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Community’s alternative plea to keep library open

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‘Not the ideal approach’: Cuts in the council’s budget cause Llandysul Library Supporters’ Group to come up with a middle-ground solution

‘Not the ideal approach’: Cuts in the council’s budget cause Llandysul
Library Supporters’ Group to come up with a middle-ground solution

IN A BID to keep Ceredigion libraries open, the Llandysul Library Supporters’ Group have introduced a proposal that they hope will aid in retaining an equitable library service across the county.

After implementing a new round of budget cuts, in November 2015 Ceredigion County Council announced that financial restraints in the library service would mean that Llandysul Library would be closed, saving the council an estimated £42,000 a year.

Also mentioned in the announcement was that Cardigan Library would be moving to a smaller premises and one library van would be removed from the service.

A public meeting was held in Llandysul, in which Councillor Dafydd Edwards told the community that they could run Llandysul Library with volunteers, but to keep the library in the same place, they would need to raise around £15,000 – £20,000 per annum to cover costs.

The community who live in and around rural Llandysul deemed this idea as unacceptable, due to the fact that residents are already raising funds as part of a community-led initiative to keep Cymdeithas Chwaraeon and their swimming pool running.

Numerous protests were held outside the Council Offices at Penmorfa, Aberaeron and a petition with over 500 signatures was handed to Council Leader Ellen ap Gwynn.

The supporters’ group’s ‘Equitable Proposal’ is based on the authority’s own costings for the County Library Service and is aimed to help Ceredigion County Council cut costs of 17% from the current library service budget while still maintaining a similar level of service.

The group found that similar plans are being used all around the country to preserve the dwindling library services.

At the beginning of March, the group sent their proposal to relevant members of the Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee, as well as to AM Elin Jones, MP Mark Williams and Llandysul Community Council.

It is hoped that the plan, which involves volunteers working with qualified library staff in every library in the county, will be discussed at one of the next upcoming committee meetings.

The proposal puts forward the idea that everyone in the county should have the opportunity to do their part in helping to keep all the libraries in Ceredigion open.

It continues, stating that to help stay in budget, there would need to be only slightly more staff redundancies than the council first proposed. Since two thirds of the budget is in staffing costs, unfortunately any proposal will result in much the same cuts to staffing.

Like County Councillors, Llandysul Library Supporters’ Group do not want to see library workers becoming redundant due to the cut-backs, but neither do they want their community to lose its library and the expertise of its librarian.

The community’s plan is based around the Public Libraries and Museums Act of 1964, in which it states that the council must play their part in maintaining the “comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons in the area that want to make use of it”

The proposal states that when things improve within the county of Ceredigion that the library budget can then be increased, seeing more staff being hired and volunteers taking more of a back seat.

Lesley Parker from the Llandysul Library Supporters’ Group said: “We expect that the Scrutiny Committee will discuss our proposal as it not only keeps Llandysul Library open but all the remaining libraries in Ceredigion open too. Maybe Tregaron Library could reopen.

“We are not saying that this is the ideal approach, but it is the best compromise in these difficult financial times.”

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Business

Update for Multi-purpose Community Centres following First Minister announcement

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TODAY, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that multi-purpose community centres including community centres, village halls, church halls and other community facilities can reopen from 03 May. This decision has been brought forward from 17 May.

Welsh Government announced changes during today’s briefing, and the guidance for multi-purpose community venues is being updated to ensure compliance with developments in regulations, including greater emphasis on ventilation. Welsh Government continue to advise authorities that the regulations on social gathering will still prevent a number of activities from taking place at community venues, and only organised activities for up to 15 people will be permitted.

The panel strongly advise you to make every effort to carry out your activity digitally or make contact by phone. If not, consider whether it is possible to hold your activity outdoors, in-line with Welsh Government guidance. Holding your activity indoors should be considered as a last resort. If this is the only option and it’s essential that you meet then please keep the session brief and involve as few people as possible, with all necessary procedures and protocols in place.

Those responsible for community activities should remember to;

  • maintain a social distance of 2 meters.
  • wear a face covering in indoor public spaces.
  • regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer provided.   

A multi-agency panel has been set up to advise and support around the safe and proportionate reopening of facilities in-line with national guidance. The panel has been created under Ceredigion’s Public Services Board Sub Group; Understanding our Communities. Leading on the development of the group is Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations (CAVO) and Ceredigion County Council in partnership with Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The panel includes representation from Health & Safety, Environmental Health and Community Safety.

The panel encourages anyone responsible for community facilities to seek advice to ensure that arrangements are safe and secure and that compliance is in-line with national guidance. Prior to re-opening any community facility those managing centres must ensure that they are ‘Covid-Free Zones’.

The panel will aim to host another briefing session on April 28 at 13:30 to support those in charge of community venues with the latest developments. If you would like to join the next briefing session, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cyfleusterau-cymunedol-ceredigion-community-facilities-information-session-tickets-152071456821?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch or get in touch via the contact details below.

The multi-agency panel will continue to support and advise Community Groups and Organisations, and questions or information requests can be submitted to the group which meets on a weekly basis via CAVO on gen@cavo.org.uk or by phone on 01570 423232.

Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.

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Community

Ceredigion Museum’s digital storytelling celebrates LGBTQ+ history month

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February marks LGBTQ+ History month and Ceredigion Museum has been working with local organisation Aberration to unveil and record fascinating and untold stories of Aberystwyth.

These stories form part of the museum’s ‘It Happened in Aber’ project, which will allow people to listen to the untold stories that have shaped Aberystwyth.

This project was made possible thanks to the ’15-minute heritage’ funding, a partnership between The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

Carrie Canham, museum curator, said: “For too long the LGBTQ+ community has been marginalised, or even completely concealed, in history. Ceredigion Museum is keen to share the stories that have lurked in the shadows, to celebrate the diversity and rich LGBTQ+ heritage of Aberystwyth with pride.”

The LGBTQ+ stories researched and recorded with by Jane Hoy, of Aberration, include historic and modern-day characters from the town, including famous academics, poets, mariners, dancers and a spy!

“We are delighted to be working so closely with Ceredigion Museum contributing to ‘queering up’ the museum with lively local stories and events,” Jane.

Aberystwyth has certainly played its part in developing the LGBTQ+ community in West Wales and Sarah and Rosie, founders of Aberystwyth’s ‘Wrecked’ nightclub for women, have documented their fond memories of their venue in the town: “It became a fun and safe haven for lesbians who travelled there from all corners of the county”.

Ceredigion Museum staff and volunteers will be continuing to document stories linked to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as stories linked to specific locations in the town, until April.

From May onwards, The ‘It Happened in Aber’ stories will be available to enjoy in podcast format on the museum’s website as well as forming a digital walking tour of the town, allowing people to listen and enjoy the stories whilst walking around the locations in Aberystwyth.

Councillor Catherine Hughes said: “It’s fantastic that Ceredigion Museum is providing us with an opportunity to enjoy the history and the important contribution of the LGBTQ+ community in Aberystwyth. This is such an important project to document our local heritage. We look forward to listening to all the stories.”

If you can’t wait until the summer, join this years’ virtual Aberration – Between the Lines event on Friday, February 26 from 7pm, when the ladies of ‘Wrecked’ will be sharing some of their stories!

For further information or to share your untold story, contact Sarah Morton, Ceredigion Museum’s sustainability officer, at Sarah.Morton@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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Business

Aberaeron takeaway closed for ignoring coronavirus restrictions

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A Premises Closure Notice has been issued to Paradise Pizza, Regent Street, Aberaeron due to repeated non-compliance with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No.5) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

The business was issued with a premises improvement notice on 15th January 2021. It was required to take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including the need to ensure that staff use personal protective equipment and face coverings. However, officers have since witnessed staff failing to wear face coverings on multiple occasions in contravention of their advice.

Monitoring inspections have shown that the majority of Ceredigion‘s retail premises are complying with the restrictions placed on them during the pandemic. Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection team will continue to take action against businesses who fail to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Whilst non-compliant businesses will usually receive advice and guidance, serious or persistent breaches will be dealt with by means of closure powers, fixed penalty notices or prosecution.

This takeaway must remain closed for 28 days, or until Public Protection officers are satisfied that the alleged non-compliance has been addressed.

Premises improvement and closure notices are required to be published by law.

The full closure notice can be found on Ceredigion County Council’s website, under Improvement and Closure Notices: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-improvement-closure-and-direction-notices/

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