Showing posts from February 2, 2014

Carmarthenshire to host first bicycle beach race in the UK

The first ever bicycle beach race in the UK will be staged at Cefn Sidan, and Pembrey Country Park.
Entries for Howies Battle on the Beach – being held on March 16 - went on sale on January 1 and sold out in just three days.
Riders will have to negotiate the former military railway tracks, ride through old tunnels and round pillboxes in an area steeped in history and dating back more than 100 years, with the creation of the Nobel Powder works at Pembrey.
Set against the spectacular backdrop of Gower Peninsula and the coastal scenery of Carmarthen Bay, Battle on the Beach is open to all off-road bicycles. It has already attracted 300 riders from across Europe and all corners of the UK.
Executive Board Member for leisure service, Cllr Meryl Gravell, said: “It is tremendous that Battle on the Beach has been attracted to our wonderful park which continues to show its diversity for holding all kinds of events throughout the year.
“I am even more enthused that the event is being promoted by one …

Mynydd y Betws Community Benefit Fund grants handed out

A total of 33 community organisations in the Amman Valley have a spring in their step thanks to the Mynydd y Betws Community Benefit Fund.
Grants worth more than £600,000 have been awarded for various community projects across the eligible 10 wards.
The benefits to the local community will be through improved parks and play areas, gateway enhancement projects, facility improvements, youth performance equipment and a variety of cultural projects.
One local organisation to benefit is Amman Valley and District Branch of the Pony Club, which has had a grant of about £27,000 to put down a new riding surface.
Gaynor Rooke, District Commissioner of the club, which caters for children and young people from the age of 4-24, said: “The grant is to put down a new surface for riding on, so that we can do more competitions at the clubhouse. It’s a major project.”
The fund has also been able to support ISmooth, a local social enterprise that offer skills and training to people with learning difficulties…

Welsh-born author Carol Lee ready to launch latest book

The road back to a parent’s house is the central journey Welsh-born author Carol Lee portrays in Out of Winter, following news of her father’s sudden illness.
Over the next two and a half years, the M4 becomes familiar territory as she travels from her London flat to Carmarthenshire, where her English father and Welsh mother have settled in their retirement.
The experience of long-distance care is shared by many and, in this candid portrayal of family life, Carol writes of the conflicting emotions of being an adult ‘child’.
Long journeys to visit the village near Llanelli where she was born find her a mass of conflicting emotions, guilt and anger among them.
Part of her conflict is mirrored by her parents’ difficult marriage, which both she and her brother retreated from. In returning to care for her mother and father, she feels ‘stretched along the motorway, as if I had a Welsh heart and an English head. Always a piece of me left behind.’
But, in Out of Winter, Carol re-examines her…

Carmarthenshire councillors tour regeneration projects

Two senior councillors responsible for rural affairs and economic development have been touring the county to see the work being done to boost the economy and regenerate communities.
The new executive board member for rural affairs Cllr Jim Jones and the executive board member for regeneration and leisure Cllr Meryl Gravell have visited the Ceridwen Centre, Pen-y-banc Farm, Drefach, Felindre; Y Ganolfan, Capel Iwan; and Beacon Stoves in Capel Iwan, and more recently Eagle Signs in St Clears, Red Roses Community Hall, The Gate in St Clears, and to see improvements being carried out in Pendine and Laugharne.
Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “These visits have given us the opportunity to see how grant funding accessed through the county council is being used both to help local businesses such as Beacon Stoves to further develop.”
Cllr Jim Jones said: “I have appreciated the chance to see how work such as the upgrading of Pendine Promenade can encourage tourism and boost the rural economy.”

The Rural…

Carmarthenshire celebrates National Libraries Day

A range of activities are taking place across the county’s libraries to celebrate National Libraries Day.
Carmarthenshire County Council librarians in Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford are calling on locals to show that they love their local library this Saturday (February 8) as part of the nationwide celebration.
Children will be challenged to find the hidden characters such as “Where’s Wally” and “Find a Library Cat” in a free, fun treasure hunt. Follow the clues to find that golden ticket.
Prizes up for grabs include Scarlets tickets, theatre tickets, book tokens, free family swims and free dvd rentals.
The aim of the day is to encourage people to visit their local library and discover the wide range of services on offer, and for regular users to encourage their friends and family members to make use of libraries services.
Cllr Meryl Gravell, Executive Board Member with responsibility for libraries said: “National Libraries Day is a celebration of what is great about our librarie…

Dewis Menter offers business advice

Dewis Menter offers free advice and guidance to individuals who want to start their own business.
It also supports existing businesses to identify and implement opportunities for growth and development.
Along with one- to-one support from Business Development Officers Lesley Lewis and Barry Hale, the project has a team of mentors from the various business sectors and holds events and workshops throughout rural Carmarthenshire.
The Dewis Menter team can be contacted on 01267 242429 or
*This project has been funded by the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded through the Welsh Government and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

West Wales legal hub idea launched by Red Kite

Law firm Red Kite is looking at establishing innovative new partnerships with smaller law firms in West Wales.
Red Kite Law is drawing up a feasibility study for a West Wales legal hub, following attempts to establish similar networks in other parts of Wales.
“Legal hub networks are a recent innovation in the legal world,” said Red Kite Law partner David Sangster, pictured above.
“As a go-ahead law firm, we always like to be in the vanguard of new innovations and this legal hub network idea could provide a big plus for smaller law firms in West Wales.
“No longer will they have to risk losing clients to bigger firms outside West Wales if they are asked to do work outside their skill set.
“For example, smaller law firms can join a hub operated by Red Kite Law, refer the work they can’t do to Red Kite Law and benefit from referral fees, safe in the knowledge that the client will be returned to them with a smile!
“We are fortunate in already having good relationships with many West Wales law …

Carmarthen teenagers ditch textbooks for dumb-bells

For an hour a day these two Carmarthen teenagers ditch their school books for dumb-bells.
Sixth form students Rhys Jenkins and James Bryan use some of their free lesson time to work out in the gym in a bid to keep fit and healthy.
Four times a week the 16-year-old QE High School pupils make the journey to the health club in Carmarthen Leisure Centre.
Rhys, who plays for rugby team Carmarthen Quins and James for Carmarthen Athletics, say being active helps them stay in shape, keeps them off the streets and gives them a longer life expectancy.
The pair also enjoy to train after school and work up a sweat in fitness classes Kettlebells and Funky Pump. As well as training both follow a healthy eating plan.
Rhys said: “Working out gives you the feel good factor and helps you stay fit and healthy. It also gives you a longer life expectancy and helps keeps me motivated having something to work for.”
Rhys’s eating plan includes plenty of protein such as chicken, tuna and salmon accompanied by salad…

Sign language comedy show is a 'first' in Wales

Did you hear the one about the two comedians who tried to tell jokes to the town’s deaf club? No? Well, you’re about to.
In what is expected to be a ‘Welsh first’ comedians Phil Evans and Daniel Glyn are staging a show with live sign language for the deaf and hard of hearing.
“It sounds impossible,” said Phil, who is famous for his promotion of the Welsh ‘cwtsh’ (hug).
“But laughter is for everyone and we’ve always been determined to reach the parts other comedians fail to reach.
“We believe we are the first comedians in Wales to try this idea – a live laugh-a-minute show with sign language, a treat which makes sure everyone gets the joke!”
The Comedy and Cwtshes event takes place at The Diplomat Hotel, Llanelli, on Saturday, February 22.

The sign language support will be provided by Sarah Williams.
She said: “I’ve been ‘Signing’ from the age of three. This was due to a wonderful and special lady in our lives, who was my grandmother and was born deaf. She taught me so much and I learned a …

Debt advice for Carmarthenshire residents

Carmarthenshire residents are being urged by Trading Standards to seek advice if they have overspent at Christmas and got into financial difficulties.
Trading Standards officers warn that Christmas puts a great strain on the family budget. There is enormous pressure on everyone to spend a lot on presents and entertaining, and as the credit card bills arrive in the New Year, people will start to feel the effects of having missed payments on essential bills to fund the festive season.
Trading Standards' advice to residents who find themselves in financial difficulties is to contact the Carmarthenshire Citizens' Advice Bureau, in the first instance, and ask to speak to an expert who can give them specialist advice in relation to Debt on: 01267 231275 Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9 am to 4pm.

Costumes job fits the bill for Daniella

Daniella Diana is starting an apprenticeship in Costume and Wardrobe after a spell of work experience at a Llanelli-based firm.
The 24-year-old was employed by Costumes to Go at Delta Lakes through Jobs Growth Wales before being taken on as a Creative Apprentice.
Costumes to Go, co-founded by Maureen Rhys and Deborah Barron, offers a complete costume service from dressing whole theatre companies to providing a unique one-to-one bespoke design and making service.
Deborah said: “Daniella has studied textiles and was working in retail. We have had a very busy season which has included expansion into a second unit – Dani is coping really well and contributes significantly to the day to day running of Costumes To Go.”
Daniella said: “It has definitely given me experience and improved my skills. I do a variety of tasks from sewing to assisting to set up show hires.”

Latest special offers from the Jenkins Bakery

Website -

Special offers of accommodation for the Dylan Thomas 100 festival

Special offers of accommodation for the Dylan Thomas 100 festival in April are now available on
The Dylan Thomas 100 festival is a year-long festival celebrating the birth of Dylan Thomas with a variety of special events running across South West Wales during 2014. Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Swansea Councils are involved under the umbrella of the Welsh Government.
Carmarthenshire events are centred on the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne, where Dylan wrote many of his most influential and important works and also across the whole of Carmarthenshire where Dylan found the inspiration for the many works he wrote about Carmarthenshire including such favourites as “Fernhill”, “Poem in October” and even his most influential work “Under Milk Wood”.
This April will see the literary glitterati descend on Laugharne for the return of the well established and highly regarded Laugharne Weekend Festival, but will also see a further Laugharne Weekend festival in …

Food waste diary wins Dinah a prize

Carmarthenshire resident Dinah Guilfoyle has won a food mixer for filling in a food waste diary for a week.
Any food wasted by the Guilfoyle family, from Nantyffin, near Brechfa, is given to their chickens to eat, put into their compost bin, or put out for collection by the council.
The prize draw was held by the council’s waste and recycling section as part of the European Week for Waste Reduction.
Residents were encouraged to fill in a food diary for a week to find out just how much food they throw away.
The aim was to show people just how much food they waste and what they can do to reduce it, saving money at the same time.
Mrs Guilfoyle, who is a keen recycler, said: “I don’t like to waste food anyway, my parents grew up during the war, so I am part of the ‘waste not, want not’ generation. If we do have any waste we feed it to the chickens or it goes in the compost bin, and if it can’t be composted at home then we put it out for the council’s food waste collection.”
Figures show that a…

Admiral - grown by 'Tipples' - wins the British Hop Competition

British hop growers and brewers gathered at the offices of Charles Faram Ltd near Malvern in Worcestershire for the unveiling of the results of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling’s annual British Hop Competition.
The competition dates back to 1944 and is judged by a panel of Master Brewers* who draw on their personal experience as Head Brewers to judge the quality of the hops. A total of 161 samples from the 2013 harvest were submitted to the competition.
The overall champion was a sample of the hop variety Admiral, grown by Frank Tipples of Harts Heath in Kent. The award was presented by Simon Jackson, Chief Executive of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.
Simon said: “The enormous interest in the years hop competition, with over 30% more entries than last year, reflects the growing interest and demand for British hops. The standard of entries was very high and the judges had their work cut out to choose a winner. The wining sample of Admiral was grown in Kent and was c…

Online scammers targetting Carmarthenshire dieters

Online scammers are trying to help dieters lose the wrong type of pounds - local residents are being warned.
Carmarthenshire County Council Trading Standards Service Manager Roger Edmunds said: “New Year's Resolutions often involve attempts to work off mince pies and lose weight.
“Scammers know this and have created pop-ups offering free trials on items like weight loss supplements while disguising contracts in amongst the fine print.
“After entering their card details to pay for the post and packaging, the scammers use these hidden contracts to regularly take sums of moneys from the victim's account.”
Councillor Jim Jones, Executive Board Member for Environmental and Public Protection services, said “Rather than pay for expensive weight loss supplements through an internet supplier and risk losing money from your bank account, why not visit your local leisure centre or one of the Council’s Fusion Health and Fitness Clubs? They’re safer, cheaper and you’ll feel a lot better for it…

Changes to bin collections days in Carmarthenshire

Some householders in the Llanelli, Burry Port and Gwendraeth areas are to be affected by a change in bin collection days.
The change will involve a small number of residents living in parts of the Tyisha, Lliedi, Hengoed, Glanymor and Bigyn wards of Llanelli as well as the Llangennech, Bryn, Llwynhendy, Bynea, Pwll, Burry Port, Cross Hands, Tumble and Pontyberem areas.
Not all households in these areas will change; those that are affected will receive a letter from the council with details of their new collection day.
The changes will come into force this week.
There are also some residents who will not experience a change of collection day, but may find their rubbish is collected at an earlier or later time.
People are therefore being reminded to make sure they place their blue / black bags and food bin out for collection before 6am.
The changes are due to a review of refuse/recycling rounds being carried out across the county to make the service more efficient.
Executive Board Memb…

Waste and tyre amnesty in Pontyberem

Residents in Pontyberem are being urged to have a good clear out and take advantage of a waste and tyre amnesty being held in the village.
The amnesty, organised by the council’s waste and recycling section and Tidy Towns, is taking place today, Wednesday, February 5, between 8am and 1pm at Pontyberem park.
Most household waste can be taken along including unwanted furniture, carpets and mattresses, electrical items such as fridge-freezers and televisions, garden waste and tyres (maximum 10 tyres per household / no tractor or lorry tyres).
However, paint, garden chemicals, car batteries, gas bottles, asbestos, construction and trade waste will not be accepted.
Residents that dispose of any waste items will also get a free bag of Merlin’s Magic Compost (while stocks last) courtesy of CWM Environmental Ltd.
Executive Board Member for Technical Services Cllr Colin Evans said: “The aim of the amnesty is to encourage people to recycle more and reduce fly-tipping. If people don’t have thei…

Work due to start on Cross Hands East Strategic Employment Site

Carmarthenshire County Council is ready to make a start on the Cross Hands East Strategic Employment Site this spring.
The local authority has now secured the necessary land to enable the implementation of the first phase of the development which will be able to accommodate 1,244 jobs.
Having pursued a Compulsory Purchase Order it has been confirmed that the council now has the necessary right to enter and develop the site.
It is now intended to commence with construction works in the spring with the construction process to progress for the duration of 2014 and reach a conclusion early 2015.
The employment site will cover 19 hectares with potential building floor space of 40,000sqm.
The current project aims to build the first phase of the entire site which includes: a new access road from the A48 to Black Lion Road and the preparation of five development plots.
The funding for the scheme is made up of £9m from the Welsh Government, including the Western Valleys Regeneration Area prog…

Love is in the air – and so is divorce!

It’s St Valentine’s Day on Friday, February 14, and love will be in the air for many. But there’s a flip side to all the romance – after the stresses and strains of Christmas and the New Year, this is also the season when minds turn to divorce.
Welsh law firm Red Kite Law has five top tips for those about to become part of the stark statistic which says 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce.
“It’s a surprising statistic for many,” said Catrin Griffiths, partner and head of the family department at Red Kite Law.
“Divorce is a daunting and emotional time, so we’ve put together a quick checklist which will help ease any potential pain –
Make sure you choose the right solicitor for you. Rapport is important. You need to be able to talk frankly to your solicitor at an emotional time.
Get early advice. Know your options before you make any decisions. For example, at Red Kite Law, we offer ‘fixed fee no obligation’ meetings and will guide you through the key issues to co…

Half-term fun boot camps for Carmarthenshire children

Half-term boot camps are being held across the county in a bid to keep children active.
The camps at Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford Leisure Centres play host to a hive of sporting activities suitable for eight to 12-year-olds.
Bizzy Bees playscheme is a fun packed five-day programme giving children an opportunity to experience a wide range of aquatic activities such as swimming, diving, snorkelling, canoeing and rookie lifeguarding.
Children will also be able to try their hand at cooking and arts and crafts. An afternoon of film is also included.
The programme delivered by trained activity leaders and coaches starts on Monday, February 24 - 28 from 8.30am-5.30pm. It caters for around 20 children with lunch included.
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Bizzy Bees has proved popular in the past and parents are being urged to book early to avoid disappointment.
Executive board member for regeneration and leisure, Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “The Bizzy Bees scheme provides an excellent opportunit…

New appeal on Carmarthenshire dog mess

Carmarthenshire householders are being asked to dispose of their dog mess carefully.
It follows concerns regarding dog faeces in black bags and the health and safety implications for refuse crews when loading the bags into the vehicles.
All faeces contains bacteria that can cause stomach upsets if ingested, however, the greatest risk from dog mess is toxocariasis – which can cause epilepsy, asthma and even blindness.
When out walking, residents are being reminded to carry dog mess bags with them and then use the number of litter bins dotted throughout the county.
If your dog goes in your garden, you could flush it down the toilet or you can now buy specially designed ‘doggy loos’. These work just like a bin, half buried in your garden, except that you never need to empty it, as natural processes then break the contents down and disperse them harmlessly into the soil.
If you do have to dispose of dog mess in your black bag – make sure it is double-wrapped, in small quantities only and mixed…

Reminder to Consumer Credit Licence holders

Carmarthenshire Trading Standards Service is reminding all Consumer Credit Licence holders in the county to re-register with the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) regulated this area for many years but with effect from April 1 this year control is passing to the FCA.
All existing credit licence holders MUST register by March 31, 2014; otherwise their license (and the right to offer credit etc) will lapse.
Trading Standards Service Manager Roger Edmunds said: “Although our remit is limited to the enforcement of the Consumer Credit Act - that is checking a trader has the correct license and so on - and not the application stages, we still think it prudent to remind traders in Carmarthenshire of the deadline.”
To find out more information about Trading Standards Services within Carmarthenshire please follow the link

Newcastle Emlyn’s Heritage Centre closer to completion

Newcastle Emlyn’s Heritage Centre is closer to completion with help from RDP Sir Gâr and grant support.
The Town Council received an Innovative Communities grant for improvements to the Cawdor Hall and Rural Community Inclusion funding to employ an officer.
A new audio trail in and around the town, funded by RDP Sir Gâr’s Landscape and Heritage grant, will also be linked to the Heritage Centre.
RDP Sir Gâr 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. For details on RDP Sir Gâr grants available call 01267 242366 or visit