HERALD NEWS UPDATE
THE CHAIRMAN of the Carmarthenshire United Sports Committee has written a letter to every single County Councillor in Carmarthenshire expressing his concerns over council plans to spend on stone walls on roundabouts and to invest in new projects while running existing projects into the ground and eventually selling them off or closing them off to the public. Mr Kevin Francis is asking councillors to support him against the onslaught of cuts. First Minister Carwyn Jones has also stated that it is now up to the council and councillors to convince the people of Carmarthenshire that the County Council is not officer led and to explain to the people why they are not using the £100 million plus they have in reserves.
Mr. Francis writes
This email has been sent to every councillor in Carmarthenshire. It is the councils intention to close every park and playground in Carmarthenshire if they can’t find anyone to take them over by 2017. Contact your local councillor now before we lose these areas forever.
My name is Kevin Francis and I am writing to you today in my role as Chairman of the Carmarthenshire Unified Sports Committee (CUSC).
This committee was formed in 2014 to oppose the pitch and green fee rises proposed by Carmarthenshire County Councils Executive Board. We are a non-political organisation. Our members are all non-paid volunteers who contribute their time and knowledge to help grass roots sports in our communities. As an example the Carmarthenshire Football League alone has 315 fully qualified and CRB checked volunteers coaching 1825 children.
Due to our campaign and a motion brought by current Leader of the council Emlyn Dole, CCC agreed to freeze the hire costs for a year until proper consultation with the sporting clubs had taken place. This consultation resulted in a saving of £241,505 to the authority and an affordable hire agreement to the sporting clubs.
It has come to our attention that The Executive Board of CCC will meet on Monday November 30th to discuss the possibility of ploughing £286,000 of taxpayer’s money into the velodrome situated in Carmarthen Park.
Councillor Meryl Gravell has stated that this project will attract more people to the area.
We at the CUSC are astonished that CCC are contemplating spending public money on this facility whilst at the same time Councillor David Jenkins, the Executive Board member for Finance, Property and Asset Transfer goes to press stating that they have no choice but to look at alternative ways of providing non statutory services such as the Llanelli areas parks and playgrounds because they simply cannot afford to continue maintaining them. Will the closure of parks and playgrounds in the Llanelli area attract more people?
We as a committee understand the financial situation the council faces but if cuts are being made to Leisure and Technical Services departments surely these should reflect their current and future usage? With this in mind we are asking whether users of this velodrome will be asked to cover the full maintenance cost of this area as is the case with Football, Rugby, Cricket and Bowls.
The Sporting organisations we represent are under great financial strain due to the fact that they are being asked to cover the full maintenance costs of the areas they hire to play their chosen sport. This kind of subsidy will not sit well with them or us.
The Llanelli area contributes roughly 43% of CCC’s Council Tax Income yet our public recreational areas are faced with closure.
Parks and Playgrounds contribute to the health and well being of children who would otherwise be part of the obesity statistic of young people in Wales, which currently stands at 19%! They are a vital part of encouraging a better standard of fitness, health and well being in the community, hence reducing the burden on the NHS.
Any loss of an outside playing area no matter how small has to be detrimental to resolving this obesity crisis. An area that is free to access for a family struggling financially could make a big difference to a child’s wellbeing. Leisure Centre’s and Play Centre’s are wonderful facilities but they are very expensive when used on a daily basis. We urge you as councilors to stand up and fight for all of our parks and playgrounds not just the select few.
This was the response of Phil Williams, a Carmarthenshire League Mini Football coach when he was asked what Penygaer & Llanerch Playing Fields meant to him:
“Three generations of my family have played football on those playing fields. I grew up in Llanerch; I played on those fields every weekend and every day during the school holidays. I learned to ride a bike on the path besides Penygaer. As a kid I watched my dad playing football there. I have memories of walking with my Gramps down there and him smoking his pipe. Every time I smell a pipe now it takes me back to those playing fields.
Those pitches are important for the town, as it is the only multi pitch facility in the area, where many teams come together on a Saturday and a Sunday to play football. It’s the spiritual home of the Carmarthenshire League”
A recent Facebook post by Charity Gala Organiser Ann Jones (05/11/15) gave us these thoughts:
“In 1912, Sir Stafford Howard and his wife Lady Stepney Howard gifted Parc Howard to the people of Llanelli. That is a fact it was a gift. There will always be ‘people of Llanelli’ but every 4 years, Councillor’s change. A comparatively small number of people, in power for a very short time do not have the right to decide on the future of something, which belongs to the people. I doubt that the Stepney Howards envisaged this appalling turn of events when they made their generous gift to our town. Strange how the Council seem to be able to find funds for all sorts of things, especially executives salary increments and golden handshakes but cannot work with the owners (Llanelli inhabitants) of Parc Howard to keep it in perpetuity, for future generations, one of the most historic and spectacular parks in Wales and beyond. If this part of our local heritage is lost, we only have ourselves to blame; people power is a mighty force. In reality, the council works for us, it is in our hands to save what is ours. I am appalled at what the council proposes to do. Please folk, please share and make our presence known. We will NOT have our heritage stolen from us to be reduced to commercial enterprise etc. I am appalled.”
We didn’t ask for walls on roundabouts but we do ask that we keep our recreational areas, as they are a vital part of the health and well being of our community. What are we paying a substantial amount of our council tax for?
Llanelli Town Centre has recently been voted the 2nd worst in the whole of the UK; do we want our open spaces to be tarred with the same humiliating brush or even worse, lost forever?
Even if the closure of these facilities doesn’t directly affect your constituency we still need your support in this matter.
K R Francis.
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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