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Hotels educated on warning signs of child sexual exploitation

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HOTELS, guest houses and B&B staff in Ceredigion have been made aware of the signs of child sexual exploitation as Dyfed-Powys Police clamp down on those who prey on vulnerable youngsters.

PCSOs Caryl Griffiths and Jeff Kedward visited eight establishments in Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn during the force day of action on Tuesday (Oct 10) urging staff to be vigilant and encouraging them to report any concerns.

They were asked to look out for signs such as young people booking into hotel rooms with older adults who do not appear to be family members, a lot of adults coming and going to one room, or being bought alcohol by older people.

Chid sexual exploitation – or CSE – is a form of sexual, emotional and physical abuse of children, and involves a person under 18 being coerced into sexual activities by one or more adults who have deliberately targeted their youth and inexperience to exercise power over them.

Guest houses and B&Bs are sometimes used as locations to meet, groom and abuse children and young people as perpetrators think they can go unnoticed. Perpetrators might pay by cash to avoid leaving a credit card trail, book under one name but check in under another, or have visitors who ask for a room number but don’t know the name of the guest.

Ceredigion BCU commander Robyn Mason said: “It is vitally important that we gain greater knowledge and understanding of child sexual exploitation in order to effectively target activity at local, regional and national level.

“Police officers are being actively trained to recognise the early signs that can identify children at risk, and we are actively encouraging hotel, B&B and guest house staff to be aware of these signs. We all have a role to play in ensuring that children have a safe environment to grow up in.

“Evidence shows that B&Bs and hotels are sometimes used as locations to meet, groom and abuse children and young people, so it’s not just a good idea for people working in this industry to spot the signs of CSE, it’s their responsibility.

“Exploited children are almost always too frightened or ashamed to ask for help themselves, and receptionists, managers and housekeepers are in a unique position to notice when someone or something seems suspicious or might not be quite right with young guests.

“By passing their concerns on to the police they could potentially save a child from the nightmare of CSE.

“We have been visiting these locations, providing advice and guidance to staff members by making them aware of how to spot the signs of CSE.”

Hotel staff who have concerns for the welfare of a young guest are advised to raise concerns immediately with their manager or senior staff, and inform Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101.

Management or staff who would like more information about the signs of CSE and what they should look out for can contact their local Neighbourhood Policing Team for more information.

 

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Education

Free School Meals for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from September 2022

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CEREDIGION COUNTY COUNCIL will be offering Free School Meals from the Autumn term onwards to all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children.

This comes following Welsh Government’s announcement to offer Free School Meals for primary school pupils across Wales, starting with Reception classes from September 2022.

In response to the current rising cost-of-living, this is a positive step forward in ensuring that no child goes hungry while in school and tackling poverty in our County.

From Monday 5 September 2022 onwards, all Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Children in Ceredigion schools will be offered Free School Meals, extending the offer beyond what needs to be done by September.

Ceredigion County Council and Welsh Government are committed to implementing this scheme quickly and would ask for your patience as we build catering capacity to ensure a successful phased implementation and work towards a whole school roll-out over the next three years.

The Council are working with Welsh Government to develop a process for you to be able to request a free meal for your child/children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 from September 2022, trying to avoid any unnecessary burden for you.

If your child is currently in receipt of free school meals and/or any other associated benefits, these will not be affected.

Wyn Thomas, Cabinet Member responsible for Schools, Lifelong Learning and Skills, said: “The Government’s aim is for Welsh Local Authorities to provide a free school meal for Reception pupils in September 2022. The Council has taken advantage of the flexibility of the scheme and so more pupils in Ceredigion will benefit from the offer of a free meal for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils in September 2022 in the County’s schools.”

Further information will follow by the end of term.

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Residential care home project approved to increase dementia support

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A DEVELOPMENT project has been approved by Welsh Government that will increase support provided for individuals living with additional needs due to living with dementia at Hafan Deg Residential Care Home, Lampeter.

This project will include renovating four bedrooms, improved personal wellbeing and social area and a securely enclosed outdoor sensory garden.

Councillor Alun Williams, Cabinet Member for Through Age and Wellbeing Services said: “The number of those living with dementia in Ceredigion is rising and we want to make sure that we increase our current provision. This new development at Hafan Deg will enhance the mental and physical wellbeing of both residents and staff and support a reduction in behaviours that challenge. The development will also help to reduce the numbers of residents needing to be moved due to their higher needs.”

Funding has been secured through the Welsh Government Integrated Care Fund Capital programme.

Through the tendering process, J&E Woodworks Ltd were awarded the tender and work is due to commence August 2022.

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News

New Quay RNLI crew member passes out as coxswain

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ON MONDAY (Jun 13), after many months of training and assessments, New Quay RNLI volunteer crew member Peter Yates passed out as a coxswain and is now qualified to take command of the Mersey class all-weather lifeboat based at New Quay Lifeboat Station in Ceredigion.

Father of two Pete, 33, underwent a year of intensive training, including courses at the RNLI College in Poole and assessments afloat and ashore at the station. On Monday he was put through his paces by RNLI Assessor Hugh Davies in his final assessment and passed with flying colours.

With 16 years of experience, Pete has given up much of his spare time to volunteer at New Quay Lifeboat Station and save lives at sea. In his many roles at the lifeboat station he is also an all-weather lifeboat mechanic, an inshore lifeboat helm and the station’s training assessor. Pete said, “It’s been a tough year but worth all the hard work. It was definitely a stressful final assessment as they throw every scenario at you from fire to emergency steering!

“I want to thank my partner Karis and the kids for their support at home, and of course I want to thank New Quay RNLI crew members for all their support, I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I am now looking forward to the challenge of being an all-weather lifeboat coxswain and welcoming the new Shannon class lifeboat in a couple of years.”

Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager said, “We all would like to congratulate Pete on his great achievement. He puts so much time into being a volunteer RNLI crew member, and now all his hard work has paid off. He thoroughly deserves being a coxswain. Well done Pete from all of us!”

Bernie Davies, New Quay RNLI mechanic added, “Only in the RNLI can you pass an assessment by driving a boat up the beach under emergency steering! Excellent work Pete.”

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