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‘Frustration’ over banking van’s absence

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PLAID CYMRU County Councillor for Penparc, Clive Davies, has expressed his frustration following the failure of the NatWest mobile banking van to be present at Cardigan town centre on January 3.

Since the closure of the NatWest branch in Cardigan in May 2018, customers have been serviced by a weekly mobile bank every Thursday at the Fairfield Car Park between 11:10 and 11:55.

However, on the evening of Wednesday 3, Cllr Davies was informed the mobile bank would not be present at the town on following day due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ – with the bank suggesting on social media that customers could use the banking services located at the local post office instead.

Cllr Davies said: “Simply put, the absence of NatWest banking van from Cardigan is completely unacceptable. Access to banking services had already been reduced due to the Christmas period, and Natwest’s cancellation last week was frustrating for many small businesses and customers looking to take advantage of the banking facilities available.

“The suggestion by NatWest that customers should rather use banking services at the local post office, is both and incorrect misleading with many services unavailable at the post office or may take a longer time to be processed.

“Frustratingly, many customers like myself were rather faced with a lengthy journey to Carmarthen or Aberystwyth as to partake in their banking duties – rather than the ability to do so locally, as should be the case.”

The mobile bank was also absent from Newcastle Emlyn on Thursday 3rd of January 2019, with local customers expressing frustration at a lack of prior notice to such absence.

Ben Lake MP, who has tabled a bill in Parliament aiming to enhance access to banking services in rural areas, added: “Customers across Ceredigion have been in contact to share problems they have encountered with the mobile banking service, and by far the most common complaint is the brief window of time that the van has at every stop. The loss of 5-day-a-week access with the closure of so many branches, and the transition to a slot of less than an hour each week is difficult enough, without last-minute cancellations such as these.

“There is no doubt that the way in which we bank is undergoing a transformation. Despite successive assurances and promises by high street banks that they are committed to serving our communities, the service that we receive in rural areas is greatly reduced. Whilst a mobile banking service is better than complete abandonment, it simply cannot offer the service that so many customers and businesses require. As such, I am pushing in my parliamentary bill for banks to co-locate in areas that they would otherwise vacate completely – to establish banking ‘hubs’ that would ensure rural areas can access the services that they need, throughout the week.”

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New Quay RNLI lifeboat crew trains with lifeguards

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NEW QUAY lifeboat station hosted a special training evening with the lifeboat crew and Ceredigion’s RNLI lifeguards last week.

Pete Yates, one of New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat helms, worked closely with Ceredigion lifeguard supervisor, Tirion Dowsett, to plan scenarios for the teams to practice working together in casualty care situations.

A large scale scenario included four casualties to be dealt with by the inshore lifeboat crew and two lifeguard teams on a nearby beach, whilst a third lifeguard team and lifeboat crew members dealt with a separate scenario at the lifeboat station.

Pete said: “It was a great evening of training. We had 9 lifeguards and 13 lifeboat crew in attendance.

“The main scenario included casualties suffering from hypothermia and propeller injuries. A second scenario involved a mechanic suffering head injuries in the forepeak of the all-weather lifeboat and requiring extraction on a stretcher.

“On completion of these scenarios we all gathered back at the station where one of our senior crew members sprung a great act at being a diabetic having a hypo, and being suitably angry and aggressive.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, added: “It was great for our lifeboat crew members to work with the lifeguards as it builds a deeper understanding of each other’s roles and encourages teamwork between us. This is of great benefit when dealing with real life casualty care situations.”

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Coastguard rescues dog stuck on cliffs

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LAST TUESDAY (Aug 27), New Quay RNLI’s inshore D-class lifeboat, Audrey LJ, was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to assist the Coastguard with a dog stuck on the cliffs near New Quay.

The volunteer crew launched the inshore lifeboat at 1.50pm with four crew members on board and made their way south down the coast.

Brett Stones, New Quay RNLI’s helm said: “We located the dog on the cliffs by Castell Bach, near Cwmtydu. We stood by while the Coastguard team caught the animal. The dog was unharmed and safe with the Coastguard so we were stood down.

“However, while returning to station we were then tasked to a small vessel with engine failure. We towed the stricken boat with three people on board back to New Quay. We rehoused the inshore lifeboat and it was ready for service by 2.40pm.”

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New maintenance Lorries cut carbon emissions

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The Ground Maintenance Team has purchased three new lorries to support ground maintenance services in Ceredigion.

The new lorries will move Ceredigion County Council’s Ground Maintenance Service’s equipment to and from the grounds that they look after. The lorries will also take cut grass away for composting. This provides the most efficient way of maintaining the areas that the team is responsible for.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards is the Cabinet member responsible for Highways and Environmental Services together with Housing. He said: “The new vehicles replace ones which had provided excellent service for almost 20 years. They are fitted with Euro 6 engines which are considerably more efficient and better for the environment.”

The Grounds Maintenance Team is also incrementally introducing electric-powered mowers, blowers, hedge cutters and strimmers into its fleet. This equipment is better for the environment, is easier to use and causes less noise and vibration.

The new lorries support Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon council by 2030.

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