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Imagining alternative futures for mid Wales

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The Pryce Jones building in Newtown, home to the first modern international mail order business. But what does the future hold for mid Wales post Brexit? This is the challenge posed by Imagining alternative futures for mid Wales

AS THE debate rages on about the UK’s future trading relations with the European Union post-Brexit, people in mid Wales are being invited to put forward their visions for the region.

On Thursday 9 November 2017 Aberystwyth University is hosting a day-long programme of events entitled Imagining alternative futures for mid Wales.

Sixth form students from schools and colleges across the region will meet during the day to discuss the diverse challenges it faces and devise possible solutions.

Amongst the questions they will address will be how to promote well-being, economic growth and environmental sustainability.

This will be followed in the evening by a public debate with Baroness Eluned Morgan, AM; Dr Marc Welsh, Aberystwyth University; Mr Barry Rees, Strategic Director: Learning and Partnerships Ceredigion County Council and Ben Lake MP.

Both events are organised by the University’s WISERD Centre for Welsh Politics and Society.

Event organiser Professor Rhys Jones from the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences said: “The challenges faced by mid Wales are numerous and replicated in many other rural areas around the world. New technology, globalisation and the dominance of trade by large multinational corporations with vast resources are changing the way we live our lives from day to day. And on top of that we have the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and what it will mean to a predominantly rural area dependent on industries such as agriculture and tourism.

“The key question is how can we respond to these challenges constructively and in practical terms.”

“The day event has been devised to provide students with the skills they will need to understand the challenges faced by the region and enable them to devise alternative solutions to these challenges. It will be fascinating to hear what these young people have to say, as they represent the region’s future.”

The public debate Imagining alternative futures for mid Wales takes place at 6.30pm on Thursday 9th of November 2017 at Medrus Mawr, Penbryn, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth University.

The event is associated with two studies being conducted by researchers at Aberystwyth University; IMAJINE and GLOBAL-RURAL.

IMAJINE is a Horizon 2020 study of geographical inequalities and spatial justice in a series of regions throughout Europe.

GLOBAL-RURAL is a major European Research Council project examining the impacts of globalisation on rural regions.

Imagining alternative futures for mid Wales is organised as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Sciences which takes place from 4–11 November 2017.

The Centre for Welsh Politics and Society and GLOBAL-RURAL are affiliated to WISERD, the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods.

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Ben Lake MP stands up for Ceredigion’s hospitality sector in Parliament

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A WESTMINSTER Hall debate, brought about by an online petition signed over 200,000 times, saw MPs on both sides come together to shine a light on the challenges currently faced by restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and supply chain businesses across the UK.

During his contribution to the debate, Ben Lake MP emphasised the importance of the hospitality industry to Ceredigion’s local economy. Ceredigion is home to nearly 400 food and accommodation businesses, including 75 pubs, and together hospitality businesses employ 4,500 people in the county. This equates to over 16% of all employees, without accounting for the many supply chain jobs that are dependent on the sector, such as those found in breweries, food wholesale, and catering equipment hire businesses.

Figures published by UK Hospitality have shown that approximately 41% of hospitality businesses suggested that they would fail by mid-2021 and only one in five sector businesses have enough cash flow to survive beyond February.

Ben Lake MP said: “The vaccination programme of course offers some hope that we will see the level of Covid disruption reduce significantly this year, but hospitality businesses across Ceredigion tell me that they are deeply concerned about their immediate prospects for survival.

“I support calls for the Treasury to provide additional funds so that businesses can be supported to bounce back once restrictions have been eased, and to pause employer national insurance contributions for furloughed employees as a way of alleviating the burden on businesses that are still, in many instances, required by law to close. I also urged the Treasury to consider extending the business rates holiday for the forthcoming financial year, as well as extending the hospitality VAT reduction scheme into 2022.

“Not only would these support measures give businesses the support they require to see out this pandemic, it would also avoid the terrible situation whereby businesses that have previously received Government support are forced to close for good – leaving their employees without a job and previous Government support in vain.”

While there will be no direct action as a consequence of this Westminster Hall debate, it is hoped the result will put increased pressure on the UK Government to consider the proposal more seriously.

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Lifeboat Operations Manager in New Year’s Honours list

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Richard Llewelyn Griffiths the Lifeboat Operations Manager of Aberystwyth Lifeboat Station has been recognised for services to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Wales.

He has been awarded a BEM.

Having served as a RNLI volunteer for an impressive 47 years, it is his role in the last 21 years as Lifeboat Operations Manager (LOM) which has earned him the most respect.

His local knowledge has provided reassurance to casualties and crews alike when launching in difficult conditions.

His operational decision-making and station management skills are outstanding, and he is greatly valued by crew, management, volunteers and coastal personnel both past and present.

He has contributed greatly towards Aberystwyth being recognised as a ‘benchmark’ Inshore Lifeboat Station, serving as an example to the whole institution of how a station could and should be run.

Richard said: ‘I’m very surprised but honoured to be receiving a BEM – the news still doesn’t feel real. My father was awarded a BEM in 1988 and I still have his medal at home, so to be awarded one myself for my work with the lifeboats is a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to work with a number of characters during my time with the RNLI – both at Borth and Aberystwyth – and continue to volunteer alongside a good crew today.’

Nationally, a total of six Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) volunteers have been recognised for their vital role in helping the charity save lives at sea through the New Year’s Honours.

Mark Dowie, RNLI Chief Executive said: ‘Following a challenging 2020, it is particularly pleasing to see these RNLI volunteers recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. Together, they personify the RNLI’s ‘One Crew’ ethos, representing the variety and diversity of roles from a former full-time mechanic to shore crew and fundraisers to station managers, who collectively deliver a shared vision to save every one. On behalf of everyone at the RNLI, congratulations to you all for being recognised for your longstanding service, hard work and selfless commitment. And thank you for everything you do to help the RNLI save lives at sea.’

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Temporary closure of Minor Injuries Unit in Cardigan confirmed

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AS PART of its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hywel Dda University Health Board says it has temporarily closed the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Cardigan in order to redeploy clinical staff to support the COVID 19 response within Ceredigion.

The MIU, which is based in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre and normally operates from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, will temporarily close with immediate effect. The situation will be under constant review and normal service will be resumed when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

In the meantime, minor injuries help and advice is available as follows:

– visit the 111 symptom checker (https://111.wales.nhs.uk/)
– visit your local pharmacy
– call 111
– please do NOT self-present to the GP reception in Cardigan Integrated Care Centre as they do not deal with minor injuries.
– for emergency care the A+E departments are as follows:
· Glangwili Hospital A+E Carmarthen SA32 2AF
· Bronglais Hospital A+E Aberystwyth SY23 1ER
· Withybush Hospital A+E Haverfordwest SA61 2PZ

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