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Trade unions call for positive steps forward for Bodlondeb

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TRADE UNIONS at Ceredigion County Council have responded to the consultation on the future of Bodlondeb residential care home by calling on council officers to work positively to identify ways to overcome the financial difficulties facing the home.

The unions are clear that everything should be done to keep the care home open for the existing and future residents, and to maintain services and employment in the area.

Owain Davies, UNISON Ceredigion county branch secretary, said: “Bodlondeb is a highly regarded and well-loved care home, providing a very valuable service to the elderly residents of Aberystwyth and North Ceredigion.

“We were very alarmed and disappointed when the council decided to consult on its future with only one option being presented – the of closure and disposal of the home.

“Their proposal is a short-sighted response to the immediate budgetary pressures faced by the council and provides no vision or strategy as to how the services currently provided by Bodlondeb will be replaced. The closure of this care home would leave a big gap in the provision of elderly social care at a time when we expect demand on services to rise rapidly.

“The response from the local community are angry over these plans. Hundreds have attended public meetings and rallies stating that they do not want this care home to close.

“The trade unions continue to highlight the reasons for the current under-occupancy of the home and how they can be addressed. We have set out clear and practical suggestions as to how the home can be adapted and developed to meet changing needs and requirements and so secure its long-term future.

“UNISON is aware of the financial challenges facing all councils at the moment, but we the response to those challenges should not be to run down and then close essential public services that so many in the local community rely on.

“With the appropriate expertise and investment, Bondlondeb could become a real asset for the council and could even generate income.

“The dedicated staff at the home are very much committed to its future, there is a clear business and service needs case for keeping the home open, but what is missing is the will of Chief Officers at the council to do so.

“In our consultation response the trade unions have set out a clear way forward for the home.

“It is our expectation to meet with council officers and hold ‘open book’ discussions with them to identify the practical steps that need to be taken to secure the future of Bodlondeb.

“At the very least, councillors should be presented with a range of options – showing the costs, benefits, and risks of each option – before they are asked to make a decision that clearly goes against the will of the local population, and will risk significantly the ability of the council to deliver its statutory responsibilities in the coming decade.”

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Man accused of sexually assaulting six-year-old girls

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A FORMER Penparcau man is to stand trial accused of sexually assaulting two six year old girls.

Raymond Albert Wardall, 55, now of Blaenllynant Lodge, Queens Road, Aberystwyth, appeared at Swansea Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Paul Thomas.

Wardall denied a total of eight charges of sexual assault and sexual touching.

He will stand trial on November 27 and was granted bail until then.

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Alerts issued ahead of Storm Brian

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NATURAL RESOURCE WALES (NRW) is warning people that parts of the Welsh coast could see localised flooding as Storm Brian combines with high tides this evening and tomorrow.

The conditions could cause a storm surge, which in some areas could lead to overtopping of sea defences. Current predictions show that the worst affected areas are likely to be along exposed sections of the west coast of Wales from Southern Gwynedd to Llantwit Major.

High tides in these locations are expected to peak between 6am and 11am tomorrow (Oct 21).

NRW has already issued a number of flood alerts for the west coast, and is likely to issue flood warnings for Aberystwyth and Newgale later today. Further alerts or warnings for other areas will be issued as necessary.

24/7 Emergency response workers from NRW will be out at key areas of the coast over the next couple of day to monitor the high tides and condition of its sea flood defences.

NRW has also contacted its partner agencies such as local councils and the emergency services to ensure that appropriate responses are in place should the need arise.

Richard Hancox, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Conditions across the coastline are likely to be extremely dangerous this weekend and we urge people to stay clear, and avoid visiting the coast during this time.

“We know people are tempted to try and take photos of these storms, but it really isn’t worth putting your life at risk. Sea spray and flood water can knock you off your feet easier than you might think, and the large waves can send debris flying onto shore.

“If anyone is concerned about the risk of flooding to their home, please check to see if flood warnings are available in your area, and visit our website for advice on how best to prepare.”

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes.

Information and updates are also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188. People can also register for free flood warnings either by calling the Floodline number or at NRW’s website.

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​Major bequests for Aber research ​

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TWO major legacies to support postgraduate research have been announced at Aberystwyth University’s Founders’ Day held in the Old College on October 13.

The University revealed that Eleanor and David James had donated £2m to the institution where they both worked for 35 years, while former student Margaret Wooloff has bequeathed £400,000.

Both bequests will be used to fund postgraduate research at the University, in line with the wishes of the benefactors.

The legacies were announced as part of the University’s now annual Founders’ event, which echoes the celebrations held in the town back in October 1872 when the first students arrived at Old College.

The Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “It is extremely fitting that these very special bequests have been the focal point of this year’s Founders’ Day event. They remind us how the University has been supported since its early beginnings by the generosity of the people of Wales and the wider world.

“Eleanor and David James, and Margaret Wooloff all dedicated their lives to the furtherance of knowledge and their valuable contributions to education in Wales will live on in their legacies. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, Louise Jagger, said: “There is a very strong bond between the University and our family of alumni across the world. Eleanor and David James and Margaret Wooloff were all active members of the Old Students’ Association during their lives and we are immensely grateful to them for their support over the years. Their generous legacies will now enable the scholars of the future to pursue their particular fields of expertise and undertake research with impact, which is integral to our mission as a leading University.”

Members of the local community joined staff and students at the Old College to mark Founders’ Day.

The guest speaker at the event was Ceredigion MP Ben Lake who said: “The story of how Aberystwyth University – or the University College of Wales as it was originally called – is one in which we can all take pride as a nation. Driven by the vision of its founders, the dream of establishing a college with University status in Wales was made possible thanks to the generosity of ordinary people. The roots and foundations of the University reflect our values in Wales and it is vitally important that we commemorate and celebrate this very special heritage.

“May I take this opportunity to congratulate Aberystwyth on being named recently as the University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Good University Guide – a well deserved accolade which is testament to the dedication of all its staff.”

In July 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it had earmarked £10.5m for ambitious plans to redevelop Old College in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

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