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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 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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