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First Minister visits Eisteddfod birthplace

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First Minister Carwyn Jones: Enjoying the day’s performances

First Minister Carwyn Jones: Enjoying the day’s performances

CARDIGAN CASTLE, birthplace of the Eisteddfod – Wales’ iconic cultural festival – once again saw its mighty walls filled with the sounds of traditional music and literature, as the Castle played host to a celebratory concert l on Thursday (Jun 25) .

The first concert to be staged on the lawns of the recently opened Castle, Beirdd a Chantorion brought together west Wales’ finest poets and musicians, marking the completion of the 900 year-old site’s new dedicated Eisteddfod exhibition.

Earlier in the day, the Castle’s funders were joined by the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, for their first tour of the site since the £12m restoration project ended in April.

The Castle’s restoration was made possible thanks to a £6.2m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £4.3m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Welsh Government.

Further funding was received through a Communities Asset Transfer grant of nearly £800,000, with support from Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Big Lottery Fund, The UK Association of Preservation Trusts, The Architectural Heritage Fund, Ceredigion County Council, Cardigan Town Council and The Prince’s Regeneration Trust.

Cris Tomos, Castle Director, said: “2015 is truly a year of celebration for Cardigan Castle, and Beirdd a Chantorion was the perfect way to mark the completion of the world’s first dedicated Eisteddfod exhibition and commemorate the rebirth of this amazing sit e.”

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said: “Cardigan Castle is one of Wales’s most iconic castles due to its history, setting and importance to the local community and more widely to Wales. I am delighted that the Welsh Government, through Cadw, has provided support and funding to the Cadwgan Trust on its rewarding journey in restoring and conserving the castle. It is also pleasing that EU funds of over £4 million have helped towards the development of a sustainable heritage attraction and multi-functional cultural, community and learning resource which will attract visitors, create jobs and bring wider economic benefit to the town and surrounding area. I wish Cardigan Castle and all those associated with it every success for the future.”

Ted Sangster, Interim Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Wales, said: “We’re thrilled to finally see this historic Welsh building opening its doors to the public once again, marking a new chapter in its colourful history.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we have supported this project as part of our ongoing investment in heritage based tourism for the benefit of local people and Wales’ economy. This project really demonstrates the value of investing in heritage and provides an opportunity for us all to find out more about our Welsh heritage, creates new opportunities for people to volunteer and learn new skills and at the same time, brings investment into the local economy. We are thrilled to see years of hard work come to fruition.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust (PRT), added: “We are delighted that Cardigan Castle is finally opening its doors to the public following a successful restoration that has been more than 15 years in the mak ing.

“This has been one of Wales’ most important heritage regeneration projects and we feel very privileged that we played a part in helping it to bring it to fruition.

“PRT has worked with Ceredigion County Council and the Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust on the project since 2004. We contributed very significant support which has helped deliver their vision of the Castle becoming a major visitor destination that could transform the town’s economy.

“The Castle opened in April, and we are thrilled that this ambition is well on its way to becoming a reality.”

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Community

RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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Success for Dyfed-Powys Police in targeting drugs suppliers in Ceredigion

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A drugs supplier in the Ceredigion area has been sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in prison.

Kylie Mason, 34, from Aberaeron, was arrested on the 28th October 2019, and later charged with 2 offences of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug and two offences of supply a controlled drug of Class A. She pleaded guilty at court and received a total sentence of two years and two months in prison on the 8th January.

Detective Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This is an excellent result for the Aberaeron community, who had raised concerns about this individual supplying drugs in the area. I hope this will serve as a warning to others who wish to bring drugs into the Ceredigion area that it will not be tolerated. This result will go a long way towards keeping our communities safe. If anyone is worried about drugs in their community I would urge them to contact police as we will take the appropriate action.”

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