Showing posts from March 13, 2011

Latest 'View from Richmond Park' column

Latest 'View from Richmond Park' Carmarthen Town AFC column from the Carmarthen Journal -
Now we are well into the second phase of the Welsh Premier League campaign, it’s time to focus on some of the players who have joined Carmarthen Town AFC in recent weeks.
DANIEL SHEEHAN (Defender) 22.12.90 Sheehan is a product of Swansea City's youth set up and won a first year professional contract for the 2009-10 season but was released at the end of the season before signing for Salisbury City. Having made 12 first team starts for the ‘Whites’ he moved to Richmond in January 2011.
STEPHEN POCKETT (Midfield) 11.02.84 Signed on-loan from Neath until the end of the season. Having had three seasons with Port Talbot he was a member of Skewen's Championship winning side in 2003/04. A former Cardiff City youngster and capped at Wales Youth level he will add to Town’s midfield options.
OLIVER ARDOLINO (Forward) 19.04.92 A Youth Academy product who made his Welsh Premier debut this season…

Jan Molby to star at Carmarthen dinner

Carmarthen Town AFC will hold their annual celebrity dinner on Friday, May 20, at the Ivy Bush Royal Hotel Carmarthen.
This year's principal guest speaker will be Jan Molby, a superb football pundit and after-dinner speaker.
Molby became manager of Swansea City in February 1996, but was sacked in October 1997, along with his assistant, Billy Ayre. He had taken Swansea to the Division Three play-off final five months earlier, but they lost to a last-minute goal by Northampton's John Frain.
Molby was a Danish international and played in the Mexico World Cup. He signed for Liverpool from Ajax in 1984, becoming popular on and off the field, quickly becoming a fluent “scouser”.
He played 292 games for Liverpool, scoring 61 goals and winning two League Championships and two FA Cups.
The celebrity dinner has become a firm favourite on the sporting calendar and is always a sell-out. The funds raised will go directly to support Town’s prestigious community projects.
Tickets can be reserved b…

Carmarthenshire spotlight on EU funding

A very successful information session on EU funding for youth activities has been held in Carmarthen.
Thirty representatives from a wide range of organisations in Carmarthenshire attended the free event organised by Lorena Prist, based in the West Wales European Centre, and who is responsible for the Europe Direct EU information service in Carmarthenshire.
The organisations included Marros Riding Centre, Dr Mz Carmarthen youth project, Carmarthenshire Karate club, Youth Opera, Iechyd Da -Carmarthenshire youth health team, the YFC and the Urdd.
The session was aimed at groups and organisations working with young people aged between 13-30 years old outside school and who wanted to know more about the funding and support available to organise and participate in EU exchanges and small projects in a wide range of themes, from art, theatre, culture and health to sport and outdoor activities.
Andy Bevan, from ICP Partneriaeth, a Wales-wide organisation promoting EU volunteering opportunities…

Cycle shelters boost for Carmarthen

Cycle shelters will soon be available for workers at three of Carmarthen’s major public sector employers.
The county council’s planning committee yesterday approved applications for three bike shelters, each with the capacity for eight bicycles at the Mid and West Wales Fire Headquarters in Lime Grove Avenue, Dyfed Powys Police Headquarters in Llangunnor and University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
The planning applications were submitted by the county council technical services department as part of a scheme to encourage sustainable forms of travel.
Council transport policy and programme engineer Simon Charles said: “The council bid for Sustainable Travel Centre money from the Welsh Assembly Government to improve sustainable transport options in and around Carmarthen town. We were successful in drawing down £500,000 which is being spent on various initiatives.
“We set aside a certain amount of money to improve walking and cycling facilities at key employment sites in the town.
“We approac…

240 join sustainability project

More than 240 people have taken part in a 24-hour event to promote a more sustainable way of life.
Project twenty 4 Changing Tomorrow – Today was held at the Carmarthen Campus of the University of Wales Trinity St David.
It opened with a schools and business innovation forum, followed by lunch with business leaders. In the afternoon there was a sustainability and innovation master class for business and the community followed by a networking supper.
Project twenty4 is the UK’s first twenty-four hour sustainable innovation event, designed to give business owners, managers in public or private sector organisations, community groups and students the opportunity to turn practical challenges into real solutions that save money, resources, carbon and the environment.
Project twenty4 has been developed by Menter Cwm Gwendraeth, TYF and University of Wales Trinity Saint David, with support from Swansea University, Swansea Metropolitan University and Coleg Sir Gar.
During the event over 240 people …

How Carmarthenshire voted

The details of how voters in Carmarthenshire backed giving the Welsh Assembly greater lawmaking powers.
The county voted 42,979 (70.8 per cent) in favour to 17,712 (29.2 per cent) against on a turnout of 44.36 per cent.

Carmarthenshire solar farm gets planning OK

Planning permission has been granted for Carmarthenshire’s first solar farm.
It will be set up on part of the former Cynheidre Colliery site in the Gwendraeth Valley.
A of Carmarthenshire County Council’s planning committee discussed an application by Martyn Llewellyn for full planning permission for a development of a 3 Mega Watt (MW) Photo Voltaic (PV) solar farm consisting of up to 10,000 solar panels set in rows of 18 panels.
The application site between Tumble and Pontyberem is known as Cynheidre Shafts 3 and 4 which is detached from the main Cynheidre colliery site. The site is in two parts either side of the former mineral railway line that is now part of the Sustrans cycle network.
All the colliery buildings have been demolished and the site has been cleared.
Planning permission is sought for a 3 Mega Watt (MW) Photo Voltaic (PV) solar farm consisting of up to 10,000 Solar Panels which are proposed to be set in rows consisting of 18 panels (known as arrays). The site is split over …

Information day for landlords

Landlord David Thomas (second from left) talks to officers of Carmarthenshire Housing Options Chris Beer, Rebecca Protheroe and Rachael Parkinson, at a Landlords Fayre held recently at Llanelli’s Parc Y Scarlets.
The fayre was organised by Carmarthenshire County Council to give people useful information and advice on issues affecting the private rented sector.
Around 150 people attended to hear talks on issues including changes to the benefits system and new legislation, inventories and bonds.
Landlords were also able to get information on grants to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, and were able to ask questions to a panel of experts in a Question Time format. Pic Jeff Connell

Art gallery banner gets go-ahead

Oriel Myrddin can attach a banner to a lamp-post outside the art gallery, Carmarthenshire planners have decided.
Last week’s meeting of the county council’s planning committee approved an application by the local authority for the textile banner to advertise the gallery in Church Lane, Carmarthen.

Stall opportunity at Trimsaran Carnival

Craft stallholders are invited to go along to Trimsaran carnival and family fun day this summer.
The event is being held on Saturday, June 25, and plans are currently being finalised for a wide range of activities.
The craft fair will form part of the fun, and will probably be staged in the leisure centre, at the heart of the activities.
Anyone interested in having a stall at the event should email

Family Fun Day at Kidwelly Museum

A family fun day is taking place at Kidwelly Museum this summer to launch a new book.
Various attractions will be at the event including bouncy castle, craft fayre, refreshments, local choirs, bands and local stalls.
The fun day, on June 18 between 11am and 3pm, will launch author Malcolm Symons' new book.
Dr Symons wrote ‘Coal Mining in the Llanelli area’ in 1979, and the new book being published by Carmarthenshire County Council, will be volume two, which covers coal mining in the area from 1829 onwards.
He will be at the fun day, organised by Carmarthenshire Libraries, signing copies of the book.
Invitations are now being sent to local schools and organisations to ask them if they would like to be part of the occasion.
Libraries and heritage executive board member Cllr Gwynne Wooldridge said: “The fun day will be a great opportunity to meet the author, visit the museum and enjoy family activities.”

Book Menu scheme launched at Llanelli

Library members in Llanelli will be able to get discounted prices at certain restaurants through a new Book Menu scheme launched recently.
A selection of books available at local libraries will be displayed as a menu at participating cafes or restaurants, giving customers a taste of what is on offer.
The initiative aims to increase the frequency and number of loans members take out of the libraries, and to encourage more people to join.
The campaign focuses on a selection of titles, some classic, some new and a range of bestsellers.
Each library loan would give the member a stamp on their loyalty card; once they had collected three stamps they would be entitled to a discount at any of the participating cafes or restaurants.
Discounts will vary at each establishment, and may be offered only on certain days or times.
The scheme was launched in Llanelli at the Thomas Arms Hotel and further restaurants and cafes are now being signed up.
The Book Menus are being distributed throughout the cou…

Carmarthenshire team in hockey final

A Carmarthenshire team is in the final of the South Wales Clubs under-15s hockey tournament.
The first team at Twyi Teigrod in Llandeilo were successful in beating off the opposition at the regional event held in Swansea last weekend.
They will now play at the next round against Penarth, Whitchurch Saints and Gwent taking place on April 3.
Tywi Teigrod was one of four teams from Carmarthenshire who entered the tournament - Dinefwr A'r Fro from Ammanford and Clwb Hoci Llanelli entered, along with a second team from Twyi Teigrod.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Hockey Development Officer Rae Ellis said: "This is a fantastic turnout by our young players from Carmarthenshire having 50 girls from the county playing in this tournament.
“Having one of the teams going through to the finals is an achievement in itself, I would like to wish Alison Jones Head Coach at Twyi Teigrod all the very best.
“It was also nice to see Sophie Lane a Pupil at Amman Valley school who is currently a Welsh …

Children have a blast at Pembrey Library

Children had a blast at Pembrey Library last half-term at a free craft event.
They enjoyed some space-themed stories before launching themselves into decorating their own rockets.
The youngsters, accompanied by parents or grandparents, were really creative and had fun with glitter and glue.
Feedback following the event was really positive with everyone expressing their appreciation for the activity.
One mother said: "Both my girls really enjoyed this morning's crafts. Thank you to the library staff for a fun-filled morning!" Another added: "What a great idea - my children loved the stories and creating their own rockets afterwards."
One grandmother said it was great to have something to do on their doorstep, and another commented that it was good for giving young and old people the opportunity to do things together.
Carmarthenshire’s education executive board member Cllr Gwynne Wooldridge said: “These activities are always very popular, and it’s very he…

Shopmobility scheme for Carmarthen

A new shopmobility scheme is opening in Carmarthen later this month.
The service will operate from Unit 14 in St Catherine’s Walk from June onwards, with a launch planned for the end of May.
There will be two open days later this month – on Monday, March 21, and Thursday, March 24, from 10am to 4pm on both days.
Organisers are now looking to recruit two part time project workers to staff the unit but will staff with volunteers for the first two open days.
Carmarthenshire County Council has supported the scheme and contributed towards the cost.
Transport executive board member Cllr Philip Hughes said: “Shopmobility is an excellent scheme which will provide a very valuable service for shoppers with limited mobility.
“The county council is pleased to have been able to support this and look forward to it opening.”

'Show Racism Red Card' event for Llanelli

An event to ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ is taking place at Parc y Scarlets later this month.
The event, about tackling equality, diversity and respect in the classroom, is aimed at all schools in Carmarthenshire.
Each school has been invited to send a representative along to the day taking place on Monday, March 28, from 9.30am to 4.30pm.
A poster competition is also being held as part of the event, with separate categories for secondary, primary and special schools.
Pupils are asked to design a poster which reflects the theme of showing racism the red card.
Any schools attending the event can bring up to two poster entries which will be displayed on the day.
They will be judged by Scarlet players and members of the Show Racism the Red Card charity. Scarlets themed prizes will be presented the winners.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s education executive board member Cllr Gwynne Wooldridge said: “Show Racism the Red Card is an anti-racist educational charity which uses the high profile of p…

Carmarthenshire firm plans new HQ

One of Carmarthenshire’s most dynamic businesses is planning a move to a new headquarters in Carmarthen.
EMC Services, the electrical contractors firm currently based in Llanarthne in the Towy Valley, has been given planning permission for a new two-storey HQ in Heol Glasdwr in Parc Pensarn.
“This represents a significant move for us in what will soon be our 10th year in business,” said EMC director Neil Alexander
“The move has been made possible by a grant from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Single Investment Fund which is helping to safeguard current jobs and hopefully create new jobs. The move will make us a more efficient company and help reinforce our professional image.
“We were successful last year in receiving a prestigious international quality award, the landmark ISO certificate, a quality management award which recognised the firm’s commitment to ‘an exceptional quality of service’.
“That was a real feather in the cap of what is a growing business,” said Mr Alexander.
“Now we a…

Special storytime at Llwynhendy

A group of pre-school children had a special storytime for World Books Day at Llwynhendy Family Centre.
Staff at the centre in Ynys Las invited Catrin Simon, Children's Librarian at Llanelli, to help them celebrate the occasion by sharing stories with the toddlers and their carers.
Catrin said: “The children especially enjoyed the well-known story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and were each given a World Book Day voucher so that they could add a new book to their very own libraries at home.”
For more information about children's library services, ring Llanelli Library on 01554 773538. To find out more about activities at Ty Enfys, call 01554 749396.

Funding in place for HPC Wales project

The funding is now in place for the massive HPC Wales supercomputer project.
HPC Wales is set to deliver significant long term benefits to business, industry and the Welsh economy.
Funding for the project comes from the following :
* £19m from ERDF and ESF European funds channelled through WEFO.
* £10m from the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
* £4m from collaborating institutions.
* £5m from the Welsh Assembly Government/ HEFCW £2m private sector and research income
The £40m investment will cover infrastructure development, equipment, software research, management and operational costs over the first five year to 2015 when HPC Wales will become self supporting and sustainable.
HPC Wales will –
* Stimulate innovation and R&D
* Boost business.
* Develop specialist skills and
* Attract inward investment.
Press release issued by Robert Lloyd on behalf of HPC Wales.

Children in the swim in Carmarthen

Children can have a splashing time learning to swim at Carmarthen Leisure Centre.
The county council facility is now accepting children aged four and over on to the Aqua Sir Gâr Learn to Swim programme.
Since the opening of the new pool in 2008, waiting lists for the programme have been eliminated, and more children than ever have been able to enjoy learning to swim.
All the teaching programmes follow the ASA National Teaching Plan for Swimming, a nationally recognised awards scheme for developing children into excellent swimmers.
The programme teaches water confidence and aquatic skills from an early age, which enables the swimmer to participate in a variety of different aquatic disciplines at a later stage in their development.
Leisure executive board member Cllr Clive Scourfield said: “Aqua Sir Gâr’s Learn to Swim programme is the best possible way for children to learn to swim.
“Our programme is fun and progressive. As children move from stage to stage and become more confident, the sk…

Carmarthenshire search for urban bat detectives

People in Carmarthenshire are being asked to become urban bat detectives.
Residents of Llanelli, Burry Port, Pembrey and Carmarthen are needed to help with a survey which will provide information about bats in urban areas.
The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and the Carmarthenshire Biodiversity Partnership are working together on the initiative which aims to give them more understanding of how bats use urban areas, which will help conserve them in the future.
Volunteers are needed to spare an hour or so for three nights in the summer, which will involve a survey walk in their area.
The survey is straightforward and training and equipment will be provided.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Biodiversity Officer Isabel Macho said: “We all associate bats with rural settings – woods, rivers and old barns and churches – but they also live in our towns.
“BCT have already been working with volunteers in Clwyd, Cardiff, Neath and Swansea who, after training in the basic use of bat detectors, have been …

Big name HPC contract winner to be announced

The name of the winner of the contract to run the massive HPC Wales supercomputer project will be announced on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.
A competitive tendering process has produced a winner - a giant on the global technology stage.
And the name will be revealed at a high-profile award of contract announcement to be staged at The Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay.
The announcement will feature speeches by Ieuan Wyn Jones, Welsh Assembly Minister for the Economy and Transport, Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills with the Welsh Assembly Government, and Professor Noel Lloyd, chair of Higher Education Wales and vice-chancellor of Aberystwyth University.
The event will also feature VIPs from the contract winners.
"The HPC Wales project was actually launched last July," said a spokesman for HPC Wales.
"Since then, things have been moving very quickly to the point where funds are now in place and the winner of the contract can now be revealed.
"We …

Carmarthenshire celebrates World Books Day

World Books Day was celebrated with a series of events at libraries across Carmarthenshire.
In Carmarthen, users were treated to the visit of some owls as part of the celebrations.
Trinity Saint David student Kim Pinto who volunteers one day a week at the library showed them to young visitors.
In Llanelli and Ammanford libraries, a number of local authors visited to talk to staff, library members and children from local schools.
World Books Day is an annual event, organised by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing and copyright.

Children's author and illustrator Rob Lewis joins World Book Day at Ammanford Library. Pic Jeff Connell

Bowls pavilion plan gets green light

Plans for disabled access improvements to the Bowls Pavilion in Llanelli have been given the go ahead.
Carmarthenshire County Council planning committee granted an application by the local authority for a new ramped access to the pavilion in Parc y Dre, Park Crescent, and for an extension to the rear for a toilet cubicle.

Carmarthenshire secures £32m for projects

Carmarthenshire County Council has brought more than £32 million into the county for projects in the last year.
A progress report to the council’s executive board by the Head of European Policy and External Funding, Neville Davies, revealed that £32.6million external grant funding was attracted for 36 Carmarthenshire projects between January 2010 and January this year.
It is part of a total £86.4million in external grant funding approved between April 2008 and January 2011.
The projects approved grant funding include £7.5m EU Convergence and WAG Targeted Match Funding for the Llanelli Town Regeneration Project; £8.9m EU Convergence funding for the South West Wales Local Investment Fund to help small to medium enterprises and business start-ups; and just over £10m Convergence funding for the South West Wales Property Development Fund to provide grant aid to developers in strategic employment locations.
A number of these projects have been developed collaboratively with other local authori…

What George should do in the Budget!

David Butler, director of Clay Shaw Butler, chartered accountants and business consultants, gives his views on what he’d like to see Chancellor George Osborne do in the Budget next week.
1. In view of the over £200 billion quantitative easing then the Chancellor should make the banks accountable to repay a percentage of this as quickly as possible. This money can then be put to immediate use to increase public spending and to generate the extremely important Construction sector.
2. We should continue to move forward to a simpler tax system thus attracting businesses outside the UK and thus of course retaining successful and incubator companies within the UK. The concept of reducing corporation tax for smaller businesses is therefore paramount.
3. Increase anti-avoidance measures and penalise those evading tax with financial measures well before criminal measures. The lower income band are most vulnerable and therefore the system of Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits should be merely a m…

Planning given for poultry farms

Carmarthenshire councillors have approved plans for two poultry farms in the county.
The county council received separate applications to develop a poultry unit at Llys y Nant Farm, Llanfynydd, and to build a 12,000-bird free range egg production unit at Abercrychan Farm, Llandovery.
The planning committee discussed the applications yesterday afternoon after earlier visiting both sites and a poultry farm already operating near Llandrindod.
The application by Terry Davies for Llys y Nant Farm was for a free range unit for up to 16,000 laying hens with holes to allow the hens to come and go.
The application by John and Josephine Hardwick of Abercrychan Farm was for a unit for 12,000 laying hens as well as processing and packing of eggs via a conveyor belt system.

Harry helps raise disability awareness

Residents living at Trimsaran’s Llys Y Godian Sheltered Housing Scheme say they have learned a lot from a local teenager who suffers from partial eyesight.
Harry Williams, aged 17, visited the residents as part of his plight to raise awareness about his disability.
He wanted to show that it is not only older people who suffer from partial vision, and wanted to shed some light on the barriers he has to overcome in his day to day life.
As part of his presentation to residents, Harry gave a demonstration using furniture as obstacles, and blindfolding volunteers who used a white cane to navigate the scheme’s lounge.
Resident Shirley Jones said: “Harry did a marvellous presentation, and brought to light a lot of things that people take for granted every day.”
Sheltered scheme officer Wendy King added: “Harry’s visit was very thought-provoking for the residents, and they were impressed with the way he overcomes his disability.”

17-year-old Harry Williams, who is partially sighted, speaking to res…

Five craftsmen on the fast track

Five skilled Carmarthenshire craftsmen are taking a fast-track to the top of the career ladder through a unique project, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.
The Building Cadetship scheme is a tri-partnership project run by the council’s Property Services division, Coleg Sir Gar and the Carmarthenshire Construction Training Association Ltd (CCTAL).
It offers a hands-on approach to the learning experience for higher-level learners opting for professional careers in the building industry.
The ‘cadets’, already trained craftsmen, are working towards foundation degrees using a more employer-led route than other traditional degrees offer.
As well as working hands-on within the council’s Property Services division, the cadets benefit from private sector work experience, with industry placements at Parc Y Scarlets, the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and Coleg Sir Gar.
Mike Murphy, team leader at Coleg Sir Gar’s built environment department, said: “Although similar schemes exist in A…

Social housing boost in Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire's Executive Board is supporting changes to a policy which will provide fairer access to social housing.
Hundreds of existing council tenants and a wide range of stakeholders have fed in to a formal consultation on a new Access to Social Housing Policy.
The new policy will ensure future access to social housing in the county reflects both statutory obligations, as well as local priorities.
It will also focus on meeting housing need, as well as supporting balanced communities.
General feedback from the consultation was very positive, with a clear message that the policy was easier to understand, perceived to be fairer, and seen to better address local priorities.
Executive Board has recommended that the new policy be adopted, and should Full Council agree, it will be implemented during the summer of 2011.
The main changes, as a result of the consultation, include offering tenancies to households under the age of 18, which will be of particular help to young people leaving …

Residents return after chemical scare

Residents of a Llanelli care home and neighbouring houses have returned home following investigations over a suspected chemical leak last night (Wednesday, March 16).
Fire crews, police and environmental health officials evacuated homes in the Felinfoel Road area of Llanelli following reports of a strong chemical odour.
Staff at the independently-run Caeffair nursing home first reported the smell at around 6pm, and the evacuation was based on the response of fire crews who attended the scene.
Following extensive investigations, the response was downgraded at 10.30pm and neighbouring residents were allowed to return home shortly after, although all 33 residents and staff of Caeffair were accommodated overnight in local authority care homes.
The conclusion reached by the council’s investigating officers was that someone may have tipped a small amount of paint thinners, paraffin, diesel fuel or heating oil into the local drainage system, which had vented through the drainage system of the …

Double celebration at Carmarthen project

There has been a double celebration at a unique catering training project in Carmarthen.
SA31 @ Neuadd Y Sir, a café which provides supported training for participants of the COASTAL project, celebrated its first birthday on St David’s Day.
All participants who have had work experience and training at the café, which is based at County Hall, were invited back for the celebrations.
Carmarthenshire has secured £5.6m as part of the COASTAL Project to address economic inactivity.
SA31 is one of the flagship projects created with the funding.
COASTAL is a regional project – part-funded from European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the 2007-13 West Wales and the Valleys Convergence Programme.
COASTAL’S aim is to support 1,000 adults aged 16-64 over the next three years who face employment barriers as a result of severe disabilities or chronic health conditions access lifelong learning, skills and employment opportunities.
Each of the participants who train at SA31 learn valuable skills in food …

In the news today . . .

Western Telegraph newspaper in Pembrokeshire features Phil Thomas taking over as new manager of the Lamphey Court Hotel.
Cor Meibion Llanelli concert review in the Llanelli Star today.
Llanelli Star puts spotlight on Stagecoach theatre arts company in Carmarthen and the new production of Oliver.
Nice story in the Llanelli Star today about how the Rotary organisation and the ShelterBox project work to help disaster zones like Japan.
Nice story on back page of the Carmarthen Journal - Swans boss Brendan Rogers visiting Carmarthen Town AFC!
Spotlight on former international rugby ref Derek Bevan's speech to Carmarthen Wanderers Cricket fund-raising dinner in Carmarthen Journal.
'View from Richmond Park' Carmarthen Town AFC column in the Carmarthen Journal today.
Smashing pic and story in the Carmarthen Journal today of Tycroes bus drivers fund-raising for the Healing The Wounds charity.
Nice story and pic in today's Carmarthen Journal of Coopers Arms, Betws, regulars and their da…

New website for tenants launched

Council tenants living in the Tywi, Teifi, and Taf areas of Carmarthen can tap in to a brand new resource to keep them in the know.
A new website has been launched by the 3Ts tenants networks, and acts as a central point of information for tenants.
It also provides a useful tool to keep up to date with home improvement programmes, enables them to give their opinions on subjects which matter to them, and gives them the opportunity to leave messages and feedback about local issues.
The website – - was funded by a Rural Development Fund grant, and was developed by representatives of the three tenant groups.
A launch event was held at Model School, Carmarthen, when the event went live for the first time.
Tenant participation officer Maria Evans said: “Tenants have had a lot of input in to the development of the website, because it will be a resource which they will be able to use and benefit from.
“The council works hard to make sure our tenants are well informed, and have the opp…

Bid to boost fostering awareness

Carmarthenshire will be taking part in a national awareness week to increase parents’ knowledge of the laws surrounding private fostering arrangements.
Throughout the week (March 21-27, 2011), Carmarthenshire County Council’s fostering teams will be speaking to parents to explain the rules around private foster care, and the arrangements they have to put in place to ensure the safety of their children.
A Private Fostering Arrangement is when a young person aged under 16, or 18 if they are disabled, is placed in the care of another adult who is not a close relative for 28 days or more.
A close relative is an aunt, uncle, step-parent, grandparent or sibling, but not a cousin, grand aunt or uncle, or a family friend.
If such an arrangement is put in place, the parent has a legal obligation to inform the local authority at least six weeks before it is due to start.
Jackie Sloane, Carmarthenshire’s fostering recruitment team manager, said: “Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their chi…

Tenants meeting in Pontyates tonight

Council tenants living in the Gwendraeth Valley are being invited to a tenants network meeting.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s housing division is hosting the meeting tonight on Wednesday, March 16, and is inviting all tenants and members of local tenants and residents associations to come along.
Housing officers will be present to discuss any matters tenants wish to raise.
Tenants will hear a presentation about environmental crime, discussing issues such as fly-tipping, and will be given advice about reporting crimes and keeping their communities safe and tidy.
The meeting will be held at the Pontyates Welfare Hall from 6pm.

'Building future' project is a winner

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Leader has praised a project which is literally changing people’s lives.
Cllr Meryl Gravell was invited to visit a group of people who were taking part in a ‘Building Your Own Future in Sir Gar’ session in Felinfoel, Llanelli.
The project offers people living in some of the most deprived communities of the county the chance to take part in a basic construction skills course.
So far, over 120 people have picked up basic skills training in carpentry, plumbing, plastering and tiling through weekly courses held within their own communities.
Almost all the participants have said that the course has given them renewed confidence, and has also encouraged them to think about further education, training or employment.
The project is run as a partnership between Carmarthenshire County Council’s Property Services division, Coleg Sir Gar, Carmarthenshire Construction and Training Association Ltd (CCTAL) and Communities First.
Cllr Gravell visited as members of the Felin…

Daughter Kathryn and her Thailand 'kittens'

Daughter Kathryn is currently on a world tour. She is in Thailand at the moment. This was taken on a trip to a jungle sanctuary.

New head chef for Lamphey Court Hotel

Tom Mansfield has started work as the new Head Chef at the prestigious Lamphey Court Hotel in Pembrokeshire.
Tom, 31 and originally from Cardiff, brings a wealth of first class experience to the hotel.
His dazzling CV includes establishments such as the 5 star St David’s Hotel, Cardiff Bay, the Newbridge Inn owned by TV and radio star Chris Evans and the 3 AA Rosette La Grousse D’ail Restaurant in Oxford.
Tom was Head Chef at the renowned Bully’s Restaurant in Cardiff before taking over the same position at the exclusive Park House Members Club in the city.
In 2008, he acted as Chef Consultant to Llanerch Vineyard, often working alongside celebrity chefs Martin Blunos and Hywel Jones.
Tom has also spent time as head chef aboard the $80m super yacht M.V.Lady Ann, cooking for a range of celebrities and royals.
Tom said: "I’m delighted to be joining the new team at Lamphey Court Hotel
“It’s a very exciting time at the hotel, and I’m looking forward to working with the best local suppliers …

£3m added to social care budget

More than £3million has been added to Carmarthenshire County Council’s social care budget for the next financial year.
The extra money will help ease the pressure on services and will help meet increasing demand for services including home care and supporting people with a learning disability.
The department is currently projecting a £1.4million overspend at the end of the financial year, the majority of which - £746,000 – has been spent on delivering extra home care packages.
The figures were discussed as part of a revenue budget monitoring report at a meeting of the council’s Executive Board.
Cllr Pat Jones, executive board member for health and social care, said the overspend was a clear indication of the increasing demand on services, and added that the extra money for social care in the next financial year would be well spent.
“We are providing more care packages now and the demand is not going to go down in the near future,” she said.
“We do not make an overspend lightly, but we have…

Review of The Creation

Dr Hilary Cohen's review of Llanelli Choral Society's performance of Haydn's The Creation at Tabernacl Chapel, Llanelli.
Haydn's great oratorio The Creation is one of those immense defining pieces in which a composer calls upon a lifetime of experience.
More acclaimed for his instrumental writing, the "father of the symphony" also wrote a great deal of vocal music, even opera, but none come close to the majestic grandeur of The Creation.
The Llanelli Choral Society was in splendid form throughout, especially in key moments such as "The heavens are telling" ending Part I and in "Fulfilled at last," the section that closes Part II.
Haydn's grand oratorio is a work that separates the mice from the men, the good from the great. This performance reaffirmed John Hywel Williams's longstanding reputation for artistic leadership and Llanelli Choral Society's reputation as a formidable and ever growing choral body. The Creation is a grand wo…

Cocktail jazz at its best at The Cricketers

You can sample cocktail jazz at its very best at The Cricketers pub in Cathedral Road, Cardiff, later this month.
Ruth Bowen and Mike Britton will be performing in the latest of the popular Sunday evening music sets at the pub.
The show runs between 5-8.30pm on Sunday, March 27.
The Cricketers offers great food and drink and is rapidly establishing itself as a new venue for regular live music in Cardiff - with free entry.
Ruth Bowen (vocals and bass) is a leading jazz vocalist. Mike Britton (jazz guitar) has worked internationally in recording, broadcasting and performance with artists as varied as Tal Farlow and Jamie Cullum.
Together, they create a sophisticated ambience with their distinctive interpretations, taken from a broad repertoire of the most memorable of popular songs from “The Great American Song Book”.
Next month, pop vocal trio Front Cover will be at The Cricketers - Easter Sunday : April 24.

Super Saturday party at The George

There's what's billed as a Super Saturday St. Paddy's Party at The George Hotel in George Street in Brecon on Saturday.
You can watch all three rugby matches live on the giant screen - Scotland v Italy, Ireland v England and France v Wales..
There is a special £5 menu available from 2pm-9pm.
Then, after the rugby, at 9.30pm - Strayaway & The Blarney Pilgrims lead a Celtic Music Session with Ceilidh Dancing.
All musicians & singers welcome. Free entry all day.

Gala dinner for Llanelli Choral Society

A prestigious black tie gala dinner will be held at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli to celebrate the exciting achievements of the Llanelli Choral Society.
The “Patrons of the Artists’ Circle Inaugural Gala Dinner Dance” will see regional and civic dignitaries, musicians, singers and patrons all come together as the Llanelli Choral Society celebrates a historic year which has seen it win a national award, present great performances of world leading choral works.
Also on the programme for this year are forthcoming performances in Salisbury Cathedral, Worcester Cathedral and a grand performance with renowned tenor Alfie Boe.
The celebratory dinner and dance will take place on Saturday 2nd April and will feature the ever popular The Phil Dando Dance Band.
Tickets £25 and available from 01554 750414 or from

Food at Frolics is a real treat

It was a glorious spring afternoon when we arrived at Frolics restaurant in Southerndown on the coast of the Vale of Glamorgan.
The reception was as sunny as the weather - gleaming white tablecloths and neat and not over-fussy décor giving a relaxed vibe.
The food demanded not to be placed in any particular pigeon-hole in terms of style. Restaurant owners Andrew and Donna Dudley do things in their own particular style.
And that style is certainly a hit.
When we visited as a party of four the main restaurant was full. There is an overflow cellar restaurant which seats nearly 20 – and that will doubtless come into service as the season develops.
The set menu of three-course lunch on a Sunday was priced at £18.50. That may seem a bit pricey – but, sample the food, and you’ll see it’s a bargain.
Andrew Dudley is the master of his own kitchen and he revels in the challenge of providing a range of different dishes.
For starters, there was a choice of cream of white vegetable soup; Frolics fish pla…

Latest 'View from Richmond Park' column

The latest 'View from Richmond Park' Carmarthen AFC column from the Carmarthen Journal -
Tote draw – February 22, winning numbers 6 and 22. The prize was £400 and the winners were Barney and Betty Rees. March 1 draw, winning numbers 31 and 46. The prize of £200 was won by Anthony Lewis.
After consulting supporters of Carmarthen Town AFC on the question of summer football, here is an analysis of the responses to questions 1 and 2 of the Welsh Premier League’s survey.
Q1. Are you in favour of the League organising a summer season for an initial trial period of 2/3 years?
Yes, 18. No 37.
Q2. If your answer to Question 1 was 'no', would your club alternatively prefer a mid-season break?
Yes, 14. No 15.
An internet forum has been launched for fans of Carmarthen Town AFC. The forum may be used to post football related comments/messages or messages relating to Carmarthen Town.
After a simple …

Jennifer qualifies at Clay Shaw Butler

Jennifer Bowen has qualified as a Certified Chartered Accountant with leading West Wales accountants and business consultants Clay Shaw Butler.
The qualification is further evidence of Clay Shaw Butler’s commitment to training and developing staff members.

Jennifer, who lives in Whitland and is married with a young daughter, was educated at Whitland Primary School and Ysgol Dyffryn Taf.
She joined Clay Shaw Butler in 2007 as an accounts trainee studying towards the Chartered Certified qualification.
Clay Shaw Butler is accredited as a Platinum status Training Office with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. There are currently three trainees working towards the qualification with Clay Shaw Butler. In addition, there are two trainees working towards the Association of Accounting Technician qualification.
Clay Shaw Butler director David Butler said: “I am extremely pleased to welcome Jennifer into the Practice as a newly-qualified accountant. We have Investors in People status…

Derek Bevan the top man at Wanderers dinner

Former international rugby referee Derek Bevan was the guest speaker at the annual Carmarthen Wanderers Cricket Club fund-raising dinner staged at the Carmarthen Quins rugby club.
Club captain Giles Thomas spoke about the club's fund-raising efforts and after-dinner entertainment was provided by comedian Cliff Golledge. The MC for the evening was Robert Lloyd.
Made a note of one of Cliff's funnies -
"A few words about your MC tonight. You've had to hear him speak . . .
I've been sitting next to him all night and I've had to hear him eat!"

Rev Eldon plays out the role of St David

The Rev Eldon Phillips played out the role of St David (complete with staff and monk's habit) in an entertaining after-dinner speech at last week's meeting of Llanelli Rotary Club at the Stradey Park Hotel.
President Melanie Carol-Cliffe was in the chair. The vote of thanks to Rev Phillips was given by Past President Robert Lloyd. The next meeting of Llanelli Rotary Club is a Fellowship meeting at the Stradey Park Hotel on Friday, March 18.
Llanelli Rotary Club will be holding a Race Night at the New Dock Stars Rugby Club on Friday, March 25. The annual Rotary Ball is being staged at the Stradey Park Hotel on April 22.

ShelterBox mobilises to help Japan

Llanelli Rotary Club's demonstration of a ShelterBox attracted a lot of interest during the Rotary Day show staged at the St Elli Centre in Llanelli.
The ShelterBox is a key aid package for disaster zones, such as the one currently being tackled in Japan.
"It is a fine example of how the Rotary movement works, not just locally, but on a global scale to help people in disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan," said Llanelli Rotary Club's press officer Robert Lloyd.
"It is on occasions like this that Rotary's international spirit comes the fore. In the Haiti earthquake the ShelterBox project was deployed to ease suffering. Now, once again, it is being used in Japan.
"Rotary works very closely with the ShelterBox charity to make sure the aid gets to the areas where it is most needed. The people of Llanelli were very interested in the ShelterBox demonstration staged in the St Elli Centre."
ShelterBox were on the ground in Japan within less than…

Wanderers footballers on song

My old pal Phil Grice has kindly submitted the following junior football match report -
Carmarthen Wanderers 14 KRUF 4
Having only narrowly beaten KRUF by one goal at home two weeks earlier, Carmarthen Wanderers went into this match with some trepidation.
But they were 1000 up at half time. Playing magnificient flowing fottball, the Wanderers demolished a woeful KRUF team in the first half of this match.
Then the Wanderers relaxed in the second half in which the Wanderers and KRUF each scored four goals. This was a record both for the club and possibly the league in that striker Craig Evans netted eight goals. Two other goalscorers for the Wanderers scored hat-tricks - Jamie Davies added the three to his two last week, and Richard Jones scored the other three.
Next Saturday, the two Carmarthen Division Three teams, the Wanderers and Johnstown United, meet on Penllwyn Park at what promises to be the match of the season with Johnstown heading the league table and Wanderers fourth. Kick off i…

Blooming magic at the 'Botanic'

Excitement is growing at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne, near Carmarthen, where an eight-foot-tall puya plant is about to burst into bloom for the first time in a decade.
A native of Chile, the Puya chilensis – which can be found in the Great Glasshouse – boasts the biggest bud in Wales and is set to provide a real spectacle for garden visitors.
The puya has never blossomed before so staff aren’t sure about when the flowers will come.
The puya has long, narrow leaves which are edged with vicious, hooked thorns – protection again nibbling animals such as rabbits, sheep and llama. On the slopes of the Andes, where the plants flourish, if these grazing animals get too close they can become trapped in the puya’s spikes and starve to death. As they rot, they become compost and feed the soil around the puya. This helps the plant to grow bigger.
Horticulturist in charge of the Great Glasshouse, Marilla Burgess says: “It looks amazing – even just in bud. It should be much more…

Midfielder Smothers off to Australia

Carmarthen Town's travelling midfielder Neil Smothers has signed Southern Cross in the Hyundai Queensland State League.
Southern Cross is a newly formed Brisbane based outfit and with the HQSL expanding to 10 teams this season Southern Cross is one of the two new teams accepted into the league.
International clearance permitting, 'Smudger' is hopeful of being included in the squad to face Rockhampton's Capricorn Cougars in Saturday's league opener.
And, despite being a new outfit, Southern Cross have already created an impression on the rest of the league by winning the pre-season Clem Jones Shield at Meakin Park.

Welsh Premier League table

State of the Nation in the Welsh Premier League. Carmarthen Town now have small six-point buffer on relegation zone. Big home match next Saturday versus Bala.
Bangor City 60
The New Saints 54
Neath FC 48
Llanelli AFC 40
Prestatyn Town 31
Port Talbot Town 28
Airbus UK Broughton 33
Aberystwyth Town 29
Carmarthen Town 25
Bala Town 20
Newtown AFC 19
Haverfordwest County 19