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First Minister election ballot closed

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THE SPECULATION as to who will succeed Carwyn Jones as First Minister of Wales will soon conclude, as the ballot has now closed, with the result to be announced on Thursday (Dec 6).

Eluned Morgan, Vaughan Gething and Mark Drakeford have each put themselves forward for the leadership of the Welsh Labour Party and indeed the Assembly.

All three are currently members of the Welsh Government, with Ms Morgan acting as Minister for the Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Mr Gething as the Health Secretary and Mr Drakeford as Finance Secretary.

Mr Drakeford, 64, has styled himself as a ’21st Century socialist’, offering continuity and stability as a candidate, having worked as a Welsh Government special advisor under Rhodri Morgan and being the only Welsh Government cabinet minister to support Jeremy Corbyn when he ran for the UK Labour leadership in 2015.

The AM for Cardiff West has been in the Assembly since 2011, becoming Health Minister in 2013 before becoming Finance Secretary in 2016. His policies include an extension of the smoking ban to outdoor areas such as restaurants and town centres, the cutting of emissions through greater emphasis on public transport and building on Superfast Cymru – a scheme to rollout 733,000 homes and businesses across Wales.

Mr Gething, 44, in contrast, is championing the idea of change to prevent stagnation in a party that has been in power for nearly two decades. The AM for Cardiff South and Penarth has proposed policies including a national care service for elderly people, the removal of tuition fees for care leavers, provision of free school meals outside of term time to end “holiday hunger”, and expansion of the Welsh Government’s childcare offer to parents undertaking work-related education and training. Mr Gething has also supported giving 16 and 17-year-olds the right to vote, and would like to see compulsory voting, as there is in countries such as Belgium and Australia.

Having joined the Assembly in 2011, Mr Gething became a Deputy Minister for Health in 2014 and Health Secretary in 2016.

The third candidate, Ms Morgan, has emphasised that the ideas put forward in her manifesto had been generated as a result of a listening exercise that she had conducted throughout Wales, ensuring that the proposed policies had grass roots support from beyond the bubble of Cardiff Bay. The AM for Mid and West Wales was determined to ensure that the creation of quality jobs and eradicating poverty was put front and centre of her manifesto commitments.

Ms Morgan, 51, prioritised five key themes which she believes will help to transform Wales for the future. Her vision aims tackle poverty and drive economic growth; care for the people of Wales; unite both the party and the nation; promote Wales as a confident green nation and prepare the country for a rapidly changing world. Ms Morgan became the youngest MEP when she was elected to European Parliament in 1994. In 2010 it was announced that Morgan had been granted a life peerage by the then Labour Party leader Ed Miliband. She has served as Shadow Minister for Wales in the House of Lords and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, was elected to Assembly in 2016 and became Welsh Language Minister in 2016.

Ms Morgan supports another referendum on whether the UK leaves the EU, but also believes her time in the European Parliament had given her international contacts that would have use whether Brexit happens or not. Likewise Mr Gething supports the People’s Vote campaign, yet has been criticised for previously failing to backing a Plaid motion on the issue in the Senedd. Mr Drakeford, however, is less set on another vote, saying he would only back it should the final deal fail to protect workers’ rights. As Finance Secretary, Mr Drakeford has been in charge of much of the Welsh Government’s approach towards Brexit so far.

Voting papers were sent to Labour members in Wales, as well as members of affiliated organisations and trade unions. For the first time, Welsh Labour have utilised the one-member-one-vote system, already used Labour in the rest of Britain and the method used to elect Jeremy Corbyn as the party’s UK leader. Previously an electoral college process has been used for such contests, which split the votes three ways between members, unions and politicians.

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Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Activity Programme

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THIS YEAR, Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Programme offers a wide range of activities over a period of four weeks during the summer holidays. There are 19 different projects, activities, workshops and events planned for young people aged 11-25 from across the county.

Activities this year focus on topics such as employability and upskilling, health and wellbeing, participation, sport and leisure and the environment. Young People will have the opportunity to develop new and existing skills including self-esteem, confidence, communication and problem-solving. They’ll all be held in fun environments where they’re able to meet new people, gain accreditation and participate in a range of activities.

Activities include a summer camp, an adventure residential stay, mountain biking, trips, taster workshops and more.

Gethin Jones is Ceredigion Youth Service’s Principal Youth Officer. He said: “The Summer Programme has been a big success for a number of years. It is of great importance to us that we continue to offer both targeted and open access opportunities for young people during school holidays, as well as term time so that support and engagement is available to young people throughout the year.

“The program offers a range of fantastic opportunities for young people from all across the county to get involved with, providing them with valuable opportunities and experiences that educate, build skills and develop confidence and esteem.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services, Lifelong Learning & Leisure. She said: “The Ceredigion Youth Service is providing a quality service which is clearly beneficial to our young people over the summer. The activities are great opportunities not only to enjoy but also to develop educationally, personally and socially.”

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Ceredigion Autism Conference 2019

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ON JULY 5, 2019, Ceredigion Autism Spectrum Team and Aberystwyth University Accessibility Services hosted the Ceredigion Autism Conference at Aberystwyth University.

At the sixth annual conference, autistic people focused on what is important to them about how other people think about autism. They also looked at how they are supported if and when they need support, and how other people can help them to build self-esteem, confidence and identity.

The conference was attended by over 130 people, bringing together autistic people, parents, carers and professionals from health, education and social care services and the voluntary sector. The agenda promoted our shared ethos and vision of understanding autism as a different way of thinking, learning and being; different but equally valuable.

Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Adult’s Services and Champion for people with learning disabilities co-chaired the conference with John Harrington Head of Accessibility Services, Aberystwyth University. The conference was opened by Carys James, Corporate Lead Officer for Children and Adult Services.

Councillor Williams said: “This was the sixth autism conference to be held in Aberystwyth and once again was very well attended. Whilst the audience was a healthy mix of autistic people, friends and carers alongside professionals working in related fields, the speakers and panellists were all autistic people. This allowed them to set the agenda and provided a unique learning opportunity for professionals to better understand the kind of support that can make a positive difference and to further improve the services we provide in Ceredigion.”

John Harrington said: “It is always an immense privilege to co-host the Ceredigion Autism Conference at Aberystwyth University. This year’s line-up of key note speakers were all inspirational and thought provoking about their autistic journeys through life.”

Key notes speakers this year were Chris Bonnello, who gave his 11 top tips for building autistic adults and children; Marianthi Kourti, who spoke about the challenges of being an autistic autism professional; and Kieran Rose, who gave a moving and insightful presentation about the effects of ‘masking’ and about what needs to change for autistic people to be fully accepted and supported.

For the closing session of the day, local autistic individuals joined the key speakers to form an expert panel, giving their experiences and perspectives of support services and answering questions from the audience.

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Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme

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A BUSY TIMETABLE of inclusive summer holiday activities for children has been organised across all Ceredigion County Council-run leisure centres in the county.

From football to bouncy castle sessions, from cycling skills to archery, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from over the course of the summer.

There will also be day camps and multi-skills activity days available at some of the leisure centres, for children to attend for the whole day. There’s even a day trip to the beach with Teifi Leisure Centre!

A range of learning to swim programmes are available at Lampeter Swimming Pool and Plascrug Leisure Centre across the summer holidays. A week of swimming lessons will be delivered solely through the medium of Welsh in Plascrug Leisure Centre starting on 5 August.

Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure Services. She said: “Ceredigion Actif is once again providing a busy timetable of fun activities during the summer. It’s a healthy and worthwhile way for children to spend their time during the summer.”

Booking for sessions is essential and staff at leisure centres reserve the right to cancel any session if attendance is too low.

For further information on the summer holiday activities planned, visit the Ceredigion Actif website.

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