Showing posts from November 21, 2010

Krav Maga seminar for Carmarthen

One of the new fitness/self-defence schemes is coming to Carmarthen.
I am grateful to Saranne Davies for telling me about the Krav Maga seminar in Carmarthen Leisure Centre Tuesday 7th December between 8-10pm.
Saranne says:"You only need to Google it or have a look around You Tube to find out how savagely simplistic it is. It's all new to Carmarthen and it's their first break into the area after testing the waters in Pembrokeshire."
Here's a short overview from Saranne below:
Krav Maga means Contact Combat in Hebrew.
It is a proven system of close quarter self defence.
Developed and originating from Israel this system has been tried and tested in many real life situations.
Krav Maga is the official close quarter combat of Israel's Armed Forces and many S.W.A.T. Law Enforcement and Military units all over the world.
It is now taught to instructors, SWAT teams, security forces, military units and civilians all over the world.
Films such as Bourne Supremacy have introduc…

Carmarthen Town match off today

Carmarthen v The New Saints today - match off. Clubhouse open as usual 12:30pm. Villa v Arsenal 12:45pm; Wales v New Zealand 5:15pm on TV.

Carmarthenshire Council's awards success

Carmarthenshire County Council has been recognised at the prestigious National Business Awards.
The authority came runner-up to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in its bid to scoop the Health, Work and Well-being Award at the finals held at London’s Grosvenor House.
Other runners-up in the same category included M&S, the Metropolitan Police and the Northern Bank.
Elin Cullen, head of business and specialist services, said: “Lining up alongside so many big commercial and public sector organisations has proved the level of commitment the authority has for improving the health and wellbeing of its workforce, and ultimately the public that the workforce serves.
“Of course we are disappointed that we did not win the award, but to have been shortlisted at all is a big achievement, of which we are very proud.
“The judges scrutinised every inch of our submission, and have given us some very positive and constructive advice which will help us strengthen our practices even further.”
The aut…

Health fayre held at Llanelli Town Hall

More than 100 people have received potentially life-saving health checks at an event organised by Carmarthenshire County Council.
The authority’s occupational health department laid on the event as part of its commitment to promoting the health and wellbeing of its 9,000 employees.
The health fayre, held at Llanelli Town Hall, was opened by Cllr Pat Jones – the council’s executive board member for health - who was joined by Scarlets commercial director Rupert Moon, and council Chief Executive Mark James.
They spoke of the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, before encouraging visitors to take advantage of numerous free health checks and massage tasters.
Over 100 staff took part in the health checks, which tested their glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They were also given nutrition and lifestyle advice by the leisure department’s Fusion and Vitality schemes, massage and reflexology tasters.
Cllr Pat Jones, the council’s executive board member for health and social …

Christmas card competition at Carmarthen cinema

One lucky class of schoolchildren can enjoy a free film at Carmarthen’s Apollo Cinema.
The cinema is holding a Christmas card competition for schools with prizes on offer.
The winning entry will be invited to take the whole class to the Apollo to view the film of their choice.
The competition is open to all primary and secondary schools.
Pupils are asked to design a Christmas card and the winning entries will be displayed in the Apollo Cinema foyer.
The winners in each of the three categories – infants aged four to seven; juniors from seven to 11; and seniors aged 11 to 16 – will receive a cinema pass for one child and one adult.
The overall winner of the three categories will get a cinema pass for the whole class to attend a screening of their choice (not including 3D films).
Details of the competition have been sent to all schools.
The winners of the infants category will be announced in St Catherine’s Walk on Wednesday, December 8, the juniors the following week, and the seniors on Decembe…

New organic flour for Wales

Modern farming and traditional milling techniques have come together to produce Wales’s newest organic flour.
Loaves made with the flour will be one of the talking points at this year’s Winter Fair in Llanelwedd.
The new flour is unique in that it uses locally grown organic wheat – a joint project between the world renowned IBERS research centre at Aberystwyth University and the owners of Wales’s latest working water mill.
Andrew and Anne Parry of Felin Ganol, Llanrhystud, near Aberystwyth, in mid-Wales, are both former members of staff at IBERS and when they were looking for locally grown organic wheat, they turned to their former employers.
Further developments are in the pipe line with IBERS and Felin Ganol carrying out further research into a variety of traditional oats.
The loaves will be on sale at the Wales Organic Centre stand as part of the organic area on the balcony of the Livestock Building at the Winter Fair. The Centre is part of IBERS.
Growing crops locally means a saving on…

18,000 visits chalked up

Many thanks, folks. Thanks to you, dear readers and visitors, this blog is continuing to pick up more hits.
It's now hit the 18,000 page views mark.
That's a 1,000 views since November 15.
Keep the hits coming, folks! Much appreciated.
Many thanks.
See earlier blog -
Meanwhile, the blog has chalked up its first visitor from Macedonia.
The full country by country list (figures from January 6, 2010) is as follows -
United Kingdom (GB) 5,030; United States (US) 548; India (IN) 50; Australia (AU) 40; Germany (DE) 39; Canada (CA) 36; Europe (EU) 34; Qatar (QA) 29; Ireland (IE) 27; Japan (JP) 27; France (FR) 23; Belgium (BE) 21; Italy (IT) 19; Malaysia (MY) 15; Netherlands (NL) 15; New Zealand (NZ) 13; United Arab Emirates (AE) 11; Russian Federation (RU) 11; Spain (ES) 11; Philippines (PH) 9; Singapore (SG) 9; Sweden (SE) 8; Pakistan (PK) 7; Denmark (DK) 7; South Africa (ZA) 6; Austria (AT) 6; Norway (NO) 5; Bahrain (BH) 5;…

Charity Christmas concert in Carmarthen

Myrddin Chorale will be holding a Charity Christmas Concert on Sunday, 12 December 2010, 7pm at Christ Church, Lammas Street, Carmarthen to benefit Healing the Wounds. The concert features Christmas music from around the world.
Tickets are available at the door, £6 / £5 concession.

Young entrepreneurs try out their ideas

Budding entrepreneurs had the opportunity to try out their business ideas at two youth markets in Carmarthenshire this month.
Pupils from the area’s primary and secondary schools were asked to come up with innovative products and services.
Young People’s Business Markets were held at the St Elli Shopping Centre in Llanelli on Wednesday November 17 and at Carmarthen’s Guildhall on Thursday November 18.
The youngsters sought the views of shoppers as part of the Markets which ran from 11am to 3pm. There was also an opportunity for shoppers to purchase some of their new products on the day.
The event was organised by Carmarthenshire County Council’s business development teams, in partnership with Careers Wales.
It was part of their efforts 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 Carmarthenshi…

Carmarthenshire gritting teams out again tonight

Carmarthenshire council’s gritting teams will be out again tonight as temperatures continue to plummet.
The latest weather forecast for Carmarthenshire shows freezing conditions with road surface temperatures as low as -8°C.
Motorists are being warned to drive with care, particularly on untreated roads.
Sleet and snow showers are expected this afternoon and tonight, mostly in the west of the county, with possible accumulations of between 1 and 2cm in some places by Friday morning.
The weekend and early next week is expected to be very cold for the time of year with road surface temperatures well below freezing by night and some areas remaining below zero by day. Some wintry showers are possible although early indications show no significant amounts of snow expected at this stage.
The council’s gritting teams have been out every night this week and looking at the forecast will continue gritting for at least the next five days.
Staff are on standby 24-hours, seven-days-a-week during the winte…

Council staff raise £4000 for Children in Need

Carmarthenshire County Council staff dug deep in to their pockets and came up with more than £4,000 for Children in Need.
All departments entered into the fun of the event and organised various activities, from tea bag throwing competitions to book swaps.
One of the biggest fundraisers was a sponsored relay run, which saw a team of staff covering the county on foot, calling in at several council offices to collect £1,500 in cash along their way.
The Housing Benefit team, supported by colleagues in the council tax section, also stood out on the day – contributing £1,200 to the total through various activities, including a rugby match and busking.
Other events included a ‘wear a wig to work’ day at County Hall, Carmarthen, Nintendo Wii competitions at Ty Elwyn, Llanelli, and a chilli challenge at Trostre Depot.
There was also dress-down days, cake stalls and raffles to add to the total.
Council leader, Cllr Meryl Gravell, said: “Staff raised a fantastic amount of money on the day, and I’m sur…

Secret millionaire arrested - for charity!

A secret millionaire and a headteacher with an OBE from the Queen were locked up to raise money for sufferers of domestic abuse.
Property developer Kevin Green from Burry Port and Courtney Saunders, headteacher of Rhydygors School in Carmarthen, were arrested and put behind bars in front of bewildered shoppers in Carmarthen town centre.
Kevin Green appeared on Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire earlier this year and Courtney Saunders was awarded the OBE in 2000 for his services to education.
The pair were held captive until they raised enough for their bail using their mobile phones.
The ‘Jail for Bail’ event was organised by the Carmarthenshire Domestic Abuse Forum to mark White Ribbon Week. All the money raised will be used to help sufferers of domestic violence.
Domestic abuse co-ordinator Sam Jones said: “I would like to thank both Kevin and Courtney for their support, everyone from Llanelli, Carmarthen and Amman Valley Women’s Aid who braved the cold to help us raise money and all tho…

22 fined for dropping litter in Carmarthenshire

A total of 22 people have been fined for dropping litter in a Carmarthenshire-wide crackdown to clean up the streets.
Council environmental enforcement officers carried out a mid-week blitz in Llanelli and Carmarthen town centres.
In total 22 fixed penalty notices for £75 were issued – of these 19 were specifically for dropping cigarette ends.
Failure to pay could lead to prosecution in the magistrates court and a maximum fine of up to £2,500.
It is hoped these latest fines will act as a warning to would-be litterbugs that this type of anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
The council’s director of technical services Richard Workman said: “I was astounded that of the 22 fixed penalty notices, 19 were for smoking-related litter. Many people do not think of cigarette ends as litter, but they are. They make an area look unsightly and they are very difficult and very expensive to clean up as the ends fall into grates and cracks in the pavement.
“We do not want to fine people, all we want…

'Botanic' is No1 winter wonderland

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is the No 1 winter wonderland in the UK, according to garden writer Stephen Anderton.
Writing in The Times’ Weekend section, Stephen describes the Garden’s Great Glasshouse as “the best place to be in winter” and he rates our Tropical House as “magical”.
He says: “It invariably takes me by surprise when I enter a steamy glasshouse in winter and my glasses fog up. But it is rather magical to see orchids and pitcher plants in full fling, all that glossy greenery that winter has spoilt outdoors.
“The National Botanic Garden of Wales has a fine tropical house, apparently vast from a distance but it’s cosy enough inside.”
But Stephen’s pick – which includes the likes of Wisley, Hilliers, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh and Hestercombe – saves its highest praise for the largest single-span glasshouse on the planet: “The best place to be in winter, however, is the blimp-shaped Great Glasshouse, sitting in the landscape like a shiny glass hill. It’s the best …

Mobile creche for rural Carmarthenshire

A mobile crèche is providing for the childcare needs of parents in rural Carmarthenshire.
Alpha Business Works, a social enterprise based in North Carmarthenshire, provides childcare including afterschool clubs and holiday schemes. Over the years they have built up considerable expertise in this area of childcare and now have a pool of trained, experienced and bilingual staff.
They have developed an innovative scheme in Carmarthenshire and cross border counties with a mobile crèche providing flexible services to meet the needs of the rural customer.
The project has received £19,001.88 in part-funding from the Axis 4 project Access to Services through Innovation through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Organisations such as Clybiau Plant Cymru, CAVS, Carmarthenshire Children’s Partnership and training providers such as Carmarthenshire County Council, WCVA, Flying Start a…

Carmarthenshire Youth Conference a success

The young people of Carmarthenshire gathered at the Ninth Annual Youth Conference to discuss some of the big issues facing them in today’s climate.
The conference, organised by Carmarthenshire’s Youth Council, allowed young people from across Carmarthenshire to get involved in their local youth clubs, forums, voluntary organisations, schools and businesses.
It was a chance for Carmarthenshire’s youths to express their opinions and let senior Council members, and their partners, know what they want to prioritise and what they consider essential in a climate concerned with financial pressures.
Young People’s Champion and Executive Board Member Councillor Gwynne Woolridge said: “We’re giving young people the chance to communicate with people who make decisions in the county to create a better future for us all.”
Attendees certainly communicated their ideas clearly in a question and answer session towards the end of the conference and posed a number of topical questions to a panel of executiv…

Carmarthenshire ready for the cold snap

With a cold snap due to arrive by the end of the week, Carmarthenshire County Council’s building services division is making sure there’ll be as little disruption as possible.
With overnight temperatures expected to plummet to -3°C, simple measures are being taken to avoid potential damage at council properties, and teams are on standby to deal promptly with any emergency issues.
One of the small measures being undertaken is turning off the stop taps at empty council homes until the property is allocated to a tenant.
Phil Lumley, Head of Property Services, said: “We are expecting a sudden drop in temperatures towards the end of the week, and whilst we do not expect the weather to be anywhere near as bad as we experienced at the beginning of the year, we do want to make sure we are prepared.”
In the run up to the colder winter weather, Building Services staff are also advising council tenants and private homeowners to undertake a quick maintenance check of their properties in order to addr…

Welsh armed forces charity wins battle

The Welsh charity dedicated to servicemen and women has won an important battle in its campaign to win more investment for Wales.
Healing The Wounds has been waging an important fight with the Help for Heroes (H4H) charity.
And today Healing The Wounds welcomed the decision by H4H to change its policy to ensure cash raised in Wales is spent on Welsh Armed forces.
“It’s no secret that we have been having something of a fight with H4H over the way money is allocated to Wales,” said Kevin Richards, Director of Healing the Wounds, the appeal fund which aims to provide a facility within Wales for the treatment of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and a convalescent home for the Armed Forces.
“Our focus as the Healing The Wounds charity is to raise money within Wales so that it can be spent in Wales, to make sure that our brave servicemen and servicewomen are treated close to home.
“The H4H charity has built up a huge charitable fund-raising effort in recent years and we have tried very hard…

Latest 'View from Richmond Park' column

The latest 'View from Richmond Park' Carmarthen AFC column from the Carmarthen Journal -
It was not all gloom and doom for Carmarthen Town on Saturday.
As Bangor City celebrated a record that equals Reading’s 1985-86 run of wins, Town's bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived captain Dale Griffiths and his partner Tayzaa celebrated the arrival of their daughter Ruby Grace in the early hours of the morning. Congratulations and best wishes from all at the club.
Remaining Carmarthen Town AFC fixtures for November -
Saturday, November 27 – home to The New Saints, 2.30pm.
There will be a supporters bus for the Haverfordwest County game on Friday, December 3, kick-off 7.30 pm
Latest fixtures list for the Under-19s team –
November 28 AFC Porth
December 6 away at Haverfordwest County
December 12 Cambrian & Clydach at Llanelli in the FAW Youth Cup, round three. January 10 away at Cambrian and Clydach/
January 17 Haverfordwest County
January 24 away at AFC Porth.

£17m double glazing project for Carmarthenshire

Thousands of Carmarthenshire tenants are enjoying warmer homes thanks to a £17 million double glazing scheme.
Families across the county are feeling the benefits of new uPVC windows and doors.
Works have been completed at more than 9,000 council homes, and all houses will be completed by April – four years ahead of target.
Carmarthenshire County Council is behind the programme, which has been rolled out over the past five years.
It forms part of the £200 million Homes Standard scheme which is aimed at improving the authority’s housing stock and regenerating housing estates.
Huge refurbishment schemes are underway, with works including painting and rendering, garden improvements and upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms being carried out.
Project managers say they are delighted with the progress that has been made with the windows and doors scheme.
The works are reducing heating costs and improving energy efficiency in council homes.
There are also benefits for tenant’s health because cold condit…

Christmas Tree Festival for St Clears

Choose any carol you like and the odds are that there will be a Christmas tree decorated on that theme at the Christmas Tree Festival at St Mary's Church, St Clears from 2pm on Thursday, December 2 until Sunday, December 5.
After a short opening service on Thursday afternoon (2pm), the Festival will then be ready for people to come and visit on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (11am - 5pm) to see the festive trees and enjoy seasonal refreshments at the Town Hall opposite the church.
The trees are being decorated by local organisations in St Clears, Bancyfelin and Pwll Trap.
The vicar, Canon Bryan Witt, said “Christmas trees are a traditional part of the Christmas celebration and this festival provides a special opportunity for them to bring us together as a community. We hope that many people who have enjoyed our flower festivals in previous years will come and visit us at some time during the festival.”
The Christmas tree festival will open with a brief tree blessing service on Thursda…

Hygiene rating scheme for Carmarthenshire

Visitors to restaurants, cafes, takeaways and shops in Carmarthenshire will soon be able to see at a glance how well the premises looks after the food.
The county council has introduced the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme promoted by the Food Standards Agency.
Restaurants, takeaways, cafes, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other food outlets, as well as any other businesses where consumers can eat or buy food, will be given a hygiene rating as part of the scheme.
There are six different hygiene ratings.
The categories are: 5, very good; 4, good; 3, generally satisfactory; 2, improvement necessary; 1, major improvement necessary; 0, urgent improvement necessary but closure not required.
Certificates and stickers will be sent out to the businesses once they have been inspected and they will be encouraged to display them at the premises. Ratings will be displayed on a national website.
The aim of the scheme is to reduce the number of food-borne illnesses and enable customers …

Launch for Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice

Aberystwyth University has joined with six other universities across Wales to form the Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice (WCCSJ), which will be formally launched at the Senedd at 5.00 p.m. today, Wednesday, November 24, 2010.
The launch, sponsored by Ceredigion AM Elin Jones, will include an address by the First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones, himself a graduate of Aberystwyth University's Department of Law and Criminology, where the WCCSJ office is housed.
The initiative, which is part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, brings together experts in criminology, social policy, law and psychology from Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Glyndŵr, Newport and Swansea, to enhance the scale and impact of crime related research in Wales.
Its work will bridge devolved and non-devolved policy areas, including both criminal justice responses to crime and strategies which aim to tackle the roots of offending and anti-social behaviour.
WCCSJ will off…

New £7m research facility for IBERS

Work has started on building a new £7 million research facility at the world-renowned Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) at Aberystwyth University.
The development will house world-class resources to help find solutions to the major global challenges of food, water and energy security, and adapting to changing climate.
The new building will help revolutionise IBERS’ pioneering work in the field of phenomcis – understanding how genes influence the way plants look and behave. Work that used to take years will now be done in months.
Work at the new centre will lead to developing new varieties that will improve livestock and benefit farmers in Wales and across the world, and new crops that can withstand extreme variations in climate and make use of poorer land.
The new resources will also lead to more collaborations with internationally respected scientists from all parts of the world.
Whilst linking two existing buildings, the new development will include state…

Pontweli Powerhouse now open for business

The Pwerdy Powerhouse Community and Arts Centre in Pontweli is now fully operational and available for courses, workshops, room hire.
The Centre has a fully equipped computer suite which offers facilities for eight thin client computers and an Apple iMac as well as space to accommodate a further eight personal laptop users.
The Centre is WiFi throughout and has a computer available for hot-desking should anyone wish to surf the internet and does not have access to a computer. There are currently art classes, yoga classes, drumming classes, singing classes and computer classes being held at the centre.
The committee of the Powerhouse secured funding in 2007 after years of hard work to refurbish the building.
The Powerhouse aims to be a community hub for agencies to meet clients within the Teifi valley.
Consultation has proved that the closure of the local Job Centre and various other agencies in nearby towns has resulted in a lack of meeting places within the rural area.
Moreover, meetings a…

Gorseinon couple’s Diamond Day raises cash for charity

A Gorseinon couple turned their ‘Diamond Day’ into a charity fund-raiser for the Healing The Wounds Golden Grove Mansion Appeal.
The appeal aims to establish a Welsh convalescent centre for the treatment of Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans and their families who are suffering from stress-related illnesses such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
When David and Irene Williams, of Grove Street, Gorseinon, knew their Diamond wedding anniversary was approaching, they decided they did not want any gifts.
Instead, they asked friends and family to contribute to Healing the Wounds.
Mr Williams served as a soldier with the 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers.
His tours included Egypt, Palestine and Cyprus, during and after the Second World War.
The couple said they fully supported the work of the Healing The Wounds charity and wanted to help in any way possible.
The happy couple were married at St David’s Church in Penllergaer on 23rd September 1950.
Their celebration night included a dance and …

Operation Bang proves a big hit

The number of anti-social behaviour incidents over Halloween and Bonfire Night fell by 10 per cent this year.
Police received 335 anti-social behaviour calls from across Carmarthenshire between October 25 and November 6 compared to 372 the previous year.
The number of fire service calls to deliberate rubbish fires was also more than halved.
It shows partnership working between the police, council and fire service – as part of the all-Wales Operation Bang – is really making a difference.
Inspector Tony Ward said: “We started planning for this initiative back in the summer and a lot of hard work has gone into it. We did not want to spoil people’s fun, but we wanted to make sure they stayed safe and thought of others.
“This is the third year running we have carried out this initiative and every year we have seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour. There were some isolated incidents, however, positive police intervention resulted in seizures of a large quantity of fireworks, alcohol and eggs…

Carmarthenshire free school breakfasts boost

The number of school children enjoying free school breakfasts in Carmarthenshire has risen by three per cent since last year.
The rise has been welcomed by Carmarthenshire Catering Service, which runs the Primary Free Breakfast Initiative on behalf of the Welsh Assembly.
Currently, 107 of the county’s 118 schools are taking part in the scheme, with an average uptake of 34 per cent – three per cent more than when last reported.
Uptake at individual schools ranges from eight per cent at the lowest, to 90 per cent at the highest.
The figures mean Carmarthenshire has one of the highest uptakes across the whole of Wales.
The clubs are open from 8am, and pupils enjoy a free breakfast consisting of a choice of non sugar-coated cereal, toast, fruit and a glass of milk or fruit juice.
Catering services manager Sandra Weigel said: “We are delighted that so many schools are recognising the benefits of a good healthy breakfast and are signing up to our breakfast club initiative.
“Breakfast has long been…

Council runners raise cash for Children In Need

A team of council staff have run across Carmarthenshire to raise money for Children in Need.
Between they ran a distance of around 50 miles and raised £1,560 – most donated by council staff.
The runners - Lynn Price, Simon R Davies, Gareth Jones, Simon J Williams, Val Brown, Rachel Parkinson, Tracey Thomas, Penelope Graepel, John Arnold, Ben Grice, Emyr Phillips and Noelwyn Daniel – ran in pairs in a relay format, with each pairs covering over 10 miles.
The route was Llandeilo - Llandybie - Ammanford - Tycroes - Hendy - Llanelli - Burry Port - Kidwelly - Johnstown - and finished in Carmarthen.
All the main council buildings were visited along the route with donations being received from shoppers and shop owners along the way.
They were greeted at County Hall by Vice Chair Cllr Ivor Jackson who said: “This was an amazing effort by staff, congratulations to all who took part and thanks to everyone who donated money, contributing to the excellent sum raised.”

Council Question Time for children

Children from four of the county’s primary schools, Llangunnor, Brechfa, Johnstown and Ysgol y Bedol, gathered to ask questions about Carmarthenshire County Council and address issues that affect them.
A wide variety of topics were discussed by the children: the state of local play facilities; public dog fouling; traffic; breakfast clubs; and school dinners.
The event provided children with an opportunity to voice their concerns and learn more about the authority and the role its councillors play in the running of the county.
Cllr Wooldridge said: “The feedback from the event has been very positive and we’re confident that the children have learned a lot. We did our best to answer all of the children’s questions and believe that they are all much more aware of the work the council does within Carmarthenshire.”
The event coincided with Local Democracy Week 2010.
The week long event hopes to create ‘new politics’ where citizens can positively engage with an exciting, relevant and vibrant de…

Carmarthen twinning project wins praise

Carmarthen has been identified as a good practice example for a university research study.
Phil Grice, from the Carmarthen-As Pontes Twinning Association, and Lorena Prist, EU Networking Officer for Carmarthenshire County Council, were asked to take part in a study on UK-Spain twinning links.
The project, called “UK-ES Twins” is coordinated by the University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain and the Uppsala University, in Sweden and is aimed at developing a framework for discussion and exchange of best practice, which will improve twinning in Europe, mainly at regional level.
After filling an online survey, Phil Grice and Lorena Prist were interviewed via video conference by the university researcher, Alexander Bunten.
The results and subsequent recommendations of this study will be published later this year. Carmarthenshire County Council executive board member for regeneration and leisure Cllr Clive Scourfield said: “I am delighted to hear about this praise for the good work being carried out …

Pantyffynnon digital project shares memories

Communities First Pantyffynnon has just embarked upon an exciting digital project which will capture stories from community members for generations to come.
Teaming up with the Communities 2.0 project, professionals from the George Ewart Evans Centre for storytelling will be helping volunteers record their life stories, and experiences during World War II.
Paula Treharne, chair of the Communities First Pantyffynnon Partnership said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for us and those who are keen to tell their stories, or get to grips with digital technology.
“It is an innovative way of using the latest equipment to preserve our history and heritage of the past.”
The first sessions are underway, and are being hosted in the Ammanford Pensioner’s Hall where volunteers will be learning how to make the stories from scratch and putting them together for an official screening at the beginning of December.
The sessions are running every Thursday from 2pm until December 2 and residents are welco…

Annedd residents transfer to new care scheme

The last remaining residents at Carmarthenshire Council’s Annedd care home, Llanybydder, have successfully transferred to the county’s new integrated care scheme.
All staff at Annedd have also moved across to the new care scheme – Cwm Aur – and all are settling in well.
The move took place earlier this month, and the carefully managed transfer process has ensured that all residents have experienced minimum disruption.
Cwm Aur - a partnership between the council and Grŵp Gwalia - provides one and two bedroom flats to people aged over 55.
The scheme also offers extra care, provided by Gwalia Care and Support, which benefits those who require support whilst maintaining the privacy of their own home.
Cwm Aur contains 40 self-contained flats, along with several respite and care rooms.
Each flat has a lockable front door, and gives residents the freedom of having visitors, such as relatives and GP’s, to visit as they wish.
Telecare systems are fitted throughout, and on-site staff provide 24-hour c…

Carmarthenshire's leisure facilities under microscope

A study into the impact of the recession on Carmarthenshire’s leisure facilities has provided a blueprint for future provision across the county.
From costs of running Carmarthenshire’s sole surviving harbour at Burry Port to indoor bowls facilities, a ski slope, all leisure centres and every other facility has been examined in detail.
The study provides invaluable background data for officers and members to consider the best way of providing these services and facilities in the future, whether directly by the authority, in partnership with others or by other possible means.
No decisions have been taken and County executive board member for leisure services, Cllr Clive Scourfield, said: “We have to be armed with all the necessary revenue information to know what difficult decisions we might have to take in these austere times and in future years.
“It could affect our future management thinking in respect of everything from our harbour to country parks and leisure centres.
Praising a task a…

Blue Flag for Cefn Sidan for 2011

Pembrey's Cefn Sidan beach will fly the coveted Blue Flag in 2011.
Both Cefn Sidan flanking Pembrey Country Park and Pendine were among the best results of 80 beaches passing mandatory bacteria standards set by the European Council Bathing Water Directive.
Test show waters in Carmarthen Bay and Burry Estuary to be among the highest quality in Europe with even Burry Port beaches being classifed as “excellent.”
Carmarthenshire County Council chef executive, Mark James, said he was delighted both beaches passed not only the mandatory bacteria standards set by the European Council Bathing Water Directive, but also the far more stringent European Council Guideline Standard.
Both Pembrey and Pendine beaches were not awarded the Blue Flag in 2009 because of one failed water quality test caused by heavy rainfall washing from fields into the test area.
The county council will be applying for Blue Flag status for Cefn Sidan, Pembrey in 2011. Pendine is now managed by the community council. Cefn …

Carmarthenshire reminder to licensees

Licensing officers and police are gearing up for the festive period by undertaking enforcement visits to licensed premises.
Officers are reminding licensees and their staff of their responsibilities with regards to the sale of alcohol and its effects on customers.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board’s Business Manager and Member for Public Protection and Youth Services Cllr Pam Palmer said: “We want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to join the fun without celebrations getting out of hand.”
With the introduction of the new Mandatory conditions in March and October of this year, we are moving towards a safer drinking attitude, with the removal of irresponsible drinks specials and promotional offers that encourage people to drink more, faster or within restricted times.
Free tap water should now be available at licensed premises, and with smaller alcohol measures also being available, licensees can do their bit to ensure that the public have an enjoyable, but memorabl…

Carmarthenshire rogue taxi drivers warning

A warning has been sounded about rogue taxi drivers as the Christmas party season approaches.
Licensing chiefs at the local authority are urging people across Carmarthenshire to stay safe when they use a cab.
They fear unlicensed drivers will be cashing in as growing numbers of people need taxis over the busy festive period.
The Cab Safe scheme run by the Council will ensure people get a safe ride home over the coming weeks.
All people have to do is to text the word Cab to 83222 to get the numbers of the three nearest licensed taxi firms in their location anywhere in the county. This scheme has now also been rolled out in eight local authorities across Wales.
It is thought initiatives of this nature will help, as cabbies will be in high demand over the coming weeks as partygoers decide to drink and not drive.
More people are also out shopping and the cold weather means less will be inclined to walk home or wait at bus stops.
Licensing officers at Carmarthenshire Council have joined forces wi…

Business plan for Carmarthenshire adult protection

Carmarthenshire’s Adult Protection Committee has acknowledged its key achievements and set out its priorities for years ahead, as part of a new three-year business plan.
The committee, made up of representatives including Carmarthenshire County Council, Dyfed Powys Police and Hywel Dda Health Board, oversees local policy, procedure and practice to promote the welfare of vulnerable citizens in the county.
The business plan aims to set out its aims and objectives from now until 2013, with a number of key themes and priorities.
In setting out the plan, the committee has acknowledged some key achievements to date.
They include a significant investment in adult protection training for staff working in front line services, as well as peer groups. Such training - which has seen people with learning disabilities undertake training so that they could pass on knowledge to other service users – was recognised with an award at the 2009 Social Care Accolades in the ‘Learning Together’ category.
The com…

Swansea man's waste transport offence

A Swansea man has been prosecuted for carrying waste in Carmarthenshire without a licence.
James Hannify was convicted at Ammanford Magistrates Court for the offence contrary to Section 1 of the Controlled Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989. The prosecution was brought by Carmarthenshire County Council.
The court heard that Hannify was stopped by police at Station Road, Brynamman, on Monday, March 22 and he did not hold a valid waste carrier’s licence. The council’s environmental enforcement officers also attended the scene.
Hannify, aged 28, of Pentregethin Road, Portmead, Swansea, was given a 12 month conditional discharge by magistrates and ordered to pay £200 towards prosecution costs.
The council hopes this case will now act as a warning to others. The aim is to help prevent the illegal transport of waste which can result in fly-tipping.
The council’s executive board member for the environment Councillor Philip Hughes said: “All businesses that carry waste, including scrap merchants, skip…

Warning to motorists in Carmarthenshire

Motorists in Carmarthenshire are being urged to drive carefully as temperatures are set to plunge.
Sub-zero temperatures are forecast and are likely to continue for the next seven days.
Given the saturated state of the ground and run-off onto the roads as a result of last week’s heavy rain, drivers are being warned to exercise care particularly when driving on untreated roads.
Residents are being reminded that if snow or ice is forecast they should adjust their driving to suit the conditions:
• Drive carefully, with smooth, gentle application of accelerator, steering and, particularly, brakes. If the vehicle starts to skid, gently lift off the accelerator and steer in the direction of the skid.
• Be aware of black ice.
• If the road has not been gritted, be wary of driving in the wheeltracks of other vehicles as compressed snow is likely to be more icy than undisturbed snow.
• Allow plenty of time for your journey and make sure you have a full tank of fuel. Try to avoid travelling at dusk or…

All set for Christmas Carnival in Ammanford

Local children are being encouraged to join in lantern-making workshops ahead of the town’s Christmas Carnival on Friday, December3.
The lanterns will be released in to the night skies before the carnival parade to provide a magical backdrop to the evening’s activities, which include a walking parade and a grand fireworks display.
Father Christmas will also be brought in to town on a sleigh before he opens his Grotto in the Pensioner’s Hall.
Radio Carmarthenshire and Ammanford Town Band will provide a host of musical entertainment on the night, and a funfair and street entertainers, including balloon modelling and magic and Uncle Sam stilt walker, will provide plenty of fun and games for all the family.
The event is being organised as a partnership between Carmarthenshire County Council and Ammanford Town Council, and is sponsored this year by national housebuilder Taylor Wimpey.
Ammanford Town Mayor Cllr Ray Spencer, said: “Ammanford Town Council is delighted to be working in partnership …

Meeting called on A48 road safety strategy

A meeting is being called with objectors to discuss road safety strategy on the A48 Pont Abraham to Cross Hands Road with Assembly Ministers and Carmarthenshire County Council representatives.
The County Council’s Executive Board are looking to achieve the implementation of appropriate safety improvements on this stretch of trunk road and address the objectors concerns of the inconvenience of banning right turns and U-turns.
They are inviting AM’s Rhodri Glyn Thomas and Helen Mary Jones to meet objectors with them before moving forward.
The County Council has been asked and has started the process of making Traffic Orders to introduce the safety measures as they relate to roads which join the A48 between Pont Abraham and Cross Hands.
To achieve the safety improvements on the road which is managed by the Trunk Roads Agency a number of Traffic Regulation Orders will have to be made which normally would be the preogative of the Assembly.
The Assembly is seeking the co-operation of the council…