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Chairman Calls On All Councillors For Help

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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.

Dear Councillor,

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.

Regards,

K R Francis.

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Community

Small Grants Scheme launched by Police and Crime Commissioner aimed at reducing acquisitive crimes in Llanelli

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Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn has today launched the Safer Street small grant scheme for projects aimed at reducing acquisitive crimes.

Up to £2000 is available through the scheme for charities, voluntary organisations and community groups in part of the Elli Tyisha wards of Llanelli. (Map of eligible area is available in guidelines document – link below.)

The small grants scheme is part of the Safer Streets initiative whereby funding was secured earlier this year by the Police and Crime Commissioner in partnership with Carmarthenshire Safer Communities Partnership from the Home Office.

The funding will support the development of projects that have a direct impact on these local communities in Elli and Tyisha that will make residents feel safer and reduce demand on the police.

In 2020, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn launched a small grants scheme for an area in Glanymor and another area of the Tyisha ward of Llanelli.  Following this additional funding from the Home Office, the Commissioner is now able to launch a separate grants scheme for part of the Elli and Tyisha wards.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said; “I am delighted to announce this additional small grant fund today that is part of the Safer Street funding scheme that I secured earlier this year.

“Ensuring the security and safety of residents is a priority of mine – everyone deserves to live safely, and free from harm.

“Acquisitive offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year. There is strong evidence that these crimes can be prevented by tactics that either remove opportunities to commit crime or act as a deterrent by increasing the chances of an offender being caught.

“I have invested significantly in the area over recent years with community grants I made available in addition to the new CCTV system that is in place across the town. This new additional funding will further build upon my work over recent years and I hope the residents will feel a positive difference in their communities.”

Cllr Ann Davies, Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Community Partnership said: “The Council and Safer Communities Partnership are really pleased to have been able to work with the Police and Crime Commissioner on securing this funding. We are delighted to be part of this initiative to help our residents be safer and feel safer, building on our ongoing work in these communities to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. 

“The Partnership is made up of local partners that all aim to make Carmarthenshire safer, including the Council, Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Probation and Health. We will be happy to support local organisations to help us all achieve that aim, so please contact us with your ideas before 17 September.”

Closing date for applications is the 17th of September. Funding guidelines and application form can be downloaded from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website here.

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Community

Ray’s Renal Ray of Sunshine Run

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LYNDON and Alfie-Ray Rees from Llanelli had set themselves a challenge of running an Ultra Marathon, “Ray’s Renal Ray of Sunshine Run” on May 29 2021 in memory of Raymond Bolton a “larger than life” character that would always bring light and happiness wherever he went. 

A Llanelli man who doted on his family and was loved and respected by so many.

Ray worked down the mines in Cynheidre as an electrician and loved nothing more than building and flying model aircrafts in his spare time.

Ray made such an impact on everyone’s lives. A father figure to his niece, due to their close relationship she named her youngest son, Alfie-Ray. As a mark of respect Alfie-Ray, aged 12, wanted to run an Ultra Marathon of 31 miles on May 29 2021 for the Renal Unit that supported Ray through his treatment. 

All the staff at the unit could not speak highly enough of Ray, he was so full of sunshine and laughter he made a lasting impression on everyone he met. Ray sadly passed away in March this year and Alfie-Ray wishes to honour his memory.

Lyndon and Alfie-Ray Rees (12 years of age) completed the Ultra Marathon in 6 hours, 32 minutes and 40 seconds. The run started and finished at Llanelli Leisure Centre.

The first part of the route involved running from Llanelli Leisure Centre along the coastal path to Pembrey, before running back to Llanelli Leisure Centre.

The second part of the route took them up the Path of Doom which is the old Mynydd Mawr Railway Line in Cynheidre before reaching Tumble and this was the turning point before they made their way back to Llanelli Leisure Centre to finish the run.

The weather was kind to us on Saturday and what a special way to remember and celebrate the life of the much-loved Raymond Bolton. This father and son partnership faced this epic challenge head on and their determination and self-belief allowed them to achieve their goal.

Furthermore, the charity’s motto is “Believe in Yourself, both Lyndon and Alfie–Ray are shining examples of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.

Alfie-Ray, Anna Powell and Lyndon

Organisers would like to say a huge thank you to Llanelli Leisure Centre, First in Events, Daisy’s Little Coffee Shop, Picton Sports, Waunwyllt Inn, Hidden Carmarthenshire, Morrisons Llanelli, and Glangwili Hospital for all their donations and support for the Ultra Marathon.

The cheesecake at Daisy’s Little Coffee shop was a much needed sugar boost on the Ultra Marathon Route which fuelled Lyndon and Alfie-Ray to complete the run in record time.

Alfie-Ray, aged 12, said: “I was very nervous building up to the event and I knew it was a huge challenge. I started well and I felt strong but as the miles racked up so did the fatigue.

“The last 3 miles were the hardest it took all my mental strength to finish, but I was not going to let “Uncle Ray” down. Although I was visualising what I would be eating at the end of the race I was so exhausted I couldn’t eat my food. After a good night’s sleep, I more than made up for it the following day”.

Lyndon, father of Alfie-Ray, said: “Needless to say, I am very proud of Alfie-Ray and all of his achievements, however this takes it to another level. Alfie- Ray had a very good idea of what discomfort was ahead of him, but he dug deep and pushed on.

“Even I was shocked with the ease in which he covered the 31 miles”.

Anna Powell, Children and Youth Community Engagement Officer, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure to work with Lyndon, Alfie-Ray and the Rees Family.

“I am in awe of Alfie-Ray completing an Ultra Marathon at the age of 12, because the majority of adults would not even attempt it. Uncle Ray would be so proud of his achievement and what a positive way to remember him and celebrate his life”.

Lyndon and Alfie-Ray would like to thank everyone who has donated to date and they have raised £610 (and counting). It will make a huge difference to the Renal Unit in Glangwili Hospital.

There is still time to donate to this fantastic cause please click the link below : https://localgiving.org/fundraising/RaysRenalRayofSunshineRun/

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Community

Llanelli fitness group thanked for NHS donation

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HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES has thanked Arumba Llan, a not-for profit fitness group based at Llangennech Rugby Club, Llanelli.

The club has over 60 members and has donated £2,500 to Hywel Dda Health Charities, the official NHS charity for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. The money will be used to support the Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) at Prince Philip Hospital.

NHS staff receiving the cheque

Over the 9 years it’s been running, Arumba Llan has raised approximately £70,000 through weekly classes held at Llangennech Rugby Club. 

They are a non-profit organisation and all the money raised from running classes, along with various charity events and theme nights, is donated to good causes.

Managing Director and instructor Nia Gibbs said, “2020 was a very difficult year for us as for every charity. We relied on kind donations from the girls who participated in live classes on Facebook with me and the few months of actual classes we’ve managed to have. Despite this, we decided this year to donate £2,500 to the ICU in PPH as a way to thank the NHS for their wonderful work, in particular to PPH, as we like to support local causes in Arumba Llan.” 

“Teresa Owens helped me with deciding where the money was most needed. I only knew that I wanted the money to help with COVID in some way. She is a wonderful human being along with a massive gang of ladies who support me.” 

“I believe these funds are greatly required by the hospital and it is a chance for Aumba Llan to thank the tireless work of the staff and a tribute to their selflessness during this precarious climate.

“It is also of great pride that we have members of Arumba Llan who are employees at PPH.”

Catherine Cole, a Sister in Prince Philip ITU said “We would like to thank the Arumba Llan for the very generous donation. It will be used to benefit the ITU providing services and activities above and beyond core NHS expenditure such as extra patient comforts, the most up to date medical equipment, more welcoming surroundings, staff training, development and wellbeing initiatives and enhanced care. Thank you”

To find out more about Hywel Dda Health Charities go to hywelddahealthcharities.org.uk. 

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