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Bodlondeb closure decision to be ‘called in’

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IN A dramatic turn of events, it has been reported that the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee could call in the planned closure of Bodlondeb Residential Home, Aberystwyth, as a first step to securing a vote on the issue by the whole Council.

On Tuesday, November 7, the Council’s Cabinet, voted unanimously to back the closure of the home on or by March 31, 2018. The Cabinet also decided that no new admissions would be made to the home before that date.

No formal announcement has yet been made on a call-in of the Cabinet’s decision, but given the Council’s pre-Christmas timetable, if the decision is to be reconsidered by the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee and then voted on by the full council, an Extraordinary meeting will be required of the Scrutiny Committee, possibly as early as next week, in order to get Bodlondeb’s fate before councillors at their meeting on December 7.

REACTION TO CLOSURE DECISION

Defending the Cabinet’s decision, the Cabinet member responsible for Social Services, Councillor Catherine Hughes said: “The decision to close Bodlondeb was a difficult one to make; I’m very aware that the home has served older residents of the county and their families well for decades. The demand and needs of older people are changing with people opting for care in their own homes. This decision allows the Council to use resources effectively to ensure the best possible quality of care for our older residents.”

Indicating that the fight was far from over a Ceredigion People’s Assembly representative said: “Despite the community’s strong campaigning, Ceredigion council has favoured austerity again today. Our concern reaches further than Bodlondeb care home – this is just one example of cuts to services.

“The council insists that the answer is austerity, without looking at alternative ways to make ends meet and have taken the easy way out today by cutting provision for the most vulnerable.

We are looking at the possibility of taking the decision to a full council meeting, and that other Ceredigion councillors will not want to deprive the residents of Ceredigion further.”

Former Ceredigion MP Mark Williams said: ‘The council has simply failed to recognise the need for a vision of adult social care provision across Ceredigion; is retreating in its role as a public sector provider; and is mistaken in its view that as the number of elderly grow then its residential care provision should be reduced’.

A spokesperson for the Save Bodlondeb Steering Group said after the meeting: “Of course we are disappointed, it is a major blow to our hopes of making the Cabinet see the flaws in a plan which leaves the biggest centre of population within the County without its own council run care home, or indeed any replacement provision for the foreseeable future.

“However, we are not planning to rest up at all.  We are extremely hopeful that sufficient Councillors will disagree with the Cabinet decision so that the decision may be ‘called-in’, that is the matter be brought before a meeting of the full Council to discuss.

“We would to thank those Councillors who did speak passionately in defence of Bodlondeb: Cllr Harris, Cllr Lloyd, Cllr Lloyd Edwards, Cllr Elizabeth Evans, Cllr Ceredig James, Cllr John Roberts, Cllr Steve Davies and Cllr Alun Lloyd Jones.

“This decision is a real test of the Save Bodlondeb Campaign’s resilience but the fact that so many of us were prepared to travel to the Council Headquarters and protest outdoors in such atrocious weather is testament to our determination to achieve our goal, which is to Save Bodlondeb until suitable provision is in place.”

Local AM Elin Jones, Llywydd Cynulliad Cymru, also condemned the decision to close the home: “I’m saddened that the cabinet has found itself in the position of proposing the closure of Bodlondeb. In my view, no decision to close should have been taken until a properly consulted plan for the provision of elderly care in the Aberystwyth area was in place.

“It feels as though the cart has come before the horse.

“The Council needs to move quickly to give reassurance to the people of the Aberystwyth area that the needs of the elderly population for the years to come will be met by the council and other providers.”

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Cardigan: Welsh language nursery’s treasurer stole £16,336 from coffers

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A FORMER treasurer of Cylch Meithrin Penparc in Cardigan has been jailed today for a fraud that brought the Welsh language nursery to its knees.
Catrin Davies, a 33 year old single mother of two daughters, cheated the organisation out of £16,336.
After she left the post the nursery struggled to pay debts and at one stage was left with £1.84p in its bank.
Davies, of Bwthyn Lleine, Ferwig, admitted fraud and was jailed for eight months.
Judge Geraint Walters, sitting at Swansea Crown Court, told her the offending was too series for the sentence to be suspended.
Craig Jones, prosecuting, said Davies was appointed treasurer in September, 2015, and left the post in December 2016.
The new treasurer noticed discrepancies in the accounts. Davies tried to cover them up by sticking pieces of paper onto bank statements to blank out figures, photocopying them, and then carefully typing in new and bogus figures.
By then Davies had failed to pay money into the account and withdrawn some herself.
Mr Jones said that at one stage the nursery had to pay a roof repair bill. Davies knew there wasn’t enough money in the account but to keep the fraud going and to avoid detection she actually paid the bill out of her own money.
Mr Jones said after the true financial situation had been established Cylch Meithrin Penparc was at risk of closure. Internet access was cut off because the telephone bill could not be paid and staff found themselves buying essential items out of their own money.
And there was still a fear, he added, that the nursery would struggle to overcome the blow and to recover the confidence of parents.
Janet Gedrych, representing Davies, said she had suffered a devastating fall from grace.
Davies ran the Pink Orchid florists in Priory Street, Cardigan, for nine years and had a good reputation in the town.
But her partner left her and his debts behind and ran up more and she owed £30,000 in personal and business debts. By October, 2015, debt collectors were knocking on her door and she defrauded Cylch Meithrin Penparc to pay them off.
Judge Walters said the nursery provided a hugely valuable service to parents who wanted their children to learn Welsh and Davies had helped herself to money they had paid in.
“Your activity has reduced its ability to operate. It has not closed but it’s hanging by a thread.”
Judge Walters said he accepted that Davies had found herself squeezed financially, but many people struggled under similar circumstances.

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Police appeal for information about Cardigan crash

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CARDIGAN police are appealing for information about an RTC involving two cars, on the A487 Cardigan to Tanygroes, at around 5:45pm on Monday (Nov 13).

A white Mitsubishi Shogun and a blue/silver Fiat Bravo were involved in the collision, on the bypass near Cardigan Tesco. The two drivers were taken to hospital; one has since been released.

Anyone who witnessed the collision, or was driving along the road around the time, is asked to contact Ceredigion Roads Policing Unit by calling 101.

If you are Deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: 326 of 13 November.

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Police reaffirms commitment to a safe working environment

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE has pledged to maintain its ongoing work to provide a safe working environment for all its staff.

Following the high profile accusations against members of the entertainment industry and reports that have subsequently followed from all corners of society, the force has taken action to ensure its staff and officers are aware of the existing support and mechanisms available to them.

While much work has already been – and continues to be – undertaken to tackle and eliminate unacceptable behaviour within Dyfed-Powys Police, chief officers are actively developing a culture where all members of staff are confident in speaking out.

An open letter has been issued to all employees, in which Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Claire Parmenter has reaffirmed that ensuring all staff can work in a fair and safe environment remains a key priority.

In it, she says: “The chief officer group wants to reassure you all that in Dyfed-Powys Police we hold our staff at the heart of our service and we will do everything we can to provide a safe working environment where everyone has the equal right to respect and dignity.

“The #MeToo Campaign was re-launched in the wake of the early allegations and has since been used by millions of women and men as an instantly recognisable method of removing the stigma that surrounds sexual harassment, by both victims and supporters of the campaign.

“While much work has already been undertaken to tackle and eliminate harassment, bullying and discrimination, work in this area is never done. Therefore, ensuring a fair, safe and equitable working environment for our staff in Dyfed-Powys Police remains an absolute priority.

“I have pledged my support to ongoing work aimed at reminding all officers and staff of the existing support and mechanisms available by which Dyfed-Powys Police encourages the reporting of wrong-doing. We will be reviewing policy, procedure and practice to ensure they remain current and that they are both supportive of victims and alleged perpetrators.

“We will also engage with staff associations and networks, the Police Federation and Unison to better understand staff concerns, embed high standards of conduct and reduce fear experienced by victims.”

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