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Games developers in £55k boost

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edwinahart1CHRISTMAS has come early for three Welsh games developers that have been awarded grants totalling £55,000 to build new gaming titles for Microsoft under an initiative supported by the Welsh Government. Dojo Arcade & Wales Interactive Ltd based in Pencoed Technology Park and Sky Fish Studios Ltd of Cardiff are the first in Wales t o participate in the Microsoft Greenshoots programme. Greenshoots is an incubation programme that has partnered with Creative England over the past two years and is now being piloted in Wales with support from the Welsh Government.

Microsoft’s Greenshoots programme provides young games development businesses and start ups with the funding, business support and mentoring they require to make commercially successful games for the Xbox One via the ID@Xbox programme, in addition to PC and mobile platforms. The three companies that successfully bid for funding will now get access to Microsoft’s BizSpark programme that will support the studios with a wealth of development software, expert guidance, technical advice and an introduction to investors. Agostino Simonetta, ID@ Xbox Regional Lead for Europe, said: “Following the on-going success of Microsoft Greenshoots in partnership with Creative England, we’re thrilled to be piloting the first cohort with the Welsh Government.

The participating studios are perfect examples of the kind of raw talent this industry attracts, and we look forward to working with them to bring their projects to market.” Cardiff based Skyfish Studios is a small start-up company that has three members of staff, all of which have graduated from the University of South Wales. Their firs gaming release, A Mechanical Story, which was released in November 2014, recently picked up a BAFTA Cymru for the Games and Interactive Experience category, and they are hopeful of similar success for a title to be released next year. Yucel Karamanli co-founder of Skyfish said: “Getting accepted by Greenshoots is a great step for our new game Elise: Unpainted Memories and incredibly encouraging. The funding will allow us to fully concentrate on making the game without worrying about the financial burdens we have as a small studio. This is a dream come true for any Indie developer studio.” Dojo Arcade was previously supported by the Welsh Government’s Digital Development Fund, and is now rapidly expanding and is a registered Nintendo developer. Tobias Johnson, of Dojo Arcade, said: “We are very lucky to be selected for the Microsoft Greenshoots and Welsh Government funding as the Wales games industry is rapidly growing.

It will enable us to complete our current title Creature Battle Lab and give it the polish it deserves.“ Wales Interactive has received five BAFTA Cymru commendations and a BAFTA Cymru Games Award, amongst others. It’s Managing Director David Banner, said: “We are delighted that Soul Axiom has been chosen as one of the recipients of Microsoft Greenshoots in partnership with Welsh Government. This is a another great achievement for our company and Greenshoots will not only help us take an exclusive version of Soul Axiom to Xbox One but will also give us invaluable international exposure for the title.” At the announcement of the news Economies Minister Edwina Hart added: “Games development is a rapidly growing sector of the creative industries in Wales and a highly competitive arena so I am delighted that some of our most promising companies will benefit from this initiative. “The grant funding, coupled with expert support from Microsoft, provides a tremendous boost for these Welsh indigenous creative businesses. Working with one of the world’s leading technology companies will provide them with a great development opportunity and an invaluable experience. “It will also help raise their professional profile amongst the international gaming community and I am delighted that support from the Welsh Government enabled this pilot to go ahead in Wales.”

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Colourful new eatery ‘The Junction’ opens in Gorseinon

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Junction Bar and Kitchen has just opened in Gorseinon 

A trendy new restaurant has just opened in Gorseinon – and has already been met with an optimistic reaction from locals. ‘The Junction Bar & Kitchen’ has opened upstairs at the Gorseinon Events Centre (known by some as the “GEC”) in Gorseinon High Street and is set to be a huge success, with delicious fry-up breakfasts and mouth-watering burgers, with loaded fries set to be added to the menu very soon.

The events centre itself was first built as a theatre in the early 1900s but, as the years have passed, has developed into a multi-purpose indoor events arena, which now welcomes a mixt of well-known artists and up-and-coming performers and DJs. The venue has two events spaces, two bars, a recording studio and a “DJ tuition room” with access to an extensive vinyl library. For more stories about Gorseinon, go here.

The GEC first began serving meals during the pandemic. Staff members cooked them in the venue’s then-small kitchen, for delivery and takeaway. Public demand grew very quickly, staff say, so management soon added a full-kitchen and a seating area post-lockdown which has proven to work wonders.

Read more: Date and full details announced for Swansea Christmas Parade 2022

Since then, the seating area has grown and staff have further developed the space – ultimately turning it into an open and welcoming eatery, which opened to the public on Monday, October 24. The venue is currently open from 9am to 2pm, serving breakfast and lunch, and will soon be open from 4pm to 8pm as well, offering burgers, loaded fries and other evening meals.

Staff member Jason Thomas said: “The GEC is an events centre which offers a variety of events including world-class DJs like Ben Nicky who is performing in December and up-and-coming DJs, musicians and tribute acts. During the lockdown, the GEC began to offer dinners for takeaway and delivery and had a great response so far. You can read more stories about Gorseinon here.

A fry up on the breakfast menu at The Junction (Image: Junction Bar & Kitchen)
Junction will soon be offering these delicious-looking burgers (Image: Junction Bar & Kitchen)
Inside Junction Bar and Kitchen (Image: Junction Bar & Kitchen)

“People have seen pictures of the burgers we’ll be making [on social media] and say they’re really excited to try them, the pictures are going viral!” he added.

In weeks to come, staff plan on showing big sports events, including Wales games, on the big screens in the GEC and expanding their menu and offerings in The Junction.

In the mean-time, The Junction Bar & Kitchen is servings its breakfast menu from 9am to 2pm. The Junction Bar & Kitchen can be found upstairs at Gorseinon Events Centre at 12 High Street, Gorseinon, Swansea, SA4 4BX.

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Yodel creates over 40 new jobs in Llanelli as it gears up for the festive season

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UK INDEPENDENT parcel carrier Yodel has announced that it is looking to recruit 49 new colleagues at its Llanelli site. This latest drive comes as the business prepares for what is expected to be a busy festive period.

Yodel’s Llanelli depot is a key site in its nationwide network, handling millions of parcels every year and serving customers across South Wales. Recent years have seen a dramatic growth in e-commerce, feeding sustained demand for parcel delivery services with Yodel expecting to handle over 200 million parcels this year. This latest recruitment drive follows a series of infrastructure investments and will support the business as it scales up its operations for peak.

Mike Hancox, CEO of Yodel, commented: “There are a range of roles available based at our Llanelli depot that supports our deliveries across South Wales. Christmas is always our busiest time of the year, but with 2022 bringing additional World Cup related shopping, we’re anticipating a festive season like never before. By joining Yodel, you will become part of a nationwide family and have options to work either full or part-time to suit your lifestyle.”

Our neighborhood courier roles suit a wide variety of lifestyles, and no previous experience is required. In recent years Yodel has developed a specialism in delivering parcels for growing and well-known retailer names.

For more information, please visit https://yodelopportunities.co.uk/ or text ‘Deliver’ to 84433 to learn more about courier roles at Yodel, find out about the values behind the business and apply for current opportunities.

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Community groups receive a share of cash from Ogi’s community fund ‘Cefnogi’

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COMMUNITY groups across Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan have each received a cash injection, thanks to Ogi’s new ‘Cefnogi’ local support fund.

Wales’s homegrown internet company, Ogi has given over £4,000 so far to community groups in Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan, to date, with everything from community gardens to coffee mornings being supported by the broadband provider’s micro-fund.

Building on the company’s sponsorship of local grassroots activities at Haverfordwest AFC, Llantwit Major RFC and Portskewett and Sudbrook FC, the ‘Cefnogi’ micro-fund offers small, local groups a cash injection to support activities that directly benefit their communities.

Speaking about the fund, Head of Brand and Engagement, Sarah Vining, said: “Investing in our communities is an important part of our plan to bring full fibre connectivity to towns and villages across south Wales.

“This initiative, bringing small, but no less vital, cash injections to thriving local community groups is our way of giving back to those that are providing much needed support locally.”

The fund, set up by the regional Community Liaison team, offers grants of around £250 to local grassroots groups in the broadband providers roll our areas.

Community Liaison Officer, Martin Jones, one of the team who originally came up with the idea for the fund, said: “I’m thrilled to see so many groups being supported by the ‘Cefnogi’ fund.

“Community really is at the heart of all we do here at Ogi, and giving back through our micro-fund is making a real difference to the local groups we support.”

Ogi’s support extends to volunteering opportunities too, with teams across the businesses having supported the clearing of residents gardens, hosting coffee mornings and redeveloping community spaces.

For more information on the ‘Cefnogi’ micro-fund visit www.ogi.wales/support

The latest round of the fund is accepting applications until the end of October 2022.

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