CELEBRATING a 40th Birthday in a sunny playground was a very different way to spend a Saturday.
There were many fun-filled preparations taking place at the premises of St Padarn’s school, and the commitment of the St Padarn’s’ playgroup was being demostrated to its fullest. Forty years of unique, fun, and beneficial childcare was celebrated within the community.
Situated on Llanbadarn R oad, Aberystwyth, St Padarn’s Playgroup has established itself as a charity which provides excellent childcare with a special emphasis on education. Through the medium of English and Welsh, the Playgroup gives children a fun experience while they learn through interactive planned activities and free play.
Run by an elected committee of parents, the Playgroup is fully insured through the Wales Pre-School Playgroup Association and also offers an after-school care for St Padarn’s School pupils on the same premises.
The Playgroup also have the policy of allowing parents of current pupils to automatically become members of the charity that run the playgroup, and encourage all parents to get involved in any way they can.
The community atmosphere was tangible even before the event had begun, the many young families helping to set up for this important day. Putting an emphasis on fun activities for children is one of the core principles of the Playgroup and continued with the children at the event having had the opportunity to enjoy various happenings such as face painting, Arts and Crafts and a cake competition stall.
While the children had the freedom to alternate between playing with toys scattered along the ground or on the wooden playground equipment, the parents showed their support by assisting with the raffle and the food stall.
With contemporary music playing throughout event, there was a special live performance from singer songwriter Callum Duell, entertainment from the Pied Piper and a petting corner, courtesy of Pets at Home in Aberystwyth.
Amber Walker, member of the Playgroup PTA and parent said: “The Playgroup has never felt like a Playgroup, but an education. The cake stall competition and the event itself is a wonderful way to get the children involved”
Committee-Secretary of the St Padarn’s Playgroup, Lisa Jones-Evans further explained while helping with the raffle stall: “My child has been in the playgroup for two years and absolutely loves it”.
The Organisers of the event warmly welcomed present nursery children, staff and committee member to the celebrations. Among them was Kath Philips, the playgroups’ longest serving Manager for 27 years, former Playgroup leader Maureen Gallop, former one to one assistant Margaret Evans and the former Playgroup Treasurer.
Speaking of her previous role and how the Playgroup formed, Kath explained: “The ethos of the Playgroup changed after a while and focused on navigating towards working parents. The Playgroup thrived and was all about having fun. We were forever having parties”
Sitting looking at old photos from 1982-1983 with the group gave a great sense of nostalgia and how the Playgroup formed into a highly affordable and well thought of childcare group under Kath’s leadership: a fantastic way to ensure that children were well looked after and well educated outside of the home.
Leontia Slay, one of the co-founders of the Playgroup, began a child care service in an old Catholic hall in Aberystwyth.
“The Playgroup came from nothing and was so simple when it began. Then it exploded into something special.”
The event included a tour around the Playgroup facilities by current playgroup manager of three years, Eleri Barker. Showing me and former staff of the Playgroup around the outdoor facilities, she explained: “Part of the children’s education at the Playgroup is the gardening. We’ve had a Lottery Grant this year for £5000, and we also relied on sustainability grants to do what we want to do.
“The children enjoy growing a garden and they have a mud garden, a kitchen to play in, a musical stand and a construction corner. We were also very fortunate that Mount Trading in Aberystwyth were able to give us gravel for the garden.
“The children have a sensory garden where they have a little shed to grow runner beans, black currents, blueberries, lettuces and potatoes.”
Discussing the developments of teaching methods over the years while in the Playgroup classroom, Eleri told The Herald: “The class should be open access all the time, with the castle in the corner and the three little pigs display. The committee are good at looking at what we need and there are always ways for everyone and anyone to fit in”
Pointing to a decoration hanging from the ceiling, she explained that they once built an igloo out of milk cartons and the children loved the bubble wrap icicles hanging from the ceiling so much, they wanted to leave them there.
The event concluded with a presentation and a birthday cake for the Playgroup in celebration of the high quality childcare and education that it continues to provide.
Police release new CCTV image of murder suspect
DYFED-POWYS POLICE has released a new CCTV image of Steve Baxter, who detectives are keen to speak to in connection with the murder of Simon Clark from Pendine, Carmarthenshire.
The image was captured in Glynneath on Saturday, September 29. He is believed to have traveled to the west Wales area shortly afterwards and is believed to be in the Haverfordwest area.
Baxter, also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.
He is bald, but was last seen wearing a hat and wig, as shown in this image. He may have made other attempts to alter his appearance such as growing facial hair or wearing glasses.
Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “We’re releasing this CCTV image from the latest confirmed sighting of Steve Baxter to give people the most up to date example of how he may be dressed and how he may currently look.
“Time is passing and we really need to speak to Steve Baxter to build a more accurate picture of what happened in Pendine.
“To anyone that may know where he is, please pass this vital information to police.”
The independent charity Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to Steve Baxter being found. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.
If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.
To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
David Davies Llandinam show comes to Tregaron
THERE will be a special opportunity for the people of Tregaron to learn about one of Wales’ most successful industrialists, David Davies Llandinam with a performance by the drama company “Mewn Cymeriad”.
To celebrate David Davies’ link with the area, Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion, Cymdeithas Hanes Tregaron and Clwb Plant Capel Bwlchgwynt have organised a performance of the family friendly show “David Davies Llandinam”.
David Davies was born in Llandinam, Montgomeryshire but he had an influence across Wales. He built railways across the country including the Manchester and Milford Railway that connected Tregaron with Aberystwyth and Carmarthen by using a huge amount of Cardiganshire wool to lay the rails across Cors Caron.
In addition to being an astoundingly successful entrepreneur, David Davies Llandinam was the MP for Cardiganshire between 1874 and 1886. Nine years previously, he stood against one of Tregaron’s hero, Henry Richard to be the local Liberal Party candidate for the 1865 Election.
Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Culture, “The history of David Davies Llandinam is very interesting. It’s wonderful to see organisations coming together to put on this show in Tregaron and Mewn Cymeriad following this character’s fascinating story.”
Mewn Cymeriad is a drama company that travels across Wales to present one actor shows full of fun and excitement to children about historic characters such as Barti Ddu, the Lord Rhys, Hedd Wyn and Owain Glyndŵr. The David Davies show was written by Mewn Cymeriad’s founder Eleri Twynog Davies and the show is performed by the actor Ioan Hefin who has starred in programmes such as Hidden, Gwaith Cartref and Teulu.
The free show of David Davies Llandinam will be shown at Bwlchgwynt Vestry, Tregaron on Monday, 29 October at 7pm. Come to see the actor Ioan Hefin present a lively and interactive show about the man who brought the train to Tregaron. It is an interactive show that is aimed towards children aged 6 to 11 however it is suitable for the whole family.
For further Information, contact Steffan Rees, Cered’s Community Development Officer on 01545 572 350.
Visit to inspect new Active Travel works held
SUSTRANS CYMRU director, Steve Brooks visited recent work to the Aberystwyth Active Travel Network on 26 September. The network of pedestrian, cycling and general accessibility improvements has been developed in partnership with the Welsh Government and Sustrans.
Mr Brooks met with Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services and the Council’s Sustainability Champion, as well as Council Officers. During the visit they discussed the work carried out so far and future work to improve the Active Travel Network in Ceredigion.
Councillor Williams praised the work undertaken to date, “It was a pleasure to meet with Sustrans colleagues and County Council officers. The excellent work that the County Council has done so far in Aberystwyth was showcased, with the aim of encouraging children to cycle, scoot and walk to school. The improvements do of course benefit everyone in the community by helping to encourage healthier and more active lifestyles whilst reducing traffic congestion and we had a useful discussion about further developing active travel initiatives across the whole of Ceredigion.”
Three towns in Ceredigion have been designated as Active Travel Settlements under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013. The Council carried out a public consultation during 2017 to identify and prioritise future improvements. As a result, walking and cycling routes are being improved incrementally through various Welsh Government grants as funding permits and subject to physical constraint.
Steve Brooks said, “Plascrug Primary is one of many schools in Ceredigion where Sustrans’ Active Journeys Programme is delivered and it’s great to see the positive difference made at these locations, in conjunction with improved routes and new scooter and cycle shelters installed by the County Council following successful grant funding from the Welsh Government. The Programme includes classroom activities where pupils can help influence future grant bids and also embraces a range of engaging activities which helps to build the confidence, enthusiasm and skills needed to help form new active travel habits. These activities and lessons support schools’ efforts in achieving Eco-Schools and Healthy Schools awards as well as working towards Sustrans School Mark award which recognises excellence in sustainable travel.”
The Council is also improving active travel opportunities outside these three settlements, such as near schools, employment sites and key tourism destinations.
Image: Left to Right: Sioned Lewis, Sustrans Cymru; Plascrug Primary School Pupils; Councillor Alun Williams; Steve Brooks, Sustrans Cymru; Gari Jones, Ceredigion County Council.
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