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Start saving for Christmas now, urges Credit Unions of Wales

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credit unionHAVING passed the halfway to Christmas mark, the Credit Unions of Wales are encouraging families to start saving now to put a stop to money worries during this year’s festive season. People in Wales are the second highest Christmas spenders in the UK, with the average Welsh household spending £596 on gifts each year. By setting aside £24 a week from this week on, families will be able to save their annual spend in advance of Christmas. This way they can avoid falling into debt and will only pay as much as they spend, rather than having to pay back interest on top of a loan to help them cover the cost. There are 21 credit unions in Wales and many of them offer special Christmas Saver accounts which ‘lock’ your monthly savings until November. This means you can only access your savings when it’s time for present shopping and won’t be tempted to spend them on something else before Christmas arrives. Several also offer incentives, such as a £10 bonus so people can start saving straight away or entering all account holders into a December prize draw. Many credit unions across Wales also offer low-interest Christmas loans which can be paid off within a year with small weekly payments. One example is Cardigan-based West Wales Credit Union which offers a £100 Christmas loan with weekly payments of £2.33 and a total repayment of £112.70. The Credit Unions of Wales have recently joined forces to participate in a Wales-wide marketing campaign to encourage more people to save, borrow or invest with their local credit union. Campaign spokesperson and General Manager of North Wales Credit Union, Barry Roberts, said: “Thousands of households across Wales struggle to balance their gift budgets with paying bills on time, but thankfully Christmas isn’t one of those unforeseen expenses such as a broken boiler or car repairs so you can prepare for it. “We’d always recommend saving in advance for such occasions so that you’ve already covered the cost before you incur it and by starting now you’ll be well ahead. “If you don’t manage to save everything you need in time, we also offer Christmas loans with much lower interest rates than payday lenders and we make sure you only borrow as much as you can afford. “With all of the sales on over the summer, it’s even worth thinking about taking out a loan now so that you can get your gifts at a better price and pay off the cost before Christmas arrives.” Credit unions are regulated by the same supervisory bodies as banks and customers’ savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but credit unions offer additional member benefits such as no hidden admin costs, set-up fees or early repayment charges. Credit unions have no third party shareholders which means dividends are paid to savers instead, and they don’t rely on automated credit checks so all loan decisions are ultimately made by a real person. There are 21 Credit Unions across Wales, which means that everyone in Wales has a local credit union they can join. To find yours, visit www. creditunionsofwales.co.uk

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Domestic abuse victims in Wales to be given more time to report assaults

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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.

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Vandalised church passes fundraising target

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The inside of the Church was also subjected to vandalism

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 leaded windows of the church were smashed in with rocks

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.

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£250 boost to all Ceredigion food banks

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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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