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City centre coffee shop 'excited' by Copr Bay district

A Swansea city centre coffee shop that benefits people with a range of disabilities is excited about the potential of the nearby Copr Bay development.

Social Bean

Social Bean

The Social Bean, located on St Mary's Square, is run by Leonard Cheshire - a leading international charity that supports disabled people. 

Both Helen Hall, Social Bean Manager, and Lisa Gilchrist, Leonard Cheshire's Community Engagement Manager for Wales, say the Copr Bay development will benefit the Social Bean social enterprise because of the extra footfall and spending it will generate in the area.

The £135m Copr Bay phase one development which includes Swansea Arena is being developed by Swansea Council and advised by development managers RivingtonHark.

Employing two full-time and two part-time staff, all of the Social Bean's profits are invested back into Leonard Cheshire's charity programmes in Wales.

A number of volunteers also work at the Social Bean, including young people from France, Austria and Germany as part of an exchange programme.

Lisa Gilchrist said: "I think the Copr Bay development is absolutely fantastic for the centre of Swansea. It will bring a lot more people in.

"The Social Bean in Swansea is the first ever social enterprise we've had at Leonard Cheshire, set up to support disabled people either into employment or back into employment, to help them live, learn and work as independently as they choose.

"Anyone can come here, have some training and have some work experience to build up their skill sets, experience and confidence and then potentially move onto other employment."

Along with a coffee shop, the Social Bean also has an IT suite that's fully accessible to people with disabilities, along with a changing places toilet. 

Helen Hall said: "The staff and volunteers here are very excited about the Copr Bay project. The buildings forming part of the development are architecturally interesting, 21st century and forward-thinking. They're cool and quirky, so they fit in with what we're trying to do here at the Social Bean. 

"Copr Bay will bring more footfall into the area of the Social Bean, so we will have more customers and more opportunities for volunteers and work experience placements. We're also planning on opening later into the evenings because of the arena shows and other activities there in future. This will then help generate more money for Leonard Cheshire and the people we support across Wales."

As well as Swansea Arena, the Copr Bay phase one scheme being led by Swansea Council also includes a 1.1-acre coastal park, the new bridge over Oystermouth Road, new car parking and new spaces for leisure and hospitality businesses.

The emerging new district is estimated to be worth £17.1m a year to Swansea's economy.