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.”
Domestic abuse victims in Wales to be given more time to report assaults
DOMESTIC abuse victims in Wales and England to be given more time to report assaults.
New measures targeted directly at keeping women and girls safer will be added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last week (Jan 4) the UK Government has announced.
Under the changes, victims of domestic abuse will be allowed more time to report incidents of common assault or battery against them. Currently, prosecutions must commence within six months of the offence.
Instead, this requirement will be moved to six months from the date the incident is formally reported to the police – with an overall time limit of two years from the offence to bring a prosecution.Domestic abuse is often reported late relative to other crimes; so this will ensure victims have enough time to seek justice and that perpetrators answer for their actions.
The UK Government says that today’s announcement builds on measures already in the Bill to better protect women such as ending the halfway release of offenders sentenced between four and seven years in prison for serious sexual offences – forcing them to spend two-thirds of their time in prison.
In December, the legislation was amended to make clear that a new legal duty requiring public bodies to work together to tackle serious violence can also include domestic abuse and sexual offences.
It means that these crimes should be taken as seriously as knife crime and homicide, with police, government, and health bodies required to collaborate locally, so that they can develop more holistic strategies to protect people from harm, including through early intervention.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “My commitment to making our homes, streets and communities safer for women and girls is clear.”
“Every department in government is working to address and tackle all issues relating to violence against women and girls.”
“The Government has a focussed strategy, dedicated to providing essential support for survivors, the prevention of crimes against women and girls and bringing perpetrators to justice with the full force of the law.”
“Our actions include the new Domestic Abuse Act, with important changes to our laws; a newly created national police lead responsible solely on violence against women and girls, and millions of pounds have been invested in direct safety measures through the Safer Streets Fund.”
“These are all important public confidence measures and changes to ensure the safety of women and girls in public spaces.”
The UK Government has also said that taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be made a specific offence punishable by up to two years in prison.
It covers situations where the motive is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm.
Similar legislation introduced by the UK Government in 2019 that criminalised “up skirting” has led to more than 30 prosecutions since it became law.
Vandalised church passes fundraising target
A FUNDRAISER to rebuild a vandalised church met its goal of £20k within three days.
Eglwys y Grog, which is situated near the cliffs at Mwnt. It is a well known landmark, and is a favourite among photographers.
Clive Davies, a local County Councillor, claims he is “totally blown away” with the donations.
He said the church was targeted on 2 December, and again on 20 December, in “a pointless saddening act.”
“There was nothing of value in the church and it was a senseless act. There was no money there, just a small little church,” he added.
“The church members were getting a lot of requests to donate money and they contacted me to do something coordinated online so I set up a JustGiving page for them.
“It’s been a global response really, three thousand pounds came in overnight. There were messages of support from America, and there was a couple from Australia as well,
“There are a lot of good people out there and it is an amazing start to 2022 for us.”
When the campaign was launched on January 1st, a £20,000 goal was set.
The inside of the church, as well as the leaded church windows and gated entrance, were all damaged.
Mr Davies, who is also a local councillor, claims to have long-standing family ties to the church, which includes plaques honouring his great-grandparents on either side of the altar.
“The local community has been amazing, supporting it and the power of social media made in tenfold,” he said.
“It was like a snowball effect really, local businesses have offered not only financial support but will be part of the restoration work needed now.”
“I’ll be meeting with the church members and the vicar and we’ll start discussing what needs doing, but also we’re going to have to look at safety for the future and what could we do in terms of security,” he added.
He stated that it was critical for the church to remain open while staying safe.
£250 boost to all Ceredigion food banks
PLAID CYMRU Councillors from Ceredigion will donate £250 to each food bank in the county to alleviate pressures over the Christmas period.
The issue of food banks continues on a daily basis in most towns in Wales due to lack of funds and benefits being cut.
Individuals and families are forced to use food banks to make sure they have food for their children and families.
A spokesperson for the Councillors said: “Ceredigion County Council’s Plaid Cymru Group of Councilors is delighted to announce their decision again this year to donate £250.00 each to every food bank in Ceredigion.
“Food banks in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Aberaeron, Llandysul, Lampeter will benefit from this over Christmas.
“Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
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