THE long running dispute over the future of New Quay lifeboat has taken another turn with the RNLI announcing that it is cutting ties with the group campaigning for the retention of Ceredigion’s only all-weather lifeboat.
In a joint statement issued by the RNLI and the Ceredigion Lifeboat Campaign (CLC) in December 2018, both parties had agreed that they would meet regularly to discuss the proposed reconfiguration of lifeboats in the New Quay area as a “platform to review concerns.” At the time, both parties welcomed the opportunity “to exchange views and data, and to work constructively towards ensuring the most appropriate future lifeboat configuration for the Ceredigion coast.”
However, that dialogue now seems to be over. In a recent letter to the CLC, the RNLI’s Operations Director, George Rawlinson, states “it has become increasingly apparent to us that the dialogue is not heading towards a positive or productive outcome for either party. We have therefore reached the conclusion that further liaison with the CLC is not appropriate.”
A spokesperson for the CLC cited “cultural differences” for the breakdown in dialogue, “The RNLI has consistently made it clear that it is not prepared to submit its decision to public or peer group scrutiny, whereas the CLC is an open organisation, encouraging two way dialogue with local stakeholders.
“It is vital that the CLC retains the trust and confidence of the people we represent. We would lose that trust if we were to engage with the RNLI behind a veil of secrecy. The decision to strip Ceredigion of all-weather search and rescue provision in 2020 is a serious matter of public interest and should be explored in the public domain.
“We have made it clear to the RNLI that we will continue to gather relevant data and informed opinion, that we will present the evidence-based case to maintain an all-weather lifeboat in New Quay to the RNLI for their consideration, and that our completed report will be available to the public.”
Meanwhile, the RNLI has announced that it will commence dialogue with local volunteers over its proposed reconfiguration of lifeboats in Cardigan Bay.
A CLC spokesperson commented, “Whilst long overdue, we applaud the RNLI’s decision to engage with the crew and volunteers at New Quay lifeboat station, and we wish the process well. We hope that the RNLI will listen closely to many years of accrued local knowledge and seamanship.”
Despite the breakdown of talks with the RNLI, the campaigners are undeterred. The CLC spokesperson added, “The CLC enjoys committed support from our local communities and we have been given a mandate by over 29,000 petition signatories to seek to reverse the RNLI’s decision to remove New Quay’s all-weather lifeboat. We remain committed to this objective.
“We have recently had productive meetings with the Welsh Fishermen’s Association and the Wales Fishing Safety Committee and we would like to thank them for their support. Our MP, Ben Lake, has met with ministers from the Department for Transport and the Wales Office, and has further meetings planned with them for the coming weeks. We have a number of events planned for the coming months and we continue to build support, with donations arriving from as far afield as the US and Japan.”
To find out more about the campaign to save Ceredigion’s only all-weather lifeboat, visit www.ceredigionlifeboatcampaign.org.uk
Llanwrda bookshop in the running to be named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020
AN appointment only bookshop in Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire, which offers a beautifully curated collection of books as well as cards, wrapping paper and Fair Trade gifts, has been named on the shortlist of retailers in the running to be named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020.
Books At The Dragon’s Garden says it “aims to make a visit to our shop an experience”. The shop runs a loyalty scheme for customers and offers promotions throughout the year. In addition, in its base at the market garden it uses organic compost, seeds and freshly picked vegetables and flowers. It only uses paper bags and has planted lots of pollinators in the garden to increase biodiversity.
The Best Small Shops competition is managed by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), whose member trade associations represent approximately 100,000 independent retailers throughout the UK between them. The competition celebrates the commitment and creativity of independent retailers on the UK’s High Streets and the central role they play in their local communities. It is sponsored by Maybe*, an engagement platform that helps make social media work for independent retailers. The winner will be announced next month.
In addition to the main award, Books At The Dragon’s Garden has also been shortlisted for a special award to be given to the independent retailer that has demonstrated specific innovation to combat the impact of COVID-19. This award is sponsored by booost, the loyalty, gifting and promotions app.
“It was impossible to make my previous shop both safe and financially viable, so I had a radical rethink and a conversion of two old stables at my market garden meant I was able to move the entire shop to a rural location,” explains owner Mandy Tomos.
In the interim I continued to promote the business on social media and sold online via the website. I received an award as a “Local Hero” for continuing to supply my local community during lockdown. As the shop is now appointment only, it is very safe for both customers and staff, numbers are low and social distancing is easy. Contactless payment is taken outside under cover. I used social media to maintain contact with my customers and wrote a chatty book suggestion column in our local free paper every month.”
“This has been a particularly challenging year for small, independent retailers and many have come through to this point through innovation, quality of product and service, a commitment to serve their local communities and a large dose of determination,” explains Mark Walmsley, Chair of the IRC.
“As more and more people have been forced to stay home and work from home, we have seen just how much we all value local independent shops and want to see them not just survive, but also thrive. These shops offer choice, diversity and genuine customer service. And, after what has been a rather dark year, that has to be worth celebrating.”
The annual competition highlights the best of Britain’s independent retail sector, celebrating the commitment and creativity of independent retailers and the central role they play in their local communities. Previous winners have included Bristol-based delicatessen Papadeli, the 2019 winner, and The Mainstreet Trading Company, a combined bookshop, café, deli & homeware shop based in St Boswells, in the rural Scottish Borders, which won in 2018.
Safe Zone arrangements during firebreak
FOLLOWING the announcement by First Minister Mark Drakeford that introduced a ‘fire break’ across Wales, Ceredigion County Council will not be closing the roads daily within the safe zones between 6pm on Friday, October 23 and 11am on November 9.
Some aspects will remain where changes are in place 24/7 or temporary parking restrictions apply. Council owned public car parks will remain free during this period for residents and visitors alike.
Safe Zone – Recent amendments
Further minor amendments have come into effect this week, they are:
· In Aberaeron, on street parking will return between Cadwgan Place and Market Street junction.
· In Aberystwyth, there is controlled blue holder access to Eastgate from Portland Street as well as controlled access to Chalybeate Street from Terrace Road.
· In Cardigan, there will be controlled blue badge holder access along High Street.
Safe zones are reviewed fortnightly in line with the infection rate and available evidence. A further announcement will be made before 09 November.
More information can be seen on the safe zones Council web page: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/SafeZones
Two week national ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ announced for Wales from 6pm on Friday
MARK DRAKEFORD, The First Minister of Wales has announced a two week ‘fire break’ lockdown from Friday October 23 at 18:00 HRS, to last until Monday November 9 at 00:01 HRS
Mr Drakeford said: “This firebreak is the shortest we can make it. It must be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus.”
All non essential businesses, including tourism businesses will be told to close.
Businesses have been told that they will be given £1000 each automatically to help with the economic impact of the shutdown.
Mr Drakeford added that children will be the priority and that childcare facilities will open as normal. Primary schools will open after half term.
Secondary schools will be closed for a week after half term to help control the virus.
Universities will offer a mixture of face-to-face learning and learning via video link. Students must stay at their university accommodation during the lockdown.
Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of a Wales-wide lockdown, Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has called the lockdown “not-proportionate” and is calling on the Welsh Government to be “open and transparent” on the evidence to support a lockdown and if the First Minister is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns every month.
Paul Davies MS said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.
“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns. This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year. The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.
“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate. The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.
“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”
Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “The evidence to support an all-Wales lockdown is weak and I am sceptical that this so-called ‘fire-break’ will tackle the situation in those parts of Wales where infection rates have been out of control. The key issue for Welsh Government to address is what will be done differently after the firebreak ends in those parts of Wales where infection rates have spiralled out of control. Otherwise the whole of Wales risks being dragged back into a series of rolling lockdowns.
“As we saw earlier in the year, lockdowns come with huge costs in terms of harm to the economy and to people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. With the Welsh Government asking UK Government to fund this lockdown, I hope that as many businesses as possible get support they need quickly. Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses will be hit particularly hard by these latest restrictions and I will be fighting hard again to see that they are protected as the lockdown kicks in.”
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