Showing posts from October 10, 2010

Llanelli Choral Society scoops Welsh award

A prestigious national music award has been awarded to a Llanelli choral society for its leading development and contribution to amateur music making in Wales.
The Llanelli Choral Society are winners of the highly prestigious 2010 W.S.Gwynn Williams Award, awarded by the Welsh Amateur Music Federation, to the musical organisation from across the whole of Wales that has made the greatest progress and contribution to amateur music making in Wales in recent years.
Key winning attributes for the Llanelli Choral Society in winning the award were the society’s musical capability and choral standards, recruitment and development and particularly the value of the Society to its local community.
“This is a great and prestigious honour for the society”, explained society chairman Cerith Owens.
“It is a positive recognition of the hard work of the choristers and organisers as well as the exciting developments, performances and activities driven forward by the society and its contribution to its comm…

Bwcabus picks up third national award

Bwcabus is running on a set of golden wheels. It’s picked up its third national award in as many months.
At the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport’s glittering awards ceremony in London in the presence of their patron, HRH the Princess Royal, Carmarthenshire Council’s head of engineering and transport Trevor Sage received the only excellence award presented to a Welsh service.
In the transport policy and planning category other entries included big players like Transport for London.
County executive board member for transport, Cllr Philip Hughes, said: “Revolutionary Bwcabus is running on a set of golden wheels collecting awards and being upheld at the model solution for rural transport issues.
“This third award for Bwcabus is hugely satisfying by highlighting its outstanding performance and showing it to be a leader in its field.
“It is a huge source of pride that Bwcabus continues to be recognised as the most innovative transport project nationally in the last 15 months.”

Carmarthenshire meals service a winner

A total of 95,000 hot meals will be delivered to the doorsteps of older people living in Carmarthenshire this year alone.
An army of WRVS volunteers, working with the county council’s social care division, ensure that more than 800 older residents have access to healthy and nutritious meals regardless of rain, wind or shine.
And Cllr Pat Jones, the council’s executive board member for health and social care, is leading the tributes to the volunteers as part of National Meals on Wheels Week (October 11-17, 2010).
“Meals on Wheels provides an essential service for older people living in Carmarthenshire,” she said. “We are proud of the volunteers who do their rounds no matter what the weather, to make sure that people are provided with a hot, nutritious meal.
“I've been on many rounds with the volunteers, so I know from my own experience what a worthwhile service this is - and it complements the wide range of services the council provides to help people live independently within their o…

Grants available to Carmarthenshire youth groups

The Carmarthenshire Youth Grant Panel has £10,000 available to organisations working with young people across Carmarthenshire between the ages of 11 - 25 years old.
The closing date for applications is October 25.
Application packs can be obtained by contacting the Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services (CAVS) on 01267 245555 and or by visiting
The Carmarthenshire Youth Grant Panel, made of young people from across the county, have been given £10,000 of the Welsh Assembly Government Youth Service Revenue Grant (allocated to Carmarthenshire Youth Service) to give to organisations with an idea that gives young people new opportunities.
Young people from the Carmarthenshire Youth Council have been nominated to sit on the Grant Panel and will work with CAVS and Carmarthenshire’s Participation Team on setting the criteria, assessing project applications and deciding which projects will receive funding.
The total fund available this year is £10,000, …

Public safety event for Ammanford

Carmarthenshire Trading Standards Services and Ammanford Lions have joined forces for a public safety event - This Winter, Don’t Be Robbed – Be Ready.
It will be held at Ammanford Pensioners Hall on Friday October 29 from 2- 4:30pm.
The main event of the afternoon will be a performance of sketches by the Fedwen Theatre Company recreating real life situations as reported to Carmarthenshire Trading Standards Services and Dyfed Powys Police.
Carmarthenshire fair trading officer Quita Davies said: “It is a community theatre production aimed at increasing people’s awareness about door step crime and scams.
“This project is a joint initiative between Trading Standards Services and the Fedwen Theatre Company of Saron.”
It is an afternoon not to be missed with representatives from Trading Standards Services, community police, the fire brigade, Bobby van, Care and Repair, Ammanford Citizens Advice Bureau, Meals on Wheels and the Message in a Bottle scheme.
People are encouraged to bring in their ele…

Politicians protest at cull of weekly editors

Huw Irranca-Davies MP has joined forces with other politicians to write the folowing letter to Media Wales publishing director Alan Edmunds about the proposed axing of weekly editors in the group -
Dear Mr Edmunds
Re: Compulsory Redundancy of Regional Editors in South Wales
We are writing to express our grave concern at your proposal make redundant the Editors of your historic South Wales regional newspapers: The Pontypridd and Llantrisant Observer; The Rhondda Leader, The Gwent Gazette; The Glamorgan Gazette; The Merthyr Express; Rhymney Valley Express; and the Cynon Valley Leader.
Coming after the unwelcome closure of your offices at Aberdare and Ebbw Vale, we are deeply worried that this latest move represents a reduced commitment to serving the communities we represent with informed and high quality local news.
Each of the seven papers affected by this consultation is highly valued and attracts loyal local readership. Good local journalism is rooted in communities and having editors t…

Llandybie man fined for listed building offence

The owner of the listed Felin Wen mill in Llandybie has been fined for making changes without listed building consent.
Nigel John Humphreys was convicted following a trial at Llanelli Magistrates Court yesterday of an offence contrary to section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, namely the removal and destruction of mill machinery from the listed mill Felin Wen, in his ownership, without listed building consent.
Mr. Humphreys had claimed the statutory defence allowed under the Act, that he needed to carry out the work for safety reasons and to preserve the building, and in an earlier hearing in November 2009 the magistrates found that the statutory defence had been proved, issuing a not guilty verdict.
Following an appeal by Carmarthenshire County Council, the High Court determined that the Justices’ conclusion on the statutory defence was fatally flawed, and ordered the matter to be remitted to the same bench of justices.
At the second court case, the …

Brickies turn their hands to showers

A group of council-employed brickies have been swapping sand and cement for pipes and elbow joints in an effort to help the authority clear a waiting list of shower adaptations.
The bricklayers, employed by the council’s Building Services division, have been on a basic plumbing skills course at Coleg Sir Gar’s Ammanford campus.
The extra training was suggested by the staff themselves, as part of the council’s ongoing efforts to make efficiency savings wherever possible.
It means they are now multi-skilled, and are able to help carry out shower adaptations for tenants living in council-owned homes.
Head of Property Services, Phil Lumley, said: “A group of our bricklayers used our staff suggestion scheme to offer their services if they could receive basic plumbing skills training.
“We thought this was an ideal solution to help us get through the waiting list for shower adaptations in the Llanelli area, whilst up-skilling our workforce and saving the authority the need to employ outside plumb…

National award for Carmarthenshire Building Services

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Building Services division has scooped a national award for its strong collaborative working practices with partner organisations.
The division is part of an innovative education-industry partnership with Carmarthenshire Construction Training Association Ltd (CCTAL), and Coleg Sir Gar, which has won a UK National Training Award for its pioneering Shared Apprenticeship Scheme.
The scheme engages more than 40 local contractors who share the cost of providing construction apprentices with work placements.
It is one of many projects on which the three organisations collaborate, having developed a strong partnership ethos to education and training within the construction industry.
They attended the Welsh ceremony together, and jointly picked up the Partnership and Collaboration Award in the regional final.
They have now been invited to compete against other regional winners at a prestigious ceremony in London in December.
Phil Lumley, head of Carmarthenshire Coun…

Art mural on show at Ammanford

A giant art mural created by Amman Valley families has gone on display at Ammanford Children’s Library.
The mural was created at the Carmarthenshire Children’s Partnership stand at the Amman Valley Big Day Out, held during the summer.
Children and parents who stopped at the stand were asked to roll their sleeves up and paint a member of their family to celebrate the Family Information Service.
Whilst the children got mucky with paints, the parents had the opportunity of finding all about the services offered by the Children’s Partnership, which include Sure Start, Flying Start and Genesis – all designed to support families and offer opportunities for physical, intellectual and social development.
Janine Patrick, Sure Start development officer, said: “The mural that was created on the day was far too good to be tucked away somewhere were nobody would be able to see it. It was suggested that the Children’s Library may want to put it on display, and we were really pleased when they agreed t…

New snooker academy opens for South West

Splendid night at the opening of the new South West Snooker Academy at The Aquarius Centre in Gloucester last night.
It's a real state-of-the-art snooker venue and a major boost for the sport.
Llanelli snooker legend Terry Griffiths was there enjoying his usual cup of tea!

For more pictures, see -
For details of the Academy, see -

Latest 'View from Richmond Park' column

The latest 'View from Richmond Park' column from this week's issue of the Carmarthen Journal -
Congratulations go to Carmarthen Town AFC manager Tomi Morgan, who has received his UEFA Pro Licence at the FAW Awards Dinner.
Tomi was presented with his Pro Licence by World Cup and Euro 2000 winner Marcel Desailly and former Cardiff City manager Lennie Lawrence.
The qualification takes a year to complete and consists of a minimum of 240 hours, of which 90 hours are practical, and is aimed at dealing with situations familiar to top class managers.
Modules such as handling top-class players, using the latest technology, analysing opponents’ strengths and weaknesses and dealing with player’s problems on and off the pitch are all covered in the course.
Richmond Park plays host this month to two matches in the 10th UEFA Under-19 Men’s Championship 2010 – 2011.
There is free admission for the matches. Kick-off times have now been changed from those orig…

Residents survey starts in Carmarthenshire

A residents survey is being carried out across Carmarthenshire to find out what people think about the county council and its services.
From now until November 28, a company called BMG will be conducting the survey using a representative sample of 1,000 residents.
It involves visiting the people in their homes and conducting a 20-minute interview about Carmarthenshire County Council’s services.
The independent and confidential survey will ask for people’s opinions about the council, the services it provides and the local area where they live.
The information will be used to help identify where improvements to the services, facilities and information the council provides can be made.
BMG is a leading market research agency, all interviewers carry identity cards which bear their photographs.
Residents are reminded to check the identity of any callers before allowing them access into their homes.
Anyone who is unsure of the person calling can ring Carmarthenshire Direct on 01267 234567 for in…

New insurance offer for Carmarthenshire tenants

A new home contents insurance package is to be offered to thousands of council tenants across Carmarthenshire.
A county-wide scheme has been drawn up to provide affordable premiums for tenants.
It follows the devastating effects of flooding in recent years, with many left uninsured because they could not afford to take out cover.
Officers at Carmarthenshire County Council have put together the home contents insurance scheme, which will be offered to all its housing tenants.
Fortis, which runs similar schemes for hundreds of local authorities and registered social landlords across the UK, has been appointed as the nominated insurer.
Tenants will be required to complete a simple proposal form which will be assessed by the insurers.
They will be given a choice about whether to take out the cover or make their own alternative arrangements, and the aim is to implement the scheme in time for the winter.
The council’s Llanelli Area Housing Manager Les James said: “The authority has recognised the i…

Pioneering health study for Carmarthenshire

A pioneering study is to be carried out to assess the health impact of housing improvements in Carmarthenshire.
Housing chiefs say that better living conditions lead to health benefits and improved wellbeing.
Research shows cold and damp conditions can exacerbate cardiovascular diseases, respiratory symptoms and infections, and are also linked to depression and anxiety.
Now a detailed health study is being planned to see what impact the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard programme is having on tenants’ health.
Carmarthenshire County Council is behind the study, which is the first of its kind in Wales, with the help of Cardiff and Swansea Universities.
Under the Homes Standard programme, huge refurbishment schemes are underway to improve the council’s 9,200 homes.
Works including new windows and doors, painting and rendering, garden improvements and upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms are being carried out, along with cavity wall and loft insulation programmes.
A pilot study has been carried out t…

Ron Jones heads creative think-tank

The executive chairman of Llanelli media group Tinopolis, Ron Jones, has been appointed chair of a private sector panel which will help shape the Welsh Assembly Government’s support to the creative industries sector.
WAG is to focus its business support around six sectors, which as well as creative industries also include ICT and advanced manufacturing.
Story -

What a cracking day

Blue skies and blue seas down at Llanelli's Millennium Coastal Park - and then Elbow's 'One Day Like This' comes on the MP3 player. Magic!

Carmarthen shopping centre celebrates success

Carmarthen's newest shopping centre has smashed all expectations and forged its way to the top of the UK shopping league.
Shops and restaurants at the £70 million St Catherine’s Walk are among the best performing in the country.
Latest figures show that Debenhams restaurant was the second busiest in the UK for a day in August – beaten only by the company’s flagship store in Oxford Street.
Apollo Cinema was the second busiest in Wales on July 12 and on May 31 Frankie and Benny’s was the third busiest UK branch.
On June 7 Costa Coffee was the most successful branch in the whole of Wales and the South West.
The centre has attracted over 150,000 visitors every week since it opened, hitting 180,000 on a number of occasions.
Shops have celebrated record takings and demand for restaurant places have seen customers queuing for up to an hour.
Delighted regeneration chiefs say the news is proof of Carmarthen’s position as a premier shopping and leisure destination.
Carmarthenshire County Council an…

Carmarthenshire wins national award for housing

Housing chiefs in Carmarthenshire are celebrating a major national award for their work.
Staff at the county council have secured the industry Oscar for delivering good quality, affordable housing.
They beat off competition from across the country to clinch a prestigious Excellence Wales award.
The £200 million Homes Standard programme, work to provide affordable homes and the health benefits created by housing improvements were flagged up as beacons of excellence for others to follow.
The coveted award recognises the work that is being done in Carmarthenshire to provide first class housing advice, increase the supply of affordable homes, and raise the standard of owner occupied and privately rented homes.
It also rewards the £200 million Homes Standard programme, which is aimed at improving the council’s housing stock and regenerating housing estates.
The council was commended for a series of achievements in the housing sector in the past year.
Officers have worked to drastically reduce th…

New study on memories of watching TV

On Sunday, October 17, the people of Merthyr are being invited to share their memories of watching on television some of the historic events that took place between 1950 and 2000.
These memories will provide the basis for ‘Media and Memory in Wales 1950 – 2000’, a major new study into the influence of television on family life in Wales during the second half of the 20th century, “the age of television”.
Over the coming months Dr Iwan Morus and Dr Jamie Medhurst from Aberystwyth University will also be interviewing people in Wrexham, Caernarfon, and Carmarthen about their memories of watching these historic events and how they reflect their sense of belonging and identity.
They will be in Merthyr as part of the BBC Cymru Wales Roadshow at the Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm. on Sunday 17th October.
The historical events covered by the study are:
The Coronation of Elizabeth II (1953), the drowning of the Tryweryn valley (1950s), the Aberfan disaster (1966), the inves…

Carmarthenshire link to 2012 Olympics

Athletes at the 2012 Olympics will be tucking into organic yoghurt cheese from Carmarthenshire as part of their healthy eating during the Games.
Sanclêr Organic has won a contract to supply food to the Games in London following a visit to the Speciality and Fine Food Show in the capital recently. The company will be providing products for the athletes, hospitality etc.
Elfyn Davies, who runs Sanclêr Organic with his wife Rhian, said he made the application after speaking to Carmarthenshire County Council business development officer Barry Davies.
He sent off information about the business, its history and how he farms, before meeting representatives of the Olympics at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair.
“They were very interested in developing healthy menus for the athletes for breakfast and dinner. They are choosing a catering company in December and will come back to us in January to go through the whole thing, devise menus and get our products in there.
“They were excited about our produ…

Figures show Carmarthenshire improving

Figures released today by the Local Government Data Unit show that performance in Carmarthenshire is continuing to improve.
The county had the very best performance indicator results in four categories and joint top in another 20.
Top scoring were:
• Percentage of non-domestic rates due for the financial year which were received by the authority – highest in Wales, achieving 98.66%
• The average number of days that all homeless households spent in other forms of temporary accommodation – lowest in Wales, achieving 17 days
• The number of publicly accessible computers per 10,000 population – highest in Wales, achieving 15
• The average number of calendar days taken to deliver low cost adaptation works in private dwellings where the Disabled Facilities Grant process is not used – lowest in Wales, achieving 10 days
The county’s children’s services section came out on top in several categories, achieving 100% in areas such as the percentage of first placements of looked after children during the…

Care homes consultation starts today

Consultation over the future of two Llanelli care homes will begin today.
Carmarthenshire County Council is formally seeking the views of residents, their families, and staff, in relation to Caemaen and St Paul’s residential care homes.
The authority is proposing to remodel care provision across the county, improving facilities, providing more flexible services and giving older people more housing choices.
The consultation stage follows the recommendations of a cross party task and finish group, which were accepted by the Joint Housing and Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee and executive board.
Consultation will take place throughout October and November – the first meetings taking place at St Paul’s today (October 12) and at Caemaen tomorrow.
Responses will be considered and analysed to inform the final version of a discussion document on flexible care and housing choices for older people.
A final decision on the future of Caemaen and St Paul’s will be made by full council.
Cllr Pat …

'Food for Thought' in the Teifi Valley

Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils have teamed up for a ‘Food for Thought’ event in the Teifi Valley.
It is being held at the Pwerdy Powerhouse, Community and Arts Centre, Pontweli, on Tuesday, October 19, from 11am to 2pm.
Officers will be on hand to give residents information on food recycling collections in their area as well as give advice on how they can reduce their food waste.
Local chef Hazel Thomas will also be giving cooking demonstrations with recipes for using up leftovers.
Figures show that in the UK we throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food and drink every year. Not only is it harmful to the environment but it is means we are wasting a total of £12 billion on food and drink every year – that’s £480 per household per year or £50 a month.
Council waste minimisation/recycling officer Karen McNeil said: “It is important we reduce the amount of food waste going to landfill - even if householders do not have that much food waste - as it generates methane, a powerful greenhouse…

Choirs in fine voice in Llanelli

Concert review: Classical Choral - Featuring Cor Baroc, Cor Meibion Llanelli, Adele O’Neill (soprano), Sarah Pottinger (mezzo-soprano), Richard Allen (tenor), Trystan Lewis (bass), Alan Fewster (organ) and the Glamorgan Chamber Orchestra (Leader: Mansel Hughes) at Tabernacle Chapel, Llanelli, Saturday, October 9.
Eifion Thomas has long been recognised as one of the torch bearers when it comes to keeping Llanelli’s rich musical tradition alive.
It is a role he revels in, as he proved when he brought two of his choirs centre stage for ‘Classical Choral’ at Tabernacle Chapel, Llanelli, on Saturday night.
Taking centre stage were Cor Baroc, a 65-strong mixed choir formed by Mr Thomas in 2006.
They were joined by Cor Meibion Llanelli, the juggernaut 70-strong male voice choir which enjoys a worldwide reputation.
And the icing on the cake was provided by four young soloists - Adele O’Neill (soprano), Sarah Pottinger (mezzo-soprano), Richard Allen (tenor) and Trystan Lewis (bass).
Mr Thomas explai…

14,000 visits chalked up

Thanks to you, dear readers and visitors, this blog is continuing to pick up more hits.
It's now hit the 14,000 page views mark.
That's a 1000 views since September 15.
Keep the hits coming, folks!
Many thanks.
See earlier blog -
Meanwhile, the blog has chalked up its first visitor from Senegal.
The full country by country list (figures from January 6) is as follows -
United Kingdom (GB) 3,664; United States (US) 455; India (IN) 46; Germany (DE) 37; Europe (EU) 34; Australia (AU) 33; Qatar (QA) 29; Canada (CA) 27; Ireland (IE) 23; France (FR) 17; Italy (IT) 17; Malaysia (MY) 15; Netherlands (NL) 11; Belgium (BE) 11; New Zealand (NZ) 11; United Arab Emirates (AE) 10; Singapore (SG) 9; Russian Federation (RU) 9; Philippines (PH) 8; Spain (ES) 7; Denmark (DK) 7; Sweden (SE) 6; Greece (GR) 5; Austria (AT) 5; Romania (RO) 4; South Africa (ZA) 4; Bahrain (BH) 4; Bulgaria (BG) 4; Japan (JP) 3; Saudi Arabia (SA) 3; Cote D'…

New campaign on derelict properties

The blight of long-term derelict and unoccupied properties typically targetted by squatters is under attack in Carmarthenshire.
The county’s executive board is invoking an 85-year-old law to tackle problems associated with private sector empty or derelict properties.
They heard the properties attracted anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, vandalism as well squatting.
The executive board approved changes to the authority’s constitution to tackle the problem.
This allows legal, planning, housing and public protection officers to instigate the necessary action to bring about enforced sales or disposal of the properties blighting the county under the Law of property Act 1925
County Councillor Pat Jones welcomed the decisive action saying her community of Burry Port had long suffered from neglected, empty properties.
She said: “This will be wonderful news for people in Burry Port especially for neighbours of such properties who not only have to put up with the stigma of living next door to d…

Rules relaxed on school buses

Fewer school buses could be passing by school children walking to school across Carmarthenshire because of a relaxing of rules.
But parents have to act quickly. Applications for the spare seats have to be returned to Carmarthenshire County Council by October 15.
The opportunity arises limited number of spare seats are being made available on dedicated home to school transport vehicles for pupils who do not currently meet National Assembly eligibility criteria set out on the authority’s home to school transport.
Spare seats will be made available to children of statutory school age, who live within the catchment area of the school, live within the three-mile walking distance but over one mile from the school.
There must be seats available on the bus serving an existing route so no additional mileage can be incurred. Spare seats will not be available on routes where there are already school buses available for children to travel upon payment of fare. No extra buses are being laid on.

Waste amnesty for Tyisha

Residents in the Tyisha area of Llanelli are being urged to have a good clear out before Christmas and get rid of any rubbish they have lying around the home.
A waste amnesty is being held on Saturday, October 16 where householders will be able to take advantage of a one-off chance to dispose of any large items of rubbish for free.
A collection point will be set up at the Antioch Centre in Copperworks Road (near the recycling site) between 8am and 10.30am.
Most household waste can be taken along including bulky waste items such as furniture and electrical goods. However, asbestos, tyres, paint, garden chemicals, batteries, gas bottles, construction waste and trade waste will not be accepted.
Operatives will also be on hand to help residents dispose of any bulky items.
The amnesty has been organised by Carmarthenshire County Council and the aim is to encourage residents to dispose of waste that may otherwise be fly-tipped.
It is also hoped the amnesty will encourage householders to recycle a…

Normal service to resume shortly

Been busy helping with a Rotary Group Study Exchange for the last week. Normal service is about to resume.