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Ammanford volunteer supports victims of crime for 26 years

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“PEOPLE let me into their lives when they are at their lowest ebb, and they open up their hearts to me.”

This is why Ammanford man Peter Stych has given up his time for the past 26 years to support victims of crime.

Mr Stych spoke of his experience as a volunteer for Goleudy, a victim and witness support service, at a Dyfed-Powys Police event celebrating the work of its volunteers.

He explained that as a youngster his dream was always to join the police, but that for various reasons it didn’t happen. As a way of experiencing life on the front line, he instead offered up his time for 27 years as a Special Constable in Birmingham.

He said: “You can only volunteer to do something if you enjoy it. I needed a bit of action and adventure – it certainly gave me that.

“When the IRA blew the door off Denis Howell’s house in 1974 I was there, just a few yards away. That was followed by the Birmingham pub bombings, and one of my jobs then was to seal off half of Birmingham.

“I wanted new experiences. I wanted something else and was eager to take on new things.”

When Mr Stych moved to Carmarthenshire, he attended a police open day and was approached about becoming a volunteer in victim support. His role now is to help victims of crime through the whole journey, from reporting the incident to police, to the investigation and criminal justice process.

He admitted that the change in role took some getting used to.

“One of the things I have found difficult was going from being a Special to being in victim support because we see things very differently,” he said.

“You see everything when you’re out on the job, and you become hardened to it in some ways. Then I changed roles and started visiting victims of burglaries and assaults.

“I was now seeing things from the other side.

“These victims might only experience crime once in their life, and all of a sudden I changed my attitude and my outlook on it.

“I realised that we have to do what we promise. If we say we will phone them with an update at the end of the week, we must, even if there is no update. It might have taken everything that person has to wait until the end of the week for our call. If we don’t do what we say, it could set them back.”

Mr Stych said volunteering his time with victims brought on a whole range of emotions – from happiness to anger, and a sense of privilege to frustration.

“It is nice to be trusted,” he said. “It gives you hope, and it gives you passion.

“It makes me sad to see people who have been victims of crime, and the impact it has had on their lives. I’m happy when they get the outcomes they were waiting for, and I feel privileged that people will let me into their lives when they are at their lowest ebb. They let me in and they open up their hearts to me. For that, I feel very humble.”

*Goleudy is a victim and witness support service funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police. It provides a single point of contact throughout the whole victim journey, from first reporting the incident to the police, through the investigation and criminal justice process. Victims of crime are offered support whether they have reported the incident to police or not.

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Ongoing success for Carmarthenshire sixth form students

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THE HIGH quality of support and guidance received by sixth form students across  Carmarthenshire’s schools continues to impact positively on the standards achieved at both AS and A Level.

The number of entries for AS and A Level examinations continues to increase, bucking the national trend and preparing students well for their future learning and career pathways.

The commitment and dedication shown by our students and their schools has resulted in nearly 78% of students achieving A*-C grades, reflecting an increase of 1.8% in comparison to results in 2017 and remaining comfortably above the Welsh national average of 73.8%.

Almost a quarter of the grades awarded, 24.8%, are A*- A, ensuring that our pupils are well placed when competing nationally for university placements, apprenticeships and career opportunities.

The improved outcomes are also reflected in the AS Level grades with 91.8% of entries being awarded an A-E grade. The increasingly effective learning opportunities on offer to our AS students have ensured a 4.6% increase in the A-E pass rate over the last three years.

The results have been warmly welcomed by Carmarthenshire County Council which has congratulated both students and schools, acknowledging the many inspiring opportunities that these encouraging grades will enable our young people to access.

Cllr Glynog Davies, Executive Board Member for Education, said: “Education in Wales is currently undergoing an exciting period of change and reform, reflecting the changing needs of our communities. The AS and A Level grades achieved by our pupils this year reflect, yet again, the successful partnership working between students, families, schools and the county council, equipping students with an aspirational range of learning opportunities. Students are very well prepared by our schools for the demands of the AS and A level examinations and they achieve highly as a result.”

“On behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council I wholeheartedly congratulate all of our students on the progress that they have made and on the grades that they have achieved. We wish you every success for the future.”

Director of Education and Children’s services, Gareth Morgans, added: “Our schools continue to prepare our students exceptionally well for the reformed AS and A Level qualifications that they have been working so hard towards over the last 2 years. The results achieved across Carmarthenshire this year once again reflect the dedication of our students, developing considerable resilience and a positive work ethic that will equip them well in their future studies and careers. I would like to sincerely congratulate them on all that they have achieved.”

“It is also pleasing to note the ongoing trend of 100% pass rates for both the Welsh first and second language courses, as well as in history, government and politics, English Language and literature and physical education, for example.

“The number of students achieving A*-A grades increased favourably this year, by 2.8%, reflecting the high expectations that we, and our schools, have of our young people.

“Warmest congratulations to all who have contributed so positively towards today’s success. Our students have many exciting decisions to make as they embrace their future journeys.”

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Adam Price AM to launch his leadership campaign

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PLAID CYMRU Assembly Member, Adam Price, will officially launch his campaign to be the new leader of Plaid Cymru today (Aug 17) in which he will outline his vision for Wales in 2030 with ‘seven steps to independence’ which, he will say, is a ‘clear and credible path to an independent Wales.

Mr Price will tell party members that the time ‘to talk in vague terms about independence as a long-term goal is over’.

Adam Price is expected to say: “The process of nation-building that will lead to independence has to start now without delay.

“Semi-policies and soundbites will not get us there.

“Welsh politics writ large can be seen as a battlefield between those with old ideas, new ideas and no ideas.

“Welsh independence is the biggest, most transformational, most radical idea of them all.

“Anyone who seeks to lead our party needs to set out a credible plan as to how we achieve it.”

In his ‘Seven Steps to Independence’ Adam Price will outline his plan which includes the election of a pro-independence government; passing a Wales 2030 Referendum Act; reducing Wales’ fiscal gap to 6% and increasing the Welsh economic growth rate by 1-1.5%.

Adam Price says the necessary legislation for an independence referendum will also provide for the holding of a referendum earlier than 2030 if the Welsh Government so chooses.

Speaking ahead of his launch in Carmarthen on Friday night, Assembly Member Adam Price said: “There is a growing number of people that are coming to the view that the only way in which we can face the challenges and grasp the opportunities of a changing world is to change Wales.

“And that change can only come through the most fundamental change of all:  to own our own future as a people and a nation.

“Independence is the reason I joined Plaid Cymru and the reason I have remained a member for 36 years.  I have always been consistent that we should make it our express purpose to achieve an independent Wales, and sooner not later.

“Independence can never be the safe or ‘middle of the road’ option.

“When we have tried to avoid saying anything that might frighten the voters we ended saying nothing at all.

“Over the coming weeks I hope to be able to convince party members that in electing me as the new leader of Plaid Cymru we will have a clear and credible path to an independent Wales.”

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Red Roses: MP asks drivers for crash stories to improve safety

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A LOCAL MP is asking drivers who have had crashes or near misses on the A477 junction to Red Roses to contact him following another smash on Saturday (Aug 11).

Philip Huw Davies posted on the Facebook group ‘Red Roses Village’ about a car which ploughed into him as he was waiting at the junction.

He says the driver of the other car mistook the section of road as a slip road in the rain.

Mr Davies said: “So our lovely junction to the A477 claimed my 4WD as its latest victim on Saturday when I was ploughed into by this car that mistook it for a slip road in the torrential rain.

“I’ve written to the Trunk Roads Authority asking if they’re waiting for a fatality before addressing the matter. I also went to see the MP yesterday and he’s going to speak to the Minister of Transport and the Assembly Member for transport.

“I’m also pretty tired of the abuse and aggression I get from drivers behind me when I’m slowing down enough on the main road, to take the junction safely.”

Mr Davies said he called an ambulance for the father of the other driver as he was bleeding from the nose. As a result he was transported to hospital by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Now Simon Hart MP is asking for others who have had crashes or near misses to contact him with details.

Mr Hart said: “A lucky escape for the occupants of these two cars at the Pendine junction on the A477.

“There has been a lot of local concern about it yet Welsh Gov say they haven’t collated three years worth of evidence yet, despite that timescale elapsing nearly a year ago.

“So anybody else with experiences of this junction, let me know!”

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