SINCE the RNLI announced its decision to replace the all-weather Mersey-class lifeboat at New Quay with an Atlantic 85 inshore boat in 2020 the issue has been taken to the Government.
Campaigners fighting the plan say the RNLI’s decision will leave a gap of nearly 70 miles between all-weather lifeboat stations in an area frequented by fishing vessels, passenger boats and leisure craft.
Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones AM are two notable names who have raised concerns of the announcement.
In the House of Commons Chamber on October 19, Ben Lake MP asked for a statement detailing the Government’s expectation with regards to lifeboat provision.
He noted that ‘there is considerable concern in Ceredigion that proposals under the recent coastal review of Cardigan Bay would leave the entire Ceredigion coastline without sufficient all-weather lifeboat provision’.
An encouraging response on behalf of the Government came from Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons and a former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
She said: “I think the honourable gentleman raises an extremely important point and I do encourage him to go direct to the Department.
“I am sure if they’re aware of this situation they will be equally concerned and I am happy to raise it with them on his behalf if he’d like to write to me.”
Mr Lake has since written to Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport asking for a detailed UK Government policy on all-weather lifeboat provision, and to clarify whether the RNLI’s decision should be reconsidered as a consequence.
Ben Lake MP said: “I hope to receive a positive response from the Secretary of State. The proposed downgrade of the all-weather lifeboat in New Quay is in danger of placing casualties, seafarers and RNLI crews at unnecessary risk, and so I am sure that all parties involved can come together to reconsider this decision.”
Elin Jones has also written to the Welsh Government outlining her concerns.
In the letter she said: “The proposed new lifeboat is not suitable for use in all weathers, it is a much smaller ship than that which is currently deployed in New Quay, and it will vastly restrict the capability of rescuing people at sea from the station.
“The RNLI volunteers have showed me evidence of the effect that this downgrading will have on Ceredigion’s coast, and have raised concerns that people at sea would be left at considerable risk. With the downgrading of the rescue ship at New Quay, the vast majority of the Ceredigion coast will be left without an hour response All-Weather vessel.”
Replying on behalf of the Government, Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “I too share your concerns. The safety of our fishing industry is a key concern of mine, and whilst fishing will always be an inherently dangerous occupation, it is imperative we do all we can to improve the safety of our operations.
“Whilst I am unable to intervene in the decision, I have asked my officials to reiterate our concerns and seek clarification from the RNLI regarding its decision.”
Following this, Elin Jones AM, said: “It is very encouraging that the Welsh Government have decided to support this campaign. There is a clear need for an all-weather lifeboat to cover the coast of Ceredigion, as recent weather has shown us.
“Over the last few months, along with Ben Lake MP I have met several times with volunteers of the RNLI in New Quay, Ceredigion. We have also met with George Rawlinson, Operations Manager for the RNLI, and I feel that many of the concerns raised by the volunteers, related organisations and general public, are not being met.
“The most important of these is that there has been a lack of consultation with the public, Ceredigion County Council, other emergency services and with the local volunteers.
“Therefore, I hope that with the Welsh Government raising its concerns with the RNLI, the decision to downgrade the lifeboat will be halted.”
Cardigan charity represented at food poverty launch
THE CARDIGAN-BASED charity Jig-so was represented at the Wales launch by the National Federation of Institutes (NFWI) on the issue of food poverty.
The event hosted by Mid and West AM Simon Thomas in the National Assembly considered some of the key challenges in addressing the issue.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said: “I was very pleased to welcome Jigso to the National Assembly. I think it is important we showcase some of the tremendous work being down in west Wales in our national parliament. I know Jigso has done much over the years to help families understand good nutrition and to help give access to sadly-needed food banks.”
“The WI used the event to launch their food matters campaign around food poverty and access to good food and we need to hear from all parts of Wales.”
This work follows on from the Great Food Debates project, undertaken in 2013, which saw WIs and county federations organise over a hundred food discussion events to consider the issue of food security.
Linda Grace, Chair of Trustees of Jig-So added: “We appreciated Simon Thomas’ invitation to attend this important event which he sponsored on behalf of the Women’s Institute who have a strong and long standing reputation on leading campaigns on “what matters”. Simon is a long time supporter of Jig-So’s work and our work on alleviating food poverty. A strong advocate of supporting community groups and small third sector bodies with an awareness of the rural context.”
Police say safeguarding children is ‘everybody’s business’
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is urging people to speak out if they spot signs of adults developing inappropriate relationships with children in their community.
Sunday, March 18, is the national awareness day for Child Sexual Exploitation led by the charity National Working Group.
Safeguarding children is everybody’s business. Any child can be sexually exploited no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, background or gender.
To support this day, all this week officers and staff from the force’s child sexual exploitation investigators team, Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), school officers and frontline officers have been targeting suspects and children identified as potential victims as well as visiting hotspot areas, schools and groups to encourage the public to think, spot and speak out about child sexual exploitation.
Dyfed-Powys police will be supporting the campaign through social media. Look out for the hashtags on Twitter: #CSE #CSEDay18 #HelpingHands.
Child Sexual Exploitation Coordinator for Dyfed-Powys Police, Linda Elias, said: “Child sexual exploitation is everybody’s business and is happening in our communities. This is not an issue isolated to more urban areas of the UK, we know it is happening locally and we are working hard to identify and protect those children who are vulnerable and also deal with the adults who are taking advantage of children.
“We have police officers trained to recognise the early signs of CSE that can identify children at risk, but we all have a role to play in ensuring our children are safe. Please, if you suspect someone in your family, social group of wider community is being exploited by any adult report it immediately to police by calling 101.
“Exploited children are almost always too frightened or ashamed to ask for help themselves, and members of the community including hoteliers, restaurant owners, community shops or youth facility leaders, are urged to speak out if they see when someone or something suspicious.
“By passing their concerns on to the police they could potentially save a child from the nightmare of CSE.”
Regional Dyfed-Powys SchoolBeat Programme Manager, Bethan James, said: “It is vital that we raise awareness of CSE with our children and the staff working in our schools. Designated school officers have been trained to deliver these sessions. School Community Police are delivering targeted age appropriate CSE sessions in schools as part of the wider SchoolBeat Cymru Programme.
They have the current, up to date knowledge and understanding in order to inform, prevent and protect our children.”
Detective Sergeant at the Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), Mathew Davies, said: “Our team of specialist staff and officers, consisting of Detectives, Digital Media Investigators, Forensic Examiners and analytical staff, are targeting those who exploit children, carrying out warrants across the whole Dyfed-Powys force area. The work of POLIT is helping to speed up the investigation of offences and bring more offenders to justice.”
Nichola Rance, Coordinator for witness and victim service Goleudy, said: “Sadly, it is a fact that CSE is occurring in the counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys. I fully support the national CSE awareness day as it helps to raise awareness of abuse of children that should not be ignored. I would urge anyone who has witnessed CSE or is a victim of CSE to contact Goleudy for support. We are an independent service for victims and witnesses of crime and we have highly skilled advisors who can listen and support people through distressing times in their lives.”
Spot the signs of CSE:
- Being secretive
- He or she stops engaging with their usual friends
- Associating with older men or women
- Going missing
- Being defensive about where they are and what they are doing
- Receiving odd calls or messages
- Possessing new, expensive items that they may have received as gifts
To report CSE in your community call 101 today.
For more information on CSE Awareness Day visit: www.stop-cse.org.
Seven-week-old puppy dumped in garden
RSPCA CYMRU is appealing for information after a seven-week-old puppy was found dumped in a shoebox.
The young Staffordshire bull terrier type pup – who has now been named Molly – was found in a garden at Bro Llethi, Llanarth, on Monday (March 12).
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “This small defenceless puppy has been callously abandoned on her own in a shoebox. The caller very kindly took care of the puppy until we arrived. It is believed she was dumped between the hours of 3pm and 6pm on Monday.
“She was taken to a vet for an assessment and has a fracture growth plate injury on her leg which must be uncomfortable for her so will require treatment. However, she’s doing okay despite her ordeal and is now safe in RSPCA care. We’re keeping a close eye on her.”
The animal welfare charity is now appealing for information to try and find out who abandoned this dog.
RSPCA inspector Hobgen added: “It is just so sad that someone felt that they had no option other than to leave this poor pup out in the cold on her own.
“If anyone has any information about this incident we urge them to contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence.”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, you can donate online.
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