TWO organisations in Ceredigion, Penparcau Community Forum Ltd and Woody’s Lodge, have achieved the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Award for 2021. Awarded by the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Wales (RFCA), the awards recognises employers who have actively demonstrated their support for the Armed Forces community through implementing practical policies in the workplace.
Following the announcement of the awards, Ceredigion County Council’s Chairman and Ceredigion’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Paul Hinge said: “As Armed Forces Champion I’m delighted that two high profile charities that operate in Ceredigion have been recognised for their contribution in the Employers Recognition Scheme. I know that the Armed Forces Community both serving and those who are veterans really appreciate the hard work these organisations have put in to achieve these awards which are there to help those transitioning back into civilian life and those who are reservists to bring their highly transferable skills back into our community to help enhance the future of Ceredigion. My most heartfelt congratulations to them.”
A total of 24 organisations across Wales were awarded. Under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, employers support Defence personnel and encourage others to do the same. The scheme has three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold for organisations that pledge, demonstrate and advocate support for Defence and the Armed Forces community.
To achieve Silver, organisations must proactively demonstrate that the Armed Forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of their recruitment policies. They must also actively ensure their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards Defence people issues for reservists, veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, and spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.
Situated near Llandysul, Woody’s Lodge is a meeting space where those who’ve served can find expert advice across a range of topics as well as the chance to make new friends and re-connect with their loved ones.
Graham Jones, Woody’s Lodge Chief Executive Officer said: “It was such a nice surprise to receive the award in recognition for the hard work carried out by our team across Wales.”
Situated in Penparcau, Penparcau Community Forum Ltd is a community-led organisation that develops sustainable and inclusive community activities for the benefit of all.
Karen Rees Roberts, the Forum Manager said: ‘’We are extremely proud and grateful to receive this accolade and would like to thank Colin Jones the Veterans Peer Support Mentor for all his hard work.’’
Domestic abuse victims in Wales to be given more time to report assaults
DOMESTIC abuse victims in Wales and England to be given more time to report assaults.
New measures targeted directly at keeping women and girls safer will be added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last week (Jan 4) the UK Government has announced.
Under the changes, victims of domestic abuse will be allowed more time to report incidents of common assault or battery against them. Currently, prosecutions must commence within six months of the offence.
Instead, this requirement will be moved to six months from the date the incident is formally reported to the police – with an overall time limit of two years from the offence to bring a prosecution.Domestic abuse is often reported late relative to other crimes; so this will ensure victims have enough time to seek justice and that perpetrators answer for their actions.
The UK Government says that today’s announcement builds on measures already in the Bill to better protect women such as ending the halfway release of offenders sentenced between four and seven years in prison for serious sexual offences – forcing them to spend two-thirds of their time in prison.
In December, the legislation was amended to make clear that a new legal duty requiring public bodies to work together to tackle serious violence can also include domestic abuse and sexual offences.
It means that these crimes should be taken as seriously as knife crime and homicide, with police, government, and health bodies required to collaborate locally, so that they can develop more holistic strategies to protect people from harm, including through early intervention.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “My commitment to making our homes, streets and communities safer for women and girls is clear.”
“Every department in government is working to address and tackle all issues relating to violence against women and girls.”
“The Government has a focussed strategy, dedicated to providing essential support for survivors, the prevention of crimes against women and girls and bringing perpetrators to justice with the full force of the law.”
“Our actions include the new Domestic Abuse Act, with important changes to our laws; a newly created national police lead responsible solely on violence against women and girls, and millions of pounds have been invested in direct safety measures through the Safer Streets Fund.”
“These are all important public confidence measures and changes to ensure the safety of women and girls in public spaces.”
The UK Government has also said that taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be made a specific offence punishable by up to two years in prison.
It covers situations where the motive is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm.
Similar legislation introduced by the UK Government in 2019 that criminalised “up skirting” has led to more than 30 prosecutions since it became law.
Vandalised church passes fundraising target
A FUNDRAISER to rebuild a vandalised church met its goal of £20k within three days.
Eglwys y Grog, which is situated near the cliffs at Mwnt. It is a well known landmark, and is a favourite among photographers.
Clive Davies, a local County Councillor, claims he is “totally blown away” with the donations.
He said the church was targeted on 2 December, and again on 20 December, in “a pointless saddening act.”
“There was nothing of value in the church and it was a senseless act. There was no money there, just a small little church,” he added.
“The church members were getting a lot of requests to donate money and they contacted me to do something coordinated online so I set up a JustGiving page for them.
“It’s been a global response really, three thousand pounds came in overnight. There were messages of support from America, and there was a couple from Australia as well,
“There are a lot of good people out there and it is an amazing start to 2022 for us.”
When the campaign was launched on January 1st, a £20,000 goal was set.
The inside of the church, as well as the leaded church windows and gated entrance, were all damaged.
Mr Davies, who is also a local councillor, claims to have long-standing family ties to the church, which includes plaques honouring his great-grandparents on either side of the altar.
“The local community has been amazing, supporting it and the power of social media made in tenfold,” he said.
“It was like a snowball effect really, local businesses have offered not only financial support but will be part of the restoration work needed now.”
“I’ll be meeting with the church members and the vicar and we’ll start discussing what needs doing, but also we’re going to have to look at safety for the future and what could we do in terms of security,” he added.
He stated that it was critical for the church to remain open while staying safe.
£250 boost to all Ceredigion food banks
PLAID CYMRU Councillors from Ceredigion will donate £250 to each food bank in the county to alleviate pressures over the Christmas period.
The issue of food banks continues on a daily basis in most towns in Wales due to lack of funds and benefits being cut.
Individuals and families are forced to use food banks to make sure they have food for their children and families.
A spokesperson for the Councillors said: “Ceredigion County Council’s Plaid Cymru Group of Councilors is delighted to announce their decision again this year to donate £250.00 each to every food bank in Ceredigion.
“Food banks in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Aberaeron, Llandysul, Lampeter will benefit from this over Christmas.
“Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
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