type||Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered Charity|
|Focus||information, education, activity|
|Origins||Swansea Environmental Forum (SEF)|
|Swansea, South West Wales|
|individual, groups and schools|
|Jenny Edwards (manager)|
The Environment Centre in Swansea, Wales, is an independent charity organisation for environmental information, education and activity. Environment Centre may also refer to the building the charity is located in.
The Environment Centre's aims are to raise people's awareness of environmental issues, to increase the participation in environmental projects and to work towards a more sustainable future. It promotes, for example, the concept of the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). The Centre provides support for environmental organisations and groups, information on environmental issues and educational activities. Both the charity organisation and its building serve as a central place of exchange and networking for environmental organisations all around Swansea and South Wales. Organisations and businesses can hire rooms in the Centre for meetings, training, talks, conferences, interviews and events. The Centre also has low cost office space available for local voluntary sector organisations.     
The Environment Centre was formed by the Swansea Environmental Forum (SEF) in May 1994 with the City Council of Swansea, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Prince of Wales Committee participating. The SEF itself is now based in the Environment Centre. In 1995 HRH The Prince of Wales opened the building. Located in Pier Street, it is a part of the general revitalisation of Swansea's Maritime Quarter.
Before the Environment Centre came to use the old red brick building in the Maritime Quarter, it was used as one of Swansea's telephone exchanges (now located in BT Tower). When renovating the Old Telephone Exchange to shape the Environment Centre, reuse of old materials lessened the needs for new ones. The modern western part of the building, the Resource Centre or annexe, was built by Air Architecture in 1999 and opened in 2001. It was built under eco-design principles, reusing and recycling old material and fitting the building with sustainable technologies. The Environment Centre thus demonstrates practical energy efficiency measures. The Annexe was awarded with the Lord Mayor's design awards 2000 in the Categories Best new build - non-residential and Energy efficient. A solar panel on the roof of the Centre is used to heat the annexe's water and also for the annexe's under floor heating. The turf roof and the organic garden in the back yard provide an eco-friendly environment for the staff and visitors of the centre.
Ecological, organic and fairtrade goods
The annexe hosts a fairtrade internet café and a green shop, providing products which are fairly traded, organic or produced ecologically. Amongst the range of products are Ecoleaf (by Suma cooperative), Doy Bags and Ecover cleaning products, which are claimed to be effective and completely biodegradable. For waste reducing reasons, the shop offers the possibility to refill old vessels of cleaning products. Many rooms of the Environment Centre are used by independent environmental organisations, as part of the Environment Centre's policy of supporting environmental organisations.
Information at the Centre
Besides personal answers from people at the Centre, the following information is available:
- Positive News, a quarterly newspaper published in the UK
- Green Light, the Centre's own monthly newsletter, containing recent affairs, relevant news and events around Swansea
- books, leaflets, flyers, brochures, postcards and many other materials on environmental and humanitarian issues
The EC as an umbrella organisation
One of the three aims of The Environment Centre is to support local environmental organisations. This is being done by providing office space to others. The Environment Centre thus functions as an umbrella organisation for other organisations. These include:
- Undercurrents, a video activist organisation providing alternative news
- Friends of the Earth, Swansea's local group of Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland, an environmental pressure group
- Sustainable Swansea Initiative, a project aiming for increasing the level of sustainability in all levels of human action in Swansea. One of its projects is a Green Map of Swansea.
- Swansea Environmental Education Forum (SEEF), an organisation increasing the awareness and quality of environmentally related education throughout Swansea, providing information, resources and contacts
- MOre Green Project, an organisation for collecting and distributing furniture for recycling and reuseing
- OnePeople Productions, a film production organisation featuring underdogs
- BTCV Wales, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, Wales
- BikeAbility Wales, an organisation promoting bike riding for people with all abilities
- Welsh Youth Forum on Sustainable Development (wyfsd)
- Bat Conservation Trust
- Swansea Community Recycling Alliance Partnership (SCRAP), a project aiming the reduction of waste production in Swansea
- DJ Transport Consultants
- Swansea Fair Trade Forum, for information and activity on Fairtrade
- Groundwork, an organisation helping with changes in order to live in better neighborhoods
- Entry in the register of the Companies House Belfast.
- Entry in the Register of Charities of the Charity Commission.
- Castle Electoral Division 2001, by the Research & Information Team of the City and County of Swansea
- Peregrine, Chris. Waste not want not - recycling is all bagged up. In: The Evening Post, Thu Dec 2, 2010.
- Trustees' report and financial statement of the Environment Centre (March 2010), provided by the UK Charity Commission
- The Environment Centre, official website.
- Social Accounts 2007-2008
- Summary of the 2007-2009 Social Accounts pdf
- official Social Accounts 2005-2006
- Information about environmental organisations throughout Swansea by the Swansea Waste Forum
- Swansea Environment Centre in BBC's register of South West Wales Nature Organisations
- Swansea Environmental Forum (SEF) official website.
- Wilson, D. M. (director of Planning, City and County of Swansea, ): Swansea Maritime Quarter. City and County of Swansea. ISBN 1-901461-13-0. p35
- Swansea Environmental Forum 'about us' on official website
- The Environment Centre, Pier Street, Swansea presentation of main features in the references of Air Architecture.
- Ecological Design Elements Incorporated at the Environment Centre. Information about the Environment Centre's Building by the Environment Centre
- Ecover List of official Resellers
- Undercurrents official website.
- Good evening, here is the real news, by Paul O'Connor, in: The Guardian, Monday 20 August 2001
- Friends of the Earth local group Swansea
- Sustainable Swansea official website.
- Swansea Environmental Education Forum official website.
- MOre Green Project official website.
- OnePeople Productions official website.
- BTCV Wales presentation on official website
- BikeAbility Wales official website
- Welsh Youth Forum on Sustainable Development (wyfsd) official website.
- SCRAP profile on the City and County of Swansea's website
- Groundwork, 'about us'