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Ultrafast broadband for communities through voucher scheme

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COMMUNITIES in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and across Wales can come together to make a bid for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which can provide ultrafast broadband for homes and businesses.

The scheme, which is managed by the UK Government, has been given the boost of a top-up in Wales with the Welsh Government providing more funding to take into account the particular challenges caused by the country’s topography.

Ministers from both governments are now urging Welsh businesses and communities to apply as a group for the funding to get gigabit capable broadband.

The group must include at least one business along with surrounding premises. Two or more businesses can get together, or businesses with residents, to combine their vouchers towards the cost of building the infrastructure. Up to ten residents can get together with one business to create a group or community project.

Under the arrangements for Wales, the Welsh Government will provide an additional £3,000 for businesses up to a certain size and an additional £300 per residential property. This means that for group projects in Wales up to £5,500 is available per business, compared with £2,500 elsewhere in the UK. Up to £800 will now be available per residential property in Wales, compared with £500 elsewhere.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “While the vast majority of premises in Wales can access superfast broadband, we know we must reach the final five per cent. There is no one size fits all solution to do this, and the Gigabit Voucher Scheme is an important part of our efforts to do this.

“I would urge communities without access to look at this option and see if it’s suitable for them. The vouchers would potentially give them access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.”

UK Government Minister for Wales Kevin Foster said: “Improved digital connections for homes and businesses is a central part of our modern Industrial Strategy which invests in skills, industries and infrastructure to build a Britain that’s fit for the future.

“Together with the Welsh Government we are working to ensure more people in Wales have access to reliable broadband speeds, supporting communities, enhancing access to online services and strengthening our rapidly expanding digital sector.”

The Welsh and UK Government funded £200m Superfast Cymru programme has already taken superfast broadband speeds to more than 733,000 Welsh homes and businesses commercial companies had no plans to cover.

Residents and businesses can check whether they’re eligible for the voucher and look up their postcode to find a registered supplier in their area. Further information on how to apply for the Gigabit Voucher scheme is available on: www.gov.wales/broadband

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European Parliamentary Election Guide

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ON THURSDAY next week, May 23, voters will elect 73 MEPs to represent the UK in the European Parliament.

At the 2014 European Parliamentary elections in the UK, turnout was 35.6%.

The deadline to register to vote for the elections was Tuesday, May, 7.

If you were already on the electoral register in your county of residence, you do not need to have re-registered and – in most cases – will already have your polling cards.

How you vote is up to you.

Most people vote at a polling station.

The UK elects 73 MEPs.

Of those 73, Wales elects 4.

In Wales, votes are cast on a closed list system. This means you vote for the party and not the candidate.

The political parties put their candidates in order from 1 to 4. This means that if a party gets enough votes, it can return more than one MEP from the list. While that seldom happens in Wales, the UK’s political crisis could mean there is a significant shift in voting patterns for this election.

Voters put one cross against the party or independent candidate they wish to vote for.

Polling Stations are open between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm.

In Pembrokeshire, there are 112 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/PembsPolling

In Carmarthenshire, there are 184 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling Stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/CarmsPolling

In Ceredigion, there are 97 Polling Stations for the European Elections. The list of Polling Stations is available from the County Council’s website.

The link is here: http://bit.ly/CeredPolls

Counting can only begin after 10 pm on Sunday 26 May when polls across the EU have closed.

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Sheep take centre stage at Ceredigion Museum

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Icelandic film, Rams (2015)

ON 14 and 28 June, Ceredigion Museum will be screening three films centred on Wales’ most iconic animal, the sheep. Screened alongside the Museum’s current art exhibition simply entitled Sheep, this tryptic of films explore the intricacies of our relationship with these woolly creatures and the communities and lives that we have built around them.

The exhibition, which is open daily until 29 June, looks at the history, heritage and culture of sheep farming communities within Wales and offers an exciting opportunity to see Welsh artists exhibit their work alongside internationally significant works of art as well as Ceredigion’s own collection.

Ceredigion Museum’s Curator Carrie Canham said, “This exhibition and the events surrounding it bring our relationship with the Welsh uplands to the forefront of discussion, exploring how our traditional farming landscape has changed and how it might look in the future.”

The film series reaches out of Wales to shine a light on other sheep farming communities around the world, from two brothers battling the weather and the authorities in the Icelandic film, Rams (2015) on 14 June, 7pm – to the gruelling world of competitive sheep shearing in international documentary, She Shears (2018) on 28 June, 7pm. The tryptic concludes with a late night screening of New Zealand’s sheep zombie horror film, Black Sheep (2006) on 28 June at 9pm.

The exhibition and the surrounding events have been funded by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund; created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections. Further funding has been provided by Arts Council of Wales, The Ferryman Project: Sharing Works of Art which is supported by National Lottery players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the John Ellerman Foundation and Art Fund.

Alice Briggs, Assistant Curator at Ceredigion Museum said, “The funding for Sheep from the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund and others will have a lasting legacy beyond just the exhibition. Its support of the necessary upgrades and accompanying programmes will enable the museum to borrow other important artefacts and treasures to display in the future.”

For more information, visit www.ceredigionmuseum.wales.

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Coastal Awards for Ceredigion beaches

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Aberystwyth Beach

CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL will pick up five Blue Flags at the Wales 2019 Coastal Awards ceremony on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

Five beaches across Ceredigion have each been awarded the internationally recognised Blue Flag this year in recognition of the quality of their bathing water, safety, cleanliness and standard of services and facilities. In order to achieve a Blue Flag award, bathing water must meet the Excellent standard and a total of 32 land-based criteria.

Three beaches have each been awarded the Green Coast award. For this award, beaches must meet the highest water quality standard and are judged by the provision of facilities for beach users along with demonstrating good management and safety provision.

Also, 13 beaches received the Seaside Award – awarded to those beaches who reach the national standard beaches across the UK. This award ensures visitors that they are guaranteed to find a clean, attractive and well-managed beach.

Aberporth Beach

Arwyn Davies, Corporate Manager for Growth and Enterprise said, “Tourism is a major contributor to the Ceredigion economy bringing in over £310 million to the local economy every year. Ceredigion’s coastline, our coast path and superb beaches are amongst the county’s greatest assets in terms of attracting visitors.

The coastal awards, be they Blue Flags, Green Coast and Seaside Awards, provide an indication of the quality of our beaches and the council is committed to working with our partners and coastal communities to ensure that the high standards required to achieve award status are met.”

The following beaches have been awarded 2019 coastal awards:

Blue Flag
Borth, Aberystwyth North, New Quay Harbour, Llangrannog and Tresaith

Green Coast
Llanrhystud, Mwnt and Cilborth

Seaside Award
Borth, Clarach, Aberystwyth North and South, Llanrhystud, New Quay Harbour and Dolau beaches, Llangrannog, Cilborth, Tresaith, Aberporth, Penbryn and Mwnt

Wales’s coastal awards are administered by Keep Wales Tidy.

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