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Fire chief warns of further cuts to service

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THE MID AND WEST WALES FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE has revealed the extent of budget cuts, whilst speaking at Ceredigion’s full council meeting last Thursday (Mar 21).

At the meeting last Thursday, Fire Service Chief Officer Chris Davies told councillors that in a time of austerity, the service has had to make significant cuts.

He said: “We’ve stripped out 20% of our budget… 27% of firefighters posts removed and 34% of middle to senior management posts have been removed over the last six to eight years.
“We are at the point now where anymore cuts to us will mean a reduction in service delivery.
“It means that someone, somewhere, will receive emergency response more slowly than they currently do.”

Mr Davies added: “We’ve made significant cuts as I know you have as a council.
“We are at the point now where there are only three things that we can cut… personnel, appliances and equipment.”

The Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service serves Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Swansea, Powys and Neath Port Talbot. The Service covers some 4,500 square miles and makes-up almost two-thirds of the landmass of Wales, with nearly 12,000 square kilometres of road networks and 650 kilometres of coastline. Census data suggests that the permanent population of the service area is 900,000, but the fire service say that it can be proven that during the summer, the population exceeds two million.

Statutory duties of the service are fire safety, firefighting, road traffic collisions and emergencies. Other operational challenges include building fires, grass fires, flooding, urban search and rescue as well as terrorism response. Grass fires in particular were a major problem last year, and in the period between April and June, the Mid and West Wales fire control received over 27,000 calls regarding that issue. The co-responder scheme, which utilises specialist vehicles to assist the Welsh Ambulance Service in the case of medical emergencies, has been considered a success. Mr Davies described ROSC (Return of Spontaneous Circulation) as meaning ‘someone has been brought back to life’, and 54 such instances have been confirmed across the service area.

Mr Davies added: “That means that 54 people are walking around today who wouldn’t have been, if they [co-responder vehicles] weren’t in place.”
A wide variety of risks are found within the operational area, ranging from the petro-chemical industries in Milford Haven and Briton Ferry to the risks associated with heavily populated areas such as Swansea, Port Talbot and Llanelli. There is an extensive farming community and many other light industries throughout the area. These, together with an extensive coastline and inland waterways are some of the specialised risks within the Mid and West Wales region.

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Ceredigion Youth Service Awards Night Success

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Ysgol Henry Richard pupils receiving certificates.

ON Tuesday, 9 April, over 220 young people and their families, from across Ceredigion joined Ceredigion Youth Service to celebrate their annual Awards Night. The evening was an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the achievements and successes of all young people who have engaged with Ceredigion Youth Service during the past year.

Young people attended from each Secondary School in Ceredigion, Coleg Ceredigion, Ceredigion Training, young people working with the outreach service, and all the young people who attend youth clubs, youth projects and holiday provisions. There has been a wide variety of projects, activities and events held again this year, with up to 5,000 young people in attendance. These have been successful due to the commitment and enthusiasm shown by the young people from all over Ceredigion.

The special awards presented during the evening included awards for Young Volunteer of the Year, Outstanding Contribution awards, Campaign of the Year, Special Achievements and Community Engagement awards. In addition to the special award categories, numerous local certificates were celebrated and distributed to young people achieving national accreditations or to those who have participated in various clubs and projects.

Beca Fflur Williams, Chair of Ceredigion Youth Council leading the evening.

Catrin Miles, Cabinet member for Learning Services opened the evening. The evening was then hosted by Beca Fflur Williams, Chair of Ceredigion Youth Council. Guest speakers included Ashlie Day, Chloe Toose and Thomas Evans, Ceredigion Youth Service Young Volunteers. The awards were presented by Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Eifion Evans, Chief Executive of Ceredigion County Council and Hag Harris, Chairman of Ceredigion County Council. Clips were shown on the screen including a message from MP Ben Lake. The night was closed by Chelsea Jones and Louise Bryan, members of Penparcau Youth Club.

Elen James, Corporate Lead Officer for Lifelong Learning and Culture said, “Both Ceredigion Youth Service and the Council are extremely proud that over 400 young people have achieved awards through the Youth Service during the past year. Youth Service provision is hugely valuable to young people’s development as they transition into adulthood. Our youth clubs, outreach provision, work within schools and holiday programs offer a variety of opportunities for young people to be a part of something that supports and interests them.”

“The number of young people achieving awards, accreditation and certificates this year is a reflection of our young people’s commitment and enthusiasm across the county and it was a pleasure to welcome so many young people and their families to celebrate with us in Theatr Felinfach. Congratulations to you all!”

For more information or to find out what opportunities are available to you, head over to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages at @GICeredigionYS or contact the team on youth@ceredigion.gov.uk.

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Students help to replace bridges at Parc y Llyn

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Replacement bridge at Parc y Llyn, with some of the students from the Countryside Management Course, Aberystwyth University,

STUDENTS of the Countryside Management Course at Aberystwyth University have been constructing two new bridges to replace the old structures at a popular riverside walk in Aberystwyth, near Morrisons.

Timber for the bridges, some of which was grown and milled on the University Farm, was made into kit form at the college workshop before being assembled on site to span two culverts alongside the river Rheidol.

Students gained experience in the whole bridge building process, from site assessment to the finished project, through the Practical Estates Skills Project. Also included in the project was, the construction of a kissing gate at Penglais woods using timber clefted from a chestnut tree at the Local Nature Reserve, and repair of some of the steps there.

This is the last year in which the Practical Estate Skills Project will be undertaken. This brings to an end a 20-year long partnership between the University and the County Council’s Coast & Countryside Section. Over the years, students have been given the opportunity to contribute to improving the footpaths, bridleways and public access in the various communities over that time.

Public Rights of Way Officer, Eifion Jones said, “Ceredigion County Council is very grateful for the work done and wishes to thank the students and course tutors for their contribution to the maintenance of the reserves.The two new foot bridges is a credit to them all, and will serve the community of Aberystwyth and the surrounding area for many years to come.”

Funding for the materials were financed by the Coast & Countryside section via the Welsh Assembly Environment and Sustainable Development Grant (ESD) and by Aberystwyth University. All work regarding the gate was financed by Aberystwyth University, including the felling of a sweet chestnut tree by a Tree Surgeon.

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Newcastle Emlyn: Luke Cuber-Hives burgled and set fire to Adpar heath shop

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A CARMARTHEN man has been jailed for the burglary and arson of the Riverside Health Shop in Adpar, Ceredigion last year.

Luke Cuber-Hives now of of Ty Croeso, Adpar, Newcastle Emlyn has been handed 54 months in custody.

Police have said: “An extensive enquiry received the support of the local community, who identified his involvement in further theft and fraud offences. Cuber-Hives appeared before
Swansea Crown Court yesterday, where he received a jail term totalling 54 months.”

Detective Inspector Richard Yelland, senior investigating officer into the enquiry, told The Ceredigion Herald: “This sentence sends a strong message that arson is a serious and dangerous act.

“Ceredigion has seen first-hand the devastating impact these mindless acts can have on victims, and the fear it spreads in the community. We saw in Aberystwyth that fire can quickly take hold and lives can be lost.

“In this case it appears, the fact that nobody was hurt was due to luck, rather than the judgement of Mr Cuber-Hives.

“I hope that anyone considering such behaviour will think twice before committing such offences with a long prison sentence waiting for those who get caught.”
The incident took place in the early hours of November 27, 2018

The 28-year-old was charged with stealing five charity collection boxes to a value unknown from Riverside Health Shop between November 26-27; committing fraud at Newcastle Emlyn by claiming he was collecting money for charity on November 26 and also stealing a set of ladders and marble worktop worth £350 from Riverside Café between November 19-20

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