AN 11 FOOT-LONG dinosaur built by a Penparcau community group for Aberystwyth’s annual carnival is to feature in a Jurassic heritage exhibition in Old College.
Dave the Dinosaur will be on display in the Quad alongside the main Archaeopteryx exhibition, which will be officially opened by wildlife expert and television presenter Iolo Williams at 6.30pm today (Feb 14).
The lifelike model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was made by members of the Penparcau Community Forum, an organisation set up to develop sustainable and inclusive activities and facilities for the benefit of local people.
Complete with moving jaws and a thunderous roar, Dave formed the centrepiece of the Forum’s Jurassic Penparcau float at the 2017 Aberystwyth Carnival and was awarded the prize for Best Overall Float.
Visitors to Old College will walk past Dave on their way to the main exhibition featuring Archaeopteryx, a bird-like dinosaur with sharp teeth and claws.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the Archaeopteryx exhibition is on loan from Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, who have also collaborated with Aberystwyth University to help showcase the institution’s own fossil collections.
Dating from the late Jurassic period around 150 million years ago, Archaeopteryx is believed to be the link between prehistoric dinosaurs and the modern bird.
As the exhibition is open over the school half-term and Easter holidays, interactive heritage sessions for families are being organised in partnership with Ceredigion Museum.
Children are also encouraged to bring their own toy dinosaurs when they visit and take a photo with Dave who stands seven feet tall, four feet wide and 11 feet long.
Karina Shaw, Director and Trustee of Penparcau Community Forum, says she’s delighted to see Dave the Dinosaur on public display again.
“The process of making Dave for last summer’s carnival float was wonderful. It helped to build stronger relationships in our community. It gave people a network to lean on in tough times and a group to share ideas and skills with. For some, it was a great source of therapy. For others, it was a chance to reconnect with their community and feel part of something special. It has made people proud of where they come from and all they have achieved and we’ll be able to share that now by bringing Dave to this high-profile exhibition in Old College.”
Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, said: “It is wonderful to see the way in which this Jurassic Heritage exhibition has come together. We have worked in close collaboration with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and the HLF to bring Archaeopteryx to Aberystwyth, and the project in turn has inspired the Penparcau Community Forum to bring Dave the Dinosaur back into the limelight once more.”
Bryn Jones is the Co-ordinator of the Penparcau Community Forum and a member of the Old College Project Boar. He said: “Dave the Dinosaur had a tremendous reception when he first appeared at Aberystwyth Carnival last year and I’m sure he will delight visitors to the Archaeopteryx exhibition at Old College. This project shows how local organisations can work together in partnership and we look forward to seeing the transformation of Old College into a vibrant centre which brings everyone together, offering employment and training opportunities as well as showcasing learning, research and enterprise.”
The Archaeopteryx exhibition has been made possible thanks to a grant of £9,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is being supplemented with a generous gift of £5,000 from Dr Terry Adams, geologist and Honorary Fellow of Aberystwyth University, and £3,700 from the AberFund.
Richard Bellamy, Head of HLF in Wales, added: “Thanks to funding from National Lottery players, this project has created a new opportunity for established organisations to work together for the benefit of local people and tourists. We know that there is a lot of interest in the Jurassic period and this funding means that more people will get to see and find out about important collections that wouldn’t otherwise be available in Aberystwyth. HLF is delighted to give its support”.
Dr Ian Scott and Professor Emeritus Richard Hinchliffe from Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, and Dr Bill Perkins from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, are providing additional content for the exhibition.
After launch night tonight, the exhibition will be open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm until April 21 and admission is free.
Elin Jones backs calls for business rates holiday extension for independent businesses
CEREDIGION’S Member of the Senedd, Elin Jones, has backed calls by the British Independent Retail Association for the extension of the current rates holiday for non-essential businesses in 2021/22.
Many local independent businesses have been closed for the best part of a year, and many will be in a more precarious situation now than when the initial rates holiday was announced last year. Many businesses will be looking forward to the easing of restrictions over the next few months, but Elin Jones warned that many would benefit from the continued business rates holiday.
Elin Jones said:
“Every effort must be made to secure the future of independent businesses in Ceredigion. They are such an important feature of life in Ceredigion, both as employers, and as a draw for people to our towns and villages.
“Normal trading will eventually resume, and these businesses will be able to flourish again, but local businesses owners know that this cannot be rushed. Therefore we must continue to sustain our businesses until they are once again back on an even keel.
“It will take a while for footfall to resume, and extending the business rates holiday is one way to help in this time of need.”
MP makes Budget case for support for self-employed and small businesses in Ceredigion
BEN LAKE MP has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the government’s financial support package for businesses and self-employed workers in next week’s Budget as many struggle to stay afloat during continued lockdown restrictions.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak is to set out the UK Government’s budget on Wednesday 3 March, almost a year since the last Budget on 11 March 2020.
To help businesses and our local high streets over coming months, the Ceredigion MP has called on the Chancellor to extend the lowered rate of VAT at 5% for hospitality and tourism for a year to March 2022 and to extend the business rates relief package.
Mr Lake also called on the Chancellor to retain the furlough scheme for the duration of pandemic restrictions, as recent figures show more than 178,000* in Wales are still receiving government help from the CJRS. He also urged the Chancellor to expand the existing eligibility criteria for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme in order to offer some help to the many individuals who have not received a penny in Government support thus far.
Ben Lake MP said: “For many businesses and self-employed workers, the financial support government has offered over the last 12 months has been a lifeline. Now, as we are finally starting to see light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, we cannot remove this lifeline prematurely. Extending this help for a little longer, and expanding the criteria to help those that have been excluded thus far, would offer small businesses the support they require to ‘bounce back’ from the pandemic.”
Many businesses who are still not open due to lockdown measures are also now expected to start repaying their Bounce Back Loans. This is despite their situation largely remaining unchanged since they took out the loan, or in some unfortunate instances, worsened as they have not yet been able to trade.
UKHospitality has estimated that the hospitality sector lost around £72 billion in sales in 2020 and faces, frankly, a debt mountain, including £4.2 billion in state-backed loans.
Mr Lake said: “It is important that businesses that took out bounce back loans and CBILS are required to pay only when they are in a position to do so – once they have ‘bounced back’ from the pandemic. Affording such a level of flexibility, and thus preventing avoidable business failures, would protect jobs, the taxpayer’s investment in the recovery, and the integrity of our financial system.
“We remain in the early stages of a vaccine-led recovery, and it is likely that we will have some form of restrictions for many months to come. Having done so much to protect the economy and the workforce, we must not withdraw support prematurely, as to do so would risk throwing away the investment taxpayers have made in the last year, and potentially our economic recovery.”
Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50
EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.
While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.
Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:
- Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
- Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
- Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
- Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
- Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April
The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.
Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.
People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.
Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While our programme has had to slow due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.
“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.
“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.
“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.
“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”
People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.
The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.
Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.
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