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Aberystwyth: Coopers sentenced over serious neglect of cattle

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A SENTENCING hearing was held on 10 April at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court to consider the guilty pleas submitted by Mrs. Margaret Cooper, 80 yrs old and Mr. Norman Richard Cooper, 55 yrs old. of Gilfachwith Farm, Bangor Teifi, in relation to the death and serious neglect of 84 cattle.

The prosecution follows an investigation by Ceredigion County Council Animal Health Officers, who visited the farm in May 2018 together with officials from the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

The Officers encountered scenes of utter devastation with dead cattle decaying in the livestock sheds. There were surviving cattle housed with these carcasses, and found to be suffering unnecessarily from neglect. The vet confirmed that the cattle were being caused unnecessary suffering, and the decision was made to take the remaining live cattle into the possession of the Council to prevent any further suffering. Some animals had to be dispatched following examination, due to the serious health conditions they had developed as a result of their suffering.

Ceredigion County Council’s Corportate Lead Officer for Policy and Performance, Alun Williams said, “The Animal Health Officers involved with this case have never experienced such appalling conditions at any farm in their careers. Most of the staff are from farming backgrounds, but they faced horrific circumstances in investigating and retrieving the live animals and the carcasses. This case does not reflect the usual high standards of animal husbandry that is the norm in the two and a half thousand farms in Ceredigion. Nevertheless, we remain vigilant, as this is unfortunately the second such case we have prosecuted in a matter of months. My gratitude to Council staff and to our solicitor in prosecuting this case is immense. I would also like to express my thanks to the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Rural Inspectorate of Wales, and the Police for working closely with the Council in dealing with the worst case of farm animal neglect in Wales in recent times.”

In sentencing, the Chair of the Magistrates said, “This was a horrendous case, as you know. We believe that your actions led to the sustained neglect of these animals, in that they were not provided with basic care needs, food, water, and bedding; dying tied to their stalls. There is clear evidence they have suffered over a long period of time. Also carcasses of those that had died were mixed in with those that were living, it was horrendous”.

Mrs. Cooper and Mr. Cooper were sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years, and disqualified from keeping any animals for ten years, with the only exception is that they are allowed to keep their four elderly dogs for the duration of the dogs lives. Mr Cooper was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work. They were ordered to pay costs to the Council of £2,500 each, with a victim surcharge of £115 each.

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Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Activity Programme

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THIS YEAR, Ceredigion Youth Service’s Summer Programme offers a wide range of activities over a period of four weeks during the summer holidays. There are 19 different projects, activities, workshops and events planned for young people aged 11-25 from across the county.

Activities this year focus on topics such as employability and upskilling, health and wellbeing, participation, sport and leisure and the environment. Young People will have the opportunity to develop new and existing skills including self-esteem, confidence, communication and problem-solving. They’ll all be held in fun environments where they’re able to meet new people, gain accreditation and participate in a range of activities.

Activities include a summer camp, an adventure residential stay, mountain biking, trips, taster workshops and more.

Gethin Jones is Ceredigion Youth Service’s Principal Youth Officer. He said: “The Summer Programme has been a big success for a number of years. It is of great importance to us that we continue to offer both targeted and open access opportunities for young people during school holidays, as well as term time so that support and engagement is available to young people throughout the year.

“The program offers a range of fantastic opportunities for young people from all across the county to get involved with, providing them with valuable opportunities and experiences that educate, build skills and develop confidence and esteem.”

Councillor Catrin Miles is the Cabinet member responsible for Learning Services, Lifelong Learning & Leisure. She said: “The Ceredigion Youth Service is providing a quality service which is clearly beneficial to our young people over the summer. The activities are great opportunities not only to enjoy but also to develop educationally, personally and socially.”

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Ceredigion Autism Conference 2019

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ON JULY 5, 2019, Ceredigion Autism Spectrum Team and Aberystwyth University Accessibility Services hosted the Ceredigion Autism Conference at Aberystwyth University.

At the sixth annual conference, autistic people focused on what is important to them about how other people think about autism. They also looked at how they are supported if and when they need support, and how other people can help them to build self-esteem, confidence and identity.

The conference was attended by over 130 people, bringing together autistic people, parents, carers and professionals from health, education and social care services and the voluntary sector. The agenda promoted our shared ethos and vision of understanding autism as a different way of thinking, learning and being; different but equally valuable.

Councillor Alun Williams, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Adult’s Services and Champion for people with learning disabilities co-chaired the conference with John Harrington Head of Accessibility Services, Aberystwyth University. The conference was opened by Carys James, Corporate Lead Officer for Children and Adult Services.

Councillor Williams said: “This was the sixth autism conference to be held in Aberystwyth and once again was very well attended. Whilst the audience was a healthy mix of autistic people, friends and carers alongside professionals working in related fields, the speakers and panellists were all autistic people. This allowed them to set the agenda and provided a unique learning opportunity for professionals to better understand the kind of support that can make a positive difference and to further improve the services we provide in Ceredigion.”

John Harrington said: “It is always an immense privilege to co-host the Ceredigion Autism Conference at Aberystwyth University. This year’s line-up of key note speakers were all inspirational and thought provoking about their autistic journeys through life.”

Key notes speakers this year were Chris Bonnello, who gave his 11 top tips for building autistic adults and children; Marianthi Kourti, who spoke about the challenges of being an autistic autism professional; and Kieran Rose, who gave a moving and insightful presentation about the effects of ‘masking’ and about what needs to change for autistic people to be fully accepted and supported.

For the closing session of the day, local autistic individuals joined the key speakers to form an expert panel, giving their experiences and perspectives of support services and answering questions from the audience.

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Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme

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A BUSY TIMETABLE of inclusive summer holiday activities for children has been organised across all Ceredigion County Council-run leisure centres in the county.

From football to bouncy castle sessions, from cycling skills to archery, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from over the course of the summer.

There will also be day camps and multi-skills activity days available at some of the leisure centres, for children to attend for the whole day. There’s even a day trip to the beach with Teifi Leisure Centre!

A range of learning to swim programmes are available at Lampeter Swimming Pool and Plascrug Leisure Centre across the summer holidays. A week of swimming lessons will be delivered solely through the medium of Welsh in Plascrug Leisure Centre starting on 5 August.

Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure Services. She said: “Ceredigion Actif is once again providing a busy timetable of fun activities during the summer. It’s a healthy and worthwhile way for children to spend their time during the summer.”

Booking for sessions is essential and staff at leisure centres reserve the right to cancel any session if attendance is too low.

For further information on the summer holiday activities planned, visit the Ceredigion Actif website.

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