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Wales on four this summer

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(Pictured: Wales and Dragons lock Cory Hill)

WALES’ Grand Slam winners will be live on Channel 4 when they face England and Ireland at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in the Under Armour Summer Series this August – it was confirmed today.

The reigning 2019 Guinness Six Nations title holders host both fellow Championship opponents in preparation for the Rugby World Cup in September, with the auld enemy in town on Saturday 17th August (14:15hrs) and the Irish arriving on Saturday 31st August (14:30hrs).

Channel 4 showed their first Welsh rugby international last June when Wales beat South Africa in Washington DC, followed by a successful two-Test tour of Argentina.

The partnership will be rekindled for Wales’ Under Armour Summer Series matches, with the England game to be simultaneously shown on Sky, and it has already been announced that Channel 4 will show the final match of the campaign, at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, by virtue of their existing deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union.

“We will be delighted to welcome Channel 4 to Cardiff and join their portfolio of rugby programming this summer,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.

“Our experience working with them during last year’s summer tour in Argentina and for the game against South Africa in USA was hugely positive and, of course, their coverage of Heineken Champions Cup rugby is highly regarded.

“These two matches will not only be the last opportunity to see Wales at Principality Stadium before we leave for the World Cup in Japan, but they are also a final send off for our head coach Warren Gatland.

“We are expecting two incredible occasions, two huge crowds and a fitting spectacle for all those watching on TV screens around the world as we celebrate the most successful coach in the history of our game and send Wales to the World Cup in no doubt that an entire nation is behind them.”

Two away games top and tail the campaign, starting with a showdown at Twickenham on Sunday 11th August (itself shown on Sky) and culminating with a trip to Dublin on 7th September.

The two matches on home soil are a Cardiff curtain call for Gatland who will move on after Japan 2019, after serving 12 years at the helm.

Currently placed second in the World Rugby rankings, Wales will also be looking to extend a record 14-match unbeaten run during their four-game RWC warm-up campaign and Gatland will trim his squad, from 42 to the 31 who will make the plane, following Ireland’s visit to Cardiff.

The Grand Slam and Gatland-factor combined is expected to produce sell-out crowds for the summer after Wales completed a unique Championship-clean-sweep-hat-trick under his tenure, lifting the Guinness Six Nations Championship in 2019 to add to triumphs in 2008 and 2012.

“We’re delighted to be working with the Grand Slam winners once again and look forward to Warren Gatland’s men laying down markers against Ireland and England. It promises to be an intriguing summer of rugby for fans of all nations ahead of the Rugby World Cup,” added Joe Blake-Turner, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor, Sport.

Approaching 100,000 tickets have been snapped up for the UA Series already and both games are expected to sell-out the 73,931 capacity Principality Stadium ground – with remaining tickets priced from £40, (£10 U16s, available across more than half the seats in the ground) still available here www.wru.co.uk/tickets.

Wales’ 2019 Under Armour Summer Series fixtures:
Wales vs England: Principality Stadium, Saturday 17th August 2019 – Kick Off: 14:15hrs. £60 (£10 U16 concession available), *£40 (£10 U16 concession available) – lower and middle tier and AFZ sold-out
Wales vs Ireland: Principality Stadium, Saturday 31st August 2019 – Kick Off: 14:30hrs. £70, £60 (£10 U16 concession available), *£40 (£10 U16 concession available) – lower tier sold-out
*Alcohol Free Zone tickets are also in this category

Wales’ away summer fixtures:
England v Wales (Twickenham) Sunday 11 August
Ireland v Wales (Aviva Stadium) Saturday 7 September

Wales in Japan, RWC 2019:
Wales v Georgia – Toyota City, 23rd September, 11:15am (GMT)
Australia v Wales – Tokyo, 29th September, 8:45am (GMT)
Wales v Fiji – Oita, 9th October, 10:45am (GMT)
Wales v Uruguay – Kumamoto City, 13 October, 9:15am (GMT)

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Community

A successful first year for Communities for Work Plus

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The Communities For Work Plus team.

OVER 200 REFERRALS  have been received and 88 people have been supported by the Communities for Work Plus project in Ceredigion in its first 12 months. The project began in April 2018 with two Mentors and an Employer Liaison Officer. They support people to improve their employability skills. This should, in turn, help them either get employment or get better-paid employment.

Communities For Work Plus is a Welsh Government funded project, delivered by Ceredigion County Council which supports individuals in or at risk of poverty, aged 16 or over, across Ceredigion and throughout Wales. Participants may be experiencing in-work poverty, unemployment, living on minimum wage or struggling to pay basic monthly outgoings on sporadic zero hour contracts.

Mentors provide 1:1 support for participants with writing CV’s, undertaking mock interviews, up-skilling and funding a wide variety of training including help with starting up their own business. The team are looking forward to building on this success for the next 12 months to help residents of Ceredigion find employment and to reduce poverty.

One participant said: “I want to thank you and your team for helping me through this and of course funding it! Huge thanks to my mentor for putting up with me. She’s been brilliant. I am able to support my family now that I have regained my confidence and have secured a regular income after being out of work for a while.”

With the support of the project, 22 people have entered employment and others have entered volunteering placements, paid work opportunities or training. Training courses range from First Aid qualifications, retail or healthcare, construction safety cards and even HGV driver training.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning said: “The project can help to source volunteering opportunities, paid work experience placements, employment opportunities and have good contacts with local employers. Support extends to people who are ‘in work poverty’ so if you are looking at improving your skills to enable you to get a better-paid job, then Communities For Work Plus could help you.”

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Farming

Aeron Valley farmers thinking creatively for their future

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A RESEARCH STUDY called Pweru’r Dyffryn delivered by Gweithgor Dyffryn Aeron cyf is looking into the feasibility of powering businesses and households in the Aeron Valley.

The study is looking into creating a community body to develop local renewable energy sources which would aim to create a source of income for powering the economy of mid Ceredigion. The study is also looking into creating a sustainable source of income to develop the local economy of the Aeron Valley.

The feasibility study is funded through Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. This is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

The concept of Pweru’r Dyffryn (Powering the Valley) was developed by the Gweithgor Dyffryn Aeron cyf. Many members of the Gweithgor are young farmers in the area. They want to not only secure a way of life and affordable energy, but also invest in their future.

The farmers of Dyffryn Aeron first set up the community cooperative company Gweithgor Dyffryn Aeron cyf in response to the closure of dairy factories in the valley. The Gweithgor helped a local company to re-open the site of one factory as a centre of local employment.

Through this they found that energy costs were high in the area and could threaten the long term sustainability of businesses in the area.

Euros Lewis is a Director of Gweithgor Dyffryn Aeron cyf and is Pweru’r Dyffryn’s Project Manager. He said: “Responding creatively is the way forward and that’s what these young farmers have done.”

From here the concept of Pweru’r Dyffryn was developed, which began with local consultations across the whole of the Aeron Valley. It asked local communities what form of renewable energy they did and didn’t want to see developed in the area and how would they want revenue from any potential scheme to be spent. The purpose of the consultations were to develop a model that will meet the needs and potential of the local communities first and foremost.

The feasibility scheme received LEADER support through the Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council.

The next step for Gweithgor Dyffryn Aeron cyf is the publication of a comprehensive report of the local consultation and its findings for future potential developments. The consultation’s early findings include that large scale wind turbines would not be welcome, while there is support for further research as to the potential of waterways and solar power for the generation of local, sustainable energy.

The development of the scheme will be long-term with challenges along the way but Euros Lewis believes to change the lives of the local people and to develop the local economy ‘that the basic principle is to act for ourselves and this is what we are doing.’

Councillor Rhodri Evans is Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Economy and Regeneration. He said: “It’s very encouraging to see rural society in Ceredigion ambitiously looking to the future. Cynnal y Cardi supports them closely and I’m sure they wil see success in the future.”

All ideas are welcome on a rolling basis and project officers are at hand to assist you. The closing dates in 2019 for submission of expressions of interest are 9 September and 11 November. All submissions are welcome in Welsh or English.

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Community

Community Sponsorship to resettle Syrian refugees

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FOLLOWING REFUGEE WEEK in June, Ceredigion residents are being encouraged to consider taking part in a community sponsorship scheme to host Syrian refugees.

Community Sponsorship was launched in 2016 and gives power to local volunteer groups to resettle a refugee family in their community.

Two Community Sponsorship schemes – Aberaid and Croeso Teifi – have already been established in Ceredigion. Both schemes have resettled two families each under Community Sponsorship.

Lindsey Gilroy from Aberystwyth’s Aberaid said: “It’s not easy. You have to raise at least £9,000 to cover costs like translation, furnishing the house and English lessons. You also have to get approval from Ceredigion County Council – they need to be confident that we are an organisation that is capable of providing the ongoing support that the families need.”

“However, despite the challenges, community sponsorship is an incredibly empowering and transformative process of taking leadership from the bottom up. We are all used to demanding action from government but community sponsorship enables people to take matters into our own hands and do it ourselves, which is hugely positive.”

Vicky Moller from Cardigan’s Croeso Teifi agreed. She said: “The council has been great, but there are a lot of bureaucratic hoops to jump through. It is very much worth it though. The families we have welcomed to Cardigan are very grateful and very keen to contribute to local life. Our first family arrived in 2017 and the children now speak English and Welsh.”

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn is Ceredigion County Council’s Leader and is the Chair of the Ceredigion Refugee Resettlement Group. She said: “Community Sponsorship is a big commitment, but hugely rewarding. It is a practical way for local people to respond to the global refugee crisis.”

“The refugees have said they are grateful for the genuine welcome they have received in the UK, and Ceredigion communities have exemplified this warm welcome.”

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