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Councils ‘failing female care workers’

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UNISON, the public services union, is using today’s International Women’s Day (Mar 8) to warn local authorities that overstretched resources in the care sector are depriving the largely female workforce of any dignity at work.

A great deal of care is provided for councils by non-profit organisations and the trade union has written to every council in Wales requesting a meeting to discuss how better funding in the sector would lift carers out of poverty.

Extreme financial constraints in the non-profit care sector have resulted in the slashing of carers’ supplements for sleep-ins at service users’ homes, holiday pay, bank holiday working premiums and sick pay.

Typically, they earn the minimum wage of £7.20 an hour and carers have told UNISON they feel exploited and would be financially better off working on the tills at a supermarket. Yet the work carers undertake is invaluable; they check on the welfare of service users and amongst other tasks, might help them take medication or prepare their meals. They care for the most vulnerable in society.

Many women opt to work in the care sector because it offers flexible working which can fit around their own care responsibilities at home.

Lynne Hackett, UNISON organiser said: “Thousands of women in Wales and their children are suffering the effects of in-work poverty despite their dedication in caring for older people, those who are physically disabled, individuals with mental health issues and those with learning disabilities and difficulties.

“If they were directly employed by the councils they would be more fairly paid. If care has been outsourced, councils should provide sufficient funding to non-profit organisations to ensure quality care for service users and dignity for the workforce. We know the pressures councils are under because of savage UK Conservative government cuts but the answer can’t be to punish those delivering care.

“Torfaen, Caerphilly, Bridgend and Flintshire councils deserve credit for agreeing to meet with us to discuss the crisis. Some local authorities are in a state of denial about the care sector and have not responded to UNISON. As we approach the local elections this will not be viewed sympathetically by the female carers living and working in their communities. On International Women’s Day, it would be wonderfully symbolic if all councils in Wales consented to a meeting.”

UNISON believes care should be undertaken by councils with a directly-employed local government workforce. The trade union has developed an Ethical Care Charter which it is asking councils in Wales to adopt. It would ensure dignity of care for patients and fair and decent employment standards for care staff.

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Theatr Felinfach Performing School presents CAMAU

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OVER the past few months enthusiastic members of Theatr Felinfach Performing School have been developing new skills through a series of masterclasses with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

The members have been busy creating material through scripting, directing, choreography, clog dancing, folk dancing and much more. All their hard work will be shown in their ‘CAMAU’ (steps) performance on Monday 28 October, 7:00pm at Theatr Felinfach. This is your chance to see the fruits of their labour!

The Performing School was established in January 2017 and has now grown into a very popular group. It’s a great opportunity for 7-18 years olds to gain new experiences in theatre skills through the medium of Welsh and to make new friends who share the same passion for performing.

This year two trips were organized for members of the Performing School. In June, the group visited the ‘Lexicon’ show by the UK’s leading large-scale circus company ‘NoFitState’ in Bluestone, Narberth. The audience was amazed at the performers’ talents and agility and seeing the children’s faces was invaluable.

Later in July, the group visited ‘Chores’ at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, a production organised by Cluster Arts, an Australian company. The story was about two young boys playing in their mess of a room where they began using their acrobatic skills to sort out the carnage. The show was inspired by ‘slapstick’ legends Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.

Theatr Felinfach hopes to continue taking members to see various shows and productions to give them the opportunity to experience professional theatre.

The Performing School meet each Thursday evening – the primary members (7-11 years) from 4:30pm to 5:30pm and the older members (12-18 years) from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.

Membership fees are every half term and range between £30 and £35 depending on the age of the members.

If you would like more information about the Performing School and how to become a member in the new year, please contact sioned.thomas@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01570 470697.

Tickets for ‘CAMAU’ are £6 for adults, £5 for OAPs and theatre members and £4 for students and Children. They’re available from the Box Office on 01570 470697 or online at theatrfelinfach.cymru.

 

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New plaque unveiled at Cardigan War Memorial to honour three fallen soldiers from Cardigan

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A NEW plaque was unveiled at Cardigan War Memorial to honour three fallen soldiers from Cardigan. The plaque was unveiled during a public Commemoration and Dedication Service on 12 October.

The plaque commemorates Michael J. Dunphy who gave his life in the 1982 Falklands War and Lee T. Davies and David M.E. Greenhalgh who gave their lives in the 2001-2015 conflict in Afghanistan. The plaque was unveiled by Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards.

Councillor Paul Hinge is Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion. He said: “It was an honour and privilege to welcome everyone to the Service of Commemoration and Dedication, not only as a son of Cardigan, but as a veteran myself and Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion.

“The three fallen soldiers of Cardigan, Michael Dunphy, Lee Davies and Dave Greenhalgh paid the ultimate sacrifice and their names are now immortalised on Cardigan War Memorial honouring their sacrifice.

“It was a privilege to work with all stakeholders involved in planning the day including the families, regiments, Cardigan Town Council and Ceredigion County Council officers. We were delighted with the strong attendance on Saturday which was a testament to how important this Commemoration is to all concerned. It was a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers of Cardigan.”

 

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Wales Audit Office report shows council finances are well managed

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CEREDIGION County Council has approved the statement of accounts following a report from the Wales Audit Office. The report shows a positive performance of the council’s financial management.

In a council meeting, the Chairman of the council’s Audit Committee, Councillor Rowland Rees-Evans welcomed an unqualified report and acknowledged the work of all staff for ensuring that the council ended the year with a balanced budget.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd is the Cabinet member responsible for Finance. He said: “I am delighted that we have approved accounts showing good financial management. This is crucial in a very difficult financial climate after years of cuts to our budgets. We will continue to carefully plan our finances to provide the best possible services for Ceredigion residents in the future.”

The council’s accounts are reviewed by the Wales Audit Office every year to make sure that they show a true and fair view. They also make sure that they have been properly prepared with legislative requirements.

The statement of accounts has been published and can be viewed in the Canolfan Rheidol office in Aberystwyth or online via https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/your-council/budgets-finance/statement-of-accounts/.

 

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