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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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Police investigating sudden death of three-year-old

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating the sudden death of a three-year-old child.

At approximately 4.25pm on Sunday (Oct 21) police received a report of a collision involving a child and a vehicle at a private property near Llanybydder.

Tragically, the child died at the scene.

A police spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with the family, who are being supported by specially trained officers.

“Enquiries are ongoing. H.M. Coroner and the Health and Safety Executive are aware.”

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Council staff show their support for Shwmae Su’mae Day

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SHWMAE Su’mae day was celebrated throughout Wales on Monday, 15 October to encourage people to start every conversation with ‘Shwmae’ or ‘Su’mae’! To mark the day this year, staff at Ceredigion County Council held a cookery competition during its weekly ‘Clwb Cinio Cymraeg’ session (Welsh Lunch Club).

‘Clwb Cinio Cymraeg’ is the Council’s new sessions that give staff who are learning Welsh a chance to meet and practice their Welsh in an informal setting. Shwmae Su’mae day aims to show that the Welsh language belongs to us all – fluent speakers, learners or those shy about their Welsh.

Huw Owen is the Council’s new Work Welsh Training Officer and teaches Welsh in the Workplace lessons to Council staff on different stages of their journey in developing their fluency in the Welsh language. Huw established the successful Clwb Cinio Cymraeg earlier this year and said, “The Clwb Cinio Cymraeg is a vital part of Ceredigion County Council’s Work Welsh teaching provision. Language is a communal phenomenon, and the informal learning opportunities provided by the Clwb Cinio gives the Council’s learners the opportunity to take their Welsh beyond the more formal world of the classroom and become a Welsh language community. The success of the baking competition on Shwmae Su’mae Day is testament to the Council’s learners’ commitment and enthusiasm for learning Welsh as a language through which they can work, live, and have fun.”

Last year, 125 staff members were recognised for their dedication to learn the language by attending regular classes. Staff this year are able to continue receiving Welsh in the Workplace lessons, alongside additional opportunities to practice the language through the Clwb Cinio Cymraeg and Ffrind Iaith (Language Buddy scheme). Ffrind Iaith is where Welsh-learners are paired with a Welsh-speaker mentor within the work setting.

Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn said, “Ceredigion County Council is committed in supporting the Welsh language and culture, and we encourage staff to take up the offer of developing their Welsh with these engaging learning opportunities. The Council ensures its services and activities promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language throughout the county. Every member of the public in Ceredigion has the right to choose which language they wish to use when communicating with the Council and it’s a requirement of the Council staff to respond in a positive way to this choice.”

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Ceredigion’s first ‘Welsh in the Workplace’ business fair a success

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SMALL businesses in Cardigan came together to a special event on Thursday, 4 October 2018. The Business Fair was an opportunity to network, learn from each other and share experiences of using the Welsh language in business.

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Culture said, “With the excitement of the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod 2020 about to start, it was encouraging to see the county’s businesses coming together to learn how to market effectively and promote the Welsh language in business. It was refreshing to witness an honest discussion about the challenges facing businesses and also pleasing to hear how successful businesses have been since using the Welsh language.”

The event, held in Cardigan Castle, began with an interesting presentation by Huw Marshall from the Yr Awr Gymraeg. Huw discussed how the Welsh language can offer positive opportunities for local businesses and how it can boost business and the economy.

Kerry Ferguson said, “An extremely beneficial event. The panel demonstrated the benefits of Welsh in business, and also that there is plenty of support available – not just in various organisations, but businesses also. I would highly recommend Ceredigion businesses attend the next event!”.

This was supported by Rosalind Robinson, “Huw’s discussion was extremely helpful in particular how attractive the Welsh is in business for non-Welsh speakers. As a Welsh learner myself, I gained the opportunity to practice (and improve) my Welsh.”

An open discussion was held by a panel of businesses on the challenges of using the Welsh language in business and also to share good practice. The panel was chaired by Keith Henson (Coleg Ceredigion) and the panel consisted of Dwynwen Davies (Meithrinfa Y Dyfodol), Angharad Williams (Lan Llofft), Sioned Thomas (Ffenestri Kevin Thomas), Kerry Ferguson (Gwe Cambrian Web) and Huw Marshall (Yr Awr Gymraeg).

During the day, there were numerous information stands to visit, including Learn Welsh, Ceredigion Training, Cynnal y Cardi, Business Wales, Antur Teifi, Welsh Language Commissioner, Coleg Ceredigion and Cymraeg Byd Busnes.

Non Davies, Cered Manager said, “The day was an excellent opportunity to bring together businesses not only to receive advice and direction but also to discuss the challenges they face using the Welsh language. An honest and inspiring discussion took place highlighting many good practice ideas for the future. Cered’s Welsh in Business officers continue to visit businesses across the county and anyone is welcome to contact us to arrange a free visit.”

Contact Menter Iaith Cered’s Business Officers, Pat Jones or Owain Llyr on 01545 572350 if you are a business who is interested in receiving information or assistance.

The Welsh in the Workplace project has received LEADER support through the Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group (administered by Ceredigion County Council) which is funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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