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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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Community

New Quay dog charity supported by national company

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John Burns: Has been feeding happy and healthy pets since 1993​

​A CHARITY based in New Quay, Ceredigion, that rescues and rehomes German shepherd dogs, is celebrating securing backing from the charitable arm of one of the UK’s biggest and most successful independent pet food companies.

The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation, part of Burns Pet Nutrition, a family company in Wales that makes specialist foods designed for the health and well-being of pets, has unveiled three charities it will support in 2018.

One of these is the UK German Shepherd Rescue, a rescue charity made up of volunteers who donate their free time to helping rescue and rehoming unwanted German shepherd dogs and puppies throughout the UK.

Suzanne Syers, founder of UK German Shepherd Rescue, said she is looking forward to partnering with Burns on many levels.

Suzanne said: “UK German Shepherd Rescue are thrilled to be chosen as one of Burns’ Charities of the Year for 2018, and are grateful for the package of support from Burns which will help us immensely. We are looking forward to developing a strong partnership with everyone at Burns and also to benefit from the nutritional advice and support that they can bring to help improve the quality of diet (and overall wellbeing) of the dogs in our care.”

The other two charities backed by Burns in 2018 are: Forever Hounds Trust, which matches greyhounds and lurchers to happy homes; and Dogs for the Disabled, an Irish charity that trains assistance dogs to assist physically disabled children and adults to carry out a range of practical tasks.

The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation has run the Burns’ Charity of the Year since 2015 in addition to other community schemes including Burns in the Community and Burns by Your Side, a scheme that helps school children improve their literacy and communication skills with the aid of trained volunteers and their reading dogs.

The chosen charities will receive free, healthy pet food which has been developed by Veterinary Surgeon, ​​John Burns and has been feeding happy and healthy pets since 1993. The charities will also receive expert advice from Burns’ team of in-house nutritionists, joint promotional opportunities, and in some cases, financial donations. These new charities will replace the two charities it supported this year: the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) and Appaws for Autism.

John Burns, Veterinary Surgeon and founder of Burns Pet Nutrition, said: “Myself and the Burns Pet Nutrition team are extremely passionate about supporting and giving back to the community in any way, shape or form possible – and the same goes for charities in need of the support they aren’t currently receiving.

“We are looking forward to working with the selected charities throughout 2018 and, hopefully, they will feel the benefit of the support Burns Pet Nutrition can offer. We’re proud to be entering our third year of running Burns’ Charities of the Year, and we look forward to the years to follow.”

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Community

New Sensory Room for Aberystwyth respite service

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Opening the sensory room: Adrian Jones

A FANTASTIC facility is ready to use in Aberystwyth which will aim to benefit the disabled within the community.

Bryn Siriol, a respite service for adults with learning disabilities located on Fifth Avenue in Penparcau, has now opened a new sensory room for those with learning disabilities throughout Ceredigion and is the result of a three-year project.

The Herald spoke to Karen Dagg, who had been the registered manager at Bryn Siriol for seven years.

Describing the sensory room and its benefits, Karen said: “The sensory room provides a ‘quiet’ room where the people we support can relax. The people using our service have varying support needs all have a learning disability and some have physical disabilities.

“The sensory room is now equipped with fibre optic lights, bubble/light machine, projector, glitter ball and a water bed. The room is accessible to people who are in wheelchairs.”

She described the journey that was taken to open the sensory room: “The sensory room has always been a dream for myself and the staff at Bryn Siriol. A few years ago we were fortunate enough to receive a bequest from Mr Williams, whose daughter Thelma used to use the respite service before moving into supported living in the Cardigan area.

“The money Mr Williams left to us was enough to purchase the sensory chalet, have it erected and for some of the equipment, however there was a considerable shortfall.

“The shortfall has been possible due to the hard work of the staff team at Bryn Siriol doing car boot sales with items generously donated by the residents of Ceredigion. Also some of the staff from CTLD (Local Authority) did a sponsored walk.”

“How important do you feel it is for Bryn Siriol to have such a facility?” we asked.

“The sensory room will be available to all people with a learning disability and this gives them the opportunity to enjoy the facilities as well as meeting other people from within the area. As far as I am aware there is not another facility like this within Ceredigion.”

Karen told us how successful the sensory room had been so far and how she thinks it will bring the community together.

“The sensory room has been used by people who access the respite service and there has been fantastic feedback not just in words but in the faces of the people with profound disabilities who are unable to communicate verbally.

“The sensory room has only been open since October 4 and we are anxiously waiting for people from outside of our service to enjoy the facility.”

Bryn Siriol will be holding a tea party on November 8 at the service. People are welcome to go along and join them for tea and cakes, as well as to look at the sensory facility.

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Community

Going for Growth event helps businesses reach new markets

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Going for Growth: A successful day

F​OOD CENTRE WALES recently hosted a very successful ‘Going for Growth’ event to help local food and drink businesses to focus their attention on developing and reaching new markets.

The event was well attended with over 70 attendees, mainly consisting of local food and drink producers as well as other business support agencies.

In extending a welcome to everyone to Horeb, ​​Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, said​:​ “The food industry is one of the main industries in the County, with some 3,700 people working in it and, of course, based on our excellent agricultural products. Some of the most strategic and iconic companies of the food sector in Wales have sites in Ceredigion, for example, Rachel’s, Dunbia (formerly Oriel Jones), Tŷ Nant and Volac. Horeb Food Centre has served most of the Ceredigion food and drink companies since it opened in 1996. We are very pleased that the Centre has also successfully provided services to many other companies across Wales and beyond.”

Rachel Rowlands, founder of Rachel’s Organic, opened the event by sharing her experience of growing a food business. Welsh Government presented the latest industry research data to help businesses identify potential growth areas for their businesses. Ruth Davies from Cwm Farm, who shared her experience of product development, supplying Selfridges and exporting.

Arwyn Davies, new Business Development Manager for Food Centre Wales who will talk about how food and drink producers can benefit from the support offered by the Food Technologists and the HELIX project. The morning finished with Morrisons buyer, Matt Trigg, explaining what they look for in food products and how to get onto their supermarket shelves. He also met with many of the producers for private meetings in the afternoon.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic and Community Development highlighted the important role of Food Centre Wales in the food and drink industry in Ceredigion, saying, “This event goes to show how valuable Food Centre Wales is for small and medium businesses. I’m certain that local food and drink businesses were inspired from the Going for Growth event where they were treated to experience, knowledge and advice. We’re proud of the high standard of our locally produced food and drink within Ceredigion and are enthusiastic about how we can show support in local businesses to flourish. I’m very much looking forward to the exiting developments in the food and drinks industry in the future.”

The delegates enjoyed a lunch of locally produced food incorporating many food producers who have received help from Food Centre Wales. The afternoon started with attendees participating in a tour of the Research and Development building, followed by 1-2-1 sessions with Food Technologists, Matt Trigg and other business support Agencies – Business Wales, Landsker, Finance Wales, Antur Teifi, Menter a Busnes and Lantra.

The event was organised in collaboration with Cywain and the LEADER groups – Arwain Sir Benfro (Pembrokeshire), RDP Sir Gâr (Carmarthenshire) and Cynnal y Cardi (Ceredigion).

The HELIX project is a Welsh Government initiative designed to help develop the food and drink industry in Wales take advantage of the much needed funding available to help their businesses grow in the marketplace. New and existing small and medium enterprise food and drink manufacturers are able to access bespoke assistance from food technologists that is specific and tailored to the individual business.

If you are a food or drink producer and would like to receive help from Food Centre Wales, phone 01559 362230 or email gen@foodcentrewales.org.uk.

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