CANTREF has announced discussions are underway with Wales & West Housing Association over plans to merge.
The news follows Cantref’s announcement last month (March 2016) it had taken the decision to find a suitable partner with which to merge following a review into its operations and governance, undertaken during the last eight months in cooperation with the Welsh Government.
Cantref received information from interested organisations across Wales and rigorously evaluated their submissions, but Wales & West Housing is its preferred partner and due diligence and more detailed discussions are now taking place. Commenting on these discussions, Kevin Taylor, Interim Chair of Cantref says: “We decided that the best way for Cantref to grow and develop, and to continue providing the best service possible to our tenants is to merge with a suitable partner that can complement our business.
“Wales & West Housing is our preferred partner as it has a proven track record particularly around resident satisfaction and resident engagement. It is also committed to preserving Cantref’s ethos of a regional and local focus and recognises the importance of cultural aspects to our business such as the continued use and support of the Welsh language. Importantly, it is also a very well respected organisation that possesses lender and regulatory support.”
Cantref operates throughout Ceredigion, North Pembrokeshire, North Carmarthenshire, and the Machynlleth area in Powys and is seen as a good fit for Wales & West Housing as its Chief Executive, Anne Hinchey explains: “Cantref is a strong organisation that undertakes important work within the geographical locations in which it operates. It is clear that it has a passionate workforce that are committed to the communities they serve and we are very excited by the discussions that are taking place and the potential to come together as one entity. Cantref has the same ethos as Wales & West Housing which is centred on the fact the tenant always comes first and we are hopeful discussions continue to progress in a positive manner.”
It is hoped the current discussions can lead to a successful merger by Autumn this year but in the meantime, Cantref continues to strengthen its operations following the Welsh Government inquiry. Mr Taylor adds: “The service and support we provide our tenants is our number one priority and at the heart of everything we do. We are proud of the results we have delivered over the years but it is crucial that we continue to move forward.
“We currently have an experienced team in place and are excited by the discussions taking place with Wales & West Housing. However, we are not standing still and are continuing to implement changes recommended within the recent review to ensure Cantref is as strong as possible as the merger discussions take shape.”
Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament
A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.
During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.
Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.
Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.
“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.
“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”
While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.
Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list
Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.
He has been awarded a BEM.
Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.
His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.
His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.
He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.
Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’
Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.
Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’
Temporary closure of Minor Injuries Unit in Cardigan confirmed
AS PART of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board says it has temporarily closed the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Cardigan in order to redeploy clinical staff to support the COVID 19 response within Ceredigion.
The MIU, which is based in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and normally operates from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, will temporarily close with immediate effect. The situation will be under constant review and normal service will be resumed when it is safe and appropriate to do so.
In the meantime, minor injuries help and advice is available as follows:
– visit the 111 symptom checker (https://111.wales.nhs.uk/)
– visit your local pharmacy
– call 111
– please do NOT self-present to the GP reception in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre as they do not deal with minor injuries.
– for emergency care the A+E departments are as follows:
· Glangwili Hospital A+E Carmarthen SA32 2AF
· Bronglais Hospital A+E Aberystwyth SY23 1ER
· Withybush Hospital A+E Haverfordwest SA61 2PZ