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Radio Bronglais hits the road

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Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 10.58.43ABERYSTWYTH’S summer entertainment continued on Saturday (Jul 16) as Menter Aberystwyth introduced ‘Radio Bronglais Roadshow’ to the community. 

As part of Menter Aberystwyth’s Summer Entertainment programme, the community of Aberystwyth were able to brave the unfortunate weather forecast and gathered around the Bandstand to be entertained by the radio station from 2pm until 6pm.

The unfortunate weather meant that Menter Aberystwyth had to postpone the ‘Picnic in the Park’ at the Aberystwyth Castle grounds, which promised outdoor activities for children, bring your own picnics and live music.

Menter Aberystwyth covers not only the town of Aberystwyth but also its surrounding villages, as far as Eglwys Fach to the north and Llanrhystud to the south. The area comprises of 13 community councils and Menter Aberystwyth hopes to work in partnership with all of them.

A regeneration partnership for Aberystwyth and its surrounding areas, Menter Aberystwyth concentrates on the building of community ethos, where local people have a chance to address any issues they have regarding changes and solutions to their community. With links to various organisations such as the Aberystwyth Town Council, Ceredigion County Council, Aberystwyth University and BBC News, Menter Aberystwyth thrive on the support on the local community.

Funded by Aberystwyth Town Council and Aberystwyth University, Menter Aberystwyth provides help for other smaller groups in the local area in order for them to develop their own projects. In addition, they also provide guidance for businesses and other groups with regards to funding opportunities and available advice.

Cllr Alun Williams, Vice Chairman of Menter Aberystwyth, spoke to The Herald about the Summer Entertainment Programme 2016: “Events in the last year have included the Switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights and the recent Aber First awards. The Summer Entertainment programme, based at the new bandstand, is a part of that and Menter will be putting on around 40 different events there over the summer. The programme consists of local artists who Menter pay a small amount to perform.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there on Saturday, but the first event of the season was the Dylan Thomas Sound project the previous Saturday. Photos of this are on the Menter Aberystwyth Facebook page.

“Radio Bronglais/RBFM are a hospital radio station based in a building in the grounds of the hospital. As part of Menter’s programme, they presented a four-hour live broadcast road show from the Bandstand last Saturday, supporting the great work of the staff of Bronglais Hospital and various community groups around the area, some of whom were interviewed on the show.”

Due to the success of the event, Radio Bronglais released the following official statement: “Saturday (Jul 16) saw the successful return of everybody’s favourite radio roadshow as ‘RB FM presents…Summer at the Bandstand’ from the Bronglais Hospital community radio station. Radio Bronglais FM kicked off Aberystwyth’s Summer Entertainment Program with a flourish.

“RB FM’s four-hour live broadcast direct from the new Bandstand on the Aberystwyth promenade showcased the range of coverage it provides for its listeners. With a variety of guest speakers from branches of Bronglais Hospital services, associated bodies, and other third sector organisations, coupled with live performances from a diverse demographic of musicians, RB FM celebrated a brilliant afternoon of broadcasting.”

Cllr Williams added: “Aberystwyth Town Mayor Brendan Somers, who opened the event on Saturday, praised the hard work and dedication of all the staff at Bronglais Hospital, and that of the Radio Bronglais volunteers.

“The live broadcast was anchored by RB FM presenter ‘Big Pete’ Evans, and featured presenting slots from regular voices Lewis Harrowing and Gemma Freedman. The show included interviews with representatives from Age Cymru Ceredigion, Sight Cymru Ceredigion, the League of Friends of Bronglais Hospital, and the Mid Wales Healthcare Collaborative, amongst several others, as well as beautiful live performances from AberOpera, folk band Brenig, and regular RB FM presenters Del Whiting and Sean Hicks, the latter of whom also used the event to launch his new EP.”

Al Frean, RB FM Station Manager, was pleased with the success of the event and told The Herald: “It’s great to be out and about doing road shows and broadcasting from outside of the hospital. We get the opportunity to join the dots; showcasing snippets of Bronglais to the community whilst also bringing aspects of the community back to our listeners through our programming platforms.

“We just wish the reliable Welsh weather could have been a bit sunnier on the day! Of course a huge thank you goes out to everyone involved; from our guests to our own volunteers and a special thanks to Aberystwyth Town Council and Menter Aberystwyth for their help and support as organisers of the Summer Entertainment Program. Diolch i chi!”

Radio Bronglais FM is the hospital and community radio station based at Bronglais General Hospital in Aberystwyth. It is a self-funded voluntary branch of the healthcare community which endeavours to provide relief and support first and foremost for the patients and staff of Bronglais Hospital and its associated NHS services through its diverse broadcasting and befriending services.

For more information, tune in and support Radio Bronglais via 87.8FM across Aberystwyth or online via www.rbfmlive.co.uk and the TuneIn Radio app. For more information about Menter Aberystwyth’s Summer Entertainment 2016 programme, search Menter Aberystwyth on Facebook at @menteraberystwyth

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£1 billion deal set to solve poor mobile coverage

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BEN LAKE MP has worked with cross-party MPs in recent months on a campaign calling for a Shared Rural Network to extend mobile rural coverage to hard-to-reach areas.

On Friday, 25 October, a £1bn plan between the UK’s four main mobile phone companies and the UK Government was unveiled with the aim of banishing these signal dead zones. The proposed deal – which includes EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – promises to get 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025.

The new plans for all operators to share phone masts to improve UK coverage is a world first. It will mean EE, O2, Three and Vodafone will invest £530 million in a network of new and existing phone masts they would all share and which any mobile user can access, and which would be supported by £500 million investment from the UK Government.

72 cross party MPs, including Ben Lake, wrote to the then Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright MP asking him to support a Shared Rural Network which would significantly improve rural coverage and enhance economic, educational and leisure opportunities in rural areas.

Mr Lake said “This is fantastic news. It will make a huge difference to so many people in my constituency where, in some areas, there is no mobile coverage at all. It will put an end to the frustration felt by thousands of people who currently feel cut off and mean people will get good mobile signal on the go wherever they live, work or travel and it will have a big impact on the local economy.

“I was glad to have the opportunity to meet with the Secretary of State to press the case for allowing newly constructed Home Office masts to be utilised as part of this new programme, something that would expedite progress in areas such as Ceredigion.”

The current Digital Secretary, Nicky Morgan said “We are determined to make sure no part of the country is left behind when it comes to mobile connectivity. We are closing in on a deal with the mobile network operators so those living in rural areas will be able to get the fast and reliable mobile coverage they need and deserve. Brokering an agreement for mast sharing between networks alongside new investment in mobile infrastructure will mean people get good 4G signal no matter where they are or which provider they’re with.”

A final agreement between UK Government and the mobile industry is expected early next year.

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Successful first year for the Childcare offer

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PARENTS of 400 Ceredigion children have taken advantage of the Childcare Offer in its first year. The scheme has been running in Ceredigion since September 2018 and has saved parents almost £850,000 in childcare costs so far.

The Childcare Offer for Wales is a Welsh Government funded scheme, which provides 3 and 4 year olds with a combination of 30 hours of Foundation Phase Nursery education and childcare. The offer is available to working parents of three and four year olds for up to 48 weeks of the year.

To be eligible, a child must be aged three or four and the parent or guardian must earn the equivalent of at least 16 hours at national living wage or national minimum wage; or receive specific caring benefits.

Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services. She said, “It’s great to see that the Childcare Offer is having such an impact across Ceredigion in the first year. The Childcare Offer is not only a fantastic opportunity for parents, but it is also an opportunity to provide better sustainability for childcare providers.”

A dedicated team of staff has been developed within the Ceredigion County Council to administer the offer in the county and on behalf of Carmarthenshire, Powys and Pembrokeshire county councils. Ceredigion County Council is the delivery authority which processes all parent applications and deal with payments to childcare providers.

The cost of childcare can be a significant burden for working parents. A scheme like this has really made a difference to families’ financial situation. One parent who has taken advantage of the offer said, “It’s helped us quite a bit. There was a bit of work to do to set it up and find the paperwork, but once that was all done, it was really easy. All you have to do is take the child to the childcare setting each day and pick them up at the end of the day!”

“The Childcare Offer has meant that the money we’ve saved through the offer has enabled us to give our children other experiences.”

The application form for parents and carers to apply for the Childcare Offer is available on the Ceredigion County Council website: https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/children-young-people-services/childcare/childcare-offer-for-wales/childcare-offer-application-form/

Childcare Offer applications for children born between 1 September 2016 and 31 December 2016 can be submitted from 4 November 2019.
As part of the application process, parents/carers will need to provide the following evidence:

· Copy of child’s birth certificate
· Proof of address (latest Council Tax Bill or an utility bill dated within the last 3 months
· Last three months’ payslips for all applicants,
· Or, if self-employed a copy of your most recent self-assessment tax return form. Alternatively, if you are relatively new self-employed person provide proof of your Unique Tax Reference number from HMRC.

Parents or childcare providers in Ceredigion who require further information should contact the Ceredigion Childcare Unit on 01545 570881

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Environmentally friendly electric sweepers replace old diesel models

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CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL has replaced old diesel street sweepers with new electric powered models.

The new electric sweepers replace diesel ones which have been in use for many years and had come to the end of their useful life. The new sweepers will mainly be used in Ceredigion’s town centres to help keep the streets clean. The electric sweepers will be better for the environment and will be cheaper to operate.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards, is the Cabinet Member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “These new sweepers will be of great benefit in supporting the efforts of our Street Cleaning Team to keep Ceredigion’s towns clean. As part of Caru Ceredigion everyone can play their part in this by dealing with their waste including litter, cigarette ends and dog waste responsibly and legally. This would be a huge help in keeping Ceredigion clean and ensuring it remains a great place to visit, live and work as well as maintaining the positive profile it deserves.”

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