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NFU Mutual announces national winner of 2019 Tidy Farmyard Awards at Royal Welsh show

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THE WINNER of NFU Mutual’s 2019 Tidy Farmyard was announced at the Royal Welsh agricultural show.

Held to demonstrate the importance of a safe working environment, the competition attracted a range of quality entries from farmers keen to show they have done everything possible to make their farmyards safe for workers, family and the public.

The competition was judged by a panel of experts who visited five shortlisted farms to see for themselves how safety had been made their first priority.

The overall winner was Alun Davies of Glanwern farm in Ceredigion, who was awarded the £1,000 first place prize. Collecting the prize on behalf of Alun was his father Gareth and one-year-old son Aron.

Second place was awarded to William James of Trevithel Court, Powys. In third place was Glyn Davies of Penlan, Ceredigion.

Designed to raise awareness of the perils of modern farmyards to reduce the toll of accidents to workers, family members and the public, the idea for the awards came from NFU Mutual’s staff and network of agents in Wales.

Entries were initially judged on four photographs which showed how each farm addressed the challenges of maintaining an efficient tidy farmyard, with the judges visiting finalists to get a detailed picture of how they address safety on their farms.

The award judges were: Stephanie Berkeley, Farm Safety Foundation; Brian Rees, Chair of Wales Farm Safety Partnership; Andrew Turner, Health and Safety Executive; Gywn Barlow, NFU Mutual Risk Management Services and Mark Jackson, NFU Mutual Sales Manager.

“We’re delighted that the awards have attracted these excellent entries”, said Mark Jackson, NFU Mutual Sales Manager for Wales.

“As a mutual insurer which is closely connected with most of Wales’ farms, we are all too aware of the heartbreak farm accidents cause. We set up the awards to show what can be done to make farmyards safer and reward farmers who had really gone the extra mile to make their farms safe.

“Visiting the finalists showed much can be done to reduce the risk of farm accidents when farmers take action to protect themselves wherever possible.”

Judges were impressed that the winning farm had excellent cattle and sheep handling facilities, which materially reduce the potential for workers’ injures, as well as adequate training being provided. This was along with well-maintained machinery and good silage storage.

Mark continued: “I am hugely impressed by the positive mind-set of the finalists and their determination to make safety to their first priority on their farms. It was a tough task to decide the overall winner, however, Alun’s careful planning of a safe farmyard and attention to detail were the deciding factor.

“Seeing how the finalists had approached managing the potential hazards of a busy farmyard also shows it’s not necessarily expensive or time-consuming to put safety first but more about your mind-set and making sure that everyone on the farm understand the need for safety.”

The awards were run with support from the NFU Mutual Risk Management Services, HSE and the Farm Safety Foundation, the charity set up by NFU Mutual to help farmers work safely.

Recognising the hazards of modern farmyards to family members, workers and children, NFU Mutual has joined forces with the Farm Safety Foundation to urge farmers to assess the risk involved of everyday farming tasks which continue to cause high levels of injuries and deaths.

Stephanie Berkeley, who heads the Farm Safety Foundation, said: “Farming remains a vital part of our economy, employing nearly 346,000 people, but it still has the highest fatal injury rate of all the main industry sectors, around 18 times higher than the ‘All Industry’ rate.

“Six farm workers lost their lives in Wales in 2018. These are not statistics, these are six families, friends and communities who are grieving for a loved one. We fully support the efforts of our funder NFU Mutual and their partners HSE and the Wales Farm Safety Partnership to raise awareness of what a good farm looks like and helping drive a real improvement in the health and safety of the local farming community.”

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The county’s play areas to close

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ALL THOSE who manage Ceredigion Play Areas have been asked to close their play areas as of Monday, 23 March 2020.

This decision doesn’t come lightly as they are wonderful places to enjoy. However, you may have noticed people are still meeting in outdoor parks and communal areas outside. We must protect our communities and strive to ensure that people stay away from places where they can come together, especially children and young people who are not currently attending school. It is also important to note, it is reported that Coronavirus can remain on surfaces, including metals and plastics.

The Council requires all playground owners / managers in Ceredigion to ensure that the community keep away from the play spaces. These include community spaces, parks and skate parks.

If there is a gate or fence around the play area, it will be locked and a poster placed on the entrance. For those areas without a fence or gate, the poster will be put in a suitable place so that the public can understand that it is not safe for them to use the play area at present.

We thank all who are helping to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak responsibly.

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Community

The latest on plastic free Ceredigion

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At its meeting held on 17 March, the Council’s Cabinet received an activity update from the Plastic Free Ceredigion Task and Finish Group, which was set up after full Council approved a motion on 22 February 2018.

Full Council approved the ‘Plastic Free campaigns throughout the County, including Plastic Free Aberporth and Plastic Free Aberystwyth’ motion to ensure that the Council helps to reduce the amount of single use plastics used in our day to day operations.

The motion involved a number of factors including; reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and encouraging local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives. Promoting the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events, supporting beach cleans and any other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics.

Since 22 February 2018, the Council have removed 5 single-use plastic that were used across the local authority, implemented projects in conjunction with NRW with local primary schools, worked closely with communities throughout Ceredigion and commenced the provision of Water bottle re-fills on request to all visitors to our public facing buildings.

In January 2020, the Schools Service were successful in bidding for funding from the Circular Economy Capital Fund, which allows for the purchasing of milk dispensers which will remove the need for the provision of plastic milk bottles and straws by 1,979 pupils at Foundation and Key Stage 2. This is equivalent to a reduction of 376,010 plastic milk bottles per school year.

Councillor Alun Williams, Member Champion for Sustainability said, “These are initiatives which, together, make a real difference to the amount of single-use plastics going into the waste stream from Council activities. Whilst it’s important that everyone seeks to minimise their use of single-use plastics, it’s particularly important that large organisations like councils take these kinds of actions because they can have a wider effect which, in turn, can lead to industry changing to more sustainable practices. Ceredigion Council is trying to lead the way in showing what’s possible within an organisation.”

This supports one of the Council’s corporate priority of Promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.

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Community

Cabinet decision on former care home still stands

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The Council’s Cabinet met on Tuesday 17 March to discuss the recommendation put forward by the Corporate Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday 16 March, regarding the future of the former care home, Penparcau.

Following the discussion at Cabinet, it was decided not to support the recommendation put forward by the Committee. The Cabinet’s original decision made on 25 February will now be implemented.

The Committee recommended that Cabinet postpone progressing the sale of the former care home for 6 months, given the current situation regarding coronavirus, and following that period, both the Corporate Resources and Healthier Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committees reconsider the matter of future EMI Nursing in Ceredigion. The recommendation was made after councillors used the Councils’ call in process to review the Cabinet’s decision on 25 February 2020.

Councillor Rhodri Evans is the Cabinet member for Economy and Regeneration. He said, “The Council has actively sought the appropriate re-use of the former care home over a lengthy period of time. The Council initially undertook a procurement exercise to identify a provider between 2015 and 2017 and since 2018 sought to sell the property for a preferred use since. Both approaches have been unsuccessful. After careful consideration, it’s now time to consider alternative options for disposing of this asset and attract investment in the property. The money raised from the sale can then be used towards supporting service providing care elsewhere in the County.

The Council will continue to discuss options with Hywel Dda University Health Board for providing improved EMI provision in the County.”

The Council will liaise with Registered Social Landlords in the hope that a purchase can be agreed within 3 months. This is due to the continued need for affordable housing in the County. If this cannot be achieved, the land will be sold on the open market without identifying any preferred uses.

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