THE WELSH speaking communities of north Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion were dealt a blow this week as media regulator Ofcom revoked a community licence given to a new radio station.
Radio Beca aimed to provide the Welsh speaking communities of west Wales with a service that was both linguistically and culturally specific to their needs and aspirations.
Peak time broadcasting, both workdays and weekends, was to be predominantly Welsh medium so that the indigenous culture of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and north Pembrokeshire was made prevalent.
The station was committed to the principle of ‘empowering the Welsh speaking communities of the west of Wales and transform the latent energy of the 155,000 disenfranchised Welsh speakers of the west of Wales into a positive energy that would raise communal ambition and enhance self-sustainability.’
The station also planned to train local people of all ‘social, cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds’ in the art of radio broadcasting, which would have provided numerous people with an enhanced skill set and vastly increased prospects of employability.
The station was awarded a community radio licence in May 2012, but failed to launch within the two year window stated by the regulator, after delaying its proposed launch in April 2014.
Elinor Williams from Ofcom told S4C’s Newyddion 9 that two further extensions had been granted since this date, and based on this it had decided to withdraw its license.
The station failed to obtain Welsh government grant funding and there was also uncertainty about a permanent home being found for it, whilst there was also concern Radio Beca had only managed to raise £20,000 when it was required to raise £320,000. This is in spite of the fact that the station has recently submitted a bid for £100,000 in grant funding from the Big Lottery Fund.
Director of the station Euros Lewis was disappointed with the regulators decision and said it had taken three years for the station to be able to “stand on its own to feet”.
Mr Lewis said: “Unfortunately, it’s only during the past few months that Radio Beca has been able to raise money through sponsorship and adverts.
“What’s disappointing is that it’s only now that we have been able to put forward a prospectus that shows that Radio Beca can stand on its own two feet.”
Despite the disappointment it is worth noting that this is not necessarily the end for the fledgling station, as there is opportunity to re-apply for a licence in the future, should they put in place the necessary arrangements.
Council recognised for its work on domestic violence
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has once again been recognised for its work to combat domestic abuse.
It has achieved the White Ribbon UK accredited status for the second time running and departments will continue to work to raise awareness around domestic abuse and to contribute to ending male violence against women.
In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported as being a victim of domestic abuse.
The White Ribbon campaign is a global initiative that encourages people, especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.
Domestic abuse affects both sexes with the largest number of violent incidents involving men against women.
To show its commitment County Hall in Carmarthen will be lit up in purple on White Ribbon Day on November 25 and the White Ribbon flags will be flying in council buildings at Llanelli and Ammanford.
A message will also be printed on staff payslips signposting them to support channels.
Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Communities Partnership, Cllr Ann Davies, said:
“I am pleased that we were again successful in receiving accreditation from the campaign and recognising the work we have done and also plan to do going forward as part of our commitment to ending domestic violence. The figures in the last 12 months are still too high and that is those that have come forward to seek support. The pandemic has seen a significant rise in the number of referrals so it is vital that we do whatever we can to encourage people not to remain silent and speak out and seek support.”
Support and advice for anyone affected by domestic abuse is available by calling Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800.
For local advice you can contact Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service (CarmDAS) on 01267 238 410 who provide support to both men and women 9am-5pm.
More information on the campaign can be found on the White Ribbon website
Let’s get digital – Ceredigital
A NEW section, ‘Ceredigital’ dedicated to digital services, is now available on Ceredigion County Council’s website.
Ceredigital aims to provide clear information upon how digital technology can be used to support business growth, the economy, the quality of life for residents, tourism and the environment.
It covers a range of work and projects that the Council is currently involved with to improve the provision of digital technology across the county.
Information on the following services is included in the new section:
- Digital Skills
- Public Wi-Fi
It also includes information on the creation of a LoRaWAN network that the Council has been creating across the county which will accelerate the ‘Internet of Things’ innovation within the region; an open network used to improve business efficiencies.
Councillor Clive Davies, Digital Champion for Ceredigion County Council said: “Having access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity has quickly become essential for everyone. The last two years have seen more people working from home than ever before, and the only way many of us have kept in contact with friends and family is through online catch-ups. It can be confusing and time consuming when you have connectivity issues and don’t know what support is out there.
“I’m very happy to announce that this new section is available. This resource can assist residents and businesses in finding out how to improve connectivity, funding that is available to do this, brushing up on digital skills, as well as providing details upon fixed and wireless projects that are currently being undertaken with Ceredigion.
With a county-wide LoRaWAN Internet of Things network, the largest in Wales, now is the time to focus on data innovation. This is no longer the gift of large organisations, or so called “Smart Cities”, we have the solid foundations of a rural smart network available right now, that can enable data driven decision making to take place right here in Ceredigion, enabling efficiency savings, and new product offering and opportunities as we recover from COVID-19”.
So, if you or your business is not reaching its digital potential for one reason or other, head over to Ceredigital to see what options are available to you right now.”
The new Ceredigital section can be found here: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/business/ceredigital.
Helping you to make a difference in your community
THE CYNNAL y Cardi Local Action Group is launching a new Grant Fund, as part of the Cynnal y Cardi LEADER scheme, which will support small scale LEADER activity in Ceredigion.
The fund will provide small-scale financial revenue to support pilot projects, feasibility studies, facilitation, networking activities and training and mentoring ideas. Applications are welcomed from organisations in the third, public and private sectors. They must meet the criteria and priorities of the Local Action Group.
The Grant Fund will focus on the following priorities from the Cynnal y Cardi Local Development Strategy:
- supporting activity with the aim of strengthening opportunities for developing Ceredigion’s circular economy
- supporting early intervention for the development of pre-commercial activity with the aim of developing entrepreneurial activity
- strengthening community resilience activity with a focus on the role of Town and Community Councils in supporting and engaging with their communities
- developing opportunities for re-engaging people and reinvigorating community activity following COVID-19 and piloting innovative uses for community facilities
The Cynnal y Cardi LEADER Grant Fund, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council, is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Economy and Regeneration, said: “We understand that COVID-19 has made the past two years a tough time for the county, and in light of the pandemic, the priorities for Ceredigion’s Local Development Strategy have been reviewed in September 2020. This new grant scheme provides opportunities for us to tackle the issues and build on the opportunities following COVID-19 within our communities in order to strengthen our resilience. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The first closing date for submitting your applications is 17 January 2022. Submissions are welcome in Welsh or English. You will need to discuss your ideas with the team. Contact the team by email at email@example.com or visit www.cynnalycardi.org.uk for more information.
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