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Young people create ‘Welsh Dragon’ chair for community park

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IN AUGUST 2018, Aberystwyth Community Ambassadors, a sub-group of Penparcau Youth Club, led by Ceredigion Youth Service, secured a grant of £700 through CAVO Ceredigion’s Youth Led Grant Scheme, to create an art sculpture for their local community in Penparcau.

The aim of the project was to work with a professional artist to create an eye-catching sculpture made of recycled materials. The group decided to create a chair in the shape of the Welsh dragon, which will take place in Penparcau park. The project was led by young people, from the bid writing, to creating the final sculpture. Ceredigion Youth Service’s Young Volunteers who sit on CAVO’s Youth Led Grant Panel also visited the project in action to learn more about how the funding had been spent.

The group created the sculpture chair with a social enterprise organisation, Splat Cymru. Splat Cymru is a Carmarthen-based organisation who support children and young people through art and technology.

Brandon Jones, a member of Aberystwyth Community Ambassadors said, “Aberystwyth Community Ambassadors is made up of young people from Penparcau Youth Club who aim to develop community engagement projects and fundraisers in and around Penparcau and Aberystwyth. We wrote a bid for CAVO’s Youth Led Grant Scheme and we were successful. We then worked with James and Zoe from Splat Cymru to design and create the sculpture. We want to place the chair in Penparcau park so it can be enjoyed by other children and young people.”

Lowri Evans, Ceredigion Youth Service’s Acting Principal Youth Officer said, “This recent project worked really well. The young people were responsible for every aspect of the project, from securing the funding to painting the final sculpture. The young people really enjoyed working with Splat Cymru, who delivered a fun, engaging and skill building opportunity for the group. The young people learnt how to create something new from used materials, raising awareness of the importance of recycling and reusing. We would like also like to thank CAVO Ceredigion for funding the project and enabling the young people to have this opportunity.”

Councillor Catrin Miles said, “It’s fantastic to see opportunities like these being offered to young people, enabling them to develop skills, socialise and discover new interests. It’s so pleasing to see programmes such as this continuing to develop to benefit the lives of young people”.

For more information about the work of Ceredigion Youth Service, visit their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page @GICeredigionYS or visit their website www.giceredigionys.co.uk.

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Council tax reduction supports people on low incomes

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A COUNCIL Tax Reduction Scheme is in place to help people who are on a low income. The council administers the scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government for people who are liable to pay Council Tax and who live in Ceredigion. With the recent decision to raise Council Tax by 7%, residents on low incomes are being urged to find out if they are entitled to some help towards paying their Council Tax.

People can be eligible for the reduction if they are on a low income, working or unemployed, cannot work because of illness, retired or are caring for someone. The amount of the reduction depends on a person’s circumstances and how much Council Tax they need to pay.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd is the Cabinet member responsible for Financial Services. He said, “We made the difficult decision to raise Council Tax by 7% to reduce the amount of cuts we have to make to council services. The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising.”

“We want to urge anyone who is on a low income to consider if they are eligible for Council Tax Reduction. Tax increases can add pressure onto people’s budgets, and although this increase is vital to keep quality services in Ceredigion, we want to make sure that anyone who is eligible for help gets it.”

For more information on eligibility and how to claim council tax reduction, email revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01970 633 252.

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7% council tax increase to protect education funding

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THE COUNCIL TAX in Ceredigion for 2019-2020 will increase by 7%. The increase was agreed by councillors to reduce the impact of cuts to the Council’s budget and, in particular, to protect education spending. The decision was made in a Council meeting on 21 February 2019.

2% of the 7% increase will be used to protect education spending. Schools budgets have been under severe stress after years of needing to make savings. Costs have increased yet again following the agreement of new teachers’ salary increases together with increased pension contributions. This extra 2% uplift will enable school budgets to be kept flat.

The council tax rate increase is set by three key components, the County Council’s tax, the precept of Town and Community Councils and the Police precept. Increases set by the Police and Town and Community Councils result in a combined increase of 7.56%.

Councillor Ellen ap Leader of the Council, said, “We had no option but to ask Council to increase Council Tax by 7% in order to reduce the impact of the cuts we have had to make across council budgets. A successful Ceredigion in the future needs well-funded and well run schools. We want to invest in the future of our children and our county.”

“The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising. The uplift of teachers’ salaries and pensions has not been fully funded by Welsh Government to date. If council tax had not increased, we would have to make deeper cuts.”

In 2018-2019, the average Council Tax Band D property was £1,226.48. The increase means that the same property will pay £1,312.33 in 2019-2020. The council’s budget has been cut by £39m or 25% in the last seven years. The Council will still need to save another £6m in the coming financial year.

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Information management policies updated to improve security

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THREE key information management policies have been updated by Ceredigion County Council. The policies were updated because of new laws and the need make sure that they are effective in a changing technological environment.

The updated policies were approved by the council’s Cabinet in a meeting on 19 February 2019.

The three policies that have been reviewed are:

· Data Protection/GDPR Policy
· Information Security Policy
· Information and Records Management Policy

The Deputy Leader of Ceredigion County Council and Cabinet member responsible for Governance, Councillor Ray Quant MBE said, “The council needs to keep information and data to carry out the many service we provide. Because of this we have to make sure we’re up to date on data and information protections laws. This decision means that we have approved the hard work done to update the policies and make sure that they are fit for use.”

The policies are essential to manage digital and paper records of the council.

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