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Big Welsh Walk aims to tackle loneliness and isolation

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THE BIG WELSH WALK takes place in June to promote the benefits of walking groups; reducing loneliness and isolation, as well as improving fitness and general wellbeing.

Starting in Devil’s Bridge, Ceredigion on Saturday (Jun 2) there are four walks to choose from, ranging from 6 to 20 miles. Participants can challenge themselves through the stunning landscapes, highlighting breath taking scenery along the way.

Most of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives. For many people, especially the older generation, this isn’t a fleeting experience, but one that can define and shatter your life. The need for action is increasingly understood and Ramblers Cymru is working hard to combat this through leading local walking groups.

Within in the UK, research shows that more than 9 million people always or often feel lonely, that around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month and up to 85% of young disabled adults – 18-34 year olds – feel lonely.

With around 20 million adults also failing to meet UK government recommendations for physical activity, walking is the obvious answer to help combat loneliness and isolation whilst also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ramblers Cymru is working to change this by encouraging people to join their local walking group.

Local resident of Ceredigion, Dwynwen Belsey, walks with Aberystwyth Ramblers each week. She said: “It’s well-established that walking is good for you, but it also helps people develop social skills, and build confidence too.

“Life has its ups and downs and walking helps because it has a therapeutic effect,” explains Dwynwen. “The difference walking with the group has made to me, is fantastic. I have the confidence to volunteer through leading walks and helping maintain the public footpaths so that more people can enjoy the benefits of walking”.

Director of Ramblers Cymru, Angela Charlton, said: “It’s inspiring to hear about groups like Aberystwyth Ramblers and the fantastic work they are doing locally to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Ceredigion. Loneliness and isolation is becoming a real issue people from all walks of life in Wales are faced with. Our vision in Ramblers Cymru is to work towards combatting this and ensuring we encourage people to use group walking as a way to a healthier lifestyles, mentally and physically”.

You can find out more about the local walks led by Ramblers Cymru by visiting www.ramblers.org.uk/wales and to join the Big Welsh Walk www.ramblers.org.uk/bigwelshwalk

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Blue flags to fly high over Ceredigion beaches this summer

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BLUE FLAGS will fly over five of Ceredigion’s most popular beaches this summer. Borth, Aberystwyth North, New Quay Harbour, Llangrannog and Tresaith beaches have once again been awarded the coveted Blue Flag for 2018.

In addition, Ceredigion’s beaches have been awarded 4 Green Coast awards and 13 Seaside Awards.

Blue Flag and Green Coast award beaches must meet the highest water quality standard and are judged for the provision of facilities for beach user and for demonstrating good management and safety provision.

The Seaside Award recognises beaches that have good public facilities, water quality, safety provision and management.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Tourism has welcomed this year’s award announcement: “Once again, Ceredigion’s beaches have been recognised to be amongst the best, not only in Wales, but worldwide. The awards are a mark of quality and it’s great to see Blue Flags and Seaside Awards flags flying at Ceredigion’s most popular bathing beaches again this year. Although Ceredigion’s coastline and beaches attract visitors throughout the year, this is an excellent start to the traditional holiday season and we look forward to a busy summer.”

The following beaches have been awarded 2018 coastal awards:

Blue Flag
Borth, Aberystwyth North, New Quay Harbour, Llangrannog, Tresaith

Seaside Award
Borth, Clarach, Aberystwyth North,  Aberystwyth South, Llanrhystud, New Quay Harbour, New Quay Dolau, Llangrannog, Cilborth – Llangrannog, Tresaith, Aberporth, Mwnt, Penbryn

Green Coast
Llanrhystud, Mwnt, Penbryn, Cilborth – Llangrannog

Wales’s coastal awards are administered by Keep Wales Tidy.

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Police officers to have spit and bite guards from today

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FROM today (May 18) front-line police officers across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys will be equipped with spit and bite guards.

Spit and bite guards, made from a loose-fitting, lightweight mesh fabric, are placed over a person’s head to help minimise the risks of diseases and injuries associated with spitting and biting.

This means if someone spits or bites, or threatens to spit or bite, officers have a new piece of equipment to protect themselves and others.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Both spitting and biting are a particularly unpleasant form of assault and should not be considered by anyone to be an acceptable part of the job. Figures show there were 77 spit and bite incidents against Dyfed-Powys Police officers and staff in 2017 alone – more than six per month, on average.

“Assaults by spitting and biting can have long-term and distressing implications for officers, who sometimes have to take medication for many weeks afterwards to prevent infection.

“Use of force tactics, such as spit and bite guards, are there to protect not only the public but also for the safety of our officers, who face dangerous situations every day.

“It is imperative that we employ proportionate and appropriate tactics in each situation we face in order to achieve our number one objective, protecting the public.

“Our officers go through rigorous and continued training on tactics which are considered by the Home Office as a use of force. Officers are highly trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when necessary.

“The Chief Officer team has listened to concerns raised by officers as well as taking on board recent recommendations from the National Police Chief’s Council and have taken the decision that spit guards will be rolled out to all front line officers across the force, in line with 25 other police forces nationally.”

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, said: “Dyfed-Powys Police officers do their utmost to deliver invaluable services to the public, day in day out, no matter the circumstances. It is not right that they are subject to abuse whilst performing their duties, and it is our duty to protect those who strive to keep us safe and free from harm.

“In March 2018 I wrote to Members of Parliament to encourage them to support the passage on Emergency Workers (Offences) Bill through the House of Commons. It is an important initiative which seeks to underline the importance of protecting emergency workers from assaults such as spitting and biting, and is a significant step in highlighting our mutual stance on this matter. It is of utmost importance that we take action to protect our police officers.”

College of Policing said: “Spit guards are for the protection of the arresting officer, other emergency service personnel and the public.

“It is recognised that the need to use spit guards or handcuffs during the restraint of an individual may cause distress to them and those who witness the arrest.

“However, as well as serving as protective equipment for the officer, it is also recognised that, by eliminating the risk of being spat on, bitten or the transmission of communicable diseases, the need for physical restraint may be reduced.

“As such, the risk of serious physical injury to the individual being arrested, is also reduced.

“The College has recently led a national review of the Personal Safety Training given to officers, which includes a section on spit guards and the medical implications of their use.

“As with all use of force, it will be for the arresting officer to justify their actions in each individual circumstance. The availability and use of equipment such as spit guards remain a local decision for each chief constable.”

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Motorcyclist airlifted to hospital following crash

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A MOTORCYCLIST who was involved in a single-vehicle incident on the A482 was airlifted to hospital.

The incident, which happened at approximately 6pn yesterday (May 17), took place between Pumsaint and Lampeter.

The rider of the Triumph motorcycle was airlifted to Morriston Hospital in Swansea by the Wales Air Ambulance.

The helicopter landed in a nearby field.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We were called at shortly after 5.50pm on Thursday to reports of a road traffic collision involving a motorbike on the A482 near Lampeter.

“We sent a Wales Air Ambulance and a crew in an emergency ambulance and a man was airlifted to Morriston Hospital in Swansea in a stable condition.”

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