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Innovative ideas sought to help shape the future of rural Ceredigion

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THE CYNNAL Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group (LAG) is looking for innovative community led project ideas that could make a real difference to the lives of people living and working in Ceredigion.

Cynnal y Cardi, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council, has five themes where ideas are being sought under the LEADER scheme. All ideas are welcome on a rolling basis, with Monday, March 5 being the first closing date of 2018 for submitting ideas or expressions of interest.

LEADER, which aims to support innovative responses to opportunities or challenges faced by rural communities, is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic and Community Development Services, Ceredigion County Council said: “We hope that this call for project ideas will continue to enhance the capability of rural communities, providing opportunities to develop the rural economy of Ceredigion.”

The five themes that ideas can be supported under include: enhancing the natural and cultural resources of Ceredigion; facilitating pre-commercial activity and new business partnerships and networks; exploring new ways of delivering non-statutory services, facilities and activities; exploring renewable energy opportunities; and making the most of digital technology in local communities. Cynnal y Cardi welcomes ideas under any of the above five themes, in particular those that can be supported under the second, fourth and fifth themes.

The second theme aims to support a knowledge-based economy, strengthening networks between community and business sectors in the county by sharing best practice and resources. Supporting new and innovative opportunities is key to this theme in terms of trialling new products/processes and supporting feasibility and research work.

One of the challenges facing Ceredigion is the number of young people leaving the county to find work elsewhere. Ideas are welcome under the second theme to support initiatives that assist individuals to access work, training, volunteering opportunities and other services and to encourage leadership skills as well as upskilling Ceredigion’s employment workforce.

The fourth theme aims to support ideas relating to renewable energy on a community level. Support is available for pre-development work such as facilitating partner/stakeholder meetings, undertaking familiarisation study visits and investigating the feasibility of developing a community renewable initiative. Reducing the impact of long term rises in living costs is also a priority.

The fifth theme supports ideas that ensure the best use is made of new and emerging technologies that are key to developing the rural economy. Ideas can relate to the piloting of projects that improve service delivery to remoter areas; that combat isolation; that support skills development and opportunities promoting the culture and heritage sectors for the economic benefits of the county.

Chair of the Cynnal y Cardi LAG, Mared Rand Jones said: “These are just a few areas of activity that Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group is looking to support.  Ceredigion has a lot of potential and so we are looking for innovative ideas from people who want to make a real difference to their rural communities. Whether it is a pilot project or a feasibility study that needs supporting and developing – it’s a positive step toward a stronger and more resilient Ceredigion.”

To discuss your ideas and for information regarding eligibility of support, please call Meleri Richards or Marie Evans on 01545 572063 or visit www.cynnalycardi.org.uk.

The closing dates in 2018 for submitting ideas/expressions of interest are: 05 March; 11 June; 10 September; and 17 December. All submissions are welcome in Welsh or English.

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Ben Lake MP joins push to encourage more accessible rail journeys in Ceredigion

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Ben Lake MP has joined forces with the rail industry to encourage more disabled people in Ceredigion to travel by train using the Disabled Persons Railcard, which offers a third off journeys.

Ben Lake attended a parliamentary event on accessibility and inclusion in rail, hosted by the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail. The event showcased the work the rail industry is doing to change and improve the network to make it more accessible. This includes enabling disabled people to make more discounted journeys with the Disabled Persons Railcard.

Last year 2969 journeys starting from Ceredigion were made using the Railcard, up from 2401 in 2015. This compares to a 43% increase across the country as a whole, with Disabled Persons Railcard journeys rising from 5 million in 2015 to 7 million in 2019.

The Disabled Persons Railcard offers a third off adult rail fares at any time on the National Rail network for people with a disability, plus a companion. On average, passengers with the Disabled Persons Railcard save £108 a year, even after the £20 cost of the card is factored in.

The rise in accessible journeys reflects the work rail companies are doing to make services more accessible. The industry recently launched a new interactive ‘Access Map’ to make it easier for passengers to find out at a glance how accessible their local station is. The industry is also working together to improve passenger assistance bookings, with new technology currently being rolled out for staff and a customer app launching next summer to make bookings easier.

Since 2006, the rail industry has delivered £500million of improvements at stations including making them more accessible, with £300 million of additional funding from government to make 73 more stations accessible by 2024.

Ben Lake MP said: “Everyone in Ceredigion should have the opportunity to travel by train and today’s event shows the rail industry is working hard to improve accessibility across the country and make the railway easier for everyone to use. I’m pleased to work with the rail companies to raise awareness of the discounts offered by the Disabled Persons Railcard and hope more people will benefit from big savings that can be made.”

Jac Starr, chief operating officer at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies and Network Rail, said:

“We’re working hard to improve the railway, making more stations step-free and adding thousands of new and refurbished carriages which are more accessible. While record numbers of people are saving money with the Disabled Persons Railcard, we want everyone to benefit from the improvements we’re making which is why we’re encouraging eligible disabled people to sign up for a card and save on their journeys.”

Transport Accessibility Minster Nusrat Ghani said: “We are absolutely committed to improving the experience of disabled passengers across our network.

“Working alongside the Rail Delivery Group and Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, we are currently reviewing the eligibility criteria of the Disabled Persons Railcard, looking at how we can improve provisions for carers or companions.

“We also recently announced the 73 stations receiving a share of £300m of Access for All funding, as we work towards an entirely accessible transport network by 2030 with assistance if physical infrastructure remains a barrier.”

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Ceredigion County Council commits to be a net zero carbon council by 2030

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CEREDIGION councillors have supported a motion to make Ceredigion County Council a net zero carbon local authority by 2030. The councillors supported the motion in a meeting on 20 June 2019.

The agreed motion was based on Councillor Mark Strong’s initial motion which raised concerns about a Climate Crisis. An amendment was made to commit the council to an ambitious and specific target. Councillors also agreed that a clear plan should be developed within 12 months to achieve the net zero carbon status.

Councillors also called on Welsh and UK Governments to provide the support needed to achieve effective carbon reductions.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Mark Strong. He said, “Faced with a Climate Crisis, I am pleased that my fellow councillors have agreed that we need to take drastic action to reduce our emissions. The council has already reduced carbon emissions a great deal, but we must go much further.”

Earlier in the month, the council’s Cabinet approved its third Carbon Management Plan. The ambitious new plan is targeting a 15% reduction in emissions by 2023. The previous plans have achieved a 45% reduction of CO2 since 2007/8, a reduction of over 7,000 tons of CO2.

The new Carbon Management Plan includes a number of projects to achieve the emissions reduction target. They include investing in a new more energy efficient fleet of council vehicles and improving heating systems in Ceredigion schools.

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Cered organises a Thai food cooking evening

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Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion officers organised several nights of activities with the ‘Ffynnon’ youth club in Llandysul to provide new opportunities through the medium of Welsh for the older members in the club.

The nature of the collaboration was holding a training evening to cook Thai food and then the following week, use their newly found skills by hosting a Thai food evening for the community. The older youth members of ‘Ffynnon’ were given the opportunity to entertain local people through the medium of welsh and encourage those who were learners of the language to socialise in Welsh.

Llinos, Cered Development Officer, said, “This work was a great opportunity for Cered to work with ‘Ffynnon’, the young people in the club and the community. They learned all sorts of new skills such as cooking Thai food, planning every element of the evening from the food preparation, the decorating of the room, serving food and so on. It was lovely to see the young people eagerly engaged in the tasks and raising confidence in practical work and all this through the medium of Welsh.”

The evening was a sheer success, and the money raised will go towards humanitarian projects which will include a possible trip abroad to Zambia to volunteer in a children’s orphanage.

Steffan from ‘Ffynnon’ said, “In Y Ffynnon, we are eager to give opportunities not only to hear the love of God, but also to show that through serving the local community in Llandysul. The Thai night was a great experience and hopefully a start on what we hope will be a great year.”

Both nights were run by Sian Davies and Noi Francis. Siân Davies said, “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work with Cered and Ffynnon to teach new skills to the young people, whilst also supporting them to raise money for their future plans. It was a pleasure to work with everyone, and they worked really hard to make the evening very successful.”

For more information about Cered: Menter Iaith Ceredigion events and activities, visit their website, cered.cymru or their Facebook page, @ceredmenteriaith. Or, get in touch by calling 01545 572 358.

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