OVER 300 people attended a protest against newly elected US President Donald Trump in Aberystwyth yesterday (Jan 30).
During the protest, Ceredigion Labour Party member and Aberaid organiser Lindsey Gaunt spoke to the crowds about a 12-year-old girl from Yemen called Emma, who had waited for years to get residency permits to join her mother and sister in America, and was at the airport waiting to get on a flight to join her family in the US when the ban was announced.
Emma was told that as a result of Trump’s ban on Muslims entering the US she would not be allowed to fly to join her family. Her father had spent his last $2000 on the flight to get his daughter to safety in the US, away from Yemen which has been bombed for the last 2 years by a Saudi-led coalition that the US has been supporting and the UK has been arming.
The Aberystwyth protest had been spontaneously organised in less than 24 hours by another Labour Party member in Ceredigion. During the same 24 hour period, Ceredigion residents contributed 2,277 of 1,584,418 signatures to the online petition calling for Donald Trump to be prevented from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom.
Eluned Morgan AM for West & Mid Wales, said in response to the Aberystwyth protest: “President Trump’s shameful and cruel executive order against refugees and Muslims has shocked and appalled people around the globe.
“Whilst every country has the right to set its own immigration policies, Trump’s actions go against the very values of freedom and tolerance for which the US is renowned. It is divisive and wrong to stigmatise people of a particular origin or particular faith, putting them under general suspicion for no good reason whatsoever, in particular, when they are suffering through no fault of their own.
“May should immediately rescind the invitation to welcome Trump on a state visit to the UK with all the pomp and ceremony that this entails. This is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a foreign dignitary, we should reserve this privilege for truly great people.
She has a responsibility to stand up for the values and responsibilities that we hold dear in the UK.”
Stephen Kalisky, the organiser of the protest, said: “This is a broad protest organised by many groups, Stand Up To Racism is one of them. We are shocked to the core that Trump has introduced policies that seem like something you read in history books about the 1930s.
“This is, however as it is spun, a ban on Muslims. More shocking is our own Prime Minister’s complicity. Torture? Banning Muslims? We will not stand for this.
“I was told that numbers of around 300 people showed their support. Thank you all for coming out and showing the world how great Ceredigion is.”
Young women in Ceredigion make their voices heard
PERIOD poverty, access to mental health services and equal pay were among the issues raised by young women on International Women’s Day 2019.
On 8 March, in collaboration with the Young Women’s Trust, Ben Lake MP hosted a ‘Real Talk’ workshop aimed at young women aged 16 to 30 years old. Young women from all walks of life came together at the Coliseum Coffee House to voice their concerns and share their hopes for the future with the local MP.
Ben Lake said: “It was great to hear new ideas for change and to discuss ways in which we can improve the lives of young people in Ceredigion. The experiences of women and girls must be heard, both locally and nationally. After all, it is impossible for policies to be truly effective if they do not reflect the wishes, and address the challenges faced by all in society.”
The young women set out three priorities for Ben Lake to campaign for on their behalf at Westminster:
1. Education: ensure that equality issues and mental health awareness training is included on all PGCE courses
2. Increase the national minimum wage for apprentices and roll out National Living Wage for under-25s
3. Period poverty: campaign, raise awareness and look to introduce policies to mitigate the effects of period poverty
Period poverty in particular, was an issue that the young women felt needed tackling as a matter of urgency. A recent report from FreedomforGirls* found that period poverty has a direct impact on education, with pupils in the UK missing class every month due to their periods. A RightsInfo investigation** discovered thousands of women were relying on food banks to get through their monthly periods.
In an attempt to tackle period poverty, the UK Chancellor confirmed in his Spring Statement that secondary schools in England will start providing menstrual products free of charge to girls from September onwards. Ben Lake MP has encouraged the Welsh Government to follow suit.
Ben Lake said: “All women, regardless of age, social status or background, should be able to easily access the menstrual products they need.
“Too many girls miss out on vital education each month as a lack of access to menstrual products forces them to miss school. Even those pupils who do not suffer period poverty will benefit from free access to sanitary products, ensuring no child is without protection during what can be a very stressful and vulnerable time.”
New Welsh language resources for Ceredigion childminders
FROM April this year, childminders across Ceredigion will have the chance to use the special Welsh ‘Sach Stori’ resource. This aims to promote Welsh language skills to children in the county.
Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion has been working with Ceredigion County Council’s Childcare Unit to develop story packs which include a Welsh/bilingual story and a pack of resources that will be available to registered childminders in Ceredigion. The project has been in development for the last two years. The finished packs will be available to the county’s childminders from 18 March. The resource will be officially launched at a story session in Awen Teifi, Cardigan on 3 April at 10am.
Llinos Hallgarth, Cered’s Development Officer said, “This is an exciting project based on a period of co-operation with the county’s childminders to ensure a package that will be of particular benefit to them. The pack contains a story as well as educational materials that can reinforce the story or message of the story, all of which are in Welsh.”
“In order to encourage their use, we will be holding practical sessions for childminders across the county so that they can familiarise themselves with the finished pack and methods of presenting it.”
Emma Poole from the Childcare Unit said, “Sach Stori will be a great help to the Welsh and Non-Welsh speaking childminders to try and integrate the Welsh language into everyday life. This project will help childminders to deliver the Welsh language in an enjoyable way within the home.”
This project reinforces the work the Childcare Unit is aiming to do to raise awareness of the use of the Welsh language within childcare settings. This project will help settings to meet the requirements of the Care Inspectorate Wales and also support Welsh Government’s efforts to reach a million Welsh speakers by 2050.
The 10 ‘Sach Stori’ will be available to childminders and will be regularly renewed to keep them updated.
For further information contact Llinos Hallgarth at Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion on 01545 572 358 or call the Contact Centre on 01545 570 881 and ask to speak to Emma Poole at the Childcare Unit.
Council preparing for Brexit
WITH Brexit discussions ongoing and regularly in the headlines, Ceredigion County Council has been preparing for a range of potential impacts of Brexit. The preparations are designed to minimise any negative effects that Brexit could have on Ceredigion residents.
Eifion Evans is the Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council. He said, “We don’t know how Brexit is going to pan out. We hope that there will be little or no disruption to residents or council services. However, we are making careful preparations to minimise any negative impacts that Brexit could have.”
The council has been preparing in many different ways. Some of these include:
Working with companies that provide food to schools and canteens to see how different kinds of Brexit could affect their ability to provide ingredients. Plans have been made to replace ingredients that can’t be sourced to others if Brexit affects food coming into the country.
Council Social Care Officers have been working closely with companies who carry out social care services for the council. The officers have been helping companies to plan for Brexit situations with or without a deal. Common themes that the companies have been discussing surround medical and food supplies and staffing.
Human Resources have been identifying EU nationals who work for the council and who work for services commissioned by the council. Plans are being made to help them apply for settled status when the process starts on 29 March. Plans are also being made to help residents from EU countries to apply.
Environmental Health Officers have looked into the likely impact on officers to provide additional export licensing to companies exporting certain foods to EU countries after Brexit.
The council is contributing fully as an active member of the Dyfed Powys Local Resilience Forum. The multi-agency forum covers the Dyfed Powys Police area. It is responsible for managing serious risks to the community on a joint basis.
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