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Track gets £25k stand

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C A R M A R T H E N S H I R E ATHLETICS TRACK has a new refurbished stand that cost in the region of £25,000.

Carmarthenshire Council, Carmarthen Harriers Athletics Club, Queen Elizabeth High School and local businessman Ron Mounsey joined together to fund the stands.

Two years ago there were fears that youngsters would leave the county to seek better training facilities as the old stand deteriorated.

The new stand features a new roof canopy, floorboards, signage, new seating and a disabled spectator area.

Carmarthen Harriers Club Chairman, Hedydd Davies said the facility would benefit community clubs, schools and attract international events.

He said: “We’re thrilled to be able to have this facility and everyone who makes use of the track whether for training or spectator purposes will benefit.”

The ground hosts 20 international athletic events annually and schools from Ceredigionshire and Pembrokeshire also use the area for events. Thousands of athletes use the facility.

The council’s senior sports and leisure manager said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership to reinstate the spectator stand at Carmarthen Leisure Centre. The day it was condemned was a sad day for us and the club, and we are so pleased to have overcome a host of barriers to create a significantly upgraded venue.”

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Milestone reached at Yr Egin

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THE CONSTRUCTION of Yr Egin – the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s new digital and media centre – reached a milestone on September 18 with a ‘topping out’ ceremony held on the site in Carmarthen.

The practice of ‘topping out’ is a tradition in the construction industry and celebrates a significant point in the construction phase when the building reaches its highest point.

During the ceremony held at the top of the building, Professor Medwin Hughes DL, UWTSD’s Vice Chancellor was joined by key partners in this exciting initiative including Ian Jones, S4C Chief Executive; Steve Nicholls from Kier Group; Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader and Mark James, Chief Executive of Carmarthenshire County Council; as well as representation from the Welsh Government, which has provided £3million funding towards the new centre.

“Today is a very important milestone in the construction of the Yr Egin development,” said Professor Hughes. “The building has reached its highest point and clearly indicates the realisation of the University’s exciting and bold vision to develop a creative and digital cluster that will greatly benefit the county, the region and the creative industries across Wales.

“Co-locating a range of creative, digital and cultural practitioners within the same building – with S4C at its core as the main anchor tenant – will create opportunities, encourage innovation and enable job creation in this key priority sector.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is an ambitious and transformational development that will be home to S4C’s main headquarters as well as a number of companies and organisations working with the creative and digital industries.

S4C Chief Executive Ian Jones said: “With just over a year to go until we relocate our headquarters to Canolfan S4C Yr Egin today is a significant milestone.

“Seeing Yr Egin take shape underlines our commitment to ensuring that S4C will have offices in three locations across Wales by the end of 2018.

“Our internal preparations for the move to Carmarthen are well underway and we look forward to the prospect of creating numerous employment opportunities from the first quarter of 2018 onwards.”

The design of the 3,700 square metre building has already received the support of the Design Commission for Wales with the internal layout of the building focused around a public foyer and atrium that overarches the three floors. There will be a specific focus on the broadcasting and performance on the ground floor, with a range of offices for S4C and other partners on the other two floors. The University will also create new enterprise incubation units, offering access to opportunities, facilities, events and industry networks.

Regional construction company Kier Group Plc are the main contractors for Canolfan S4C yr Egin and are responsible for managing the construction of the new centre. The company’s Operations Director, Jason Taylor praised the project team for the hard work and progress they had made: “It has been a real pleasure to meet the university staff, the anchor tenant S4C and local councillors today to show them around the site. The project is gathering momentum and taking shape allowing us all to visualise the flagship Yr Egin building with its surrounding featured landscapes.

“Collaborative working relationships is a core part of the success of this project and a shared ethos between UWTSD, S4C and Kier. Throughout the construction process we have been working hard with our local supply chain partners to provide employment and up skilling opportunities. The project is also being utilised as a learning initiative for local schools and colleges.

“I would like to personally thank our site team for their efforts to ensure that the roof was complete for this ‘topping out’ celebration which enables them to progress internal works heading for completion. Kier are very proud to be part of this project and we look forward to seeing the completion of this creative Welsh digital hub in 2018.”

Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates said: “Once complete this new facility will help to deliver the infrastructure needed to support the University’s vision of a cluster of creative businesses in Carmarthen. This in turn will help to inject new life into the local economy, bring additional and high quality jobs to Carmarthen and enhance Wales’ growing reputation as an enabler of talent, imagination and productivity. It also supports our wider commitment to promoting Welsh as a living and vibrant language and will help cement links between academia and creative businesses.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin is a development that will transform and shape the creative and digital industries in South West Wales and beyond. It will also be a centre that will be at the heart of the community providing opportunities for local people to enjoy the building and its resources – a cafe, auditorium and performance stages.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “From winning the S4C contract to securing the City Deal investment, the Yr Egin development is well on track and we’re excited to be part of the journey.

“This is a fantastic development for the whole of the Swansea Bay City Region, especially so in Carmarthenshire, with the creation of exciting new jobs in the creative sector that I’m sure will act as a catalyst for further opportunities.”

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin’s design team is a partnership between the Rural Office for Architecture (ROA), a company based in Newcastle Emlyn, and BDP (Building Design Partnership), an international company of architects, engineers and designers, with local architect, Niall Maxwell leading on the project.
The building will be complete by next summer.

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Four friends, three mountains and one smashed target

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Left to right: Kate Williams, Lizzie Dykes, Nicola Morgan, Kate Morgan, Rhydian Morgan

FOUR FRIENDS recently completed the Tŷ Hafan’s Welsh3Peaks challenge, smashing their fund raising target of £1,000 in the process.

On Saturday, June 17, in the baking heatwave, Kate Morgan, Nicola Morgan, Kate Williams and Lizzie Dykes from the Llangrannog and New Quay areas climbed three of the highest mountains in Wales in one day; Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen-y-Fan, a backbreaking 20.35 miles with an ascent of 9,397ft (2,864m).

The team had set themselves an ambitious target of £1,000 but have since exceeded that target and they are now close to raising a £3,000 for Tŷ Hafan, one of the UK’s leading paediatric palliative care charities which offers care to children and support for their families, throughout Wales.

Beginning in the dark at 4am at the bottom of Snowdon with the other 70 teams taking part, they tentatively set out on what would be a very long, hot and gruelling day. Despite the testing conditions, the team finished in a laudable time of 17 hours.

Kate thanks everyone for their support: “We would like to say a big thank you to everyone one who has donated towards this worthy cause and supported us. It definitely spurred us up and down the mountains and made us think of families less fortunate than us.

“So far we have smashed our original target of £1,000 and money is still coming in, for which we are very grateful. We would love to now reach £3,000 which would allow Tŷ Hafan to do even more amazing work for families less fortunate than us.”

Talking about the challenge itself Kate explains: “Being novice mountain climbers, the biggest shock was trying to come down the mountains and not up. Our legs, knees, calves ached and were in pain right from the start of turning around and coming down Snowdon, well I was.”

Nicola added: “The heat was also a factor as well as the inclines so we took it slow and steady so we were able to complete the challenge. However, with the glorious weather we had some amazing views and watching the sun rise coming down from Snowdon was beautiful.”

They all agreed that they now have a huge sense of achievement, relief and sore legs but with the little sleep they had completed the challenge armed with nerves, excitement and adrenaline which had kept them going.

Lizzie ended by saying: “We would also like to say a big thanks to Rhydian, our fifth team member as without him it would not have been possible. He was a true star and had bacon rolls and tea and coffee ready after each mountain. He was a life saver.”

If you would like to donate towards this challenge there is still time: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/WalkingWendys

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A future for the implementation of Council Tax premiums

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A DECISION has been made on the nature of implementation of raising council tax premiums on second homes and long term empty homes.

The decision to raise a 25% council tax premium on second homes and long term empty homes was made in March 2016; the recent decision decides how the added revenue from the premiums will be used.

It was decided in the full Council meeting on 16 March 2017 that the money raised from council tax premiums will be distributed after a period of three years, and the Council would continue to have dialouge with town and community councils with regards to the distribution of money.

Ceredigion County Council’s Deputy Chief Excecutive, Eifion Evans said: “The raising of council tax premiums on some properties is intended to raise money to be put to use for the benefit of the local communities of Ceredigion. This mode of implentation allows for a fund to be built over three years, and then for town and community councils to apply for money to support projects within their locality. However these projects must be compliant with Welsh Government guidence.”

Access to funds raised through the premium will be decided on a project basis, where applications will be made by town and community councils to achieve a specific aim. Guidelines will be put in place with regards to the use of the money raised and early notification will be given to town and community councils to allow work to begin preparing applications before the end of the third year.

The Council also decided a task and finish group is to be established to consider implementation of the council tax premium.

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