Showing posts from February 6, 2011

Special meals celebrate Fairtrade

Children across Carmarthenshire will be ‘showing off’ later this month, in support of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight.
The county’s Catering Service, part of the local authority, is laying on two special meals to celebrate the event, which will run from February 28 to March 13.
This year’s theme is ‘show off your label’, so school dining halls across Carmarthenshire will be decked out with Fairtrade logos – including bunting which school children are being encouraged to make as part of a World Record attempt.
On Monday, February 28, children will be treated to a fillet of fish or vegetable grill, a half jacket potato, spaghetti hoops or peas, served with fresh bread, and followed by Fairtrade apple and banana crunch and custard.
On Tuesday, March 8, a ‘cook’s choice’ menu will be served – consisting of a homemade cottage or vegetable pie, served with boiled potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower florets, followed by homemade chocolate and Fairtrade banana muffin with Fairtrade juice.
The menus…

Appeal to watch for toads in Carmarthenshire

People are asked to watch out for toads crossing roads in Carmarthenshire.
Between now and March, the amphibians make their way to traditional sites to mate and produce the well known strings of toad spawn seen in ponds.
Common toads are very particular about where they breed and often migrate back to their ancestral breeding ponds each year.
They follow the same route, regardless of what gets in their way, which sometimes leads to them crossing roads, risking being killed in traffic.
Two toad crossings have already been identified in Carmarthenshire – at Burry Port and Pantyffynnon – where the county council has put up signs warning motorists to watch out.
And dedicated volunteers are often on hand with buckets to help the toads cross these hazardous barriers, picking up hundreds of the amphibians and ensuring they go safely on their way to their breeding ponds.
People are now being asked to look out for any other areas where large numbers of migrating toads can be seen crossing roads.
The …

Woman fined for dumping in Cross Hands

A woman has been fined £75 for dumping bags next to the recycling banks at the bring site at Cross Hands Co-op.
The council’s environmental enforcement officers were on duty at the site when they saw the woman pull up in a car, empty one of the bags into a recycling bank but then leave the rest on the ground.
She got back into her vehicle and was about to pull away before being stopped by the officers who explained what they had seen.
She was issued with a fixed penalty notice of £75. Failure to pay could lead to prosecution in the magistrates court and a maximum penalty of up to £2,500.
The council hopes this fine will act as a warning to others that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. Unfortunately fly-tipping is becoming an increasing problem at bring sites across the county.
Executive board member for the environment Councillor Philip Hughes said: “We are very disappointed that the bring sites are being misused in this way as they are important facilities for communities.
“We …

1000 take part in council consultation

Carmarthenshire County Council has thanked over 1000 local residents and businesses for taking part in their recent consultation on the council’s budget for the coming year.
The consultation included a two page survey in the local press and on the council’s website, a meeting with business ratepayers and a focus group with representatives of the Citizens Panel, the Older Persons Forum, the Youth Forum and the equalities group.
Council Leader Cllr. Meryl Gravell said “This is by far the biggest consultation the council has ever held on its budget and we want to say a big thank you to so many people for taking part. Most importantly, we hope it will be evident to them that we have genuinely listened to what they have to say and have modified our proposals accordingly.
“We have faced our toughest budget ever this year and need to make £11.5million worth of savings for the coming 12 months, and £25 million in total over the next three years. We want to protect front line services as much as …

Safety measures at Theatr Elli

Safety measures have been put in place to protect the public from falling debris at Llanelli’s Theatr Elli.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Property Services were called in last week following reports of loose tiles at the front of the building.
Their investigations have revealed that severe weather may have contributed to the natural decay of the façade tiles.
The teams immediately fenced off the surrounding area, and are currently undertaking remedial action to make the area safe.
None of the theatre or cinema programmes have been affected by the remedial works, and the building is open for business as usual.
Building Services Manager Mark Davies said: “As soon as we were made aware of loose tiles and falling debris, we attended instantly to fence off the area and protect the public.
“Now we have made the area safe, we have been able to carry out an on-site investigation, and have commenced work to remove all loose material.
“Scaffolding and fencing has been used to ensure safe access for…

Arts ambassador welcomes funding appeal

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Arts Ambassador has welcomed a report which calls for more funding and support for art and culture in Wales.
Terry Morris, a world-renowned portrait photographer based in Llanelli, has been carrying out the voluntary ambassadorial role for the council since last autumn.
Part of his role is encouraging growth in the arts sector, promoting the work of local artists, and gathering support for arts-based projects.
He said the report, issued by the Welsh Assembly’s Communities and Culture Committee last week, is a positive step forward.
It calls for a new law, or measure, to ensure that people across Wales have access to arts and culture in their local area.
It wants a statutory duty placed on local authorities to support arts and cultural experiences, with more investment in community-based projects in order to reach a wider audience and minority groups.
“The arts do not get the appreciation they deserve in Wales,” said Terry.
“I feel that the majority of people …

Furniture repairs help recycling

Furniture collected through the council’s bulky waste service is being reused and repaired as much as possible
Carmarthenshire County Council has teamed up with Llanelli-based Foothold Regeneration as part of its Crochan Furniture Reuse project.
Founded in 1998, it re-distributes donated items of furniture to low-income families following repairs or refurbishment if needed.
Other bulky items collected by the council are recycled if they can be, this includes electrical appliances, carpets, scrap metal and wood.
In fact, the council is now recycling more than 50 per cent of the bulky waste collected.
Executive board member for the environment Councillor Philip Hughes said: “We make sure that anything collected through our bulky waste service is recycled or reused if it can be.
“We are delighted to be working with Foothold, it really is an excellent project which not only helps the environment by reducing landfill but is also helping people who need to create a more secure future.”
The council…

Aberystwyth leads climate change battle

Aberystwyth University is leading a major new initiative that could boost the green economy in Wales and make a significant contribution to combating climate change.
The BEACON programme will aim to develop new technologies and new ways of making products that are traditionally made from oil.
It will establish Wales as a Bio-refining Centre of Excellence, with a total budget of £20 million.
Deputy First Minister for Wales, Ieuan Wyn Jones AM, announced £10.5 million of funding for the programme from the European Regional Development Fund.
Mr Jones, who is also Minister for the Economy and Transport, made the announcement at an event at the Senedd on Tuesday 15 February, showcasing world class research at Aberystwyth University that is responding to 21st century global challenges.
BEACON will also build closer links between universities and industry, promote Welsh expertise in scientific research and innovation within Europe and the United States and boost inward investment in these techno…

Simon Buckley's letter re Sainsbury's in Llandeilo

Llandeilo brewer Simon Buckley's letter to the Carmarthen Journal about the current debate over planning permission for a new Sainsbury's superstore on the outskirts of the town -
I have read with increasing disbelief the arguments of the people of Llandeilo to justify destroying our town, with the building of a new, by Llandeilo size, super store.
Why did those of us not born and bred in Llandeilo come here?
For me 30 years ago it was about coming to a magnificent market town, blessed with everything that the town’s people could want - A sports shop, food shops, shoes shops, and a first class clutch of butchers.
We even had our own Llandeilo sized supermarket.
The character of the town was market town, with a magnificent history, and without doubt some of the finest rural heritage any town could ask for.
As is always the case, these shops disappeared, mainly through lack of support by the locals, and that wanton west Wales desire not to support people whom we believe to be doing we…

Latest 'View from Richmond Park' column

The latest 'View from Richmond Park' Carmarthen AFC column from the Carmarthen Journal -
Howzat! There’s going to be a star guest at the first sporting dinner to be held at Carmarthen Town AFC’s community centre at Richmond Park, Carmarthen.
Welsh cricket hero and TV personality Robert Croft will be bowling the audience over with his tales of life with Glamorgan and England.
The dinner takes place at the centre on Friday, February 25 (12.45 for 1.15pm) and promises to be an afternoon to remember.
Club chairman Gareth Jones said: “Gradually, our new community centre is taking shape. We have already made a significant investment in the community centre and the club.
“The dinner will mark a new phase in fund-raising for the project to put the finishing touches to be what is already proving to be a huge asset for Carmarthen Town.”
Croft is widely recognised as an accomplished after dinner speaker. The event will mark a presentation to Croft in recognition of reaching the cricketing mil…

In the news today . . .

South Wales Guardian in Ammanford has a nice story today about the Healing The Wounds charity -
Excellent feature on Cor Meibion Llanelli's forthcoming concert at Adulam Chapel, Felinfoel, in the Llanelli Star today.
Spotlight on Cor Meibion Llanelli's 'master-class' with pupils from Carmarthen's QE High School in the Llanelli Star today.
Nice little story about Llanelli Community Heritage visit to Llanelli Rotary Club in the Llanelli Star today.
Spotlight on Cor Meibion Llanelli charity concert for the West Wales Hospital at Glangwili in the Carmarthen Journal today.
Smashing letter from brewer Simon Buckley on the big 'should Sainsbury's come to Llandeilo' debate in the Carmarthen Journal today.
Excellent feature on new Carmarthen Town AFC football club president Jeff Thomas in the Carmarthen Journal today.
'View from Richmond Park Carmarthen Town AFC column in the Carmarthen Journal today.
Healing The Wounds charity answers criticis…

Facelift for Drovers B&B in Llandovery

The Drovers Bed and Breakfast in Llandovery is being given a facelift thanks to a grant under the Rural Development Plan for Wales.
The owners of the business in Market Square, Llandovery, Jill and Michael Blud are looking to restore the building in order to match an adjoining property which has recently been updated as a result of the Town Heritage Initiative.
The B&B has recently been upgraded from 4 Star to 5 Star accommodation. It offers two double and one twin room, all en-suite, and has featured in Alistair Sawday’s ‘Special Places to Stay’ guide.
The business in Market Square, Llandovery, has been given a Village Improvement Grant (VIG) of £2,030 towards the £4,060 cost of the project to upgrade nine sash windows and paint the frontage of the property which is a Grade 2 listed building.
This grant has been made under the Village Enhancement Project, which has received funding of £940,049 through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007 – 2013, which is funded by the Welsh Asse…

Llanelli school passes the test

A Llanelli school which was the first in Carmarthenshire to be inspected under a new framework has passed with flying colours.
Ysgol Gymraeg Brynsierfel was also one of the first schools in Wales to be inspected using the new guidance.
The Estyn inspection team noted that almost all pupils made solid progress in their learning and that their skills were consistently good.
Pupils were found to make very good progress in their use of Welsh from the time they began in the school.
The report stated that behaviour was consistently good and that the curriculum was broad with a clear focus on developing pupils’ skills.
The inspectors said the school was a very close and caring community which ensured equal opportunities for every pupil, and that it had positive relationships with parents and carers.
Parents expressed positive opinions about the school; they felt that the teaching was good and that they received good information about their children’s progress.
The report was welcomed by the school…

Grab a bargain at Ammanford Library

Bookworms can grab a bargain at Ammanford Library this month - and early birds will get a free cup of coffee too.
A book sale is taking place at the Carmarthenshire County Council facility from Monday, February 21, to Friday 26, during normal library opening hours.
People who visit between 10am and 12noon on February 21 can enjoy a free cup of coffee while they browse.
Books for adults and children in Welsh and English, in ordinary and large print, as well as a small selection of CDs, DVDs, talking books and videos are for sale.
The sale, taking place at the library in Wind Street, is to sell withdrawn stock to create room for new material.
Book sales which have been held in the past have always proved very popular with the public.
Regional Library Manager Myrddin Morgan said: “The book sale is a great opportunity for the public to pick up bargains and in doing so help the library to create space for new stock which will then be available to the whole community.
“The sale is also a further e…

Man fined for Llanelli litter offence

A man has been fined after being caught throwing litter from a car in Llanelli’s Parc Trostre.
Council environmental enforcement officers were on patrol at the retail park on Sunday.
A fixed penalty notice for £75 was issued to a 29-year-old man who was seen throwing fast food packaging from a car parked in the B&Q car park.
Failure to pay could result in prosecution in the magistrates court and a maximum penalty of £2,500.
It is hoped the fine will act as a warning to would-be litterbugs that this type of anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
The council’s executive board member for the environment Councillor Philip Hughes said: “There is no excuse for littering our streets, if there are no bins nearby, then take your rubbish home with you to dispose of. Saying it keeps someone in a job is just an excuse for those who are too lazy or just don’t care about where they live.
“The council’s environmental enforcement officers regularly patrol the county and anyone caught dropping lit…

Weekend tickets on sale for Laugharne Festival

Weekend tickets for this year’s Laugharne Festival are now on sale.
They cost £65 and are exclusively available on line from Ticketweb.
Click to buy at the following adress -
They include admission to all events except the three readings in the (tiny) Boathouse (all of which will by artists who are also performing larger shows at the festival). The dates are April 15-l7.
Amongst those already confirmed are Robert Wyatt, John Cooper Clarke. Molly Parkin, Daniel Woodrell, Mark Billingham, Howard Marks, Jon Ronson, Rachel Cusk, Simone Felice, Russell Celyn Jones, Dom Joly, Stuart Maconie, a Joy Division event with Stephen Morris and Kevin Cummins, and Under Milk Wood by The Laugharne Players.
More names are being announced every day via the festival's twitter feed - just go to and search for @Laugharne 2011.
The festival website is at -

Food Expo for Carmarthenshire businesses

Carmarthenshire businesses have taken part in a successful Local Food Expo at Parc y Scarlets.
Carmarthenshire County Council organised the event to promote local food producers and suppliers in the county.
The morning event gave members of School Councils from across the county to meet about 30 new and established award winning food producers and sample their produce.
There were 14 pupils from Amman Valley Comprehensive, 17 pupils from Coedcae, 11 pupils from Glanymor, 25 pupils from Ysgol y Gwendraeth, eight pupils from Heol Goffa, 26 pupils from Pantycelyn Comprehensive, 23 pupils from Queen Elizabeth High School, 11 pupils from St Mary's RC Primary School, 13 pupils from Ysgol y Strade, nine pupils from Tre-Gib Comprehensive, 13 pupils from Ysgol Bro Myrddin, and eight pupils from Ysgol Brynsierfel.
Officers from the council’s recycling section worked with pupils to look at the issue of cutting down on food waste.
Among the youngsters’ responses put down on feedback cards were: eat…

Spotlight on Healing The Wounds success story

Historian to talk at Llanelli Rotary Club

Llanelli Rotary Club's meeting at the Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli, this evening (Weds) will feature a talk by John Wynne Hopkins, chairman of Llanelli Community Heritage. The club will hold a Fellowship meeting on Friday, February 18. The meeting on Wednesday, February 23, will celebrate international Rotary Day.

Carmarthenshire plans housing health study

Carmarthenshire County Council housing tenants are being asked to take part in an innovative study to assess the health impact of home improvements.
The authority is currently updating each of its 9,200 council homes as part of its £202million Carmarthenshire Homes Standard.
The majority of homes have already been upgraded, with improvements including new kitchens and bathrooms, cavity wall and loft insulation, double glazed windows and doors and new energy efficient gas boilers.
Now, the council wants to understand how the programme may have benefitted tenants’ health.
Housing officers have linked up with Cardiff and Swansea universities to undertake what is believed to be the first Health Impact Survey in Wales.
Throughout February, short surveys will be delivered to all council homes.
Tenants are being encouraged to answer a series of questions designed to assess their health and wellbeing since the improvements.
The data will be compared to a similar survey carried out before the progra…

Multicultural event for Ammanford

Ammanford Neighbourhood Policing Team is holding a multicultural event.
It is hoped to attract people from different ethnic backgrounds and diverse groups within the Amman Valley.
The event is being held on Sunday, February 13 between 1pm and 4pm at the Amman Centre in Ammanford.
Groups are being encouraged to bring along a sample of their culture to share with others such as music, entertainment, food and traditional costume.
A similar event was held last year and was extremely successful.
NPT Sergeant Teresa Ross said: “We are constantly aiming to improve confidence and contact with the police especially with the local Neighbourhood Policing Teams. This event will allow people from a wide range of diverse groups to meet their local officers and socialise with other minority groups.”
The event is funded by the Carmarthenshire Community Safety Partnership which includes the council, police and other agencies working together to make the county a safer place.

Construction taster course a success

Four groups of people from Llanelli have received certificates and tools to celebrate completing a taster course in construction.
The groups have been getting to grips with basic building trades, such as carpentry, plumbing, plastering and tiling as part of the Building Your Own Future in Sir Gar project.
The project, run by Carmarthenshire County Council, Communities First, Coleg Sir Gar and CCTAL, has been taking place in the county’s Communities First areas.
It gives people living in deprived areas the chance to learn basic DIY skills, build confidence and to encourage them in to further college-based training.
In the most recent round of courses, Llwynhendy Communities First hosted two sessions for their mum’s group and dad’s group.
Glanymor and Tyisha Communities First hosted a mixed group, and Bigyn 4 hosted a Plant Dewi – Families Together group.
Of those that have completed the course, 98 per cent have said they feel more confident, and have raised self-esteem after attending; 100 p…

Tregib now the Dyfed hockey champs

Tregib Under 16s have capped their triumphant season by becoming Dyfed ‘Top Schools’ hockey champions.
In a closely fought final tournament Tregib beat reigning champions Thomas Picton of Haverfordwest 2 - 1; Strade, Llanelli 5 - nil and Ceredigion champions Ysgol Penweddig, 2- nil.
Tregib now go on to the Welsh National Finals in Wrexham later this month.
Pictured are the squad with their coaches H Miller and Eleri George.
County hockey development officer Rae Ellis said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the school.
“All the players and PE staff at Tregib school deserve congratulations.
“Their achievements this season this will have a huge impact to the sport in the school which has been supported by their sports development 5 x60 officer Lyn Brodrick and the local hockey club, Twyi Teigrod, which is also based at the school.”
County executive board member for leisure services Cllr Clive Scourfield said: “Every week the 5x60 teams county wide are making the headlines for their achie…

Home energy boost for Llanelli

Carmarthenshire County Council has secured £2million to provide home energy improvements in parts of south Llanelli.
The funding will allow the council’s housing department to run a pilot scheme in the Glanymor area.
Approximately £1.5million has been provided by British Gas, and a further £500,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Arbed initiative to run the Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP).
The programme, created by the Government, requires gas and electricity suppliers to deliver energy saving measures to domestic consumers in specific low income areas.
Approximately 600 private and public sector properties in the Glanymor area will be potentially be targeted, with energy efficiency measures including external wall insulation, cavity and loft insulation and up-to-date energy efficient central heating systems.
It is hoped that the pilot will lead to further schemes and funding for other areas of the county that qualify.
Head of housing , Robin Staines, said: “We have been add…