Disabled people from all over Wales have waltzed into 2020 for Strictly Cymru – the country’s renowned inclusive dance competition.
Run by charity Leonard Cheshire, in partnership with the national governing body Paradance UK, the competition has seen dancers in both inclusive and wheelchair-specific categories compete in six heats across South Wales, in preparation for the grand final on 6 June. Strictly Cymru is now in its third year.
Winning in the inclusive categories at the Carmarthen heat on 17 January were Coleg Sir Gar students Kieron, Toby, Thomas, and Max, as well as Richard, who came independently from Coleshill Day Centre in Llanelli and wowed the judges with his Michael Jackson inspired fast feet and moonwalk. A few days later, Rebecca, Chloe, and Anesha from Heronsbridge School lifted the trophy at the Bridgend heat on 21 January.
Gower College students Daniel and Carys wowed the judges with their synchronised dancing at the Cardiff heat, while Coleg Gwent student Matthew secured a place on the final in the inclusive heat held in Newport last week.
Meanwhile, in the wheelchair dance category, dancers Chad and Ben took gold in Carmarthen and Bridgend respectively. The Carmarthen heat rang with the sound of Chad’s catchphrase of “Absolutely fantastic!”
Then, the fifth heat in Cardiff saw the youngest person to take part in Strictly to date, five-year-old Inga, win in the wheelchair category, before Robin John won the final wheelchair heat in Newport after being inspired by his partner Dianne, who was highly commended in last year’s competition grand final.
Dance instructors from Paradance UK also took the participants, who came from schools the community and Leonard Cheshire services in the area, through their paces ahead of each dance-off to give everyone the best chance at reaching the final.
Chad said: “It has been a really great two days and I’ve enjoyed getting to know new people and learn tango. I’m looking forward to the final.”
Robin John, winning at Newport, said: “It’s absolutely wonderful, I’ve tried before and lost, but it feels on a whole different planet to win a heat! I’m looking forward to the final and don’t mind which genre of dance I get, I can adapt to most things.”
Ruth Jones, MP for Newport West, was a judge at the heat there. Ruth said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect beforehand, but it was amazing. As you walked into the room the enthusiasm hit you like a wave. It was so hard to choose a winner because they were all brilliant in their own way, everybody did the maximum they could possibly do.”
Alan Dear, Head of Theatre and Arts at Newport Live, helped support the Newport heat and said: “It is the most joyful thing I have done in years.”
The heats were open to people of all ages and abilities and the overall winners of the competition will be crowned in the Ffwrnes theatre in Llanelli on 6 June 2020. There they will receive the coveted Strictly glitter ball trophy.
Nearly 7,000 in Wales sign up for UK’s biggest ever plastics investigation
THE BIG PLASTIC COUNT, the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste, kicks off today.
Over 140,000 are planning to take part across the country, including schools, Westminster MPs, community groups, businesses, families and individuals. 6,804 people in Wales have signed up, including nine MPs and 80 teachers who will be taking part with their classes.
The Big Plastic Count is a collaboration between Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK.
Celebrities including Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley and Bonnie Wright are also taking part.
94 cross-party Westminster MPs, including 9 from Wales, 3,500 school classes from all over the UK and People’s Postcode Lottery have also signed up.
The UK produces more plastic waste per person than any other country except the USA.
In 2018, the country generated 5.2 million tonnes of plastic waste, enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over.
The UK also exports vast quantities of plastic waste abroad, as highlighted last year by Greenpeace’s Wasteminster viral animation.
The Big Plastic Count will reveal how much plastic packaging waste is leaving UK homes and what happens to it after we throw it away.
This will provide a national snapshot of our plastic waste problem, filling a crucial evidence gap and showing the UK government and supermarkets that they must act to tackle the problem.
Chris Packham said: “The UK is one of the worst plastic polluters in the world. Our broken recycling system doesn’t work so instead of dealing with our plastic waste ourselves, we send vast quantities of it overseas where it’s out of sight and out of mind for us, but destroying nature and harming people elsewhere.”
“The Big Plastic Count is such an exciting project. It will, for the first time, tell ordinary people what happens to their plastic waste after we throw it away, and we hope it will force the government to take action and address the plastic waste crisis.”
Chris Thorne, plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The biggest ever investigation into the UK’s plastic waste is officially underway.”
“We’re delighted that so many people across Wales have signed up, making clear once again that the public is concerned about their plastic waste, and want to see genuine action from the government to turn the tide on our plastics crisis.”
“That means an immediate end to us dumping our waste on other countries like Turkey, and legally binding targets that actually tackle the plastic problem at source.”
Daniel Webb of Everyday Plastic said: “I decided to count all of my plastic waste for a whole year back in 2017. Doing so helped me to understand my personal plastic footprint, which completely shocked me and drove me to begin campaigning for change. ”
The results from The Big Plastic Count will show us what’s really happening to our plastic waste, at a national scale, and inspire thousands of participants to demand real action to stem the tide of plastic packaging.
“This really is a crucial moment in the struggle against the plastic problem.”
“We hope the results of The Big Plastic Count will persuade the government, supermarkets and big brands to take bold steps to tackle the plastic crisis once and for all, which is extremely exciting, perhaps even revolutionary.”
Every participant will record the different types of plastic packaging waste they throw away, and submit their results. This will generate a national picture of our plastic waste, demonstrating the scale of the problem and putting even more pressure on the government to act.
The unique methodology behind the Big Plastic Count was developed by Everyday Plastic’s founder, Daniel Webb.
He collected every piece of his plastic waste for a year, and worked with a scientific researcher to turn this into a robust methodology which the public can now use to discover what happens to their plastic waste when they throw it away.
Surveying by YouGov for Greenpeace UK found that while over three-quarters (77%) of people in the UK recycle plastic products to reduce their waste, almost as many (75%) don’t know what happens to their plastic recycling after they throw it away.
Greenpeace UK and Everyday Plastic will release the results of the survey as soon as they have been processed. Campaigners hope these results will push the UK government to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by 2025, ban all plastic waste exports and implement a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for recycling and reuse.
Extension of shuttle bus from Llanelli to vaccination centre
HYWEL DDA University Health Board (HDUHB) has extended the free shuttle bus service between Llanelli town centre and the mass vaccination centre in Dafen to help people access their COVID-19 vaccination as easily as possible.
The shuttle bus, provided by Dolen Teifi , will continue to run between 10.30am to 4.40pm, seven days a week. Please note there will be no service at 12pm from town or at 12.15pm from the mass vaccination centre to allow the drivers a lunch break.
People can board the shuttle bus on the hour and at half-past the hour at Church Street, outside Llanelli Magistrates Court SA15 3AW. The shuttle bus will leave the mass vaccination centre quarter past and quarter to the hour, returning to the town centre and dropping passengers off opposite Llanelli library.
Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We need as many people as possible attending their COVID-19 vaccine appointments, or dropping in if eligible.
“This shuttle bus service is one of many additional resources and services being put in place across the Hywel Dda region to help support more people to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. I am pleased the shuttle bus service has been extended to help people reliant on public transport to access their COVID-19 vaccine.”
On February 21, 2022, the JCVI published a statement, recommending an additional spring booster.
Strict COVID-19 safety measures will be in place to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers on this service:
- All passengers and drivers must wear a face covering, unless medically exempt
- A maximum of 14 passengers will allowed per journey
- A screen will be in place between driver and passengers
- Passengers should only use this service if they are fit and well on the day
Before travelling without an appointment to Dafen mass vaccination centre, we advise checking the health board’s website for up-to-date information such as vaccine eligibility and drop-in opening times https://hduhb.nhs.wales/covid19-vaccination
Gorseinon, Swansea: Two nights of Easter excellence at The GEC
SUMMER is on its way, the covid crisis is on the wane and at last it is Easter. It is the UK’s first proper excuse of 2022 to really let your hair down and head out to party with your mates. With this in mind, the crew at the GEC, 12 High Street Gorseinon, SA4 4BX, have really pulled the stops out and are staging two one off special events. The first is on Good Friday 15th April and the second on Easter Sunday, 17th April.
This legendary Welsh venue has been hosting soirées since the early 1900’s and the venue had a full refit at the start of 2022. It now features brand new state of the art sound, lighting and decor, and a new exclusive first floor mezzanine bar for those who like a more intimate experience.The sound and lighting are the best that Wales has to offer and no expense has been spared.
Friday 15th features a night of brit pop brilliance, courtesy of The Oasis Experience, the number one Oasis tribute act on the planet. These guys are the real deal. Alan McGee, Oasis’ Manager and all round music genius said of The Oasis Experience: “these guys are the best Tribute to Oasis in the world!, in fact I’ll go one better, they’re better than the real Oasis!”
High praise indeed! The band have a stalwart reputation of pleasing hoards of fans with their much loved, groundbreaking brit rock/pop sound that truly defined a generation. This is not a night to be missed!
The Oasis Experience have spent their time crafting the ultimate Oasis gig experience so you can relive the ‘Morning Glory’ days from the early 90s through to the band’s disbandment in 2009. The Oasis Experience cover all the Oasis classics from their 1994 debut single, ‘Supersonic’ through to one of their last singles, ‘Shock of the lightning’ in 2008. The Oasis Experience have been gigging for many years now and are always well received.
Tickets are only £12 plus booking fee and are available in advance and on the night from the GEC box office. This night is guaranteed to satisfy and is a great opener for a celebratory weekend that is much needed!
On Easter Sunday 17th April, the legendary Logic dance music brand take full control and have flown in one of the world’s top DJ/Producers, and all round italian legend. Giuseppe Ottaviani will be headlining the bill of guest DJ’s and the Logic brand’s Resident DJ’s that are guaranteed to bring a smile to Welsh dance music fans.
Giuseppe Ottaviani is a musician who has long been regarded as ‘the producer’s producer’, a man renowned for sonically superior recordings and the hit-rate to substantiate them. Simply, with Giuseppe, music comes before all else, and he has DJayed all over the globe.
His sets are always full of exclusives that he has hand crafted for his own use and some true Trance anthems that have been played, listened to, and adored by both DJ’s and fans alike. His music is first class, and the energy that he puts into his live sets has to be heard to be believed.
Also on the bill are Shugz, Maria Healy and Welsh legend Will Rees with support from Robbie Smith, Andrew Davies, Rob Rees and Callan Christie. Full production, dancers and the LOGIC Lasers. Tickets are only £17.50 in advance plus booking fee and are on sale now.
You can also pay on the door, but the smart advice is to get there early as they are flying out like freshly baked hot cross buns!
The management of GEC have really gone the extra distance for this special post- Covid Easter weekend and whatever your musical preference, both nights will be safely ran. All staff are fully trained and their sole aim is to make sure that crowds are safe and their appetite for music and entertainment is truly satiated. For further information on the venue, events and tickets please visit: https://www.facebook.com/GECSWANSEA
See you at the front!
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