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Traditional Nepalese festival celebrated in Llanelli

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LAST Saturday (Sept 27) saw the Ghurkha Nepalese Association host a special evening at the town’s Selwyn Samuel Centre. The day marked the celebration of Dashain, the traditional Nepalese Festival.

Dashain is traditionally celebrated over a period of fifteen days, normally during the bright lunar fortnight ending on the day of the full moon.

The Herald proudly caught up with Mayor Cllr. Jeff Edmunds and Paolo Piana (Chair of Llanelli Community Partnership) to have their take on the special evening which was utterly unique.

A mixture of traditional foods with specialist meat proved popular as did Nepalese Rum during the celebration and was something entirely different!

Chair of the Llanelli Community Partnership Paolo Piana said: “There are currently fifteen Nepalese families residing and working here in Llanelli. All of the families were of Ghurka soldiers who’ve served in the Ghurka regiments of the British Army. The connection of the British Army goes back over a period of 200 years when the British forces based in India found that they were unable to defeat these tough warriors and instead recruited them in the British Army.”

“Most of the families have resided in Llanelli for over thirteen years and their children are ascertaining qualifications through local schools, colleges and universities.”

“The Chair of the Ghurkha Nepalese Association Tanka Rai warmly welcomed the Mayor Cllr. Jeff Edmunds, Mayoress Cllr. Lauren Edmunds plus myself.”

Also in attendance was Ann Evans (Chair of Llanelli Multicultural Network) plus representatives of the Royal Naval Association including Chair Dennis Morgan.

Mayoress Cllr. Lauren Edmunds presented bouquets to two young nurses who’ve recently qualified and have gained employment in Prince Philip Hospital. That was a very proud moment for everyone and worthy of celebration in itself!

The heritage and culture of the people from Nepal has enriched our town and helped to add to the cultural diversity in Llanelli. I’m so proud to have been invited along.

Mayor Cllr. Jeff Edmunds said: “Saturday’s event was wonderful, it was a celebration of the Nepalese New Year, 2067. There were around ten tables that seated nine families at the Selwyn Samuel Centre, it was an ideal venue and very accommodating.

“The support was clear for all to see with some families in attendance from Bridgend, however most are residing in Llanelli. There were children at the celebration who’d lived in Llanelli for some thirteen or fourteen years, my daughter Lauren who’s Mayoress knew some of the individuals that had received schooling in Coedcae Comprehensive School when she’d attended as a pupil.”

“A proud moment for all was when two of the ladies who’d qualified as Nurses and work locally in Prince Philip Hospital received gifts which they loved. I think that they’ve a lot of colour to add to our culture. Two young ladies did a traditional Nepalese dance which was impressive.”

“Speeches were extra special also, I was proud as Mayor to make a speech and Paolo rose to the occasion with his words for the Ghurkha Nepalese Association. It was something entirely different to celebrate the New Year with a diverse cultural group and celebrate their traditions. The Royal Naval Group were in attendance with ex serving members seated at our table. They proudly wore cookery badges that had been given to them by the Ghurkha retirees. They were clearly proud to wear the badges, I’d have worn one, I would in a heartbeat. It was a tremendous honour for me to have been invited as Mayor.”

“They all work in the economy and are extremely proud individuals. They’ve served so valiantly within the British Army and for our country. We should recognise this. Infact the Ghurkha regiment won twenty six Victoria Crosses, they have the highest count in the whole of the British Army. That’s the highest badge of honour that the country can give, imagine that!”

“Apart from their bravery and how they represented us in the first and second world war as well as other wars and in peace time also, they’re very generous people. The hospitality was second to none and the fact that they’ve bedded into our culture pleases me. We were looked after and had a superb time.”
The Nepalese Rum was a surprise as it was 57% alcohol/108 proof, whisky is 40 proof. The hosts were eager to pour seconds. I took a little sip and it was a strong tipple, possibly an acquired taste but a new experience that was extremely kind.

The Selwyn Samuel was an ideal venue and the staff couldn’t do enough. It’s great that this is an annual event and it was a pleasure to be welcomed by such wonderful people as Mayor. Wales is now their home.

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Outreach Van stationed as police commissioner responds to ‘community concenrs’

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POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn has instigated additional partnership working in Llanelli in response to local concerns relating to substance misuse.

Dyfed Powys Police is proudly teaming up with Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service (DDAS), Carmarthenshire County Council and CrimeStoppers Fearless campaign in order to engage with members of our community on a new outreach van, in order to support and signpost those in need during the festive period.

Each agency will be travelling together to Station Road in Llanelli in a new outreach van on Thursday December 12 and Monday December 16, and will be parked opposite the Premier store between 5pm and 9pm on both days.

Funded by Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn, DDAS will be offering:

•          BBV Testing for HIV, Hep B and C

•          Referral into DDAS for treatment

•          Naloxone kit dispensing

•          Harm reduction advice

•          Drug and alcohol education via drug box, beer googles, scratch and sniff cards

•          Information on safer alcohol consumption over Christmas

Officers from the council’s Homes and Safer Communities department will be in attendance to give information and advice on a range of issues including the regeneration plans for the Tyisha ward and how residents can have their say. They will also be able to advise on various housing options; and people will be able to discuss in confidence any housing matters they may have, for example, in relation to anti-social behaviour or noise nuisance.

The council’s Communities for Work team will be offering:

•          Support to develop your skills and gain experience

•          Acquire the training and qualifications you need

•          Find the right job

•          Basic IT support

•          Support with CVs and job applications

•          Volunteer and work placement opportunities

•          Health and wellbeing support

CrimeStoppers Fearless campaign workers, who are a dedicated young person’s charity which support young people in giving information about crime 100% anonymously, will also be on board the van and keen to engage with any young person in the area.  They will be educating youths about County Lines and the impact crime can have on their lives.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn stated: “I hope that this innovative delivery style of a dynamic outreach approach to substance misuse can become the norm in Llanelli in order to reduce the harm to individuals and the community. I continually listen to the communities I represent and respond.”

Dyfed Powys Police officers will also be on hand at different intervals to offer crime prevention advice and listen to and provide help and support for any issues you experience in your community.

Chief Inspector Chris Neve of Dyfed-Powys Police said: “I am grateful to the Police and Crime Commissioner and our partners for their support in this new initiative, which I hope will be seen as a valuable opportunity for the communities of Llanelli to engage with the services involved. I encourage anyone who requires support and advice from any of the agencies, or would just like to chat with any of them, to come along and visit the van on either date. This really is an important opportunity – and we all as a collective want to help as many people in need as possible.”

The council’s Head of Homes and Safer Communities Jonathan Morgan said: “This is an excellent opportunity for the community to speak to our officers first-hand about any issues they may have or any advice they may need on housing matters. We have exciting plans to transform the Tyisha ward and the community is a big part of that, we want to make Tyisha a better place to live and work for everyone.”

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Llanelli Councillor Resigns from Plaid Cymru

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SHOCK ANNOUNCEMENT JUST DAYS BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION

Jordan Randall, Llanelli Rural Councillor for Swiss Valley says he has resigned from Plaid Cymru because he is disappointed with the choice of Plaid candidate again for the forthcoming General Election.

The full statement, sent to The Llanelli Herald today: “This is not a decision that I’ve taken lightly but one which has been a long time coming. 
“I’ve had the privilege of being a Llanelli Rural Councillor in recent years to try my very best in making a difference where I can. I now look forward to continuing this work as an Independent Councillor for Swiss Valley, which will always be my priority. 


“I’ve been very disappointed with the choice of Plaid candidate again for the forthcoming General Election. If the party is to make any progress in the Town, then it needs a candidate who is local to the area and actually understands the everyday issues which face our communities. We do not need someone who is completely out of touch and unfortunately just sees Llanelli as a stepping stone to advance their own career. 


“Ongoing personal vendettas now seem to be the most important thing for Plaid Cymru at a local level. I no longer recognise the party. The party already lost a number of lifelong members in recent years due to the negativity locally. Astonishingly, they have also taken the decision to no longer have an all year round office presence within the Town. 
“Calls for national leadership have simply gone unanswered, with new leader Adam Price unwilling to intervene in any way to try to achieve a way forward.


“I am also not happy and have been for some time with Plaid’s position on Brexit as they are simply ignoring the wishes of the people of Llanelli as the Town overwhelmingly voted to leave in the referendum, a decision which whether people voted to Remain or Leave ought to be one which is respected. 


“Party politics is broken but I remain committed to campaigning to improve our public services, helping to sort out any concerns and supporting ideas which will strengthen and grow our community.”

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Plaid’s pro-EU Saturday push in Trimsaran

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DUBBED Pro-EU Saturday, the 30th November in Trimsaran saw the local girl and MP candidate Mari Arthur, descend on her home village of Trimsaran, to draw attention to the £680million of European Union (EU) funds that Wales receives every single year.


The only Remain candidate in Llanelli, Mari Arthur was proudly joined by Plaid Cymru regional AM Helen Mary Jones, Wales MEP Jill Evans, County Councillor Kim Broom, and a whole host of supporters, to speak with as many people as possible in the community ahead of the General Election on 12th December.


Plaid Cymru candidate Mari Arthur said: “I was thrilled to be joined in Trimsaran by so many people to talk about why EU funds have been vital for the area. We are a net beneficiary, which means that, as a nation, we get £245milion more than we pay into the EU.


“Trimsaran Leisure Centre itself is a building that received £180k from EU funds and is now the beating heart of the community. It’s great to see how this is still having a positive impact on people living in the village and further afield.”


West Wales and the Valleys is a “less developed region”, which means it is one of the “poorest regions” in Europe, as its GDP is less than 75% of the EU average. This means that £680million of EU funds comes to Wales, in the form of:


Structural Funds which amounts to just over £4 billion in extra funds to Wales since 2000, including £180,000 towards the build of Trimsaran Leisure Centre Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with £200million a year – almost a third of all EU funding in Wales – providing vital support to 16,0000 farms in Wales.


Other Funds that help support everything else, like the arts and biodiversity. Speaking from Trimsaran, Jill Evans MEP, said: “It’s wonderful to be here today in Trimsaran and to see the fantastic support on the doorstep for Plaid Cymru, and the only local candidate on the Llanelli ticket: Mari Arthur. It’s very heartening!


“Obviously, like elsewhere in Wales, there’s a real feeling of frustration on the doorstep in relation to Brexit – among those who voted to leave AND those who voted to remain three years ago. Plaid Cymru is proudly Remain, because we believe Brexit – particularly a No Deal Brexit – would be catastrophic for Wales.


“Ask yourselves this: will Westminster Government honour this level of funding, post-Brexit? It is almost certainly a No. Vote Plaid.”


Helen Mary Jones AM, also at Trimsaran Leisure Centre, said: “It was wonderful to be at Trimsaran and to have a glimpse into what the future could be like: with Kim Broom speaking up for the community at Plaid Cymru-led Carmarthenshire Council, myself at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, Jill in Brussels and then Mari at Westminster. It would be wonderful to have a team in place that could deliver comprehensive support to the community.”
The Pro-EU day highlighted the positive impact that EU funding has had on the lives of people and communities across the Llanelli constituency.

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