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Ceredigion celebrate RAF Centenary

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ON Thursday (Aug 9), a celebratory event to mark the centenary of the RAF was held at the West Wales Airport, Aberporth.

West Wales Airport, Air Cadets Ceredigion, Thales Group, QinetiQ, Ceredigion County Council, Ministry of Defence (MOD) Aberporth and the RAF at Aberporth worked in collaboration to hold the event.

The celebrations began at 12 noon with the raising of the Royal Air Force ensign with the salute taken by Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams, OBE ADC RAF, who is originally from Denbigh.

A parade and general salute was made by 1429 Cardigan and Aberporth, 561 Ardwyn Aberystwyth and District Squadrons, RAF Air Cadets, with the inspection of the parade carried out by Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams OBE ADC RAF; Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed, Miss Sara Edwards and Chairman of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Hag Harris accompanied by Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Paul Hinge.

During the event guests observed a fly-by of Hawk aircraft from RAF Valley and viewed displays, created by QinetiQ, Thales and Air Cadets Ceredigion, detailing the history of the RAF at Aberporth and the work currently being undertaken at the Range.

Air Officer Wales, Air Commodore Adrian Williams OBE ADC RAF said: “It was a great privilege for the RAF to be in Ceredigion today to celebrate the RAF centenary with the local community. It was special that we were at the site of the former RAF Aberporth station, now West Wales Airport.

“It was particularly poignant for us to be able to carry out a ceremony today of raising the RAF Ensign at Aberporth, a ceremony that was last carried out by the RAF in 1984 when the RAF Ensign was lowered and RAF Aberporth was closed. Days like this help underline the important connections there have been between Ceredigion and the RAF over countless years and the RAF is very grateful for the support that the people of Ceredigion have always given to us.

“I also really enjoyed meeting the local Air Cadets from the Cardigan and Aberystwyth districts, who carried out a very impressive Parade and are a true credit to their local communities.”

Work began on constructing Aberporth airfield in 1939, originally known as RAF Blaenannerch. It was re-named RAF Aberporth in 1941 when the RAF station was opened, under the RAF Army Co-operation Command and was first established as a military testing range in Cardigan Bay during the Second World War.

Today, MOD Aberporth provides a large secure safety area for the evaluation and training support services to ensure air-launched weapon systems, associated sub-systems and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are tested and fit for purpose.

Local Veterans and members of the Ceredigion Armed Forces Community Covenant were also present at the event.

Councillor Paul Hinge, Ceredigion County Council’s Armed Forces Champion said: “Today has been a successful marking by Ceredigion of the RAF Centenary and all this has come about by the effective partnership working between ourselves, West Wales Airport, Thales, QinetiQ, RAF at Aberporth, MOD Aberporth and the two Air Training Corps.”

For more information on MOD Aberporth visit the website aberporth.QinetiQ.com.

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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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