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Vineyards raise a glass for Welsh Wine Week

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Welsh Vineyard Association prepare for Welsh Wine Week: There has been a surge in popularity of Welsh wine both locally and internationally

AT THE END of the month, vineyards across Wales will be raising a glass of wine to celebrate Welsh Wine Week, which is taking place between Saturday (May 28) and Sunday June 5.

The worldwide reputation of Welsh vineyards is flourishing, with many becoming considerably more renowned for their wine-producing excellence.

There are currently 17 vineyards in Wales, 13 of which are members of the Welsh Vineyard Association (WVA).

The newest addition to Wales’ vineyards is the Gwinllan Conwy in North Viniculture in Wales in which business is ‘booming’.

Robb Merchant, Owner of the White Castle Vineyard in Abergavenny and newly instated Chairman of the WVA, planted his first vines with his wife Nicola in 2009. He said he was amazed at how his new enterprise has taken off in the past seven years.

Robb said: “We harvested our first grapes in 2011 and, so far, the business has far exceeded anything we anticipated.

“There are now vineyards right across Wales, from north to south to east to west, and many offer tours and tasting during the year. We hope Welsh Wine Week will encourage more people to visit them.

“Traditionally, Wales may not have been viewed as a wineproducing country, but the past 15 years or so have seen huge strides in the quality and quantity.

“I’m sure visitors will be surprised by the variety of flavours produced in Wales – there is a flavour for everyone.

“We are also looking forward to working with the National Eisteddfod when it comes to Abergavenny in August.”

Robb and Nicola also say that they are looking forward to welcoming visitors to their vineyard for Welsh Wine Week and, like many other WVA members, they will be offering special tours, tastings and offers.

Welsh wine is enjoying a fruitful time, with a surge in success both at home and on the international scene.

A number of wines have successfully competed with their continental counterparts on the global stage, such as Ancre Hill Estates whose 2008 vintage was voted best sparkling wine in the world at the Bollicine del Mondo International Competition in Italy in 2012.

Along with increasing critical appreciation and commercial success, interest in producing wine in Wales is growing too with a number of new vineyards being planted in recent years.

The last decade has seen a growth in the number of vineyards in Wales and a surge in production. Welsh vineyards now produce around 100,000 bottles of wine each year, and a number of vineyards are currently expanding in acreage and planting new vines.

Among them are Llaethliw near Aberaeron, where owners Richard and Siw Evans have planted an additional eight and a half acres, and biodynamic producer Ancre Hill has added a further 11 acres.

Also after a period of dormancy, Bryn Ceiliog Vineyard at Leckwith in the Vale of Glamorgan will be back in production this year.

While Tintern-based vineyard, Parva Farm will be supplying Marks and Spencer again this year with its Tintern Parva Bacchus 2014 dry white wine.

Wales will further cement its position as a burgeoning wine producing region when it hosts the UK wine industry’s annual national awards – the English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition.

The judging will take place at Llanerch Vineyard next month between Wednesday June 22 and Friday June 24. This will mark the first time the competition has been held in Wales.

“Welsh wine really is among the best in the world,” Robb concluded, “It is an exciting time for Welsh vineyards, and we hope Welsh Wine Week will help bring our wines to the attention of an even wider audience.”

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Community

A reminder to residents and visitors as the number of Delta cases increase

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CEREDIGION is starting to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Ceredigion and across Wales over recent days. The Delta variant has been detected in Ceredigion; a different variant which causes a wider range symptoms than previously, the Council has said.

We are becoming increasingly concerned about this increase; the current rate per 100 thousand of the population is 33 and this is likely to increase further over the coming days. This is a significant rise, considering at the beginning of June the rate per 100 thousand of the population was as low as 2.8 per 100 thousand.

The new variant of COVID-19 is in all parts of Wales. It spreads faster and we need to be more vigilant and ensure that we follow the most recent guidelines which are as follows:

·       Only members of your extended household can enter your home.

·       Face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that are open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), and on public transport and in taxis.

·       People should try and work from home if they can.

·       People should maintain social distancing, including outdoors, and don’t mix with too many different groups of people.

·       People should wash their hands regularly and follow other advice on hygiene.

·       People must self-isolate when told to do so by NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect or as soon as you develop symptoms

·       Book a test if you experience any of the symptoms.

Symptoms of the Delta variant of coronavirus include a headache, followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever. We are urging people who feel unwell with ANY of these symptoms to book a test, be extra cautious, social distance, and maintain good hand hygiene.

As everybody is making the most of a summer with more relaxed restrictions than at the start of the year, it’s still vital for everyone to remember we’re still battling this virus and trying to prevent the threat of a third wave. Limiting your contacts is essential for keeping the infection rate down and it’s how we will ultimately protect each and every one of us.

In Ceredigion, over 68% have received the first vaccine and over 44% have now received the second vaccine. A first dose of the vaccine is now available to everyone over 18. The second vaccine significantly improves your immunity, so it is important that you get your second dose to complete your course of vaccinations.

Getting both vaccine doses and following COVID-19 guidelines will protect us all against the new variant. Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDdUHB) are now running walk-in clinics for first and second dose vaccination from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 June. More information on the HDdUHB website.

Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.

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Community

Youth Work Week – Support for young people from a flexible and devoted team

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THIS YEAR Youth Work Week is from 23 to 30 June. It is an opportunity to celebrate the positive stories and successes from the last 12 months – highlighting the innovation, resilience and resourcefulness that the sector has shown during an exceptionally difficult year.

Ceredigion Youth Service have utilised their provision since the beginning of the pandemic to offer digital spaces and opportunities for young people to socialise, receive education and take part in online activities and workshops.

During Youth Work Week, the Youth Work Sector will be highlighting their success stories on social media and recognising the contribution that all those working in Youth Work Services have made to young people and communities. There will be opportunities for young people to take part in various activities, workshops and competitions to celebrate the week. This year, Youth Work Week is based around the theme ‘Expressive’ where each day of the week there is an opportunity to highlight achievements, say thank you, and increase understanding around youth work – covering youth work services in the broadest sense.

One of our young member’s said: “Through having the support of a Youth Worker during the pandemic it has meant I have had opportunities to receive a phone call or text whenever I want or need, I have been offered to go for a walk if needed and I was offered the oppportunity to go into school several days a week during lockdown. Being able to have these resources at my hands has meant that I have been able to cope emotionally during this lockdown, but also being able to stay on top of school work which also contributes to coping better emotionally”.  

Elen James, Corporate Lead Officer – Porth Cymorth Cynnar said “I have seen first-hand the value and the impact youth work can have on young people’s lives here in Ceredigion. For many young people Youth Work is their lifeline. Youth Work provides young people with a safe space, a doorway to opportunities and prepares them for their future, but most important of all, Youth Work allows young people to be heard, to relax, to have fun, to learn, to socialise, to grow and to develop. Ceredigion Youth service strives to provide young people with experiences and skills, which will last a lifetime”.

For more information about the work of Ceredigion Youth Service, visit their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page @GICeredigionYS or visit their website at www.giceredigionys.co.uk.

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Business

Update for Multi-purpose Community Centres following First Minister announcement

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TODAY, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that multi-purpose community centres including community centres, village halls, church halls and other community facilities can reopen from 03 May. This decision has been brought forward from 17 May.

Welsh Government announced changes during today’s briefing, and the guidance for multi-purpose community venues is being updated to ensure compliance with developments in regulations, including greater emphasis on ventilation. Welsh Government continue to advise authorities that the regulations on social gathering will still prevent a number of activities from taking place at community venues, and only organised activities for up to 15 people will be permitted.

The panel strongly advise you to make every effort to carry out your activity digitally or make contact by phone. If not, consider whether it is possible to hold your activity outdoors, in-line with Welsh Government guidance. Holding your activity indoors should be considered as a last resort. If this is the only option and it’s essential that you meet then please keep the session brief and involve as few people as possible, with all necessary procedures and protocols in place.

Those responsible for community activities should remember to;

  • maintain a social distance of 2 meters.
  • wear a face covering in indoor public spaces.
  • regularly wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer provided.   

A multi-agency panel has been set up to advise and support around the safe and proportionate reopening of facilities in-line with national guidance. The panel has been created under Ceredigion’s Public Services Board Sub Group; Understanding our Communities. Leading on the development of the group is Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations (CAVO) and Ceredigion County Council in partnership with Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police and Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The panel includes representation from Health & Safety, Environmental Health and Community Safety.

The panel encourages anyone responsible for community facilities to seek advice to ensure that arrangements are safe and secure and that compliance is in-line with national guidance. Prior to re-opening any community facility those managing centres must ensure that they are ‘Covid-Free Zones’.

The panel will aim to host another briefing session on April 28 at 13:30 to support those in charge of community venues with the latest developments. If you would like to join the next briefing session, please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cyfleusterau-cymunedol-ceredigion-community-facilities-information-session-tickets-152071456821?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch or get in touch via the contact details below.

The multi-agency panel will continue to support and advise Community Groups and Organisations, and questions or information requests can be submitted to the group which meets on a weekly basis via CAVO on gen@cavo.org.uk or by phone on 01570 423232.

Together, we can keep Ceredigion safe.

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