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Showing posts from 2009

Season's greetings

Merry Christmas everyone! Have a peaceful and happy time.

Landlords conference for Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire’s Landlords Conference will be held in Carmarthen early in the New Year.
The conference has been organised in association with Davies Parsons Allchurch Solicitors and will be held in the Ivy Bush Hotel on Thursday January 21 from 4-7pm with doors opening at 3pm.
There will be guest speakers, information stalls and refreshments. A special feature, Question Time, has been organised with an expert panel answering questions. Please email any questions to SCHBSULlanelli@carmarthenshire.gov.uk
There is free entry. The Booking Hotline is 01554 742300, e-mail: SCHBSULlanelli@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

Carmarthenshire chair's charity booster

Last year’s chairman of Carmarthenshire County Council has raised more than £15,000 for his chosen charity.
Former chairman Cllr Hugh Richards has presented a cheque for £15,105.95 to representatives of the Llanelli Branch of Cancer Research UK.
Fundraising efforts during the chairman’s year in office included more than £5,000 from the Charity Ball in March, £3,540 proceeds from Sunday Lunch at the chairman’s home, almost £3,000 from Sunday Lunch at Stradey Castle, and £1,860 sponsorship money from those who took part in the Walrus Dip.

Quote of the day

"Everything I am I owe to spaghetti" - Actress Sophia Loren.

Believe it or not . . .

A man caught with 15 live lizards strapped to his chest at Los Angeles airport has pleaded not guilty to smuggling.
Michael Plank was returning from Australia when customs agents found two geckos, two monitor lizards and 11 smaller lizards fastened to his body.
All are strictly regulated, and authorities say Plank had no permit for them.

Carmarthenshire staff get festive visit

A leading Carmarthenshire councillor has called in to visit the staff who are the first point of contact with county residents.
Executive board member for customer care Cllr Kevin Madge called in at the Customer Service Centre in Ty Elwyn, Llanelli, this morning to wish staff a happy Christmas and to thank them for their efforts.
Councillor Madge said: “I am delighted once again to be visiting staff who are the first point of contact between residents and the council.
“It is important to actually see for myself the excellent services we deliver and to thank the staff personally.”
Carmarthenshire Direct will be open for business as usual between Christmas and New Year. The contact centre and Customer Service Centres at Ty Elwyn, Spilman Street and Ammanford Town Hall will open on Wednesday December 30 and Thursday 31. CSCs will open from 8.45am to 5pm, and the contact centre from 8.30am to 6pm on December 30 and 8.30am to 5pm on December 31.

Standards promoted at Carmarthen market

Members of Carmarthenshire Trading Standards Team have been at the Carmarthen Indoor Market to promote the Registered Traders Scheme which is five years old.
Trading Standards established the scheme in 2004 in an attempt to combat the rising level of complaints about home repair and domestic improvements. The service believed the public was being let down by cowboy builders and that reputable businesses were fed up with the image that all builders are incompetent or worse.
The traders on the scheme have signed to say that they agree to run their business in accordance with certain terms and conditions, as laid down by Trading Standards.
Since its implementation, the scheme has grown to include all the main sectors of the building trade, as well as general builders. There is also a separate list of Gardeners and Handypersons and there are plans to include Pest Control companies in the near future.
Viv Jones, Scheme Coordinator said “I am conscious of the fact that many residents are still…

Dinners boost at Ysgol y Strade

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Pupils at Llanelli’s Ysgol y Strade have been put in the driving seat when it comes to their school dinners.
Pupils have been taking part in a questionnaire so that Carmarthenshire’s Catering Service can gain a better insight in to what they like and dislike about school meals.
In return, pupils were entered in to a prize draw to win a signed Scarlets rugby shirt or a month’s worth of swimming vouchers for two.
Year 11 pupil Dyfan Watkins, and year eight pupil Dion Jenkins, won the swimming vouchers, and year nine pupil Alex Stewart picked up the signed Scarlets rugby shirt.
Helen Bailey, marketing and project officer for Carmarthenshire County Council, said it was all about giving pupils more control over what they eat during school hours.
“We wanted to pilot a questionnaire in comprehensive schools to see if we could have a better insight into what the pupils like,” she said.
“Information gained from the questionnaires will be relayed back to the catering team to try and target any proble…

New bus service for Llanelli

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A new bus service has been launched in the Glanymor and Tyisha area of Llanelli giving residents greater access to the nearby retail parks.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s transport department, Communities First team and local residents groups have worked with First Cymru to initiate a new service which will stop at Seaside, Tyisha and Morfa en route to Parc Trostre and Parc Pemberton.
The service is running for a trial period to ascertain the viability of the service before anything permanent is put in place, and runs in addition to the Bws Bach service.
Local residents groups in Morfa, Tyisha and Seaside have worked hard to represent their community’s needs, and have been supported by Communities First Glanymor and Tyisha link officer Faye Davies.
She said: “This new bus service is a result of what can be achieved when communities work together. There was a huge need for this service as no service previously existed for local residents. I hope that the trial period will prove the need …

Carmarthen game off

Carmarthen v Rhyl at Richmond Park postponed because of the weather.

Carmarthenshire welcomes job fund recruits

Carmarthenshire County Council has welcomed its first recruits as part of the Future Jobs Fund Scheme.
Ten 18-24 year olds have taken up employment within the council as Community Project Workers, and will undertake a variety of projects that will directly benefit the local community.
One of these will be the Pen-Y-Morfa project, which will provide a recreational area for the community of Morfa in Llanelli. The project will be undertaken in conjunction with Communities First, which is also offering six vacancies as part of the Future Jobs Fund (FJF).
Justin Thomas, one of the first FJF recruits, said: “I am so pleased, after spending almost a year out of work, to be given the opportunity of full time employment, and to have a job that will also benefit the local community.”
The FJF is £1billion scheme, funded by The Department of Work and Pensions.
It aims to create 150,000 jobs over an 18 month period across the UK. The posts will be newly created and are primarily aimed at 18-24-year…

Christmas Fayre at Aberystwyth

The Aberystwyth Christmas Food and Drink Fayre is taking place today.
Some 60 seasonal food and craft producers are selling their produce at the Aberystwyth Christmas Food and Drink Fayre in Baker Street, Aberystwyth.

3000 chalked up

3,000 page visits chalked up today. That's a 1000 since November 5. Many thanks to you all for visiting.
See earlier post -
http://sirgarblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/2000-chalked-up.html

Quote of the day

"There's far more snobbery and elitism in America than there is here. The land of the free? They leave us for dead. There must be 500 golf clubs over there that won't even let you down the drive if you don't fit in" - BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss.

Strange but true . . .

A controversial fruit and vegetable nativity scene which depicted baby Jesus as a carrot has been given the church's blessing.
Tulleys Farm, in Turners Hill, near Crawley, West Sussex, also used onions for the heads of Mary and Joseph.
One visitor labelled the representation "offensive" but now the Reverend Gordon Parry, the local vicar, has given it his backing.

Quote of the day

"The truth is that the qualities of stubbornness, resolve and sheer bloody-mindedness that are admired as leadership qualities in those with dark hair are interpreted entirely differently in us carrot-tops" - Actress Jane Asher on the "tormenting" of redheads.

Strange but true . . .

A wedding ring lost in a field for 68 years is back in the hands of the owner's family after it was discovered by a metal detector.
Herbert Teesdale lost the ring in 1941 when harvesting his corn fields and it remained there undiscovered until a treasure hunter unearthed it.
Metal detector Kevin Woodroffe was searching the fields of the farm in Haverfordwest, south-west Wales, when he found the ring and returned it to Mr Teesdale's great-grandson, John Richards, 55, who still lives there.

Take a look at Heroes Lager blog

When you get a chance, take a look at our Heroes Lager blog -
http://heroeslager.blogspot.com

OCN awards boost for Carmarthenshire

During the past year more than 300 young people in the county have achieved an Open College Network award (OCN) thanks to Carmarthenshire Council’s Youth Service.
NEET young people (not in education, employment or training) have been re-engaged in education and have achieved a range of qualifications ready for the world of work.
Units delivered to the young people included health and safety, basic alcohol education, motor vehicle maintenance and digital video editing; young people have also completed youth challenge initiatives.
This year the Youth Service has even more units to offer.
Dolan Thomas Carmarthenshire Council’s Quality and Accreditation Officer said:
“OCNs help widen access to lifelong learning and develop essential skills for the young people we work with.
“The amount of OCN’s obtained this year has been fantastic and I’m confident more NEET young people will take advantage of this opportunity offered by the Youth Service next year.”
Councillor Gwynne Wooldridge, Executive B…

Quote of the day

"They want people who are a touch Tommy Two-Ways," - Broadcaster Gyles Brandreth on David Cameron's attempts to persuade homosexuals to stand for the Conservative Party.

Believe it or not . . .

Worry for a "sad seagull" and an "emergency" spider in the sink were among the wackiest calls the RSPCA received this year.
The top 10 funny calls, released by the RSPCA, range from cases of mistaken identity to favours members of the public needed from the charity.
In one case, an inspector went to a call that a bat had been on a bedroom ceiling for a number of days - but it turned out to be a damp patch.

Free Christmas crossings at Cleddau

Motorists will again be able to cross the Cleddau Bridge free of charge on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
The tolls will close at 10 pm on Thursday 24th December and re-open at 6 am on Sunday 27th.
They will also close at 10 pm on New Years' Eve and re-open at 6 am on Saturday 2nd Jan 2010.

Carmarthenshire has new gambling policy

Carmarthenshire County Council has adopted a new Gambling Policy.
It sets out the principles applied when the council is exercising its functions under the Gambling Act 2005.
The policy must be reviewed at least every three years to ensure that it reflects feedback from the local community that the statutory objectives are being met.
The new policy was adopted this month after public consultation and a review this autumn of the policy adopted in 2007.
Principal licensing officer Emyr Jones said: “As part of the review we consulted a number of interested parties including licence holders, businesses, local residents and their representatives.”
Licensing Authorities responsibilities under the Act include being responsible for the licensing of premises where gambling activities are to take place by issuing Premises Licences; regulating members’ clubs and miners’ welfare institutes who wish to undertake certain gaming activities via issuing Club Gaming Permits and/or Club Machine Permits; issu…

Carmarthenshire builders learn about heritage

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Local builders have been learning about the heritage building trade over a cup of tea and a bacon butty.
They were invited along to the newly-launched Traditional Sustainable Building Centre, at the Canolfan Tywi Centre, Llandeilo, by the Tywi Afon Yr Oesoedd project team.
They were offered information on a range of heritage building skills, courses and workshops covering the likes of lime plastering, traditional carpentry and masonry techniques, over a hearty brunch.
Tywi Afon Yr Oesoedd (Tywi a River Through Time) is a partnership funded heritage project, led by Carmarthenshire County Council, which will create a legacy for future generations by safeguarding the valley’s rich and unique landscape, biodiversity and history.
Nell Hellier, traditional sustainable building centre officer, said: “Wales has a rich cultural heritage and its historic environment is one of its greatest assets.
"There are almost 500,000 pre-1919 buildings in Wales – almost one third of the building stock.
“The…

Carmarthenshire project to help 12,000

A new project is set to benefit over 12,000 young people across Carmarthenshire county.
Engage, a Convergence funded South West Wales partnership project, will work with young people facing difficulties such as underachievement and young people in college who are at risk of dropping out.
Delivery of the project will begin in the New Year and will run until December 2012.
In Carmarthenshire, the project (including partner match funding) is worth nearly £6m and will be delivered via a range of County Council departments, the Youth Offending Service and Coleg Sir Gâr, with the opportunity for partner organisations to tender for other parts of the project.
Councillor Gwynne Wooldridge, Executive Board Member for Children and Education Services said:“Engage will provide alternative curricula and innovative training approaches to motivate and boost the confidence of students who are disaffected from school.
"The delivery of the Engage Project will be tailored to the needs of each individua…

Carmarthenshire Network survey completed

The 14-19 Carmarthenshire Network has conducted a survey to get young people’s views about 14-19 collaborative learning partnerships in Carmarthenshire.
A range of questions concerned with educational opportunities for 14-19 year olds in the County generated a huge response.
More than 500 young people completed the survey.
An opportunity to win an ipod Nano was up for grabs and Caitlin Littlejohns, a Year 9 student from Ysgol y Strade was the winner.
Paul Bowles, Carmarthenshire Council’s Quality and Personal Support Co-ordinator - 14-19 Network said:“Only by listening to young people’s views are we able to improve learning outcomes for them in the future; the results we received will prove really valuable for shaping the way learning is provided in Carmarthenshire. Thank you to all who took part.”
The Carmarthenshire 14-19 Network is the partnership of secondary schools, further education colleges, training providers, Careers Wales and the voluntary sector.
It is responsible for implement…

Quote of the day

"I have met Simon Cowell a couple of times. He's incredibly talented. There probably is something we can learn in politics (from him)" - Tory leader David Cameron on the X Factor supremo.
Cue: Groan!

Strange but true . . .

A vicar's wife who claimed to be a stripper has confessed she actually used to strip chickens for a living.
Diane Stevenson, 44, said she told the story - published in the parish magazine - in an ambiguous way to point out to her husband's new congregation the dangers of judging people.
Mrs Stevenson, whose husband David is the new vicar at St Mary's Church in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, has a draft of a follow-up article in which she sets the record straight.

Afghan Heroes named as first Heroes Lager charity

A new premium bottled lager is to be launched in February 2010 to help raise more than £1million a year for forces charities - and to help provide long-term care for our Nation’s Heroes.
Heroes Lager is being launched by a not-for-profit company called Beer Brands, which has announced that Afghan Heroes will be one of the first charities to benefit.
Beer Brands is owned by Wales’s oldest brewing family and the company will donate all profits after cost from the sales of the lager to four military charities. The other charities will be announced over the next few weeks.
Simon Buckley, sixth generation of the world famous Buckley brewing family, said: “This lager is being brewed to the very highest standards and will become one of the nation’s favourites.
“Our aim is to raise significant amounts of money for the charities by making this lager widely available, and to give the consumer an easy opportunity to support our Nation’s Heroes.
“This new product will be available throughout the UK in…

Media conference for Trinity

The annual Cyfrwng conference will be held at Trinity University College on the 6 and 7 May 2010.
Cyfrwng’s aim is to give academics, students and media practitioners the opportunity to deliberate key issues relating to the media in Wales giving a platform to the fields of Film, Television, Radio, Journalism, New Media and Theatre and Performance in particular.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the conference to Trinity and to invite the higher education sector and the industry to get together” said lecturer Non Vaughan Williams, who is responsible for organising the conference with her colleagues at Trinity and UW Lampeter.
“We are currently inviting papers for the conference on the theme of “Voices”. The theme clearly offers a variety of interpretations, for example: new voices, the individual voice, voices of the unheard, alternative voices, technology and the voice, voice and plurality, or voices from the past. Other subject areas may also be combined with that of the study of med…

Carmarthenshire team wins recognition

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Supporting People Team has won recognition for its outstanding work in helping people to live more independent lives.
The team’s work was recognised at Cymorth Cymru's Promoting Independence Awards, held at the Holland House Hotel, Cardiff.
Supporting People aims to offer vulnerable people the opportunity to improve their life through greater independence by providing a range of support services. Through working partnerships with support agencies and service users, it promotes straightforward, cost-effective solutions which complement care services and support independent living.
Vulnerable people helped by the programme include people with mental health problems; those with learning difficulties and physical disabilities; women fleeing domestic violence; homeless people; teenage parents; young people at risk; travellers; ex-offenders; people on drug treatment orders, and probation users.
Cymorth Cymru is the representative body for providers of housin…

Quote of the day

"There is such a big deal made out of what is really just an extension of a handshake" - Actor Tom Conti on sex and the negative view of adultery.

Believe it or not . . .

A man who has eaten Christmas dinner every day for the past 16 years lost three stone after halving his portions during the credit crunch.
Andy Park, known as Mr Christmas, has guzzled his way through nearly 118,000 sprouts and around 5,000 bottles of Moet champagne since his festive fetish began.
But since January the 45-year-old divorcee, a self-employed electrician, from Melksham, Wiltshire, has slashed the size of his plate to keep his devotion to Yuletide going in the recession.

Catch 'Les Mis' if you can!

Les Miserables, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, until January 16
The boy from Burry Port will have you in tears – that’s a guarantee.
John Owen-Jones commands the stage in the 25th anniversary touring production of Les Miserables now being staged at the Wales Millennium Centre.
And if you manage to get to the interval without reaching for your hanky, then be assured you will need it in the second-half.
The role of Jean Valjean, aka Prisoner 24601, is tailor-made for the 38-year-old who must now be ranked as one of the finest Welsh exports to the West End.
Playing at the vast Donald Gordon theatre (not an empty seat in 1,900 places) is something of a homecoming for the singer who started out with Llanelli Youth Theatre.
The emotion of the homecoming is not lost on Owen-Jones and the audience as he reduces everyone to tears during Bring Him Home, the prayer for Marius (played by Gareth Gates of X factor fame).
Few people have the range and depth of emotion to pull this one off. The way Owen-…

New lager to raise £1m for nation's heroes

A new premium bottled lager is to be launched in February 2010 to help raise more than £1million a year for forces charities - and to help provide long-term care for our Nation’s Heroes.
The new lager, simply called Heroes Lager, is being launched by a not-for-profit company called Beer Brands, owned by Wales’s oldest brewing family.
The company will donate all profits from the sales of the lager to four military charities.
Simon Buckley, sixth generation of the brewing family, said: “This lager is being brewed under contract for us to the highest international standards and will become one of the nation’s favourites.
“Our aim is to raise significant sums of money for the charities by making this lager widely available, and to give the consumer an easy opportunity to support our Nation’s Heroes.
“This new product will be available throughout the UK in supermarkets, pubs and off-licences and will cost no more than other well known brands.
“Heroes Lager is designed for a broad market and to a…

Welsh interest at the races today

The following Welsh trainers have horses running today -
Rebecca Curtis
13:05 Plumpton Stellar Cause (USA) M D Grant
15:10 Plumpton Alderbrook Girl (IRE) M D Grant
Alison Thorpe
13:05 Plumpton Diktalina J W Farrelly
Tim Vaughan
15:40 Plumpton Lord Francois (FR) R Johnson

How we've changed in 10 years

Interesting stats running in the papers today on how Britain has changed in the last 10 years.

:: £194 billion - the difference in the budget, which has dropped from a £16 billion surplus in 2000 to a £178 billion deficit today.

:: 2.5 million - increase in Britain's population from 58,886,000 in 2000 to 61,400,000 in 2010.

:: 760,000 - the rise in unemployment from 1,701,000 in January 2000 to 2,461,000 in September 2009.

:: 98,000 - increase in number of immigrants arriving in Britain each year from 479,000 in 2000 to 577,000 in 2007.

:: 416 - British servicemen and women killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

:: 4,000 - fewer pubs across Britain, from 60,000 in 2000 to 56,000 in 2009, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.

:: Sixfold - households with internet access soars from 10% in 1999 to 61% by 2008.

:: Sixfold - Britons with mobile phones from 20% in 1998 to 78% by 2007.

:: Five - the increase in months of the average age women give birth for the first time - from 29 years an…

Quote of the day

"Desire, looking after myself. I'm enjoying my football more than ever and I think that's reflected in my play" - BBC Sports personality of the Year winner Ryan Giggs, 36, explains his success.
Very deserved success, too!

Believe it or not . . .

Researchers have been making people listen to Nellie the Elephant in an attempt to save lives.
The children's tune is often used during cardiopulmonary resuscitation training to help people deliver the recommended 100 chest compressions a minute.
And the team of researchers found people who listened to the nursery song were more likely to give compressions at the right tempo than those who did not. But the study, published on the website of the British Medical Journal, also found those listening to the music were less likely to push down deep enough.

Decent weekend for Carmarthen and Llanelli soccer

The Llanelli Reds beat Prestatyn Town 4-1 at Stebonheath this afternoon, with goals from Antonio Corbisiero, Rhys Griffiths (2, 1 pen) and Chris Venables. This win takes the Reds back to the top of the Welsh Premier League. The Reds Under-19s won 4-0 at Briton Ferry while the Under-18s lost 2-1 at Afan Lido.
Meanwhile, Carmarthen Town got back to winning ways with Tim Hicks' 13th minute header the only goal of the game at Elements Cefn Druids.
Manager Deryn Brace told Y Dre ar Y We, “We got there in the end. We should have made the game safe in the first half, but we’ve said that a few times this season. The good thing was that we didn’t rue the chances we missed by keeping a clean sheet.
“The football and the tempo we played at first half, on a difficult pitch, was good. We really took the game away from the Druids and didn’t allow them anything at all. The only thing that was lacking was that finishing touch.
“It was pleasing that we created a good number of chances but we need to s…

Three grand for opening Llanelli Poundland

According to the News of the World, £3,000 was the going celebrity free rate for opening Llanelli's new Poundland store.
The store was opened by Katherine Kelly, who plays Becky on the Street.
See more on -
http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/news/634575/Cor-thats-so-cheap-Coronation-Street-stars-open-Poundland.html

Letter sent to Llanelli Star

I write in response to M Edwards, of North Cornelly, who asked in last week’s Star Letters for the origin of the name Capel Als in Llanelli.
There appears to be no definitive answer, but the best suggestion was made by eminent Llanelli historian John Edwards in his book ‘Llanelli: Story of a Town’ (published, incidentally, by the Llanelli Star).
I quote from what is an excellent work of reference –
‘It was during the ministry of Evan Davies (his home was Gelli Farm near Llanelli) that the first Independent Chapel was established in 1780. That chapel was Capel Als. It is claimed that the name, derives from a cottage called Ty Alys which previously stood on the spot where the chapel was built.
‘Alys apparently sold water from a well which was still there until 1852 when it was filled in during the building of an extension to the chapel. The word ‘als’ in Welsh means rock cliff (compare the Gaelic, Ailsa Craig) and if one ventures to the vestry behind the chapel one is faced by a steep rock …

Quote of the day

"Being controversial means everyone agrees with everything I say 20 years after I say it" - Labour MP Paul Flynn.

Welsh Premier Leagues votes for 44 games

Welsh Premier football clubs have voted narrowly for a 44-match programme next season when the new 12-team super league is formed.
See thisissouthwales website -
http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/sport/Clubs-vote-accept-change/article-1600136-detail/article.html

Clamp on Carmarthen pub music

A Carmarthen pub has been stopped from playing music until measures have been put in place to prevent neighbours being disturbed.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s licensing committee reviewed the licence of the Three Salmons in Water Street following complaints about noise disturbance.
The committee also removed the pub’s designated premises supervisor because of problems, including under age drinking.
This week’s meeting of the licensing committee was told that the grounds of the review are based on the Prevention of Public Nuisance licensing objective.
Following complaints of overly loud music, Public Health undertook an investigation which involved officer visits and installation of noise monitors. Monitoring found that music could regularly be heard in neighbouring houses.
Noise Abatement Notices were served upon the tenant of the pub and also the manager of the pub. The Public Health Section continued to receive complaints and it was decided that a review of the premises licence was n…

Welsh interest at the races today . . .

Welsh trainers with runners include -
Peter Bowen
13:25 Doncaster Mayor Of Kilcock D Devereux
14:35 Doncaster Quattrocento (FR) R Johnson
15:00 Cheltenham Souffleur S E Durack
Dai Burchell
15:10 Doncaster Thehonourablelady Christian Williams
20:50 Wolverhampton Feeling (IRE) David Probert
Tim Vaughan
13:25 Doncaster Winterwood (IRE) R Johnson
I have a soft spot for Quattrocento. Once won nicely for me at Ffos Las!

Llanelli apartments win praise

Cwrt y Wern, a development of apartments in Llanelli, came runner up at the National Home Improvement Council awards in London.
Built by Grŵp Gwalia in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council, Cwrt y Wern was shortlisted for the ‘Best brownfield or recycled building project’ category.
The award recognises outstanding developments that use recycled urban buildings or land.
Cwrt y Wern, previously known as Davies Square, was built by Carmarthenshire County Council in the early 1980s, as a block of flats for social housing rent.
The building was emptied in 2002, it became vandalised, derelict and an eyesore, attracting anti-social behaviour and creating problems for neighbours in close proximity.
As part of a partnership with Carmarthenshire Council, whereby the council gifts land to Gwalia, the building was refurbished and remodelled to provide more affordable homes in the county.
Stuart Davies, Director of Social and Affordable Housing Development at Gwalia attended the awards cere…

'Duke of Ed' delight for Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire Council’s Youth Service is celebrating yet another achievement in its delivery of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Thanks to the hard work of schools, youth service staff and volunteers, Carmarthenshire has topped the charts in the Wales Annual Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Review.
Out of Wales’s 22 Local Authorities, Carmarthenshire has the highest number of young people achieving, with 503 young people in the County holding Duke of Edinburgh’s qualification
In the past year, Carmarthenshire has also delivered 10.4% of all Welsh Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.
Councillor Gwynne Wooldridge, Executive Board Member for Children and Educations Services said:
“Yet again the County is being recognised for its outstanding contributions to young people. This is a great achievement for Carmarthenshire and the hard work by all involved is greatly appreciated.
“We are very fortunate as a County that our young people have access to such fantastic lifelong learning programmes.
“The Carmarthenshi…

Carmarthenshire Youth Council wins award

Carmarthenshire Youth Council has won a Carmarthenshire’s Association Voluntary Services (CAVS) Award for their commitment in ensuring that young people across the County have a voice on decisions which affect their lives.
Since it was established in 2003 by young people for young people, Carmarthenshire Youth Council has been successful in providing opportunities for young people to be involved in youth participation; workshops have included awareness campaigns on the Rights of the Child, Democracy and Votes at 16.
The Council has also been in consultation with key decision makers in the county to help improve facilities for young people.
To date, one of their most successful achievement has been the Speak Up Project which
has captured the views of many young people across the county on services that are provided to them, such as health, environment, education and policing.
Peter Morgan, Carmarthenshire Youth Council member said:“It’s fantastic to have recognition for the work we do f…

Trinity role for Marian

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Mrs Marian Thomas has been appointed as the new head of Initial Teacher Education and Training (ITET) at Trinity University College.
A graduate of the University of Aberystwyth, Mrs Thomas is an experienced teacher of Welsh and Welsh as a Second Language who has worked within schools across Wales, including as a Departmental Head at Sir Thomas Picton School, Haverfordwest, Ysgol Gyfun Aberteifi and Ysgol Gyfun y Strade, Llanelli.
She has been an Advisory Teacher for the County of Dyfed and a Schools Advisor for Pembrokeshire between 2000 and 2007 before joining the staff at Trinity as a Welsh Education Advisor.
During her time at Trinity she has been responsible for updating the scheme used by ITET departments across Wales, to develop the Welsh language skills of second language primary pupils.
The scheme, which is funded through the Centre for Welsh Medium Higher Education, will be launched in the New Year.
Marian said of her appointment, "I feel privileged to lead such a progressive…

Quote of the day

"I don't listen to him. He says everything is common. I think it's common to say things are common" - Outfitter Jeremy Hackett hits out at society designer Nicky Haslam, who described cufflinks as common.

Believe it or not . . .

Shopping centre bosses have apologised after an 84-year-old woman was told to lower the hood of her anorak because she was in breach of a 'no hood policy'.
Bosses at the Grand Arcade in Cambridge said sorry for 'any stress' Peggy Harden, who walks with a stick, may have suffered when chastised by a security guard.
The arcade - which uses photographs of models wearing hooded tops in its advertising blurb - said it operated a 'no hood policy' to 'ensure a safe and enjoyable shopping experience for everyone'.

Guardian has a pop at Carmarthenshire Council

Interesting 'Opinion' piece in the South Wales Guardian in Ammanford this week -
First it was their own newspaper, then it was an Internet TV channel. Carmarthenshire Council are certainly not slow in thinking up seemingly limitless ways of frittering away their budgets.
Now County Hall seems hell-bent on pursuing legal action against a retired Llandybie builder.
Contrary to what the rest of us have been led to believe, they really must have boundless funds.
Nigel Humphreys, readers will recall, was recently acquitted of all charges relating to legal action launched by the council, which left the taxpayer with an estimated bill of around £28,000.
Although that appeared to be the end of the matter, the local authority has now been granted leave to appeal.
Heaven knows what this new High Court action is going to cost.
At the end of the day, this is public money being used to take members of the public to court.
It has been a dreadful year and each and every one of us has had to tighten …

Brynamman riverside plan gets go-ahead

Plans to create a riverside walk and seated area in Upper Brynamman have been approved by Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning committee today.
The local authority has plans for an environmental enhancement scheme to include car parking, hard and soft landscaping and the creation of a riverside garden and seating area close to the Post Office on Mountain Road.
An officers’ report to the committee said that the site is on top of the long straight Station Road in Upper Brynamman where it bends around to the east to start Mountain Road, whilst the junction to the west leads to Llandeilo Road.
The site is in a prominent location, where previously there was a row of three terraced buildings which have been demolished because of safety concerns.
The report adds: “The proposed environmental improvement scheme serves to remedy an existing eyesore in the area following the demolition of the unsafe buildings.
“The proposed scheme is also situated at the end of a well travelled vista and it is i…

Cycle plan gets the go-ahead

Carmarthenshire County Council is encouraging visitors to Prince Philip Hospital to cycle there.
The local authority has been granted planning permission to put up a new cycle shelter on land in front of the hospital in Dafen as part of its Safe Routes in the Community initiative promoted by the Welsh Assembly Government.
The scheme involves a new shelter over part of the existing cycle storage facility to the front of the hospital and the provision of a temporary staff changing facility and associated cycle lockers behind the hospital.
The new shelter is to provide a covered storage facility for visitors to the hospital with the existing facility being open to the elements and offering no weather protection to cyclists.
An officers’ report to today’s meeting of the county planning committee says: “Shelters of this nature are now becoming common place within the grounds of schools and colleges in the county and are reflective of the authority’s policy of encouraging more sustainable modes…

Llanelli benefit man prosecuted

A Llanelli man has been prosecuted for claiming more than £3,000 in benefit and income support while receiving an occupational pension.
Llanelli Magistrates Court was told that Malcolm Davies, of Heol Dderwen, Llanelli, claimed housing and council tax benefit on the basis that he was a single man in receipt of income support.
In November 2007 a joint investigation was conducted between Carmarthenshire County Council and the Department for Work and Pensions into his claims for benefit and income support after information was received that he was receiving an occupational pension and also held capital which he had failed to declare.
Davies admitted at interview that he was in receiving an occupational pension from February 2007 and that he had received a substantial lump sum payment.
The court was told that Davies admitting failing to declare this to the housing benefit section. He said he had phoned the Job Centre to advise them of the change in his circumstances, however his benefit had n…

Monday date for Reds boys

The Llanelli Reds Under 16s Academy Team will play Swansea Schoolboys at Stebonheath Park on Monday 14th December. KO 7.15pm

Take a stake in Carmarthen Town AFC

Carmarthen Town AFC is gearing up for changes to the Welsh Premier League by giving businesses and individuals a chance to take a stake in the club.
The club is launching a share issue aimed at building on the club’s strong community links.
Club chairman Jeff Thomas said: “Carmarthen has always been one of the more progressive clubs in the Welsh Premier League.
“Changes to the league, with the formation of a smaller elite division next year, mean that we are looking to make changes to the way the club is structured.
“We have always been a community club. Unlike other teams in the Welsh Premier League, we do not rely on individual cash backers.
“There are some teams in the Welsh Premier League who stay competitive by relying on massive six figure donations from key individuals.
“This is a club which prides itself on being firmly founded on a widespread community footing.
“A new elite league will bring fresh challenges for Carmarthen Town AFC with potentially great rewards including qualificat…

Trinity student makes a splash!

Trinity University College student Rhys Green knows how to make a splash.
The 21-year-old outdoor education student and kayak specialist was named Young Volunteer of the Year in the Carmarthenshire Sports Personality of the Year awards announced earlier this year.
“It was a great achievement and one which brought justifiable pride to us here at Trinity,” his course tutor Bill Beynon said.
Rhys was nominated through Llandysul paddlers for his commitment to supporting others through pool and river sessions at Llandysul Outdoor Education centre and at Trinity University.
Rhys has also been a leading light in the university canoe club and has helped at Camp America.
In addition, Rhys marked the year by winning the John Rowlands special achievement award with Llandysul Paddlers.
“It has been a year of great achievement for Rhys and he thoroughly deserves all the success which has come his way,” said Mr Beynon.
Rhys is a part-time Year 3 student in outdoor education and is plainly at home on the w…

Carmarthenshire advice for Christmas

Carmarthenshire Trading Standards is issuing consumer advice as the Christmas shopping rush approaches.
With many people rushing to buy the latest must-have gadgets and toys or looking forward to the sales, the county council’s Trading Standards Service wants to ensure shoppers do not get ripped off.
The Know Your Consumer Rights campaign, launched earlier this year, is reminding people not to forget their rights through the festive period.
The key rules highlighted by the campaign are: goods must fit the description given; goods must be of satisfactory quality and goods must be fit for purpose.
Some common festive queries:
Do I have the same rights if I buy something in the sales?
Yes. If something is faulty, mis-described or not fit for purpose then it doesn’t matter if it was full price or in the sale – you are entitled to your money back. However, it is up to an individual retailer whether they want to take back an item because you have changed your mind.
What about unwanted gifts?
Again,…

Pembrokeshire pupils stay awake for charity

Members of a Pembrokeshire Youth Club gave up a night's sleep recently in aid of charity.
Thirty three young people and six staff from Pembroke Dock Youth Club staged a sponsored stay-awake in aid of Children In Need.
Members played games and competitions and kept their spirits up until the early hours with disco and Karaoke.
The sponsored stay awake raised a total of £762.25 for charity.
Youth Worker Matt Done of Pembrokeshire Youth - Pembrokeshire County Council's youth service - said they were very grateful for all the support and help they received in keeping awake through the night.
"We'd like to thank local people and businesses for their kind donations of prizes for the competitions - along with donations of food and drink to keep us going - as well as a special thank you to our Police Community Support Worker Nadia Sullivan for all her hard work," he said.
"And a big thank you too to all the young people for making it such an enjoyable event."

Pembrokeshire old buildings in spotlight

Schoolchildren across the county have been researching Pembrokeshire's medieval sites.
Buildings, towns and monastic communities came under the spotlight in a competition run by the Pembrokeshire Historic Buildings Trust.
Pupils examined several different sites throughout the County including Pembroke Castle and the castles at Carew, Cilgerran, Manorbier and Haverfordwest.
Tenby's town walls were also researched as were churches at Rudbaxton and St Dogmaels and the Cathedral and Bishops Palace at St David's.
The competition culminated in a presentation ceremony last month at County Hall in Haverfordwest, where the winners were awarded their prizes and others received certificates.
The event was organised by the Pembrokeshire Historic Buildings Trust and hosted by Pembrokeshire County Council.
Council Chairman, Councillor Anne Hughes said it was wonderful to see pupils involved in such worthwhile and fascinating work.
"I congratulate all the winners and all those who took pa…

Girls star at Llandovery tag finals

Ysgol Dewi Sant girls excelled at a national tag rugby tournament.
Two teams from the St David's School represented Pembrokeshire at the national tag rugby finals in Llandovery.
Following a tough pool the Under 18s reached the semi finals and came third overall, while the Under 14's won three of their five matches only narrowly missing out on a semi final place.
However, team member Kayleigh Salmon was named as one of the four players of the tournament.
Tag rugby sessions have been organised at the school as part of Sport Pembrokeshire's 5x60 programme and are run by PE teacher Neil Davies - assisted by sixth former Scott Candler.
Over 50 girls between 11 and 16 attended at least one lunch time session this autumn.
Amanda John 5x60 Officer said it was great to see so many girls taking part in the sport and going onto represent Pembrokeshire in a national tournament.
"It just goes to show what a small school can achieve with the hard work of players and coaches," she …

Tavernspite school create splash

Tavernspite School created a splash at a recent swimming gala.
The primary school's swimming team won the overall trophy at the annual Narberth Inter Schools Swimming Gala.
It's the fourth year running that the school's team has won the competition.
Runners up were the young team from Narberth CP School.
Over 100 pupils from six school - Tavernspite, Narberth, Templeton, Brynconin, Bro Brynach and Whitland - took part in the three-day gala at Narberth swimming pool earlier this month.
Councillor Wynne Evans presented ribbons to the First, Second, Third and Fourth placed swimmers along with shields for the winning relay teams.
All race winners will now go through to the Pembrokeshire Juniors Schools Gala.

Stage army brings in expert help

When a local primary school was looking for specialists to help train its stage army they called in the experts...
Neyland Community School called up some Pembrokeshire squaddies to help put on its Christmas nativity play.
Army recruitment staff based in Haverfordwest put the young soldiers through their paces ... and even stayed to watch the dress rehearsal.
"The kids were really enthusiastic and responded incredibly well," said Sgt Barry John, of the Royal Welsh Second Battalion and a former pupil.
"I used to go to the school and it was wonderful to be able to help out a school which had helped me so much when I was younger," he said.
Organised by the school's English Coordinator Mary Evans, A Tale of Two Birthdays features the massed ranks of Herod's army - along with sand girls and entertainers as well as the more traditional nativity play cast.
"Herod's army play a key role in the play and we wanted the children to look like real soldiers," sa…

Clay Shaw Butler view on PBR

Carmarthen accountants Clay Shaw Butler have published their summary of Chancellor Alistair Darling's Pre-Budget Report.
Mr Darling spoke of the Report taking place at 'a critical time for our economy' and that the task was 'to secure the recovery and promote long-term growth'.
This summary concentrates on the main tax measures which are being introduced:
• a 1% increase in the NIC rates payable by employers, employees and the self-employed from April 2011
• freezing the personal allowances and tax bands at the 2009/10 amounts for most taxpayers
• the introduction of a 50% additional rate of tax for those with the highest income levels
• changes to the complex rules for the Special Annual Allowance charge which affect those with substantial income, making significantly higher pension contributions in anticipation of the removal of higher rate tax relief which will occur in 2011
• the deferral for a further year of the planned increase in the small companies corporation ta…

Haverfordwest stages carers day

More than 50 carers and their supporters attended a Carers Rights Day in Haverfordwest.
Organised by Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS) and other voluntary groups, the event highlighted the benefits and services available to Carers in the County.
The event also saw the launch of a new Carers Pack, which has been developed by the County Council and voluntary organisations.
Speeches and workshops throughout the day focused on ways in which Carers can look after their health as well as learn about their pensions and benefits entitlements.
In the afternoon they were able to relax with taster sessions of complementary therapies.
There are estimated to be over 14,000 Carers in Pembrokeshire who provide support to their chronically ill, disabled or frail partners, relatives and friends.
The care they provide is unpaid and estimated to save the UK £87billion every year.

Early present for Milford's Amy

Amy Barrett from Milford Haven had an early present on the eve of her birthday - she discovered she had won a competition to design a Christmas card.
Amy - who was 22 on Tuesday - won a £25 shopping voucher when her design was chosen to adorn the front of a Christmas card for Pembrokeshire County Council's Director of Social Care and Housing, Jon Skone.
Amy was presented with her prize - plus of box of cards bearing her design - at the Christmas party of the Pembrokeshire Voices for Choices forum which gives disabled children and young people a chance to air their views.

Rhod Gilbert on TV again next weekend

TV preview for Saturday, December 19
Name: Rhod Gilbert
Image: Comic from the Valleys
Best Known For: His brilliant performances on Live at the Apollo
Early Life: Gilbert was born in Carmarthen, Wales in 1968 and studied languages at Exeter University. On graduation he worked as a qualitative researcher for a number of different market research agencies in London. Gilbert got into professional comedy in 2002, after taking a comedy course. Within 18 months, Gilbert had already won several different talent competitions.
Career: Rhod was nominated for the Perrier Newcomer award for his first solo show in 2005 at Edinburgh entitled 1984. He has since performed worldwide, and was the first western comedian ever to perform in Taiwan. He has appeared several times on the BBC Two shows Mock The Week, and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, even presenting one show in the programme's 23rd series, which aired in October 2009. He has also appeared as a guest on Channel 4's 8 Out of Ten Cats, and has us…

Believe it or not . . .

A prison inmate passed off what is thought to be a 4ft cannabis bush as a tomato plant for months before decorating it as a Christmas tree.
The convicted drug dealer grew the alleged class B pot plant at Verne Prison in Portland, Dorset, before staff became suspicious and sent it off for testing.
Other inmates at the category C training jail, which holds 595 prisoners, also made two models out of matchsticks to hide items like mobile phones and these were found during a routine search.

Quote of the day

"All original thinkers have a quality you can recognise. All architects wear ties with horizontal stripes. Or no ties at all" - The Duke of Edinburgh.

Welsh trainers with runners today

Peter Bowen -
12:30 Huntingdon Bob Mountain (IRE) D Devereux
15:00 Huntingdon Particle (IRE) W Marston
Tim Vaughan -
12:50 Taunton Raider of The East (IRE) B Wharfe
13:30 Huntingdon Picaroon L Stephens
13:40 Ludlow Dabaratsa (FR) T Scudamore
14:10 Ludlow Little Shilling (IRE) Dean Coleman
Rebecca Curtis -
16:30 Kempton New World Order (IRE) Not Specified
17:00 Kempton La Toya J (IRE) Dane O'Neill
The great John Jenkins offers the following advice -
"Albertas Run in the 2.00 Huntingdon. Romped home ahead of Planet of Sound and the mighty Voy Por Ustedes in the 1965 Chase at Ascot last month. Gold Cup runner. Second to Kauto Star in the '08 King George and only beaten by Madison Du Berlais and Denman in the Levy Board Chase last Feb. Only quality horses seem to beat this one (none in this race) and at 5/1 2nd Fav is a great bet, even e/w."

New group looks at homes for elderly

Members of Carmarthenshire County Council’s joint housing and health and social care committees have recommended the establishment of a Task and Finish Group to look at flexible care and housing choices for older people.
Their recommendation followed the rejection of a recommended consultation on proposals to remodel care services for older people in the county, as part of a recorded vote.
The proposals for consultation, and the proposed options for change, were discussed at length by the joint committee, which was held at County Hall.
Executive Board Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Pat Jones, spoke during the meeting to voice her feelings on the subject, and made the suggestion that members consider setting up a Task and Finish Group.
The joint committee’s recommendation will now go before the next meeting of the Executive Board, members of which will be asked to decide whether to accept the recommendation, or to go ahead with consultation.
As part of their investigative role, Scr…

New bus for Teifi Valley

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Residents of north Carmarthenshire will soon benefit from a new community transport service being launched in the county.
Bws Ni will provide pre-planned transport for community groups in the north Teifi Valley area to help them access services and to complement existing public transport links.
It will be the first community transport initiative of its kind in rural Carmarthenshire, and will benefit almost 90 community groups by offering reduced transport rates.
Funding for the minibus has been approved by Carmarthenshire County Council under the Rural Development Plan (RDP).
The service will be run by the Teifi Community Transport Association, and groups will have a central booking number.
It will be supported by Carmarthenshire County Council, the Community Transport Association, Pembrokeshire’s Preseli Rural Transport Association and the Carmarthenshire Association for Voluntary Services.
Craig Thomas, Carmarthenshire County Council community regeneration officer, said: “This pro…

Brechfa puts stamp on Christmas

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A Carmarthenshire village is putting a new stamp on Christmas this year, with a range of services helping people to stay in touch.
Residents of Brechfa are now able to access online payment services and courier services – and more importantly they can now post their Christmas cards and parcels without having to leave the village.
The community shop and Post Office has benefitted from Rural Development Plan funding, approved through Carmarthenshire County Council.
Villagers have worked with council regeneration officers to apply for funding under the RDP Axis 3 Access to Services scheme, which aims to improve the quality of life in rural areas by supporting the delivery of basic services.
With the funding, the community has been able to purchase a Netbook, postal scales, broadband services, a router and antennae to transmit a signal up to one kilometre from the shop.
This has allowed them to provide postal services in the shop again, as well as providing additional benefits such as online p…

Lollipop man Barrie collects award

Wales's favourite lollipop man Barrie Glover, from Spring Gardens, Whitland, has collected his second award in a week and is in the running to become Britain’s Kwik Fit Insurance Lollipop Person of the Year.
Barrie was the first of Carmarthenshire’s 80 schools crossing patrol officer to take the Welsh title and capped an astonishing week being awarded with a special recognition award at the Authority’s Transport Award at Parc y Scarlets, Pemberton.
The national title will be decided next week.
As well as helping children at Whitland Primary School to cross the road for the last three years, Barrie, a sprightly 73, goes beyond the call of duty, helping with school dinners and lending a hand on class trips which he has done for more than 10 years.
Barrie beat cancer to return to school, after the children at the school wrote to him while he was receiving chemotherapy.
Further still, he is a talented artist and as well as painting stunning murals inside the school, he has also run an a…

Abergwili pupils impress shoppers

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Young people have impressed Carmarthen shoppers with a range of products they have hand-crafted as part of a youth business market.
Pupils from Ysgol Abergwili, who sold occasion cards, and young people from Carmarthen’s Dr Mz project, who sold jewellery, were among the groups to present their business ideas to shoppers at the town’s Greyfriars shopping centre.
They were taking part in a business development scheme being run jointly by Carmarthenshire County Council and Careers Wales.
Officers visit schools and youth organisations throughout the county to encourage young people to venture in to the business world and to explore ways of gaining support and employment opportunities locally.
The aim is to create a pool of skilled and talented young people who don’t feel the need to move away from Carmarthenshire to get the expertise needed to support their business growth.
It is hoped this will help create a strong and prosperous economy for Carmarthenshire’s future.
Angharad Harding, business…