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‘Stronger action ‘ needed o ver refugee crisis

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UK must show leadership: Nia Griffith

UK must show leadership: Nia
Griffith

NIA GRIFFITH MP WRITES FOR THE HERALD

MANY of you, will, like me, have been shocked, long before the events of this last week, at the appalling tragedy of refugees dying on the shores of Europe, and very disturbed at the negative attitude of some politicians and some sectors of the press.

It is clear that many people in the UK would want to offer a welcome to refugees after the unimaginable hardship they have suffered, and are already contributing through established charities like Oxfam to the work that they are doing, both in the countries neighbouring the areas of conflict, and on the shores of southern Europe.

Here in Llanelli there has already been a positive response to join in a UK-wide campaign for churches and local organisations to show their support by displaying banners and signs on their buildings, as well as on social media with the simple logo #refugeeswelcome. You can also post pictures of yourselves holding a sign saying #refugeeswelcome. This is a particularly opportune time, as we return to Parliament this week, and European leaders prepare to meet again, as this will help to put pressure on government ministers, and show the refugees themselves that we do want to help, and want the UK to do more.

Together with church and community leaders, we are organising a non-partisan public vigil to take place at 6 pm on Thursday 17th September in Spring Gardens. If anyone wants to participate in the shoebox appeal, they can leave things at my office at 6, Queen Victoria Rd, Llanelli and we will ensure that they are passed on to the correct channels.

I can assure you that I am using my time in Parliament this week to urge government ministers to make sure that the UK lives up to its long tradition of offering help and support to refugees, starting by attending a cross-party vigil in Westminster Hall on Monday morning and following up with parliamentary debate and questions.

Of course we do have people who need help in our own country and we must help them too, but they are largely problems of inequality and the need to redistribute wealth more fairly, and we remain a very rich country—the 20th wealthiest in the world and the sixth biggest economy. We are not only a wealthy country; we are still a very influential country and therefore should be taking a much more positive lead on the refugee crisis on the world stage.

We should be showing leadership on this issue, firstly as MPs here, and then together with our EU partners. In the case of Syria, Turkey has taken in 2 million refugees, Lebanon has 1 million (in a country with only four million people) and Jordan hundreds of thousands likewise. We should be working out there and taking our share of refugees directly, and thus avoiding people falling prey to the most dreadful exploitation and journeys, often ending in tragedy. We also need to help more in southern Europe.

If the UK upped the number of Syrian refugees it has taken from 200 to 10,000, this would mean some 600 for Wales, so 30 – 40 for Carmarthenshire – perhaps 7 or 8 families. These are enterprising people, who would, as soon as they are allowed, be wanting to work hard and contribute to our economy.

Working together with the other 27 EU countries, we could organise similar help on the borders of the handful of other countries where people are fleeing violence (where again it is the neighbouring countries ….. often very poor ones with enough of their own problems …… taking in the majority of refugees and desperately in need of help).

These are problems that are not going to be solved in a week: I can assure you that I will continue to pursue this matter long term.

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Herald publisher ceases operations

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HERALD NEWS UK LTD, the company which prints The Pembrokeshire Herald, The Carmarthenshire Herald and The Llanelli Herald has ceased operations.

Editor of Pembrokeshire Herald, Thomas Sinclair said: “After finalising today’s paper to go to print yesterday, a meeting was held last night. It was confirmed that the expected further investor funding would not be made available for the company.

“This meant that operations need be halted as the businesses was not able to pay its ongoing costs.

“At 10am today the 24 members of staff working at the newspaper have today been given notice of redundancy.

“We are absolutely devastated that after nearly 7 years and hundreds of editions of the paper we can no longer continued.”

“I would like to think that over those years, some of the stories we have written have made a difference to Pembrokeshire and beyond.”

Director of Herald News UK Limited, John Hammond said: “The company accountant could be appointing administrators as soon as next week.”

“The Owners of The Pembrokeshire Herald came to the conclusion last night during a finance meeting that the venture is no longer financially viable.

“Whilst every conceivable effort has been made to improve the financial situation of the business, we have to face the fact that there is no way that we can now continue in a solvent position.

“Whilst there has been a slow decline in readership of local newspapers, our costs for wages, printing and transport have substantially increased.”

“We would like to thank all of our loyal readers and staff.”

<img class=”wp-image-51343 size-large” src=”http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/herald2-1024×678.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”490″ /> Community: Herald titles were campaigning newspapers<img class=”wp-image-51344 size-large” src=”http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/herald3-1024×565.jpg” alt=”” width=”740″ height=”408″ /> Popular: 45,000 people read Herald titles each week in west Wales

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Volunteers needed in Carmarthenshire for Christmas food collection.

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LEADING charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare are appealing to people in Carmarthenshire to volunteer to help in the UK’s biggest food collection for people in need.

From Thursday, November 21 until Saturday, November 23 the two charities will be collecting food in Tesco stores across the UK and Northern Ireland during the annual Tesco Food Collection. They are looking for local volunteers to encourage shoppers to donate, so that as much food as possible can be collected.

During the collection customers are encouraged to donate long-life food to help food banks and community groups support people in need at Christmas. Tesco will top up customer donations by 20% to further support the two charities in their work.

Last year, 3.5 million meals were collected as part of the Tesco Food Collection, and since its launch in 2012, more than 50 million meals have been donated to the two charities by generous Tesco customers.

To make this year’s collection a success volunteers are needed to hand out shopping lists to customers, so they can see the food items most needed by food banks and community groups in their area, and to encourage people to donate.

Emma Revie, chief executive at The Trussell Trust said: “No one should need a food bank at any time of year – but we know during the lead-up to Christmas our network of food banks see even more people needing help.

“Food banks will be doing all they can to provide vital emergency support so people don’t face hunger this Christmas. But to make sure there are enough donations, we need your support. Having your support in this year’s Tesco Food Collection will make a real difference – the more people who volunteer, the more food will be collected from generous shoppers, and the better prepared food banks will be to help local people.”

Farihah Choudhury volunteered at the last Tesco Food Collection, collecting donations for local groups supported by FareShare.

“I loved volunteering last year – it was great to speak with shoppers donating food. The kindness I saw was wonderful and gave me a lot of hope,” she said.

“I believe everyone should have access to good, healthy food and I’d encourage anyone who can to give some time to help stop people going hungry this Christmas.”

People interested in volunteering can find out more and sign up at www.fareshare/tescofoodcollection

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday

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THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm. The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years. £2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.     

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.
More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.

At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.
She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities. I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”

The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.

James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.
James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community. The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”
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