MEET UWTSD’s Marlene’s Marvels. They’re entering a 13-mile race and are being mentored by Wales rugby legend Gareth Thomas as part of his new TV programme.
Louise Harris, Melanie Lawlor- Fellowes, Helen Thomas, Marlene Tobias and Mel Thomas are among runners whose progress will be tracked in the former sporting star’s new television series, ‘Gareth Thomas: Run For Your Life’.
They will join 100 runners, dubbed ‘Alfie’s Angels’, taking on the Cardiff Half Marathon on October 2. Last Saturday (Jul 16), they met with their mentors – Gareth Thomas and former Commonwealth Games athlete James Thie.
Louise Harris, Principal Administrative Officer at UWTSD’s Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, said: “It was a great session, meeting Alfie and Jamie Thie, Eloise the nutrionist and Hannah E Phillips, author of No Run Intended. We also had a small training run which was fun and inspirational, with every Angel being greeted and applauded by all the other Angels and Alfie and his team as they crossed the finish line.
“We are one week into the 12 week training course and lots of progress is already being made by everyone. I was even up at 5.20am this morning to get 3.2 miles in before work – I am a changed woman! Marlene’s Marvels are up for the challenge and we will complete the Cardiff Half Marathon on October 2. We are intending to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance.”
UWTSD’s Marlene Tobias said: “I’ve always thought about doing a half marathon, but have never done anything about it. I’ve never run a mile in my life, let alone 13 miles! I saw the advert for Alfie’s Angels and asked the girls if they fancied doing it. They were game, so I sent in a video and got through. It takes commitment to prepare for a half marathon, but we are all dedicated and motivated and are going to give it our best shot. It will also be a very personal achievement for Mel Thomas (my sister) and myself to be able to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance.
“We had a fantastic morning with Alfie and the others at the launch event last Saturday, and it was great to meet all the other Angels who will be taking part. I think the important thing to remember is that this is not a race, but just to cross the finishing line, however long it takes. I’m looking forward to it!”
Having tailor-made three separate 12-week programmes for the 100 runners who will take part in the half marathon, Gareth Thomas and James Thie were keen to speak to the group to motivate them and answer their questions.
Gareth Thomas said: “A lot of these women have very busy lifestyles, like any man or woman, and we have taken into consideration all their life commitments.”
Gareth, who was the first rugby union player to earn 100 caps for Wales, is Team Captain, inspiring, encouraging and supporting the women through training exercises and health regimes.
Alfie’s Angels have varying levels of fitness and face a number of tough goals along their journey to race day. Step one is learning how to fit training into their already busy lives, but Gareth will be on hand, mentoring them through the highs and lows, injuries and victories.
Gareth Thomas added: “Running a half marathon is not an easy thing to do and there’s going to be hard times, especially coming from the position that most of these women are, having never run this distance before. I want to help them because I know how important fitness is; this is one event that could potentially change their lives and I think to be a part of that is massively rewarding.
“I also think the outreach could be huge. There’ll be other people sitting on a chair thinking ‘I could actually be that woman, I could do what they are doing’, because they are normal people who are doing extraordinary things.
“A lot work shifts or nights, have a family, and we set their targets accordingly. We want real, everyday people to watch and think ‘if they can do it why can’t I?’ In rugby, you inspire young kids who want to be like you and that’s a good legacy to leave behind. People usually don’t think they have that power but these runners are doing exactly that by influencing people in a positive way.
“These are amazing people and they will get that sense of achievement and that makes me feel very proud.”
With almost all of the group being first-time long-distance runners, their progress will be captured for a BBC Wales documentary as part of BBC Wales’ returning Live Longer Wales season in the autumn, aimed at inspiring Wales to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Council recognised for its work on domestic violence
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has once again been recognised for its work to combat domestic abuse.
It has achieved the White Ribbon UK accredited status for the second time running and departments will continue to work to raise awareness around domestic abuse and to contribute to ending male violence against women.
In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported as being a victim of domestic abuse.
The White Ribbon campaign is a global initiative that encourages people, especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.
Domestic abuse affects both sexes with the largest number of violent incidents involving men against women.
To show its commitment County Hall in Carmarthen will be lit up in purple on White Ribbon Day on November 25 and the White Ribbon flags will be flying in council buildings at Llanelli and Ammanford.
A message will also be printed on staff payslips signposting them to support channels.
Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Communities Partnership, Cllr Ann Davies, said:
“I am pleased that we were again successful in receiving accreditation from the campaign and recognising the work we have done and also plan to do going forward as part of our commitment to ending domestic violence. The figures in the last 12 months are still too high and that is those that have come forward to seek support. The pandemic has seen a significant rise in the number of referrals so it is vital that we do whatever we can to encourage people not to remain silent and speak out and seek support.”
Support and advice for anyone affected by domestic abuse is available by calling Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800.
For local advice you can contact Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service (CarmDAS) on 01267 238 410 who provide support to both men and women 9am-5pm.
More information on the campaign can be found on the White Ribbon website
Let’s get digital – Ceredigital
A NEW section, ‘Ceredigital’ dedicated to digital services, is now available on Ceredigion County Council’s website.
Ceredigital aims to provide clear information upon how digital technology can be used to support business growth, the economy, the quality of life for residents, tourism and the environment.
It covers a range of work and projects that the Council is currently involved with to improve the provision of digital technology across the county.
Information on the following services is included in the new section:
- Digital Skills
- Public Wi-Fi
It also includes information on the creation of a LoRaWAN network that the Council has been creating across the county which will accelerate the ‘Internet of Things’ innovation within the region; an open network used to improve business efficiencies.
Councillor Clive Davies, Digital Champion for Ceredigion County Council said: “Having access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity has quickly become essential for everyone. The last two years have seen more people working from home than ever before, and the only way many of us have kept in contact with friends and family is through online catch-ups. It can be confusing and time consuming when you have connectivity issues and don’t know what support is out there.
“I’m very happy to announce that this new section is available. This resource can assist residents and businesses in finding out how to improve connectivity, funding that is available to do this, brushing up on digital skills, as well as providing details upon fixed and wireless projects that are currently being undertaken with Ceredigion.
With a county-wide LoRaWAN Internet of Things network, the largest in Wales, now is the time to focus on data innovation. This is no longer the gift of large organisations, or so called “Smart Cities”, we have the solid foundations of a rural smart network available right now, that can enable data driven decision making to take place right here in Ceredigion, enabling efficiency savings, and new product offering and opportunities as we recover from COVID-19”.
So, if you or your business is not reaching its digital potential for one reason or other, head over to Ceredigital to see what options are available to you right now.”
The new Ceredigital section can be found here: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/business/ceredigital.
Helping you to make a difference in your community
THE CYNNAL y Cardi Local Action Group is launching a new Grant Fund, as part of the Cynnal y Cardi LEADER scheme, which will support small scale LEADER activity in Ceredigion.
The fund will provide small-scale financial revenue to support pilot projects, feasibility studies, facilitation, networking activities and training and mentoring ideas. Applications are welcomed from organisations in the third, public and private sectors. They must meet the criteria and priorities of the Local Action Group.
The Grant Fund will focus on the following priorities from the Cynnal y Cardi Local Development Strategy:
- supporting activity with the aim of strengthening opportunities for developing Ceredigion’s circular economy
- supporting early intervention for the development of pre-commercial activity with the aim of developing entrepreneurial activity
- strengthening community resilience activity with a focus on the role of Town and Community Councils in supporting and engaging with their communities
- developing opportunities for re-engaging people and reinvigorating community activity following COVID-19 and piloting innovative uses for community facilities
The Cynnal y Cardi LEADER Grant Fund, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council, is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.
Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Economy and Regeneration, said: “We understand that COVID-19 has made the past two years a tough time for the county, and in light of the pandemic, the priorities for Ceredigion’s Local Development Strategy have been reviewed in September 2020. This new grant scheme provides opportunities for us to tackle the issues and build on the opportunities following COVID-19 within our communities in order to strengthen our resilience. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The first closing date for submitting your applications is 17 January 2022. Submissions are welcome in Welsh or English. You will need to discuss your ideas with the team. Contact the team by email at email@example.com or visit www.cynnalycardi.org.uk for more information.
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