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London school pupils join fight to save lifeboat

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PUPILS at a London school have given their backing to the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign after studying the implications of the RNLI’s planned changes to the lifeboat service in Ceredigion in their maths and English lessons this term.

Following the RNLI’s shock announcement in June last year that it plans to strip Ceredigion of its only all-weather lifeboat and replace it with a smaller, inshore lifeboat that is unable to launch when conditions exceed force 6-7, public opposition to the RNLI’s plan has been growing.

To date, over 25,000 people have signed a petition opposing the RNLI’s plan to downgrade New Quay’s lifeboat, and the campaign has gained the support of a number of prominent politicians and public figures. Now, pupils at an inner-city London school have joined the fight to save the only all-weather lifeboat in Ceredigion.

The year 8 pupils at Harris Academy St John’s Wood have spent the summer term studying the facts and figures of future lifeboat coverage in Cardigan Bay. The project was initiated by maths teacher Alexandra Lay, who was looking for meaningful and engaging ways into the curriculum.

Ms Lay, who studied at Aberystwyth University, and is a keen kayaker, explained, “I first saw the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign as an opportunity to teach loci to my year 8s with a real purpose and real-life application.

“As the project developed, my most able mathematicians were able to apply their understanding of bearings, loci and speed, as well as distance and time in the same context. Through engaging with the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign and studying all of the related facts and figures, my pupils began to feel a real sense of empathy for the New Quay community and wanted to do what they could to help save the New Quay all-weather lifeboat.”

As part of this maths project, Aadam (13) calculated that, “If in 2020 a fishing boat was in distress on a bearing of 320º from New Quay and 30km from the coast, an all-weather lifeboat from Fishguard would take 1 hour 3 minutes to arrive. If someone was in the sea for that long it would take 30 minutes for their muscles to shut off and they would drown.”

The project was then taken up by the English department who planned a series of lessons around the history of the RNLI and the role of the all-weather lifeboat at New Quay. Pupils debated the subject in their lessons and wrote persuasive letters to RNLI Chief Executive Paul Boissier.

In her letter to the RNLI, 13-year old Jana wrote, “I have recently researched about your organisation and I am extremely shocked to find out that you are considering downgrading the lifeboat at New Quay. As a young student it concerns me that I might be in a position where your help is very much needed and you won’t be able to rescue me.”

Fellow pupil Tisha (13) added, “An inshore lifeboat can’t be used in stormy seas. Who will save people when the sea is at its most dangerous? If you get rid of your all-weather lifeboat at New Quay then you’ll be undoing all the work that you’ve done so far.”

Ms Lay concluded, “The children found the project exciting and challenging. We really hope that our work has an impact.”

Richard Taylor, Chair of the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign commented, “Alexandra’s work with her students is wonderful and very moving, with bright young minds making the calculations. It is a powerful part of an impressive momentum that is building to reverse the RNLI’s decision.

“I’d like to thank Alexandra, her colleagues and our young team of analysts, cartographers and persuasive writers for helping to make a strong case.”

Other schools have shown an interest in the work done by Harris Academy and the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign plans to involve more schools across the country during the new school year.

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

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Parents saving on average £350 on childcare per month

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Parents in Ceredigion have saved an average of £350 a month on childcare costs after the introduction of the Childcare Offer in September 2018.

Parents and guardians of three and four-year-old children living in Ceredigion can be eligible for the offer if they work the equivalent of 16 hours per week. This includes self-employed parents and seasonal workers.

The Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services, Councillor Catrin Miles said, “It’s great to see that the Childcare Offer is having such an impact across Ceredigion in the first few months. The savings will only increase as more parents register for the scheme. This will have a real positive effect on the lives of many parents. I urge anyone who thinks they are eligible to find out.”

Ceredigion County Council manages the scheme in the county, and will manage the scheme in neighbouring counties as the scheme is rolled out in 2019. The Welsh Government fund the Childcare Offer.

Parents and guardians who want to see if they are eligible can visit the Childcare Offer page on the Council’s website: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/ChildcareOffer.

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Police manhunt now extending beyond Dyfed-Powys region

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POLICE looking for a man who attacked a police officer on Saturday afternoon have evidence to suggest he has now left the Dyfed-Powys force area.

The investigation team is now working with other forces as the operation to find him continues.

The man has been wanted by Dyfed-Powys Police since Saturday, when he attacked a police officer who stopped the car he was travelling in. The officer stopped the car based on information that he was connected with criminal activity in other areas.

Extensive searches have been carried out in Ceredigion, using the armed response unit, dog unit and NPAS helicopter, and officers now have evidence to suggest he is in another area.

A second man who was arrested following the incident has now been charged.

Wayne Dobson, aged 29, has been charged with assault causing actual bodily harm, criminal damage, aggravated vehicle taking and vehicle damage, and two counts of taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

Chief Superintendent Peter Roderick said: “This has, and continues to be, a long and intense investigation, which now involves colleagues from other forces as efforts are focussed on locations outside Dyfed-Powys.

“We understand that there has been a high level of concern in our communities since Saturday afternoon, and we would like to thank the public for their patience as operations have been carried out across Ceredigion.

“Due to the nature of the enquiry, and information we have been working from, the level of detail about the wanted man that we have been able to release has been limited, but we have endeavoured to keep our communities updated as best we can.”

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CCTV to return to Aberystwyth

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ABERYSTWYTH is set to have it’s CCTV returned to the town.

The CCTV was scrapped in the town five years ago following a cost-cutting move by Ceredigion council.

Work is due to start this month with 10 state-of-the-art cameras, Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn have confirmed. The system was removed in 2014, despite strong opposition.

Rising crime rates and falling conviction rates, has seen a call for the reinstatement of the system ever since its removal.

Ceredig Davies, Aberystwyth Councillor has said: “Switching off the town’s CCTV cameras was a retrograde step, and as the councillor in whose ward all the cameras are located I looked forward to them being reinstated.

“I have had numerous conversations with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, on the matter and on behalf of residents and visitors to the town I applaud him on keeping his election pledge.”

When Dafydd Llewelyn took over from Christopher Salmon as Police and Crime Commissioner, he mad a key campaign pledge to return the CCTV to the town. Speaking on the reinstatement he said he was “very pleased” to stick to his promise.

He added “Aberystwyth is a busy town within the Dyfed Powys Police force area where CCTV is required to safeguard communities and assist in investigations.

“Crime mapping analysis has identified 10 locations for cameras for the town that I am delighted that work is to begin there very soon.

“A project of this nature is very intricate and complex. The CCTV project team is working team is working hard to keep the project moving along as swiftly as possible.

“Work starting in Aberystwyth marks the halfway point of the project.”

The removal of the old CCTV system is said to have saved Ceredigion council £150,000 a year.

The new CCTV system set to start in Aberystwyth is part of a larger project, which will see 120 cameras in 17 towns across the region by completion.

The images will be fed directly to a monitoring room at Dyfed Powys Police headquarters Llangunnor, Carmarthenshire where they will be monitored by dedicated staff.

Marie McAvoy, project manager said: “I am grateful to the team I work with for their continued determination to ensure this project is delivered for the benefit of the communities we serve.

“I am also grateful to Ceredigion County Council and North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency for their assistance and support in ensuring that this reinvestment in CCTV in Aberystwyth is delivered.”

Mark Collins, Chief Constable said: “I’m confident the system will prove to be an invaluable asset in preventing crime and responding to emerging incidents swiftly before they escalate.

“Evidence from the CCTV cameras will also no doubt prove an important investigative tool for officers.”

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