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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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All four nations must have a say on farm funding, Ben Lake MP

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PLAID MP calls for legal guarantees that Welsh farming will have a say in post-Brexit funding decisions.

Ben Lake MP has called for an equal say for Wales in any decisions on post-Brexit farm funding.

Mr Lake made the call in his submission to the Bew Review, which is looking into how agriculture will be funded if the UK leaves the EU. The call for evidence for the Review closed this week.

Mr Lake called for a new body to oversee agriculture spending, that would ensure each of the four nations would have an equal say on farm funding going forward.

Agriculture policy is currently almost entirely set at a devolved or European level. The European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), for example, sets out the financial frameworks for food production. The devolved governments – and the UK Government on behalf of England – are then responsible for the administration of funding.

If the UK leaves the EU, a new mechanism for deciding the size and allocation of agriculture funding within the UK will have to be created.

The UK Government has already conceded that any future funding allocation should not be determined by the Barnet Formula – the population based funding calculation used to decide how much devolved government receive from the UK Treasury. Wales has significantly higher rates of employment and productive farmland in proportion to its population size.

Mr Lake has suggested that an amendment be included in the Agriculture Bill to create an intergovernmental agency and framework as a way of ensuring not only that Wales gets its fair share of UK funding, but also that multi-annual frameworks can be introduced.

Ben Lake MP said:

“I hope the Bew Review is the first step to a sensible proposal for agriculture funding if the UK leave the EU.

“Throughout the Brexit process, Wales has been ignored. Wales is only talked about by the UK Government when they want to take powers away or renege on promises of funding. That is why we need a legal lock on our say in farm funding post-Brexit.

“In this most crucial of sectors, Wales must have an equal say when discussing future funding models. If these frameworks are to be sustainable, they need to be the products of joint agreement. At present there is no appropriate body to oversee the policies in the four nations of the UK, and neither is there a dispute mechanism that is trusted by the four administrations and the four industries.

“Welsh farmers were promised not a penny less and I will keep fighting their corner in Westminster until that is confirmed in law.”

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RSPCA Cymru launch information appeal after shetland pony found with overgrown hooves

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RSPCA CYMRU is appealing for information after a shetland pony – believed to have been abandoned – was found in a poor condition, with severely overgrown hooves near Aberystwyth.

The pony was found among other shetlands in a field in the Bronant area, but did not belong to the owner of the other ponies.

RSPCA inspector Julie Fadden said: “This poor shetland had very overgrown hooves and must have been in a huge amount of discomfort and pain. The hoovers were inches long and were curled.

RSPCA Appeal after pony found in field in Aberystwyth

“The pony was believed to have been dumped there at the beginning of April. He was then collected World Horse Welfare on Friday 12 April.

“However, sadly due to his condition it was decided by a vet that the kindest thing would be to put the pony to sleep to prevent any further suffering. Sadly his feet could not be treated as they were so far gone.”

“If anyone has any information about this pony please contact us in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.”

If you find any animal in distress call the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

To support the RSPCA’s work and help our officers continue investigating animal cruelty please donate by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/give.

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Not on our patch: No Easter rave thanks to police and partners

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CLOSE partnership working between Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police, Natural Resources Wales, local authorities, Brecon Beacons National Park and LandMarc saw off three raves this Easter.

23 potential sites across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys were patrolled over the bank holiday weekend, in an operation known as Flamenco.

As part of #OpFlamenco, police urged members of the public to report suspicious activity immediately, so gatherings could be disrupted before they grew.

An event in the Brechfa forestry, Carmarthenshire, was thwarted when Natural Resources Wales staff spotted a suspicious bag of stones, and ribbons tied to gates and hedges, designed as a signpost. Police seized the items and the gathering was cancelled.

One resident in Gwynne Fawr, Powys, reported vehicles arriving in the valley, allowing three Dyfed-Powys Police units and a Gwent Police unit to attend and disperse five vehicles from the area.

A gathering of 14 vehicles was moved from the Tal-Y-Bont on Usk reservoir, Powys, after a report from a Welsh Water Ranger alerted police. A sound system was packed away but a number of people were made to stay in a layby because they were too intoxicated to drive away.

On Twitter, PS 298 Owen Dillon said: “Dispersed a small gathering at the Takybont on Usk [sic] reservoir after call from @DwrCymru then turned vehicles back from Gwynne Fawr assisted by @gwentpolice to disrupt their plans. Officers left to cover the road. #OpFlamenco.”

Illegal raves are extremely disruptive for communities and cause damage to farmland and the countryside. Dai Rees, land management team leader from Natural Resources Wales, said:

“Our forests and countryside should be available for everyone to enjoy but illegal raves can damage the environment, impact on wildlife and leave it in a dangerous state for other people.

“These events cause misery for visitors and local communities, and we’re already taking measures to make it more difficult for people to organise them on our land. But spotting the signs early and reporting them is also really important and means that we can take action early to stop large gatherings forming.

“Working together with the Police and local communities has proved invaluable and we continue to encourage people to report anything suspicious to the Police on 101.”

In a Tweet, Temporary Deputy Chief Constable of Dyfed-Powys Police, Claire Parmenter, thanked the police officers and staff who worked on the operation, saying:

“Thank you to all the Dyfed-Powys Police officers and staff that have worked over the Easter break, some excellent proactivity and several illegal raves prevented through partnership working and intelligence sharing, diolch.”

Efforts to crack down on the events are continuing in the coming months, working to tackle the issues that unlicensed events bring, such as:

· Safety concerns: people are under the influence of drink and drugs with no first aid or medical facilities at hand. It is difficult and sometime impossible to get ambulances to casualties.

· Drink and drug driving.

· Rubbish and human waste left at sites and the subsequent hygiene issues this brings.

· Risk of fires.

· Criminal damage and theft.

· Illegal drug dealing.

· Underage drinking.

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