Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Official opening date set for Ysgol Bro Dinefwr

An official ceremony is being held to celebrate the opening of Ysgol Bro Dinefwr at Ffairfach, Llandeilo.
It will take place on the morning of Tuesday, October 4, with a programme of events including the unveiling of a plaque.
Pupils will welcome guests to the ceremony and perform musical items; dignitaries including county council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole, education Executive Board Member Cllr Gareth Jones and Chair of Governors David Dyer will give addresses.
Cllr Dole will also unveil a slate plaque to commemorate the occasion, and Rev Ian Aveson, Vicar of Llandovery, and Rev Michael Sadler, Vicar of Llandeilo, will give blessings.
The opening of the new £30million school, which is being sponsored by contractors Bouygues UK, includes the presentation of a ceremonial key and a Secure by Design certificate.
Headteacher Julie Griffiths will compere the proceedings and give a speech, plus a short tour of the new school.
Bro Dinefwr caters for 1,200 pupils in the area, including a 200 pupil sixth form and 30 place specialist provision for children with additional learning needs.
The category 2B bilingual school was delivered in partnership with the Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools programme.
It provides first class accommodation and facilities, plus high quality vocational courses with other Dinefwr schools and Coleg Sir Gar.
Cllr Jones said: “We’re very much looking forward to this official opening, pupils have occupied their new building since September and they have settled in very well.
“This is a state of the art school which is what we are aiming to deliver for all pupils in Carmarthenshire.”
Ysgol Bro Dinefwr was part of an overall investment of around £70million in schools in the Dinefwr area.

First ever Tenant 2 Tenant awards a success in Carmarthenshire

All eyes were on Llanelli’s Ffwrnes Theatre when goodwill and community spirit was celebrated in the first ever Tenant 2 Tenant Awards.
The awards were organised by Carmarthenshire County Council in association with Spice, and rewarded those who go the extra mile to look after their homes and communities.
There were 14 awards up for grabs – many of them went to volunteers who give their own time to help others.
Categories included Young Tenant of the Year, Community Project of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award. There were also categories for best kept garden and grand designs, amongst others.
The awards were hosted by Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing.
“Can I be the first to congratulate all winners, and all runners-up – all would have been worthy winners,” she said.
“We hope that these awards will become an annual event – a great opportunity to reflect on the great work going on every day in our communities, and of course to thank those amongst us who go the extra mile.”
The awards were supported by Communities First Carmarthenshire, Carmarthenshire Markets, LTC Mobility, TAD Builders, WCS Environmental & Building Maintenance,Towy Projects Ltd and Jenkins Bakery.
Entertainment was kindly provided by Vocal Harmony Llanelli and Llanelli Musical Players.

The winners were - 

Community Project of the Year
Recognising a group of volunteers who have gone the extra mile to bring some community spirit back
Winner: Llwynhendy Families Taking Action Group
Park Hall Woodlands Carmarthen
Y Fron Allotments
Y Hafan communal garden
Llwynhendy Families Taking Action

Sheltered Scheme Project of the Year
Celebrating a project that has involved Sheltered Scheme tenants working together to benefit others
Winner: Clos Llanfihangel
Nant Y Glo
Yr Aelwyd
Y Hafan
Clos Llanfihangel

Family Centre Project of the Year
Shining a spotlight on a project that has brightened the lives of children and families, many of whom are tenants
Winner: Pencader Family Centre
Pencader Family Centre
Llys Caradog
Betws Family Centre

Fuel Club of the Year
Recognise the group effort of fuel club co-ordinators, volunteers and members to help their neighbours save money on their fuel, and help the environment
Winner: Brynamman
Drefach Felindre
Volunteer of the Year
Celebrating the fantastic efforts a tenant has made to bring joy and wellbeing to the lives of people living in their community
Winner: Bev Reepschlager
Emyr Evans
Sam Ruysh
Bev Reepschlager
Shirley Corkrum
Lis Duffy
Stephen Thomas
Stephanie Sims
Tina Miles

Time Credits Champion
Recognises the exceptional efforts of an individual who has gone above and beyond to promote, earn or spend Time Credits
Winner: Lis Duffy
Lis Duffy
Jane Gwynn
Geina Morgan
William Day
Lindy Butler
Jessica Shore

Good Neighbour of the Year
Everyone needs good neighbours, and this award is a big Thank You to one special neighbour who goes the extra mile to help a neighbour in times of need
Winner: Lindsey Jones
Steve Evans
Lindsey Jones

Young Tenant of the Year
Celebrates the achievements of a young tenant, for their contributions to community life; inspiring other young tenants by achieving great things; breaking down barriers and making good with their life even when times are tough
Winner: Young tenants of Llwynhendy Families Taking Action Group
Young tenants of Llwynhendy Families Taking Action Group

Tenant’s Choice Award
An opportunity for tenants to reward someone who gives their time to help improve their lives – someone who has put a smile on people’s faces, helped someone get training or employment, helped at a community group etc
Winner: Rachel Gegeshidze
Rachel Gegeshidze
Lindy Butler

Pride In Your Patch Champion
We all like to do our bit for the environment, but this award recognises a tenant or family that goes the extra ‘green mile’ to reduce waste, encourage and support their neighbours to recycle, or do something fantastic with recyclable materials
Winner: Steven Thomas
Steven Thomas

Lifetime Achievement Award
Celebrating the achievements of an older tenant who has dedicated considerable time to making a difference in their community
Winner: Lindy Butler
Albert Collins
David & Diana John
Jose Johnson
Shirley Corkrum
Lis Duffy
Lindy Butler

True Grit Award
Recognising an individual tenant who has overcome personal battles to make a difference to their own lives, or many lives
Winner: Charlie Evans
Stephen Thomas
Charlie Evans
Derek Hermann
Janet Cantle
Katie Louise Butler

Best Kept Garden Award
A chance to shine a light on the talents of a green-fingered tenant who has made their garden bloom
Winner: Brian Jones
Martyn Griffiths
Diane Davies
Thomas Curtis-Parker
Pamela Asher-Relf
Lis Duffy
Dinah Kenward
Brian Jones
Peter Thomas
Jacquie Thomas
Llwynhendy Growing Spaces

Grand Designs Award
Recognises the creativity of an individual tenant who has transformed a room in their home
Winner: Philip Williams
Philip Williams
Andrea & William Griffiths

Roadworks taking place overnight at Halfway, Llanelli

The road at the junction of the A4138 at Halfway, Llanelli, is to be resurfaced by contractors working on behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council.
Work will take place overnight to minimise disruption to traffic.
A road closure will be in place from 7pm to 3am affecting Glyncoed Terrace and Pemberton Road for the duration of the works, with diversions signposted.
Work is expected to take 10 nights, weather permitting.
Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Transport, said: “These are essential works on a very busy junction. Whilst we are carrying out the works after peak hours to minimise disruption, we appreciate this will still inconvenience road users and residents. We would like to apologise for this inconvenience, and thank members of the public in advance for their cooperation.”

Competitive edge to Côr Meibion Llanelli annual concert

Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir, Côr y Penrhyn, Adele O’Neill at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.

There was a splendid competitive edge to this Côr Meibion Llanelli Male Voice Choir annual concert staged at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
The Llanelli choir had invited Côr y Penrhyn, from North Wales, to perform – and that meant that we had two of Wales’s finest male voice choirs for the price of one.
There was a healthy bit of one-upmanship throughout the concert as both male voice choirs tried to out-perform each other.
Playing a diplomatic role between the two choirs was Pontarddulais soprano Adele O’Neill, who sparkled like a diamond all evening long.
There’s a health rivalry between Côr Meibion Llanelli and Côr y Penrhyn which extends back to a visit the West Wales choir made to help launch the Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor.
Côr Meibion Llanelli’s round one included the stirring Rejoice, Then! and two items which featured Adele O’Neill as soloist, Ave Maria and Libiamo, Limbiamo, which saw musical director Eifion Thomas duet with the soprano.
Two of the choir’s stalwart members, Terry Richards and found member Byron Thomas, were given their moment in the spotlight for Bizet’s famous Pearl Fisher’s duet, Au Fond Du Temple Saint.
Côr y Penrhyn, under the direction of Owain Arwel Davies, bounced into the ring with Y Ddau Wladgarwr, Eric Clapton’s Tears In Heaven, Robat Arwyn’s Benedictus, a dramatic Moliannwn and Pererin Wyf, set to the tune of the House of the Rising Sun and performed as a New Orleans funeral march.
The North Wales choir emerged from the audience to start the second half of the evening, with the South African national anthem, Nkosi Sikelelei and Tshotsholoza. They followed up with Myfanwy, Willy Richter’s demanding The Creation, Holst’s Byd o Heddwch (World in Union) and the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
It was stirring stuff and a quality performance which demanded a quality response from Côr Meibion Llanelli.
They came up with the goods with Calon Lan, Calm is the sea, Anfonaf Angel (featuring soloist Anthony Bowen), a swinging rendition of Elvis Presley’s Teddy Bear and American Trilogy.
At the close, both choirs settled on an honourable draw game and united in song for a finale which included La Vergine Degli Angeli (featuring Adele O’Neill), Gwahoddiad, Y Tangnefeddwyr and Tydi a roddaist.
Adele O’Neill delighted her many fans with Quando me’n vo from La Boheme, Puccini’s O mio babbino caro and I Feel Pretty from West Side Story. It was a performance full of passion and quality.
The accompanists for the evening were Frances Davies, Aled Maddock and Allan Fewster MBE. The compere was Robert Lloyd.

Photos above of Adele O’Neil singing with Côr Meibion Llanelli by Alan Evans.

Latest special offers from the Jenkins Bakery

Latest special offers from the Jenkins Bakery -

WEEK COMMENCING September 26, 2016

3 Medium Corned Beef Pasties, £1.75
2 Large Corned Beef Pasties, £2.10
4 Medium Sausage Rolls, £1.90
2 Fresh Cream Eclairs, £2.00
Sandwich of the Week, BLT, £2.50
Rustic Baguette of the Week, Ham and Cheese, £2.50
Filled Softie of the Week, Chicken Tikka, £2.45

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Friday, 23 September 2016

Plans to build new council homes in Carmarthenshire

More than 60 new council homes will be built in Carmarthenshire over the next two years in an £8.5million investment to grow the local authority’s housing stock.
Phase one of the development could start imminently if councillors agree plans for the new-build programme.
As well as planning the first new-build homes across four priority areas, the council is also adding new homes to its stock at an average rate of one a week by buying suitable properties on the open market – nearly 20 homes have been bought already this year at a cost of £1.7million, with the needs of specific families in mind.
Carmarthenshire is one of only half of Welsh local authorities to retain its housing stock, and became the first in Wales to build new council accommodation since the 80s when it developed 12 new homes in 2014 – an act followed up shortly later when it became the first in Wales to suspend its Right to Buy policy in order to protect its stock.
Now Carmarthenshire is also making good on promises to deliver more than 1,000 affordable homes over the next five years as part of an ambitious £60million Affordable Homes Commitment, led by Housing Executive Board Member Cllr Linda Evans.
“We are completely committed to making more homes available for those in highest need,” she said.
“We will be delivering this commitment in a number of ways, including building more council homes across our four priority areas, buying stock that suits our needs, working with developers to ensure a range of affordable homes are built as part of private developments and bringing empty homes back into use.
“We are also actively working with landlords to encourage them to make their properties available at affordable rent levels, including bringing more private sector homes into the management of our in-house social lettings agency.
“We are not leaving any stone unturned – our plans are ambitious, but by using a range of innovative solutions I am confident we will meet our target by 2021.
“When I launched our Affordable Homes Commitment at the beginning of the year we had planned to build 45 new council homes over the full five-year period, and by maximising external funding opportunities we have already increased that delivery plan to 60.
“In total, we will be investing £8.5million in growing our stock in the first two years alone.”
Feasibility studies have been carried out to identify key sites based on a number of factors including housing need and land availability. Developments will consist of two and four bedroom homes which are in highest demand.
The proposed new build sites will be revealed this week when the phase one programme report begins its journey through the council’s political process, getting its first airing at the Communities Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, September 29, before going to Executive Board and Full Council for approval.
The report also outlines how the council plans to work with housing association partners to deliver more new build schemes, and how it could use the Social Housing Grant to support developments.

Normal service about to be resumed

Apologies. The blog has been out of action for a couple of months. Normal service (if there is such a thing) about to resume . . . .

Friday, 29 July 2016

Rob in Rio Herald column Part One

West Wales media consultant Robert Lloyd is spending time in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. He will be reporting exclusively for The Herald newspaper series on his adventures.

If my personal road trip to Rio is anything to go by, this could be a roller-coaster journey.
Three years in the planning, the journey hit what can only be described as a speed bump last week with a medical issue.
So, I write this very much in hope – the hope that I will be on the plane to Rio on Sunday . . . just as long as the doctors agree it is safe for me to travel.
Three years seems like a long time, but the reality is that my personal Olympics and Paralympics journey goes back further still.
A lifelong fan of the Games (one of my earliest memories is of David Hemery winning the 1968 400 metres hurdles at Mexico on our first colour telly!), it has always been a ‘must see’ TV event in our house.
The idea of actually ‘being there’ at an Olympics first started forming during a summer holiday to Rhodes island in Greece.
On a short hop from Rhodes to Athens International Airport, I was sat next to a young man wearing a tracksuit bearing the words Olympic Games volunteer.
It turned out that he was a physiotherapist with a private practice on Rhodes. He’d shut up shop for three weeks to join the army of volunteers helping stage the Athens Games.
I was sold on the idea and hooked on the possibility of volunteering for a future Games.
But it was no more than an idea until the following year, 2005, when Lord Coe and his team made a successful presentation to the Olympic movement and beat off the challenge of Paris to win the right to stage the London 2012 Games.
In 2010, the Games organisers opened up the doors to volunteers and I successfully applied to join the Games Makers.
There was an interview process in Cardiff followed by training sessions in London before I was able to join the team as what was described as a ‘Flash Quotes Reporter’ with the Olympic News Service and Paralympic News Service.
The events of the summer of 2012 provided enough material for a short book (not actually completed yet!).
Along the way, I interviewed the likes of Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, the Brownlee triathlon brothers Alistair and Johnny and a whole host of other international athletes – some medal winners, some distraught at seeing four-years-plus of hard work going down the tubes.
At the Paralympics, I interviewed David Weir, Hannah Cockcroft, Jonnie Peacock and Richard Whitehead.
And, oh yes, I remember now, I also interviewed a South African Paralympic athlete by the name of Oscar Pistorius. But, perhaps, the least said about him, the better . . .
All in all, my summer of 2012 was a massive experience, a privilege to be (almost) on the very inside track of the Games. It was humbling and inspiring at the same time.
So, bitten by the Olympics bug, I decided to see if there was a chance to volunteer for Rio.
Two years ago, I made it through the initial selection process.
Last August, I had a video link interview with the Olympics team based in Brasilia.
There followed some online training tests – and, then, in November of last year I received notification that I’d been accepted.
Initially, more than 1000 UK volunteers were accepted to join the 50,000 volunteers needed for the Rio Games. This week, that number is reckoned to be nearer 500 as some have been forced to drop out along the way.
Games rules mean that I cannot tell you much about my actual role in Rio (well, for now, anyway), but I am able to say where I will be working.
The battle for Olympic medals will take place in 32 venues in Rio de Janeiro, plus five football co-host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo.
In Rio, the competitions will take place in four geographically segregated Olympic clusters: Barra da Tijuca, Copacabana, Deodoro, and Maracana.
Most events will be held in the western part of Rio de Janeiro, in the Barra area, where the main Olympic Park and Olympic Village and many venues are based.
The legendary Maracanã Stadium will stage the opening and closing ceremonies and the decisive matches of the men’s and women’s football tournaments (both finals and one semi-final in each). The iconic venue was modernised for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
‘Rio Soul Lloyd’ (Rio Soul is what they are calling the volunteers) will be based at the Deodoro complex, which includes everything from equestrian events to BMX bike riding.
Specifically, I will be at the temporary Deodoro Stadium, built around an existing polo field, which will host the Rio 2016 rugby competitions, as well as the equestrian and combined running and shooting sections of the modern pentathlon.
I will also be based at the Youth Arena for indoor modern pentathlon events.
In the volunteer game, you can express preferences for what sports you’d like to be involved in, but when tasks are distributed you usually accept what you are given.
So, in my case, it is a happy event indeed to be given work on the rugby sevens tournament, which will include a GB team squad which features Llanelli’s James Davies and travelling reserve Luke Treharne from Llanelli.
Although the 15-player version of rugby appeared at the Olympic Games between 1900 and 1924, Rio 2016 marks the debut of rugby sevens, the faster, shorter adaptation of the game.
The Rio billboards are proclaiming – ‘Bravery, skill and speed will be in abundance in the men’s and women’s tournaments.’
As far as the modern pentathlon goes, well, let’s just say I have a fair bit of homework to do reading up on the sport and the competitors before that event starts at Deodoro.
My current roster sees me working for 11 days of the Olympics, but (as in London) that could change to more days depending on the workload on volunteers.
It won’t all be work and on days off I will get a chance to explore Rio de Janeiro and be a spectator at other events. Obviously, football and the athletics are high on the wish-list for free day activity!
The Games will take place against a backdrop of Rio problems – the Zika virus, a Government crisis, a crumbling oil-based economy, civil service pay strikes, worries about terrorism and fears over crime in Rio.
When you put it all into perspective, my health speed bump pales into insignificance.
Medical approval allowing, I will be reporting back from Rio for the Herald every week.
Fingers crossed that I will make that plane on Sunday!

The Welsh at the Olympics:

Welsh athletes will be competing under the GB banner and the Union Jack flag at the Rio de Janeiro Games, the first Olympics to be held in South America.
The current Great Britain squad in Rio will boast a record number of Welsh athletes at an overseas Olympics.
London 2012 champions Jade Jones and Geraint Thomas lead a 24-strong Welsh contingent spread across 11 sports.
Here are the Welsh athletes who have qualified for the 31st Olympic Games in Brazil (as at time of going to press):
Seren Bundy-Davies
400m & 4x400m relay
Joe Cordina
Men's lightweight (60kg)
Elinor Barker
Women's team pursuit
Owain Doull
Men's team pursuit
Ciara Horne
Women's team pursuit
Becky James
Women's sprint
Geraint Thomas
Men's road race
Natalie Powell
Women's -78 kg
Victoria Thornley
Double sculls
Chris Bartley
Men's lightweight four
Graeme Thomas
Quadruple sculls
James Davies
Sam Cross
Jasmine Joyce
Travelling reserve: Luke Treharne
Hannah Mills
470 class
Chris Grube
470 class
Elena Allen
Women's Skeet
Jazz Carlin
400m and 800m freestyle
Georgia Davies
100m backstroke
Ieuan Lloyd
200m freestyle and individual medley
Chloe Tutton
200m breaststroke
Jade Jones
Non Stanford
Helen Jenkins

Monday, 18 July 2016

This week's special offers at Jenkins Bakery shops

This week's special offers at Jenkins Bakery shops -

3 Medium Corned Beef Pasties, £1.70
2 Large Corned Beef Pasties, £2.00
4 Medium Sausage Rolls, £1.85
2 Custard Slices, £1.80
Sandwich of the Week, Salmon and Cucumber, £2.20
Rustic Baguette of the Week, Chicken and Bacon, £2.50
Filled Softie of the Week, Turkey and Stuffing, £2.35

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