A BLOGGER has revealed the links between those involved in the various charitable trusts and enterprises at Cardigan Castle and drawn attention to the unusual recruitment process leading to the appointment of Facilities Officer, Sue Lewis.
Royston Jones, whose blog jacothenorth.net has given extensive coverage to the state of affairs at y Castell, sets out the tangled web connecting key parties.
Drawing attention to the coincidence that the Chair of the Trustees, Jann Tucker, the Trustee- Treasurer, Sandra Davies, and Ms Lewis all live in Aberporth, Jac o’ the North points out that they are all involved with overlapping organisations.
Jann Tucker, who is involved in a holiday homes rental business, is a trustee of Aberporth and District Youth Club, and also Aberporth village hall and recreation ground. Jann Tucker joined Joined Ymddiriedolaeth Cadwraeth Adeiladau Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust (‘Cadwgan’) on March 21 2000, and Ymddiriedolaeth Cadwraeth Adeiladau Castell Aberteifi Cardigan Castle Building Preservation Trust (‘Castell’) March 28 2000. She still serves as trustee on both charities and also served as a trustee / director on Cardigan Castle Enterprises Ltd from June 15 2010 to January 28 2015.
Sue Lewis, a former newspaper editor, is chair of the board of governors at Ysgol Gynradd Aberporth and also a trustee of Small World Theatre, who have coincidentally been heavily involved in Castell Aberteifi’s re-opening and launch.
Sandra Davies, the trustee treasurer, whose description of those expressing concerns about ‘mission drift’ at Castell Aberteifi as a ‘group of bigots’ is a millstone round the venue’s neck, is vice chair of the governors at Ysgol Gynradd Aberporth.
As Jac o’ the North points out: ‘We all say, ‘It’s a small world’, but humbling phenomena like this bring home to us how true that is’.
Another figure of mystery is Jonathan ‘Joff’ Timms. We know he was born in 1945, so he’s of a ripe age, and he joined ‘Cadwgan’ November 15 2006. On the Charity Commission website he is even listed as the contact for the trust.
As if that wasn’t enough, he and Sue Lewis seem to be the only directors left standing at Cardigan Castle Enterprises Ltd. So he appears to be the one person who is a trustee for both trusts and is also a trustee / director of the trading arm.
Given the distance between Mr Timms’ permanent residence in a village nestled in the North Downs, it can scarcely come as any surprise that Mr Timms has a holiday home in Ceredigion: As it happens, in – or near – Aberporth.
The public was originally told that among the project’s objectives was that it should attract ‘visitors who are seeking leisure learning activities related to the Welsh language, culture, crafts, environment and horticulture and ‘using the Welsh language, and the cultural traditions of the Eisteddfodau, as a tool for tourism development and regeneration’.
Jac o’ the North points out: ‘This has not happened except in the most cursory and superficial manner.’
A letter to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has bankrolled much of the development, and a copy of which has been seen by The Herald alleges: ‘In May of this year, the Gorsedd of Bards HAD AGREED to hold a Ceremony of Blessing at the Castle.. The Gorsedd Officials were KEEN to hold this ceremony and Mr Penri Roberts, of the Gorsedd Board of Officials will confirm that he was already’.
The next sentence alleges that a senior member of the Trust, not already named in this article, responded that the Eisteddfod would only visit ’over my dead body’.
The strength of local feeling is shown by correspondence shared with The Herald and with Jac o’ the North. One letter, dated June 15, reads: ‘Many people in Cardigan are very angry that the castle is being turned into an exclusive high end site with little opportunities for local people to get involved. It is scandalous that public meetings have not been held. We have at least sixty people in Cardigan who have asked to join as members but who have just been ignored’.
Cardigan Town Council is now taking an active interest in the activities at Castell Aberteifi. A council sub-committee has asked the Cadwgan Board for a copy of their constitution, as well as job descriptions of the trustees’ individual responsibilities. However the council will not now meet until September 1 because of the summer recess.
The council’s interest is likely to have been piqued by the decision to exclude the Town Council’s representative from a meeting regarding the future of suspended director Cris Tomos on the basis that it was ‘a staffing matter’.
And staffing matters have been a recurrent theme in recent months.
The post of Facilities Officer occupied by Sue Lewis since her redundancy as a newspaper editor did not exist before her appointment and was not advertised widely – not even in Ms Lewis’ former newspaper: So quite how Ms Lewis became aware of a serendipitous vacancy at a time when existing Castle staff were being asked to reapply for their jobs is something of a mystery.
Technically, the staff were on fixed term contracts which all came to an end in Dec 2014, and the staff were told that they would be welcome to apply for new posts. Sue Lewis was a member of the panel which did the interviews
The process ended around the beginning of December, and several of those who had been with the project for a long time were escorted from the premises. They included Rhian Medi, the daughter of the late Archdruid Dic Jones. Rhian was to have been education officer, but that post was axed showing a departure from the original vision for the project and a new focus on (possibly) ‘facilities’.
As a letter sent to the Heritage Lottery Fund points out: ‘Countless other interested parties along the years have been elbowed out of the project by a small group who view Castell Aberteifi as their personal property’.
The Herald emailed local Plaid AM Elin Jones for a comment. We received no reply.
An email to Mark Williams MP got only an automatic response.
Mid and West Wales regional AM Simon Thomas told us: ‘I have not been directly involved in the disagreements at Cardigan castle. As I have not been party to the emails you refer to nor talked to the parties involved, none of which have contacted me, I am not in a position to make a comment’.
Despite telling us that a statement was being prepared, the Welsh Government did not provide one before our deadline.
‘Cam Nesa’ project provides wellbeing packs to 16 – 24 year olds
The Cam Nesa project is part of European Structural Funds (ESF) Operational Programme and work’s with young people aged between 16 and 24 by providing them with options to access a range of tailored personal support and work-related opportunities to meet their needs and aspirations.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ceredigion’s County Council Cam Nesa team have been busy putting together wellbeing packs for its participants. The Well-being packs have been put together to support young people who may be experiencing loneliness, isolation or other vulnerabilities during this difficult time.
The wellbeing packs have been distributed to Ceredigion’s young people in recent weeks, over 3 months since the pandemic began and our usual way of life dramatically changed. Throughout the pandemic participants has also receive weekly calls as part of Porth Cymorth Cynnar’s keeping in touch service and it is hoped that the well-being packs support the work already done by this service by bringing some comfort and reassurance to Ceredigion’s young people.
Wellbeing packs included newsletters, leaflets, important contact details, information letters, puzzles, newspaper, hand cream, stress ball, calming art and colouring pencils, Shampoo/Shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste, sanitary products, confectionery and a motivational quote card all in a reusable cotton bag.
One Cam Nesa participant you who received a wellbeing pack said, “Thank you so much for the wellbeing pack. Its very kind thank you very much!”
Another participant said “Thank you for the welfare pack, I am very impressed with its contents, especially the chocolates”
Three launches in three days for New Quay RNLI
NEW QUAY lifeboat station has had a busy start to August with the D-class inshore lifeboat launching on each of the first three days of the month. The first shout saw the station’s youngest crew member, Jess Bainbridge, 17, attend her first callout.
On Saturday 1 August, the inshore lifeboat was launched following reports of two children cut off by the tide in New Quay. The casualties were located wading through the water and the lifeboat stood by until they safely reached the beach. Safety advice was also given to another person attempting to follow the same route.
While still on the water, the lifeboat was then requested to assist a 22ft leisure craft which had broken down. The lifeboat located the vessel to the north-east of New Quay pier and set up a tow before returning the craft to its mooring in New Quay harbour.
Huw Williams, New Quay RNLI helm said, “It’s been a difficult time, for our newer crew members especially, as we haven’t been able to train for the last few months due to Covid-19 restrictions. That didn’t seem to bother Jess; she was very calm and performed well under pressure.”
Jess, who works at the Cardigan Bay Watersports Centre in New Quay, added, “It was great to finally get that first shout under my belt and I was glad to be able to help.”
On Sunday 2 August the inshore lifeboat was launched at 12.15pm to assist New Quay Coastguard Rescue Team with an inquired person at Llanina, near New Quay. However, as the lifeboat arrived on scene, ambulance service paramedics had arrived so the lifeboat was stood down and returned to station.
On Monday 3 August the inshore lifeboat was again launched to assist New Quay Coastguard Rescue Team with an inquired person on Traeth Gwyn, near New Quay. The casualty was transferred from the beach to New Quay harbour in the lifeboat and the crew provided casualty care until the ambulance arrived.
Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI Operations Manager said, “With the school holidays in full swing remember to check tide times and weather reports before heading to the coast or out to sea. If you do find yourself in trouble, or if you see anyone in difficulty, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
Eat Out to Help Out Launches today – with Government paying half on restaurant bills
FROM today, Monday, August 3, customers will get up to 50% off on bills when visiting participating restaurants, pubs and cafes;
Half price discount will run through August and applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed on the premises – with Pizza Express, Costa Coffee and Nando’s among thousands signed up.
The scheme, part of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs, aims to protect jobs in the hospitality sector – which has been hit hard by coronavirus.
Diners across Wales will see their restaurant bills slashed by as much as 50% from today as the government’s landmark Eat Out to Help Out scheme officially opens for business.
Anyone visiting a participating restaurant, café or pub on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August will receive the half price discount – keeping more money in hardworking families’ pockets and giving a vital boost to the UK’s hospitality sector.
The scheme – part of the government’s Plan for Jobs that will spur the country’s economic recovery from coronavirus – applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks, with a maximum discount per person of £10. It could save a family of four up to £40 per meal.
2,084 outlets have so far signed up for the scheme in Wales.
You can check to find outlets in individual towns and cities by downloading the list here:
Alternatively, you can use the online restaurant finder to search for participating outlets using a postcode:
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “Wales has some of the best pubs, cafes and restaurants and our hospitality sector plays a vital role in our economy, employing thousands of people. Recognising the incredible challenges faced by the sector, we are doing everything we can to encourage customers through the door.
“By offering 50% off bills in restaurants, cafes and bars, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme will boost custom, protect jobs and help to kickstart the Welsh economy.
“I hope as many people as possible make the most of this fantastic scheme which is another step in securing the future of Wales’ world-class tourism and hospitality industry.”
More than 72,000 establishments are participating, including independent eateries and family favourites such as Pizza Express, Costa Coffee and Nando’s.
There have already been over 3.3 million hits on the Eat Out to Help Out restaurant finder since it launched last week, which shows what businesses are participating in local areas, and many restaurants have since seen a boost in bookings. Apps like Opentable, Fork and Bookatable are all planning pages to support the scheme.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Our Eat Out to Help Out scheme’s number one aim is to help protect the jobs of 1.8 million chefs, waiters and restaurateurs by boosting demand and getting customers through the door.
“More than 72,000 establishments will be serving discounted meals across the country, with the government paying half the bill. The industry is a vital ingredient to our economy and it’s been hit hard by coronavirus, so enjoy summer safely by showing your favourite places your support – we’ll pay half.”
The scheme will help protect the jobs of the hospitality industry’s 1.8 million employees by encouraging people to safely return to their local restaurants, cafes and pubs where social-distancing rules allow.
Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.
Many participating restaurants offer healthy and low-calorie options, and the scheme should be enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. No vouchers are needed, with the participating establishment deducting 50% from the bill.
People may be worried about returning to eat out. To address these concerns, businesses have prepared to become Covid-secure through, for example, protective screens, contactless payments, social distancing, one way walking systems, online bookings and reduced capacity.
The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is one part of the Chancellor’s £30 billion Plan for Jobs, announced last month. Other measures announced to protect, support and create jobs include cutting VAT for tourism and hospitality by 15%, a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme and an £8.8 billion investment in new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.
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