THE ANNOUNCEMENT of a pay-to-use trial in one of Aberystwyth’s public toilets was recently given the go ahead and if proven successful, it could very well be rolled out in the council’s other public conveniences in Ceredigion. But what do the people of Aberystwyth have to say on this decision?
In the October 28 edition of The Herald, we reported on the plans that Ceredigion County Council have made regarding a six to 12 month trial fee that will commence at the Park Avenue public toilets on Thursday (Nov 10).
The idea being that the public, who use the award-winning conveniences, will be required to pay 20p on entry through a ‘paddlegate’ system. From this, Ceredigion County Council will seek to gain additional funds in order to maintain the high standards of these conveniences.
The disabled toilet users will still be able to access the facilities free of charge by using the Radar key as part of the National Key Scheme (NKS), which offers disabled people independent access to locked toilets across the country.
Cllr Alun Williams, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, recently said of the plans: “When the council has asked the public for ideas about how best to manage the severe funding cuts we are subject to, charging for entry to toilets has been a regular suggestion. Many local authorities now charge a small fee for the use of their conveniences.
“Ceredigion has won numerous awards for the high standard of our toilets and the introduction of a small fee at this location, on a trial basis, is one idea for helping the council to maintain the current level of service across the county.”
Additionally, Raymond Martin, Managing Director of the British Toilet Association, has also recently stated: “Across and throughout the UK, the levels of toilet and facilities provision and, more importantly, management vary greatly.
“It is only through the correct supervision and management of goods and services that we see beacon councils like Ceredigion setting the standards of provision that many fail to achieve.
“Close attention to details and to the user needs and expectations make it a pleasure to visit and enjoy the facilities provided in such locations.”
With the announcement turning heads, it is the community that will feel the difference. So this week, The Herald decided to hit the streets and ask members of the public what they think about the decision and how they feel it will benefit the community.
John, who lives in Aberystwyth, told The Herald: “I have no problem paying 20p per use if the standard of the facilities was going to increase. But from what I can see, it will just be more of the same for a price.
“It is supposed to be award-winning but I have never thought it to be that clean, at least in the men’s side.”
The Herald also spoke to another Aberystwyth resident who voiced her concerns about the decision: “As a mother that uses these toilets on a regular basis, I can see it being an issue when getting the pram past paddle gates.
“There isn’t much room to manoeuvre there at the moment so I’m very concerned about the plans, to say the least.”
In addition, Laura, who has lived in Aberystwyth for six years, expressed her thoughts to The Herald: “It seems odd to me that the council can think they will raise money from this when they have to make alterations to the building in order to allow access gates to be put in.
“They will also need to maintain these gates for as long as they are in use and repair the gates when they inevitably get damaged or vandalised.”
Laura then added: “Why are we paying our council tax if they can’t afford to keep our public toilets free?”
With concerns for local businesses, Sam from Aberystwyth explained to The Herald: “Businesses are having enough problems as it is with high costs and lack of footfall because there is nowhere to park in town.”
Sam then went on to say: “It is a small price to pay for using the toilets, but it is just another obstacle for ordinary people like me.”
Meanwhile, Heather Jones from Aberystwyth told The Herald about she feels about the plans and what it would mean to the community: “I, personally, think that the plan is good idea but only if they make sure the toilets are kept spotless from here on out. With increased revenue, I think that the facilities can be better looked after.”
Heather then went on to tell The Herald: “I have spoken to a few people about this myself and they all feel that at least this way, the plan will help to guarantee the cleanliness of the toilet facilities and will give it the care that it needs.”
How museums can help to shape the future of Wales
ON DECEMBER 6, Ceredigion Museum hosted the launch of a new report. The Happy Museum report, ‘Welsh museums and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act’, shines a spotlight on the many ways that Welsh museums are responding to the goals of the Act.
Focusing on the work of six Welsh museums, the report shows the significant contribution museums can make through examples of current or recent practice. It also details the museums’ efforts to develop projects to respond to the Wellbeing goals.
Ceredigion Museum Curator, Carrie Canham said: “It’s an honour to have had such an important document for museums throughout Wales launched at Ceredigion Museum. Ceredigion Museum has been a Happy Museum partner for some years now. They’ve supported us to deliver projects that have had a positive impact on local people’s lives, so it’s great to put that in the context of the ground-breaking Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015. This report shows how we, and other museums in Wales, are ahead of the game in responding to the Act and how much we have to contribute to the wellbeing of our nation.”
The report was developed through a partnership between Happy Museum and Ceredigion Museum, Monmouthshire Museums, Cardiff Story Museum, Oriel Môn, Storiel and Wrexham County Borough Museum and Archives. The project was supported by the Welsh Government through an accreditation support grant from the Federation of Museums and Art Galleries of Wales,
The Director of Happy Museum Project, Hilary Jennings said: “The Future Generations Act in Wales is an exemplary piece of legislation and museums in Wales are responding across the board to its seven goals. We hope that the work of these Welsh museums will provide inspiration for the potential of museums worldwide to work in support of the wellbeing of people, place and planet.”
Happy Museum project supports museum practice that puts wellbeing within an environmental and future-facing frame. It rethinks the role that museums can play in creating more resilient people, places and planet.
The six Welsh museums worked with the Happy Museum over six months, to deepen their understanding of their Future Generations Act obligations. They also looked at the ways that they were already responding to the goals, planning new activities and embedding ways of working that would improve how they meet the goals of the Act.
The new report draws together all this learning as a resource and inspiration for museums across Wales – and to help them demonstrate their response to meeting the goals of the Act.
Drakeford confirmed as First Minister
MARK DRAKEFORD was confirmed as the new First Minister after a vote in the Welsh Assembly on Wednesday (Dec 12).
Carmarthen-born Drakeford succeeds Carwyn Jones as Welsh Labour leader, after Jones resigned on Tuesday.
Mr Drakeford, 64, has styled himself as a ’21st Century socialist’, and throughout his leadership campaign promoted continuity and stability as a candidate, having worked as a Welsh Government special advisor under Rhodri Morgan and being the only Welsh Government cabinet minister to support Jeremy Corbyn when he ran for the UK Labour leadership in 2015.
The AM for Cardiff West has been in the Assembly since 2011, becoming Health Minister in 2013 before becoming Finance Secretary in 2016.
Mr Drakeford grew up in Carmarthen, and was educated at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School for Boys. He then went on to study Latin at the University of Kent, before working as a probation officer and Barnardos project leader in west Cardiff.
Mr Drakeford went on to pursue a career in academia, lecturing at Swansea University, and then becoming a professor of social policy and applied social sciences at Cardiff University.
His first experience of electoral politics was as a councillor on the old South Glamorgan County Council, before serving the Cardiff ward of Pontcanna between 1985 and 1993.
Mr Drakeford was one of the two candidates, alongside Eluned Morgan, to have produced a manifesto during the leadership campaign, setting out many of the policies he hopes to introduce. These include an extension of the smoking ban to outdoor areas such as restaurants and town centres, the cutting of emissions through greater emphasis on public transport and building on Superfast Cymru – a scheme to rollout 733,000 homes and businesses across Wales.
The manifesto also proposed installing drinking fountains across Wales, double allotments, and piloting a ‘baby bundle’ – similar to baby box schemes in other countries with a package of essential items.
Mr Drakeford also suggested introducing a committee to advise the Welsh Government on the Hinckley Point power plant in Somerset, as he has spoken of his scepticism regarding nuclear power.
The new First Minister has also backed proposals put forward by economist Gerry Holtham to fund elderly social care in Wales through a tax. An annual review of PFI contracts across the Welsh public sector would be introduced, and the 22 councils across Wales would be kept as they are.
One issue that has been subject to much debate is the potential for the M4 Relief Road, but Mr Drakeford’s manifesto does not mention it specifically. Instead, it states a commitment to dealing with congestion, citing the A40 in Mid and West Wales, the A55 in the North and the M4 in South Wales.
The other two leadership candidates, Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan, had both backed another referendum on whether the UK leaves the EU, yet Mr Drakeford is less set on another vote, saying he would only back it should the final deal fail to protect workers’ rights.
As Finance Secretary, Mr Drakeford has been in charge of much of the Welsh Government’s approach towards Brexit so far.
In Wednesday’s vote, Mr Drakeford was backed by 30 AMs, with 12 voting for the Conservatives’ Paul Davies and nine supporting Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price.
Are you a £1m Euromillions winner? Time is running out to redeem prize
A LAST ditch attempt is being made to locate a mystery local winner of an unclaimed £1 million pound lottery ticket.
Time is running out to find the owner of the winning ticket from the Euromillions draw bought in Ceredigion on June 22, 2018 – with Millionaire code MDLG 86259.
The winner has until Wednesday, December 19 to claim their life-changing prize.
Andy Carter, senior winners’ advisor at The National Lottery, said: “Time really is running out for the winner of this prize, but we are still hopeful that someone will come forward to claim the money. We’re urging everyone to check their old tickets or look anywhere a missing EuroMillions ticket could be hiding. This life changing prize could really help to make dreams become a reality.”
If no-one comes forward with the winning ticket before the prize claim deadline, then the prize money, plus all the interest it has generated will go to help National Lottery-funded projects across the UK.
The National Lottery changes the lives of individuals as well as communities – players raise, on average around £30 million for National Lottery-funded projects every week.
Euromillions UK Millionaire Maker creates two UK millionaires in every draw. For every EuroMillions line played, UK players automatically receive a Millionaire Maker Code printed on their ticket.
Ceredigion alone has around 1,675 individual National Lottery grants that have been awarded to help projects across the arts, sports, heritage, health, education, environment, charity and voluntary sectors.
With all National Lottery draws, players only have 180 days from the day of the draw to claim their prize if they have the winning ticket. Anyone who has any queries or who believes they have the winning ticket for any of The National Lottery draws within the 180 day deadline should call the National Lottery line on 0333 234 5050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone concerned about lost or unchecked tickets may like to consider either setting up a National Lottery Direct Debit or playing online at www.national-lottery.co.uk.
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