Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Hedge laying a new path for Rhuddlan

Community groups have signed up to learn the traditional rural skill of hedgelaying to help transform a semi-derelict site in Rhuddlan into a brand new nature reserve.

Volunteers will spend 15 days working and learning the new skills with the help of a professional trainer alongside Denbighshire’s Countryside Service officers. More sessions on different rural skills will be held over the coming months in order to help promote real community participation – an aspect of the project which is a main priority for Denbighshire.


When finished, the project will see the semi-derelict site transformed into a tranquil nature reserve for everyone to enjoy. The plans, which were drawn up in full consultation with residents and interested parties, includes a wildflower meadow, habitat creation for wildlife such as water voles, nature trails, interpretation boards, ponds, a picnic area and viewing platform.


Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, Councillor Eryl Williams, said: “We want to ensure community involvement is at the forefront of this project. This will help to promote a sense of ownership and respect for the site and this will, in turn, help future sustainability of the reserve.”


The reserve, which is due to be completed in March, covers between six and seven acres and will form an attractive gateway for tourists coming to Rhuddlan. It will link up with nearby attractions such as Rhuddlan Castle and Twt Hill via the network of footpaths and cycle routes and will form part of a circular walk, which will also take in the town. Ensuring access for all, the reserve will be accessible for wheelchair users with well surfaced links to suitable car parking.


A management advisory group has been established to help guide the project and some funding has already been obtained through Denbighshire in partnership with Cadwyn Clwyd’s Rural Development Plan Fund and the Countrysiode Council for Wales Grant Scheme. The Council’s countryside officers are currently in negotiations with other agencies to help fund the rest of the project.


For more information or to get involved with the project, please contact
Denbighshire Countryside Service on 01745 356197.
read more... “Hedge laying a new path for Rhuddlan”


Tories raise Haverfordwest hospital fears

Part closures at Withybush’s A&E department and the writing off of £40 million worth of debt owed by the local health trust may be a worrying sign of things to come, say local Conservative politicians.

Health bosses have revealed that the casualty department at the Haverfordwest hospital may have to divert trauma patients overnight to other hospitals due to staff shortages.

Welsh Health Minister Edwina Hart has also decided to write off a £40 million debt racked up by the predecessors of the Hywel Dda NHS Trust.

She had agreed that if the new trust could balance its budget in its first year then the new
Hywel Dda Local Health Board would have its historic debt written off.

But local AMs are worried that shrinking health budgets mean this could just be the start of more closures and more debt.

“I am extremely concerned to hear that trauma patients may have to be treated elsewhere if these staff shortages can’t be overcome,” said South Pembrokeshire AM Angela Burns.

“The outgoing Trust director has told me they are short of six junior doctors and a large part of the problem is new recruits saying they will come and then changing their minds at the last minute.

“However, the Trust knew this problem was brewing so I am concerned that more wasn’t done to nip it in the bud.

“I also believe that at the root of a lot of these problems is the lack of on-call care from GPs.

“I will be raising the whole issue with Welsh Health Minister Edwina Hart in the Assembly and keeping a very close eye on the whole situation.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul Davies added: “We have both been contacted by people who have experienced long delays in treatments at Casualty so we knew that staff shortages were having a serious effect on patient care.

“I also have major concerns about the out-of-hours GP service for
Pembrokeshire which has been centralised at Withybush. It seems that at times there is insufficient cover and I am worried that this service could now also be under threat.

“The new health board may be starting life debt-free but how long will that last given the shortage of money in the NHS?

“It is facing a £200 million deficit and tighter funding in future years and because of shrinking Assembly budgets it can only be a matter of time before they run out of money once again.”


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Cardiff Council prosecutes landlord over licence failure

Cardiff Council has successfully prosecuted a landlord for operating a house in multiple occupation without a licence.

The property located on Newport Road had six tenants over 3 storeys and should have been licensed under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004.

Mrs Mayrn Ishfaq of Penywain Road, Plasnewydd pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to have the relevant licence for a House in Multiple Occupation at
Cardiff Magistrates Court on September 28, 2009.

In May 2008 an application was made to the Council to licence the property on Newport Road but it was incomplete as not all relevant supporting documentation had been submitted.
Cardiff Council allows 6-8 weeks for applications to be completed.

Despite numerous letters being sent to the defendant and other parties involved the application remained incomplete by March 2009.

Mrs Ishfaq was fined £1,400 and ordered to pay costs of £220 and a licence has now been granted.


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AM's call on Powys renal unit

Montgomeryshire AM Mick Bates has called for a swift decision on the location of new dialysis provision in Powys, following a long campaign for the establishment of a new kidney dialysis unit in Welshpool.

Mr Bates said: "It is crucial that people across the county can receive treatment in Wales and no longer have to travel such long distances for dialysis provision elsewhere. Latest statistics show there are currently around 27 people recently dialysis treatment in Powys, 20 of whom travel to Shrewsbury Hospital for treatment while seven travel to Hereford Hospital.

"The campaign for a new dialysis unit in Welshpool Hospital has been ongoing for years and many community groups have worked together for this common aim. The Welshpool Hospital League of Friends has raised over half a million pounds to support the development of facilities at Welshpool Hospital and they deserve a decision after all their hard efforts.

"Clinicians in Shrewsbury have argued that Welshpool is the optimum location for the development of a new dialysis unit. I am disappointed that still no decision has been made on the future provision of renal dialysis in Powys, even though Powys was confirmed as a priority location back in January. I look forward to a swift decision once the Minister has met with the Renal Networks on October 14."

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Roberts primed for Heineken return

Jamie Roberts has suffered another minor setback as he continues his new life after the Lions - but his latest injury is not expected to keep him out of the first round of Heineken Cup action.

The 22-year-old Cardiff Blues star returned from his first Lions adventure as the HSBC Player of the Tour and has admitted he is expecting to be a marked man throughout the new season.

Roberts made his first competitive appearance for the Blues against Connacht on September 18 but only lasted 40 minutes after picking up an ankle injury during the first half at The SportsGround in Galway.

Their had been talk that the injury would keep him out of last weekend’s derby match against the Scarlets at the Cardiff City Stadium but Roberts bounced back to start the Blues’ 19-15 win.

But, once again, Roberts failed to finish the match as a neck injury forced him to leave the field four minutes before the interval.

The Blues have since confirmed that the medical student will be out of action for just over a week and will therefore miss the Magners League encounter with Glasgow this Saturday.

"Jamie suffered an injury to his neck and the scan results have shown that there is no fracture,” said a Blues statement.

"There is, however, soft tissue damage that will mean he will be out of action for seven to 10 days.”

Fortunately for the Blues, Roberts is expected to be back in action in time for their Heineken Cup opener against Harlequins on October 10.

The absence of Roberts against Quins would have been a huge blow for Dai Young’s men as they look to build on last season’s Heineken Cup achievements when they reached the last four of Europe’s premier club competition.


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Jones hails conducter McPhail after Derby smashing

Dave Jones hailed the part played by comeback hero Stephen McPhail in Michael Chopra's four-goal display against Derby after the former Leeds player returned from suspension to orchestrate the 6-1 humbling of Derby County at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Jones said: "Stevie was involved in just about everything tonight. Just because he's not a kicker or a head butter, he's not liked by certain people. But he's a top, top player."

But Jones wants to make sure this win isn't a flash in the pan and that his team have put their recent poor form behind them.

He said: "I worked overtime on the line, chivvying and shouting at my players to get into position. It's a good thing I wasn't playing or there'd be a few finger matrks round some people's necks."

While he was exasperated with Jay Bothroyd's late arrival for the second half, he believes his team showed their true colours last night.

"Tonight's performance was well overdue. We are capable of being a force in this division. I'd have been happy with 2-1 or 3-1. I know what it feels like to be on the end of a real beating.

"From our point of view, you don't get results like that often, so we'll enjoy it while we can. I'll enjoy it tonight, my staff will enjoy it tonight, but it's back to the grindstone tomorrow. We are going good game, bad game, and we need consistency.

"There's a problem in that a lot of people seem to want change. They need to remember that when we sell a £5million player, we get one in for £200,000, then it takes time to turn the new guy into a £5million player. That's what happened with Roger Johnson. We take a step back by selling our best player, and then we move on. This club is work in progress. I hear people say change it, get rid of this or that player, but they should step back and think about what's going on at this football club."

On four goal-hero Michael Chopra Jones said: "His movement was superb. But I want to point out that we didn't pay £4million for him. We paid a lot, an awful lot for this club - and now he's repaying us with goals."

Jones expects injured Ross McCormack to be back in first team contention after the international break.

"We'll be stronger when we get him back," he said, "and we also hope to have Kevin McNaughton and Warren Feeney in action soon."

read more... “Jones hails conducter McPhail after Derby smashing”


Scouse evacuees make return trip to North Wales

A small group of Liverpool residents who were evacuated to the Clwydian Range during the World War will take a special trip down memory lane, as part of a programme of activities to celebrate links between the city and Denbighshire.

Staff of the
Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have arranged for one Denbighshire resident to be reunited with the Liverpool girl who was evacuated to the family home near Ruthin.

The evacuees will also be given a tour of the area, with stops arranged at the villages and schools where they were evacuated, including Ysgol Pentrecelyn.

This event builds on the previous activities arranged to coincide with Liverpool being the European City of Culture, as well as the recent publication of the Liverpool to Loggerheads book by the AONB and Lorna Jenner.

Other events include former Colomendy pupils taking a trip up Moel Famau on Saturday, October 3, and a community writer will be encouraging people to write their own stories about their earlier visits to Loggerheads at Loggerheads Country Park on Sunday, October 4
.

Photograph shows
Moel Arthur in the Clwydian Range, from Welsh Icons.


read more... “Scouse evacuees make return trip to North Wales”


Jones gets game time ahead of Euro clash

Head coach Nigel Davies has chosen to bring back the influential and experienced outside half a week before the Scarlets' opening European cup game against Brive at Parc y Scarlets on October 10th.

Jones was rested as a precaution at last weekend's high profile Welsh derby last weekend in Cardiff, to recover from a slight ankle injury.

Davies said: "Stephen will play for us on Friday which will give him an opportunity to roll into the European game. He's massive for us - he has that level of experience and mental toughness on the field that we need for this game. He brings a real composure and understanding to the team and does boss games particularly well."

"It's not only what he does on the field, it is what he contributes off the field as well and he is hugely respected by all the guys."

On preparations for Ulster, the Scarlets head coach said: "It's a short turnaround for us, however we are comfortable, we know where we are and what we want to do. We are going to have to be that much better than them to win up there and be on top form to get a result; but in any case that's where we need to be now going into Europe."

The Scarlets will rest captain Mark Jones, who picked up a dead leg against the Blues, as well as player-coach Simon Easterby, who left the field after aggravating a knee problem.

Flanker Johnathan Edwards makes his first start of the season ahead of Richie Pugh at openside, a reward for Edwards's impressive form at semi-pro level for Llandovery.
Wales prop Rhys Thomas will also return to the side having missed the last two matches with stitches in a cut knee.

Captain Mark Jones said Friday's encounter will be about registering much needed points in the league and said his Wales team mate's return would boost the team: "I think the team on Friday night will be bolstered by having Stephen back in the squad, he does make a big difference.

"Ulster will be in a good frame of mind leading into this game and I think it's an important game for both teams as we approach Europe. The conditions up there are often difficult and the crowds are very hostile, but these environments are one of the reasons why you play rugby and I think some of the young guys will really relish that and hopefully we can get a good victory.

"Every Magners League game is important but this game becomes important from a points point of view, and icing on the cake will be that extra bit of confidence a win will give us going into the Heineken Cup."

15 Priestland, 14 Lamont, 13 Maule, 12 Davies, 11 Williams, 10 Jones, 9 Roberts, 1 I Thomas, 2 Rees, 3 R Thomas, 4 Cooper, 5 Reed, 6 Jones, 7 Edwards, 8 Lyons (c)
Replacements: 16 John, 17 Owens, 18 Welch, 19 Turnbull, 20 Pugh, 21 Evans, 22 Higgitt


read more... “Jones gets game time ahead of Euro clash”


Follow Scots' lead on carbon budget says Lib Dem AM

Shadow Minister for the Environment and Sustainability, Mick Bates AM, is calling on the Welsh Government to carbon footprint Assembly spending in key areas, following the Scottish Government's new carbon budget.

The Scottish Government has estimated domestic and imported GHG emissions by portfolio and generating industry, using the ‘Input-Output (IO) Model’ which takes into account the inter-industry relations of an economy and quantifies the effect of changes in one sector on all others. Using this model it is estimated that the Scottish Government’s £33bn spending next year on core services will lead to emissions of 11.4 million tonnes of CO2.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Mick Bates said: "I am impressed with this innovative action by the Scottish Government, which is an important step towards the development of strong climate policies, enabling them to identify areas of high emissions and target policies to reduce emissions in those areas.”

Using the Scottish model it is possible to estimate the production changes which take place in response to output changes required to meet Government spending. An example is spending on "Motorways & Trunk Roads Structural Repairs" which is associated with the outputs of the construction industry, which requires as inputs the use of fuel oil, machinery, raw materials and consumption of electricity.

Mr Bates said: "The WWF’s One Planet Wales report discovered that we are currently living as if we had the natural resources of three planets. Our ecological footprint must be reduced by 75% by 2050 in order to live within our ‘fair share’ of one planet’s resources.

"Wales is one of only two countries in the World to have a legal duty on Sustainable Development. If we are to make progress to reduce our carbon footprint the Welsh Government should follow this excellent example of the Scottish Government and carbon footprint its own budget. This would enable us to target policies to reduce emissions from high polluting areas of the budget, to better achieve our shared aims for a greener and more sustainable Wales le ."

read more... “Follow Scots' lead on carbon budget says Lib Dem AM”


Welsh poet's Sardinian honour

Award-winning Welsh poet and playwright Menna Elfyn is to receive a top honour from the people of Sardinia, Italy.

Ms Elfyn, director of the MA Creative Writing Programme at Trinity University College, Carmarthen, will fly out to pick up the award on October 21.

"News of the award came as a bit of a shock, but it is warmly welcomed as a great honour from the people of Sardinia,” the Llandysul-based author said.

"It is being given as part of a festival called Amistade [friendship in the Sardinian language] and, even though I have yet to discover the exact nature of the prize, it is very exciting to be honoured in such a way."

Festival spokesman Giuseppe 'Pino' Serpillo said the award would recognise Ms Elfyn’s work to defend and promote the Welsh language and also be a reward for the quality of her poetry.

Ms Elfyn, 56, was one of a number of writers who held workshops and readings in Sardinia last year.

Signore Serpillo said last year provided a chance for Welsh writers to get to know something more about Sardinia which he said is, "a country with a great cultural tradition which risks being swept away by Italian in a similar way to Welsh and English."

Signore Serpillo said the award to Ms Elfyn was in the gift of members of a Sardinian association which is interested in promoting the Sardinian language and literature.

He added:”Every other year, this association, called Amistade, organises a festival with poetry reading, music and other activities, during which prizes are awarded to poets, writers, intellectuals, scientists, who have given a contribution to the knowledge and prestige of Sardinia or have promoted so-called 'minority languages' in their own countries, which, like Sardinia, have had a history of bilingualism.

"Two years ago one of these prizes was given to the Irish poet Nuala N í Dhomhnaill.”

Ms Elfyn said: "To receive international recognition for my work is indeed a great honour and I greatly appreciate the award from the people of Sardinia.”

You can visit Menna Elfyn's website here.

read more... “Welsh poet's Sardinian honour”


Lib Dem AM attacks sheep tagging plans

Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, Mick Bates AM, has criticised the Welsh Government for failing to protect the Welsh farming industry from the impacts of EID and states Wales must continue to oppose the regulation until EID equipment secures the confidence of the industry.

Mr Bates said: "In Wales we have nearly nine million sheep so the impact of compulsory electronic identification of sheep will be widespread. Farm incomes are decreasing and farmers can ill afford to spend their income on EID. This technology could cost thousands of pounds and will produce no additional benefits for identifying and tracing sheep than the current system offers.”

The latest Hybu Cig Cymru/WAG report showed significant reading issues on farm, at markets and at abattoir with only an 80% reading of tags at best.

Mr Bates added: “The reliability and accuracy of equipment used for EID falls far short of what is needed to individually record all sheep in Wales. There are many issues with compatibility, as well as problems with electrical interference at markets and abattoirs and faults in wet and cold conditions.

“Farmers can ill afford to adopt a system which is so unreliable and be penalised with reductions in payments because equipment forced upon them fails to deliver. It is crucial that Wales continues the fight against the imposition of this regulation, until assured that the equipment will work as closely as possible to 100% accuracy.”

Photograph: © Meirion Matthias @ Welsh Icons

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Ruth Jones backs library competition

Could you write a poem, create a work of art or perform a play that would inspire people to visit their library? This is your opportunity to show off your creative skills and imagination in the first ever Welsh libraries competition.

Welsh Libraries Champion – Ruth Jones said: "Whatever you are into – writing, dancing, photography, painting, animation, drama or music – be inspired by your library and enter this exciting competition. I’m really looking forward to seeing the entries and presenting the awards next February – I’m sure the people of Wales with all their creative talents will take this opportunity to showcase them."

The competition is open to everyone – simply choose a category that suits you – primary schools, secondary schools, individuals, voluntary or community organisations, and students in further or higher education. You don’t even need to be a member of a library to enter!

Hywel James, Gwynedd Council Principal Librarian added: "If you haven’t visited a library recently; this is a great opportunity to rediscover your local library and showcase your creative talents at the same time. I’m hoping this competition will really inspire the local community to produce a variety of works that we will be proud to exhibit and use in future projects."

As well as having the chance to win prizes from £50-£500; the finalists will be invited to an awards event where they will get the chance to meet actress and writer Ruth Jones and have their work displayed nationally.

For your chance to win up to £500 and meet Ruth Jones call into your local library or visit library.wales.org/artscomp/ and get your hands on the entry pack which will give you full details of how to enter. The closing date for all entries is December 1, 2009. Good luck!

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Social services leaders across South East Wales foster new arrangement for supporting vulnerable children and young people

Social services leaders across South East Wales foster new arrangement for supporting vulnerable children and young people

Strong and responsive leadership, supported by an increased approach to collaborative working - that was what social services directors agreed was needed to improve the outcomes for Wales’ vulnerable people during a national social services conference earlier this year.

This approach underpins a new collaboration involving the 10 local authorities across South East Wales and their children’s services directors who have agreed to work together, rather than as individual authorities to improve the quality and choice of placements for vulnerable children and young people.

Speaking on behalf of the South East Wales Improvement Collaborative (SEWIC) Cllr Annette Davies, Cabinet Member for Rhondda Cynon Taf said:

“I am delighted to be launching this new Regional Commissioning Unit. Each local authority involved in this new collaboration is committed to the project’s three core principles: firstly, having a shared focus on improving the outcomes for children and young people, secondly working together to make better use of limited local authority resources and thirdly, working together to re-shape the services that already exist across South East Wales to ensure that all foster care placements are appropriate for children and young people, offer stability and are of the highest quality.”

“Local authorities are facing some of their toughest financial times. Service pressures are growing, yet the resources available to deliver these are becoming increasingly finite. As public finances tighten over the next few years, this partnership along with the Children’s Commissioning Support Resource (CCSR) will be supporting local authorities to achieve much better value for money when commissioning placements as well as supporting the development of placement choice in the market.”

Steward Greenwell, Chair of the Project Board and Newport’s Care and Customer’s Director added:

“I am confident that SEWIC, working closely with CCSR and Value Wales, will deliver more value of money for local authorities, will lead to significant system improvements and most importantly will secure the best possible outcomes for vulnerable children and young people who need our services most.”

He added:

“SEWIC will be working closely with the CCSR an excellent example of successful partnership working between local authorities, the private sector, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Local Government Data Unit.”

“CCSR is a system unique to Wales, a purpose-built database providing information about placement provision across Wales. Indeed, it is already providing an accurate picture of placement provision, current vacancies and the overall usage of placements and is supporting Wales’ three regional collaborative children’s services commissioning projects. Over time, this system will allow for even better-informed commissioning of services which in turn will lead to even more effective use of local authority resources.”

The 10 local authorities involved in the SEWIC partnership are: Torfaen, Caerphilly, Bridgend, Cardiff, Monmouthshire, Newport, Vale of Glamorgan, Blaenau Gwent, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil.

To achieve the projects objectives, the consortium has been also been engaged in negotiations with independent sector providers to secure a standard basic fee for foster care placements and where possible volume discounting arrangements.

Other similar collaborations using CCSR are being considered by other regions across Wales. For example, North Wales is looking at improved service delivery around short breaks for disabled children and Mid and South West Wales are looking at ways to make savings around the cost of social care packages without loss of quality.

Further information on the SEWIC children’s services commissioning project is available at:
http://www.ssiacymru.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=2484
Further information on CCSR is available at: www.dataunitwales.gov.uk/Data


read more... “Social services leaders across South East Wales foster new arrangement for supporting vulnerable children and young people”


Gofal scheme hits the road to help older people

Gofal – a project which is jointly-funded by Denbighshire County Council and the British Red Cross – has received a £35,000 funding boost to buy a new mobile office vehicle.

The Gofal scheme provides older people with opportunities for social interaction, information about issues which are relevant to the older community, and signposts them to agencies which can offer support.

The Gofal scheme, which aims to combat isolation amongst potentially vulnerable older people in the community, is now able to reach even more older people throughout Denbighshire. To date, the new Gofal vehicle has visited sites in Ruthin, Denbigh, Llandrillo and Corwen, and will be expanding its route from October to include several sites in the north of the county.

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Older People’s Champion for Denbighshire, said: “The purchase of this new vehicle has made it possible to engage with areas of the community we haven’t previously been able to reach. Older people can become vulnerable and isolated, whether they live in rural parts of the county or the larger towns, so it’s important to continue to reach out to them to make sure they are given the opportunity to lead full lives.”

During October, the Gofal vehicle will be visiting the following sites:

1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 October Healthy Living Centre, Corwen & Community Centre, Clawdd Newydd
2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 October Llandrillo y Wern car park
6, 13, 20 & 27 October Tesco, Ruthin
7, 14, 21 & 28 October Lidl, Denbigh


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Denbighshire now blogging and tweeting

As part of an on-going commitment to improving communication, Denbighshire County Council is now providing news and information through a variety of new channels.

The council has introduced the first phase of its social media (or Web 2.0) strategy. Web 2.0 includes such things as social-networking sites (perhaps the most well-known one is Facebook), video-sharing sites, blogs, RSS feeds and podcasts.

The first phase includes:

  • Monthly blogs from the Chief Executive and the Leader which are accessible from the home page of the Denbighshire website.
  • Social bookmarking which allows you to share popular web pages with others by 'bookmarking' web pages to your social networking account.
  • Really simple syndication (RSS feeds) – for updates on news and events.
  • Denbighshire Twitter account. We are posting news and events to our Twitter account and you can start following us by clicking on the link from our home page.

Check out what’s new at www.denbighshire.gov.uk


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Businesses Engaging with Local Universities - Flintshire Business Week 2009

The Universities of Bangor, Chester and Glyndwr will be holding an engagement showcase and seminars on Monday 5th October starting at 10am at the Beaufort Park Hotel, Mold.

Seminar Topics:
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership
  • Business Sustainability
  • Work-based learning
  • Open 4 Business

For further information about these seminars and the other events taking place during Business Week see the council website www.flintshire.gov.uk/businessweek, or contact ashley.zepeda@flintshire.gov.uk

The above event is free of charge.


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Weston Studio’s 5th Birthday treats for its audience

It’s relaxed but edgy, informal and challenging. In the five years that Wales Millennium Centre has been building its reputation as an iconic arts venue, its intimate arts space, the Weston Studio has been growing alongside it.

Audiences have enjoyed comedy, theatre and dance from the best of Welsh, British and international talent in the Weston Studio – and there’s much more of that to come in 2009 as the Studio celebrates its fifth birthday.

Weston Studio Season Highlights include:

1 Wardrobe Diaries (October 7)
Acrobatics, strength and dance theatre are blended with stunning consequence as an international cast perform among two tonnes of clothing and six 20 foot long Chinese poles in this exciting show. Sorting out your old clothes often triggers memories. Wardrobe Diaries brings these to life through a thrilling combination of aerial feats, dance and humour in a show that is conceived, produced and directed by former No Fit State ImMortal performer James Roberts, with support from No Fit State Circus.

2 Banxy (November 1)
It’s not the Bristol urban artist, but the exciting Swindon breakdancer, Banxy, who is returning to the Centre to present his new solo work, Ikky Wakk. Banxy’s performance is followed by Kno Love Productions and their gritty urban slice of reality, Cool Rules. These pieces are complemented by a final performance from Banxy and Kno Love Productions’ Curtis James, who team up to produce a fast and furious two-hander, Anti-Cool.

3 Moby Dick (November 2-4)
Spymonkey’s brand of comedy is a modern mix of the likes of Monty Python, Tommy Cooper and Morecombe and Wise. The company is willing to lampoon just about anything, and Herman Melville’s classic American tale Moby Dick is no exception. Watch as four talented performers use a boat, a sea and a whale to bring this story to life – and prepare for raucous humour, sharp characters and bellyaches of laughter.

4 Family Day (November 8)
Our Family Day encourages children to develop a bond with theatre and the arts from an early age. This Welsh-language Family Day is aimed at both learners and fluent speakers of the language and offers families an opportunity to enjoy theatre together. The focal point of the day includes a performance of Twm Sion Cati at 3pm, which tells the swashbuckling tale of the 16th century Welsh highwayman who robbed the rich to give to the poor.

5 Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (December 19)
The 1927 theatre company’s multiple award-winning theatrical cabaret combines live music, performance and storytelling with film and animation. Their production is a dark mix of cabaret and has been likened to the works of David Lynch, Shockheaded Peter and Edward Gorey. Using the convention of silent cinema, a series of comic happenings unfold in which the performers interact with the animation which includes unlucky cats and marauding gingerbread men.

Ticket prices
Ticket prices for Weston Studio shows (with the exception of a few highlighted in the brochure) range from £8 - £12. The price you pay depends on the show and how early you book.

The first 30 tickets sold cost £8 each. The next 30 tickets sold cost £10 each. All remaining tickets (including those bought on the day of the performance) cost £12 each. If at any time you book for three different shows together you will pay the lowest rate of £8 per ticket.

Make the most of your visit
With all our seats unreserved you don’t have to book together to sit together, just turn up with time to spare to get your seats. Upstairs to Bar One is the official Studio Bar, where you can get 10 per cent off your drinks for the whole evening (just show your ticket).

Visit www.wmc.org.uk or call the box office on 08700 40 2000 for tickets and more information.

Photograph: Banxy


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Film gives Food for Thought

Pupils at a south Pembrokeshire primary school attended the launch of their new film last week.

Youngsters at Manorbier Primary School went into the movie business earlier this year by making a short film about healthy eating.

‘Food for Thought' was made with the help of a local animator and funded by a £1,000 grant from Health Challenge Pembrokeshire.

It was officially launched at the school last Thursday.

The film developed from a school project about the body and healthy eating which eight and nine years olds were working on.

Local animator Chris Elliott from the award-winning animation company, Cinetig, showed youngsters how to animate their drawings as well as fruit and vegetables to bring their ideas to life.

Class teacher Peter Stirling said the project had enabled the youngsters to learn and apply several skills.

"They have been engaged in problem solving, thinking skills, using ICT, creative writing and planning - not to mention music and having to work as a team," he said.

"It has been a truly cross-curricular experience that has ticked so many boxes. Best of all the children have had fun in the process and created something they can be proud of."

The film will be shown again at the school's Harvest Fayre next month and will also be entered into the Pembrokeshire Film and Animation Festival.

Photograph: Pictured with some of Manorbier's young filmmakers are Councillor Sian James, Cabinet Member for Health and Well-being; Councillor Huw George, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People; Katie Daly Health Challenge Pembrokeshire Project Manager and animator, Chris Elliott.


read more... “Film gives Food for Thought”


Practice makes Cowbridge perfect

Cowbridge Ladies put their training tips from Cardiff Blues fitness coach Trystan Bevan and former Welsh cap Jason Jones-Hughes, into practice and came away with a 17-5 victory at Kidwelly.

Under blazing sunshine Kidwelly started off strongly and attempted to bully the Cowbridge pack but in response the visitors lifted themselves to produce some great rugby.

The home team demonstrated tremendous handling skills, big hits and determination in their playing ability however Cowbridge’s hard work paid off in the 28th minute when a well-worked drive resulted in scrum half, Suzy Guck, pushing over for the first try of the game.

A second try followed after some deft handwork from the Cowbridge backs brought play into the opposition’s 22. Inspirational forward play by Jessica Dawkes, Gemma Harding and Hannah Hughes, saw fly half Anna Jenkins show great strength to force the ball over the line to give Cowbridge a 10-0 halftime lead.

The second half brought a bright 15 minutes for the home side when a try was scored by fly half Georgie Evans. However, Cowbridge showed true grit with some outstanding play from Delyth Powell and Emma Adams. A further try was produced from a break made by Alexis Walker, which was duly converted by Anna Jenkins.

Cowbridge captain Rebecca Porter was extremely pleased with the team’s performance but said, “there is still plenty more hard work in order to prepare for the next game”.

Cowbridge return to action on Sunday to take on Dolgellau at home, (KO 2.30pm).


read more... “Practice makes Cowbridge perfect”


Swansea to be transformed by £38million

A £38 million plus project to transform and revitalise Swansea's city centre and its unique waterfront has been given the go-ahead for convergence funding.

The funding package includes £28 million from the Welsh Assembly Government, £20 million from the EU's Convergence European Regional Development Fund and funding from other sources.

The massive investment sees the city benefit from its designation as a Strategic Regeneration Area and will help drive forward the ambitious City Centre Strategic Framework- the blueprint designed to regenerate the city centre, maximise the potential of Swansea's waterfront and link the city centre to the bay.

Leighton Andrews, Welsh Assembly Government Deputy Minister for Regeneration, says the project will contribute significantly to the regeneration of Swansea, help create a more attractive climate for further investment, stimulate commercial confidence, support the retail sector and create more jobs.

Mr Andrews said: "Earlier this year I announced that the city centre would benefit from its designation as a strategic regeneration area and this new package of funding will address some of the social and economic issues including unemployment.

"It will drive forward a major programme of physical regeneration projects geared to support economic growth and tackle some of the issues affecting communities within the city centre area.

"It will lay the foundations designed to bring long-term economic and social benefits to businesses, people and communities in the region."

The investment bid was led by Swansea Council and will see a series of projects across the city centre and waterfront including the creation of a European-style boulevard.

Social benefit clauses will be incorporated into the public works programme to help address local deprivation through initiatives that include supply chain opportunities for local businesses to benefit from and by providing targeted employment and/or training for local people.

The funding will build on work already carried out in the city centre and will improve the quality of the public realm and key buildings to reflect Swansea's status as a regional capital of South West Wales.

The key elements of The Waterfront City initiative are:

  • Boulevard- The creation of a high quality European-style boulevard involving major works to the Oystermouth Road, Victoria Road and Quay Parade corridor and mproved links between the city centre and waterfront with enhancement of the public realm including landscaping, footpaths, cycleways, street furniture and public art. The boulevard will eventually extend from the Tawe Road bridge to the Civic Centre.
  • Property Development Fund- Developing employment opportunities by providing gap funding for the construction of new offices and major refurbishment of existing offices in the city centre.
  • Building Enhancement Programme- This will complement an initiative launched last year by the Assembly Government and Swansea Council to provide grants to improve the exterior of buildings and shopfronts across the city centre.
  • City Centre Improvements- This will extend the programme of environmental works that has been undertaken in the city centre to include streets adjacent to work already completed
  • Waterfront projects- Funding will be targeted at public realm improvements in three key waterfront locations on the riverbank and seafront promenade between the Tawe Bridges and the Civic Centre.

Cllr Chris Holley, Swansea Council Leader, said: "This is one of the most significant investments in Swansea during the past 50 years and is wonderful news for the city.

"It's been our ambition for many years to improve connections between the city centre and the waterfront and I'm delighted this investment will help us achieve that. This major investment will also build on the work already underway in the city centre and will help to support businesses and boost the local economy.

"We are now in the position to deliver a number of key projects and work with our developers Hammerson to transform the city centre."

The latest investment follows the approval of £5 million of Convergence funding and £5 million from the Assembly Government towards a £11 million scheme to replace the existing Quadrant bus station with a modern, high-quality facility to cater for both buses and coaches, including Swansea Metro vehicles.

Work on the bus station is already underway and, when complete, will offer improved access into Swansea and assist in the regeneration of the city centre and the wider region.


read more... “Swansea to be transformed by £38million”


Police success at Bangor’s Freshers’ Fair

Students in Bangor have been given reassurance that North Wales Police are listening to their views, after spending two days at the University Freshers’ Fair.

Held last week at the Students Union on Glanrafon Hill, the Freshers Fair saw thousands of students’ attend.

North Wales Police and the Police Authority visited the Fair with an outdoor stall which included the ‘Balance your Bobbies’ display, crime prevention leaflets and useful goodies such as mugs, mini-torches and pens.

The University CBM was also on-hand distributing crime prevention packs. Whilst visiting the stall the students were able to take part with the ‘Balance your Bobbies’ scheme – an initiative that was launched by the force and the authority at the National Eisteddfod in Bala this year.

‘Balance your Bobbies’ is an interactive scheme whereby people can indicate which issues they would like the police to concentrate on in their area. Prior to the Fair, four priorities, were set out – Drugs, Alcohol-related Anti Social Behaviour, Personal safety and Theft / Burglary.

Ian Davies, from North Wales Police’s Citizen Focus programme said: “Having a presence at the Fair proved to be a great success. We estimate that over 2,000 students visited us over the two-day period which is fantastic.

“We see close engagement with all communities within North Wales as key to making people feel reassured and that we are listening to their issues at a very local level. By doing this with the students over the two days, we’ve been able to interact with them to find out what’s important to them.”

Personal Safety came out top with over 1,440 votes, Alcohol-related Anti-Social Behaviour a close second with 1,170 votes, burglary and theft third with 954 votes and drugs coming in fourth with 810 votes.

Community Beat Manager for the University, PC Gwenno Jones said: “We were extremely pleased to be part of the Freshers’ Fair and being able to offer advice to students – many of whom are away from home for the first time.

“It was interesting to see the outcome of ‘Balance your Bobbies’ and we certainly have some food for thought for the future."

Bangor District Inspector, Richard Green said: “This was a very worthwhile exercise and our intention now is to create a "Top 10" of personal safety tips and thereafter visit the University with a presentation of Perception v Reality.”

Anyone wishing to contact the local Bangor Neighbourhood Policing Team can phone 101 or 0845 607 1001 (Welsh line) or 0845 607 1002 (English line).

Contact details for individual CBM’s and PCSO’s are also available on the North Wales Police website – www.north-wales.police.uk
read more... “Police success at Bangor’s Freshers’ Fair”


NPT regeneration showcased

Regeneration in Neath Port Talbot has been the focus of attention for a prestigious UK conference.

Regeneration in Neath Port Talbot has been the focus of attention for a prestigious UK conference.

Industrialists and politicians from all over the UK congregated in Port Talbot for the annual conference of The Industrial Communities Alliance, an all party association of more than 70 local authorities in the traditional industrial areas of Wales, Scotland and England. Its aim is to promote the economic, social and environmental renewal of these areas.

During the three day conference, delegates heard from a host of headline speakers including Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Wales and Neath MP, John Healey MP, Minister for Housing, Dr Hywel Francis, MP for Aberavon, Michael Leahy of the Community Union and Uday Chaturverdi, Managing Director of Corus Strip Products UK.

Delegates were taken on a tour of the area to demonstrate how the county is developing and regenerating its communities. Tourism destinations of the Neath and Afan Valleys are considered amongst the best in the world and Baglan Energy Park impressed as a location for twenty first century businesses.

Councillor Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council said: "We have been honoured to host this UK-wide conference which we hope will encourage others to join with us to help the regeneration of our communities. I have been particularly proud of being able to show to colleagues from all over the UK the excellent work of our officers and members in bringing about regeneration to the County Borough."

Cllr Eion Watts, from Bolsover ,Chair of the conference said: "We have learned so much from being. It's the traditional industrial areas which have suffered most from this recession. It's the traditional industrial areas which have suffered most from the recession. We need to concentrate on re-establishing our manufacturing base to enable our communities to be ready for the upswing in the economy when it happens."


read more... “NPT regeneration showcased”


Neighbourhood officers and schools help keep Wales tidy

Police Community Support Officers across the Caerphilly County Borough have been teaming up with local children to help clean up the community as part of Keep Wales Tidy week.

During the week (Monday 21st September to Sunday 27th September) they helped to collect 72 bags of rubbish from the area.

PCSOs from the Ystrad Mynach Neighbourhood Policing Team organised four litter picks during the week.

Year six pupils from Ystrad Mynach Primary school helped to collect 25 bags of rubbish from Nelson Road, Church View Estate playing fields and Ystrad Mynach Park. During their clean-up they recovered a bicycle, petrol can and water boiler.

In Nelson, year four pupils from Llancaiach Primary school collected six bags of rubbish from Wern Park, with another two bags sent for recycling.

Pupils from Maesycwmmer Primary School helped to clean-up ten bags of litter from
Maesycwmmer Park and Woodland Walk.

Teenagers from 'The Friday Night Project' youth club in Hengoed also got into the spirit of Keep Wales Tidy Week, collecting eight bags from Hengoed park, together with Caerphilly youth workers, Groundwork and the local PCSO.

The Bedwas Neighbourhood Policing Team also organised a litter pick in Llanbradach, with year five and six pupils from Coed-y-Brain Primary School collecting 21 bags of rubbish from nearby Llanbradach Park and Playing Fields.

All of the pupils wore protective overalls and gloves provided by Keep Wales Tidy, and used litterpicks to collect the rubbish and recycling.

PCSO Gareth Coombes from the Ystrad Mynach Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:
“We wanted to get involved with the local community during Keep Wales Tidy week to help clean up parks and green spaces for residents. A Park Watch Scheme is underway in Ystrad Mynach park, encouraging local residents to look after the park and report incidents of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour. Collecting litter from the area is another way for us to encourage residents to look after their community.”


read more... “Neighbourhood officers and schools help keep Wales tidy”


Collision near Ruthin

A man has been taken to Wrexham Maelor Hospital with a serious leg injury following a collision on the Nant Y Garth Pass near Ruthin this morning (Wednesday, September 30).

Police were informed of the collision involving a Peugeot 406 car and an Iveco-Ford lorry at 8.37am. The initial report also stated that a man was trapped in the car.

The Ambulance Service along with the Fire Service attended the scene and the man, who was travelling in the car, is believed to have sustained a serious leg injury.

The top of Garth Road has been closed.


read more... “Collision near Ruthin”


Connacht squad to play Dragons

Connacht have named a 26-man squad for their Magners League game against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade on Saturday (4.30pm).

Coach Michael Bradley has a number of injury concerns with Mike McComish, Jamie Hagan and Ian Keatley all nursing knocks which he hopes will clear up by the time he announces the starting fifteen on Friday morning.

Flanker Ray Ofisa (illness) and prop Robbie Morris, who has received a three-week ban after being cited for an incident in the game against Ulster, are ruled out.

Centre Niva Ta'auso returns to the squad after being out since the opening day of the season against the Ospreys.

Connacht (squad): Liam Bibo, Andrew Browne, Fionn Carr, Sean Cronin, Gavin Duffy, Adrian Flavin, Jamie Hagan, Conor Higgins, Ian Keatley, Ronan Loughney, Keith Matthews, Mike McCarthy, Mike McComish, John Muldoon, Dermot Murphy, Frank Murphy, Troy Nathan, Mike Nikora, Johnny O'Connor, Conor O'Loughlin, Michael Swift, Niva Ta'auso, Brian Tuohy, Bernie Upton, Brett Wilkinson, Aidan Wynne.


read more... “Connacht squad to play Dragons”


Worldwide prize for college student

A Swansea College student has been awarded the top worldwide prize for her 'Marketing Research and Information' module.

Karleigh Davies, who has just completed a CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing at the Tycoch campus, was stunned to receive the news via a telephone call from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, when it was explained to her that she had achieved the highest mark of all the students across the world who had completed the module this year.

"I couldn't believe it...I thought it was a joke," says Karleigh, who works as a Tourism Development Officer for Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. "I'm now looking forward to attending the official ceremony in Birmingham in November. It is great to hear that my hard work has paid off, it is all very exciting."

"I'm absolutely delighted that Karleigh has been given this well deserved recognition by the CIM," says tutor Michelle Corker. "Karleigh was a pleasure to teach, an exceptional student who demonstrated an outstanding performance throughout the duration of the qualification."

"We are so proud of Karleigh and her achievement," adds Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council. "Tourism is becoming an increasingly important aspect of economic development in the County Borough and having staff of Karleigh's ability working to promote our many hidden treasures is a real bonus. We are proud to have her as a member of staff who has a bright future within the authority - congratulations Karleigh and well done!"

"A qualification from the Chartered Institute of Marketing will hold students in good stead as they develop and progress their careers," says Mark Stuart, CIM's Head of Research. "Karleigh has shown that with a mixture of hard work, intelligence and analytical thinking, impressive results are possible. It's a credit to her, and also her college tutor, that the hard work has paid off. Karleigh is to be congratulated on her impressive achievement and we wish her luck in her future career."

For more information on Swansea College please contact 01792 284000 or visit www.swancoll.ac.uk


read more... “Worldwide prize for college student”


Appeal to help property recovered from the Blackwood area

Gwent Police is appealing for people to come forward to identify numerous items of property that are believed to be stolen.

The items were recovered from a vehicle in the Newbridge area and a property in the Blackwood area.

The property that was recovered includes:
  • JCB Industrial Wacker Hammer (yellow and black)
  • ECHO Leaf Blower, Shred and Vac (grey and black)
  • JCB Petrol Strimmer (yellow and black)
  • STIHL extension hedge trimmer (orange, black and chrome)
  • STIHL Grass Cutter (orange and black)
  • STIHL Hedge Trimmer
  • STIHL Disc Cutters (orange)
  • STIHL Wacker Hammer
A 32 year old man from the Pontllanfraith area and a 22 year old man from the Blackwood area were arrested on suspicion of theft and handling stolen goods, and have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

If you recognise any of the items and believe them to be yours, then please contact PC 1053 Karen Gifford on 01495 232 434 to make arrangements to visit Risca Police Station to formally identify the property.


read more... “Appeal to help property recovered from the Blackwood area”


Pool helps hotel team take the plunge for a good cause

Wales National Pool Swansea has teamed up with staff from Swansea city centre's Premiere Inn who are attempting to raise cash for Water Aid.

On Sunday October 25 around 10 members of staff for the hotel will be taking the plunge at the Swansea pool and swimming for 12 hours to raise cash for WaterAid.

The international charity saves thousands of children's lives every year by enabling the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education.

Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn and pub restaurants Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns, is aiming to raise £1 million for WaterAid in the next two years through a series of fundraising activities.

Premier Inn Swansea City Centre Administrator/Lead Receptionist Jenny Cope said: "We wanted to do a water based challenge for the event and the Wales National Pool seemed the ideal venue.

"We hope that people will support us."

Jane Draper, General Manager of the Wales National Pool Swansea, said: "We are delighted to be the chosen location for this attempt and our staff have experience in supporting people in such attempts. We will be able to accommodate the Swimathon while remaining open as usual to our customers."

If any people want to sponsor the Premiere Inn team contact Jenny on 01792 634940 or via email at swansea.pi@premierinn.com

For more information on Wateraid visit www.wateraid.org

Wales National Pool Swansea opening times and events are available at http://www.walesnationalpoolswansea.co.uk


read more... “Pool helps hotel team take the plunge for a good cause”


 
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