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Bodlondeb closure decision to be ‘called in’

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IN A dramatic turn of events, it has been reported that the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee could call in the planned closure of Bodlondeb Residential Home, Aberystwyth, as a first step to securing a vote on the issue by the whole Council.

On Tuesday, November 7, the Council’s Cabinet, voted unanimously to back the closure of the home on or by March 31, 2018. The Cabinet also decided that no new admissions would be made to the home before that date.

No formal announcement has yet been made on a call-in of the Cabinet’s decision, but given the Council’s pre-Christmas timetable, if the decision is to be reconsidered by the Healthier Communities Scrutiny Committee and then voted on by the full council, an Extraordinary meeting will be required of the Scrutiny Committee, possibly as early as next week, in order to get Bodlondeb’s fate before councillors at their meeting on December 7.

REACTION TO CLOSURE DECISION

Defending the Cabinet’s decision, the Cabinet member responsible for Social Services, Councillor Catherine Hughes said: “The decision to close Bodlondeb was a difficult one to make; I’m very aware that the home has served older residents of the county and their families well for decades. The demand and needs of older people are changing with people opting for care in their own homes. This decision allows the Council to use resources effectively to ensure the best possible quality of care for our older residents.”

Indicating that the fight was far from over a Ceredigion People’s Assembly representative said: “Despite the community’s strong campaigning, Ceredigion council has favoured austerity again today. Our concern reaches further than Bodlondeb care home – this is just one example of cuts to services.

“The council insists that the answer is austerity, without looking at alternative ways to make ends meet and have taken the easy way out today by cutting provision for the most vulnerable.

We are looking at the possibility of taking the decision to a full council meeting, and that other Ceredigion councillors will not want to deprive the residents of Ceredigion further.”

Former Ceredigion MP Mark Williams said: ‘The council has simply failed to recognise the need for a vision of adult social care provision across Ceredigion; is retreating in its role as a public sector provider; and is mistaken in its view that as the number of elderly grow then its residential care provision should be reduced’.

A spokesperson for the Save Bodlondeb Steering Group said after the meeting: “Of course we are disappointed, it is a major blow to our hopes of making the Cabinet see the flaws in a plan which leaves the biggest centre of population within the County without its own council run care home, or indeed any replacement provision for the foreseeable future.

“However, we are not planning to rest up at all.  We are extremely hopeful that sufficient Councillors will disagree with the Cabinet decision so that the decision may be ‘called-in’, that is the matter be brought before a meeting of the full Council to discuss.

“We would to thank those Councillors who did speak passionately in defence of Bodlondeb: Cllr Harris, Cllr Lloyd, Cllr Lloyd Edwards, Cllr Elizabeth Evans, Cllr Ceredig James, Cllr John Roberts, Cllr Steve Davies and Cllr Alun Lloyd Jones.

“This decision is a real test of the Save Bodlondeb Campaign’s resilience but the fact that so many of us were prepared to travel to the Council Headquarters and protest outdoors in such atrocious weather is testament to our determination to achieve our goal, which is to Save Bodlondeb until suitable provision is in place.”

Local AM Elin Jones, Llywydd Cynulliad Cymru, also condemned the decision to close the home: “I’m saddened that the cabinet has found itself in the position of proposing the closure of Bodlondeb. In my view, no decision to close should have been taken until a properly consulted plan for the provision of elderly care in the Aberystwyth area was in place.

“It feels as though the cart has come before the horse.

“The Council needs to move quickly to give reassurance to the people of the Aberystwyth area that the needs of the elderly population for the years to come will be met by the council and other providers.”

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Ceredigion Museum to reopen with a new exhibition

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CEREDIGION Museum in Aberystwyth is to reopen its doors to the public on August 12 after being closed due to the pandemic.

It will reopen with Human Threads; a stunning exhibition of historic quilts, with the addition of two new quilts – one digital and one physical – made by Ceredigion residents to record their experiences of the pandemic. 

Staff say they are excited to be reopening with a wonderful exhibition, having missed visitors and access to the museum for more than a year.

The museum will initially be open from Thursday to Saturday each week, from 11am until 4pm. 

Research by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions shows that 75% of respondents want visitor attractions to retain Covid-19 safety measures, so the museum has put in place a booking system to limit the numbers of visitors at any one time. There will also be lots of opportunities to sanitise hands and visitors will be asked to social distance and wear masks for the foreseeable future.

Initially, visitors will only have access to the shop and the first floor of the museum. As key café staff were redeployed into new jobs to support schools and care homes and they are still needed in these vital roles, the café won’t be reopening for the time being.

The museum shop, however, will be open and full of lovely new products, many designed especially for the quilt exhibition.

The website will have full details of the exhibition. People will be able to book their visit from August 5 at www.ceredigionmuseum.wales

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Llandeilo going for Fair Trade Status

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A NEW steering group has formed in Llandeilo to achieve Fair Trade status for the town.

“Many of our local shops and venues already stock or serve Fair Trade products and I believe Llandeilo deserves to be officially recognised for this,” says co-founder town councillor Christoph Fischer.

“It’s fantastic to see so many businesses and stakeholders committed to Fair Trade in Llandeilo,” says Candace Browne of Y Pantri Glas, Llandeilo’s Zero Waste and Natural Foods store. “However, for me Fair Trade extends beyond insuring workers growing imported exotic produce like bananas and chocolate are treated fairly but also to trading fairly with our local producers and sourcing good food locally. As Chair of Slow Food Cymru, Slow Food Town status with a shared vision of “Good Fair Food for All” would also be great for businesses to work towards for our community.”

The group, which has representatives of several businesses and interested individuals, are currently mapping all products that local shops, schools, groups and organisations offer and are lobbying the town council and other bodies to get behind the movement by declaring their own commitment to Fair Trade.

“As town councillor and as individual I feel this initiative fits perfectly well with the trend in town for fair trade,” says Fischer. “As Member Pioneer for the Llandeilo Coop part of my role is to initiate projects like this and bring all parts of the community together. We already had positive replies from Café 139, The Lighthouse, Heavenly, Ikigai, CK’s, Crown Stores, Umami and Llandeilo Primary.”

If you and your organisation want to commit to Fair Trade or are stocking Fair Trade products, please contact ChristophFFischer@googlemail.com

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RNLI lifeguards and lifeboat crew to be awarded for brave Ceredigion rescue

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THREE RNLI lifeguards from Ceredigion have been recognised with a bravery award for saving the lives of a man and his 10-year-old son. 

With assistance from Cardigan and New Quay RNLI lifeboats, the lifeguards rescued the two kayakers who were caught in a strong offshore wind and being swept out to sea. 

For their brave actions during the rescue, the three lifeguards are to receive the prestigious Alison Saunders award, which is awarded each year to recognise the skill and bravery of lifeguards.

The pair of kayakers were rescued at Tresaith last September, having capsized 800m offshore in strong winds and bad sea conditions. Seasonal RNLI Supervisor Sam Bailey and RNLI Lifeguard Macsen Mather demonstrated remarkable courage and selflessness in entering the water, in the full knowledge that they would not be able to return to the shore unassisted, due to the wind and sea state. They were well aware they would be spending a prolonged period of time in the water in cold conditions.

Senior Lifeguard Lowri Davies remained ashore to co-ordinate the rescue with HM Coastguard, who requested that both New Quay all-weather lifeboat and Cardigan inshore RNLI lifeboat launch to support the lifeguards. Despite it being her first season as a senior lifeguard, Lowri executed her role with confidence and assurance, managing communications between lifeguards, lifeboats, and HM Coastguard, and offering reassurance to her colleagues in the water throughout the rescue. 

Having reached the kayakers, Sam and Macsen used their rescue boards to secure the casualties out of the water in order to keep them safe until the lifeboats arrived to recover the whole group.

By the time New Quay and Cardigan lifeboats arrived at Tresaith, the group had drifted over 1.5 miles out to sea. Cardigan RNLI volunteer crew transported the group to shore where the casualties received further medical attention from HM Coastguard for the effects of the cold. Both lifeboat crews will receive a letter from the RNLI’s Chairman for their part in the rescue. 

Roger Smith, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager says: “This rescue was a superb team effort, with RNLI lifeboat crews launching in direct support of their lifeguard colleagues. We are massively proud of our lifeguards, who showed great bravery and resolve during this rescue. They entered the water to save lives, in the full knowledge that they would be unable to return to shore unaided, trusting our lifeboats to back them up. The awards recognise their collective courage and professionalism. Working together, our team saved two people from drowning that day.”

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