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MP Ben Lake calls for reform of police funding

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HAVING recently shadowed Dyfed Powys Police officers in Aberystwyth, the Ceredigion MP has again urged the UK Government to review the police funding formula for rural areas.

Mr Lake visited Aberystwyth police station as part of the #GiveADayToPolicing campaign, a scheme for Members of Parliament to better understand the challenges currently facing police forces across the UK.

During his visit Mr Lake had the opportunity to experience a variety of aspects of local policing – from spending time with the neighbourhood policing team, meeting officers from different departments, and discussing policing challenges with front-line police officers.

Mr Lake has challenged the UK Government on several occasions to reform the formula for police funding – highlighting the need for the funding formula to take into consideration the seasonal pressures on forces, particularly the significant increase to the population of coastal areas during the summer months.

Mr Lake said: “I am very grateful to the officers of Aberystwyth police station for their welcome, and for taking the time to speak with me. I now have a better understanding of the challenges our police officers face, as well as a deeper level of respect and admiration of their work and commitment to public safety.

“As I have previously stated, we cannot expect a one size fits all approach to work effectively across the whole of the UK, and as such, it is imperative that the criteria used to allocate the Home Office police grant are revised so that they reflect the increased demands and unique challenges facing rural forces in areas such as Ceredigion, especially during summer months.”

Mr Lake added: “It is widely acknowledged that Welsh police forces have suffered under the present funding formula, and so it is high time that the UK Government either amends the formula accordingly, or devolves the responsibility for policing to the Welsh Government so that they may do so themselves.”

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Intense Hopes and fears as Woodland homes to go before planners

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FINDING a home and finding a job is the most important challenge for young local people.

So the excitement is intense at the prospect of six live work units on the edge of Rosebush village, edged by the 100 acre forest. The zero carbon homes would be fuelled by wood and solar PV and be built of local timber.

The developers are Coed Preseli and Down to Earth, with the support of Cooperative Wales, PCC housing department and  the Future ‘Generations office of Welsh government. They would be rented to local people in perpetuity, at low rents, people who want to run a business from home, relating to the forest resource or supporting the local area.

Architects plan

Thirteen local young families are queuing up for the six homes, one writes: “It would be mine and my partner’s dream to have something like this project. He is a time served carpenter, spoon carver, furniture maker. He has also done some chainsaw carving. Oh and is a qualified engineer. I am a newly qualified furniture maker, and we are slowly building up a collection of tools to start a workshop of our own.”

Another said: “I used to work in forestry driving a forwarder and harvester mainly doing thinnings, but now I have become an arborist (tree surgeon) and I know Huw the forest manager has been trying to introduce pine Martins and Ospreys down here. Which a friend has been climbing the trees to put in man made nests for them and I’d love to be part of helping them”

Another works with big machinery in forests, leaving his family for long days in an upstairs flat with a small child and no access to a garden. It is hard on them. For this family too, the development would be the answer to their prayers.

The National Park Authority is recommending refusal on the plans

But The National Park Authority is recommending refusal on March 10. They give a number of reasons for rejection. The architect representing the owners have written to explain how each reason is erroneous or has been addressed.

The young families are puzzled. Under One Planet Development people can come in from away and build a home in the open countryside, but local people offered the chance of the workshop they desperately need, with a home to rent at social housing rates, on the edge of an existing village, are all turned down. There is heartbreak and bewilderment among them. 

“We are offering new businesses. We are working and paying taxes. This is our community where our families are. Don’t they want us here?” As a well known north Pembrokeshire Councillor exclaimed “What is wrong with the Park?”

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Aberystwyth walker’s 100 miles challenge in time for 64th birthday

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HYWEL DDA Health Charities has thanked epic fundraiser Annette Smith from Talybont, Aberystwyth who has raised £710 so far walking over 100 miles in 21 days, around her local area to raise money for Bronglais Chemotherapy Day Unit.

Annette normally walks at the most 60 miles a month, so the 63 year old had really pushed her limits. She started on 10 th February and finished mile 100 on Tuesday 2 nd March, ten days before her 64th birthday on 12 th March, when she’ll celebrate her achievement with some well-deserved cake!

Annette has walked every day, trying to get to walk done in the morning to give her a good start to the day.

She says “I want to give something back to our local services in the NHS. I feel incredibly lucky that my family and I haven’t been too affected by Coronavirus and I want to do my bit to help. I feel like I need to do something to say thank you.

“I also want to set myself a challenge and push myself out of my comfort zone. Something for me to feel proud of.

“I have friends who have used or are using the chemo unit and I am worried pressures on services will increase once life starts to go back to normal.”

Annette said the challenge was a test of her physical and mental grit, but added that it was lovely to explore her local area and enjoy the surroundings.

She added “I feel ecstatic that my personal challenge has raised such a goodly sum to contribute to the great work of the Chemotherapy Day Unit at Bronglais Hospital. Their work will continue beyond this current crisis. Thanks to all my supporters and it would be great to think that my efforts could raise even more!”

Hywel Dda Health Charities is the official NHS charity for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and

Pembrokeshire. Fundraising Manager Tara Nickerson said, “We are always grateful when people take the time to support our work, delivering services and activities above and beyond what the NHS provides. It’s truly inspiring when people who have received NHS care decide to give back as Annette has. The money she raises will directly benefit NHS patients and staff.”

There’s still time to support Annette’s amazing efforts and donate at

http://www.justgiving.com/anothersmithy

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Cardigan veteran completes three months of icy dips to raise over £4,000 for homelessness charity Crisis

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ICE, snow and rain: Bryan Larkin from Cardigan has swum through it all over the last three months, and all to raise over £4,000 to help people without a home.

A former mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Bryan took daily dips in December, January and February as part of homelessness charity Crisis’s Icebreaker challenge.

Shunning a wet-suit and smashing his £1,000 target, the 29 year-old has swum in the sea, rivers and waterfalls, as well as plunged into icy water buts and showered himself with cold hosepipes.

“The most challenging moments have to have been when the days were below 0°C with added wind chill and it was snowing or hailing. It meant you were cold before getting in and then even more so getting out and trying to get changed to try to warm up, while your body temperature continues to drop,” said Bryan.

Knowing that my daily efforts have inspired others to donate and take part, to raise crucial funds for homelessness and seeing where that money goes, has really kept me focused and motivated.”

Bryan said hot homemade soups have kept him going through the bad weather, along with friends and family. They also helped him with his video finale, ‘showering’ him with icy hoses, buckets, glasses and balloons of water from around the country.

After leaving the army, Bryan experienced mental health issues and a school friend who has been homeless recommended the Wim Hof Method to him. Named after the Dutch extreme athlete, it combines exposing oneself to cold temperatures with breathing techniques to improve overall wellbeing. Through researching cold water swimming, Bryan then came full circle when he discovered the Crisis Icebreaker.

He relished the opportunity to combine what he had learned with an issue he cares passionately about.

“Seeing my friend getting back on his feet is a big driver for me, even though he’s still struggling big time. It just baffles my mind that people have to live outside,” said Bryan.

Crisis provides year-round support to people without a home, whether they are sleeping rough, in cars, sheds, sofa surfing or in temporary accommodation. Through its eleven Skylight Centres across Great Britain, it provides employment, well-being and housing support to help people end their homelessness for good.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Bryan for his truly epic efforts over the last three months. The money he has raised throughout the bitterly cold winter will make a real difference to Crisis’s year-long work to end homelessness. His passion will show people without a home that they are not forgotten.”

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