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Debt ‘still a real problem’ in Wales

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debtissuesMANY Wales residents are still facing a daily struggle with debt despite the UK’s gradual economic recovery and a fall in the number of people seeking advice, a leading debt charity has warned. Figures released today by StepChange Debt Charity show that 4304 people in Wales called its helpline for advice in the first half of 2015 with average debts of £13443. After they had paid all their essential bills, they had an average of just £5 left each month The figures coincide with StepChange Debt Charity’s new report, Navigating the New Normal, which shows that more than 1 in 5 Britons are currently showing at least one sign of financial difficulty and 2.6m of them are in severe problem debt.

Of those 2.6m, 73% suffered at least one ‘income shock’ in the last year, such as job loss or a reduction in hours. The charity says that people on low and middle incomes are particularly at risk after an income shock, with a combination of little to no savings and an unresponsive welfare system leaving them unable to meet their basic costs. Shocks to their income often see them turn to credit to cope, which makes them 20 times more likely to fall into problem debt. The report comes after the latest Bank of England figures showed the highest annual increase in borrowing on credit cards and personal loans for nine years, sparking fears of a return towards the high levels of unmanageable credit seen in the leadup to the financial crisis.

Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: “Everyone faces ups and downs in life, but more than 11m people in Britain are now experiencing some financial difficulty and a quarter of those are in severe problem debt. Wales is no exception and although the economy is beginning to recover, millions of households remain vulnerable to shocks to their income over the next year and many could find they have no alternative but to turn to credit to cope, which can quickly make the problem much worse. “Debt can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, including sleepless nights, anxiety and mental and physical health problems with knockon effects for their families. We would urge anyone who is experiencing debt problems to call us for free, impartial debt advice and take that first step as early as they possibly can.”

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Herald publisher ceases operations

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HERALD NEWS UK LTD, the company which prints The Pembrokeshire Herald, The Carmarthenshire Herald and The Llanelli Herald has ceased operations.

Editor of Pembrokeshire Herald, Thomas Sinclair said: “After finalising today’s paper to go to print yesterday, a meeting was held last night. It was confirmed that the expected further investor funding would not be made available for the company.

“This meant that operations need be halted as the businesses was not able to pay its ongoing costs.

“At 10am today the 24 members of staff working at the newspaper have today been given notice of redundancy.

“We are absolutely devastated that after nearly 7 years and hundreds of editions of the paper we can no longer continued.”

“I would like to think that over those years, some of the stories we have written have made a difference to Pembrokeshire and beyond.”

Director of Herald News UK Limited, John Hammond said: “The company accountant could be appointing administrators as soon as next week.”

“The Owners of The Pembrokeshire Herald came to the conclusion last night during a finance meeting that the venture is no longer financially viable.

“Whilst every conceivable effort has been made to improve the financial situation of the business, we have to face the fact that there is no way that we can now continue in a solvent position.

“Whilst there has been a slow decline in readership of local newspapers, our costs for wages, printing and transport have substantially increased.”

“We would like to thank all of our loyal readers and staff.”

Community: Herald titles were campaigning newspapers
Popular: 45,000 people read Herald titles each week in west Wales
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Council announces overnight roadworks

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MOTORISTS face further inconvenience owing to a series of planned night-time closures in Llanelli whilst essential road improvement works are carried out later this month.

Hard-pressed motorists, including Llanelli’s AM Lee Waters (see his column in this newspaper), already experience long delays using routes into and out of the town.

To reduce the level of inconvenience, Carmarthenshire County Council has programmed road surfacing works to take place during the night over the next month at Parc Trostre, Sandy Road, Pembrey Road and Queen Victoria Road, Llanelli, to avoid the busiest periods. Diversions will be in place.

A section of B4304 Parc Trostre Roundabout near ATS will be closed from Wednesday, October 30 between 7 pm and 6 am for up to four nights.
A section of Sandy Road, between its junction with Denham Avenue to the entrance to Coleg Sir Gâr, will be closed between 7 pm and 6 am on November 11-22 for up to nine nights.

A section of Pembrey Road, from its junction of Chapman Street to New Road, will be closed between 7 pm and 6 am on November 3 and 12 for up to nine nights.

Part of Queen Victoria Road and the Murray St crossroads will also be subject to night-time closure between 7 pm and 6 am on November 10 and 15 for up to five nights.

Since April the council has resurfaced 22 sections of road as part of a £2.5million investment in Carmarthenshire roads.

The sections of road being resurfaced have been identified as a priority based on road condition, usage and strategic importance.

Comprehensive traffic management will be in place whilst the works are being carried out and all schemes will be published in advance with full details available on roadworks.org.

The council said the works are unavoidable and have thanked members of the public in advance for their cooperation.

The council’s executive board member for transport, Cllr Hazel Evans said: “This is a significant amount of money that we have secured to improve our roads in the county. All roadworks will be publicised in advance so motorists can plan journeys to avoid the area and take an alternative route. We will minimise as far as possible the impact on road users by careful planning, however, some disruption cannot be avoided, so please bear with us. We thank everyone in advance for their cooperation and patience.”

These dates may vary due to unforeseen conditions or adverse weather. People are being advised to check https://one.network for further updates.

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday

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THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm.

The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years.

£2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.

More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.


At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.

She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities.

I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”


The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.


James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.


James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community.

The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”

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