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Grants for veterans legal aid project

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Helping veterans across Wales: Veterans Legal Link founder, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya

Helping veterans across Wales: Veterans Legal Link founder, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya

ABERYSTWYTH LAW SCHOOL has received grants of nearly £25k towards a project designed to offer free legal advice to veterans and their families.

The Veterans Legal Link, set up in 2015 by Lecturer in Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University, Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya, secured a £20k grant from the Ministry of Defence, as well as a near £5k grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

In working with a range of partners, the project supports veterans and their families across Wales by giving them access to free legal advice and specialist support services.

The project relies on a network of volunteer legal clinics, charities and organisations including Citizens Advice, West Wales Action for Mental Health and the Ceredigion Armed Forces Community Covenant (CAFCC).

The Veterans Legal Link also offers internships and volunteer opportunities to students in Wales, as well as conducting its own independent academic research.

Project Founder and Manager Dr Olaoluwa Olusanya said: “I have always been involved in veteran law and practice and through my work noticed where the gaps were for projects like ours in Wales. We are proud to be able to offer a service like this, and we are very grateful for the financial support we’re receiving from the Ministry of Defence and the Big Lottery Fund.”

Dr Olusanya added: “As well as helping veterans, this project also provides valuable work experience and shows students how law operates in real life and how it can help people in need.”

The Veterans Legal Link was founded on a belief that lawyers and law students could use their skills to bring equal justice to veterans and their families in need who are living in Wales.

Cllr Paul Hinge, Chair of the CAFCC and the Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council, said: “I was delighted to hear this news and I fully support the application as Chair of the CAFCC, knowing that this funding will make a massive difference to the Veteran Legal Link project.”

He added: “This is an important service for veterans and their families. The service offers legal advice and specialist support services tailored for the needs of users, ensuring they get the help and support they require.”

With the latest funding now available, the Veteran Legal Link will be able to continue and expand with their work helping veterans across Wales, with the long-term aim of expanding to England and Scotland via a UK university-wide network.

Students from Aberystwyth University can sign up for the voluntary internship that is flexible enough to work around a busy schedule and gives them over 80 hours of both academic and practical experience.

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Jail after heroin worth £45,000 seized

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AN ABERYSTYWYTH woman has been jailed, and an organised crime gang disrupted, after heroin worth £45,000 was found at her home.

Dyfed-Powys Police found more than 400g of the class A drug during a warrant at Susan Marie Proffitt’s home – resulting in one of the force’s largest single seizures of heroin in Ceredigion.

The result has disrupted an active organised crime gang supplying class A drugs to the area.

Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This swift and thorough investigation involved officers and staff from departments across the division, who worked together to secure this result.

“The defendant had a huge amount of heroin at her home, with efforts taken to conceal bags of the drug around the property.

“There is no doubt that in taking Proffitt out of the supply chain we will have disrupted an organised crime gang which she was a trusted part of in supplying heroin into the division.”

Officers carried out a warrant at the 52-year-old’s home in South Road on August 30, 2020.

On searching the property, a box containing 408g of heroin was found concealed in a vent under the staircase, and two further wraps were found in a shower head bracket. Fingerprint marks matching those of Proffitt were found on these items.

Four mobile phones were also seized from the property.

Sgt Jones said: “The quantity of heroin recovered is far in excess of what he would expect to see someone who is simply a user to be in possession of for their own use.

“Given the value of the heroin recovered and the financial circumstances of the defendant, we were confident it was unlikely she would be able to fund a purchase of such a quantity of heroin without being involved in the supply of drugs.

“The only realistic reason for possessing this quantity of heroin was for supply onto others.”

Proffitt was charged with possession with intent to supply, and pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to 57 months in prison when she appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, November 26.

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New permanent walk-in test centre opens in Aberystwyth

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PEOPLE in Aberystwyth with symptoms of COVID-19 now have access to a permanent walk-in testing facility.

Hywel Dda University Health Board has arranged for a Local Testing Site (LTS) to be located inside the former Padarn Nursery building, (behind, but not connected to, Padarn Surgery), on Penglais Road.

Local people should avoid using the nearby nursery car park, leaving it free for those people accessing tests to park there. People who attend the walk-in centre must wear a face covering.

Meanwhile, the drive-through facility at Canolfan Rheidol has now been relocated to Cardigan in response to a rise in cases in that area. Residents of Aberystwyth will not be impacted by this move as there is plenty of testing capacity at the LTS.

Alison Shakeshaft, Director of Therapies & Health Science at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are very pleased to have secured this LTS for the people of Aberystwyth. Many residents in the town, including students, do not have their own private vehicle in order to access drive-through testing facilities, so the option of a walk-in facility is very important.

“This is a challenging time and I urge everyone to remain vigilant and follow the rules, including wearing face coverings where required, maintain social distancing, washing hands regularly, or using a hand sanitiser if hand washing is not possible.”

Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) must book a test as soon as possible.  This can be done through the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus.

University students with COVID-19 symptoms, when booking a test, are required to provide their local address in Aberystwyth.

Please do not book a test if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and do not attend testing centres without booking first as you will not be seen without an appointment.

Please follow the latest self-isolation guidelines which can be found here.

For the latest news and updated from Hywel Dda University Health Board visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/

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Improvements required at a pub in Devil’s Bridge

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A HOSPITALITY business in Devil’s Bridge has been required to make improvements to safeguard the public’s health and well-being as part of the coronavirus regulations.

A Premises Improvement Notice has been served to The Hafod, Devil’s Bridge, Aberystwyth by Ceredigion County Council’s Public Protection Officers due to non-compliance with The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2020.

As part of the Premises Improvement Notice, the Premises must ensure that a distance of 2 metres is maintained between any persons on the premises, and put measures in place which limit close face to face interaction and maintain hygiene. 

These measures will need to be implemented by 17:00 on November 27, 2020. The full notice can be seen on the Council’s website under Improvement and Closure Notices.

Information for businesses is available on the Council’s website under Supporting Ceredigion’s Economy.

Any business who is unsure of their responsibilities is urged to check the Welsh Government website

Any business that requires further information or guidance can contact the council’s Licensing Team on 01545 570881 or clic@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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