A COMMUNITY radio body should be set up to provide practical and effective support for Wales’ network of community radio stations, says a National Assembly for Wales Committee.
A report from the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, also recommends establishing a closer relationship with the BBC and commercial radio stations to share knowledge, access to resources and help with talent development.
Community radio was introduced following legislation, in order to introduce a new tier of radio broadcasting in the UK, focused specifically on community engagement. There are currently eleven community radio stations in Wales.
Ten stations, Calon FM, Tudno FM, BRfm, Radio Tircoed, Radio Glan Clwyd, Môn FM, Radio Cardiff, Rhondda Radio, Bro Radio and GTFM are already on air with Radio Aber aiming to start broadcasting soon.
The Committee’s short report into community radio in Wales contains a total of eight recommendations and is published based on information gathered during a Community Radio Symposium held on 20 June 2019 at The Atrium in Cardiff.
People from all community stations, academia, commercial radio, the BBC and members of the Committee attended the symposium to discuss a range of issues including where stations could collaborate (both within the community radio sector and with commercial radio/the BBC) and solutions to common problems.
The first recommendation published in the report is that the Welsh Government should fund a community radio body for Wales to offer practical support to stations, perform a representative role and co-ordinate cross station knowledge sharing. Practical support might include performing common tasks for stations like HR, marketing or grant writing.
The body should also help forge links between community stations and commercial and BBC radio, to help volunteers gain experience and develop skills across Wales.
The Committee also recommends that community radio is given access to the output of the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service and are given first refusal with a preferential rate when the BBC sell off equipment they no longer need.
Bethan Sayed AM, Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee: “During our work into community radio stations in Wales, we discovered the wide range of benefits that these stations provide the communities they serve, as a community link and hyperlocal news provider. They also provide a route for people to gain valuable training and experience in radio, whether they are interested in a career or just want to learn new skills and meet new people.
“Early into the symposium event, we saw for ourselves the value of networking as representatives from one station managed to help another with advice on a long-term technical issue. This affirmed our opinion that radio stations must be given opportunities to share knowledge and help each other. A Community Radio Body, funded by the Welsh Government, would co-ordinate this network and provide much needed practical support for both on-air and non-studio roles.
“We also believe that the sector would benefit greatly from closer co-operation with the BBC and commercial radio stations and sharing access to the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service would enable them to cover their local authority proceedings as part of a valuable hyperlocal service.”
Labour’s Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire Candidate Marc Tierney, who has extensive experience in commercial and community radio, told The Herald: ““I am pleased that Assembly Members have taken an interest in developing the Community Radio sector here in Wales. Over the years, community radio in Wales has been one step behind other parts of the United Kingdom due to various restrictions imposed by the regulator which has, due to our rurality and lower population, made it more difficult to establish stations here.
“At a time when commercial stations are consolidating and regionalising or even nationalising their output, the community sector can fill a vital gap in providing programme content that meets the needs of our diverse communities. As someone who started work in Commercial Radio almost twenty years ago, I understand the importance of a vibrant local media that gives a voice to communities, provides access to local news and current affairs and offers training opportunities for young people.
“The future of radio is very certainly now DAB and this report gives a welcome push to Ofcom, the communications regulator, to do all it can to embrace community broadcasting and to support the sector in empowering communities in every corner of Wales.”
Scarlets’ grassroots clubs show community spirit in delivering vital food packages
Scarlets community clubs have been working together to help deliver vital food packages across the region.
Volunteers from grassroots clubs and WRU girls hubs across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been helping take the food packages to vulnerable members of society who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The clubs have teamed up with the Scarlets Community Foundation — the charity arm of the Scarlets — and Carmarthen-based food wholesaler Castell Howell, while Scarlets players Osian Knott, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Jac Morgan have also lent their hand to the operation.
More than 300 packages were due to be delivered on Monday and Tuesday (April 6 & April 7), with the initiative highlighting that even without any action on the field, rugby clubs remain at the heart of their community.
Scarlets Community Foundation manager Caroline Newman said: “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received from local clubs, the number of people prepared to volunteer to help the most vulnerable in our communities has been touching.
“People’s reasons for requesting packs have often been heart-wrenching and it really has made us appreciate what we have.
“The foundation has worked closely with Castell Howell to make sure the packages are ready to go to those whose need is greatest, managing to turn things around pretty quickly and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, our funder, Castell Howell, all the clubs, our helpline volunteer and the foundation members.
“Great teamwork which has made me proud to be part of the fantastic community that rugby creates.”
Here are the rugby clubs and WRU girls rugby hubs taking part in the initiative
Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Amman Utd, Ammanford, Burry Port, Betws, Bynea, Cardigan, Cefneithin, Felinfoel, Fishguard & Goodwick, Furnace Utd, Haverfordwest, Kidwelly, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandybie, Llanelli Wanderers, Llangennech, Llangwm, Merched Mynydd Mawr, Milford Haven, Narberth, New Dock Stars, Newcastle Emlyn, Neyland, Penybanc, Pontyates, St Clears, Stradey Sospans, Tenby Utd, Tumble, Tycroes, Whitland, Yr Hendy.
Dumped rubbish cost Llanelli man hundreds of pounds
A Llanelli man has been ordered to pay over £600 after his household waste was found dumped in a quarry in Llwynhendy.
Robin Adam Collins of Pottery St, Llanelli, admitted failing to ensure his waste was deposited legally when he appeared at Llanelli Magistrates Court.
The court heard that Carmarthenshire County Council enforcement officers visited Genwen Quarry following a complaint from the public of waste being dumped there.
Officers found a large pile of household waste including black and blue bags, plastic and cardboard.
After recovering items, the rubbish was traced back to a property in Pottery Street.
When officers visited the property the 43-year-old admitted the waste had belonged to him and his partner but claimed that he had paid a man named Alex who he found on Facebook to take his rubbish away. Collins was unable to provide any further information as to the identity of the person who he claimed had transported his waste. He was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). After failing to pay Carmarthenshire Council took the matter to court.
Collins was fined £120 and was ordered to pay £458.36. He must also pay £32 victim surcharge.
Carmarthenshire Council’s Executive Board Member for Public Protection, Philip Hughes said: “Every householder has a responsibility to ensure their waste is disposed of in the proper manner. It is also their responsibility to ensure that whoever they choose to engage the services of to remove any waste is a licenced waste carrier. If not, and your waste is found dumped then we will not hesitate to take action and if necessary go to court.”
Commissioner proud of ‘Seaside Kicks’ project
POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn proud of new youth initiative in Llanelli area – Seaside Kicks.
Following funding from the Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office, a new youth initiative has been set up in partnership with Swansea City Football Club Community Trust. Seaside Kicks was launched in Llanelli in January 2020 to engage the youth of the Glanymor and Tyisha area in positive activities.
Having only begun in January, already more than 150 young people in the area participate on a weekly basis. They take part in various practical activities with the Seaside Kicks, such as football coaching sessions, as well as informal sessions that addressing crime issues.
Whilst visiting one of the sessions that are being held on Ysgol Penrhos’ 3G field, Llanelli on 25 February 2020, Dafydd Llywelyn said “I am privileged to be here to see for myself the positive influence an initiative such as Seaside Kicks is having on the youth here, and the wider community. As a sports enthusiast, and having played football at many levels in my youth, I am fully aware of the influence that sport and exercise have on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in general.”
The initiative is run through the English Premier League’s ‘Kicks’ national program, and is delivered locally by Swansea City Football Club Community Trust. The program aims to use football and sport in general to inspire youth living in deprived areas.
Craig Richards from the Swansea City FC Community Trust, said “Premier League Kicks provides free weekly football sessions and educational workshops to young people, giving them opportunities, support and pathways to reach their full potential and divert them away from crime or criminals. It was a pleasure to welcome the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn to Seaside Kicks session to see so many young people having great fun in a safe environment”.
Sean Rees, Llanelli Town Councillor for the Glanymor Ward added, “We were delighted to welcome the Commissioner to ‘Seaside Kicks’ whose funding has helped to make this happen. This is partnership work at its best. It is a pleasure to link up with the Swansea City Football Community Trust, Police and Crime Commissioner, our PCs and PCSO’s, Ysgol PenRhos, Seaside AFC, Llanelli Town Council and the Community Safety Partnership in bringing forward such an exciting project.
“My thanks go to all the young people who are really enjoying and their parents who continue to turn out in such great numbers to support these sessions.
“Given its overwhelming success, the next step now should be to make ‘Kicks’ a permanent project in Glanymor Community.”
The investment in Seaside Kicks is part of a wider investment by the Commissioner in the Glanymor and Tyisha areas. Both areas have been identified as some of the most deprived areas in Wales. The Commissioner has allocated funds of £50,000 towards community projects and initiatives in these areas.
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