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Care home residents treated to St David’s Day online concert

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RESIDENTS in care homes across Carmarthenshire are being treated to a free virtual St David’s Day concert.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s theatres have partnered with Loud Applause Productions to produce the online event which will showcase a wealth of Welsh talent on Monday March 1 at 7pm. It will also be free to care home residents in Pembrokeshire.

This is the second time Carmarthenshire Theatres have arranged for care homes in the two counties to access a digital show, with every care home receiving a free copy of a Christmas concert, ‘The West End at Christmas’ over the last festive period.

Filmed at The Ffwrnes Theatre Llanelli, the St David’s Day celebration is a digital 44-minute concert which all audiences can enjoy at home.

It will be presented bilingually by local broadcaster and author, Alun Gibbard and features some traditional Welsh songs that everyone will recognise and enjoy including Ar Hyd Y Nos as well as popular songs from musicals like Bring Him Home from ‘Les Misérables’.

There will be performances from the official harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales, Alis Huws, also a rising star in the world of musical theatre, singer Samuel Wyn-Morris, who’s most recently been performing in the West End production of ‘Les Misérables’.

Carmarthenshire based actor, Julian Lewis Jones, who has appeared in Hollywood film Invictus and is a regular face in the Sky TV series, Stella, will be the guest reader.

The concert will also feature performances from two young local singers, Osian Clarke and Lauren Fisher, both members of the Loud Applause Rising Stars programme.

Last year the council donated over 100 iPads to its care homes so that residents could keep in contact with their loved ones throughout lockdown.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s executive board member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: “We are delighted to be able to offer all our care home residents a free viewing of our St David’s Day online concert. This concert promises to be a very exciting one with a wealth of local talent taking part. The Christmas online event was very popular and we hope that as many people as possible will join us from home for this one and show their support for our local artists.”

Tickets for the concert are on also on sale to the public via Carmarthenshire Theatre’s website www.theatrausirgar.co.uk Those purchasing a ticket will receive a direct link to watch the show which will be streamed on the theatre’s website. The concert will be available to view via the link for three weeks following the release. Tickets are priced at £5 per household.

To see the Carmarthenshire Theatre programmes of digital shows visit their website.

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Community

Council recognised for help to food banks

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Carmarthenshire County Council has been recognised nationally after gifting over £42,000 in food vouchers to foodbanks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Egni Sir Gâr Cyfyngedig won a community award in the British Renewable Energy (REA) Awards 2020 after distributing the vouchers to 14 food banks across the county out of income generated from rooftop solar panels.

The REA judging panel said: “They have responded very generously compared to their income stream. What a remarkable and impactful immediate response to a crisis. If only other organisations followed their lead.”

The donation represents a value of approximately £70,000 for every mega-watt of solar installed, which is the highest single payment per megawatt of installed solar for any community benefit society, commercial solar farm or portfolio in the UK.

The council’s executive board member for resources and director of Egni Sir Gar, Cllr David Jenkins, said: “The last year more than ever before people are having to use the foodbanks to put food on their table so we didn’t hesitate to repurpose these funds when they became available to help more families that are struggling and cannot afford the essentials of life.”

Egni Sir Gâr Cyfyngedig is an energy community benefit society established by Carmarthenshire County Council in 2015. Since then it has installed 16 rooftop solar on council owned buildings. With a total capacity installed of 636 kWp (kilowatt peak), the electricity generated by these sites over the last 12 months equates to the equivalent of over 290 tonnes of CO2e offset which contributes towards the council’s commitment to become a net zero carbon local authority by 2030.

If you are struggling and cannot afford food, then please contact your local food bank.

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Business

Have your say on the budget

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Executive Board has reiterated its commitment to creating jobs and improving the quality of life for the people of Carmarthenshire.

The Executive Board has agreed a draft capital budget that details and sets out almost half a billion pounds worth of improvement and regeneration programmes planned between now and 2025.

The budget includes additional commitment to supporting businesses, regenerating local towns and boosting the local economy as Carmarthenshire recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council’s capital spending includes items like major road improvement schemes, new schools or buying significant assets, such as buildings, which are used to provide the council with income as well as providing jobs to benefit the local economy.

Following endorsement by Executive Board, the draft capital budget forms part of a wider consultation on the council’s plans for spending and saving, allowing everyone the opportunity to feed back their opinion before it ends on February 3.

Public feedback will be considered as part of the budget decision making process.

Included in the proposed capital projects are several road and traffic infrastructure improvement schemes, such as upgraded bridges, street lighting, electric vehicle charging points and active travel links to support people to travel safely by bike and on foot.

The council plans to continue its ambitious schools’ modernisation programme, building new schools or transforming existing facilities to bring educational settings up to 21st century standards.

Regeneration of urban and rural towns is also a main focus with targeted schemes to improve their appearance and prospects to support businesses and boost the local economy.

There are plans for improved facilities and estates for rural and industrial industries and support for businesses to harness renewable energy.

Supporting businesses to get back on their feet as the county recovers from Covid-19 is a key focus, as well as encouraging new business start-ups and improving digital connectivity in rural areas – the draft capital budget allocated funding in year one of the programme.

Delivery of projects that form part of the Swansea Bay City Deal programme are also included.

Cllr David Jenkins, Executive Board Member for resources, said: “We are quite rightly focusing our efforts in the first year on supporting and stimulating Carmarthenshire’s economy following the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19, but we are proud to identify funds for many more important capital programme projects. Our aim is to create better prospects for the whole of Carmarthenshire, making life better for our residents and more prosperous for our businesses.

“The draft capital budget of course forms the basis of consultation and as always we welcome public feedback which will help our decision-making in the coming weeks.”

People can share their views online at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultation until 5pm on February 3, 2021.

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Community

Boost to Carmarthen and Ammanford town centres

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People are being asked their views on the introduction of two Local Development Orders (LDOs) for Carmarthen and Ammanford town centres.

Carmarthenshire County Council says new orders would help shape and guide development through the challenges faced as a result of Covid-19.

Adopting the orders is intended to help attract investment to the areas, and to support existing businesses by giving certainty for developers, reducing timescales and reducing the costs associated with making a planning application.

Bringing empty shops back into use in Carmarthen and Ammanford Town Centres is one of the key priorities for the council as well as addressing the impact and implications arising from Covid-19.

People can give their views online by visiting the council website www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultations until noon on Friday, February 26.

An LDO is already operating successfully in Llanelli Town Centre.

The council’s executive board member responsible for planning, Cllr Mair Stephens said: “Whilst the Adopted LDP sets a strong policy direction for retail within Carmarthenshire, the challenges facing retail centres as a result of Covid-19 requires the planning process to adopt a more flexible and responsive approach in ensuring our town centres are viable and vibrant. It is essential that both Carmarthen and Ammanford town centres are able to respond positively to the changes arising from Covid-19 and the adoption of the LDOs will streamline the planning process and encourage ongoing and new investment in the town centres.”

For more information please contact the Forward Planning Section on 01267 228818 or email forward.planning@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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