FATHER and son, Huw (43) and Steffan Williams (9), can be seen today (Jan 10) walking half-dressed and barefoot to the RNLI stand at the London Boat Show, at the ExCel exhibition centre, in a symbolic protest against the RNLI ‘taking vital equipment away’ from their lifeboat station in west Wales.
The pair travelled over two hundred and fifty miles to the capital to raise awareness of the RNLI’s plan to remove the only all-weather lifeboat from the county of Ceredigion in 2020, creating what has been dubbed the ‘Drowning Gap’ by the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign.
The ‘Drowning Gap’ is the sea area in Cardigan Bay which is currently served by an all-weather lifeboat at New Quay. Under the RNLI’s current plans, when this boat is withdrawn at the end of its operational life, there will be a gap of over 70 miles of coastline between the nearest all-weather lifeboat stations in Barmouth and Fishguard.
There has been an all-weather lifeboat in New Quay for over one hundred and fifty years but, while the RNLI are rolling out state-of-the-art Shannon class all-weather lifeboats around the coast of the UK and Ireland, New Quay has been chosen as one of the first stations to lose all-weather lifeboat capability in the RNLI’s recent Coast Review.
Whilst the RNLI has refused to publish its Coast Review report, it is clear that the decision to downgrade lifesaving provision will result in cost savings running into millions of pounds. However, a report published by the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign claims that 25% of rescues carried out by New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat could not have been achieved by the inshore lifeboat that the RNLI plan to station in New Quay.
Speaking at the show Huw Williams, a volunteer RNLI crewman and spokesperson for the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign said: “The Ceredigion coast is busy with passenger boats, leisure craft, and commercial fishing activity. Boats can sink and people can get swept out to sea in seconds. It is well documented that hypothermia is a killer after 30 minutes, and that means that every second counts. Whilst inshore lifeboats are good at what they do, they cannot launch in severe weather, meaning a wait of up to 90 minutes for a lifeboat to arrive.
“The introduction of new, faster lifeboats was supposed to improve rescue capability but, in Ceredigion, we will see a return to response times not seen since the 1970s and 80s. This puts lives at risk unnecessarily. As lifeboat crew members, we are happy to give our time voluntarily; all we ask for is the right equipment for the job.”
Joining Huw in London is his son, Steffan. Last summer, at only eight years old, Steffan made headlines across the world after twice rescuing people cut off by the tide. Steffan is passionate about the water, and particularly lifeboats. As well as being a keen RNLI fundraiser, he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps as a lifeboat crewman.
Steffan commented: “I am very upset that the RNLI are not replacing our lifeboat with a new Shannon. I want to join the crew when I am 17 years old and hope they will change their minds. The sea can be dangerous and we need the right boat to help people when it’s stormy. One day, I hope to be the coxswain.” Unless the RNLI change their minds, Steffan’s ambition now seems to be out of the question.”
Huw added: “The RNLI’s ‘Plans and Purpose’ states: “We aim to ensure our crews can reach at least 90% of all casualties within 10 nautical miles of the coast, within 30 minutes of a lifeboat launch – in any weather.” Under the RNLI’s current plans, this will be unachievable in Ceredigion from 2020. Why are we being treated differently?”
To find out more about the campaign to save New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat, visit www.ceredigionlifeboatcampaign.org.uk.
Proposed salmon byelaws to be postponed until 2019
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.”
Ceredigion Youth Service award over 400 young people
LAST WEEK over 400 young people and their families from across Ceredigion were invited to attend Ceredigion Youth Service’s Awards Ceremony.
The evening was an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the achievements and successes of all the young people who have engaged with Ceredigion Youth Service (CYS) during the past year.
Accreditation prizes presented on the evening included: Millennium Volunteers certificates (Agored Cymru) and a variety of courses such as arts and crafts, sports, healthy lifestyles and citizenship. In addition to these, there were five special award categories: Campaign of the Year, Young Volunteer of the Year, Special Achievement Award, Community Engagement Award and Youth Work Projects of the Year.
Gethin Jones, Principal Youth Officer for Ceredigion Youth Service said: “Both Ceredigion Youth Service and Ceredigion County Council are extremely proud that over 400 young people have achieved awards and accreditation through the Service during the past year. Youth Service provision is hugely valuable to young people’s development as they transition into adulthood. Our youth clubs, outreach provision, work within schools and holiday programs offer a variety of opportunities for young people to be a part of something that supports and interests them.
“The number of achievements this year is a reflection of our young people’s commitment and enthusiasm and it was a pleasure to welcome so many young people and their families to celebrate with us in Theatr Felinfach. Congratulations to you all!”
Attendees were welcomed to the seremony by Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet Member for Learning Services, Flying Start and Team Around the Family, and the evening was hosted by BBC Radio Cymru presenter, Geraint Lloyd. Guest speakers included Wil Jac Rees, Ceredigion’s Member of Youth Parliament and clips shown from Ben Lake MP and Elin Jones AS.
The awards were presented by Councillor Ellen Ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Eifion Evans, Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council; and Councillor Lynford Thomas, Chairman of Ceredigion County Council.
Councillor Catrin Miles said: “I wish to congratulate each individual who has received an award or recognition through the work of Ceredigion Youth Service over the past year. It was a pleasure to welcome so many young people and their families to celebrate at the Ceremony, and a token of the good work and dedication of young people across the County. I wish each young person the very best for the future, and look forward to welcoming them once again to next year’s Awards Ceremony!”
For more information, or to find out what opportunities are available from the Ceredigion Youth Service, visit their Facebook and Twitter pages at @GICeredigionYS or contact the Team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aberaeron Youth Centre’s garden given new lease of life
CEREDIGION YOUTH SERVICE (CYS) have been successful in utilising funding to develop the garden area at Aberaeron Youth Centre.
The young people who attend the youth club decided that they wanted to turn the garden into a safe space for everyone to enjoy. The garden had been left dilapidated for some time and deemed too hazardous for the youth club members to enjoy. This was partly due to adverse weather conditions over the years and instances of vandalism. Therefore, the garden was in need of some considerable repair and maintenance.
CYS was successful in gaining a Youth Led Grant from CAVO via a video application which the youth club members filmed themselves in order to seek support with funding to help develop the space to be safe and inclusive. The youth club also received an additional donation towards the garden project in remembrance of Mathew Evans, a long term youth club member who tragically passed away in 2017 in a car accident.
Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services said, “It is wonderful to hear that the young people decided they wanted to develop the garden and make it accessible and spacious for everyone to enjoy. Open spaces are of utmost important to the health and well-being of us all, and now Aberaeron Youth Service and the community have a garden to enjoy.”
The young people helped with removing the old debris and materials and supported in the construction and the new layout by shifting and setting over 5 tonnes of gravel, laying down slabs and replacing the old decking and steps. Furthermore, new trees and flowers have been planted with bird boxes assembled that will be placed in the garden along with other sensory resources.
The project has been youth-led from the beginning, with Outreach Youth Worker Rebecca Williams coordinating and engaging with a wide variety of different groups and people. The project has worked in partnership with Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training, a work based learning provider that offers a range of vocational courses to prepare people of all ages for the workplace by providing skills training. The project has engaged with youth club members, young people who attend Children’s Disability Team’s provision, Canolfan Aeron and also alternative curriculum pupils and young volunteers.
A total of 44 young people volunteered and supported the development of the project since January 2018, with 30% of those participants continuing to engage in volunteering opportunities. Principal Youth Officer for CYS, Gethin Jones said, “This project has been a great opportunity for young people to become empowered and get involved with something truly positive. It has gone through a remarkable transformation and the impact it will now have moving forward is also very exciting as they will be able to enjoy the space safely. It will also give the centre greater opportunity of engaging with the community and allow other groups to visit and enjoy the space. Thank you for the generous donations and everyone who has supported the project to make it happen”.
The garden is almost ready and is receiving its final touches to make it look vibrant and appealing to all members of the community. An open evening is planned for Thursday, 3 May between 6pm and 7:30pm where the garden will be officially opened. A warm welcome to all from the area to come and enjoy the new garden and complimentary food and refreshments.
For more information, or to find out what opportunities are available to you, head over to CYS Facebook and Twitter pages at @GICeredigionYS or contact the Team on email@example.com.
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