Showing posts from January 12, 2014

Join the Learn to Swim scheme in Carmarthenshire

Parents in Carmarthenshire are being urged to put their children through the Learn to Swim scheme.
Sadly, drowning is the third most common form of accidental death in children, so being able to swim is an essential life skill.
The programme is delivered by the council’s qualified sports and leisure team, through Actif Aqua activities. It is fun, progressive and designed to be a continuous journey through aquatics.
Children of any age, size or ability can take part at in Llanelli, Carmarthen, and Amman Valley leisure Centres, and Llandovery Swimming Pool. Sessions are held in Llanelli on Tuesday to Friday, 4-6.30pm and Saturday morning 9.30am-1pm.
The idea is to teach every child to swim and achieve stage 6 of the national teaching plan by the age of 11 using the latest digital technology. As children move from stage to stage and become more confident, the skills become more challenging and they are introduced to new skills as they become better.
The council’s executive board membe…

New business consultancy centre for Whitland

Llewellyn Davies Accountants have opened a new business consultancy centre in Whitland, with the help of an RDP Sir Gâr Redundant Rural Buildings Grant.
They have converted a barn to the rear of Yelverton House that has been unused for decades into offices for the consultancy service.
The company already have branches of their accountancy business in Whitland, Narberth, Tenby and Pembroke Dock and this new venture will service the needs of businesses throughout West Wales with regard to production of management information, business systems consultancy and assistance with grant and funding applications. Five new full time jobs and three part time jobs will be created as a result.
Director Colin John said: “The invaluable support provided by RDP Sir Gâr has enabled us to bring a redundant building, situated in the centre of Whitland, back to life.
“The property’s location, with its excellent transport links and a large car park, makes it an easily accessible and convenient destination for…

Latest news from the 'Jazz in the Bar' team at Brecon

Latest news from the 'Jazz in the Bar' team at Brecon -

What a fantastic start to the jazz year in town earlier this month, with such a great turnout and and trio of musicians! We were well over 50 people, and nearly half the group eating and chatting together at Lansdowne just before the gig.
So let's celebrate into February - though please note the date - Tues 18 Feb - as this is an early notice. Details are below, and as usual, if you are joining the supper crowd, it's helpful to book ahead (reply this email). We have one large table (takes 12 or so) as well as individual ones, so everyone is seated in company. If anyone is able to offer a lift from Merthyr Cynog or Libanus, please get in touch.

Tuesday 18 February 2014
Some of the founder members of the contemporary jazz scene in our region, playing a mix of favourite standards with some fine solo work:
Mike Chappell - piano
Bob Moeller - trumpet and flugelhorn
Erika Lyons - doubl…

Carmarthen man fined for dumping blue bag

A Carmarthen man has been fined by magistrates after a blue bag was found dumped in the street.
George Richards, aged 31, of Belvedere Avenue, pleaded guilty by post to an offence contrary to Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
Carmarthen Magistrates Court heard that on April 23 last year council environmental enforcement officers were on routine patrol in Priory Street when they came across a blue bag that had been left on the road next to the path leading to Park Hall.
They found evidence linking the bag to Richards.
In correspondence, he told officers he had no idea how the bag had ended up there; but he would accept a fixed penalty notice for the offence.
However, no payment was made despite a reminder letter being sent.
He was fined £100 by magistrates and ordered to pay £154 prosecution costs plus a £20 victim surcharge.
Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “We are determined to clean up Carmarthenshire and those th…

Swansea man fined for cigarette litter in Llanelli

A Swansea man has been fined by Carmarthen magistrates after he was caught dropping a cigarette end in Llanelli town centre.
Andrew Pardoe, aged 38, of Heaseland Place, Swansea, pleaded guilty by post to an offence contrary to Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
The court heard that on June 7 last year he was seen by council environmental enforcement officers dropping his cigarette on to the ground outside Crown Buildings in Town Hall Square.
He was issued with a fixed penalty notice for the offence, but he never paid it and has been prosecuted in court as a result.
He was fined £100 by magistrates and ordered to pay £222.32 prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Figures show that around 83% of all litter found on the county’s streets is smoking-related.
Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “Dropping litter is against the law and dropping a cigarette end is no different from throwing away any other sort of litter.
“They m…

Residents urged to be vigilant for rogue traders

Carmarthenshire Trading Standards Officers are warning residents to be on their guard against distraction burglars and opportunist rogue traders especially in the aftermath of the recent stormy weather.
Residents may have suffered damage to their property during the bad weather.
The Trading Standards Service is now urging residents to be extra vigilant to doorstep callers and sellers who may not be offering bona fide work.
People looking for trades people to carry out repairs are urged to be very careful who they employ and to be extra vigilant to doorstep sellers.
Any bona -fide caller will be willing to call back, giving you the opportunity to check that they come from the relevant business. If you are agreeing to work in your home (over £35), then you should also be given written cancellation rights.
Roger Edmunds, Trading Standards Services Manager said: “Residents of Carmarthenshire may need urgent work carried on their properties and it is very tempting to accept the first offer that…

Red Kite name flying high for Welsh solicitors

The Red Kite name will once again be flying high in Welsh legal circles
“Quality is still the watchword here at Red Kite,” said partner David Sangster,“as our recent Lexcel reaccreditation shows.
“And from February 6, we will be trading again as Red Kite Law - a strong, local, Welsh brand and one that resonates in the communities we live and work in. Our research shows that our clients value great service from a local firm rather than a national brand.”
"We have a fantastic team of solicitors and long-lasting relationships with our clients who like us because we are local, we are good lawyers and we do a great job for them.”
Mr Sangster added: “So far the feedback from clients has been very positive. But the name of the firm just isn’t the most important thing for them. It’s what we do for our clients here in Wales that matters.
“Our plans for this year will build on what we already have: a forward-thinking Welsh firm that delivers good quality legal advice to local people and busine…

Budding entrepreneurs hold youth market in Carmarthen

Budding entrepreneurs have been trying out their business ideas at a youth market in Carmarthen.
Pupils from the area’s primary and secondary schools sold their wares at the Young People’s Business Market in St Catherine’s Walk.
The event was organised by Carmarthenshire County Council’s business development teams, in partnership with Careers Wales.
It is 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 Carmarthenshire to get the expertise needed to support their business growth.
This, in turn, would create a strong and prosperous economy for Carmarthenshire’s future.
The council’s business development officer Angharad Harding said: “The Young People’s Business Market is a great opportunity for people to see youngsters from Carmarthenshire selling their goods or services.

Heol Goffa youngsters switched on to green technology

Youngsters at Llanelli's Heol Goffa School are switched on when it comes to green technology.
Every classroom has eco codes encouraging pupils to switch off lights, turn off taps and close doors in a bid to save energy and water.
An eco board showcasing their green work such as recycling, litter picks, waste management and vegetable growing is also displayed in the school.
Each class has a themed raised bed to which the pupils maintain based on smell, taste and touch.
Workshops on eco friendly projects are also held to educate children on the helping the environment.
For its commitment to sustainable development, the school has just been awarded their third Green Flag, under the Eco Schools programme. As part of the programme pupils must take key roles in decision making and participation in order to reduce the environmental impact of their school.
Executive board member for sustainability, Cllr Pam Palmer said: “The youngsters are doing a wonderful job and their enthusiasm is very wel…

Emphysema sufferer still hitting the gym at 76!

This 76-year-old Emphysema sufferer has proven age has no barrier for keeping fit.
Twice weekly, Des Jones attends Carmarthen Leisure Centre for his workout session hooked up to an oxygen bottle and nose tubes.
The grandfather works the treadmill, hand bikes and does standing push ups as part of his hourly sessions at the centre. He also does twenty minutes of gently exercise three times a week from home.
Before he joined the gym the pensioner was unable to walk around a supermarket without his oxygen bottle and had to take rest stops. Now he is able to walk unaided.
Des said: “With my condition I was rapidly getting out of breath and found it difficult to even get out of the car. Since I’ve been exercising, tasks which I found very difficult before are now a lot easier and I’m much stronger.
“Before going to the gym I enjoyed cooking in the kitchen but had to stop as I was constantly attached to the oxygen bottle and it couldn’t be exposed to heat. But now it’s a thing of the past, I don…

You've got to be mad to be a comedian, or have you?

Two of the best funnymen in Wales have reacted to the latest scientific study which claims that comedians have personality types linked with psychosis.
A study by Oxford University researchers suggests comedians score highly on characteristics that in extreme cases are associated with mental illness.
Unusually, they have high levels of both introversion and extroversion. The research team says the creative elements needed for humour are similar to traits seen in people with psychosis.
Ammanford-based comedian Phil Evans, above gave his reaction -
“Never underestimate the working comedian.
“It takes talent, commitment and a burning desire to stand in front of a room full of strangers, night after night.
“The need to win over the crowd is very powerful and often takes great skill. Having said that, why would you feel the need to do it in the first place?
“Some of the world’s most famous people had drive, determination and skills to move crowds and achieve great things. Talent put to good use.

Homework clubs for pupils at Llanelli libraries

Help is at hand for Carmarthenshire school pupils getting stuck into their homework.
Carmarthenshire Libraries and Communities First are getting together to encourage children to drop in to a free homework club.
Homework clubs are intended to attract young people who need extra help with their work, access to free computers and the internet, or just a place where they can have undisturbed, peaceful study.
Children's and Schools' Librarian Catrin Simon said: “We would like homework clubs to be an enjoyable environment where children can learn from each other.”
Homework clubs take place every Monday at Llwynhendy Library and every Thursday at Llanelli Library, 3.30-5pm.
Cllr Meryl Gravell, Executive Board Member with responsibility for libraries, said: “This is a great idea which should encourage children to get together in a supportive environment away from the home and classroom. It’s also another great way to encourage children to spend time in the library, which could be a pastim…

Work on new £1m bridge at Rhandirmwyn progressing well

Works to build a new £1million bridge near the village of Rhandirmwyn in the Tywi Valley are progressing well.
The structure will replace the existing Galltybere Bridge, which has been subject to a three tonne weight restriction since 2008.
The project has been made possible thanks to funding made available through the Local Government Borrowing Initiative (LGBI).
The Galltybere Bridge was built in approximately 1925 and is the only means of access for a number of properties.
The new two span bridge is 45 metres in length and is being built downstream of the existing bridge which will remain open until it is completed.
The construction works began in August, and are being carried out on behalf of the council’s Street Scene section by TRJ (Betws) Limited.
Works are progressing well, with both abutments and central pier nearly complete. It is anticipated that the steel beams for the new deck will be installed early February and the reinforced concrete deck slab will proceed after this.

The latest 'On Song' column' about the choral scene in and around Llanelli

The latest Llanelli Star 'On Song' column' about the choral scene in and around Llanelli -

Côr Meibion Llanelli (Llanelli Male Voice Choir) will be marking their 50th anniversary in 2014.
Choir chairman Mel Harries said: “This promises to be a very special year in the history of Côr Meibion Llanelli.
“We are planning plenty of special events – and some surprise trips abroad.
“We are always on the search for new members. Anyone who thinks they would enjoy the camaraderie of being part of one of the finest male voice choirs in Wales should come along to one of our practice sessions.
“We hold rehearsals at 7pm on Mondays and Thursdays at Furnace Community Hall.”
Scheduled events for Côr Meibion Llanelli for 2014 so far include –
Saturday, March 15, concert with Bristol Male Choir in Bristol.
Saturday, June 7, Annual Concert at Ffwrnes Theatre with ‘Singverein 1870’, the choir’s ‘twin’ from Laudenbach in Germany.
Saturday, October 18, anniversary dinner with special guests at the Strad…

Pupils get the chance to name council bungalows

Carmarthenshire schoolchildren are playing their part in history by naming the first council-built bungalows since the 1980s.
Pupils at Llanelli’s Copperworks School and Ysgol Gwenllian and Ysgol Y Castell in Kidwelly, have been asked to come up with Welsh names for the bungalows which capture the essence of their surroundings.
The £1.5million first phase includes five at Llys Newydd, Seaside, and seven at Morfa Maen, Kidwelly.
Executive Board Member for Housing, Cllr Tegwen Devichand, said: “We’ve set the children a tough task, but in years to come they will be able to tell their own children that they played their part in the development of the bungalows.
“We’re excited to see work progressing well, and look forward to welcoming the first tenants soon.”
The bungalows will provide more suitable accommodation for older people and help relieve the demand for disabled home adaptations. They will also allow smaller households to downsize, freeing up larger accommodation for families.
A furthe…

Pontyberem picked to pilot dementia initiative

A Gwendraeth Valley community is playing a unique role in helping people understand dementia.
Pontyberem has been chosen to pilot a Dementia Friendly and Supportive Community Initiative, providing feedback for the development of future services.
Carmarthenshire County Council, through its Dementia Action Board, is working with partners to pilot the initiative, which will establish a community profile including the physical environment, facilities, services and groups.
People with dementia, and their carers, will be asked how they feel about their community - how they engage, what difficulties they face, the impact dementia has on their lives, and what can be done to help. A quiz will also be undertaken to find out how much the community understands about dementia. Cllr Jane Tremlett, Executive Board Member for Health and Social Care, Dementia Care Champion and Chair of the Carmarthenshire Dementia Action Board, said:
“We want to ensure that people living with dementia are able to conti…

Energy advice roadshows for Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire Council’s Home Improvement Team are hitting the road to help residents cut down on their energy bills.
Officers will be on hand at a number of locations across the county in the next few weeks giving advice at a time of year when people take the biggest hit on their household budgets.
On Friday, January 24, they will be present at Carmarthen’s Glangwili Hospital car park, and the following Friday, January 31, they will be visiting the Doctors Surgery at Trimsaran Leisure Centre.
In February they will be visiting Prince Philip Hospital car park; Meddygfa Taf in Whitland; Amman Valley Hospital in Glanamman and Llandovery Hospital car park.
People will be advised how to get help to improve the efficiency of their homes, as well as energy saving tips, and ways to manage bills and debt.
Energy Efficiency Advisor Graham Harries said: “We want people to be more aware of the simple things they can do to cut down on their bills, and also the support available to pay their bills or …

Aberdulais man fined £700 for fly-tipping

A man has been ordered to pay more than £700 by magistrates after being convicted of fly-tipping on Glanamman mountain.
Matthew Benjamin Walters pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to Section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 at Carmarthen Magistrates Court.
The court heard that on April 26 last year council environmental enforcement officers received a complaint of fly-tipping on Glanamman mountain.
The officers attended the scene along with Dyfed Powys Police officers and found two large deposits of general household rubbish, approximately 200 meters apart.
Evidence was found linking the rubbish to Walters, of Scud-Yr-Afon in Aberdulais. He was subsequently interviewed by the officers and admitted dumping the waste.
The 20-year-old was fined £200 by magistrates and ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “Fly-tipping is a criminal offence; not only is it a blig…

Cigarette litter costs Llanelli man £300

Dropping a cigarette has cost a Llanelli man more than £300.
Simon Dennis, aged 30, of Brynawelon, was convicted in absence to an offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 by Carmarthen magistrates.
The court heard that he was seen by council environmental enforcement officers dropping a cigarette onto the ground whilst walking along Church Street on June 7 last year.
He was issued with a fixed penalty notice for £75, but it was never paid.
Dennis was fined £100 by magistrates and ordered to pay £222.32 prosecution costs plus a £20 victim surcharge.
Executive Board Member for environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “I hope that this will act as a warning to others that anyone caught dropping litter, whether it is a cigarette end or any other type of litter, will be prosecuted.
“Keeping Carmarthenshire clean and safe is a top priority for the council and we will not hesitate to take action against those who break the law in this way.”
Enforcement offic…

Lottery turn down Parc Howard funding bid

The Heritage Lottery Fund has turned down a bid for £5million to secure Llanelli's Parc Howard mansion and grounds for the future.
Carmarthenshire County Council has expressed disappointment that the bid was unsuccessful. Officers are now arranging a feedback meeting with HLF to clarify reasoning for the rejection.
The bid, submitted in August, was delayed for six months to allow for more consultation as there was not 100 per cent support for the bid, and this was jeopardising the park’s future.
Executive Board Member for Regeneration, Cllr Meryl Gravell, said: “This is hugely disappointing news. It just underlines how important it is that we are all united in our campaign to secure Parc Howard’s future with an economic plan that stands scrutiny.
“If we cannot change the way the park operates we could be forced to close it.
“With the authority’s diminishing resources and the fact that Parc Howard, along with all council leisure services, is a not statutory responsibility, we may need …

Welsh scientists investigate the Greenland Ice Sheet

Welsh scientists are working on a project to understand the processes that lead to ice mass acceleration.
The glaciologists will be drilling holes up to 1km deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet.
The Greenland Ice Sheet is losing ice mass at an increasing pace which at present is around 200 cubic km per year, enough to raise global sea levels by 0.6 mm per year and according to the latest International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, most likely to render sea levels higher by 50cm within our century.
This is a worrying prospect given the recent flood and storm damage in the UK.
Research shows that in some places, the world's glaciers are melting up to 100 times faster than any time during the last 350 years, which will have significant implications for the future.
Academics at Aberystwyth University have been awarded £340,000 to research into the processes that drive the fast flow of these glaciers because a growing body of evidence points to a strong response to both oceanographi…

Comedian Phil invents Twitter-speak for the Welsh 'cwtsh'

Ammanford-based comedian Phil Evans has invented new ‘Twitter-speak’ to boost the power of the world-famous Welsh ‘cwtsh’.
“As a comedian, I am very accustomed to LOL – laughing out loud!” Phil said.
“But, as a keen Twitter user, I’ve been a bit frustrated at the lack of any Twitter-speak or Internet-slang to get across the emotional kick of the ‘cwtsh’, the traditional Welsh hug.
“I’ve always been an advocate that everyone needs their five a day. Five cwtshes is the minimum to top up a human being’s emotional batteries in Wales. The power of the cwtsh is well documented and we all feel so much better, both giving and receiving a cwtsh.
“I wanted to find some way of getting the ‘cwtsh’ message across in Twitter-speak, so I’ve come up with CWX at the end of my Tweets, emails and text messages.
“You can do it two ways – ‘CWX’ in capitals is a big cwtsh and ‘cwx’ in small letters is a small hug. In personal research, I’ve found that the power of the small ‘cwx’ about a third of the big one.

Carmarthenshire Council staff praised for storm work

Council staff have been praised for all their hard work during the stormy weather over the Christmas and New Year period.
Street Scene crews and Property Services staff responded to hundreds of calls as torrential rain and high winds battered the county, even working on Christmas Day.
Over the two week period from December 23 to January 3 highways crews responded to more than 500 calls to deal with storm water flooding, tidal flooding and wind damage, fallen trees and gritting action due to ice and hail.
More than 2,500 sandbags were distributed to residents and businesses across the county to help keep floodwater out.
In the Llanelli area, assistance was given to residents in Llangennech affected by flooding from the River Morlais with sandbags provided to those in need.
The coastal road between Ferryside and Kidwelly near the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village also had to be closed due to flooding.
In Pendine, temporary measures were taken to provide a defence barrier due to the severe weath…

TV weatherman helps Carmarthenshire 'Eco Schools' celebrate

Television weatherman Chris Jones has congratulated Carmarthenshire schoolchildren on their Eco Schools success.
A special Platinum awards celebration event was held by council chairman Cllr Terry Davies and Executive Board Member for Technical Services Cllr Colin Evans and S4C weather presenter Chris was invited along as a guest speaker.
Chris, who has presented the weather on S4C for 22 years, has now invited pupils to the TV studios to see what happens behind the scenes.
Schools that attended the event included Ysgol Y Castell, Llanmiloe, Llanddarog, Johnstown, Peniel, Saron, Tumble, Ysgol Y Bedol, Pentip, Dewi Sant and Ysgol Gymraeg Rhydaman.
The Platinum award is the highest accolade possible under Eco Schools and is the equivalent to achieving four Green Flags.
Carmarthenshire has the highest number of Platinum award winning schools in Wales at 17.
Cllr Davies said: “It was a pleasure to invite the children to the council chamber to congratulate them for all their hard work in achiev…

Search on for 2014 Beer Sommelier of the Year

BII teams up with the Beer Academy to find the “2014 Beer Sommelier of the Year”.
The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) is teaming up with the Beer Academy to find the 2014 Beer Sommelier of the Year. The award will be presented at the BII’s Annual Lunch which is held on 13th May at the Grosvenor House Park Lane. The wining Sommelier will receive a cash prize of £1000 and will be invited to introduce the beers at the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group’s Annual Dinner held in Westminster in July. The Runner up will receive £500.
Applicants must be accredited Beer Academy Sommeliers and applications must be received by the BII by 31st January 2014. A shortlist of candidates will be drawn up for stage two, which will see candidates interviewed by a panel of experts chaired by BII Director, Caroline Nodder.
BII Chief Executive Tim Hulme said “Pubs that succeed offer customers something that they can’t find at home. The BII’s mission is to equip licensees with the skills to do just that…

Hywel Dda Health Board staff awards for engaging with people

Hywel Dda Health Board’s staff awards recognise those who help engage the Hywel Dda population.
The Engaging with People category in the Best of Health Staff Awards commends staff that have developed and delivered innovative ways to engage the population, including patients, staff and the public.
This year’s finalists are:
Argyle Medical Group, Pembroke Dock Since 2011 the Argyle Medical Group has held meetings with town councillors and the local Community Health Council to address issues regarding the practice. As a result of these discussions, various improvements have been made. Part of this involved the creation of a patient participation group which allowed patients of the practice to see behind the scenes and gain a better understanding of how it’s run. A further example is the introduction of result slips given out to patients when blood is taken which explain the process.
Jane Whalley, Equality and Diversity Officer Young people from the gypsy traveller community designed an…

Llanelli Choral Society preparing for Britten’s Saint Nicholas

Llanelli Choral Society members are preparing for an exciting choral and orchestral performance in April when they perform Britten’s Saint Nicholas and classical highlights by the British Sinfonietta Orchestra. Future performances include participating in the Hywel Choir’s Last Night of the Proms, performing in the Festival of Remembrance at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall and an exciting Autumn performance of Carmina Burana at Y Ffwrnes.

Five Roads School campaign against dog mess

Children at Five Roads School are launching a campaign to clean up dog mess.
They are fed up of trying to dodge the dog dirt left behind by irresponsible dog owners in parts of the village.
Local Member Cllr Jim Jones, who is also the council’s Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection, went along to the school to listen to their concerns.
The pupils told him the road leading to the school is one of the worst areas for dog fouling.
Council environmental enforcement officers regularly carry out patrols across the county and anyone caught not cleaning up after their dog can be fined £75.
However, they cannot be everywhere at once and it can be difficult to catch people in the act.
Pupils are now being encouraged to help the council educate the public by designing posters to be used on a banner to put up outside the school.
Cllr Jones, who will go back to the school at a later date to judge the winners of the poster competition, said: “It is a shame that a minority of irr…

Pentip School pupils go Platinum

Pentip Church in Wales School has gone Platinum. Staff and pupils are celebrating after achieving the highest accolade possible under the Eco Schools programme.
The Platinum award is the equivalent of four Green Flags and is only given to schools that have demonstrated a real commitment to the environment.
Headteacher Anne Murawski said: “The children work hard to make the school as environmentally-friendly as possible and are always looking for new ideas and projects to work on to save energy and resources. I am very proud of their commitment to the scheme and this achievement.”
The Llanelli school has set up an eco committee which carries out annual environmental reviews and identifies areas for action or improvement looking at litter, waste and recycling, energy use, water consumption, transport, healthy living, biodiversity and global citizenship.
As well as recycling the usual paper, cans and plastic, the school also recycles ink cartridges, mobile phones, stamps and glasses and pup…

Latest special offers from the Jenkins Bakery

Latest special offers from the Jenkins Bakery -
SPECIALITY LOAF – ANCIENT CEREALS BREAD (available Thur, Fri, Sat) £1.20
Website -