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Showing posts from January 26, 2014

Review into Carmarthenshire Council's waste strategy

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A review is being carried out of the council’s waste strategy and associated costs in order to meet future recycling targets set by Welsh Government.
Last year, Carmarthenshire achieved a 54% recycling rate, exceeding Wales’s first statutory recycling target of 52% and is well under its landfill allowance target.
Director of Technical Services Richard Workman said: “We have made considerable progress in increasing our recycling rate from 27% in 2007/8 to almost 54% in 2012/13. However, we must continue to increase our recycling performance by 2% every year in order to meet future Welsh Government targets or risk severe financial penalties. This means we have to look at both existing and new initiatives which provide the best value for money.
“The cost of the current service combined with new initiatives as part of the future waste strategy for Carmarthenshire shows that £1.75 million per annum is required, on top of the existing budget. Given the current financial climate, together with …

Something for everyone at Carmarthenshire's top parks

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There is something going on almost every other week of the year throughout 2014 at Wales’s most popular outdoor weather attractions, Pembrey Country and Llanelli’s Millennium Coastal parks.
Both parks attract more than a million visitors a year.
County executive board member for leisure services Cllr Meryl Gravell said Pembrey had demonstrated in recent years with Beach Break it can deal with more than 20,000 visitors for one event and is starting to attract attention from promoters of all kinds of activities.
Park ranger Stephen Oliver said: “Pembrey particularly was a park for all seasons and all reasons. When the weather is wet and windy the forest and trees offer a haven of calm and the wreck strewn Cefn Sidan was a delight to explore. This was why the park was becoming a great camping and caravan destination with bookings recorded from people from all over the country.”
The park also has Wales’ best artificial ski slope at Ski Pembrey and longest toboggan that averages 75,000 riders …

Planning go-ahead for 'Extra Care Scheme' in Ammanford

Carmarthenshire County Council and Family Housing Association have been granted planning approval for a state-of-the-art Extra Care Scheme in Ammanford.
It is hoped building work will start soon on the site, just off Dyffryn Road, where the council and FHA will provide 50 self-contained apartments for older people with a range of needs, with 24-hour care and support on site.
It is part of a wider picture with opportunities for other homes on the site, and is the latest development in the council’s capital investment programme to update and improve care provision in Carmarthenshire, and has included funding from Welsh Government and FHA.
Cllr Jane Tremlett, Executive Board Member for Health and Social Care said: “We remain committed to providing quality care that lives up to modern day standards. We are keen to move quickly on this development which will provide the Ammanford area with a state-of-the-art facility which provides not only care, but independence too.”
Phil Dennis, Family Hou…

St Clears man fined for building without planning permission

A St Clears man has been fined £200 for building a two storey garage and store without planning permission.
David Bryan Howells pleaded guilty at Carmarthen Magistrates Court to an offence contrary to Section 179 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. The prosecution was brought by Carmarthenshire County Council.
Kelly Byrne, prosecuting, said that in August 2012, the county council, as local planning authority, issued an Enforcement Notice relating to land at Lodge, Bancyfelin, Carmarthen. It alleged Mr Howells, who lives at Pwll Trap, St Clears, had, without planning permission, erected a two storey garage and store on his land at Lodge, Bancyfelin.
The Notice required Mr Howells to reduce the height of the garage and store to the same height as he could have built without needing planning permission, that is, single storey and therefore not an excessive height.
He was given three months to carry this out unless an appeal was made to the Planning Inspectorate. No valid appeal was ma…

Carmarthenshire children making a big Splash!

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Children in Carmarthenshire are diving into a new challenge and making a big splash with a former stuntman of ITV’s Saturday night celebrity hit series, Splash.
The youngsters are taking advantage of the two diving boards in Llanelli Leisure Centre and picking up top tips from instructor, Charles Calvert.
The centre is the only one of its kind in Carmarthenshire and just one of two in South Wales that offers the aquatic activity.
It has proved so successful that a Talent Identification Squad has been developed for those showing high potential.
Anyone can join in as long as they’re able to swim 25 metres in deep water without goggles.
The eight sessions are delivered by the 23-year old, who is also a former British diving champion and Youth Olympian silver medallist, and divided into three groups - beginners, intermediate and advanced.
Beginners will learn basic diving skills starting at the poolside before progressing to the boards. At Intermediate/Advanced stage swimmers will learn unsuppo…

Your chance to try Fustal in Newcastle Emlyn

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There’s a chance to try and become part of the fast growing craze of Futsal (hall football) at Newcastle Emlyn Leisure Centre on Sunday (Jan 26th 2-4pm).
Carmarthenshire Council’s sports development teams have organised an exhibition match between Wrexham, and Ammanford during the event.
Wrexham, the current FAW Futsal Cup Champions defeated Ammanford Futsal in the semi-final of the 2013 Welsh Cup competition so this exhibition match kicking off at 2.15pm will be an opportunity to atone.
Clubs and individuals in Carmarthenshire and surrounding areas are being invited to attend to watch the match which will be followed by an opportunity to take part in some Futsal exercises as well as some friendly games.
This is all part of a launch of the brand new Futsal Emlyn league which kicks off during February on Friday evenings at Emlyn Leisure Centre, Newcastle Emlyn.
Anyone wishing to attend the 'Try Futsal' event, as a player or spectator, should contact Emlyn Leisure Centre on 01267 224…

Llanelli Scarlets stars help preach road safety message

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Llanelli Scarlets stars caused a scrum among 230 pupils at Pembrey Primary School when they turned up to present 10-year-old Erin Meadows with a prize for her winning road safety painting.
There were cheers and whoops of delight when Josh Turnbull and Kirby Myhill strode into the school hall to congratulate Erin for her winning “walking bus” painting.
Head teacher Helen Jacob explained it had been difficult selecting an entry from so many pupils but it had been highly appropriate the competition organised to promote the schools walking bus should have been won by the daughter of the school’s popular lollipop lady, Alison.
Mrs Jacob said more children were joining the walking bus following the completion of the a £558,000 grant scheme from the Welsh Government to fund footpath upgrades, cycleways and traffic management throughout Pembrey.
There was public consultation for the scheme drawn up by Carmarthenshire council’s transport and engineering team supported by the Carmarthenshires…

Why volunteer? Some thoughts ahead of the Swansea IPC Athletics European Championships

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The IPC Athletics European Championships will be held in Swansea this August.
The South Wales Evening Post asked me to put some thoughts together on 'volunteering'.
Here is what I wrote for them . . .

Robert Lloyd is a media consultant based in Carmarthen and Llanelli. He is a former editor of the Carmarthen Journal and Llanelli Star and former deputy editor of the South Wales Evening Post.


Why volunteer?
If you have to ask yourself the question, then volunteering may not be for you.
The simple answer is that the cost (in time, money and effort) is easily outweighed by the benefit (the feel-good factor of ‘putting something back’ into society, opportunities for new friendships and some life-changing and hugely memorable experiences).
Some people ‘get it’. Some don’t. If you get it, you’ll know what I mean.
Volunteering is now part of my DNA – whether it is helping the Llanelli Talking Newspaper for the Blind, doing meals on wheels, driving the Friday night Gateway Club bus, helping t…

Carmarthenshire residents rewarded for putting rubbish in the bin

Two people who were shopping in Carmarthen town centre have been rewarded for putting their rubbish in the bin.
Instead of fining people for dropping litter, council environmental enforcement officers were thanking residents and entering them into a prize draw for helping to keep the county clean.
The day of action, which took place just before Christmas, was organised by Keep Wales Tidy in local authorities across Wales.
The aim of the operation was to raise awareness of litter issues and encourage people to look after the environment in which they live.
Debbie Davies, from Meidrim, won a £15 shopping voucher from the council, whilst Llandysul resident Amanda Labram won a £75 shopping voucher in the all-Wales draw, courtesy of Keep Wales Tidy.
Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “Carmarthenshire was one of a number of authorities that took part in ‘Operation Christmas Spirit’, organised by Keep Wales Tidy.
“As well as fining those people tha…

Carmarthenshire staff on standby for more severe weather

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Carmarthenshire Council highways crews will be on standby over the weekend as severe weather could cause disruption across the county.
A combination of high tides, a positive surge, strong winds and large waves could lead to minor coastal flooding, particularly on Saturday.
Properties and communities in coastal locations may be affected; disruption to travel is possible as well as further damage to previously compromised flood defence infrastructure.
Sandbags have been delivered to areas affected by the New Year storms including Llangennech, Llansteffan, Laugharne, Llanddowror and Pendine.
Some remedial works have been carried out along the Llanelli coast and the existing flood defence boards at Pendine have been reinforced and backed by a wall of sandbags.
A temporary pump also continues to be on site at Llansteffan.
Crews will be on standby in the event of road closures at the above locations, as well as the Quayside in Carmarthen.
Householders are being reminded that sandbags are supplie…

Photocall time for Kevin Green and Sue Poole

Some smashing pictures here from a photocall organised by Gower College Swansea.
The photos feature social entrepreneur Kevin Green and Sue Poole, director of the Entrepreneurship Academy Wales.
You can read more about the story behind the photocall -
http://sirgarblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/academy-director-helping-to-shape.html
Hats off to the photographer -


Businesswoman Sarah launches Welshcakes with a difference

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Businesswoman Sarah Jones has launched a range of Welshcakes with a difference – with support and advice from Dewis Menter.
‘Blasus Welshcakes with a Twist’ are produced in a variety of different flavours from the traditional cake to Chocolate Chip, Pecan and Toffee, Lemon and Poppy Seed, Baileys, Chocolate and Orange, the varieties are endless.
Sarah is the proprietor of Foodies Catering Company which offers quality buffet service to local businesses.
An experienced caterer, she previously owned a catering retail outlet in the centre of Carmarthen town supplying a variety of hot and cold take away foods to local businesses and customers.
Lesley Lewis, Business Development Officer working with the project Dewis Menter, was able to assist Sarah and her new business venture by supporting with marketing mentor, website mentor and assistance with the Local Investment Fund grant to purchase additional commercial catering equipment developing the business.
For more information contact www.…

Big Ideas Wales Bootcamp at Bluestone is a big success

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Burry Port-based social entrepreneur Kevin Green had a wonderful weekend on the Big Ideas Wales Bootcamp at Bluestone resort in Pembrokeshire. He said: "It was a 'full on' weekend helping inspire the next generation of Welsh entrepreneurs. Here is a Welsh Government press release which gives you an idea of what it was all about . . . "

Big Ideas inspire Wales's next top young entrepreneurs
An intense weekend of inspiration, ideas and business planning has kicked off the Welsh Government's Big Ideas Wales Challenge, with 45 young people, drawn from all four corners of Wales, given the chance to become Wales's next top entrepreneurs.
Hand picked from a series of auditions throughout Wales, the young people aged between 16 and 24 years of age got together for the first time last weekend in a bootcamp at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire to thrash out their big business ideas with entrepreneurs and business experts.
"The bootcamp confirmed …

Dewis Menter helps reflexologist Lesley establish business

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Dewis Menter has helped recently-qualified clinical reflexologist Lesley Davies establish her successful business at her home in Llangadog.
“I’m naturally a people person, and clinical reflexology offers me the perfect opportunity to help people rebalance their lives, often helping them through some tough times.”
Whilst undertaking research for her business plan, Lesley read in the Carmarthenshire News about the advice and support offered to small businesses by Dewis Menter.
“Their advice on social media and digital marketing has been invaluable,” she added.
Lesley Davies can be contacted at (T: 01550 777128 M: 07896554283 E:LesleyLouiseReflexology@aol.com)
The first treatment will normally take an hour and a half, which includes a consultation to complete a comprehensive and confidential health and well-being questionnaire.

Aqua Dragons project helps children learn to swim

A new wave in teaching swimming has been rolled out in Carmarthenshire leisure centres. Aqua Passport is an interactive website that helps keep school age children interested in swimming by diving into the imaginary world of the Aqua Dragons, play games and see their progress turn into online trophies.
Forming part of the Learn to Swim scheme, it also gives parents the opportunity to track their child’s progress in the pool online.
The aim is to help children develop into competent swimmers with an understanding of water safety and personal survival skills.
Executive board member for regeneration and leisure, Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “It’s so important that children learn to swim at a young age and it’s an essential life skill. The programme is fun and keeps children motivated throughout their swimming journey. Each child builds their own dragon and as their swimming skills improve they are able to develop it further.
“Children who are on the Learn to Swim scheme are automatically …

Two smokers fined for dropping cigarette ends in Carmarthenshire

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Another two people have been fined by Carmarthenshire council environmental enforcement officers for dropping cigarette ends.
The first offence was in Carmarthen Street in Llandeilo and the second in Ammanford’s Tesco car park.
Both women were issued with fixed penalty notices for £75 for dropping litter.
Failure to pay could result in prosecution in the magistrates court and a maximum fine of up to £2,500.
The council has a zero tolerance policy on litter and figures show that around 83% of all litter found on county streets is smoking-related.
Cigarette ends make an area look untidy; they are also very difficult and costly to clean up as they fall into grates and cracks in the pavement making them almost impossible to remove by normal cleaning methods.
Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “Dropping litter is against the law. Many people do not think of cigarette ends as litter, but they are no different from throwing away any other sort of ru…

Jonathan Davies named Carmarthenshire Sports Personality of the Year

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British Lions and Scarlets star Jonathan Davies was among the winners at the Carmarthenshire Sports Personality Awards last night.
At a glittering ceremony at the Stradey Park Hotel 12 sporting heroes from across the county were honoured at the 16th annual event.
Davies was named Sports Personality of the Year for his outstanding achievements during 2013 which included helping secure the Welsh rugby team RBS Six Nations Champions title by playing in all five matches, followed by his selection for the British and Irish Lions where he played in seven matches, scoring three tries.
Eleven other sporting talents were recognised including Young Sportswoman of the Year, Nikara Jenkins for rhythmic gymnastics; Young Sportsman of the Year, Joe Holt for cycling; Sports Volunteer of the Year, Colette James for gymnastics; Young Volunteer of the Year, joint winners Nia Jones for hockey and Nathan Jones for athletics; Community Sport Coach of the Year, Mike Davies for golf; High Performance Coach of …

Ammanford woman's delight at council bathroom improvements

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An Ammanford woman has spoken of her joy at having a new wet room installed in her home as part of the Carmarthenshire Homes Standard.
Ann Jones, of Nantlais, Ammanford, said using the bathroom is now much easier following the work carried out by Carmarthenshire County Council as part of its £203million CHS programme.
The 65-year-old grandmother also had a new kitchen installed at her home, as well as having her electrics re-wired.
“I’ve had a new wet room shower with nice new flooring,” she said. “It’s much easier to use the new shower, as I was having problems getting in and out of the bath – it’s easier and better now.
“I’ve also had a lovely new kitchen put in and re-wiring has been carried out. The property is warmer and it is good psychologically to have a boost in morale, to have a new kitchen and bathroom.
“The work carried out is lovely.”
The Carmarthenshire Homes Standard programme is now over 70 per cent complete, with many of the work programmes – including windows and doors, ca…

Workways project helps get Mark back into work after 14 years jobless

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A Llanelli man has transformed his life after being helped to get his first job in 14 years.
Mark Simlett had been the sole carer for both his parents for many years, and after his father’s death continued to care for his mother.
When his mother passed away in 2009, Mark was hit hard.
He said: “For a long time I was very lost. Looking back, it was a scary place to be – I had to dig deep to get through each day.”
Despite his best efforts to gain stability by finding employment, 54-year-old Mark had been out of work for so long he was unable to get any job interviews.
As a result, he turned to Workways for support and thanks to them has now secured two cleaning jobs – one with CBSA for Business and Social Action and one with Five Roads Primary School.
South West Workways, an EU-backed employment project, helped Mark through a confidence building course; training and CV assistance; support to search for job vacancies, and access to a paid temporary job which gave him the vital experience need…

Llanelli man jailed for eight months for counterfeiting DVDs

A Llanelli man has been jailed for eight months and ordered to hand over £71,000 he made from counterfeiting DVDs.
Nigel Thomas appeared at Swansea Crown for sentencing and for the imposition of a Proceeds of Crime Act order, having previously pleaded guilty to an offence of participating in a fraudulent business and eight offences of unauthorised possession of counterfeit goods.
The prosecution was brought by Carmarthenshire County Council Trading Standards Service and there was also a claim for £71,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Susan Ferrier, prosecuting, said the offences came to light as a result of the Federation against Copyright Theft becoming aware of certain activities and alerting Trading Standards. In September 2011 the defendant’s home in Bury Street, Llanelli, was searched by Trading Standards Officers assisted by police and FACT officers.
She said: “There was a quite sophisticated operation in the house. There was well organised counterfeiting and the kitchen and bedr…

Carmarthenshire’s Leader supports new arts project for Llanelli

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Carmarthenshire’s Leader has given his full support to a new arts project for Llanelli.
Cllr Kevin Madge said the plans by the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust would be a valuable contribution to the regeneration of the area.
The Trust was set up in 2011 with the aim of restoring the shed and bringing it back into use for the benefit of the community.
The shed, which is one of the few remaining examples of its kind in the country, serves as a reminder of Llanelli's heyday as an industrial centre.
The building and surrounding land is large enough to accommodate a mix of uses.
Cllr Madge said: “The building, which was erected in 1875, is large enough to accommodate an area in which to celebrate its unique history, together with the industrial heritage of Llanelli.
“The project will therefore incorporate a heritage area, linked to a cafe area, which can be used by groups such as school parties, as well as individual users of the centre.
“This in turn could be part of a trail incorporating …

Ammanford builder fined for driveway work

An Ammanford builder has been fined and ordered to pay compensation to a woman for a driveway that was unfit to park a car on.
Peter Roberts, pleaded guilty to two offences that trading as P. Roberts Building & Roofing Contractor, he carried out work on a driveway at the woman’s home in Tycroes that was exceptionally poor, patently sub-standard and not fit for purpose, and that he omitted to provide the customer with written documentation informing her of her legal right to cancel the contract within the seven day ‘cooling off’ period.
Carmarthenshire County Council Trading Standards Service brought the prosecution under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 at Carmarthen Magistrates Court.
Kelly Byrne, prosecuting, said the householder paid £1,800 for the work but when it dried she realised the surface was poor and it began to crumble. A qualified surveyor said the work was substandard and would not support the weight of a car for long.
David Williams, for 69-y…

Council looks at £7m investment in new Llanelli care facility

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Carmarthenshire county Council is looking to invest £7million in a new care facility for older people in Llanelli.
The development forms part of the council’s capital investment programme to update and improve care provision in Carmarthenshire.
The facility would provide state-of-the-art care for the people of Llanelli, and would be developed to replace existing outdated care homes.
One such care home is St Paul’s, where facilities – whilst meeting statutory requirements – cannot meet the modern day requirements of people in need of residential care.
At present, St Paul’s has 20 beds, with only seven permanent residents – a situation that has not improved since 2010 when the council first discussed closing the facility.
The closure would allow significant funding to be allocated to the proposed new care home, the plans for which would otherwise be jeopardised.
Cllr Jane Tremlett, Executive Board Member for Health and Social Care, said: “We have invested heavily in care facilities across the…

Investment in Carmarthenshire coastal defences pays dividends

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Investment in coastal defences along Carmarthenshire’s coastline in recent years prevented significant damage in the early January storms.
That was the view expressed to Mid and West Wales Labour AM Joyce Watson when she discussed the effects of the recent storms at a meeting with senior council officers and coastal defence experts at Llanelli’s Discovery Centre.
Mrs Watson had visited other storm damaged areas and was particularly concerned at the effect on rail passengers and Milford Haven oil freight deliveries with line closures caused by storm damage to main railway lines at Pwll and Ferryside.
Carmarthenshire’s consultant coastal protection engineer, Howard Blackwell, explained that the threats to Llanelli’s coast - by rising tides and combinations of storm-driven Spring tides - has been the subject of a detailed survey that has been ongoing for 10 years.
Mrs Watson said:“I am very grateful to Mr Blackwell and councillor Peter Cooper for taking the time to show me around some of th…

Academy Director helping to shape the future of Entrepreneurship in Wales

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Press release from Gower College Swansea:

A new national panel, charged with advising the Welsh Government on the entrepreneurship agenda in Wales, will include Gower College Swansea’s Sue Poole, academy director of the Entrepreneurship Academy Wales and its ambassador, Kevin Green.
Both Sue, who is the enterprise education manager at Gower College Swansea, and Kevin, a local entrepreneur and property developer, who appeared on Channel 4’s ‘The Secret Millionaire’, will play a valuable role on the panel, offering strategic guidance to the Welsh Government in its aim to promote a ‘can do’ attitude towards entrepreneurship throughout society – ensuring that it is a key focus for individuals from a young age.
Speaking of her new appointment on the panel, Sue said: “I’m extremely honoured to have been given this opportunity to work closely with such well-respected professionals. I have known all of the other panel members personally for some time, each of whom offers their own unique skil…

The latest 'On Song' column from the Llanelli Star

The latest 'On Song' column from the Llanelli Star - 

Côr Meibion Llanelli choristers have received a very special invitation to Austria as part of the choir’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
The choir will be travelling to Salzburg in November for a concert in the city.
They will also be performing at nearby Oberndorf, the birthplace of the Christmas Carol Silent Night.
“It’s a wonderful honour for the choir,” said Côr Meibion Llanelli musical director Eifion Thomas.
“Our 50th anniversary year will be full of memorable occasions, but the trip to Austria promises to be an extra-special highlight.
“Oberndorf is known the world over as the birthplace of Silent Night, a composition by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr. It is wonderful to think that Côr Meibion Llanelli will be singing Silent Night in the town where it was first performed.”
Mr Thomas added: “Our concert schedule for our 50th anniversary year is filling up rapidly and this promises to be a great year for choir members.
“We are a…

Information pack now available to Carmarthenshire sporting organisations and local councils

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An information pack has been put together so that sporting organisations and town and community councils and have a greater understanding of the options for Carmarthenshire’s sporting assets.
The county council is seeking to ‘gift’ sporting pitches, parks and playgrounds to communities so that they can be locally-managed and developed with grant funding.
Such a move would protect facilities and give local people more control, whilst helping address the inequality over sporting assets where some look after themselves and others rely on the council to subsidise their costs.
Currently, the council maintains fewer than 60 sporting clubs at an annual cost of around £341,000, and is only able to bring in £77,000 from charges – leaving a £264,000 deficit that it can no longer afford to subsidise.
The pack fully explains the council’s position, and provides detailed information about the steps community councils and organisations can take to protect the facilities they use, as well as answering s…

Llanelli Rotarians hear about Tom's week on the streets of London

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Autism campaigner Tom Nasmyth-Shaw was the guest speaker at the weekly meeting of Llanelli Rotary Club held at the Stradey Park Hotel. Tom explained about his "life-changing" experience sleeping on the streets of London for a week to help families affected by autism.
Tom, from Burry Port, decided to sleep rough in the capital to support the cause after his four-year-old son Jack was diagnosed with autism.
After months of fund-raising, Tom jumped on a Paddington-bound train armed with just warm clothes, his phone, a stab vest, and a sleeping bag.
He told Rotarians: The experience was mentally draining and overwhelming. There were a couple of times when I wanted to give up, but I didn't."
During the week living rough on the streets of London, Tom kept a blog and tweeted about his experiences.
It was his first night that proved to be the most dramatic. After bedding down in a doorway in Victoria, Tom had a rude awakening by a man standing over him. The conversation took a n…

Llanelli sheltered tenants enjoy their new TV

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Tenants at Dafen’s Clos Llanfihangel Sheltered Scheme have been enjoying their Christmas present from the council – a brand new flat-screen TV for their communal lounge.
The TV was delivered just before the festivities, meaning that tenants were able to enjoy all the Christmas specials.
They are now planning to build film nights and sports specials in to their events programme.
Cllr Tegwen Devichand, Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “I was delighted to arrange for a television to be installed at Clos Llanfihangel. I know how much the tenants enjoy getting together, and this is another excuse to gather in the communal lounge and socialise.”
Carmarthenshire County Council operates 21 Sheltered Schemes across the county.
Whilst offering older people the independence they desire, with every self-contained flat having its own front door – they also benefit from 24-hour emergency cover via Careline and secure door entry systems for extra peace of mind.
Communal facilities, such as a sha…

Replica of poet Dylan's writing shed goes on tour

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A replica of Dylan Thomas’s iconic writing shed in Laugharne is to tour the UK as part of the DT100 celebrations.
The bespoke replica of Dylan’s shed even has the curled pictures on the walls and the view over the estuary. It will be popping up at places and events across the country, including the Hay Festival, the Royal Welsh Show and the National Eisteddfod. It is one of many features and events to celebrate DT100 – the 100th year of the anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas, Wales’s most famous bard.
Visitors to the shed will be encouraged to make up a new word which will be published in a Dictionary of Dylan, in honour of his love of words. Writer in residence Emily Hinshelwood will tweet and blog words of the week, and run short workshops from the shed.
Other activities are planned for the festival which will celebrate the life and work of the famous bard. They will include events in Laugharne, home of the Boathouse and Writing Shed made famous by Dylan. The Boathouse itself wi…

Narberth A Cappella Voice Festival returns for its sixth year

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Less than a month to go...
Narberth A Cappella Voice Festival returns for its sixth year on February 21.
The only a cappella festival in Wales celebrates the diversity of singing without instruments (‘a cappella’ – an Italian phrase).
Hundreds of people flock from all over the UK every year for three days of the world’s foremost singers and practitioners, who perform live and run a diverse range of workshops too.
This year’s festival is larger and more diverse than ever before: extraordinary singers of real pedigree perform alongside an international line-up that includes flamenco divas,Welsh-language stars, and everything from Trinidadian folk to calypso and Indian film music, not to mention an enormous communal choir.
In a triumph for the festival, curators of the London A Cappella Festival and internationally-acclaimed vocal group The Swingle Singers will be headlining the festival. Legendary in the world of a cappella singing, the group are celebrating their50th anniversary.
Also…

Age Cymru Sir Gâr looking for silver surfers

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Age Cymru Sir Gâr is running a laptop loan scheme for housebound older people to help them shop for groceries, stay in touch and generally benefit from surfing the net. The charity need more volunteers to help meet the demand for this service. You don’t have to be an expert, but if you can surf the net, know how to shop online and use e-mail you could support another person to do the same.
If you are interested in volunteering for this service – travel expenses are paid and guidance and support to help our clients is provided.
For more information about volunteering for this service or any of our other services, please contact Peter McIlroy at Age Cymru Sir Gâr on 01554 784080 or e-mail him at p.mcilroy@agecymrusirgar.org.uk or visit our website www.agecymru.org.uk/sirgar for more information on volunteering with Age Cymru Sir Gâr.

New Director of Training appointed at Beer Academy

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The Beer Academy has appointed Alex Barlow as its Director of Training and Chief Examiner to replace George Philliskirk who retires after nine years with the organisation.
Simon Jackson Beer Academy Director said “Under George’s stewardship the Beer Academy has established itself as one of the World’s most respected providers of Beer Education and he was always going to be a very tough act to follow.
"I am delighted that Alex has agreed to take up the mantle. His career as a Master Brewer, brand manager for a number major beer brands and independent brewing consultant makes him uniquely qualified for the role. Developing compelling beer training requires not only state of the art technical knowledge but also tip top communication skills. Alex has both in abundance.”
Alex Barlow said “Too many people still think that beer is a rather boring commodity that all tastes the same. Nothing can be further from the truth. It’s the most fascinating drink in the world. Companies tha…

Aberystwyth students signed up by major UK publishers

Two postgraduate students in the Department of English and Creative Writing have been signed by major UK publishers.
Current PhD Creative Writing student Eliza Granville’s novel, Gretel and the Dark, will be published by Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin, on 6th February 2014 and is a literary novel which takes its inspirations from Grimm’s fairytales.
Kate Hamer, who has just completed an MA in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth, has been signed to Faber in a two book deal. Kate’s first novel, The Girl in the Red Coat, will be published in spring 2015.
Kate’s book began life as a piece of coursework for her MA Creative Writing, which provides intensive, practical training in the craft of writing, and the publishing industry.
The novel tells the story of Carmel, a young girl, and her mother. When Carmel goes missing one day at a festival, both mother and daughter embark on their own individual terrifying journeys, in a mystery with undertones of a fairy tale.
Kate, who grew up in Pem…

Rugby legend Delme Thomas enjoys a cake and a 'clonc'!

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Llanelli Scarlets and British and Irish Lions rugby legend Delme Thomas agrees that a cup of tea is always welcome as he chats with Dyfrig Davies (centre) and the Reverend Huw George at Blaenconin Chapel’s recent Cymdeithas Cacen a Chlonc (cake and 'clonc' chat society) social event in Llandysilio. During the lively function, Delme regaled his large audience with a host of interesting insights, from his much acclaimed rugby career.

'Have A Go' event at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli

Communities First are holding a free Have a Go event next Thursday (January 30) in Y Ffwrnes, Llanelli, from 3–6.30pm.
At the event, Coleg Sir Gar will be holding short Have a Go sessions on Hair, Beauty, Catering & Hospitality, Sports, Carpentry, Engineering, Business, Retail, Interior Design, Care, IT and Performance and creative industries.
There will also be stands from partners offering skills, training and employment information and Communities First will be signing people up for free short introduction training courses which are running in the weeks following the event.
This event is open to all ages who are looking for information on furthering skills, information on training courses, employment information or who are looking for a change in career.
For more information contact the team via email communitiesfirst@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or phone 01554 784847.

Shortlist announced for Carmarthenshire Sports Personality Awards

A host of Carmarthenshire’s top sporting talents have been shortlisted for this year’s Carmarthenshire Sports Personality Awards.
Thirty seven of the county’s best are up for 12 awards to be announced at a gala evening on January 29 at The Stradey Park Hotel.
In its 16th year the event recognises the sporting achievements of athletes, coaches and volunteers across Carmarthenshire.
The awards are organised by Carmarthenshire Council's sports development unit in partnership with the Carmarthenshire Local Sports Council.
Executive board member for regeneration and leisure, Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “The quality of entries received this year reflects the wealth of sporting talent we have here in Carmarthenshire. The judging panel had a difficult task in selecting finalists as the standard of entries received this year has been exceptional. It’s important we recognise and reward those athletes, coaches and volunteers who achieve and who contribute to the continued success of sport in the c…

Carmarthenshire Leader visits Army recruiting clinic

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The Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council has visited a clinic recruiting for the Army Reserve.
Cllr Kevin Madge called in at the new Monday morning clinic at Ammanford Jobcentre Plus.
Sergeant Mark Rees and Lance Corporal Clayton Gibbons of 224 Squadron Pembroke Yeomanry based in Carmarthen are holding the weekly clinics from 9.30am-12.30pm.
Sergeant Rees explained that unemployed people could spend up to 16 hours a week as Reservists without losing entitlement to benefit and would have the opportunity to learn useful skills.
He said: “We have set up the clinic so that we are reaching out to the community. We are recruiting for the Reserves, the rebranded Territorial Army, from 18 to 42 years of age.
“We can offer the chance to be paid to do your car, lorry or fork lift driving licence.”
Jobcentre Plus Armed Forces Liaison Officer for the South West Wales District Chris Clark said: “Jobcentre Plus works closely with the armed forces recruitment officers to help our local custome…

Carmarthenshire residents applauded for recycling efforts

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Householders in Carmarthen have increased the amount of rubbish they are recycling.
Recycling advisors have been knocking on doors in the Park Hall, Belvedere Avenue and Tanerdy areas to encourage people to recycle as much of their rubbish as possible.
It followed a monitoring exercise to find out how many residents were using their food bins and putting out blue bags.
As well as offering help and advice to residents, replacement food bins and more blue bags were provided if needed, as well as information booklets and collection calendars.
It has led to an 11% increase in the recycling /composting rate in the Park Hall, Belvedere Avenue and Tanerdy areas.
Recycling Advisor Geinor Lewis said: “By talking to residents we can sort out any issues they may have. From something as simple as not having a green food bin to not knowing when their collection day is or just by explaining how the scheme works and why it is important that we all take part.”
As an incentive to take part in the rec…

Llanelli homework clubs prove a big hit

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Carmarthenshire school children are having fun doing their homework thanks to a new venture.
Homework clubs piloted at Carmarthenshire County Council Libraries in partnership with Communities First are providing a safe and welcoming environment in which young people can complete their homework.
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. Staff are on hand to offer advice, but do not provide subject tuition.
Jessica Price, 10, said: "I enjoyed homework club, because I got my homework done and it was fun".
Carmarthenshire Libraries and Communities First are hoping to extend the homework club throughout the year and to other library locations.
Communities First Family Learning Worker, Emma Wood, said: “We feel the homework club was successful because children mentioned that they found it more interesting completing their work in a …

Carmarthen taxi firm driver fined £400

A Carmarthen taxi firm owner has been fined £400 for driving one of his own vehicles when he was no longer a licensed driver.
Stephen Paul Dunn, of Steve’s Taxis in Carmarthen, was licensed as a driver by Carmarthenshire County Council until March last year.
Carmarthen Magistrates Court was told that on May 24 last year, after receiving an allegation that Mr Dunn had been seen driving a Hackney Carriage, officers hand delivered a letter to Mr Dunn and told him verbally that as he was no longer a licensed driver, he could not drive a hackney Carriage Vehicle at any time.
Mr Dunn was also informed that should he drive a Hackney Carriage without a Taxi driver’s licence, he would be liable to prosecution.
Then on June 12 Mr Dunn was seen by a council licensing officer at Lesneven Bridge, Carmarthen, driving a Hackney Carriage with a passenger in the vehicle.
He was prosecuted by the county council for an offence under Section 47 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847.
Magistrates convicted …

Investment in Dolaucothi gold mines will help visitors

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The National Trust’s Dolaucothi Goldmines have been busy installing new interpretation panels, audio guides and video material to promote the historical significance of the site and encourage exploration of the estate.
Site Manager, Steve Thomas said: “These developments will add to the visitor experience and add to the emotional impact by revealing the individual stories of miners.
“The innovative use of conventional and digital technologies has enhanced the fascinating history of Dolaucothi Gold Mines and will make a visit to the mine even more interesting.”
Dolaucothi received funding from RDP Sir Gâr’s Landscape and Heritage Grant for their improvement project. The Landscape and Heritage grant, delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council’s Tywi Centre, aims to support projects that promote the area’s cultural distinctiveness. It is funded by the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007 -2013 which is funded by the Welsh Government and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development an…