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New Fire Station opened in Aberystwyth

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(L-R): Arwel James, Ceredigion Response Manager; Mick Crennell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Cllr Janice Dudley, Fire Authority Chair; Cllr Paul James, Ceredigion Fire Authority Member; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Chris Davies MBA, Chief Fire Officer; Robert Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer

(L-R): Arwel James, Ceredigion Response Manager; Mick Crennell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Cllr Janice Dudley, Fire Authority Chair; Cllr Paul James, Ceredigion Fire Authority Member; Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council; Chris Davies MBA, Chief Fire Officer; Robert Quin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer

ON THURSDAY, October 13, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) hosted the official opening of its brand new Community Fire Station in Aberystwyth.

The Fire Station was officially opened by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM and attended by MAWWFRS Chief Fire Officer Chris Davies MBA; Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mick Crennell; Assistant Chief Officer Elizabeth Aitken; Assistant Chief Fire Officer Robert Quin; MAWWFRS Authority Chair Janice Dudley; Elin Jones AM; Mark Williams MP; Brendon Sommers, Mayor of Aberystwyth; Miss Bronwen Morgan, Chief Executive of Aberystwyth County Council and Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council.

The station crew and dignitaries were treated to a performance by a joint choir of pupils from Plascrug Community School and Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth.

Winners of a local art competition for primary school pupils were also present, as the winning works are displayed in the new Community Fire Station. These pupils represented Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, St Padarn’s Catholic Primary School, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth and Plascrug Community School.

The state of the art development, undertaken by Carmarthenshire developers WRW Group, is located on the former station’s ground at Penparcau Road, Trefechan. The new two-story building incorporates three fire appliance bays, office accommodation for Ceredigion County Command, as well as community facilities, including a cafe, which will be open to the public.

Building work on the new £1.6 million Community Fire Station in Aberystwyth commenced in July 2015 and the station temporarily relocated to the TA Centre on Park Avenue for the duration of the building works.

The brand new facility boasts many pioneering qualities, which includes being built to a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, said: “I am pleased that the Authority has involved the community in designing, constructing and operating the station. This approach has involved pupils from local schools and students from Aberystwyth University and Coleg Ceredigion as well as providing valuable work to local contractors.

“Our firefighters undertake difficult and sometimes dangerous work and deserve the best possible facilities and support. This state-of-the-art facility certainly meets those standards. It will also mean firefighters can keep in close touch with the communities they serve and protect. This will help keep local people safe from fires and other hazards.”

Chris Davies, MAWWFRS Chief Fire Officer, said: “Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to deliver this brand new facility to the community of Aberystwyth.

“This innovative Fire Station reflects the evolving role that the Fire and Rescue Service plays in emergency response and community safety work.

“Incorporating three fire appliance bays, Ceredigion County Command offices, a Blood Bike base and a community cafe, this Fire Station truly is a community resource fit for the 21st century and able to adapt to the challenges of the future.

“It was a pleasure to hear the children’s choir sing at the opening and a privilege to welcome students from Ysgol Llwyn yr Eos, Ysgol Gymraeg Aberystwyth, Plascrug Community School and St Padarn’s Primary School, who have their art work displayed at the new station, here today.

“We are grateful to the TA Centre for accommodating the temporary station whilst the building of the new station took place.”

Jon Williams, Business Development Director for WRW, said: “We have enjoyed bringing our own expertise to the fore to help realise the potential of the scheme. Now operational, we hope the facility goes on to become a cornerstone of the community and that it allows MAWWFRS to continue its excellent service provision for the locality.”

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Changes to bus services in Ceredigion confirmed by local authority

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THERE will be changes to local bus services in Ceredigion from Tuesday 3 January 2023.

The tenders received as part of a procurement process for operating several services have shown significant cost increases. This has resulted in substantial increases in subsidy levels being requested at a time when public finances are under tremendous pressure. The higher costs are largely reflective of particular challenges affecting the bus industry currently which includes considerable increased operating costs, lack of qualified and available drivers, uncertainty around future funding mechanisms as well as declining passenger numbers and changing travel behaviours.

Bus passenger numbers have been in decline across Wales and essentially halved in the period between 1982, where there were 181 million passenger journeys and 2019/20 where there were 91 million passenger journeys. This has been severely compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw a drop to 26 million passenger journeys in 2020/21, that has further impacted on the viability of local bus services.

The 22T (Aberystwyth-Devil’s Bridge), 27T (Penrhyncoch-Penbontrhydybeddau) and T29 (Tregaron Circular) demand responsive services will stop at the end of December 2022. This is due to the significant costs associated with providing them and the very low level of usage, which equate to unviable levels of public subsidy per passenger journey.

There will be changes to the timetables on the 525 (Aberystwyth-Ponterwyd), 526 (Aberystwyth-Penrhyncoch) and 585 (Aberystwyth-Tregaron-Lampeter) services. The timetables for these services, subject to submission by the operators and approval by the Traffic Commissioner, are attached. These timetables are based on proposals provided by the local bus operators and reflect what is operationally deliverable with the resources available, in terms of buses and drivers, at this time.

The T21 (Aberystwyth-Llanafan-Tregaron) and 552 Cardi Bach (New Quay-Cardigan) services will continue as currently.

All these contracts have been awarded on a 6 month basis to allow for a wider review.

Councillor Keith Henson, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management said: “I would like to thank the local bus companies for their ongoing engagement in what is very challenging operating environment. We continue to work with them and in partnership with the other key stakeholders including the Welsh Government and Transport for Wales, seeking possible solutions and a way forward. Bus services and networks are dynamic and subject to change. Further changes are likely as the reality is that, in addition to the sparsity of resources, the amount of subsidy now required to provide the services is unaffordable, unjustifiable and unsustainable in the current financial climate.”

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Urgent police appeal for missing Ceredigion man

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POLICE in Ceredigion are appealing for help to find Dyfed who is missing from the Talybont area.

He was last seen at his home address in the Ceredigion village at around 10.30pm or 11pm on Saturday, 3 December.

Dyfed is described as being 5ft 10ins, of medium build, with short mousey brown hair with short ginger beard, and was wearing grey waterproof trousers over jeans, a blue-check padded shirt and woolly hat and wellies.

Have you seen Dyfed, or do you have info that might help us find him? Please, let us know:

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New Rural Health Economics Professor builds on University healthcare provision

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AN ACADEMIC who played a key role in decision-making in the adoption of medicines in NHS Wales and NHS England has been appointed as Professor of Rural Health Economics at Aberystwyth University.

Professor Murray Smith, an expert in the use of economics and statistics to predict outcomes in health and health-related behaviours, joins Aberystwyth Business School.

His recent research has centred on the quality of use of pharmaceutical medicine, with one project exploring the use of an inhaled analgesic for acute pre-hospital trauma pain, and others on topics that have spanned medicine use across a number of chronic disease areas.

After beginning his career in Australia, Professor Smith moved to the United Kingdom in 2007 and has worked at the universities of Aberdeen, Nottingham and Lincoln.

Professor Smith said: “I am delighted to join Aberystwyth Business School. Health economics is a vital subject because it provides methods and tools to help decision makers in the choices they face when trying to deliver high quality healthcare in a modern resource-limited economy.

“I am excited about adding to Aberystwyth Business School’s existing portfolio of expertise in research and to being given the opportunity to continue to use my skills to help the NHS to identify and deliver cost-effective healthcare and services to the people of mid Wales.”

Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University said: “It is vital as a society that we continue to innovate in our approaches to healthcare and Aberystwyth University is stepping up to the challenge with the launch of our first ever nursing degrees in September 2022 and through interdisciplinary research into combating diseases, using artificial intelligence to improve patients’ health, and exploring new techniques to improve human health through diet.

“The appointment of Professor Smith demonstrates our continuing commitment to developing and delivering high quality healthcare education and research at Aberystwyth. His expertise will focus on the economic aspects of healthcare, and his teaching and research will benefit our students and beyond.”

Professor Smith’s appointment coincides with the awarding of Honorary Professorships to three executives from Hywel Dda University Health Board, further strengthening Aberystwyth University’s expertise in healthcare as well as building on its partnership with the local health board.

Dr Helen Munro, Consultant in Community Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare at the Board; Dr Leighton Phillips, the Board’s Director of Research, Innovation and University Partnerships, and Huw Thomas, its Director of Finance collectively have decades of expertise in the health sector in the United Kingdom.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board, added: “On behalf of the Board I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Helen, Leighton and Huw on their appointment as Honorary Professors at Aberystwyth University. Our partnership with Aberystwyth University continues to go from strength to strength and we look forward to continuing our vital work together in the future.”
Professor Elizabeth Treasure added: “I am delighted to welcome our new Honorary Professors, who together will bring decades of experience to our research and teaching. Their expertise will further contribute to the role we have to play as a University in helping improve healthcare provision for everyone.”

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