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Community radio gets Assembly boost

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A COMMUNITY radio body should be set up to provide practical and effective support for Wales’ network of community radio stations, says a National Assembly for Wales Committee.
A report from the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, also recommends establishing a closer relationship with the BBC and commercial radio stations to share knowledge, access to resources and help with talent development.
Community radio was introduced following legislation, in order to introduce a new tier of radio broadcasting in the UK, focused specifically on community engagement. There are currently eleven community radio stations in Wales.
Ten stations, Calon FM, Tudno FM, BRfm, Radio Tircoed, Radio Glan Clwyd, Môn FM, Radio Cardiff, Rhondda Radio, Bro Radio and GTFM are already on air with Radio Aber aiming to start broadcasting soon.
The Committee’s short report into community radio in Wales contains a total of eight recommendations and is published based on information gathered during a Community Radio Symposium held on 20 June 2019 at The Atrium in Cardiff.
People from all community stations, academia, commercial radio, the BBC and members of the Committee attended the symposium to discuss a range of issues including where stations could collaborate (both within the community radio sector and with commercial radio/the BBC) and solutions to common problems.
The first recommendation published in the report is that the Welsh Government should fund a community radio body for Wales to offer practical support to stations, perform a representative role and co-ordinate cross station knowledge sharing. Practical support might include performing common tasks for stations like HR, marketing or grant writing.
The body should also help forge links between community stations and commercial and BBC radio, to help volunteers gain experience and develop skills across Wales.
The Committee also recommends that community radio is given access to the output of the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service and are given first refusal with a preferential rate when the BBC sell off equipment they no longer need.
Bethan Sayed AM, Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee: “During our work into community radio stations in Wales, we discovered the wide range of benefits that these stations provide the communities they serve, as a community link and hyperlocal news provider. They also provide a route for people to gain valuable training and experience in radio, whether they are interested in a career or just want to learn new skills and meet new people.
“Early into the symposium event, we saw for ourselves the value of networking as representatives from one station managed to help another with advice on a long-term technical issue. This affirmed our opinion that radio stations must be given opportunities to share knowledge and help each other. A Community Radio Body, funded by the Welsh Government, would co-ordinate this network and provide much needed practical support for both on-air and non-studio roles.
“We also believe that the sector would benefit greatly from closer co-operation with the BBC and commercial radio stations and sharing access to the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service would enable them to cover their local authority proceedings as part of a valuable hyperlocal service.”
Labour’s Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire Candidate Marc Tierney, who has extensive experience in commercial and community radio, told The Herald: ““I am pleased that Assembly Members have taken an interest in developing the Community Radio sector here in Wales. Over the years, community radio in Wales has been one step behind other parts of the United Kingdom due to various restrictions imposed by the regulator which has, due to our rurality and lower population, made it more difficult to establish stations here.
“At a time when commercial stations are consolidating and regionalising or even nationalising their output, the community sector can fill a vital gap in providing programme content that meets the needs of our diverse communities. As someone who started work in Commercial Radio almost twenty years ago, I understand the importance of a vibrant local media that gives a voice to communities, provides access to local news and current affairs and offers training opportunities for young people.
“The future of radio is very certainly now DAB and this report gives a welcome push to Ofcom, the communications regulator, to do all it can to embrace community broadcasting and to support the sector in empowering communities in every corner of Wales.”

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Community

More investment on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway

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The final stage of recovery works to repair damage caused by Storm Callum on Carmarthenshire’s A484 is underway.

A highly complex programme of phased works has already been completed in one of the worst hit areas at Cwmduad, when a landslide tragically claimed the life of a young man.

Repairs as a result of the storm have also been carried out at Bronwydd.

Some 20 miles of the A484 was affected by the extreme weather conditions in Carmarthenshire in October 2018 stretching from Carmarthen to Cenarth.

Phase two of the support works have now started at other affected areas at Henallt Bends, Pante South, Llwyfan Cerrig Station, Foelfach, Tirgwili/Rock and Fountain, Mile End, Nantclawdd, the A484/A475 junction, Gelligatti before finishing at Flatwood in Cenarth.

Works will include felling damaged trees, providing foundations for new safety barriers, stabilising embankments and installing new highway drainage chambers.

Carmarthenshire Council secured funding from Welsh Government to carry out maintenance of the highway in response to detailed inspections following the storm.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “This has been a very complex operation covering over 20 miles and involving a number of agencies. Whilst the safety of the public is paramount, every effort will be made to ensure these essential works are carried out with as minimal disruption as possible until they have been completed. We understand that this has had a major impact on the local community and road users, and we would like to thank them for their patience and co-operation whilst these recovery and repair works are being carried out.”

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Community

Sunday opening for three pharmacies in Carmarthenshire

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Three pharmacies in Carmarthenshire have opened their doors to the public on a Sunday as part of a trial in the region.

Gravells in Llanelli and Nigel Williams in Llandeilo and Cross Hands will be open for members of the public who need to see a healthcare professional for treatment for common ailments and minor injuries.

This trial is to support the GP out of hours service by encouraging patients to access the pharmacy as the first point of call.

The well-established Triage and Treat provision is already available in the pharmacies through the week and on Saturdays.

The types of low level injuries that can be treated under Triage and Treat service are minor abrasions, superficial cuts and wounds, eye complaints such as sand in the eye, removal of items from the skin such as a splinter or shell and minor burns including sunburn. If the injury is too serious to be treated in the pharmacy, patients will be given advice about where to go.

Depending on which pharmacist is covering they are also offering Sore Throat Test and Treat; this is a new scheme which allows patients to call into their local pharmacy and be tested by a trained pharmacist using a quick and pain free test.

Following a consultation and assessment by the pharmacist, medication may be supplied for those patients where an antibiotic is required.

In many cases, a sore throat is the result of a viral rather than bacterial infection which means antibiotics will not work, and self-care and rest are the best course of action.

The pharmacies will also be able to help with providing emergency contraception and emergency supplies of medication as well as offering advice and treatment for common ailments.

The participating pharmacies are:

• Gravells Pharmacy, Off Thomas Street, Llanelli – open 10am – 1pm

• Nigel Williams Pharmacy, 109 Rhosmaen Street, Llandeilo – open 12pm -2pm

• Nigel Williams Pharmacy, Isfryn, Carmarthen Road, Cross Hands – open 3pm – 5pm

Pharmacist James Throne of Gravells Pharmacy said: “We’re pleased to be able to open on a Sunday morning to offer a range of services to patients who otherwise may have travelled to a hospital for treatment.”

Jill Paterson, Director of Primary Care, Community and Long-term Care for Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The Health Board is delighted that we continue to expand the range of Services we are able to offer patients locally.

“Our Community Pharmacies are providing an increasing number of enhanced Services which enable patients and the public to seek assistance without having to attend a hospital or GP practice.

“We believe that providing these Services on a Sunday on a trial basis, will increase the local advice and support available to patients during the weekend period.”

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Community

Man arrested for illegal burning of waste

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A man has been arrested in connection with the illegal burning of waste in the Llanelli area, following an investigation by Natural Resources Wales officers.

Smoke from the burning waste has caused concern for people living in the vicinity.

NRW is working with its partner agencies, Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Carmarthenshire County Council and Dyfed-Powys Police to tackle waste crime across the county and has appealed to the public for help.

Pippa Sabine, Tackling Waste Crime officer for NRW, said:

“If an offer seems too good to be true then beware, it is highly likely that the carrier is operating illegally and dumping waste where it will harm the local community and the environment.

“On average a legitimate waste carrier charges around £52 to remove a car boot sized bundle of waste while a van load would cost £166 and an average skip load around £230.

“If you are being charged less then ask if they are a registered waste carrier and check our public register.

“Please report any suspicious or illegal activity to the NRW incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.”

The Arson Reduction Team, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have assisted NRW and Dyfed Powys Police as part of this operation.

Arson Reduction Team Police Sergeant Marc Davies said:

“Protecting our communities is a key priority for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

“The illegal dumping and burning of waste causes a serious nuisance to the surrounding community and whilst fire crews are dealing with these incidents, they are unable to attend other emergency calls.

“It is vital that we work closely with our partners in tackling this crime and support them with their investigations and enforcement.”

Sergeant Gemma Davies from Llwynhendy Neighbourhood Policing Team added:

“We rely on our community to share information with us to target and tackle crimes of this nature.

“By working with partner agencies, we can effectively deal with offences, keep our communities safe from harm from such offences and reduce demand placed on front line policing.”

The public can contact 101 to provide information or report offences or can do so anonymously through Crimestoppers.

To check the NRW public register visit https://naturalresourceswales.gov.uk/permits-and-permissions/check-for-a-permit-licence-or-exemption/?lang=en

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