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Castell Aberteifi trustee announces resignation – again

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‘Remarkable’: Glen Johnson quits Castell Aberteifi trustee board

‘Remarkable’: Glen Johnson quits Castell Aberteifi trustee board

A PRESS RELEASE issued by Equinox PR, the media agency responsible for Cardigan Castle’s public relations, has announced the resignation of historian Glen Johnson from his role at the controversial development.

The statement reads: ‘Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust (CBPT) trustee, Glen Johnson, has today (August 17) handed in his resignation, following months of online harassment from a local opposition group’.

A quote in the same statement attributed to Mr Johnson reads: “The main reason for my resignation is to protect my family from the virtual persecution currently being dealt out by a small number of individuals who have taken exception to the Castle and its trustees because the project is not precisely as they would like it.

However, on July 3, on his Facebook page Mr Johnson announced: ‘Ten years ago I quit all 16 committees which I sat on, and told myself not to join any more. In the last three years I have gone back on this decision and have sat on another 4 committees. I’m now clearly remembering why it was that I quit in the first place. It might soon be time to hang up my hat again’.

The timing of that announcement coincided with the suspension of former director Cris Tomos and the visit of Carwyn Jones to the Castle. Mr Tomos and his employers have subsequently entered into a compromise agreement incorporating a gagging clause.

That post was followed up on July 22 by a further announcement on Facebook: ‘Quit my membership of all committees today bar one – will bow at the AGM in the autumn. It will be such a relief to return to obscurity!’

Jann Tucker, Chair of CBPT, the charity responsible for restoring Castell Aberteifi, said: “It is with great sadness that we confirm the resignation of Glen Johnson from the board of trustees.

“Glen’s remarkable knowledge of the Castle and the history of Cardigan has played a huge part in making the site what it is today and we are pleased that he will continue to support us in the capacity of a volunteer – a role he first took up 30 years ago.

“On behalf of all the trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Glen publicly for his tireless work and wish him well for the future.”

Mr Johnson said: “It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to have seen the Castle advance from a building site to a wonderful amenity for the local community that will attract large numbers of visitors to the area, and to have played a role in that transition.

“I started out as a Cardigan Castle volunteer back in the 1980s, and over these many years, have had the privilege to meet and work alongside the most remarkable, talented, dedicated and extraordinary people.

“It will be my honour to return to join their number, where I intend to continue to train tour guides, give tours, prepare exhibitions, give lectures and write articles, all to promote the rich heritage of Cardigan Castle.”

Three weeks ago, The Herald invited Chair of Trustees Jann Tucker to respond to criticism of the Castle project through an interview with this newspaper. That followed our publication of a letter bearing Ms Tucker’s name but sent from Facilities Manager Sue Lewis’s email address.

Our invitation received neither the courtesy of an acknowledgement nor a response.

A report on Golwg360, the Welsh language news website, also suggested that the trustees were eager to meet with those with concerns about the direction the Castle project had taken.

After that Equinox contacted our columnist and commentator Hefin Wyn immediately after the publication of an article in Golwg several weeks ago to propose a meeting a couple of days later, with only minor players from the castle involved. Hefin replied that the notice was too short, and he made it clear that he expected to meet the senior trustees.

All went quiet.

Equinox got back in touch a couple of days ago proposing a meeting with “some of the trustees” (no names) in private and before the middle of September, i.e. before the AGM.

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Royals set to visit Ceredigion during summer visit

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AS PART of their annual summer visit to Wales, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will be visiting Ceredigion next month.

From July 2-6, Charles and Camilla will tour the country, undertaking over 20 engagements across the country.

On July 3, The Prince of Wales will visit Dà Mhìle Distillery, Llandysul, the first organic distillery in the UK approved by the Soil Association, where he was previously gifted the thousandth bottle to be produced by Dà Mhìle.

The Prince of Wales will also visit St. Gwenog’s Church, Llanwenog, and view their unique carvings created by Joseph Reubens, a Belgian World War One refugee. His Royal Highness will also meet members of their local community.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s fourteenth annual Summer visit to Wales will feature celebrations to mark the 70th Anniversary of The National Health Service and the marking the 150th anniversary of the Heart of Wales railway line amongst other events.

A Clarence House spokesperson said: “The Prince and The Duchess are really looking forward to their annual summer visit to Wales where they will be celebrating key anniversaries for the National Health Service, the Heart of Wales railway line and the 90th anniversary of Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisation. Their Royal Highnesses relish the opportunity to meet members of the community who are making a difference to Welsh life.”

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Social media used to groom children young as six

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CHILDREN as young as six in Wales have been targeted across an array of online platforms in the first year following the introduction of anti-grooming laws.

A law of Sexual Communication with a Child came into effect in England and Wales on April 3, 2017, after an NSPCC campaign, and in the first year a total of 3,171 crimes were recorded by police forces – amounting to nine grooming offences per day.

A total of 274 offences were recorded across the four Welsh police forces in the same period.

More than half of the offences in Wales were logged by South Wales Police (158) with 53 in North Wales and 44 in the Gwent force area.

Dyfed-Powys Police supplied data for the period between October 2017 and April 2018 when 19 offences were recorded.

In Wales, grooming offences were recorded on 23 different platforms, with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat comprising the top three most-commonly used with more than 120 taking place using those platforms alone.

Ninety-one crimes were reported in Wales against boys and girls aged between 12 and 15, while 56 offences were recorded against children aged 11 and under. The youngest victim recorded was just six years old.

Following the NSPCC’s #WildWestWeb campaign, the UK Government’s digital secretary Matt Hancock announced that laws will be brought in to regulate social networks, to keep children safe and prevent harms such as grooming.

The charity is now campaigning to ensure those laws are sufficiently robust to prevent grooming and to truly keep children safe.

It is calling on Government Create mandatory safety rules that social networks are legally required to follow; Establish an independent regulator to enforce safety laws and fine non-compliant sites; Require social media sites to publish annual safety reports; Force platforms to develop technology to detect grooming using algorithms.

It comes ahead of the charity’s annual flagship conference How Safe Are Our Children? which begins on Wednesday June 20 in London and has the theme Growing Up Online.

Contact offences such as rape and sexual assault were among those recorded in connection with grooming offences.

Mared Parry, from North Wales, was sent sexual messages from men 10 years older than her on Facebook when she was aged just 14.

Mared, who has waived her right to anonymity, was groomed to send semi-naked pictures to them.

She said: “At the beginning it was messages like ‘Hey, how are you?’ But as the weeks went on, they started sending messages that were more and more sexual. It was so subtle; that’s why it is so easy for an online chat to slip into being so wrong.

“If I didn’t reply or speak the way they wanted me to, then they would say: ‘You’re just too immature for me’. They were so manipulative, but you don’t even notice it.

“Looking back at it now, it’s scary to think that I sent semi-naked pictures to older guys. It could have gone a lot further.”

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “These numbers are far higher than we had predicted, and every single sexual message from an adult to a child can have a huge impact for years to come.

“Social networks have been self-regulated for a decade and it’s absolutely clear that children have been harmed as a result.

“I urge digital secretary Matt Hancock to follow through on his promise and introduce safety rules backed up in law and enforced by an independent regulator with fining powers.

“Social networks must be forced to design extra protections for children into their platforms, including algorithms to detect grooming to prevent abuse from escalating.”

In Wales, NSPCC Cymru has called for the Welsh Government to co-ordinate and progress efforts to keep children as safe in their online worlds as they are offline.

Last year, Welsh Government announced plans to produce a children and young persons’ online safety action plan.

The NSPCC hopes it will deliver practical help and support for schools, parents and others in Wales involved in child protection online when it is published.

How Safe Are Our Children? takes place at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, in Westminster, London on June 20-21.

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Grant money available to improve play areas in Ceredigion

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CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL has been awarded £100,800 from the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities Development Fund to finance capital works in four play areas across Ceredigion.

On June 19, the Council’s Cabinet authorised the project’s commencement.

The four play areas are Ponterwyd Play Area, Llanon Tennis Courts, Llanddewi Brefi Play Area and Cardigan Skate Park. The money will improve playing and leisure opportunities in these areas.

The full cost of the work is estimated to be £126,000, with the grant contributing 80% of the cost and the town and community councils will provide the remaining 20%.

The Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning, Councillor Catrin Miles, said, “Quality and safe playing opportunities are important to the county’s children as well as for their parents. I’m delighted that the Cabinet could authorise such a project and I’m sure the play areas will be well used after being improved.”

The project may start from July 18, 2018 and must end by April 30, 2019.

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