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Milestone reached at Yr Egin

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THE CONSTRUCTION of Yr Egin – the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s new digital and media centre – reached a milestone on September 18 with a ‘topping out’ ceremony held on the site in Carmarthen.

The practice of ‘topping out’ is a tradition in the construction industry and celebrates a significant point in the construction phase when the building reaches its highest point.

During the ceremony held at the top of the building, Professor Medwin Hughes DL, UWTSD’s Vice Chancellor was joined by key partners in this exciting initiative including Ian Jones, S4C Chief Executive; Steve Nicholls from Kier Group; Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader and Mark James, Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council; as well as representation from the Welsh Government, which has provided £3million funding towards the new centre.

“Today is a very important milestone in the construction of the Yr Egin development,” said Professor Hughes. “The building has reached its highest point and clearly indicates the realisation of the University’s exciting and bold vision to develop a creative and digital cluster that will greatly benefit the county, the region and the creative industries across Wales.

“Co-locating a range of creative, digital and cultural practitioners within the same building – with S4C at its core as the main anchor tenant – will create opportunities, encourage innovation and enable job creation in this key priority sector.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is an ambitious and transformational development that will be home to S4C’s main headquarters as well as a number of companies and organisations working with the creative and digital industries.

S4C Chief Executive Ian Jones said: “With just over a year to go until we relocate our headquarters to Canolfan S4C Yr Egin today is a significant milestone.

“Seeing Yr Egin take shape underlines our commitment to ensuring that S4C will have offices in three locations across Wales by the end of 2018.

“Our internal preparations for the move to Carmarthen are well underway and we look forward to the prospect of creating numerous employment opportunities from the first quarter of 2018 onwards.”

The design of the 3,700 square metre building has already received the support of the Design Commission for Wales with the internal layout of the building focused around a public foyer and atrium that overarches the three floors. There will be a specific focus on the broadcasting and performance on the ground floor, with a range of offices for S4C and other partners on the other two floors. The University will also create new enterprise incubation units, offering access to opportunities, facilities, events and industry networks.

Regional construction company Kier Group Plc are the main contractors for Canolfan S4C yr Egin and are responsible for managing the construction of the new centre. The company’s Operations Director, Jason Taylor praised the project team for the hard work and progress they had made: “It has been a real pleasure to meet the university staff, the anchor tenant S4C and local councillors today to show them around the site. The project is gathering momentum and taking shape allowing us all to visualise the flagship Yr Egin building with its surrounding featured landscapes.

“Collaborative working relationships is a core part of the success of this project and a shared ethos between UWTSD, S4C and Kier. Throughout the construction process we have been working hard with our local supply chain partners to provide employment and up skilling opportunities. The project is also being utilised as a learning initiative for local schools and colleges.

“I would like to personally thank our site team for their efforts to ensure that the roof was complete for this ‘topping out’ celebration which enables them to progress internal works heading for completion. Kier are very proud to be part of this project and we look forward to seeing the completion of this creative Welsh digital hub in 2018.”

Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates said: “Once complete this new facility will help to deliver the infrastructure needed to support the University’s vision of a cluster of creative businesses in Carmarthen. This in turn will help to inject new life into the local economy, bring additional and high quality jobs to Carmarthen and enhance Wales’ growing reputation as an enabler of talent, imagination and productivity. It also supports our wider commitment to promoting Welsh as a living and vibrant language and will help cement links between academia and creative businesses.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is a development that will transform and shape the creative and digital industries in South West Wales and beyond. It will also be a centre that will be at the heart of the community providing opportunities for local people to enjoy the building and its resources – a cafe, auditorium and performance stages.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “From winning the S4C contract to securing the City Deal investment, the Yr Egin development is well on track and we’re excited to be part of the journey.

“This is a fantastic development for the whole of the Swansea Bay City Region, especially so in Carmarthenshire, with the creation of exciting new jobs in the creative sector that I’m sure will act as a catalyst for further opportunities.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin’s design team is a partnership between the Rural Office for Architecture (ROA), a company based in Newcastle Emlyn, and BDP (Building Design Partnership), an international company of architects, engineers and designers, with local architect, Niall Maxwell leading on the project.
The building will be complete by next summer.

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Further delay to Universal Credit in Ceredigion

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BEN LAKE MP for Ceredigion has expressed his concerns following a recent announcement by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that the roll-out of the government’s controversial benefit payment, Universal Credit, will be fully rolled-out across Ceredigion in December 2018.

The payment, which is set to replace longstanding benefits such as Income Support, ESA and Working Tax Credits, had initially been set to become active in Ceredigion in September 2018, however recent documentation shows the date has now been moved back to December 2018.

Ben Lake MP has expressed his concern that a roll-out in December 2018 will hit families and vulnerable people at the most difficult time of year.

Ben Lake MP said: “I welcome the news that the UK Government have decided to delay the roll-out of Universal Credit in Ceredigion, I hope that this will allow the Government an opportunity to address and resolve many of the well-publicised issues associated with the payment. There have already been significant problems with the roll-out of the new regime in other areas, however, the proposed timing of December for its roll-out in Ceredigion is particularly problematic.

“With the Christmas celebrations, cold weather, and lengthy holiday periods, December can often be a difficult month financially for many families and individuals. I have significant concerns therefore that the full introduction of Universal Credit in Ceredigion will not only see claimants put under additional financial strain, but that it will coincide with a period when many of the support services available will be disrupted due to the festive holidays.”

“I have since written to the Department of Work and Pensions expressing such concerns.”

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Share experiences of sexual harassment to help police

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PEOPLE who have been subject to sexual harassment are encouraged to share their experiences to help understand the scale of the problem in communities across Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police is taking part in a country-wide campaign, which urges anyone who has been subject to sexual harassment to say when and where the incident took place, as well as how it made them feel, anonymously through an online survey.

The results will be used to challenge and change the culture of misogyny and sexual harassment, so people can feel safe to live their lives without fear of harassment.

Dyfed-Powys Police Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Sexual harassment is simply unacceptable – it doesn’t matter who it comes from or where it happens, it should not be tolerated by anyone in society.

“We are committed to making sure everybody feels safe in their community, and has the freedom to make life choices without fear of sexual harassment. We want people to be able to access every area of society with confidence, from sports facilities and workplaces, to public transport or pubs and clubs.

“By taking part in this survey, you will help us to understand the scale of the problem in communities across Dyfed-Powys Police, which will enable us to listen to those affected by sexual harassment and to make a real difference in the future.”

To take part in the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SWPCOM

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Proposed salmon byelaws to be postponed until 2019

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NEW fishing byelaws have been proposed which will make it mandatory for fishermen to release all salmon caught in Welsh rivers.

The procedures for introducing new byelaws are protracted and Natural Resources Wales wishes to avoid uncertainty for fishermen by delaying implementation of approved new measures until the 2019 fishing season.

The proposed all Wales byelaws, which include restrictions on fishing methods to help the survival of released fish and reduced net fishing seasons, are currently being considered by Welsh Government.

Dave Mee, Senior Fisheries Advisor for NRW, said: “At the moment timescales for a decision are uncertain, so we are proposing that introduction of any new measures should be postponed until the beginning of the 2019 rod and net seasons.

“We hope this will help clarify the situation for anglers, netsmen, fishery owners and clubs and associations.”

Welsh salmon stocks remain in a perilous condition. Although the mandatory catch and release proposals have proved unpopular with anglers, NRW firmly believes that they, along with other measures such as tackling agricultural pollution, improving water quality and managing the potential threats from predators are vital for the future survival of these iconic fish.

Peter Gough, Principal Fisheries Advisor for NRW added: “This delay is a pragmatic solution to resolving current uncertainty.

“However, it is important to note that this does not mean there will be further debate on the subject as NRW has concluded its position and the case for further controls has been made and presented to Welsh Government and it remains unchanged.

“Protection of the breeding resources of these wonderful fish is a fundamental part of our work to manage this important natural resource sustainably.”

This season, fishermen are again being asked by NRW to practice full restraint and ensure conservation of fish stocks by voluntarily releasing all the salmon they catch in 2018.

Dave explained: “Our salmon stocks are in serious trouble and have fallen to historically low levels and the same is true of about half of our sea trout stocks.

“Neither species can sustain uncontrolled killing of fish and so we are again asking all anglers to release all of their salmon.

“Most anglers are already voluntarily releasing the fish they catch, but some are not. We feel the situation is now so serious for salmon that we must ask all anglers to help preserve as many fish as possible by returning all their salmon.

“It’s also very important to take great care of returned fish. Fishing methods and tackle should be used that ensure fish have a high probability of survival, they should always be kept in the water while unhooking to ensure they can swim away strongly.”

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