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Llandovery station in running for top award

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LLANDOVERY’s Railway Station has been shortlisted for the station of the year award at the 2019 National Rail Awards
Taking place in September, the awards celebrate all aspects of the rail industry from safety innovations and sustainable developments to stations, trains and customer service.

Now in its 20th year, the National Rail Awards are amongst the most important in the rail industry in Britain.

Nominations have now been confirmed, with Llandovery, based on the Heart of Wales line, up for the Best Station (Small) award.

Though un-staffed, the station is adopted through Transport for Wales’ Station Adoption Scheme by the Friends of Llandovery Station, a group of local volunteers who run the cafe and look after the station garden and floral displays.

Mary Hargreaves and Joan Snaith are two of the station’s longest-standing volunteers.

“It’s very nice to be nominated and we’re really pleased with what’s been achieved so far,” they said.

“We’ve been running the cafe with a small core group of volunteers and it’s been great to be able to get people in for work experience too.”

Originally built in 1858, Llandovery station once employed 57 people and used to boast a shunter’s yard where a spare steam locomotive was kept to help pull services over the steep gradient of Sugar Loaf to Llanwrtyd before coming back to the yard. The station building closed in 1992 but was brought back to life by the Heart of Wales Line Development Company and reopened as a cafe in 2011, with HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall guests of honour.

The Royal Couple, who have a residence nearby, returned to the station last year as part of the Heart of Wales line’s 150th anniversary.

Lisa Dennison, Development Officer of the Heart of Wales Development Company, said: “It’s fantastic news that Llandovery has been nominated for the award and a huge amount of credit must go to the Friends of Llandovery Station for all their hard work.

“The café has gone from strength to strength
“The station really is at the heart of the community and a key location for some of our best walking trails.”

Transport for Wales’ Tom Owens, who manages Llandovery station, said: “It’s a real gem on our network and a huge credit to the amazing work of our volunteers from the community.

“I always look forward to going to Llandovery and the welcome you get there is always so warm. I’m delighted it’s up for the award and fingers crossed we’ll bring it home to Wales.”

The building hosts a regular model railway club and exhibitions of local artists. They are passionate about giving work experience to young people, including those with special educational needs who regularly help the core group of volunteers.

It is a testament to how the station cafe is seen that many of its customers are regulars.

David and Valerie May have been travelling up by train from Gorslas every Wednesday for the past three years.

“It’s a really friendly and lovely cafe and the cakes are to die for,” said Valerie.

Another regular is Kathleen Duncan who started coming last year after a personal loss.

She said: “The kindness everyone has shown me here really is tremendous. I didn’t know that many people in the area and it’s been a lifeline for me and has made me really feel part of the community.”

Volunteers also look after the hanging baskets and station garden, where fresh produce is grown for use in the cafe.

They hope to see a station canopy installed in future years, something which was in place during its Victorian heyday.

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Carmarthenshire towns win two prestigious awards

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has congratulated two local town councils for their success in the One Voice Wales Awards.

Pembrey and Burry Port Council won the Best Community Engagement category for the multi channels of communication it has set up which enables the community to participate in any decisions the council takes. It was also recognised for the shadow forums set up in both primary and secondary schools to ensure the younger generation have a voice.

Kidwelly Town Council won the Best Devolution of Service or Asset Project category for acquiring ownership of Parc Stephens play area from Carmarthenshire County Council in 2019 as part of the asset transfer process. Since then it has increased accessibility and inclusivity for a wide age range of children and includes a sensory garden.

Carmarthen Town Council was highly commended in the Best Annual Report category.

One Voice Wales is recognised by Welsh Government as the national representative body for Community and Town Councils in Wales, providing a wide range of services to our 634 member councils representing approximately 8000 councillors.

This year’s awards ceremony has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths who is responsible for liasing with town and community councils said: “I’d like to congratulate Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council and Kidwelly Town Council on winning the awards. It just goes to show the great work being done across Carmarthenshire and more importantly how we are working with the communities to meet their needs. I’d also like to congratulate Carmarthen Town Council on the commendation.”

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Woman arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply

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AN AMMANFORD woman has been arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers were on patrol in the Glanamman area on when they saw the woman driving a silver Peugeot away from them.

They were aware that the driver had no driver’s licence, and that she was suspected of being involved in supplying class A drugs in and around Ammanford.

Additional units made their way to her home, where the car was stopped. A search of the vehicle resulted in class A drugs being found, and she was arrested.

Further searches were carried out by the response team and dog unit. Around 16g of cocaine, some amphetamine, and some cannabis were found.

A 42-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply, possession and driving offences. The vehicle was also seized.

She has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Sergeant Walters said: “This was a very swift response to information relayed by colleagues who recognised the woman and were aware that she should not have been driving.

“Ammanford Neighbourhood Policing Team, response teams and the dog unit worked closely together to achieve a positive outcome.”

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Play equipment gifted to children with disabilities

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CHILDREN with disabilities in Carmarthenshire have been gifted play equipment by the county council during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 26 children are already making use of new play materials and outdoor equipment which are helping to maintain their health and well-being during the lockdown.

Items such as garden swing seats, paddling pools, tablets, sensory black out tents, trampolines are making a huge difference to them whilst staying at home.

It comes after funding was set aside for those identified by the council’s social workers or disability intervention staff as needing extra support, and subject to an assessment.

Anna Martin, whose son Finlay has benefited from a garden swing said: “Finlay has spent many an hour calmly swinging in the garden. It has been great for him to spend time with the family outdoors. Fin is like a ‘toddler’ and enjoys a cwtch and a nap so the fact that this turns into a bed has been a big hit! It has certainly perked him up during lockdown.”

Funds are still available and anyone who is supported by the council’s disability service can ask their support worker for an assessment.

The council’s executive board member for children’s services, Cllr Glynog Davies said: “The restrictions of the current lockdown have been a huge challenge for all families, but particularly for those with a child who is disabled or has autism. Our teams identified that for some families having extra play materials or outdoor play equipment could make a massive difference to children’s wellbeing. We established a process where staff from our specialist teams could assess if families would benefit from this type of help. We have been able to purchase and arrange delivery of a number of items so far and we’re delighted to see what a difference it has made.”

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