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Co-operative pioneers lead the way



cooperativeFOURTEEN modern cooperative pioneers from across Wales have gathered together to participate in a photo-shoot to celebrate Cooperatives Fortnight 2014.

 The photo-shoot mirrors a photograph of the original Rochdale Pioneers co-operative taken around 150 years ago. Each of the ‘modern pioneers’ is involved in a dynamic cooperative or employee owned business which, between them deliver a range of vastly different products and services across Wales. From manufacturing to training, retail, communications, pubs and football clubs, co-operatives are still pioneers within their sectors so many years after the start of the movement. The co-operative pioneers of 2014 operate at the heart of their businesses and organisations and believe that cooperatives have an important role to play in supporting communities and developing the economy of Wales. Today the co-op sector in the UK is worth around £37bn per year and employs roughly 235,000 people. In Wales the sector is worth around £1.54bn per year and employs in the region of 11,000 people but many within the movement believe the sector offers even more potential for growth. Derek Walker is Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, commented: “Working together is the central principle of co-operatives. Each of our co-operative pioneers know that co-operatives are viable and sustainable business models that work to achieve the aims of their organisations. “Today’s modern co-operative pioneers are symbolic of a resurgence of interest in co-operation and socially focussed business models. “The Welsh Co-operative and Mutuals Commission published an influential report earlier this year that made a number of practical recommendations which focussed on supporting the development of cooperative businesses across a range of different sectors. “The will is there to stimulate this sector because of the sustainable benefits co-operative business models can offer communities and to the Welsh economy as a whole”. Cris Tomos has been involved in many co-operative ventures. In north Pembrokeshire he helped set up Canolfan Hemron near Crymych, a community co-operative that is currently opening a community cafe as part of the old school site in the village and offering a 10.83% investment to local people for supporting the development www.canolfanhermon. Most recently, he has been involved in a town regeneration cooperative, 4CG in Cardigan, and an energy generating co-operative, Cwm Arian Renewable Energy. He is also the volunteer treasurer of West Wales Credit Union. “The role of co-operatives and mutuals is extremely important and the key is to have the vast majority of local people taking up membership. Having a community co-operative in every neighbourhood would allow the creation of community action plans, to address the weaknesses and develop the opportunities of the locality. Having co-operative energy companies in each community and town council in Wales would see money spent locally for local benefit”.

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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.

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Vandalised church passes fundraising target



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



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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