Friday, 24 February 2017

The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald


The latest Clay Shaw Butler Money Matters column from the Carmarthenshire Herald.
By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants.


HMRC have revealed their Top 10 most significant fraud and organised crime cases of the last year.
Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said:
“Day in, day out, HMRC is coming down hard on tax cheats.
“As these cases show, we’ll tackle anyone committing tax fraud, regardless of how well resourced, well advised, or well organised.
“These 10 prosecutions are among the most significant cases we’ve handled this year, and they reflect the wide range of work carried out by HMRC.”
In the ongoing fight against tax evasion, HMRC took a range of tax fraudsters through the courts in 2016 for prosecution.
HMRC’s criminal investigations have led to 679 individuals being convicted for their part in tax crimes, with sentences for 2016 totalling more than 730 years.
Many of the cases won by HMRC in 2016 involved company directors, accountants and organised criminals.
These individuals were involved in a wide range of criminal activity including excise smuggling, hiding assets from HMRC in offshore accounts, and frauds disguised as tax avoidance schemes.
These 10 most significant cases each came with large prison sentences.
They include:
  • a group of film producers, accountants, financial advisers and investment bankers jailed for a total of 36 years for their part in a £2.2 million film tax scheme fraud 
  • three men jailed for a total of 27 years for a film fraud disguised as a tax avoidance scheme, which was intended to defraud taxpayers of £100 million 
  • three men – including an accountant and a construction firm boss jailed for a total of 19 years, after stealing £6.9 million in a payroll fraud to fund lavish lifestyles 
  • a criminal gang from the South East jailed for a total of 19 years, after getting caught red-handed with bundles of ‘dirty’ cash, as part of £15 million made from selling alcohol illegally 
  • two charity con-men, who faked charitable donations to fraudulently claim more than £5 million in Gift Aid repayments, were jailed for a combined total of 19 years 
  • a gang of five men from the north of England, who used free public Wi-Fi to try to hide their £10 million cigarette smuggling ring, were jailed for a total of 16 and a half years 
  • a criminal gang, including a father and son, caught running a fuel fraud, evading more than £900,000 in duty and taxes by running an illegal filling station in the West Midlands, jailed for a combined total of more than nine and half years 
  • a London couple who masterminded a nationwide counterfeit tobacco production racket capable of robbing the taxpayer of £1 million a week, were jailed for a total of eight years 
  • a cheating accountant who advised the media industry, was jailed for five years for a £6 million tax fraud 
  • four fraudsters from Forfar, Stoke-on-Trent and Spain, ordered to repay more than £111 million in criminal profits. The men, who were part of an 18-strong criminal gang involved in a mobile phone VAT fraud, were sentenced between 2012 and 2014 to a total of 135 years in prison. 
Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said:
“Tax evasion isn’t a victimless crime: it is stealing money from our vital public services and it undermines honest traders.
“We’re working hard to take the profit out of organised crime, create a level playing field for honest businesses, and use the full range of our powers and capability to ensure that no one is beyond our reach.
“HMRC uses the full range of both criminal and civil powers to investigate tax cheats, and is successful in more than 90% of the prosecutions undertaken. However, work doesn’t stop there – HMRC always looks to recover the proceeds from any crime committed.”
If you know of anyone committing tax fraud, call the HMRC 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000.

You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) -
http://www.clayshawbutler.com/news/latest-news-for-business
We have a strong and experienced team with great local knowledge all geared-up to helping you get the very best from your finances – whether that is as an individual or as a business.
We stay ahead of the game by putting great store by continual professional development for our staff.
With Investors In People status at Clay Shaw Butler, we care passionately about making sure our staff have all the tools they need to serve you, our customers.

Weblink - http://www.clayshawbutler.com
The team at Clay Shaw Butler can be contacted on 01267 228500.
The team at Clay Shaw Butler are on Twitter. Look for @clayshawbutler. 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The latest 'On Song' column from the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column (about the choral scene in Carmarthenshire) from the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star -

The wonderful ladies of Côr Curiad have an exciting 2017 planned.
The highlight will be the September 2 concert at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, with The Overtones.
The night will conclude Côr Curiad’s two-year fundraising efforts for Ty Bryngwyn Hospice in Llanelli.
The choristers set themselves a £20,000 target.
The target has already been met, so Côr Curiad’s members are looking forward to smashing the figure and handing the final cheque over on a special night!
The Overtones are a five-piece vocal harmony group - Darren, Mark, Timmy, Mike and Lachie.
They were discovered by a Warner Bros Records talent scout while working as decorators in a shop near Oxford Street, singing during their tea break.
Their debut album, Good Ol’ Fashioned Love entered the UK Albums Chart at No16 in November 2010. However, after the re-release of the album in March 2011, it propelled to No4. They have sold in excess of 500,000 copies of their first album.
The line-up is as follows -
Timothy Thomas ‘Timmy’ Matley is from Cork, Ireland. He was born on 16 February 1982. Timmy got into performing arts at the age of 14, and at 16 years old he came to London to audition for a performing arts school. Timmy left Ireland when he was 17, as he didn't enjoy college. He went travelling and then came back and decided to get involved with songwriting and singing. He is the lead singer of the band, and sometimes joins the middle harmonies of the band. He loves meerkats and knits in his spare time.
Mark Robert Franks comes from Sale, Greater Manchester, and was born on 9 May 1977. He attended the Royal Ballet School from age 11 to 16. He was a professional dancer for 10 years before joining The Overtones. Mark has a passion for remixing music, and has released some of his fabulous 1980s remixes under his "DJ Rescue Rangerz" name on Soundcloud. He is very keen on all things 1980s and is a big Back To The Future fan. His favourite shop is Topman. Mark enjoys mixing modern clothing with vintage to create his own style. He sings the middle harmony sections in their songs.
Lachlan Alexander ‘Lachie’ Chapman was born 7 February 1981, and comes from Manly, New South Wales, Australia. He left Australia on his 25th birthday, and came to England in the hope of becoming an actor. He is the bass singer. Lachie would love to perform at Carnegie Hall. Back in Australia he has a dog called Matilda. In early 2016, Lachie appeared in the Channel 4 comedy series Crashing.
Michael ‘Mike’ Crawshaw was born on 12 February 1980 and comes from Bristol. From an early age, Mike wanted to go into football and athletics, and enjoyed family holidays to Cornwall. He got into singing when at college and sings the middle harmonies of the groups. His favourite song is Superstition by Stevie Wonder.
Darren ‘Daz’ Everest is the Essex boy of the band. He was born on 30 May 1981. Originally, he wanted to go into football, but had to stop when getting ill with glandular fever, so went into singing, after he discovered his love for it. Darren is the falsetto voice of the band. He got his ears pierced when he was 18 years old and owns around 64 ties and bowties. He married his longtime girlfriend Bianka on 20 September 2014.
Côr Curiad is a ladies choir based in Llanelli. The aim of the choir is to promote the Welsh language and culture of choral singing. While the majority of our members are bilingual, they have an open door policy and Welsh learners and non-Welsh speakers are very welcome.
Since its beginings in 1995, the choir has raised tens of thousands of pounds for local and national charities.
The choir has performed in Bath, St. David’s and Wells Cathedrals, the Millennium Theatre in Cardiff and the new Welsh Assembly Government Building in Cardiff Bay.
Côr Curiad is led Alex Esney-Davies.
The choir’s biggest achievement to date was in 2012, when, with the support of Rhydian Roberts (TV’s X Factor), a sell-out concert raised £16,500 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
There are currently around 30 members, with an age range from 14 – 80-plus. There are several sets of mothers and daughters, sisters and even a set of twins in the line-up.
The ladies rehearse between 6.45 pm and 9pm every Thursday evening.
The rehearsal venue is at the school room at Hall Street Church, West End, Llanelli.
Other Côr Curiad dates are as follows –
March 1, in Llanelli town centre precinct to celebrate St David’s Day 10.30am. Then outside Boots 12pm, then Ffos Las racecourse at 2pm.
March 3, Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, business awards hosted by the Evening Post.
March 17, quiz night for Ty Bryngwyn in The White Lion, Llanelli.
September 9, concert in Glenalla Hall for Llanelli Town Council.
October 6 and 7, performing in Tamworth with new mixed choir.
Another fine ladies choir has sent in news of their activities . . .
Côr Merched Lleisiau’r Cwm had a very busy 2016 and their members are looking forward to an equally busy 2017.
Musical director Catrin Hughes has sent in a special 2016-2017 review.
It is in Welsh and included below, but it includes news of how the choir raised more than £7,000 for the Breast Unit at Prince Phillip Hospital, Zac Griffiths from Tycroes, Colon treatment at Morriston Hospital and the Wales Kidney Association.
Catrin also explains how the famous Welsh composer Robat Arwyn and poet Tudur Dylan Jones have composed a new song for the choir, to compose a song for the choir, ‘Lleisiau mewn Cynghanedd’.
Côr Merched Lleisiau’r Cwm performed the song for the first time on January 13 at the Tinopolis studio in Llanelli.
Here is Catrin’s review of the year –
2016- Dyma oedd blwyddyn arbennig i ni, Côr Merched Lleisiau’r Cwm o Ddyffryn Aman.
Dechrau’r dathlu ym mis Ionawr mewn Cinio a Dawns yn Ngwesty Parc y Strade gyda Cantata, 'Fat Barry's Soul Band' ac ocsiwn yng nghwmni Robert Lloyd, penwythnos yn Llundain ac i Gymanfa Ganu Capel Jewin o dan arweinyddiaeth Catrin Hughes, a chyhoeddi ein calendr Miri'r Misoedd ym mis Mai, cyngerdd mawreddog yn Theatr y Ffwrnes a rhannu llwyfan gyda Band Pres Porth Tywyn ym mis Gorffennaf, cystadlu yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol y Fenni ym mis Awst, cyngerdd gyda Côr Orpheus Treforus, recordio ar gyfer Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol yn Eglwys yr Holl Saint Rhydaman a chanu cyn gêm Cymru a Japan yn Stadiwm y Principality ym mis Hydref, Ffair Nadolig yn neuadd y Pensiynwyr Rhydaman, cyngerdd yn Ystradgynlais, a diweddu'r flwyddyn yn perfformio mewn priodas yn Eglwys y Santes Fair Cydweli ar ddiwedd Rhagfyr.
Ie yn wir, blwyddyn i'w chofio ac edrychwn yn ôl arni gyda gwen a chyda balchder.
Yn ogystal â'r chwerthin a'r cymdeithasu mae’r côr wedi codi dros £7,000 i Uned y Fron Ysbyty Tywysog Phillip, Zac Griffiths o Dy-Croes, ward y Colon Ysbyty Treforus, a Chymdeithas Aren Cymru.
Comisiynwyd Robat Arwyn a Tudur Dylan Jones i gyfansoddi cân ar gyfer y dathlu- 'Lleisiau mewn Cynghanedd'.
Dyma bartneriaeth benigamp.
Perfformiwyd y gân am y tro cyntaf yn stiwdio Tinopolis ar Ionawr 13eg. Diolch i chi oll ac un am eich cefnogaeth yn ystod yr ugain mlynedd diwethaf a gobeithio y dowch ar daith gyffrous arall gyda ni yn 2017.

In other news, the ladies from Parti Llwchwr wil be performing ‘across the bridge’ in Swansea on St David’s Day.
Details: Your way to celebrate St. David's Day with Dunvant male Choir, Parti Llwchwr and Nia Jenkins (Harp) in the lovely acoustic of All Saints Church. Concert starts at 7 pm, Unreserved tickets at £10 available from Choir: Alan Walters Tel. 401005 or from Church: Anne Neumann Tel. 466885.
And, in other St David’s Day news, there will be a ‘Cawl a Chan’ at Narberth RFC at 7.30pm on Wednesday, March 1, featuring Whitland Male Choir and guests.
West Wales singing duo Aled Edwards and Eleri Owen Edwards will be appearing at Dunvant RFC's Welsh night, ‘Cawl ,Caws and Cockles’ on Sunday March 12th.
And, on February 26 at Capel Newydd, Llandeilo, there will be a St David’s Day concert featuring mezzo-soprano Ffion Haf.
Ffion is a winner of the David Ellis Memorial Prize, the Blue Riband, at the 2015 National Eisteddfod at Montgomeryshire and the Marches.
Also appearing will be Bois y Castell male voice choir and the choirs of the town's primary schools, Ysgol Gymraeg Teilo Sant and Llandeilo Primary School.
In Llanelli, the big concert is the St David’s Celebration Concert on Saturday, March 11 at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
The event will be a Loud Applause production on behalf of Theatrau Sir Gar, Carmarthenshire Theatres.
It will feature combined male voice choirs from across West Wales, under the direction of guest conductor Alwyn Humphreys MBE.
As is customary at these events, Mr Owens likes to introduce a young up-and-coming singer to a wider audience.
This year, it will be the turn of 20-year-old Osian Wyn Bowen from Burry Port.
Osian is currently a student at the Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Tenor Osian has performed at a number of venues including St. David’s Hall, Wales Millennium Centre and Buckingham Palace.
Televised appearances include S4C Heno; Les Miserables – Y Daith; Cyngerdd y 10 Tenor and BBC’s Songs of Praise. Osian is also a patron for Welsh Hearts.
Mr Owens said: “We have a very exciting and inspiring line-up for the concert, which is being held at Ffwrnes on Saturday, March 11.
“Our star attraction will be the exceptional soprano Elin Manahan Thomas.
“It will be an evening with a Welsh theme reflecting the celebrations of our patron saint’s day and the concert promises to have something for everyone.”
Guest Conductor Dr Alwyn Humphreys is well-known throughout Wales for his work as a TV presenter and conductor. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of Wales and Conductor Emeritus of the Morriston Orpheus Choir.
The choirs taking part are Côr Meibion Mynydd Mawr; Côr Meibion Dyffryn Aman; Côr Meibion Dyffryn Tywi; Côr Meibion Porth Tywyn (Burry Port).
Other future events in West Wales include –
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - Carmarthen Youth Opera. Musical - 22 Feb, 23 Feb, 24 Feb, 25 Feb at The Lyric. CDYO are proud to present Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's masterpiece Jesus Christ Superstar. One of the best musicals of all times this production will be a rock spectacular and celebrate a new generation of young and aspiring talent, it promises to be the 'must see' show of 2017.
SEMELE OPERA - Mid Wales Opera. Opera - 23 Feb at The Ffwrnes. First performed during Lent 1744 at Covent Garden, Handel’s Semele instantly caused a stir. The production used Congreve’s libretto based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses bringing to life Semele’s ill-fated love for Jupiter King of the Gods. Undoubtedly one of the jewels of baroque opera, it features the stunning tenor aria “Where’er you walk” and Semele’s breathtaking “Endless pleasure, endless love”.
COMPANY - Llanelli Stage Company. Musical - 23 Feb, 24 Feb, 25 Feb at Ffwrnes - Stiwdio Stepni. A breakthrough Broadway musical in 1970. COMPANY remains fresh, acerbic and original today. The themes – marriage and commitment, friendship and loneliness – and its innovations in form, mark it as a landmark in American musical theatre; considered by many to have inaugurated the modern era of musical theatre. You can't fail to be dazzled by Sondheim's score – original, pulsating and breathtaking.
THE WIZARD OF OZ - SA15 Stage School. Musical - 2 Mar, 3 Mar, 4 Mar, 5 Mar, 7 Mar, 8 Mar, 9 Mar, 10 Mar at The Ffwrnes. Little Dorothy Gale of Kansas, like so many girls her age, dreams of what lies over the rainbow. One day a twister hits her farm and carries her away over the rainbow to another world. Come join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy's imagination.
CHAMBER PHILHARMONIC EUROPE POWERFUL EMOTIONS TOUR 2017 - Kammerphilharmonie Europa. Classical Music - 22 Mar at The Ffwrnes. Chamber Philharmonic Europe with award-winning soloist C. Gussaroff –Trumpet bring an evening of versatilesounds and a repertoire that will lead you through an intricate mix of emotions with their high quality artisitic and enriching classical music and experiences from the world renowned established orchestra that will leave you moved and energized equally.

Robert Lloyd works as a media consultant – www.rlloydpr.co.uk
If you have any news about the choral scene in Llanelli, the please contact him on 07777 683637 or email rlloydpr@btinternet.com 

The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post


The latest Phil Evans column from the South Wales Evening Post.
Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy.
www.philevans.co.uk

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What can we do with the selfie-obsessed?

When I recently visited London for the first time in almost a year I couldn’t believe how tourist behaviour had changed.
Instead of taking photographs of their family/friends in front of famous landmarks, most visitors were taking ‘selfies’ using ‘selfie sticks’.
It doesn’t just occur in London.
This ever-growing madness of taking selfies goes on everywhere . . . maybe in your neighbourhood.
So be vigilant!
Because selfie-takers are narcissists who don’t consider that taking pointless selfie-after-selfie of themselves in the same position is annoying to people around them.
I know you like me to give you an example . . .
A friend of mine went to see the “Peter Pan” pantomime at Cardiff’s New Theatre during the last week of the run.
The pantomime was excellent, but before the curtain was raised he was unintentionally involved in a pre-show show.
Two very excitable (i.e. annoying) young women in the row immediately in front of him took at least 20 selfies of themselves using a mobile phone that utilised a flash mode, like an old-style camera.
So, every time they put their empty heads together to take another selfie he had to suffer this bright flash.
They did exactly the same during the interval.
Why? So they could look at all the ‘photos later and say, “That’s us sat in a theatre. That’s also us sat in a theatre. And that one is . . . us sat in a theatre!”
The official dictionary definition of a ‘Selfie’ is . . .
“A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.”
While the dictionary definition of “Selfish” is . . .
“Of a person, action, or motive lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.”
Which not only neatly describes the ‘look at me’ brigade addicted to selfies, it also adds weight to my unofficial definition of a ‘Selfie Stick’ . . .
“A big piece of wood that people not addicted to taking pointless photographs of themselves every minute of the day should be legally entitled to bring down heavily on the heads of those self-obsessed individuals who are.”

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Winter escape:

This week’s column has come to you from the top of a glacier in Gressoney, a beautiful part of Italy.
The views are breath-taking and this puts me in the ideal mood to come up with some creative writing without any distractions.
We are 2,608 metres above sea level, snow has fallen almost every day for the past month and continues to do so.
Transportation is good, buses and cars are running as normal.
The local shops are well stocked with fresh food.
Bread and milk are in abundance and there is no sign of any panic buying.
The temperature here is well below freezing, but the local residents and visitors alike are thoroughly enjoying the winter season and all that it brings.
Clearly, if this was happening back home, we would all be in shut down mode and a state of chaos and panic.
Right, that’s enough taking the piste, I’m off to build a snowman!

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You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk

Top law expert laments new Wales Act


One of the UK’s leading constitutional experts will use a public lecture at Aberystwyth University to critique the latest attempt at a Welsh devolution ‘settlement’.
Professor Richard Rawlings will examine the implications of the Wales Act 2017, which marks the fourth main phase of Welsh devolution in just twenty years.
His lecture Strange Days? Reworking the Welsh Devolution ‘Settlement’ will be held at 5pm on Wednesday 22 February 2017 in the Main Hall of the Department of International Politics.
Speaking ahead of the event, Professor Rawlings who is Professor of Public Law at University College London and Honorary Distinguished Professor of Law at Cardiff University, said: “Partly framed by the work of the Silk Commission, and also influenced by Scottish constitutional developments in the wake of the 2014 independence referendum, the process of developing the legislation has been an elongated and commonly painful one.
“It is a process which has stretched from incoherent party political compromise to internal Whitehall machinations; and from a wrongly modelled draft Bill to a sprawling Constitutional Bill; and in the context of Brexit, to the vexed issue of legislative consent.
“The process began with some high hopes for resolution of the Welsh constitutional question, delivering basic structural change through a reserved powers model along with more financial stability. However, it is clear that this intention is undercut by an exclusionary, bitty and even baleful form of delivery.
“Far from stilling them, the Wales Act 2017 will generate further pressures for constitutional development, most obviously under the broad banners of ‘jurisdiction’ and ‘justice function’. Adapting a famous phrase, devolution is once again viewed as a series of processes not an event.”
Professor Rawlings’ lecture has been organised by the newly launched Centre for Welsh Politics and Society (CWPS) at Aberystwyth University.
Funded by the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD), CWPS is an interdisciplinary research centre that aims to develop an understanding of contemporary politics and society in Wales, and contribute to public policy debates.

About Professor Rawlings
Richard (Rick) Rawlings is Professor of Public Law at UCL and Honorary Distinguished Professor of Law at Cardiff University. He is also a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellow; an Honorary Bencher of Middle Temple; a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, and a Life Fellow of the Institute of Welsh Affairs. He was formerly Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Constitution Committee and currently serves on the Welsh Advisory Committee of the Law Commission.
Professor Rawlings’s areas of expertise range across constitutional and administrative law. They include the UK’s territorial constitution and intergovernmental relations; policy implementation and administrative justice; judicial review and human rights; and EU law and governance. He pioneers the study of law and governance in Wales in the light of rapidly evolving devolutionary arrangements.
His many works include leading monographs and edited collections such as Delineating Wales: Constitutional, Legal and Administrative Aspects of National Devolution (2003); Devolution, Law-making and the Constitution (2005); Law and Administration (3rd edn 2009) (with Carol Harlow); The Regulatory State: Constitutional Implications (2010); Sovereignty and the Law (2013); and Process and Procedure in EU Administration (2014) (with Carol Harlow).

Photo: Professor Richard Rawlings is Professor of Public Law at University College London (UCL) and Honorary Distinguished Professor of Law at Cardiff University.

Links:
UCL https://www.ucl.ac.uk
Wales Act 2017: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/4/pdfs/ukpga_20170004_en.pdf

Aberystwyth University students host art workshops at the National Library of Wales


Aberystwyth University students will be encouraging children and young people to get creative in a series of practical art workshops at the National Library of Wales between 22 and 25 February 2017.
The workshops explore the legends of Wales and tales of ancient heroes, mystery and magic, with sessions on making masks, working with clay, painting and creating self-portraits.
There will also be a session dedicated to the mysterious world of the Aztec.
Developed around the theme ‘We are Legends’, the week’s activities build on Visit Wales’ ‘Year of Legends’ campaign and have been devised by a team of volunteer students on the University’s Museum & Gallery Education and Interpretation module.
Alison Pierse, Art and Design Coordinator for the School of Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “Students have taken it on themselves to run this volunteer programme for many years, delivering lively learning opportunities for local youngsters and families.
“For the students, it offers an invaluable chance to gain experience of designing and delivering activities to help look at art works in a different way and widen access to our museums and libraries. For me, it is a privilege to witness the students’ putting their learning into practice.”
All sessions are free to attend and take place at the National Library of Wales. Booking is essential with tickets available online or by calling 01970 632548.
The ‘We are Legends’ programme:
Wednesday 22 February
2pm - 4pm
PhotoBox - Dress up and create masks
Thursday 23 February
11am – 1pm
Clay workshop - Come and make a head in clay. Self-portrait or freestyle.
2pm - 4pm
Express your Selfie – Create a beast self-portrait with craft materials
Saturday 25 February
11am – 1pm
Aztec Legends – experience another age and build Aztec structures
2pm – 4pm
Paint a Legend - Paint your own heroes, legends and myths
Lifelong Learning student Candy Bedworth is one of those taking the lead: “Working with children is a great experience, they don’t confine themselves to rules and expectations so every child creates something truly unique. We’re fortunate in Aberystwyth to have these opportunities to take what we’ve learnt and apply it in such a practical way and in such a fantastic location as the National Library.
“For me personally I’m particularly looking forward to the Clay Workshop where you can create either a self-sculpture or a mythical beast – I can’t wait to see the results.”
Rhodri Morgan, Education Officer at the National Library is looking forward to welcoming the budding artists: “We’re very fortunate to be able to work so closely with the University on a variety of activities and Student Volunteering Week highlights the students’ willingness to engage actively with the local community – and the good news is that there’s so much interest with some of the sessions already full.”
To check for availability and to book a place visit: www.event.library.wales 
 
Photo: Some of the students who have been organising the ‘We are Legends’ sessions at the National Library of Wales.

Links:
Lifelong Learning at Aberystwyth University
Aberystwyth School of Art
National Library of Wales

Carmarthen butcher accepts plaque promoting protected status of ham recipe


A Carmarthen butchers has accepted a plaque advertising the protected status of its traditional family recipe ham.
Carmarthen Indoor Market’s Albert Rees Butchers was given the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for its Carmarthen ham recently by the European Union.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Leslie Griffiths visited Carmarthen Market on Friday in the company of Carmarthenshire County Council executive board member responsible for markets Cllr David Jenkins to present the plaque.
PGI is one of three European designations created to protect regional foods that have a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to that area. It acts like a Trade Mark and stops manufacturers from outside a region copying a regional product and selling it as that regional product.
Albert Rees was set up in 1962 by Albert and Brenda Rees. In 1989, Chris and Ann Rees took over the business on the retirement of Chris's parents in Carmarthen and Pembroke Dock Market whilst his brother, Jonathan, and his family trade in Fishguard and Brecon.
Their family recipe for making the ham, which tastes similar to Parma ham, is a closely guarded secret but the basic process involves salt curing and air drying the hams for between nine months and a year. It was Chris’ father Albert who perfected the recipe for Carmarthen ham in the 1960s, in response to a request from a customer.
The curing is done in a specially converted building at their home, where Chris estimates he currently has 300 hams at varying stages of the curing process.
The result has become a Welsh delicacy, scooping various taste awards and appearing in restaurants in salads, wrapped round asparagus, served with melon and in countless other guises. Every slice sold can be traced back to Chris and Ann’s home, where the hams are carefully tended each day.
Carmarthen ham is by no means the only home-produced product to be sold by Chris and Ann. They also sell their own bacon, faggots, brawn, brisket and a variety of home cooked meats.
Chris Rees said: “We are very proud to have won this status for the whole family and we also want to put Carmarthen Market as a whole on the map.
“This has taken six years to achieve. It started when a council trading standards bought cheap cooked ham sold as Carmarthen ham. He knew that Carmarthen Ham was a premium product but there was nothing he could do about it. He suggested that we go for this status to protect our product.”
The council’s executive board member for environmental services, Cllr Jim Jones said: “I’m delighted for the Rees family and this award is testament to the work they have done by producing such a premium product.
“I’m also pleased that Trading Standards was able to help by suggesting applying for protected status.”
The council’s executive board member responsible for markets, Cllr David Jenkins said: “It’s a great achievement for Chris and Ann. I hope that their success and the standard of the meat that they sell will bring more people into Carmarthen Market and that other traders will share in their success.”
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “I was delighted to visit Albert Rees in Carmarthen Market and present Chris and Ann with a well-deserved plaque marking their achievement in securing PGI status for Carmarthen Ham.
“This is excellent news for the product and for Wales. It is also a sign of the commitment we in the Welsh Government have to supporting world class Welsh produce and recognition of the unique quality this represents.”

Construction industry businesses discover new opportunities in West Wales


Hundreds of businesses in the construction industry attended an event at Llanelli’s Parc Y Scarlets to find out about the major opportunities available to them.
More than 300 delegates from across the region went along to find out more about various forthcoming projects that they could be a part of.
More than £132 million worth of projects have been awarded amongst the 23 contractors on the Framework since February 2016, with a further £188 million worth of projects in the pipeline.
The Contractors Framework is used for the delivery of construction and associated services across the Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot council areas. Carmarthenshire County Council leads the Framework on behalf of the partner authorities.
The event brought the Framework contractors, potential sub-contractors and supporting organisations together, allowing them to network and discuss future business opportunities.
The morning session showcased a variety of trade exhibitors, whilst the afternoon session focused on workshops to support businesses to get the most out of their contracts, including advice on community benefits requirements.
One of the delegates Malcolm Corbett from Bridgend-based Shillibiers said “This was one of the best events I’ve been to.”
Keith Treharne from BAM Construction Ltd said: “The event provided an opportunity to improve our understanding of the clients’ requirements, plus an opportunity to engage with potential supply chain partners who we currently don't know well. The event provided a large number of new potential subcontractors and suppliers. Following the event, we will further investigate these potential opportunities.”
Cllr David Jenkins, the council’s Executive Board Member for Resources, said: “This event was a huge success and reached out to hundreds of local suppliers within the South West Wales region. It was a great opportunity to engage informally with major contractors, local small and medium-sized enterprises, buyers and business support organisations. I hope that this event will be the start of a prosperous journey for many local businesses which of course will be good news for the local economy.”

Radio Wales Country Focus programme features Carmarthenshire


An extremely cold and windy day did not put off Rachael Garside from the BBC Radio Wales Country Focus programme from joining members of the Carmarthenshire Bogs Project out in the field.
Rachel and her producer Pauline Smith came to Pyllau Cochion common near Brechfa to look at the work that the project has been undertaking.
They found out more about the importance of lowland bog habitats and the interesting discoveries the project has made over the last 18 months.
A whole programme will be dedicated to the project on Sunday February 26 at 7am on BBC Radio Wales and it will then be available on the BBC radio i-Player for a month after.
Formed over thousands of years, lowland bogs are increasingly rare examples of an important peatland habitat supporting specialised but threatened wildlife.
Bogs lock-up carbon in the peat, and when in good condition capture more from the atmosphere, helping to address climate change.
They filter water for slow release into streams and are valuable in terms of our heritage, providing a unique, living peat archive that records climate, vegetation and landscape change.
Swansea University, Dyfed Archaeological Trust the Council and the National Botanic Gardens of Wales have been investigating and promoting the ecological, cultural and landscape importance of the bog habitats.
Together they have discovered more about our local climatic and vegetation history and explored how our ancestors lived within those landscapes.

Carmarthenshire Markets planning Welsh Week activities


A host of activities are planned at Carmarthenshire markets to celebrate Welsh Week.
To mark the event, which starts on Saturday, February 25, the markets will be decked out in Welsh flags.
There will be free local produce tasting, arts and crafts making for children and Welsh music playing to entertain the crowds.
On St David’s Day, Wednesday, March 1, shoppers will be treated to free Cawl tasting during the morning in Carmarthen and Llanelli.
Scarlets players will also make appearances in Llanelli and visitors will be entertained by Cor Curiad singing outside The Teapot Café.
Various activities are taking place across Carmarthen town with the annual Gwyl Dewi Parade starting from Carmarthen Park at 10am on Saturday.
The indoor market has everything you need to celebrate St David’s Day – from traditional Welsh outfits for school children to other Welsh-themed accessories.
And by supporting your local traders you can also pick up good quality, local ingredients at affordable prices – from cheeses, breads, Welshcakes and barabrith to fresh vegetables and meats to make your own Cawl.
It’s also a great opportunity to get your Mother’s Day gifts and cards, accessories, make up and much more to treat your mams ahead of March 26.
There will also be free parking in the Llanelli on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 23, 24 and 25 and in Carmarthen on Saturday, February 25.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member responsible for the markets, Cllr David Jenkins, said: “Come along and see what the market has to offer and get some great recipe ideas using ingredients bought in the market. By doing so you will be supporting some great independent businesses."