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Citizens Advice receives recognition for volunteers

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VOLUNTEERS at Citizens Advice Ceredigion have been delighted by the news that they have been given the ‘Achieving Investors in Volunteers’ award this month, recognising the hard work and commitment put in by all the volunteers and staff and emphasising the importance of volunteers. 

The organisation will be celebrating their five year anniversary this year, marking the date of the merger between Cardigan CAB and Aberystwyth CAB – established in the early 80s and 90s respectively.

Citizens Advice Ceredigion provides free, confidential and independent advice to anyone, on a range of subjects from problems at work, to money issues, housing, energy bills or mobile phone contracts, and host of other issues. The volunteer receptionists and advisers offer a non-judgemental and practical support service face-to-face and over the phone.

Aberystywth Advice Manager, Sandra Arnold, has commented on the award stating: “Volunteers have always been at the head of everything that we do, and this award is a welcome recognition of the effort that goes into recruitment, induction, training, support and development of volunteers and their roles.”

Cardigan Advice Manager, Sophie Francis, added: “Our clients are always amazed to hear that the high-quality service we deliver is underpinned by those that are unpaid and our volunteers help us to have a real stake in the communities we serve.”

Quality and Training Manager, Glynis Llewelyn, then continued: “The process of applying for this award has been really useful for us. We’ve been able to take a fresh look at how we do things and make sure our procedures and the roles we offer are fit for 2016 and beyond. We hope it will give others the confidence to get in touch and find out more about volunteering with us, knowing that we put time and resources into supporting volunteers and that we view this as a genuine investment.”

Over 80% of Citizens Advice Ceredigion’s paid staff have previously been volunteers with the company and it’s clear that they value the progression of their volunteers. Of those that go on to paid work outside the organisation, many say that the training and experience they gained were invaluable in finding a job.

Chairman Paul Hinge concluded, stating: “We are very fortunate to have a large proportion of volunteers that stay with us for many years – with two of our volunteers celebrating 15 years, three 10 years and one even 35 years of involvement with our Citizens Advice this year. Achieving Investors in Volunteers in 2016 is the icing on the cake!”

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Community

Christmas gift fair returns

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Last year at the Food Fair: The annual Christmas celebrations return this year

NEXT Friday (Oct 20), the annual craft and gifts extravaganza will return to Aberystwyth Arts Centre to get the locals in the mood for Christmas.

The Winter Craft & Gift Fair is sure to get visitors feeling festive in the run up to Christmas with over 80 stalls selling a wonderful array of crafts and gifts, many produced by local makers from Ceredigion and mid Wales.

This year will feature many regular stalls, as well as some who will be selling at the fair for the first time, so prepare to discover the unusual and unexpected at this year’s fair with it’s new layout and products for 2017.

The fair will be open from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday and 12 to 5.30pm on Sundays all the way up until December 23.

On Saturday​,​ ​November ​​25, ​the Arts Centre’s Christmas Food Fair will take over the Great Hall for the day. There will be the very best of Welsh produce with cheese, meats, fish, wine, cider, pastries, puddings, jams and much, much more from many local producers. The Food Fair is the perfect place to stock up on a few gastronomic goodies in the run up to Christmas. There will also be live musical entertainment to get you in the Christmassy mood! The fair will be on 10am-4pm and entry is free!

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Community

‘​I​t’s ok to say’

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FUW raise awareness: Urging people to 'say' on World Mental Health Day​

​ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, farmers across Wales are being reminded that ‘it’s ok to say’ and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging them not to hide problems from themselves, their families and friends and to talk about their personal feelings.

The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July to continue raising awareness of mental health problems in rural communities and is therefore renewing the call for those who might be suffering from mental health problems to seek help.

“The focus of this year’s World Mental Health day is on mental health in the workplace and farms are just that. In our places of work we’ve faced some pretty low-points in the last few years. Bovine TB, price volatility and uncertainty about our future post-Brexit, this all puts a strain on our resolve and will have many feeling stressed and under immense pressure,” said Union President Glyn Roberts​.​

“But we must break the stigma attached to mental health, so if you’re feeling vulnerable, please open-up and speak to someone. That doesn’t just mean today, but always. Farmers and farming families need to continue talking openly about what they are experiencing and the FUW strongly encourages anyone who is worried about their own mental health or a loved-one, to seek help from the Farming Community Network, Tir Dewi, The DPJ Foundation, Mind Cymru or Call Helpline Wales,” added Glyn Roberts.

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Community

Scholarship scheme funds student’s Masters

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One of the chosen few: Stella Foster (Pic. Mark Woodward)

A TALYBONT native is one of just 28 people in the UK to be awarded a scholarship granted by energy company ScottishPower.

Stella Foster, 32, gratefully received the grant from the Scottish Power Foundation for the 2017/18 academic year.

Having just completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of York, Stella will begin her Masters in Environmental Sciences this week at the University of East Anglia. Environmental science degrees integrate biology, physical science and information sciences to examine environmental systems (air, water, etc.) and how they interact.

The sought-after scholarship covers full enrolment costs as well as a living allowance. On top of this, the scholars will receive unique opportunities including meeting leading industry professionals.

“Travelling around the world and living in China before I started my undergraduate studies made me aware of the astounding change of pace in urbanisation; the two-hour bus ride from where I lived to Shanghai, there wasn’t a moment where you couldn’t see a construction site,” Stella said.

“This fast and dramatic development creates issues with the environment, and I’m really excited to learn about the creative and fascinating solutions out there, and hopefully come up with some of my own,” she added.

Since it was launched in 2010, the ScottishPower Foundation scholarships programme has provided £1.5m in grants towards training the next generation in their chosen field.

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