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‘Downgrading Lifeboat will leave communities vulnerable’

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Elin Jones AM has called on the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities, to join the campaign to stop the downgrading of the RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat, to a much smaller in-shore vessel.

The volunteers at the station have been leading a campaign to halt the downgrading of their current Mersey class all-weather lifeboat to an Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat (B class).

Elin Jones also called for the minister to make representations to the RNLI and to the UK Government Minister for Transport, whose department includes the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Ceredigion’s Assembly Member, Elin Jones, told the Minister​: “Over the last few months, I have met several times with volunteers of the RNLI in New Quay, Ceredigion, along with Ben Lake MP.

“The volunteers feel that this vessel would not be appropriate for the coast of Ceredigion, which would be left without an adaptable and highly responsive rescue ship. The current lifeboat at New Quay has a range of 240 nautical miles (440 km), it carries a crew of six people, an additional inflatable lifeboat which it can deploy at sea and has a survivor compartment that can carry forty-three people.

“The RNLI are proposing that it is replaced with an Atlantic 85 is an inshore lifeboat, which has almost half the capacity of crew and rescue survivors. The proposed lifeboat is not suitable for use in all weathers, it is a much smaller ship than that which is currently deployed in New Quay, and it will vastly restrict the capability of rescuing people at sea from the station.

“The RNLI volunteers have showed me evidence of the effect that this downgrading will have on Ceredigion’s coast, and have raised concerns that people at sea would be left at considerable risk.

“Along with Ceredigion’s MP, Ben Lake, I recently met with George Rawlinson, Operations Manager for the RNLI, and I feel that many of the concerns raised by the volunteers, related organisations and general public, are not being met.

“As this decision will leave communities vulnerable, I would like to ask that you support the campaign, and that the Welsh Government urges the RNLI to reconsider the downgrading of this lifeboat.”

Ben Lake MP, who has been gathering support in Westminster for the campaign, said:​ “The RNLI Lifeboat Station at New Quay has delivered an excellent service for the past 153 years, and its crew needs to be given the correct equipment to continue their lifesaving work. The RNLI’s decision, as it stands, will not only affect New Quay but the whole of Cardigan Bay.

“Constituents are understandably concerned that there will be a gap, under the current proposals, in the all-weather rescue capability of Ceredigion’s coastline after 2020. This is not satisfactory, and I urge everyone in Ceredigion and further afield to join the campaign, in order to get this decision reconsidered.”

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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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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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