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Ceredigion’s Universities scoop green awards

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Aber’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, Rebecca Davies : Presenting Sport and Exercise Science Technician, Alan Cole, with the Gold Standard Green Impact Award for IBERS (Carwyn James)

Aber’s Pro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer, Rebecca Davies : Presenting Sport and Exercise Science Technician, Alan Cole, with the Gold Standard Green Impact Award for IBERS (Carwyn James)

ABERYSTWYTH University and UWTSD are celebrating after having more success at the Green Impact Awards, an environmental accreditation and awards scheme run by the National Union of Students, who support teams and departments to make simple and powerful changes in behaviour and policy in order to work towards a more sustainable institution. 

Thirteen teams from different departments across Aberystwyth University took part in the scheme in 2015-16, and were audited by student volunteers in April.

All teams were recognised for their achievements; five were awarded the Gold Standard, six achieved Silver, and two were awarded Bronze.

Achieving the Gold Standard were teams from Human Resources, Estates Sustainability, IBERS (Carwyn James), Information Services and the Institute of Education, Graduate and Professional Development (Cledwyn).

Awarded the Silver Standard were the Earth Observation and Ecosystem Dynamics Research Group, the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science, and teams from the Careers Service, Planning and Governance, Psychology, and Research, Business & Innovation.

Estates Grounds and the Aberystwyth Arts Centre were awarded the Bronze standard.

Health, Safety, and Environment Advisor, Dr Heather Crump, stated: “Green Impact, part of the Live Greener behaviour change campaign (e.g. Blackout and Student Switch Off), has grown in popularity over the past three years, with more and more people getting involved and engaged with the scheme.

“With news of it continuing for another year, we hope it continues to gain momentum and even more sustainability initiatives take place. Green Impact is integrated into the university’s drive to achieve the internationally recognised ISO 14001 standard for environmental management.”

At UWTSD, the Green Impact project was able to engage with over 106 staff members from across all three campuses this year, putting 502 actions into place, 329 as a direct result of Green Impact. The dedication of those involved provided a potential savings of almost 9492kg of CO2 and almost £1,397 in savings through waste reduction, energy conservation, and reductions in travel. Furthermore, it provided six students with training and development opportunities during their roles as auditors.

Fiona Wheatley, Sustainability Development Officer, said: “It’s important to promote good environmental behaviour at UWTSD and Green Impact offers a way to incorporate small reminders into the workspace. It’s also a great way to encourage members of staff to work together towards a greater good. I was extremely pleased with the efforts of all the teams this year. The project was very successful and forms a solid foundation for sustainability to continue to grow throughout the university in the future. The project will be beginning again this September and we hope to further its success. We plan on engaging even more staff members.”

UWTSD has been a participant in the NUS Green Impact Project since 2013/14. Initially, the first year saw six teams successfully achieve a Bronze award. During 2014/15, this grew to 16 teams, who achieved a range of awards from Bronze to Gold. This year (2015/16), 15 teams submitted for a range of award from Bronze to Gold, and one team for an excellence award. Arrangement to facilitate Green Impact events and awards are undertaken by the Sustainability Delivery Team at UWTSD.

UWTSD’s strategy also includes key performance indicators on sustainability. Green Impact binds a community of sustainability champions across the university, helping to ensure that it consistently delivers on its sustainability objectives.

At UWTSD, the results were as follows:

Student Experience: Silver Award; Environment Office: Gold Award; SWWCTE Townhill Campus: Silver Award; Team Owen: Bronze Award: HR; Silver Award: Green Business; Bronze Award: SOAC Green Team; Bronze Award: Y Gofrestrfa – The Registry; Bronze Award: SWWCTE Carmarthen (CAADOC-Caerfyrddin); Bronze Award: Corporate Services; Gold Award: Corporate Communications & PR; Bronze Award: INSPIRE; Gold Award: GWLAD; Bronze Award: SSJ&I: Bronze Award; Faculty Office – Lampeter: Bronze Award; Fine Art/ Celf a Dylunio Team Excellence Award: Project – Ground sourced Clay to Ceramics

Sustainability is high on the list of priorities for staff and students. In a 2016 survey completed by the NUS, over 87% of first year students agree that sustainable development is something universities should actively incorporate and promote.

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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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