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Cardi-Gân choir celebrates 20th birthday

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On Saturday, 28 September Cardi-Gân choir will celebrate its 20th birthday. Their guests are the two renowned tenors, Rhys Merion and Aled Wyn Davies or ‘Tra Bo Dau’ as they are known.

Tickets have been sold out since mid-August, but it’s worth anyone looking for a ticket to add their names to the waiting list in case some become available at the last minute!

Cardi-Gân supports a different charity annually since its inception. Some of the charities that have benefited from their campaigns over the years are Cancer Research Wales, British Heart Foundation, Canolfan y Môr – Aberaeron Secondary School, Welsh Blood Bikes and the Colorectal Disease to name but a few. We have successfully raised many thousands over the years and the two charities that we’re supporting this year are RABI Cymru Wales and Tir Dewi.

RABI is an agricultural charity working regionally within England and Wales changing the lives of families for the better. The charity offers confidential financial support to farmers of all ages facing hardship. Each case is different and the support offered is tailored to individual circumstances.

Each year the R.A.B.I charity gives out around £2 million in grants and helps around 2,000 individuals and families. The majority of income comes from fundraising events, donations from individuals, businesses, community groups and the voluntary county committees, as well as from wills and grants from charitable trusts.

Tir Dewi was formed in response to a growing and serious need to help farmers in West Wales during difficult times. Rev Canon Eileen Davies and Bishop Wyn (now retired) agreed that some kind of help had to be offered and Eileen was tasked with setting up Tir Dewi with a helpline, a listening service and a signposting service. Generous funding came from The Church in Wales and The Prince of Wales Countryside Fund. The service was originally launched in the summer of 2015 and since then has helped around 50 farmers and their families who were, in one way or another, at a crisis point. The main focus is on three counties – Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

The charity has a strong network of experts across the diverse facets of farming who can act as advocates, offer communication support and attend meetings with suppliers, customers, banks, finance companies or advisers. Tir Dewi aims to help identify the best way forward and advice and support to take the right steps to get there.

Côr Cardi-Gân meets every Wednesday in ‘Y Gwndwn’ on the Theatr Felinfach campus at 7:45 pm. New members are always welcome and there is no better time to join than the present.

On Wednesday, 9 October at 7:30pm a meeting will be held at Felinfach Hall to see how much interest there is in creating an adult Mixed Choir for competing in the Ceredigion 2020 Eisteddfod. Many of the choir members are keen to establish a larger choir in the Aeron Valley and the wider area to compete in the Entertainment Choir competition. Calling individuals, groups, and established choirs. No experience is needed, just energy and enthusiasm, so come and join us.

The Cardi-Gân Choir 20th Birthday Celebration Concert will be held with Tra Bo Dau on Saturday, 28 September at 7:30 pm. Contact the Box Office to add your name to the waiting list on 01570 470697.

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Elin Jones backs calls for business rates holiday extension for independent businesses

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CEREDIGION’S Member of the Senedd, Elin Jones, has backed calls by the British Independent Retail Association for the extension of the current rates holiday for non-essential businesses in 2021/22.

Many local independent businesses have been closed for the best part of a year, and many will be in a more precarious situation now than when the initial rates holiday was announced last year. Many businesses will be looking forward to the easing of restrictions over the next few months, but Elin Jones warned that many would benefit from the continued business rates holiday.

Elin Jones said:

“Every effort must be made to secure the future of independent businesses in Ceredigion. They are such an important feature of life in Ceredigion, both as employers, and as a draw for people to our towns and villages.

“Normal trading will eventually resume, and these businesses will be able to flourish again, but local businesses owners know that this cannot be rushed. Therefore we must continue to sustain our businesses until they are once again back on an even keel.

“It will take a while for footfall to resume, and extending the business rates holiday is one way to help in this time of need.”

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MP makes Budget case for support for self-employed and small businesses in Ceredigion

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BEN LAKE MP has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the government’s financial support package for businesses and self-employed workers in next week’s Budget as many struggle to stay afloat during continued lockdown restrictions. 

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak is to set out the UK Government’s budget on Wednesday 3 March, almost a year since the last Budget on 11 March 2020. 

To help businesses and our local high streets over coming months, the Ceredigion MP has called on the Chancellor to extend the lowered rate of VAT at 5% for hospitality and tourism for a year to March 2022 and to extend the business rates relief package. 

Mr Lake also called on the Chancellor to retain the furlough scheme for the duration of pandemic restrictions, as recent figures show more than 178,000* in Wales are still receiving government help from the CJRS. He also urged the Chancellor to expand the existing eligibility criteria for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme in order to offer some help to the many individuals who have not received a penny in Government support thus far. 

Ben Lake MP said: “For many businesses and self-employed workers, the financial support government has offered over the last 12 months has been a lifeline. Now, as we are finally starting to see light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, we cannot remove this lifeline prematurely. Extending this help for a little longer, and expanding the criteria to help those that have been excluded thus far, would offer small businesses the support they require to ‘bounce back’ from the pandemic.” 

Many businesses who are still not open due to lockdown measures are also now expected to start repaying their Bounce Back Loans. This is despite their situation largely remaining unchanged since they took out the loan, or in some unfortunate instances, worsened as they have not yet been able to trade.  

UKHospitality has estimated that the hospitality sector lost around £72 billion in sales in 2020 and faces, frankly, a debt mountain, including £4.2 billion in state-backed loans.  

Mr Lake said:  “It is important that businesses that took out bounce back loans and CBILS are required to pay only when they are in a position to do so – once they have ‘bounced back’ from the pandemic. Affording such a level of flexibility, and thus preventing avoidable business failures, would protect jobs, the taxpayer’s investment in the recovery, and the integrity of our financial system.

“We remain in the early stages of a vaccine-led recovery, and it is likely that we will have some form of restrictions for many months to come. Having done so much to protect the economy and the workforce, we must not withdraw support prematurely, as to do so would risk throwing away the investment taxpayers have made in the last year, and potentially our economic recovery.” 

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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