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Research trip to Patagonia to support new exhibition

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FROM 11-26 February 2019, Andrea DeRome, Collections Access Officer at Ceredigion Museum journeyed to Patagonia, Argentina to research pioneering voyages for a temporary exhibition at Ceredigion Museum. The ‘Because it’s There’ exhibition is on display now until 12 October. The journey was made by support from the ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme 2018-19.

Ceredigion is a coastal county, bordered by sixty miles of the sea along Cardigan Bay to the west. Ceredigion Museum has an excellent seafaring collection that salutes the history when carts struggled along muddy trails and the iron steam dragon on tracks was still the stuff of imagination; all commerce, journeys and intrepid escapes were made west by boat.

Andrea explains her fascination with the ocean: “Lured by tales about maritime wanderers I imagined voyages at sea, praying to survive a maelstrom, waiting for calmer winds and clearer skies. I became curious about the tools of celestial navigation and exploration, and in awe of those who went to sea.”

One such pioneering voyage began on May 28, 1865, when the anchor was raised on the sailing ship ‘Mimosa’ as it left for Patagonia in Argentina. It took 60 days for the ship to arrive at its destination, at the mercy of the wind and waves, with four deaths, two childbirths and one wedding along the way. On board were about 153 resolute Welsh-speaking families seeking to create a Welsh-speaking utopia. They had grown concerned that amongst the many changes of the Industrial Revolution in their homeland, their language and values were being eroded and lost.

When they finally land there is nothing, they have arrived on this continent in winter. It is not the fertile land they were passionately promised; they shape their first dwelling in a cave and survive through the kindness and forgiveness of the indigenous people.

Andrea recalls the difference of her 21st century journey to Patagonia: “I board a plane at London Gatwick. At this point, I have travelled for eight hours from Aberystwyth to London. Fourteen hours later, flying among the stars for 6,910 miles, I land in Argentina. When I arrive at my destination, I encounter the infrastructure the pioneers forged the 430 miles from Puerto Madryn to Trevelin, an enormous land of beautiful, varied terrain. I set foot inside The First House, in the town of Gaiman, built from stone and mud in 1874. I meet spirited, proud people who respect Welsh culture and language, who consider the pioneers ‘to be the wheels of Patagonia, they got this area moving’, and I discover communities, chapels and schools working together to keep it all alive. I appreciate the continuing impact of our county’s history on the world.”

Carrie Canham, Curator at Ceredigion Museum explains: “Support from the ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme 2018-19 has given us, a rural Welsh museum, an international perspective that will benefit both staff and visitors. Aberystwyth lies at the end of the rail network, a seemingly dead end, but we are now better able to interpret our locality as the launch site to far-flung destinations for intrepid emigrants undeterred by the unknown.”

The exhibition ‘Because it’s there’ examines human exploration: the desire to go beyond the horizon, climb the mountain, venture out across the ocean, fly among the stars, to discover something because it’s there, or rumoured to be there. The exhibition features the tools and machinery that made things possible and uncover the stories of the brave people who took bold risks in their pursuit of new discoveries.

‘Because it’s There’ launched on Saturday 20, July and will run until 12, October 2019. It is curated by Andrea DeRome.

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Overall ‘excellent’ performance at Mynach Primary School

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A RECENT Estyn report on the primary school in Mynach has given the ‘Excellent’ status to each of the five inspection areas.

It was noted in the report that the school had attained ‘Excellent’ status in standards; wellbeing and attitudes to learning; teaching and learning experiences; care, support and guidance; and leadership and management.

The report notes, ‘A particular feature is the opportunities for Key Stage 2 pupils to plan and deliver lessons for the rest of the class, focusing on specific skills.’

Joyce George is headteacher at Ysgol y Mynach. She is also headteacher at Pontrhydfendigaid Primary School and Sir John Rhys Primary School. She said, “As a headteacher, I am extremely proud of the results of the survey and very grateful to the staff, governors and those who work effectively together as a team to ensure a first class education for all pupils. I am proud of the fact that the inspectors identified pupils’ literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology skills as excellent.

It was also noted that a pioneering feature of Ysgol Mynach is the way in which teachers adapt and develop the curriculum in order to raise pupils’ independence. Working together as a wider partnership with Ysgol Pontrhydfendigaid and Ysgol Sir John Rhys, Ponterwyd is a great advantage and an opportunity to share expertise, co-design and share ideas which extend and widen the experiences of pupils across the schools.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member for Learning services. She said: “The Estyn report shows that Ysgol Gynradd Mynach has achieved exceptionally high standards. The hard work and dedication of the headteacher, staff, governors and of course the children is very evident. The school shows that a way of working together with neighbouring schools in a progressive way can produce excellent results. Everyone in the school deserves congratulations.”

The report notes that the school is an extremely close community. It also notes that the head teacher has a progressive vision that is continually focused on maintaining and raising standards of pupils’ achievement and wellbeing.

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Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Machynlleth

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ON Thursday 15 August Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed around 200 local Labour Party members from Mid, West and North Wales at Machynlleth Bowling Club. Tickets for the event had all been taken within 24 hours, and an additional video link was live streamed into the club bar to allow those who could not get into the packed venue the opportunity to hear him speak.

Mr Corbyn was joined by Christina Rees, Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, and West Wales Regional AMs Joyce Watson and Eluned Morgan, Welsh Labour Minister for International Relations and the Welsh Language.

Eluned Morgan AM’s passionate introductory remarks highlighted Welsh Labour’s ongoing commitment to improving outcomes in education, health, housing, jobs and the environment. She urged immediate action from international UK and international governments on the climate crisis, declaring ‘The emergency is now!’

Mr Corbyn made clear that he is expecting a general election to be likely very soon and proceeded to outlined the scale of the current crisis the UK is facing, with 14 million now in poverty in the world’s 5th richest economy, and child poverty predicted by some to rise as high as 40%.

He went on to congratulate Welsh Labour on the great work that has been possible in Wales to insulate the Welsh people from the worst of the effects of Tory austerity, protecting vital NHS services and preventing the worst of school cuts, but he explained that there was only so much that could be done without the full support of a Labour government in Westminster.

“Things will be very different under a Labour government” Mr Corbyn added, saying that Labour will invest in people, with principles of equality and social justice and to demonstrate his state of readiness, with great vigour declared: “I’m up for an election anytime”.

He expressed grave concern over the effects that a reckless No Deal Brexit would have on the UK economy with particular reference to the devastating effects on Welsh industry and agriculture. He promised that Labour will do everything they can to prevent a no-deal, including the offer of a second referendum with Remain as an option, and the formation of a national unity government to prevent further political chaos.

Outlining his commitment to green industrial development Jeremy Corbyn stated that a Labour government would support the creation of the Swansea Tidal Lagoon which would bring valuable new green transitional jobs to Wales which would lead the world on renewables technology.

Mr Corby thanked everyone present for their efforts in Wales and reaffirmed his commitment to core Labour values of equality and social justice. He received a standing ovation and stayed after the event to chat and have photos taken with supporters.

A Ceredigion Labour spokesperson commented: “Jeremy Corbyn spoke passionately and inspiringly. He was full of praise for our outstanding efforts in the 2017 election and said he would be visiting Ceredigion during the next General Election campaign.”

The following day Mr Corbyn visited the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth to see new renewable energy technology in action and learn about pioneering methods of sustainable building and farming. He also confirmed that he would not stand in the way of any future discussion of a Welsh Independence referendum, and that he was open to considering all options for Wales’future.

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Gypsy Traveller Accommodation Assessment 2019

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CEREDIGION County Council are currently trying to contact as many members of the community as possible to take part in a survey on accommodation for Gypsy Traveller communities. Information collected from the survey will be used to understand how many pitches may be needed in Ceredigion now and in the future.

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 requires all local authorities in Wales to undertake a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) at least every five years to ensure that appropriate sites are provided where an unmet need is identified.

Councillor Dafydd Edwards, Cabinet member with responsibility for Housing said: “An understanding of Gypsy and Traveller accommodation is essential for us as a Council to make properly planned provision. We need to speak to as many families and individuals as possible in order to produce a robust evaluation of need for a gypsy/traveller or showmen site, or sites, in the county. If you have any contacts in the gypsy or traveller community, let the Council know how to contact them or encourage them to contact the Council directly.”

Any personal data gathered will be held under the Council’s privacy notice which is available here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/your-council/data-protection-freedom-of-information/data-protection/privacy-notice/.

Contact the Council directly using gt@ceredigion.gov.uk or phone Clic, the Council’s Customer Contact Centre on 01545 570881.

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