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New bandstand officially opened in Aber

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screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-09-32-31ABERYSTWYTH’S brand new Bandstand had its official opening last Thursday (Oct 13) and many people gathered around to take part in the celebrations.

Carl Sargeant AM, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, and Cllr Dai Mason, Ceredigion County Council Chairman, led the ceremony to welcome the new addition to the Aberystwyth Promenade.

The atmosphere was noticeably uplifting; the sun was shining, the sea was calm and the Brass Band (members of Penweddig School and Penglais School) were practicing songs on the stage beforehand.

The thought of being in the well-established building surrounded by many people who were there to pay tribute to the new design made the environment even more special.

The former bandstand building was built as a permanent bandstand in 1935 and was opened on the same day as King George V Silver Jubilee celebrations.

After a number of years and modifications, the original design was replaced by coverage and then sides and a roof were added.

It was periodically updated during the 60s, 70s and 80s and was displayed as a functional single storey, steel and timbre enclosure with a seating area, stage, small ancillary rooms and toilets.

A poignant use for Aberystwyth, the original bandstand became a focal point for the community by hosting local musical performances, dances, and other events.

After support was given for development by Aberystwyth Regeneration Area Initiative, funded by the Welsh Government, December 2011 saw public consultation exercises. The public voiced their wishes that the priority project was the future of the bandstand.

The next step that followed saw Capita Symonds commissioned by Ceredigion County Council to consider the options available that would achieve maximum regeneration effect, with the aim of deciding on a preferred option to take forward.

The old bandstand building was demolished and financial help was given from the Welsh Government. With this fund, a new contemporary purpose-designed £1.2 million bandstand and seawall were erected in its place.

Designed by in-house architects of Ceredigion County Council, the new building has remained on the foundation of the much-loved old building and the original perimeter wall and piers have been retained and refurbished as a historical feature.

The new bandstand follows a contemporary design, with glazed front to draw visitors into the building and internal multi-purpose performance space with flexible internal units that can be adapted for different uses. A distinctive dual height circular standing seam zinc roof with high level aluminium-framed windows. A new glazed clay block insulated cavity wall that wraps around the building, the bandstand also has LED feature lighting in a shadow detail above to highlight the circular roof form.

Rear folding sliding windows have been inserted facing the sea which provides panoramic views of Cardigan Bay and when opened together with the front folding sliding doors, the space is transformed into a semi-traditional open-sided bandstand allowing both beach and promenade users to enjoy musical performances.

In addition, blackout curtains have been added to the windows to allow the same space which featured in the original building. The permanent tensile canopy has also been erected at the front in order to provide more audience space out onto the promenade.

The new bandstand now has a design that will be used for sustainability and durability, and will host many performances along with providing gallery and display space for the local community.

At the beginning of the ceremony, Ceredigion County Council Chief Executive, Bronwen Morgan, gave a warm welcome to everyone who attended and said that it was a pleasure to be gathered in the new bandstand on a beautiful autumn day.

Explaining a bit about how the new design was created, Ms Morgan said that all of the construction companies (namely WB Griffiths & Sons Ltd Team, Bullock Consulting Ltd- Mechanical &Electrical Consultants and Ceredigion County Council’s Estates, Project Management and Development Team) had worked through all of the worst storms and managed to complete the building.

Ms Morgan then went on to share with the attendees that her dad once sang in the male voice choir in the original bandstand and that she sang in the local choir. New ideas are also always welcome to build on the banstand’s success.

Thanking everyone over the years who have attended the bandstand to ensure that it stayed open, Ms Morgan went on to say that there will be much more fun and laughter to be had in the future, calling Aberystwyth Promenade the ‘Jewel and crown.’

Thanking the team for making the project come alive, Ms Morgan stated that the re-curving in the wall around the bandstand is now there to make sure that the waves hit into the sea rather than onto the Promenade as a result of the storms that Aberystwyth has had to face in recent years.

Sending further gratitude to Menter Aberystwyth for providing entertainment in the bandstand throughout the summer, Ms Morgan concluded by saying that the bandstand can be closed if need be unlike the original design and that it can now look very striking on the Promenade.

Ms Morgan then handed the stage over to Cllr Dai Mason who began by stating that the new bandstand has put Aberystwyth ‘back on the map’. The newly refurbished bandstand, as Cllr Mason puts it, is a ‘new twist on the old style bandstand’ and has been a fantastic opportunity for the area.

As he joked that the lovely weather made a change from the stormy weather Aberystwyth has recently had, Cllr Mason finished by telling those who attended the opening that the result of the new bandstand goes to show what we can to together as a community and by working together.

Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, told those who attended: “I’m grateful to the Welsh Government for their funding support to this project through the Aberystwyth Regeneration Initiative. The new bandstand’s design has fitted very well into the Aberystwyth townscape, housing a contemporary performance space that is well placed to continue to provide enriching experiences for tourists and local residents alike.”

Carl Sargeant AM, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, said: “I am delighted to mark the official opening of the Aberystwyth Bandstand. I visited here twice in 2014 in the aftermath of the January storms.

“The storms devastated the Promenade and made the headlines across the world. It is fantastic to return and be part of such a positive event and marking the resilience of the community.”

He then went on to say: “I am pleased the Welsh Government has been able to contribute £571,000 of Regeneration funding towards this project. This is an important scheme made possible as a result of strong partnership working between the Welsh Government, the local authority and the wider community.”

After unveiling the plaque, everyone was treated to two songs by the Brass Band, ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and ABBA’s ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’.

To close the ceremony, Cllr Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member of Economic and Community Development Services said a few words.

Congratulating the construction teams for persistently working on the project throughout the four seasons of weather that Aberystwyth had experienced, Mr Lloyd thanked the Welsh Government for making the regeneration possible, Carl Sargeant AM for participating in the celebrations, the architect team, Penweddig School and Penglais School Brass Band for providing music and to their conductor Alan Davies.

The attendees were then invited to tuck into the provided refreshments of food and drinks as well as a chance to look around and observe the newly designed Bandstand.

The Herald asked an attendee about their thoughts on the new design and the ceremony as a whole: “The new building is really beautiful, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but it’s really impressive.

“I think that they have kept the old spirit and have added a lot of improvements like the ability to see the view from the front and the view from the canopy so it’s really fantastic.

“We live in Llanilar and when our children were younger we used to come along to the bandstand where they used to put on shows in the summer. I was hoping that this time around again, the bandstand will be well used for the future and as we have heard today, it will be used all year around.”

After attending the official opening, Elin Jones AM spoke to The Herald and shared her thoughts on the event and of the new design: “I was very pleased to attend the opening of the bandstand in Aberystwyth, it is a very impressive building which I hope will be made full use of by the community.”

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Community

Ceredigion lifesavers go the extra mile during lockdown

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Loyal blood donors in Ceredigion have responded to a request from the Welsh
Blood Service to ‘donate differently’ by rolling up their sleeves to make a
lifesaving donation at one of the Service’s new regional hubs.

Across Wales, of the 6,808 individuals that visited a Welsh Blood Service donation
session in May 63% of donors attended a clinic that was not their usual donation
venue.

In Ceredigion, 293 donors came forward to give blood in May, with 34 attending a
donation session for the very first time.

Following a series of Covid-19 related venue cancellations and social distancing
restrictions, the Welsh Blood Service was unable to host donation sessions at the thirty
community venues it would typically visit across Wales each week.

The Service introduced a new collections schedule at the beginning of April which saw
collections taken from five regional donation hubs at different locations in Wales each
week. Donors were asked to travel to donate at their nearest hub.

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “When it became clear we
couldn’t continue with business as usual, we knew we’d have to ask donors to donate
differently. Our regional donation hubs have replaced our usual local collections
programme and the response from donors has been remarkable.

“98.3% of the appointments we’ve made available since lockdown have been taken
and many of these appointments have been taken by donors who have been prepared
to go even further out of their way than they usually would just to make a potentially
lifesaving donation.”

The Service has also observed a sharp rise in the number of new donors coming
forward to donate.

Mr Prosser continued: “In May 2019, around 11% of those that attended our donation
sessions were new donors. This May, around 19% of our attendance has been people
who had never given before.

“We’ve also see a surge in the number of donors who haven’t given in years returning
to our sessions to help us boost stocks. It’s been amazing and we’re hugely grateful.”

Blood stocks in Wales have remained healthy throughout the pandemic as the reduced
collections activity has mirrored a reduction in the volume of blood used by hospitals.
However, the Service is urging donors to continue to attend their local sessions as and
when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

“Blood stocks are currently very healthy thanks to the commitment of new and existing
donors but we need people to keep giving blood to ensure we can continue to meet
hospital demand in the coming months. Travel to donate is considered essential travel
and anyone who is fit, well and eligible to donate can book an appointment through the
welshblood.org.uk website.”

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Community

Porth Cymorth Cynnar supporting residents in Ceredigion

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During this challenging period, Porth Cymorth Cynnar has established a virtual platform to ensure that we are able to keep in touch with vulnerable residents across Ceredigion.

Due to the restrictions introduced to safeguard our communities against COVID-19, many residents are not able to access their usual provision or support such as parent groups or GP Referral Exercise Classes. Instead, we are ensuring that all residents whom are known to our services, and others, are kept in touch with, through regular welfare calls, should they wish.

Around 2000 residents from young people to families to carers, who may require or benefit from regular contact whilst their service is not operating in its usual form, will receive communication from our staff.

To date, almost 2000 welfare calls have been made, and have been well received by people across Ceredigion. Residents have said that it is great that someone is keeping in touch with them, to give them an opportunity to have a weekly phone call and someone to talk to.

Mrs Jones* (name changed for anonymity) who is 92 and lives alone, is used to receiving regular visits from Ceredigion’s mobile library was identified as benefiting from a weekly phone call, to check how she was doing, now that her usual library service would not be visiting for a while. Porth Cymorth Cynnar aimed to get in touch with Mrs Jones, but did not have a contact number. After tracking down a contact number through the local directory, a member of the Porth y Gymuned team was able to make contact. Luckily Mrs Jones has the support of family and neighbours to collect groceries, but nonetheless was extremely grateful to have someone to talk to, and to check that she is OK. A weekly phone check in has been organised with Mrs Jones, to ensure that she is doing well and to organise if she is in need of anything.

If you, or anyone you know would benefit from the Keeping in Touch Service, please get in touch with our Customer Services team on 01545 570881 or clic@ceredigion.gov.uk who will triage your query to Porth Cymorth Cynnar.

Porth Cymorth Cynnar are also regularly updating resource lists which are available on the Ceredigion County Council website here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus

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Community

The latest on plastic free Ceredigion

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At its meeting held on 17 March, the Council’s Cabinet received an activity update from the Plastic Free Ceredigion Task and Finish Group, which was set up after full Council approved a motion on 22 February 2018.

Full Council approved the ‘Plastic Free campaigns throughout the County, including Plastic Free Aberporth and Plastic Free Aberystwyth’ motion to ensure that the Council helps to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in our day to day operations.

The motion involved a number of factors including; reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and encouraging local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives. Promoting the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events, supporting beach cleans and any other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics.

Since 22 February 2018, the Council have removed 5 single-use plastic that were used across the local authority, implemented projects in conjunction with NRW with local primary schools, worked closely with communities throughout Ceredigion and commenced the provision of Water bottle re-fills on request to all visitors to our public facing buildings.

In January 2020, the Schools Service were successful in bidding for funding from the Circular Economy Capital Fund, which allows for the purchasing of milk dispensers which will remove the need for the provision of plastic milk bottles and straws by 1,979 pupils at Foundation and Key Stage 2. This is equivalent to a reduction of 376,010 plastic milk bottles per school year.

Councillor Alun Williams, Member Champion for Sustainability said, “These are initiatives which, together, make a real difference to the amount of single-use plastics going into the waste stream from Council activities. Whilst it’s important that everyone seeks to minimise their use of single-use plastics, it’s particularly important that large organisations like councils take these kinds of actions because they can have a wider effect which, in turn, can lead to industry changing to more sustainable practices. Ceredigion Council is trying to lead the way in showing what’s possible within an organisation.”

This supports one of the Council’s corporate priority of Promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.

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