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Swansea International Festival returns for 2017

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THE 2017 Swansea International Festival heralds in the autumn with a wealth of such exciting and diverse national and international talent that it will be impossible not to tempt you out and about for the next two weeks!

For the opening concert at the Brangwyn Hall, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conducted by Tecwyn Evans, will play a programme of Copland and Dvorak, with Karl Jenkins’ harp concerto, Over the Stone, being performed by brilliant Welsh harpist Catrin Finch.

BBC NOW are also making a return to the Festival with their successful Family Concert, conducted by Clark Rundell and compered by Naomi Wilkinson – a regular face on CBBC and CITV.

With music from films such as The Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Simpsons this has proved to be a popular event for families when introducing their youngsters to the fun of live music – as well as giving them the opportunity to try out some instruments for themselves before the concert!

If you like your music a little more avant-garde then take in The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments with their adventure in words and music based on the writings of Francis Bacon. Performing on extraordinary lost instruments from history they conjure a special world of music, physics, theatre and philosophy Or go along and hear percussionist extraordinaire Joby Burgess and his adrenalin-fuelled Powerplant concert where he uses an aluminium harp, typewriter, giant steel sheet, electronics and video with such musical athleticism that it will astound you!

Take in a whole day of activity on October 8 when you can hear a recital from talented young pianist Tim Horton, enjoy lunch with the Festival Friends, then a talk by broadcaster Stephen Johnson and a piano recital by Wales’ own international talent Llŷr Williams.

Next week is just as busy with organist Jonathan Hope giving his own live improvisation to the 1925 Lon Chaney classic silent film, Phantom of the Opera; Thomas Carroll’s Orpheus Sinfonia, performing in Swansea for the first time; two very much home-grown plays – Granton Street and Not About Heroes; the Russian State Opera with two of Puccini’s most powerful operas – Madam Butterfly and Tosca; Ballet Cymru’s delightful new ballet The Light Princess and James Wilton Dance’s athletic contemporary ballet Leviathan.

There is a unique opportunity to hear Lord Heseltine in conversation with Jamie Owen, A Primary Schools Festival and Free Lunchtime Lectures and a Morriston Hospital Music Festival – and much, much more.

Two concerts round off the Festival for 2017 – The Dunvant Male Choir and Morriston RFC Male Choir, with soloist Gwawr Edwards, sing some of your most well-loved songs in their concert on 13 October and on 14 October the St.Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Dmitriev, with solo cellist Tim Hugh, will bring the Festival to a rousing finale.

See Festival website for full details on: www.swanseafestival.org

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3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered

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JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.

“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.

“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.

“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”

The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.

This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.

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Care home honour Armed Forces Day

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PLAS Y DDERWEN in Johnstown will be celebrating Armed Forces Day on Thursday, June 28, with a big brew up supporting SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity.

SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families. Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.

Janet Williams, Activities Coordinator, said: “It is very important that we keep the memories of those who fought alive and that we also think about those involved in conflicts around the world today. We welcome anyone that wishes to attend and will have the chance to meet the team and look around the home.”

Plas Y Dderwen is part of Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, supporting older people living independent lives over the last 25 years.

Barchester services include residential care and nursing care as well as expert dementia care.

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Huge Brecha Forest West wind turbine project complete

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ALL 28 turbines at Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm are now operational and exporting renewable energy to the National Grid, Innogy Renewables UK Ltd has announced.

With an installed capacity of 57.4MW, Brechfa Forest West can generate enough renewable energy to meet the equivalent energy needs of approximately 38,800 average UK homes, which is almost half of all the households in Carmarthenshire.

Martin Kelly, innogy’s Project Director said: “The last turbines have now been commissioned. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their patience and support during the construction phase. We will now continue to work with Natural Resource Wales (NRW) to complete all remaining reinstatement activities.

“We are really proud of what has been achieved here as a team with NRW and our Contractors. With all turbine components safely delivered to site and lifted into place, over 20km of tracks within the forest created or upgraded and a new circular walk created to improve visitor’s experience; the construction has been an engineering success and all carried out safely with no lost time due to injury or incident.”

This announcement also marks the launch of the much-anticipated community benefit fund, worth £459,200 a year.

Following a competitive tender, innogy has selected Antur Teifi as the fund administrator and Severn Wye Energy Agency to provide community development support and maximise the benefits of the fund.

Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “I am delighted Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm is now operational. It is the most recent example of our approach to using Welsh Government estate to deliver benefits for Welsh people whilst at the same time decarbonising our energy system. I am pleased that the Community fund will be delivered alongside the leisure improvements the development has funded, which are benefiting the local community and future generations.”

Kevin Harrington, Business Development Manager from Antur Teifi said: “We are thrilled to have won this contract and excited by the huge potential and significant opportunities that the Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm Fund can deliver.

“The fund is now inviting applications for funding and for more information please visit our website: www.anturteifi.org.uk”

Onsite, construction and testing activities are drawing to an end. Reinstatement works will continue as well as the implementation of innogy’s habit management plan. innogy will continue to carry out these works in close working partnership with NRW and is delighted to have also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work towards NRW’s vision of developing Energy Parks fit for our futures.

Gordon Baird, NRW’s Energy Delivery Programme Project Manager said: “This is an exciting moment for the Brechfa Forest Wind Farm Project.

“Our joined-up work with innogy on the NRW Managed Estate has demonstrated that together, we can deliver significant renewable energy and help to build a prosperous and sustainable future for Wales.

“And the recent signing of the MoU signals NRW’s intention to work with all developers who wish to use the Energy Park concept to develop Wales’ renewable energy profile.”

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