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Aber computers head for Nigeria

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(L-R): Aberystwyth University PhD students Expo Otu and Edore Akpokodje, David Lowe, Commercial Manager at Cambrian Printers, and Professor Chris Price, from the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University

(L-R): Aberystwyth University PhD students Expo Otu and Edore Akpokodje, David Lowe, Commercial Manager at Cambrian Printers, and Professor Chris Price, from the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University

COMPUTERS from Aberystwyth University have found a new lease of life in Africa.

Staff at the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology in the Nigerian city of Jos were facing the prospect of expanding their recently launched computer degree without enough computers for their students.

Their plight was brought to the attention of the Department of Computer Science at Aberystwyth University by PhD student Edore Akpokodje.

Edore was head of the Nigerian college’s Computing department before coming to study in Wales.

As a result, 60 reconditioned computers, powerful enough to run the software needed on the course, have been shipped to Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos.

From Lagos, they will be taken to Jos and installed in a new computer laboratory at the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology.

After being reconditioned, the computers were taken from Aberystwyth’s Computer Science Department to Cambrian Printers in Llanbadarn Fawr, whose staff packed them ready for export, free of charge.

Professor Chris Price said: “We are delighted to be able to help our friends at the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology in Jos. It is great to see these computers being reused and put to good educational use, rather than recycled, as would have been the case here in Aberystwyth.

“I am grateful to colleagues here at Aberystwyth for making this possible and to Cambrian Printers who helped us pack everything for the journey,” added Professor Price.

“This donation of computers by the Aberystwyth University Computer Science department which was facilitated by Professor Chris Price has come as a very big relief to my College back in Nigeria,” said Edore.

“We were faced with the prospect of not having enough facilities for the newly mounted program. It will go a long way in strengthening our infrastructural base and I hope that this will be the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between our two higher institutions.

“I sincerely thank Dave Price (Director of Infrastructure, IMPACS), Sandy Spence and some of my PhD colleagues at Aber CompSci for all their help,” added Edore.

As part of his PhD, Edore is working with Professor Price on the use of mobile phones in Africa to help farmers improve the quality of agricultural crops.

Edore and Professor Price will travel to Nigeria in January 2017 as part of their research, and are also planning to visit the new facilities at the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology during their time there.

The Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Vom, Jos was established in 1941 and is the first higher institution in West Africa to produce graduate Veterinary Surgeons.

It presently has two campuses and offers nine academic programs with a population of over a thousand students.

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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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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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WASPI women help MP take pensions case to House of Commons

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WASPI women have helped Ben Lake, Ceredigion Plaid Cymru MP, to take the case for 1950s women’s pension injustice to Parliament at a packed out Drop-In information session at Westminster on Wednesday 4th March.

“It was a pleasure to co-host this important event, bringing WASPI representatives from across the UK to Westminster to meet MPs of all parties face-to-face,” said Mr Lake. “It gave the WASPI women a chance to share their personal experiences and to show how these unfair pension changes have impacted upon the lives of 1950s women.

Unfortunately, despite being invited, Stephen Crabb MP (also Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee) and Simon Hart MP (also Secretary of State for Wales), failed to attend. Across their Constituencies there are over 10,000 1950s women affected and many were left disappointed that their MPs did not support them at this event.

After the Drop In Session, Ben Lake took the WASPI women around the Houses of Parliament. He was a very knowledgeable guide and told the ladies some interesting stories. They saw some of Prime Minister’s Questions and a House of Lords debate. It really was a day to remember!”

Pembrokeshire WASPI along with multiple 1950s campaign groups from across the UK will travel to London on 21st July for a mass rally to support the appeal for pension justice, at the Supreme Court. For the first time in this 9 year campaign, a coach will depart from Haverfordwest.

A local spokesperson for Pembrokeshire WASPI said “Whilst our WASPI aim is to achieve fair transitional state pension arrangements and compensation for all 1950s women who have been affected by the 1995 and 2011 Acts, we support the Backto60s with their appeal. Over 10,000 women are affected across the two Pembrokeshire constituencies and they want this issue resolved. To date there has been too many words and not enough action. Successive governments have failed to address the injustice done to the 1950s women. At least 82,000 women between the age of 60 and 65 have died since the fight for justice started including members of Pembrokeshire WASPI. Others have been plunged into poverty or are having to work longer in physically demanding jobs which is having an impact on their health. The appeal will see the collective voice of 1950s women groups pulling together for the first time ever to support the Backto60s and to let the Conservative Government know that we are NOT going away. Hopefully the outcome of the appeal will be in the favour of the 3.8 million women affected”.

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