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.
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.