THE WELSH speaking communities of north Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion were dealt a blow this week as media regulator Ofcom revoked a community licence given to a new radio station.
Radio Beca aimed to provide the Welsh speaking communities of west Wales with a service that was both linguistically and culturally specific to their needs and aspirations.
Peak time broadcasting, both workdays and weekends, was to be predominantly Welsh medium so that the indigenous culture of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and north Pembrokeshire was made prevalent.
The station was committed to the principle of ‘empowering the Welsh speaking communities of the west of Wales and transform the latent energy of the 155,000 disenfranchised Welsh speakers of the west of Wales into a positive energy that would raise communal ambition and enhance self-sustainability.’
The station also planned to train local people of all ‘social, cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds’ in the art of radio broadcasting, which would have provided numerous people with an enhanced skill set and vastly increased prospects of employability.
The station was awarded a community radio licence in May 2012, but failed to launch within the two year window stated by the regulator, after delaying its proposed launch in April 2014.
Elinor Williams from Ofcom told S4C’s Newyddion 9 that two further extensions had been granted since this date, and based on this it had decided to withdraw its license.
The station failed to obtain Welsh government grant funding and there was also uncertainty about a permanent home being found for it, whilst there was also concern Radio Beca had only managed to raise £20,000 when it was required to raise £320,000. This is in spite of the fact that the station has recently submitted a bid for £100,000 in grant funding from the Big Lottery Fund.
Director of the station Euros Lewis was disappointed with the regulators decision and said it had taken three years for the station to be able to “stand on its own to feet”.
Mr Lewis said: “Unfortunately, it’s only during the past few months that Radio Beca has been able to raise money through sponsorship and adverts.
“What’s disappointing is that it’s only now that we have been able to put forward a prospectus that shows that Radio Beca can stand on its own two feet.”
Despite the disappointment it is worth noting that this is not necessarily the end for the fledgling station, as there is opportunity to re-apply for a licence in the future, should they put in place the necessary arrangements.
Young People raise money for local charities
On 10 December 2019, young people from Ysgol Henry Richard’s Cooking Club hosted a Christmas Fayre stall, selling cakes and donated bakes from the local community to raise money for young people receiving care at Angharad Ward, Bronglais Hospital and West Wales Domestic Abuse Service. The club was led by Ceredigion Youth Service and raised over £400 for the charities.
The young people learnt how to make and produce different products, sell and raise money for charity. This gave the young people the opportunity to feel a sense of achievement by giving to others.
Ruby Cook from Ysgol Henry Richard’s Cooking Club said, “Our Cooking Club is made up of young people from Ysgol Henry Richard who attend the after school cooking club. The club focuses on cooking and leaning new life skills. It also gives young people an opportunity to socialise with their friends. We had a great time working on this project, where we baked cakes and had fun in the Christmas Fayre selling them. We would like to thank the local businesses which also donated to our stall. With your support we were able to raise more funds and give more young people gifts this Christmas.”
Mrs Ffion Davies, Ysgol Henry Richard said, “It was a lovely evening seeing the Cooking Club members have fun while making and selling cakes for worthy causes. The enthusiasm the young people showed when giving up their own time to help others at what can be a vulnerable time of year for some was inspiring. Thank you and well done to Ceredigion Youth Service and the Cooking Club members.”
Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “I want to congratulate the Cooking Club for their hard work and great achievement. I’m delighted that they not only raised a good sum for charity, but had fun and learnt at the same time. I’m grateful to the Ceredigion Youth Service for their continued good work and support of young people in the county.”
Ceredigion Youth Service is the designated Service for young people aged 11-25 in Ceredigion, dedicated to supporting young people’s personal, social and educational development through specialised support and open access provision. Provision includes School Based Youth Work, Outreach Youth Work and Youth Clubs. For more information or to find out what opportunities are available to you, head over to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages at @GICeredigionYS.
Ben Lake MP pledges support for local pubs in Ceredigion
Ben Lake MP has today pledged their support for the Long Live the Local Campaign to help pubs in Ceredigion keep their doors open. Ben Lake joins the more than 240,000 people who have signed the petition so far, including 335 in Ceredigion alone.
Ben Lake MP is calling on the Government to cut beer tax at the Budget. With £1 in every £3 pounds spent in UK pubs going to the taxman, British drinkers now pay 40% of all beer tax across the EU, but drink only 12% of the beer. Seven in ten alcoholic drinks served in pubs are beer, underlining how directly a cut in beer duty will help pubs. Brewing and pubs in Ceredigion supports 1169 jobs and contributes £23.1m to the local economy.
Commenting on the campaign, Ben Lake MP said:
“Pubs are at the heart of communities across Ceredigion, but with three pubs closing their doors for good every day across the UK, we must acknowledge that these community assets are facing significant challenges as they try to stay open. For this reason I am supporting the Long Live the Local campaign and calling on the Chancellor to cut beer tax for licenced premises in this year’s Budget to support pubs in our local communities.”
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:
“Beer duty has increased by 60% over the last 17 years and now the UK has one of the highest rates of tax in Europe. When over two thirds of all alcoholic drinks purchased in the pub are beers, a cut in beer tax would go a long way to protecting pubs across Ceredigion. We are very grateful to Ben Lake for their support for the Long Live the Local campaign, and hope that the Government listens to MPs across Parliament and the thousands of people across the country who are calling for a cut in beer tax to protect our pubs.”
The Little Mill Players present Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood by Ben Crocker
Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is this year’s Little Mill Players Pantomime. Performances will be at Theatr Felinfach from Thursday 30 January to Saturday 01 February at 7:30pm. There will also be a matinée performance on Saturday 01 February at 2:30pm.
Robin Hood may be the best archer in the land, but can he escape the clutches of the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham and save the Babes? Come along and join Winnie Widebottom, Marion, Little Joan, Friar Tuck and the Outlaws (and also, surprisingly, the Smugglers Cove WI who have come to Sherwood Forest on a camping holiday and get caught up in the adventure). Boo, hiss and cheer to help make sure the Sheriff gets his just deserts. Expect much fun, laughter and song in this family friendly production.
The Little Mill Players have existed as long as Theatr Felinfach has been in existence, since 1972. Members of the company come from various parts of Ceredigion and even Carmarthenshire. The age range of the cast varies from 7 to 60+ and their jobs vary from manual to managerial as well as school pupils and students. This year they are again thrilled to have several new faces and hope this trend will continue.
The show’s director, Stephen Entwistle, has been a member of the group for over 16 years. He began life with the group as the Musical Director, then progressed onto the stage and is now the ‘boss’!
One of the longest serving members of the current cast is Dilys Megicks, the show’s production assistant, who has been a member for some 24 years. During that time she has portrayed a wide array of characters including a baddy, a chicken and is currently Chair of the Smuggler’s Cove WI! She enjoys all aspects of the traditional pantomime.
Another, now established, member of the cast is Andrew Tyrrell who, over the years, has truly made the role of panto ‘Dame’ his own. He most certainly is the comedian of the cast. Andrew also takes charge of prop building and supplies.
Remember to follow Theatr Felinfach’s Facebook page for opportunities to win tickets to the production. Tickets are available from Theatr Felinfach’s Box Office on 01570 470697 or online at theatrfelinfach.cymru. Ticket prices are £9 for adults, £8 for Senior Citizens and £6 for children.
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