Showcasing Cardiff at MIPIM UK and City Lab Innovation


Representatives from the City Council, Cardiff Business Council and our 350 square ft. interactive model of Cardiff were at this year’s MIPIM UK – the UK’s largest property exhibition.

This was an excellent opportunity to speak with potential investors, developers and key contacts in the property market about everything our city has to offer. On the opening day of the exhibition Lord Francis Maude, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, and Sir Michael Bear, Chair of the Regeneration Investment Organisation, both visited the Cardiff stand. We also hosted Chinese investors, developers and construction companies visiting MIPIM UK as part of the Chinese state visit of President Xi Jinping to the UK.

Showing the Chinese delegation some of the forthcoming developments in Cardiff

Showing the Chinese delegation some of the forthcoming developments in Cardiff

These are exciting times for Cardiff – with some major developments, such as the regeneration of Central Square, taking place in the coming years and many others in the pipeline. It is great to be able to attend events like MIPIM UK to get the story of our city, and our vision to be Europe’s most liveable capital, across to the people who can come and potentially get involved in the city’s future.


City Lab

City Lab – hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Aspen Institute, and The Atlantic – brought together Mayors and City Leaders from across the world to discuss the challenges facing cities, and the innovative responses that are being developed to tackle them.

It was particularly pleasing to see Cardiff’s approach to using data to improve public health presented by Professor Jonathan Shepherd.


It was a fantastic event and an opportunity to learn from experts from across the world on a number of innovative approaches to city issues, as well as to discuss some of the things we’ve been doing in Cardiff, such as our public service day campaign.


Achievements in Education

Many of you will be familiar with Joy Ballard and the excellent work she’s done at Willows High School, shown in the recent Educating Cardiff series. Her achievements have now been recognised at a national level – she has been named Headteacher of the Year at the Pearson Teaching Awards, in a glittering ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London. A spokesman for the Pearson Awards described Mrs Ballard as an “outstanding” head teacher, “committed to helping every student realise their full potential. The success she has achieved is outstanding.” Cardiff should be very proud of Joy and all the staff and students of Willows High School.


In other exciting education news, I am delighted that Thornhill Primary School has won a Sustainable School Award in this year’s Ashden Awards. Electricity consumption at the school has reduced by over a third since 2011/12 thanks to Solar PV, LED lighting, and more efficient IT facilities, as well as the efforts of the keen young environmentalists. The City of Cardiff Council uses Thornhill as a case study in best practice for carbon reduction, so we can all learn from their award-winning ways.






New College Campus and the Cardiff Convention

New College Campus Officially Opens

Cardiff and Vale College has a brand new city centre campus and I was delighted to attend the official opening where I met students and staff.


The launch of the £45m Canal Parade site marks the start of a new chapter for further education in the city and offers opportunities for students of all ages. The College is also keen to work with the wider community, offering flexible conference facilities and meeting spaces.

The new city centre campus is located within minutes of major transport hubs including Cardiff Central Station, making its learning, leisure and business opportunities even more accessible. Check out the video below and see how impressive this new facility really is!

The new campus includes shops, a rooftop restaurant with great views across Cardiff and a commercial salon, where students will receive vocational training, learning the skills needed in a professional, public-facing environment.

Shwmae to Cardiff’s new Welsh Language and Cultural Centre!

Last week marked Shwmae/Su’mae Day – giving everyone the chance to use the Welsh they have, however limited, and celebrate that the Welsh language belongs to us all. I took the opportunity to drop by the Old Library to check on progress of Cardiff’s new Welsh Centre.


Once opened the Centre– Yr Hen Lyfrgell – at the Old Library will offer opportunities to learn and speak Welsh, with facilities including a cafe bar, teaching rooms and exhibition space. Partners set to be involved include Cardiff University, Menter Caerdydd and Clwb Ifor Bach.

This is a really exciting development for the city and I’ll keep you updated as work continues to progress!

The Cardiff Convention

Later this month the city hosts the second Cardiff Convention – an event designed to bring together specialists from the Cardiff Capital Region and international experts to debate how we can advance our vision of becoming Europe’s most liveable capital city.

Last year’s event was a real success, bringing people from across Cardiff’s public, private and third sectors, together with colleagues who had successfully delivered on liveability and city region working from across the globe. This year we’ll learn about Austin in Texas, the development of a city-region brand in Bern, Switzerland and work undertaken in Copenhagen to deliver a liveable city during a period of sustained growth.

Cardiff has a huge role to play in connecting the Capital Capital Region to the world. Events like this inspire us to take an outward look at what we should be doing better, as well as giving us the opportunity to learn from world leaders in city development and ‘liveability’ – a term that covers many of the factors that make a city a great place to live, such as access to attractive parks and green spaces.

I’ll be speaking at the event about my vision for the city and how I think we’ll achieve it! You can get involved in the day by following the event on 29th October using the hashtag #cdffuture on Twitter.



Kelda, Cathays Cemetery and the success of the ball in the wall

Kelda Ground Breaking

Earlier this year, the City of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan signed a 15-year £13.4m joint organic waste deal with Kelda Organic Energy Limited to build a new facility to convert food waste into a soil fertiliser  and use the gases produced to generate renewable energy.

This agreement reinforces the Council’s commitment to meet the statutory Welsh Government targets around recycling as we work towards their ‘Zero Waste’ goal for 2050. The new plant will use the latest technology that will not only treat and recycle the organic waste but will also produce sustainable sources of energy and fertiliser for farming.

The Kelda ground breaking

The Kelda ground breaking

Construction on this new facility is now under way, and it is expected to be fully operational by 2017, when all the food we recycle in our brown food caddies will be used to generate electricity and supply both the plant and the adjacent Dwr Cymru / Welsh Water treatment works.

Cathays Cemetery Crowdfunding

A crowdfunding campaign to fund the restoration of Cathays Cemetery Chapels has raised over £20,000 in two weeks!

Cathays Cemetery is one of the largest Victorian cemeteries in the UK and its Green Flag grounds are a great asset to the city.  Despite some recent investment, the chapels require significant restoration work. We are using the Make the Diff’ crowdfunding page to try and attract funding. The response so far has been fantastic – with local funeral directors and those with loved ones at the cemetery giving their support – thank you to everyone that has donated.  If we can hit our target of just over £40,000 (currently 65% there) in the next 50 days then we can get this restoration work under way and start using the chapel for a whole range of events including services once more.

Cathays Cemetery

Cathays Cemetery

The Victorians intended the cemetery to be a place for leisure as well as remembrance also using the chapels for new ventures like concerts, film locations and weddings will really capture the spirit of the age as well as generating valuable income that can be used to maintain the building and grounds.

If you’d like to find out more about Cathays Cemetery or to donate – please visit the restoration of Cathays Cemetery Chapels page. Likewise, if you have any civic projects in Cardiff you think would benefit your community, and would like to use crowdfunding to raise money, visit our Make the Diff site.


Success of the Ball in the Wall

The Rugby World Cup 2015 has been a fantastic success for Cardiff so far with visitor numbers soaring and one attraction that has enjoyed particular popularity is the city’s iconic Cardiff Castle.

One of the reasons for this is the ball that appears to have crashed landed into the wall of the castle. This was developed by local firm Wild Creations – and what a great job they have done!

Core City Leaders visiting Cardiff

Core City Leaders visiting Cardiff’s Ball in the Wall

The ‘ball in the wall’ has been a social media phenomena travelling as far as Singapore and Australia and has been picked up by media across the globe.

As a result the castle has enjoyed an increase of 8,000 visitors compared to the same time last year and an impressive 2,100 visitors flooded through the gates on October 2nd which saw New Zealand take on Georgia in the Millennium Stadium.

The Rugby World Cup has given us another opportunity to show off Cardiff on the global stage. Visitors from across the World have given the city a real vibrancy, and helped make the official Fanzone such a success, with over 125,000 visitors making it the most well attended Rugby World Cup host city fanzone.

It’s a great place to watch the rugby action, including Wales v South Africa, this weekend!

Finally, congratulations are in order to the Welsh football team for qualifying for Euro 2016. I’m sure the whole of Wales will be cheering you on next summer.



Foster for Cardiff and the Cardiff Half

Make the Difference and Foster for Cardiff

We have launched a new campaign aiming to recruit more foster carers in order to bring Cardiff’s children back home.

The City Council currently has over 600 children under its care; however, at present there are not enough foster carers in the city and as a result some children live further away from their schools, friends, families and familiar surroundings.

Fostering is about providing a safe and stable family life for someone else’s child in your own home and can be for a short or long period of time, even providing a short break for a child or their family.

As well as being a challenging but extremely rewarding experience, fostering can also be a great career or a second income and those who foster with the City of Cardiff Council will receive an excellent level of support.

If you think you can foster for Cardiff or would like to learn more then please visit or contact the Fostering team on 029 20873797.

Made In Cardiff interview

Earlier this week I was delighted to visit the World of Boats as part of Made in Cardiff’s one-to-one interview series. The interview will be available in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled, and an early happy anniversary to Made in Cardiff who celebrate their first anniversary in the city later in October.

Made in Cardiff Interview with Tim Hartley at World of Boats

Made in Cardiff Interview with Tim Hartley at World of Boats

Update on getting taxis in Cardiff

For all big cities helping people get to where they want to go, quickly and safely, is a really important, especially when we’re hosting big events, like the Rugby World Cup. In Cardiff there are a range of travel options available but the city’s taxis provide an important service, particularly late at night.

We are therefore working closely with the Cardiff Hackney Association to ensure people can get around the city safely and that, whatever the length of the journey, there is a fair an equal service available to everybody.  As a Council we will often act as a “mystery shopper” to ensure that the service provided is of the quality you expect, particularly during busy times.  The feedback we receive tells us that Cardiff Taxis provide a high quality service but if you do have any issues- such as a driver refusing to take you home for no good reason- please follow the advice on our Facebook page and email –

 Cardiff Half Marathon

 The Cardiff Half Marathon takes place over the weekend. Starting at Cardiff Castle runners will race through Riverside and Grangetown before coming back over the Barrage, through the city centre, and around Roath Park Lake before finishing in the civic centre. It makes me tired even just writing about it!

This year’s race is particularly important as Cardiff will be hosting the World Half Marathon next March – another fantastic opportunity to showcase our city to the World and welcome visitors from across the globe.

There will be a series of road closures on Sunday, and I’d recommend that residents check the information available on the Cardiff Half website to plan travel. Good luck to all those running, especially those doing it for the first time, I hope lots of people will be out supporting the  runners through what will be a long and challenging run.