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Community Development course boost

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 14.46.46THREE Llanelli residents who have had to face life changing health shocks are using their experiences to help others.

Fiona Evans, Stephen Ricketts and Derek Hermann have not only turned their own lives around but are active in their local communities.

They are currently taking a community development qualification under the auspices of Communities First to develop their skills further.

Tutor Becca Rosenthal, who is teaching the course at Felinfoel Community Resource Centre, said:

“This is a Level 2 community development qualification and many of our learners started with informal workshops and completed Level 1 before starting this course.

“It is for people who are interested in developing their own communities. They are working with professionals and want to be on the same page as them. This course is based on the National Occupational Standards for Community Development Practitioners.

“The course has three themes, understanding the purpose and processes of Community Development, social inequalities, and development of community groups. Everyone is working around developing a set of skills.”

Fiona, who lives in Felinfoel, became active with two local charities as a result of having her lower right leg amputated following a blood clot in 2007.

She said: “The occupational therapist founded a Dyfed Amputees Self Help Group in Glangwili Hospital. I then did a course in web design and they became the subject as I did their website. We opened a new Dynamic Amputees Self Help Group in Llanelli which is doing very well.

“I’m chairwoman of the DASH group and a trustee of the Limbless Association. I try to keep busy doing voluntary work. I’ve come on this course because I would just like to extend my knowledge about community development.”

Steve has seen his life alter dramatically since his eyesight suddenly deteriorated around the time of his 50th birthday last March. He had to give up his job as a commercial tyre fitter working on commercial and agricultural vehicles and became involved in the community after his wife asked him what he wanted out of life. He decided he wanted to help others and became involved with Communities First taking various courses.

“What I’m looking for from this course is to become more confident mixing with people in a classroom environment. I definitely feel these groups are giving me confidence. Everything I do day by day is a challenge.

“I’ve actually started a bowls club for the visually impaired in the Selwyn Samuel Bowls Centre in Llanelli. I’ve been given so much support by organisations in the town such as the Blind Association and I want to give something back.

“I want to be an ambassador for the blind and tell people who have started losing their sight that there’s no need to sit in the house.”

Proving his point, Steve, of Trinity Road, Llanelli, will be doing a 13 mile sponsored walk from Bynea Cycle Club to the Lifeboat House in Burry Port in July to raise funds for the Blind Association and Deaf Club and to raise issues of visual impairment.

Derek’s life changed suddenly when he broke his back while representing Wales in a javelin competition.

He said: “I was working before I broke my back but cannot do that sort of work now. I did not know where to go or what to do.

“With the help of Becca, Communities First and Spice I’ve been able to reignite my spark. I originally did Community Development level 1 with Beca and the Carmarthenshire Street Buddy training, and quite a lot with Time Credits which has got me interested in helping my own community.”

Derek, known as Del, is very active in his own community of 55 houses, Maengwynne, campaigning for community facilities such as a park, and involved in the tenants and residents association Maengwynne For Change.

He said: “We will be holding our third annual Family Fun Day this year. Hopefully we will also be putting on our second fireworks display paid for by the people of Maengwynne for the people of Maengwynne.

“Along with my wife Michelle and children Holly, aged 13, and Chloe, aged 11, we’ve been out earning a lot of Time Credits together as a family. It’s been a way of bringing our family together thanks to Communities First. They have improved my education and knowledge but also our family life. I can’t thank Communities First enough.”

Carmarthenshire County Council was awarded funding from the Welsh Government to be the Lead Delivery Body to manage the new Carmarthenshire Communities First Cluster.

The Communities First programme works towards Tackling Poverty through a focus on Healthy, Prosperous and Learning Communities, creating opportunities for residents to gain skills, access employment and become healthier. Carmarthenshire Communities First works across 14 areas in Carmarthenshire with a population of approximately 22,000. The areas include Pantyffynnon, Bigyn, Felinfoel, Glanymor/Tyisha, Hengoed, Lliedi, Llwynhendy and Trimsaran.

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Cllr Kevin Madge elected as new county council Chairman

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THE new chair of Carmarthenshire County Council said he will work tirelessly during his term of office.

Cllr Kevin Madge, member for Garnant, takes the chain of office whilst celebrating 40 years as a councillor.

Taking the chair, Cllr Madge paid tribute to outgoing chairman Cllr Mansel Charles, member for Llanegwad, saying he had fulfilled his duties with passion.

Cllr Madge will chair the council for the next 12 months, with Cllr Ieuan Davies, member for Llanybydder, as his vice chair, and his wife Catrin as his consort.

“I’m very much looking forward to the year ahead, I will do my best for everyone. I will work tirelessly,” he said.

Cllr Madge has chosen the Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of food banks and emergency food provision for people in crisis, as his Chairman’s Charity of the Year.

The Chair is the first citizen of Carmarthenshire County Council, and is elected at the Annual General Meeting.

Duties include chairing full meetings of the council, representing the council at formal and ceremonial occasions, welcoming visitors to the county, and attending and supporting events organised by local people and organisations.

Cllr Madge has been a county councillor since 1996, and a member of Cwmaman Town Council since 1979.

He also serves as chairman of the Royal British Legion Garnant branch, Garnant Family Centre and Cwmaman Meals on Wheels, and is a member of Amman Valley League of Friends.

He represents the county council on the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and the Mynydd y Betws Wind Farm Community Fund, and is on the governing body of Ysgol Y Bedol.

A former pupil of Amman Valley School, Cllr Madge has worked in the Amman Valley throughout his life, most recently as agent and researcher to Dr Alan Williams MP until 2001.

A keen football supporter, he has served as chair and president of Cwmaman Football Club and spent 25 years as a Welsh League and Neath and District football referee.

He is married with two children and three grandchildren.

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‘UK Government should work with the Welsh Labour Government on Tata’

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LOCAL Assembly Member Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said ““This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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MP and AM call for Trostre certainty after merger fails

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LOCAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER Lee Waters and Nia Griffith MP have called on the UK Government to work with the Welsh Labour Government to come up with a deal to protect steel making at Trostre, and across Wales and the UK.

Lee Waters AM met with representatives from Tata Steel on Wednesday to discuss the future for steel making at the plant following the reported collapse of the proposed joint venture with Thyssenkrupp.

During the meeting he stressed the need to protect the entire steel supply chain in Wales, including the high quality jobs at Trostre, and those that depend on its presence in Llanelli.

Lee Waters AM said “It’s clear that the support Welsh Government provided during the crisis of 2016 has been critical in getting extra investment into Port Talbot which will secure the works for years to come. However, Tata is a company run from India, and we simply don’t know what the board will decide about its future strategy. They may well be looking for a new joint venture partner, so we’ll have to vigilant about the implications for our local plants.”

“Tata has said it intends to continue with its existing business plan, and honor commitments made to the Trade Unions, so Nia and I will be keeping a close eye to make sure that happens.”

Welsh Government has been in active discussions with Tata steel following the collapse of the merger with Thyssenkrupp. In a written statement and during questions on Wednesday, the Welsh Government committed to invest in Welsh steel to protect its future and is looking at a range of measures to assist on energy costs, business rates and procurement of steel for public sector contracts.

Lee Waters AM said “The Welsh Government have given significant support to the steel industry here but it can’t do everything, and we now need the UK Government to work with them to ensure a future for skilled work in the steel industry in Llanelli and elsewhere in Wales.”

Nia Griffith AM said “This latest news from Tata means yet more uncertainty for steelworkers. Their announcement about keeping Port Talbot is a start, but now we need real commitment from Tata on Trostre.

“We also need close cooperation from the company with the Trade Unions. Lee Waters AM and I will be urging the UK Government to follow Welsh Government in doing everything possible to secure the future of our steel industry.”

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