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Britain says bye to the EU [Updated]

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CEREDIGION JPG

DESPITE the majority of Ceredigion voters marking an ‘X’ in the remain box, it has been revealed that the UK as a whole has decided to leave the EU.

Ceredigion was announced as the first Welsh local authority to vote remain, with 54.6% voting remain and 45.4% voting leave.

With a turnout of 74.4%, 21,711 people from Ceredigion decided that they wanted to remain in the EU while 18,031 contributed to the majority vote.
Mark Williams, Member of Parliament for Ceredigion and Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, stated: “I am deeply disappointed by this result, and I know that this sense of disappointment and worry will also be felt by many people throughout Wales and the UK.

“As a Party, the Welsh Liberal Democrats believe strongly in internationalism, working with our allies to tackle the biggest issues facing our planet such as climate change, and to provide greater opportunities to people in our country. While not perfect, I believe the European Union has been an important part of this aim.

“However, while I am disappointed in the result, we are where we are. The result has stated that the British people do not wish to be a member of the European Union. We must respect that democratic decision but make sure that in our negotiations the people of Wales do not lose out.”

He added: “It is absolutely vital now that the Government sets out a plan of action so that we know the options available to us to help ensure our businesses, our jobs, and our international relationships are not put at further risk in the aftermath of this decision.

“Now is not the time for more Government infighting at the expense of the people of Wales. The Government must give us confidence that Wales will not lose out in our exit from the European Union. Welsh jobs, in our cities and in our rural communities, rely on the support we receive from our membership, and our trade with the continent, and it is vital that the Government gives us assurance that this will continue outside of the European Union.”

Despite his disappointment with the overall result, Mr Williams has praised Ceredigion’s cross-party campaigners on their work for a ‘Remain’ vote in the European Union referendum by saying: “I have been greatly encouraged by the hard work of progressive-minded campaigners from across parties during this referendum campaign. It has been a pleasure to work so closely with people from other political parties and political viewpoints, all working together due to our shared recognition of the importance of our membership of the European Union to Wales.

“While this will be a very disappointing result for all of us who supported a ‘Remain’ vote, and especially for those who worked hard to make our case in Ceredigion, I am truly grateful for the dedicated, progressive, cross-party effort that we put forward.

“Despite the result, I hope that we can continue to work together at this point to ensure that the needs and interests of rural communities like Ceredigion are not ignored during the subsequent exit negotiations.”

Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “I am deeply disappointed in the result but the people have spoken and it is their will that we should leave the European Union.

“The European Union has been good for Carmarthenshire and has helped us build a stronger economy.  We must now forge a new way forward that protects the business interests of the county.

“The leave campaigners promised that our departure from Europe would bring about an end to austerity and release funding for public services.  We must now hold them to their word.”

In response to the result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, Elin Jones, Ceredigion AM said:

“I am personally devastated that Wales and the UK has voted to turn its back on the EU. It could well mean an economic collapse for areas such as Ceredigion so dependent on agricultural and economic support from the EU.

“The implications of such a vote are far-reaching and complex. I am particularly disappointed for our young people, who seem to have voted in far greater numbers for remaining in the EU – they will have to live with the consequences of this decision for far longer than most of us. Our future is now far more uncertain than it was even a week ago.

“The only shining light on a very bleak night for me was the Ceredigion result on the western periphery of Europe. I am proud to represent a county that wanted to see its future in Europe rather than out of it.”

Responding to the completely unexpected Brexit victory in the EU Referendum last Thursday, Dr Felix Aubel, a leading Vote Leave co-ordinator in West Wales, said: “It’s great to be alive. I’m so proud to be British. I’m delighted that Britain will once again become an independent self-governing country. The nation’s decision to support Brexit on Independence Day 23 June 2016, ranks alongside the most important events in the UK’s history. It ought to be made a public holiday”.

Dr Aubel continued, “I wish to thank my very enthusiastic Brexit co-workers for their never-say-die attitude. We comfortably achieved our objectives of securing more than 45% of the vote in Ceredigion (allegedly the most pro-EU county in Britain), as well as gaining decisive Leave victories in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire”.

Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Ellen ap Gwynn told The Herald: “Personally, I am deeply shocked by the result of the referendum and am fearful for the implications that leaving the EU will have on our rural communities here in Ceredigion, although we had a majority wanting to remain a member.

“We have already seen the value of the £ plummet and the market fall to a level that will badly affect our pension funds and increase the cost of imports. Ceredigion has been a net beneficiary of EU funding since 2000 and our local economy will be hard hit in many ways. The money we have received for infrastructure project such as sea defences, research funding received by the Universities, community project funding, tourism projects and especially when the £44m annually that was paid to farmers is removed,  there will be a serious impact on life in rural Wales.

“Successive London governments have ignored the very real needs of Wales and I cannot see that those who have extracted our natural resources with very little payback over the years will change the funding formula to our advantage. I am afraid that in the medium term, that the future for the local economy and for Local Government funding and services looks bleak.”

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Health

Local Businesses help raise astonishing £10,000 for Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital

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THE ORGANISERS of the 2021 Aberystwyth Businesspersons’ Lunch have donated the £10,000 proceeds to the Cardio-Respiratory Ward at Bronglais Hospital.

Consultant Cardiologist Dr Donogh McKeogh; Aled and Rose Rowlands;

John Davies’ widow Ann; Frank Bridle; John’s daughter and son, Angharad

and Rhodri; and Iestyn Leyshon

The lunch last December was in memory of well-known local businessman, jeweller and musician John Davies, who had helped organise the annual lunch for many years but sadly passed away just a few months before.

“John was such a lovely man, a pillar of the town and so well thought of, that we decided it was fitting that the lunch should be in his memory and that the proceeds should go to the cardiac unit where he had been treated for so many years,” said Aled Rowlands, who organised the lunch along with Frank Bridle, Layla Mangan, Gary Pemberthy, Huw Bates and Iestyn Leyshon.

“It was a very successful day, with nearly 200 people enjoying a lunch, comedian, band, auction and raffle. It was a fitting tribute to John who was such a big part of the town.”

John Davies joined his parents’ business at T J Davies at the age of 16 where he worked for 64 years after leaving Llandaff Cathedral School. He passed away in August 2021, at the age of 80.

John’s wife Ann and children Angharad and Rhodri said: “We were delighted at the generous amount that was raised in his memory at the Businesspersons Christmas lunch.

“Charity work was important to John, through his membership of the Lions Club and it is fitting that the money raised went to a department where he personally received such care and attention from Dr McKeogh and his team.

“John will be remembered not only as a businessman but also as a keen and talented trumpeter, playing with Aberystwyth Town Band, Aber Jazz and Philomusica, to name but a few, as well as playing carols with the Town Band every Christmas Day around Bronglais Hospital wards and care homes in the town.”

Pictured at the cheque presentation at Bronglais Hospital are (from left) Consultant Cardiologist Dr Donogh McKeogh; Aled and Rose Rowlands; John Davies’ widow Ann; Frank Bridle; John’s daughter and son, Angharad and Rhodri; and Iestyn Leyshon.

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Wales stands firm in support for Ukraine

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IN THE latest update on the Ukraine crisis, Wales’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt thanked all those households across Wales who have come forward to offer their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the War and encouraged more households to provide this vital support.

APPEAL FOR MORE HOST FAMILIES

The Minister for Social Justice said: “I’m delighted to say that over 5,650 people from Ukraine, sponsored by the Welsh Government and Welsh households, have already arrived in the UK.
“More than 8,200 visas have now been issued to people from Ukraine who have sponsors in Wales, so we expect the number of arrivals to continue to grow in the coming weeks.
“Thousands of Welsh households sponsored Ukrainians to arrive in Wales and committed to hosting them for at least six months.
“As we move into the autumn, we approach the end of that initial period.
“We hope hosts and Ukrainians will agree to extend many of those placements, but we need additional hosts to support those who cannot continue living where they are.
“To ensure a warm welcome to Wales, I’m inviting households across Wales to come forward and open their homes to welcome those seeking sanctuary.
“We’re immensely thankful to all those across Wales acting as hosts to Ukrainians, but more households must come forward.
“I completely understand that there are those who want to help but may not have the resources to do so, given the circumstances we’re all facing with the cost-of-living crisis.”

WALES WILL STEP UP TO THE PLATE

Jane Hutt continued: “What we all know, and has been proven countless times, is that the people of Wales are one of the most generous across the globe, and I’m sure we will step up to the plate once again.
“The idea of hosting can be daunting. That’s why we have funded Housing Justice Cymru to provide a Host Support service which includes expert and reliable information, training, advice, and guidance for people hosting, or those considering hosting, Ukrainians in Wales.
“More information on sessions and training can be found on the Housing Justice Cymru website. We also publish regularly updated guidance for hosts and sponsors at gov. wales/ukraine.
“We still need many more households to consider whether they could provide a home for those in need. This would normally be a commitment to hosting for 6 to 12 months.
“If anyone is considering this, we encourage them to register their interest at gov.wales/offerhome, and to attend one of the ‘Introduction to Hosting’ sessions, facilitated by Housing Justice Cymru. You won’t need to continue the process if you decide it is not for you.
“We have also partnered with Airbnb.org to ensure very short-term emergency placements can be provided to prevent homelessness.
“If you cannot host for more than 6 months but you could offer your property for up to 30 days at a time, you may also be able to contribute. Visit gov.wales/offerhome and follow the link to the Airbnb.org platform.”
Finally, the Minister stated: “We will continue to communicate with those who host Ukrainians, with updated guidance and information to support the valuable role you are undertaking.
“To all those that are already hosting and to those that are considering hosting, thank you, we owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.”

WESTMINSTER MUST BACK HOSTS
DURING COST-OF-LIVING CRISIS

Conservative MS Mark Isherwood raised how the cost-of-living crisis affects Ukrainian refugees.
Where families had taken in those fleeing Russian aggression, he noted a risk of sponsorships not continuing beyond six months because the hosts cannot afford the rise in fuel costs.
He asked the Minister what discussions she’d had with the UK Government about increasing the £350 contribution to households who’d taken in Ukrainian refugees.
The Minister agreed with Mark Isherwood that ending a specific ministerial post dealing with refugees was regrettable.
She noted a lack of information from the UK Government over the summer months and since Liz Truss replaced Boris Johnson as head of the Conservative Government.
Ms Hutt said: “We asked for an increase at least to £500, or up again, doubling to £700 per month. An urgent decision is needed regarding this as they reach the end of their six-month period.
“That period is underway, so we’re writing to all hosts to see if they will continue.”

UK GOVERNMENT URGED
TO PICK UP THE PHONE

The Minister thanked Mark Isherwood for introducing her to a charity offering support in North Wales, Link, and hoped that he and his colleagues would bring pressure to bear on their Westminster colleagues to ensure those in need from Ukraine and those in Wales helping them received support.
She added: “I look forward perhaps that we might have some telephone calls from the Prime Minister and other Ministers to us in Government. We must engage with them and follow this through.
“There is a huge job of work to be done here. We’re taking responsibility in the way I’ve outlined, funding our welcome centres and paying thank-you payments to hosts if they support a family who initially arrived in Wales under the Ukraine family scheme.
“That’s not happening in England. The commitment that we’re making is considerable.
“I hope everyone will join us today, saying that we need to press for those answers in terms of financial support.”

THE THREAT OF HOMELESSNESS

Sioned Williams of Plaid Cymru raised the spectre of Ukrainian refugees becoming homeless in Wales due to a lack of financial support and the end of existing hosting and housing placements.
The Minister praised the work of local authorities across Wales supporting refugees.
She said: “There are very imaginative programmes. That includes a whole range of issues like repurposing empty buildings.
“Local authorities are really coming up with a whole range of ways in which we can support people, perhaps, from a welcome centre, or a host family, into that intermediate accommodation, and then on to other longer-term accommodation.”
Pembrokeshire currently houses around 200 Ukrainian refugees, with the demand for assistance outstripping the availability of suitable accommodation.

NOT ONE PENNY FROM WESTMINSTER
TO SUPPORT FAMILIES FLEEING WAR

Responding to a question from Mabon ap Gwynfor about problems housing family groups, Jane Hutt hit out at the lack of support from the UK Government and how it’s u-turned on a commitment to help families.
“The UK Government has never given a penny towards the family scheme.
“The former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, in one of his last PMQs, actually said that he thought the Ukraine family scheme should get the same funding and support as the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It’s never happened.
“We have provided thank-you payments to people who are hosting Ukrainian families. It’s all Welsh Government money; it’s not UK Government, because they don’t provide a penny. And also, the British Red Cross—£246,000—who are actually supporting Ukrainian families who are hosting family members under the Ukrainian family scheme.”
On Wednesday, September 28, Eluned Morgan, Wales’s Health Minister, announced the continuation of free healthcare in Wales to Ukrainian residents displaced by the ongoing conflict.
The exemption will continue to apply unless there’s a significant change in circumstances in Ukraine.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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