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Former Olympian visits local schools

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TWO projects in Ceredigion have been successful in gaining support from a former Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimmer as part of the ‘Sky Sports: Living for Sport’ initiative.

Tom Haffield was a professional swimmer and competitor at the Beijing Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and Glasgow.

He is now an ambassador, alongside 100 other world-class athletes from a range of different sports who are delivering free visits to schools to share their inspiring stories of success and support.

The ‘Sky Sports: Living for Sport’ initiative is a free initiative open to UK and Ireland secondary schools that utilise sports stars and the skills learn ed through sport to build confidence and develop life skills. As an ambassador, Tom visited two projects in Ceredigion in March – Canolfan Bro Steffan Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in Cribyn and Canolfan Aeron PRU in Aberaeron.

Tom visited Canolfan Bro Steffan and worked with groups of pupils aged between 13 and 15 to develop their health and wellbeing awareness. Tom shared his story about how he competed in the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, and discussed how the pupils could improve their own health and wellbeing.

Councillor Hag Harris, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, said: “This was a great opportunity for the young people to see what exactly it takes to be a professional sports player and see the dedication and ambition to perform at that level.”

He added: “They also had the opportunity to enjoy a session on team work and communication skills by swimming with Tom. We hope this will inspire the pupils and give them some confidence to achieve whatever they put their mind to.”

Tom also visited pupils aged between 15-16 at Canolfan Aeron PRU in Aberaeron to develop their literacy skills. As part of this project, he accompanied the pupils on a visit to Radio Ceredigion in Narberth, where the pupils were given the chance to interview him.

Hag Harris said: “Liam, David and Daniel prepared excellent questions and demonstrated fabulous potential as future interviewers. The day really helped with their literacy skills and gave them a taste of what it’s like to be a radio presenter.”

The interview went live on Radio Ceredigion and can still be listened to as a podcast via the website: radioceredigion.wales.

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Domestic abuse victims in Wales to be given more time to report assaults

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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.

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Vandalised church passes fundraising target

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The inside of the Church was also subjected to vandalism

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 leaded windows of the church were smashed in with rocks

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.

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£250 boost to all Ceredigion food banks

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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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