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Overwhelming support for Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign

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OVER 200 people gathered at New Quay’s Tabernacle Chapel on Saturday (May 12) to urge the RNLI to reconsider its decision to downgrade Ceredigion’s only all-weather lifeboat and replace it with a smaller, inshore lifeboat that is unable to launch in bad weather.

The public meeting was opened by County Councillor and Mayor of New Quay, Daniel Potter, and speakers included Ceredigion MP Ben Lake, Assembly Member Elin Jones and Councillor Elizabeth Evans of Aberaeron.

The audience heard from experts in the field of maritime risk assessment and video messages of support were shown from local school children, well-known faces from across the country, and from people whose lives had been saved by New Quay lifeboat.

Ben Lake voiced his fears, saying: “The RNLI has failed to realise the genuine concerns in the area about the consequences of this decision. Every single level of political representation is united in opposition to this decision. Any charity depends on the good will and faith of the public, and the way in which they have handled the whole process does not paint the RNLI in a good light. I fear it could cause lasting damage to the reputation of the RNLI in West Wales.”

Elin Jones added: “The RNLI may think that campaigns such as this fizzle out and die away. This is not going to happen in this community because the community is concerned about the future and the next generations. We are not going to go quietly. We cannot have our coastline without all-weather lifeboat provision.”

Lord Harris of Pentregarth added his support: “The all-weather lifeboat has been a feature of New Quay for as long as anyone can remember. And it has been there for good purpose. It can go out in all weathers in a way that the proposed Atlantic 85 cannot do. I fully support the campaign to save the lifeboat.”

Jim Evans, CEO of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association expressed the concerns of local fishermen: “Fishermen are extremely concerned. This puts lives at risk. There are no service stations, there are no other emergency provisions that can help them in their time of need. It’s a genuine concern. Safety is paramount in the fishing industry. We are working tirelessly to improve safety and it seems incredible that this is counterproductive.”

Captain David James, former Head of Safety at the Department of Transport, has had a boat in New Quay for 50 years and voiced concerns based on his own experiences: “On two occasions I’ve had to use the lifeboat. One occasion was on a lee shore when they towed us off and the other when the boat was dismasted, both in very stormy conditions. An inshore boat would not have been adequate.”

Huw Williams of the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign said: “We would like to thank everyone that helped make the public meeting a huge success. We have been overwhelmed with offers of practical and financial support, with many people signing up as Friends of the Campaign. The strength of feeling shown at the meeting clearly demonstrates that our community is united in its opposition to the RNLI’s cost cutting plans.”

Mr Williams added: “This is just the start for us. We have a number of events and initiatives planned for the coming months and we will do all that we can to reverse a decision that puts lives at risk.”

The RNLI were invited to send a spokesperson to defend their position but they declined to attend.

To find out more about the campaign to save New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat, visit www.ceredigionlifeboatcampaign.org.uk.

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Ben Lake MP joins push to encourage more accessible rail journeys in Ceredigion

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Ben Lake MP has joined forces with the rail industry to encourage more disabled people in Ceredigion to travel by train using the Disabled Persons Railcard, which offers a third off journeys.

Ben Lake attended a parliamentary event on accessibility and inclusion in rail, hosted by the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail. The event showcased the work the rail industry is doing to change and improve the network to make it more accessible. This includes enabling disabled people to make more discounted journeys with the Disabled Persons Railcard.

Last year 2969 journeys starting from Ceredigion were made using the Railcard, up from 2401 in 2015. This compares to a 43% increase across the country as a whole, with Disabled Persons Railcard journeys rising from 5 million in 2015 to 7 million in 2019.

The Disabled Persons Railcard offers a third off adult rail fares at any time on the National Rail network for people with a disability, plus a companion. On average, passengers with the Disabled Persons Railcard save £108 a year, even after the £20 cost of the card is factored in.

The rise in accessible journeys reflects the work rail companies are doing to make services more accessible. The industry recently launched a new interactive ‘Access Map’ to make it easier for passengers to find out at a glance how accessible their local station is. The industry is also working together to improve passenger assistance bookings, with new technology currently being rolled out for staff and a customer app launching next summer to make bookings easier.

Since 2006, the rail industry has delivered £500million of improvements at stations including making them more accessible, with £300 million of additional funding from government to make 73 more stations accessible by 2024.

Ben Lake MP said: “Everyone in Ceredigion should have the opportunity to travel by train and today’s event shows the rail industry is working hard to improve accessibility across the country and make the railway easier for everyone to use. I’m pleased to work with the rail companies to raise awareness of the discounts offered by the Disabled Persons Railcard and hope more people will benefit from big savings that can be made.”

Jac Starr, chief operating officer at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies and Network Rail, said:

“We’re working hard to improve the railway, making more stations step-free and adding thousands of new and refurbished carriages which are more accessible. While record numbers of people are saving money with the Disabled Persons Railcard, we want everyone to benefit from the improvements we’re making which is why we’re encouraging eligible disabled people to sign up for a card and save on their journeys.”

Transport Accessibility Minster Nusrat Ghani said: “We are absolutely committed to improving the experience of disabled passengers across our network.

“Working alongside the Rail Delivery Group and Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, we are currently reviewing the eligibility criteria of the Disabled Persons Railcard, looking at how we can improve provisions for carers or companions.

“We also recently announced the 73 stations receiving a share of £300m of Access for All funding, as we work towards an entirely accessible transport network by 2030 with assistance if physical infrastructure remains a barrier.”

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Ceredigion County Council commits to be a net zero carbon council by 2030

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CEREDIGION councillors have supported a motion to make Ceredigion County Council a net zero carbon local authority by 2030. The councillors supported the motion in a meeting on 20 June 2019.

The agreed motion was based on Councillor Mark Strong’s initial motion which raised concerns about a Climate Crisis. An amendment was made to commit the council to an ambitious and specific target. Councillors also agreed that a clear plan should be developed within 12 months to achieve the net zero carbon status.

Councillors also called on Welsh and UK Governments to provide the support needed to achieve effective carbon reductions.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Mark Strong. He said, “Faced with a Climate Crisis, I am pleased that my fellow councillors have agreed that we need to take drastic action to reduce our emissions. The council has already reduced carbon emissions a great deal, but we must go much further.”

Earlier in the month, the council’s Cabinet approved its third Carbon Management Plan. The ambitious new plan is targeting a 15% reduction in emissions by 2023. The previous plans have achieved a 45% reduction of CO2 since 2007/8, a reduction of over 7,000 tons of CO2.

The new Carbon Management Plan includes a number of projects to achieve the emissions reduction target. They include investing in a new more energy efficient fleet of council vehicles and improving heating systems in Ceredigion schools.

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Cered organises a Thai food cooking evening

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Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion officers organised several nights of activities with the ‘Ffynnon’ youth club in Llandysul to provide new opportunities through the medium of Welsh for the older members in the club.

The nature of the collaboration was holding a training evening to cook Thai food and then the following week, use their newly found skills by hosting a Thai food evening for the community. The older youth members of ‘Ffynnon’ were given the opportunity to entertain local people through the medium of welsh and encourage those who were learners of the language to socialise in Welsh.

Llinos, Cered Development Officer, said, “This work was a great opportunity for Cered to work with ‘Ffynnon’, the young people in the club and the community. They learned all sorts of new skills such as cooking Thai food, planning every element of the evening from the food preparation, the decorating of the room, serving food and so on. It was lovely to see the young people eagerly engaged in the tasks and raising confidence in practical work and all this through the medium of Welsh.”

The evening was a sheer success, and the money raised will go towards humanitarian projects which will include a possible trip abroad to Zambia to volunteer in a children’s orphanage.

Steffan from ‘Ffynnon’ said, “In Y Ffynnon, we are eager to give opportunities not only to hear the love of God, but also to show that through serving the local community in Llandysul. The Thai night was a great experience and hopefully a start on what we hope will be a great year.”

Both nights were run by Sian Davies and Noi Francis. Siân Davies said, “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work with Cered and Ffynnon to teach new skills to the young people, whilst also supporting them to raise money for their future plans. It was a pleasure to work with everyone, and they worked really hard to make the evening very successful.”

For more information about Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion events and activities, visit their website, cered.cymru or their Facebook page, @ceredmenteriaith. Or, get in touch by calling 01545 572 358.

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