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Community’s alternative plea to keep library open

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‘Not the ideal approach’: Cuts in the council’s budget cause Llandysul Library Supporters’ Group to come up with a middle-ground solution

‘Not the ideal approach’: Cuts in the council’s budget cause Llandysul
Library Supporters’ Group to come up with a middle-ground solution

IN A BID to keep Ceredigion libraries open, the Llandysul Library Supporters’ Group have introduced a proposal that they hope will aid in retaining an equitable library service across the county.

After implementing a new round of budget cuts, in November 2015 Ceredigion County Council announced that financial restraints in the library service would mean that Llandysul Library would be closed, saving the council an estimated £42,000 a year.

Also mentioned in the announcement was that Cardigan Library would be moving to a smaller premises and one library van would be removed from the service.

A public meeting was held in Llandysul, in which Councillor Dafydd Edwards told the community that they could run Llandysul Library with volunteers, but to keep the library in the same place, they would need to raise around £15,000 – £20,000 per annum to cover costs.

The community who live in and around rural Llandysul deemed this idea as unacceptable, due to the fact that residents are already raising funds as part of a community-led initiative to keep Cymdeithas Chwaraeon and their swimming pool running.

Numerous protests were held outside the Council Offices at Penmorfa, Aberaeron and a petition with over 500 signatures was handed to Council Leader Ellen ap Gwynn.

The supporters’ group’s ‘Equitable Proposal’ is based on the authority’s own costings for the County Library Service and is aimed to help Ceredigion County Council cut costs of 17% from the current library service budget while still maintaining a similar level of service.

The group found that similar plans are being used all around the country to preserve the dwindling library services.

At the beginning of March, the group sent their proposal to relevant members of the Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee, as well as to AM Elin Jones, MP Mark Williams and Llandysul Community Council.

It is hoped that the plan, which involves volunteers working with qualified library staff in every library in the county, will be discussed at one of the next upcoming committee meetings.

The proposal puts forward the idea that everyone in the county should have the opportunity to do their part in helping to keep all the libraries in Ceredigion open.

It continues, stating that to help stay in budget, there would need to be only slightly more staff redundancies than the council first proposed. Since two thirds of the budget is in staffing costs, unfortunately any proposal will result in much the same cuts to staffing.

Like County Councillors, Llandysul Library Supporters’ Group do not want to see library workers becoming redundant due to the cut-backs, but neither do they want their community to lose its library and the expertise of its librarian.

The community’s plan is based around the Public Libraries and Museums Act of 1964, in which it states that the council must play their part in maintaining the “comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons in the area that want to make use of it”

The proposal states that when things improve within the county of Ceredigion that the library budget can then be increased, seeing more staff being hired and volunteers taking more of a back seat.

Lesley Parker from the Llandysul Library Supporters’ Group said: “We expect that the Scrutiny Committee will discuss our proposal as it not only keeps Llandysul Library open but all the remaining libraries in Ceredigion open too. Maybe Tregaron Library could reopen.

“We are not saying that this is the ideal approach, but it is the best compromise in these difficult financial times.”

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Community

Ceredigion Museum’s digital storytelling celebrates LGBTQ+ history month

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February marks LGBTQ+ History month and Ceredigion Museum has been working with local organisation Aberration to unveil and record fascinating and untold stories of Aberystwyth.

These stories form part of the museum’s ‘It Happened in Aber’ project, which will allow people to listen to the untold stories that have shaped Aberystwyth.

This project was made possible thanks to the ’15-minute heritage’ funding, a partnership between The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.

Carrie Canham, museum curator, said: “For too long the LGBTQ+ community has been marginalised, or even completely concealed, in history. Ceredigion Museum is keen to share the stories that have lurked in the shadows, to celebrate the diversity and rich LGBTQ+ heritage of Aberystwyth with pride.”

The LGBTQ+ stories researched and recorded with by Jane Hoy, of Aberration, include historic and modern-day characters from the town, including famous academics, poets, mariners, dancers and a spy!

“We are delighted to be working so closely with Ceredigion Museum contributing to ‘queering up’ the museum with lively local stories and events,” Jane.

Aberystwyth has certainly played its part in developing the LGBTQ+ community in West Wales and Sarah and Rosie, founders of Aberystwyth’s ‘Wrecked’ nightclub for women, have documented their fond memories of their venue in the town: “It became a fun and safe haven for lesbians who travelled there from all corners of the county”.

Ceredigion Museum staff and volunteers will be continuing to document stories linked to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as stories linked to specific locations in the town, until April.

From May onwards, The ‘It Happened in Aber’ stories will be available to enjoy in podcast format on the museum’s website as well as forming a digital walking tour of the town, allowing people to listen and enjoy the stories whilst walking around the locations in Aberystwyth.

Councillor Catherine Hughes said: “It’s fantastic that Ceredigion Museum is providing us with an opportunity to enjoy the history and the important contribution of the LGBTQ+ community in Aberystwyth. This is such an important project to document our local heritage. We look forward to listening to all the stories.”

If you can’t wait until the summer, join this years’ virtual Aberration – Between the Lines event on Friday, February 26 from 7pm, when the ladies of ‘Wrecked’ will be sharing some of their stories!

For further information or to share your untold story, contact Sarah Morton, Ceredigion Museum’s sustainability officer, at Sarah.Morton@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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Aberaeron takeaway closed for ignoring coronavirus restrictions

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A Premises Closure Notice has been issued to Paradise Pizza, Regent Street, Aberaeron due to repeated non-compliance with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No.5) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

The business was issued with a premises improvement notice on 15th January 2021. It was required to take reasonable measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including the need to ensure that staff use personal protective equipment and face coverings. However, officers have since witnessed staff failing to wear face coverings on multiple occasions in contravention of their advice.

Monitoring inspections have shown that the majority of Ceredigion‘s retail premises are complying with the restrictions placed on them during the pandemic. Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection team will continue to take action against businesses who fail to comply with the coronavirus restrictions. Whilst non-compliant businesses will usually receive advice and guidance, serious or persistent breaches will be dealt with by means of closure powers, fixed penalty notices or prosecution.

This takeaway must remain closed for 28 days, or until Public Protection officers are satisfied that the alleged non-compliance has been addressed.

Premises improvement and closure notices are required to be published by law.

The full closure notice can be found on Ceredigion County Council’s website, under Improvement and Closure Notices: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-improvement-closure-and-direction-notices/

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Community

Directory of services launched by Ceredigion’s Carers Unit as part of Carers Rights Day

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WHETHER you are a new carer or have been caring for someone for a while, it’s important that you understand your rights and you’re able to access the support that is available to you as soon as you need it. Wherever you are in your caring journey.

It is more important than ever that Carers look after their own health and wellbeing as well as the people they care for. This year for Carers Rights Day, Ceredigion Carers Unit and our partners wanted to ensure Carers have the information and the knowledge that they need at their fingertips, so they can feel confident asking for what they need.

Ceredigion Carers Unit and partners have brought together a Bumper Edition of the Winter Carers Magazine. It’s a ‘Carers Rights Day Directory of services’ bursting with useful information and advice on your rights, including, where to get help and support in West Wales.

There is also a free Carers programme of talks & short training sessions online (also with access by telephone). This programme runs right through until end of March 2021.

Being a carer can take its toll on your wellbeing. Following a recent Carers UK survey, 78% of Carers in Wales said that they have been unable to take any, or a sufficient, breaks from their caring role since the outbreak of COVID-19. As a result of this, surveyed Carers also reported that their health and wellbeing had been affected, with 66% reporting that their mental health had worsened due to the pandemic.

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Carers Champion for Ceredigion County Council, said: “The magazine and the programme of talks & short courses appeals to a huge variety of unpaid Carers. There is something in there for parent Carers, dementia Carers, young Carers, those caring for someone affected by mental health or substance misuse issues and everything in between. And relevant to those caring for people of all ages. If you know of anyone with caring responsibilities who would benefit from this magazine or the free advice sessions, please pass it on.”

Catherine Moyle, Carers Support and Development Officer, Ceredigion County Council, Carers Unit said: “A warm welcome is extended to all unpaid Carers in the county and those that you care for. These are challenging times. Reaching out for support when you need it is a form of self-care and it boosts your resilience. It takes a strong person to carry on caring – it takes a stronger, more resilient person to reach out to others.”

The programme of online sessions and the magazine are available on Ceredigion County Council’s website here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/social-care-wellbeing/support-for-carers/carers-rights-day-2020/ and on their Facebook pages @CeredigionCC under events.

If you would prefer to request a printed copy of the magazine or would like any further information, please get in touch with the Ceredigion Carers Unit on 01970 633564 or e-mail carersunit@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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