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Praise for Ceredigion residents from COVID partnership

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The multi-agency partnership set up to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in Ceredigion has praised the population for their efforts in keeping their communities safe over recent months.

The Ceredigion Incident Management Team is a partnership between Hywel Dda University Health Board, Ceredigion County Council, Aberystwyth University, Public Health Wales, Dyfed-Powys Police, the Ceredigion Contact Tracing Team and Aberystwyth Student Union.

Its deputy chair, Barry Rees, said: “We have asked the public to make considerable sacrifices and change the way they live and work, and the people of Ceredigion have responded. I’m very proud of the way people have reacted and protected themselves, their families, their communities and the NHS.

“It’s clear to me that the majority of people are following the guidelines, such as maintaining social distancing and wearing face coverings, and they are to be congratulated for playing their part in tackling this virus.

“This global pandemic has brought people together, and this sense of togetherness has also brought out the best in us in the way that we support and care for each other. Our message to the public is to live your lives, but at the same time remain vigilant, continue to follow the rules and manage the risk.”

As of Tuesday 10th November, the number of COVID cases in Ceredigion is 471 per 100,000 population, which is among the lowest in Wales.

Following the fire-break, the Welsh Government has introduced a new set of national measures, including allowing:

two household bubbles to be formed
up to 15 people meeting indoors for organised activities
up to 30 people meeting outdoors for organised activities
The reopening of pubs, bars, restaurants, where Groups of four people from different households are allowed
The reopening of gyms, and other businesses

Full details about the post-firebreak restrictions can be found here.

Anyone who has symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss/change of taste or smell) must book a test as soon as possible. This can be done through the online UK portal at www.gov.wales/coronavirus.

Please ensure when booking that you select the option you need (for example, only book the walk-in centre if you are not able to travel in your own vehicle to the drive through facility). People who attend the walk-in centre must wear a face covering.

Please do not book a test if you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and do not attend testing centres without booking first as you will not be seen without an appointment.

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Intense Hopes and fears as Woodland homes to go before planners

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FINDING a home and finding a job is the most important challenge for young local people.

So the excitement is intense at the prospect of six live work units on the edge of Rosebush village, edged by the 100 acre forest. The zero carbon homes would be fuelled by wood and solar PV and be built of local timber.

The developers are Coed Preseli and Down to Earth, with the support of Cooperative Wales, PCC housing department and  the Future ‘Generations office of Welsh government. They would be rented to local people in perpetuity, at low rents, people who want to run a business from home, relating to the forest resource or supporting the local area.

Architects plan

Thirteen local young families are queuing up for the six homes, one writes: “It would be mine and my partner’s dream to have something like this project. He is a time served carpenter, spoon carver, furniture maker. He has also done some chainsaw carving. Oh and is a qualified engineer. I am a newly qualified furniture maker, and we are slowly building up a collection of tools to start a workshop of our own.”

Another said: “I used to work in forestry driving a forwarder and harvester mainly doing thinnings, but now I have become an arborist (tree surgeon) and I know Huw the forest manager has been trying to introduce pine Martins and Ospreys down here. Which a friend has been climbing the trees to put in man made nests for them and I’d love to be part of helping them”

Another works with big machinery in forests, leaving his family for long days in an upstairs flat with a small child and no access to a garden. It is hard on them. For this family too, the development would be the answer to their prayers.

The National Park Authority is recommending refusal on the plans

But The National Park Authority is recommending refusal on March 10. They give a number of reasons for rejection. The architect representing the owners have written to explain how each reason is erroneous or has been addressed.

The young families are puzzled. Under One Planet Development people can come in from away and build a home in the open countryside, but local people offered the chance of the workshop they desperately need, with a home to rent at social housing rates, on the edge of an existing village, are all turned down. There is heartbreak and bewilderment among them. 

“We are offering new businesses. We are working and paying taxes. This is our community where our families are. Don’t they want us here?” As a well known north Pembrokeshire Councillor exclaimed “What is wrong with the Park?”

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Aberystwyth walker’s 100 miles challenge in time for 64th birthday

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HYWEL DDA Health Charities has thanked epic fundraiser Annette Smith from Talybont, Aberystwyth who has raised £710 so far walking over 100 miles in 21 days, around her local area to raise money for Bronglais Chemotherapy Day Unit.

Annette normally walks at the most 60 miles a month, so the 63 year old had really pushed her limits. She started on 10 th February and finished mile 100 on Tuesday 2 nd March, ten days before her 64th birthday on 12 th March, when she’ll celebrate her achievement with some well-deserved cake!

Annette has walked every day, trying to get to walk done in the morning to give her a good start to the day.

She says “I want to give something back to our local services in the NHS. I feel incredibly lucky that my family and I haven’t been too affected by Coronavirus and I want to do my bit to help. I feel like I need to do something to say thank you.

“I also want to set myself a challenge and push myself out of my comfort zone. Something for me to feel proud of.

“I have friends who have used or are using the chemo unit and I am worried pressures on services will increase once life starts to go back to normal.”

Annette said the challenge was a test of her physical and mental grit, but added that it was lovely to explore her local area and enjoy the surroundings.

She added “I feel ecstatic that my personal challenge has raised such a goodly sum to contribute to the great work of the Chemotherapy Day Unit at Bronglais Hospital. Their work will continue beyond this current crisis. Thanks to all my supporters and it would be great to think that my efforts could raise even more!”

Hywel Dda Health Charities is the official NHS charity for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and

Pembrokeshire. Fundraising Manager Tara Nickerson said, “We are always grateful when people take the time to support our work, delivering services and activities above and beyond what the NHS provides. It’s truly inspiring when people who have received NHS care decide to give back as Annette has. The money she raises will directly benefit NHS patients and staff.”

There’s still time to support Annette’s amazing efforts and donate at

http://www.justgiving.com/anothersmithy

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Cardigan veteran completes three months of icy dips to raise over £4,000 for homelessness charity Crisis

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ICE, snow and rain: Bryan Larkin from Cardigan has swum through it all over the last three months, and all to raise over £4,000 to help people without a home.

A former mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Bryan took daily dips in December, January and February as part of homelessness charity Crisis’s Icebreaker challenge.

Shunning a wet-suit and smashing his £1,000 target, the 29 year-old has swum in the sea, rivers and waterfalls, as well as plunged into icy water buts and showered himself with cold hosepipes.

“The most challenging moments have to have been when the days were below 0°C with added wind chill and it was snowing or hailing. It meant you were cold before getting in and then even more so getting out and trying to get changed to try to warm up, while your body temperature continues to drop,” said Bryan.

Knowing that my daily efforts have inspired others to donate and take part, to raise crucial funds for homelessness and seeing where that money goes, has really kept me focused and motivated.”

Bryan said hot homemade soups have kept him going through the bad weather, along with friends and family. They also helped him with his video finale, ‘showering’ him with icy hoses, buckets, glasses and balloons of water from around the country.

After leaving the army, Bryan experienced mental health issues and a school friend who has been homeless recommended the Wim Hof Method to him. Named after the Dutch extreme athlete, it combines exposing oneself to cold temperatures with breathing techniques to improve overall wellbeing. Through researching cold water swimming, Bryan then came full circle when he discovered the Crisis Icebreaker.

He relished the opportunity to combine what he had learned with an issue he cares passionately about.

“Seeing my friend getting back on his feet is a big driver for me, even though he’s still struggling big time. It just baffles my mind that people have to live outside,” said Bryan.

Crisis provides year-round support to people without a home, whether they are sleeping rough, in cars, sheds, sofa surfing or in temporary accommodation. Through its eleven Skylight Centres across Great Britain, it provides employment, well-being and housing support to help people end their homelessness for good.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Bryan for his truly epic efforts over the last three months. The money he has raised throughout the bitterly cold winter will make a real difference to Crisis’s year-long work to end homelessness. His passion will show people without a home that they are not forgotten.”

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