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Llandysul pool is ‘symbol’ of the community

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Llandysul Aqua Centre shortlisted to win up to £25,000: The community-run pool also recently celebrated its 40 year anniversary

Llandysul Aqua Centre shortlisted to win up to £25,000: The
community-run pool also recently celebrated its 40 year anniversary

A CEREDIGION pool has been shortlisted for an award which could see them winning up to £25,000.

Llandysul Aqua Centre has been nominated for a ‘Britain Has Spirit’ award, which promises community groups across Britain a chance of securing £1,000 for each regional winner and a £25,000 prize for the winner of the final.

Britain Has Spirit was launched by TV personality Gabby Logan, with the purpose of rewarding community groups and volunteers, as well as encouraging people to take part in the local activities.

Five different community groups across Wales made it to the shortlist, with the winner spending their £1,000 winnings on a street party to thank their supporters.

The winner will then go onto the overall British round, where the £25,000 grand prize will be up for grabs to spend on facilities.

Iestyn ap Dafydd, Treasurer of Llandysul Swimming Pool, said: “The town had a shock two years ago when we heard that an annual grant from the council was being scrapped.

“For a while, nobody thought it would be possible for the pool to stay open. But the community came to the rescue – something Llandysul is very good at – and we suddenly found ourselves running the pool without official assistance.

“It’s been hard work, but the unstinting support of the community, which raises some £20,000 a year, just keeps the pool going.

“We’re coming into a new, exciting phase now. We’re in discussions with the council that may allow the trustees to search for grants to renovate the building and heating system.

“There are more possibilities coming along as the County Council look for a community group to run the leisure centre.

“The pool is a symbol of what rural communities can do when they have to. And it’s a symbol, really, of the strength of Llandysul and Ceredigion as we face the spending cuts that are being forced on us on a regular basis, it seems.

“Winning the Welsh round would raise our profile, and show to the whole of Wales that the spirit of the town and the county is far from beaten. It would show our pride to the nation.

“Of course, the £1,000 party to thank our supporters would be worth having too!

“Winning the final British round, and the £25,000, would make a real difference at a critical time for us, and really set Llandysul on the map.

“I’m sure that we deserve to go through to the final round – what we have achieved with the pool so far is remarkable. But we need to win the Welsh round first!

“So, I’m appealing to everyone who wants to see the pool succeed to vote on the Britain Has Spirit website, and do so every day until the contest is over. Thank you very much!”

Llandysul Aqua Centre has recently celebrated its 40 year anniversary since it was built and opened by the community.

The pool has a ‘Swim School’ that provides weekly swimming lessons to around 200 children, and a new Swimming Club, which is going from strength to strength.

The pool provides important employment opportunities for local sixth form pupils, as well as being a hub for the town’s recreational activities, including pool parties and aqua aerobics sessions.

The winners of the competition will be decided by public vote online at the Britain Has Spirit website, where supporters will be able to vote once a day until Friday June 17.

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Community

Ceredigion lifesavers go the extra mile during lockdown

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Loyal blood donors in Ceredigion have responded to a request from the Welsh
Blood Service to ‘donate differently’ by rolling up their sleeves to make a
lifesaving donation at one of the Service’s new regional hubs.

Across Wales, of the 6,808 individuals that visited a Welsh Blood Service donation
session in May 63% of donors attended a clinic that was not their usual donation
venue.

In Ceredigion, 293 donors came forward to give blood in May, with 34 attending a
donation session for the very first time.

Following a series of Covid-19 related venue cancellations and social distancing
restrictions, the Welsh Blood Service was unable to host donation sessions at the thirty
community venues it would typically visit across Wales each week.

The Service introduced a new collections schedule at the beginning of April which saw
collections taken from five regional donation hubs at different locations in Wales each
week. Donors were asked to travel to donate at their nearest hub.

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “When it became clear we
couldn’t continue with business as usual, we knew we’d have to ask donors to donate
differently. Our regional donation hubs have replaced our usual local collections
programme and the response from donors has been remarkable.

“98.3% of the appointments we’ve made available since lockdown have been taken
and many of these appointments have been taken by donors who have been prepared
to go even further out of their way than they usually would just to make a potentially
lifesaving donation.”

The Service has also observed a sharp rise in the number of new donors coming
forward to donate.

Mr Prosser continued: “In May 2019, around 11% of those that attended our donation
sessions were new donors. This May, around 19% of our attendance has been people
who had never given before.

“We’ve also see a surge in the number of donors who haven’t given in years returning
to our sessions to help us boost stocks. It’s been amazing and we’re hugely grateful.”

Blood stocks in Wales have remained healthy throughout the pandemic as the reduced
collections activity has mirrored a reduction in the volume of blood used by hospitals.
However, the Service is urging donors to continue to attend their local sessions as and
when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

“Blood stocks are currently very healthy thanks to the commitment of new and existing
donors but we need people to keep giving blood to ensure we can continue to meet
hospital demand in the coming months. Travel to donate is considered essential travel
and anyone who is fit, well and eligible to donate can book an appointment through the
welshblood.org.uk website.”

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Community

Porth Cymorth Cynnar supporting residents in Ceredigion

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During this challenging period, Porth Cymorth Cynnar has established a virtual platform to ensure that we are able to keep in touch with vulnerable residents across Ceredigion.

Due to the restrictions introduced to safeguard our communities against COVID-19, many residents are not able to access their usual provision or support such as parent groups or GP Referral Exercise Classes. Instead, we are ensuring that all residents whom are known to our services, and others, are kept in touch with, through regular welfare calls, should they wish.

Around 2000 residents from young people to families to carers, who may require or benefit from regular contact whilst their service is not operating in its usual form, will receive communication from our staff.

To date, almost 2000 welfare calls have been made, and have been well received by people across Ceredigion. Residents have said that it is great that someone is keeping in touch with them, to give them an opportunity to have a weekly phone call and someone to talk to.

Mrs Jones* (name changed for anonymity) who is 92 and lives alone, is used to receiving regular visits from Ceredigion’s mobile library was identified as benefiting from a weekly phone call, to check how she was doing, now that her usual library service would not be visiting for a while. Porth Cymorth Cynnar aimed to get in touch with Mrs Jones, but did not have a contact number. After tracking down a contact number through the local directory, a member of the Porth y Gymuned team was able to make contact. Luckily Mrs Jones has the support of family and neighbours to collect groceries, but nonetheless was extremely grateful to have someone to talk to, and to check that she is OK. A weekly phone check in has been organised with Mrs Jones, to ensure that she is doing well and to organise if she is in need of anything.

If you, or anyone you know would benefit from the Keeping in Touch Service, please get in touch with our Customer Services team on 01545 570881 or clic@ceredigion.gov.uk who will triage your query to Porth Cymorth Cynnar.

Porth Cymorth Cynnar are also regularly updating resource lists which are available on the Ceredigion County Council website here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus

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Community

The latest on plastic free Ceredigion

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At its meeting held on 17 March, the Council’s Cabinet received an activity update from the Plastic Free Ceredigion Task and Finish Group, which was set up after full Council approved a motion on 22 February 2018.

Full Council approved the ‘Plastic Free campaigns throughout the County, including Plastic Free Aberporth and Plastic Free Aberystwyth’ motion to ensure that the Council helps to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in our day to day operations.

The motion involved a number of factors including; reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and encouraging local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives. Promoting the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events, supporting beach cleans and any other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics.

Since 22 February 2018, the Council have removed 5 single-use plastic that were used across the local authority, implemented projects in conjunction with NRW with local primary schools, worked closely with communities throughout Ceredigion and commenced the provision of Water bottle re-fills on request to all visitors to our public facing buildings.

In January 2020, the Schools Service were successful in bidding for funding from the Circular Economy Capital Fund, which allows for the purchasing of milk dispensers which will remove the need for the provision of plastic milk bottles and straws by 1,979 pupils at Foundation and Key Stage 2. This is equivalent to a reduction of 376,010 plastic milk bottles per school year.

Councillor Alun Williams, Member Champion for Sustainability said, “These are initiatives which, together, make a real difference to the amount of single-use plastics going into the waste stream from Council activities. Whilst it’s important that everyone seeks to minimise their use of single-use plastics, it’s particularly important that large organisations like councils take these kinds of actions because they can have a wider effect which, in turn, can lead to industry changing to more sustainable practices. Ceredigion Council is trying to lead the way in showing what’s possible within an organisation.”

This supports one of the Council’s corporate priority of Promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.

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