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Council in Chaos Over Music Cuts

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AN UPDATE on Ceredigion Council’s cuts to its schools’ Music Service, due to be discussed by Councillors on Wednesday 17 July, shows that the Authority’s plans are in chaos according to parents and supporters of the Service.

Over recent weeks, parents have been asked to indicate whether their children are interested in receiving lessons from September 2019 at the new standardised charge of £140 a year.
The Council’s latest update says that between 700 and 800 children are interested in receiving lessons, down from just under 1,200 in 2018-19.

Also, the document says that changes to the delivery of the Service are now planned to come into force in January 2020, half way through the school year.

Supporters of the Music Service have questioned the purpose of a programme of Council cuts and restructuring, which may have put off up to 36% of pupils from receiving lessons for the sake of only increasing income by 8%.

A spokesperson from Friends of Ceredigion Young Musicians said: “We have warned for months that the cuts were badly thought out, and this seems to confirm it. The Council aimed to cut the core funding and introduce new standard fees for lessons, higher than most parents currently pay. But if their own figures are to be believed, over a third of families may have been put off taking up instrument lessons, so the income that Ceredigion receives to fill the funding hole may increase by less than a tenth.

“We very much hope that the numbers of children receiving lessons next year will be higher than the Council’s figures suggest, and we’ve been very active in encouraging parents to register their interest.

“But parents will wonder how on earth the Council can justify introducing changes to the Service, which may be far-reaching in terms of the teachers who will be employed and how lessons will be delivered, half way through a school year?

“All along, our main concern has been to ensure that music is available to all, not just those who can afford to pay more, and to ensure continuity for pupils. There are reports of good teachers looking to move elsewhere due to the uncertainty they’re facing.

“The Council has ignored any criticism of its plans, but must now surely pause and think again.”

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Ceredigion Public House to be served with a prohibition notice

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On Friday night, 27 March 2020, officers from Ceredigion County Council`s Public Protection Team came across a country public house serving customers alcohol, and open for business in contravention of the recently issued Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Police assistance was called and the landlord will now be served with a prohibition notice. A number of other offences were identified and a report will be made to the Council`s Licencing Committee.

Inspections by the Council’s Public Protection Team during the week have shown that the overwhelming majority of local businesses have voluntarily closed when they have been required to do so by the emergency regulations. Other businesses, where permitted to do so, have quickly diversified from serving foods to be consumed on their premises to providing deliveries or takeaways.

Premises that have been permitted to remain open have diligently and rapidly adjusted to social distancing measures. The vast majority of the community recognises the need for, and the importance of these emergency measures and has willingly played its part.

Over 70 premises were inspected last week, however only one premises failed to follow the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 introduced.

The Council’s Public Protection officers will continue to monitor compliance, with support from the Dyfed-Powys Police if appropriate. Businesses and premises which breach the regulations will be subject to prohibition notices and fines. Businesses that continue to contravene the measures will be forced to close down. Individuals and companies who do not pay their fine may also be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.

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Appeal following assault

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POLICE in Aberystwyth are keen to speak to a ‘good Samaritan’ who gave the victim of a serious assault a lift.

Aberystwyth CID are making enquiries into an incident in the early hours of Sunday, March 22, in which a man sustained significant injuries.

The assault took place in the Bridge Street area, near to Trefechan Bridge, shortly after 2am.

Officers are appealing for witnesses, or anyone with CCTV of the area, to make contact with the investigation team.

Police are also keen to speak to another man who has provided the injured victim with a lift in a van to the Trefechan area shortly after the assault.

If anyone has any information regarding this incident, or can assist the police in any way, they are asked to email contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or call 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired you can also text the force’s non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Ben Lake MP backs #Care4Carers fundraiser

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Ben Lake MP for Ceredigion has thrown their support behind a new fundraiser to support care workers who have been affected by Coronavirus.

The fund has been setup by the Care Workers’ Charity, and is being supported by More United, a cross-party network of MPs. The fund will give grants to those on the front line of the care service in the event that they have to self-isolate.

The fund has so far raised more than £100,000 and has been supported by more than 60 MPs from across eight political parties.

Ben Lake MP said:

“This is a fantastic initiative that deserves our support. Alongside frontline staff in the NHS, care workers in Ceredigion form a vital pillar in our society and are at the forefront of the efforts to fight COVID-19, and they deserve our full support. We must make sure that, should a care worker have to self-isolate, they will be supported through any financial hardship they may suffer.”

Tabitha Morton, Chief Executive of More United said:

“These are challenging times for everyone, but the way that people have come together in a time of crisis is amazing. We saw as a nation how we value the incredible work carers deliver everyday with #ClapforCarers, and this new fund allows people to show that they #Care4Carers and make sure that if a care worker needs financial support then they will get it.”

Karolina Gerlich, Executive Director at The Care Workers’ Charity said:

“COVID-19 is one of the biggest crises our generation will see in its lifetime. Care workers are at the frontline of this, caring for the people in our society who are most susceptible to the virus. If a care worker needs to self-isolate they will fall into desperate need. For this reason, we need more funds for extra emergency grants. I am very grateful to all MPs that have signed the letter of support for our campaign. ”

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