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Ultrafast broadband for communities through voucher scheme

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COMMUNITIES in Carmarthenshire and across Wales can come together to make a bid for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which can provide ultrafast broadband for homes and businesses.

The scheme, which is managed by the UK Government, has been given the boost of a top-up in Wales with the Welsh Government providing more funding to take into account the particular challenges caused by the country’s topography.

Ministers from both governments are now urging Welsh businesses and communities to apply as a group for the funding to get gigabit capable broadband.

The group must include at least one business along with surrounding premises. Two or more businesses can get together, or businesses with residents, to combine their vouchers towards the cost of building the infrastructure. Up to ten residents can get together with one business to create a group or community project.

Under the arrangements for Wales, the Welsh Government will provide an additional £3,000 for businesses up to a certain size and an additional £300 per residential property. This means that for group projects in Wales up to £5,500 is available per business, compared with £2,500 elsewhere in the UK. Up to £800 will now be available per residential property in Wales, compared with £500 elsewhere.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “While the vast majority of premises in Wales can access superfast broadband, we know we must reach the final five per cent. There is no one size fits all solution to do this, and the Gigabit Voucher Scheme is an important part of our efforts to do this.

“I would urge communities without access to look at this option and see if it’s suitable for them. The vouchers would potentially give them access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.”

UK Government Minister for Wales Kevin Foster said: “Improved digital connections for homes and businesses is a central part of our modern Industrial Strategy which invests in skills, industries and infrastructure to build a Britain that’s fit for the future.

“Together with the Welsh Government we are working to ensure more people in Wales have access to reliable broadband speeds, supporting communities, enhancing access to online services and strengthening our rapidly expanding digital sector.”

The Welsh and UK Government funded £200m Superfast Cymru programme has already taken superfast broadband speeds to more than 733,000 Welsh homes and businesses commercial companies had no plans to cover.

Residents and businesses can check whether they’re eligible for the voucher and look up their postcode to find a registered supplier in their area. Further information on how to apply for the Gigabit Voucher scheme is available on: www.gov.wales/broadband

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Dyfed-Powys Police Prepares for Royal Welsh Show

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is inviting Royal Welsh Show visitors to their stand to find out more about what the force is doing to protect the public over the summer months and beyond.

The stand, located at E340 behind the main grandstand, will be bringing to life key pledges and crime prevention messages from the Chief Constable’s Police and Crime Delivery plan, which sets out how police will tackle crime and keep people safe.

The force will be showcasing their summer campaign, called #EnjoyDPP, which is about helping people who live in, work in and visit the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys respect those areas and prevent crime from occurring.

Rural-trained officers from Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police and North Wales Police will be offering practical advice, at the police stand. They will also be on patrol throughout the showground listening to any concerns from the farming community. They will be accompanied by other officers, staff, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Special Constables and Police Cadets.

Specialist officers will also be speaking to landlords about County Lines drugs, and the signs to look out for that might show a tenant is being exploited by gangs, in a practice known as ‘cuckooing’.

The police will have a stand at The Royal Welsh Show.

Superintendent of Powys, Ifan Charles, said: “The Royal Welsh Show is the biggest event of the year we police in Dyfed-Powys, and also where we concentrate huge efforts on engaging positively with visitors to the show at our police stand.

“Come and say hello, meet our experienced and knowledgeable officers and staff and find out more about our commitment to keeping all of our communities safe by giving people the advice and confidence to protect themselves effectively.”

Visitors will be able to explore police vehicles, chat to Tarian colleagues about cyber-crime, meet a police dog, dress up as a police officer or Police Community Support Officer and solve a crime using real police techniques. Venture inside, relax on a hay bale and have a chat with experts on issues including rural crime, cyber-crime, issues that affect children and so much more.

Key partners will also be based at the stand including Crimestoppers, Modern Slavery group, Tarian and GoSafe.

There will also be a special children’s corner where young people can have their fingerprints taken, colour a police-themed picture or dress-up as a police officer or PCSO.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has a host of activities planned throughout the week. In addition to engaging with our communities, he is particularly keen to hear from victims of rural crime about their experiences when contacting police.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “The Royal Welsh Show is a great opportunity for me to engage with the public and gather their views on specific policing matters. This year, my team will be at the showground speaking to members of the public about rural crime and police contact. Please head over to speak to my team so that we can hear your views.”

The force is also offering advice for people heading to the Royal Welsh Show, including home security, personal safety and advice for people towing caravans.

Personal Safety:

Before you leave the house, take a photograph of your child. You’ll then know what they’re wearing if they become lost.
Write your contact number on a slip of paper and put it on your child’s person.
Before you head inside, double check your vehicle is locked and any valuables are safely out of sight.

Home Security:

. Lock your home, vehicles and outbuildings before you leave.
. Take your keys with you.
. Switch on any CCTV or alarm systems.
. Keep an eye on your neighbours’ properties while they are away.

Caravan Safety:

. Check your driving licence. Do you have the correct category to tow?
. Number plates must be fitted to the rear of the caravan. They must comply with the regulations and not . be hand-written in pen on caravan OR written on a piece of paper or cardboard
. Ensure brakes and external lights are working correctly
. Check wheels, tyres, wheel bearings and suspensions are in good condition. This is particularly           important if the caravan has been stationary for some time
.Tyres should be all the same type and size and have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Also check the   pressure

For more advice visit this website: https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/advice-and-training/advice-for-beginners/

There is more information for visitors on the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show’s website: http://www.rwas.wales/royal-welsh-show/

For updates on our activity follow us on Twitter @DyfedPowys, or like our page on Facebook.

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Valleys Taskforce extended to Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys

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THE GWENDRAETH and Amman Valleys are being included in the Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce, the Deputy Economy Minister and Transport Lee Waters has announced.

“These valleys are culturally very much part of the South Wales coalfield and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to alter the boundaries to bring them into the Valleys Taskforce so that they can benefit from ongoing work to drive investment and opportunities,” said Lee Waters.

“I got into politics to help the kinds of places I grew up in, so I am really pleased to announce we are extending the boundaries of the Valleys Taskforce to include the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys” the AM for the Llanelli constituency added.

The announcement comes as the Valleys Taskforce announces a programme to bring empty homes back into use. Owners of houses that have been empty for more than a year in the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys will be able to apply for a grant of up to £20,000 to bring the home back into use.

The £10 Million project is based on a pilot in Rhondda Cynon Taf and is being rolled out across the south Wales valleys.

“Tackling the problem of empty houses helps improve the feel of an area as well as providing homes for families. The Rhondda Cynon Taf scheme has shown us that applicants are choosing local businesses to undertake the refurbishment work, keeping money in the community and improving employment prospects. We want to support and encourage this as we roll the scheme out.” Lee added.

Local member of parliament Nia Griffith said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government recognises the importance of supporting the local economy in the Gwendraeth and Amman Valleys, and this announcement today is very good news for West Wales.”

Councillor for the Tycroes ward in the Amman valley, Tina Higgins said: “I welcome the announcement that the Amman And Gwendraeth valleys are to be included in the Welsh Government Valleys Task Force area.

“This is extremely good news for the area. I look forward to supporting Lee Waters AM with this initiative and will be representing the views of residents in my ward whenever I can.”

Councillor Dorothy Jones, representing Llannon in the Gwendraeth valley said: “This is an exciting development for my ward and the Gwendraeth valley. I hope that we can use this new status to deliver affordable housing based on local income for residents and improve employment prospects in the area.

“I’m glad our AM Lee Waters has been able to deliver such strong support for the area and I’m looking forward to working with him as the taskforce moves forward.”

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First vegan supermarket opens in Llanelli

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THE FIRST vegan supermarket has opened its doors in Llanelli thanks to the support of a grant from Carmarthenshire County Council.

Kind Earth served its first customers with organic and locally sourced produce from its Stradey District Centre store in Maes Y Coed on Friday.

The business, owned by local resident Matt Rogerson, was supported with a grant of £4,435 through the council’s business start-up fund which is linked to job creation.

The money was used to purchase equipment including an EPOS system, fridges and freezers, shelving, trollies, baskets and light fittings.

The business is a plastic free zone offering paper bags and paper carriers to customers as packaging.

In addition to selling groceries, the store will run a terracycle scheme and host to a number of events including litter picking days and workshops on a wide range of topics to improve lifestyles.

Kind Earth’s Matt Rogerson said opening the store was a dream come true for him.

He said: “I’ve been so excited to open Kind Earth, and grateful to the council for the start-up grant and belief which helped pursue my dream. I hope that between myself and my stakeholders we can make our local and global community a better place. The shop is not only a vegan supermarket where people can buy fresh good quality locally sourced grocery items but offers customers to get involved in initiatives and workshops to make us a healthier and more sustainable community.”

Mr Rogerson said he hopes to employ in the future.

Carmarthenshire County Council Leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “I am happy that we were able to provide funding to support Kind Earth to develop a new business that will benefit the community and offer people a wider choice of food.

As a council we remain committed to strengthening our local economy and giving the people of Carmarthenshire as much choice as possible.”

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