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Grants for veterans legal aid project

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Helping veterans across Wales: Veterans Legal Link founder, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya

Helping veterans across Wales: Veterans Legal Link founder, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya

ABERYSTWYTH LAW SCHOOL has received grants of nearly £25k towards a project designed to offer free legal advice to veterans and their families.

The Veterans Legal Link, set up in 2015 by Lecturer in Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya, secured a £20k grant from the Ministry of Defence, as well as a near £5k grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

In working with a range of partners, the project supports veterans and their families across Wales by giving them access to free legal advice and specialist support services.

The project relies on a network of volunteer legal clinics, charities and organisations including Citizens Advice, West Wales Action for Mental Health and the Ceredigion Armed Forces Community Covenant (CAFCC).

The Veterans Legal Link also offers internships and volunteer opportunities to students in Wales, as well as conducting its own independent academic research.

Project Founder and Manager Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya said: “I have always been involved in veteran law and practice and through my work noticed where the gaps were for projects like ours in Wales. We are proud to be able to offer a service like this, and we are very grateful for the financial support we’re receiving from the Ministry of Defence and the Big Lottery Fund.”

Dr Olusanya added: “As well as helping veterans, this project also provides valuable work experience and shows students how law operates in real life and how it can help people in need.”

The Veterans Legal Link was founded on a belief that lawyers and law students could use their skills to bring equal justice to veterans and their families in need who are living in Wales.

Cllr Paul Hinge, Chair of the CAFCC and the Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council, said: “I was delighted to hear this news and I fully support the application as Chair of the CAFCC, knowing that this funding will make a massive difference to the Veteran Legal Link project.”

He added: “This is an important service for veterans and their families. The service offers legal advice and specialist support services tailored for the needs of users, ensuring they get the help and support they require.”

With the latest funding now available, the Veteran Legal Link will be able to continue and expand with their work helping veterans across Wales, with the long-term aim of expanding to England and Scotland via a UK university-wide network.

Students from Aberystwyth University can sign up for the voluntary internship that is flexible enough to work around a busy schedule and gives them over 80 hours of both academic and practical experience.

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Aberystwyth waste pilot launched

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AN innovative pilot scheme has been launched in North Parade, Aberystwyth to help promote positive waste behaviours in the town centre.

The initiative sees communal wheelie bins being delivered to the pilot area on the afternoon before the usual scheduled waste collections. The bins provide a means of containing the waste for the time between it being presented and being collected. Protecting the waste from attack by animals, including seagulls, will help keep the town centre’s streets clean.

The new approach will also help support more local residents, especially those living in properties where space to store waste is limited, to make full use of the weekly recycling and food waste collection services. Reducing the amount of recyclable waste that goes into black bags is not only better for the environment but it also helps ensure it is dealt with in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

The days and frequency of waste collections will remain the same with wheelie bins being provided each week for clear recycling bags and food waste and fortnightly for black bags. Waste should be presented in the correct wheelie bin by 8am on the day collection.

Once the waste is collected the wheelie bins are removed which avoids problems that would arise if they were left there permanently which includes causing unnecessary street clutter and obstructions as well as potentially being misused and attracting fly-tipping.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards, the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services, said: “I am fully supportive of this initiative. It is an example of the Council working in partnership with communities on resolving issues. I wish the initiative every success and look forward in the future, to further working closely with our communities on finding creative solutions to the issues we are all concerned about.”

The scheme started on August 6-7. If it proves to be successful, consideration will be given to extending the pilot to other areas where it may work. Consideration is also being given to other ways of further supporting positive waste behaviours in Aberystwyth and Ceredigion in general ahead of a new domestic waste collection system that will be introduced in 2019.

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Consultation on future of gas network for west Wales enters final week

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PEOPLE from west Wales are being urged to have their say as a public consultation on the future of the local gas network is set to close on Friday (Aug 17).

Wales & West Utilities look after the pipes that bring gas to homes and businesses across Wales and the south west of England. The company has received almost 20,000 responses to its consultation but is now urging as many people as possible to take two minutes to pipe up and shape its plans for the future. Everyone who completes the consultation will be entered into a weekly draw to win a £100 Amazon Gift Card.

The company is asking people to give their views on issues such as the gas emergency service, investment to keep the gas network safe and reliable and how it supports those most in need. It is also seeking views on preparing the gas network for a greener future, making sure it can continue to deliver essential services for generations to come.

Wales & West Utilities charge for their services through consumer gas bills. Currently, their services make up 20% of an annual gas bill – so for the average gas bill of £630, that’s £128 a year – or 35 pence per day.

Graham Edwards, Chief Executive at Wales & West Utilities, explains: “The pipes we look after are mostly underground and out of mind, but we provide an essential service in keeping people safe and warm in their homes and powering businesses. Now, as we plan for the future, we want as many people in West Wales as possible to have their say on the future of their gas network and the services we provide.”

“This consultation is about ensuring our customers’ views are heard so that we plan and work towards getting the balance right between investing to maintain and improve our services and preparing the gas network for the future, while keeping bills low.

“We understand the financial pressure households across the area are under and we remain committed to keeping our portion of the gas bill to a minimum – we have already reduced the cost of our services since 2013 from £145 to £128 today.

“We’re looking forward to hearing customer feedback from West Wales as this will play a vital role in shaping our business for the future.”

Wales & West Utilities also connects around 11,000 homes and businesses to the network each year. And, for customers in need of extra support, the company has a scheme offering low-cost gas connections and financial help for appliance repairs. There is also a priority register to make sure people in vulnerable situations are prioritised when things go wrong.

To have your say on the future of your gas network and the services Wales & West Utilities provides please go to PipeUpOnline.co.uk or Facebook.com/wwutilities and be in with a chance to win a £100 Amazon.co.uk Gift Card.

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Elin Jones welcomed to Gorsedd as ‘Elin Ceredigion’

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AT THIS year’s National Eisteddfod, held in Cardiff Bay, Elin Jones, AM for Ceredigion, was welcomed into the Gorsedd.

The ceremony of the Gorsedd of the Bards is an integral part of the National Eisteddfod, and honours people who have made a significant contribution to the Welsh language and to Wales. Upon being admitted to the Gorsedd, the member is able to choose their ‘Bardic name’. Elin Jones has chosen to be known as Elin Ceredigion.

Elin Jones said: “It’s an honour to be admitted to the Gorsedd at this year’s National Eisteddfod, and to be known there as Elin Ceredigion.

“This was a very different and diverse National Eisteddfod. People from all over Wales and from many different cultures were able to see the Welsh Language thriving.

“The National Eisteddfod is important in whichever part of Wales it may be held. In two years’ time, it will be in Tregaron in Ceredigion which will be equally as exciting and important an Eisteddfod.

“The Gorsedd will next meet in Ceredigion in July 2019 – to proclaim the 2020 Ceredigion Eisteddfod.”

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