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Syrian family settling well in Cardigan

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A LOCAL charity, Croeso Teifi, welcomed one Syrian family to Cardigan in November last year and it seems they are settling in well.

The family met them at the airport along with two other community groups meeting a family each. The families shed tears of relief.

It was quickly found out that the Syrian family spoke no English. This did not inhibit communication or joy. The two children danced when they stopped in a cafe on the way home.

The parents started learning English straight away and are improving fast. This term the young children started full time school and are learning Welsh. The parents are also volunteering every week.

Croeso Teifi works with the Home Office and local authority on settling a small number of Syrian refugee families in or near Cardigan – wherever there is a welcome.

The team are aware of the importance of not competing with local needs for jobs, and minimising use of scarce public services.

The family were chosen by the United Nations organisation working with the Home Office with guidance from the Local Authority. Croeso Teifi let the Home Office know the skills that this area is short of before the selection.

The family say they love Wales, love Cardigan and love their home. The children go to school with a smile and come back practicing their Welsh. Their father is looking forward to getting into full time work, and both parents are doing a lot of homework to learn English quickly. They want to learn Welsh after learning English.

Croeso Teifi feel that the first family have been a success so far, They welcome new people to work to befriend and integrate a second family.

Community sponsored settlement is different to government supported settlement. The community provide all the money and gifts to ensure a successful integration. We find and equip a home, provide translation and English lessons, friendship and work and training and opportunities.

The generosity of people in and around Cardigan has been breath-taking. The hard working team of Croeso Teifi volunteers are regularly moved and surprised at the generous spirit of the town. We do our best to ensure that the area benefits as well as us benefitting the refugee family.

Wales is actually leading the UK in community sponsorship. Aberystwyth has its own community scheme with a first family due, and there are several families already in Pembrokeshire. The scheme was inspired by Canada where community sponsorship has been running for over 40 years. It enables refugee newcomers to belong to a local community from the word go, to quickly adapt and contribute their energy and skills.

The team look forward to the next phase of this journey of discovery.

However, a new report published by a coalition of organisations working to support refugees and asylum seekers in Wales shows that families separated from close relatives are experiencing significant trauma and long-lasting harm to their well-being.

At a time when 65 million people worldwide – half of them children – have been forced from their homes because of conflict, violence and persecution, the report also finds that barriers to reuniting family members can seriously impact on their ability to integrate into new communities and rebuild their lives in Wales.

Rihana, a woman from Syria, whose extended family are separated with different family members in Damascus and Lebanon, said: “Being apart from loved ones has brought about a lot of anxiety and distress. We are mentally affected as we always think of our extended family and the difficulties they must face.”

Published by the British Red Cross, Welsh Refugee Council, Displaced People in Action and Asylum Justice, the report calls on politicians in Wales to offer more support for refugees seeking to reunite with family members.

It also recommends that Welsh MPs support a Private Members Bill for Refugee Families that has its second reading in Parliament on Friday, March 16.

That Bill calls for changes to UK immigration rules that would expand the criteria for who qualifies as a “family member” for the purposes of refugee family reunion to include: young relatives, adult sons and daughters, adult siblings, parents, any dependent relatives and any person granted refugee leave.

It also calls for family members of children to be brought to the UK under the refugee reunion policy and for the reintroduction of legal aid for refugee family reunion cases.

The report also calls on the Welsh Government to offer additional support to refugees in Wales by looking at ways to mitigate the adverse impacts of UK policy in Wales by enabling refugees to access the free accredited legal advice required for complex family reunion cases and supporting Welsh local authorities and local health boards to implement protocols for successful family reunion applications.

Red Cross refugee services operations manager for Wales Ruth Gwilym Rasool said: “For many of us, family is the most important thing in our lives and refugees, just like the rest us in Wales, desperately want to remain close to their loved ones.

“Worldwide, we see conflict, violence and persecution driving families apart, with close relatives often separated by continents and loved ones left behind to face danger on a daily basis.

“Refugees now living in Wales have already been through barely imaginable pain and trauma and they deserve to be able to rebuild their lives and reunite their families in safety.

“Present family reunion rules prolong that suffering – causing untold stress and anxiety – and prevent refugees from beginning their new lives in their new communities in Wales.”

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Views sought on proposed Ceredigion Language Strategy

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VIEWS are being sought on the proposed Ceredigion Language Strategy 2018-2023.

Ceredigion County Council’s proposed strategy sets out how the Council – working in collaboration with other partner organisations – will actively promote the Welsh language and facilitate the use of Welsh more widely within the local area.

Producing the Strategy is one of the requirements of the Welsh Language Standards in accordance with the Welsh Language Measure (Wales) 2011.

The Ceredigion Language Strategy aims to sustain and to promote the Welsh language in all aspects of life and to demonstrate ways of strengthening social networks in a bilingual area. Ceredigion remains a stronghold of the Welsh language however communities are changing which can affect the Welsh language and culture. Responding to these challenges, mitigating the risks facing the Welsh language and securing the viability of welsh-speaking communities requires robust language planning, alongside taking positive action in all aspects of social and economic life within the county.

The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Welsh Language Standards, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, said: “In implementing this strategy, Ceredigion will be contributing towards the Welsh Government vision in its Welsh Language Strategy, which aims to reach a million Welsh speakers in Wales by 2050. This strategy is an opportunity for us to work across the county to increase the use of Welsh language and to ensure that it reaches those parts of public life where it may be less prominent at present. This vision is to maintain a truly bilingual Ceredigion, where the Welsh language can be seen and heard every day in communities as a natural means of communication.”

The strategy is designed to be as realistic and proactive as possible in order to contribute to the vision of a truly bilingual Ceredigion, however the actions identified are within the sphere of influence of organisations working in partnership through the Ceredigion Bilingual Futures Forum.

Councillor ap Gwynn continued: “We are inviting you to comment on the proposed Strategy and the identified actions to be delivered in Ceredigion. We value your opinion, and your comments will be taken into account when publishing the final Strategy.”

Closing date for the consultation is August 13, 2018.

To view the proposed strategy, visit the Consultation page on the Council’s website, www.ceredigion.gov.uk/

Individuals are welcome to contact the Council on 01545 570881 should they wish to receive further information or to receive the information in another format. You can also obtain a paper copy of the Strategy at any of the Council’s Public Offices or Libraries.

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Archaeological sites revealed in drought

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Iron Age farm near Whitland (pic. RCAHMW)

AN AERIAL ARCHAEOLOGIST has photographed ancient settlements from the air after the heatwave has revealed outlines as crop marks.

Dr Toby Driver, Senior Aerial Investigator, uses a light aircraft to find sites, flying from Haverfordwest Airport with stopovers made for fuel at Caernarfon, Welshpool or even Gloucester airports.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW) has released photographs from Dr Driver’s discoveries.

Iron Age farmsteads has been discovered near Whitland in Carmarthenshire and coastal Ceredigion. The Llŷn peninsula has extensive crop marks of prehistoric enclosures, as well as a Bronze Age barrow cemetery.

In Gwynedd, another Celtic settlement has been found on the valley floor between the hillfort Craig yr Aderyn and the castle ruins of Castell y Bere.

A suspected Roman watchtower was also revealed on the nearby coast. Parch marks of Roman buildings are showing at Caerhun Roman fort in Conwy Valley, whilst crop marks of a prehistoric enclosure and a suspected Roman villa were found in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Iron Age farmstead in Ceredigion (pic. RCAHMW)

A Roman town and fortress between Caerwent and Caerleon have also appeared in the dry conditions.

Dr Driver said: “I’ve not seen conditions like this since I took over the archaeological flying at the Royal Commission in 1997. So much new archaeology is showing it is incredible; the urgent work in the air now will lead to months of research in the office in the winter months to map and record all the sites which have been seen, and reveal their true significance.”

The marks are the result of vegetation feeding on better nutrients and water supplies, that have been trapped in the old fortification ditches.

This leads to the lush green growth that results in the pronounced outlines of the prior settlements.

Despite this, the vegetation can quickly retreat as the weather changes.

This research is expected to prompt further research on the ground in the future.

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Welsh Water advises customers to use water wisely

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WELSH WATER is encouraging its three million customers to continue working with the company by using water wisely – even though it may soon start to rain. After such prolonged dry weather, it will be difficult for any rain to penetrate the ground and help restore reservoir levels.

The company – which provides drinking water to most of Wales, Herefordshire and parts of Deeside – is safeguarding water supplies following the hottest June in Wales since records began in 1910.

It has been proactively taking measures for the last two months to prepare for the hot weather, with 450 colleagues finding and repairing leaks and its 62 water treatment works being manned 24 hours a day to help supply a record 1 billion litres a day.

The company confirmed that a few of its 87 reservoirs are now lower than usual at this time of year but said this is to be expected given the prolonged dry weather. It will take some time for these reservoirs to recover to their normal levels, despite the expected rain over the next week.

Managing Director of Water Services Ian Christie, said: “Over the last few months, we have taken and will continue to take all the necessary actions to ensure there is enough water in our network during this very dry period.   We’ve done a lot of groundwork in the background to prepare for this weather and still doing everything we can to safeguard supplies. This includes finding and fixing leaks and putting more water in the network every day than ever before.

“It’s really important that our customers continue to work with us during this period. If they spot a leak, please let us know. We’re also asking them to think about how much water they are using.

We want everyone to stay safe and drink water while it’s hot but we’re reminding everyone of the need to use water wisely and efficiently.

“Customers may notice that some reservoir levels are lower than usual but this isn’t a surprise given this continuing dry weather.  We are all using more water and we’re putting 20% more water into the system. This is helping us meet higher demand in particular communities. We are also using our own fleet of over 30 tankers to help.

“Even if the weather starts to turn and it rains, it’s important that customers continue to work with us and use any water efficiently.  Customers can get advice on our top ten tips of how to use water efficiently around the home and garden from our website, dwrcymru.com

Customers can also help by reporting any leaks as soon as they notice them either through our website or by calling our leak line on 0800 052 0130. Our teams are out and about working around the clock fixing leaks on the network to make sure as much water as possible is available for customers to use.

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