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Plaid probes plum party

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Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 13.59.20ON WEDNESDAY (Apr 6) at a Llanelli Town Council meeting questions were raised over the activity of the Twinning Committee by Plaid Cymru town Councillors.

Elli Ward councillor Ruth Price asked: “I wondered whether there were grant guidelines for giving money for schools and whether the schools were aware of opportunities to go to Agen other than Bryngwyn? I was wondering if there were any grant guidelines available to see?”

Mel Edwards the Town Clerk replied: “As far as other schools being aware, when we were preparing for the twinning covenant in 2014 we had a number of meetings with schools here. I think all schools were represented. They are aware. There have been different approaches towards these trips from different schools.

“As the letter from the head of Bryngwyn explained that was presented to the twinning committee, Bryngwyn is the lead school for languages in Llanelli. The purpose of this visit was to try and extend the exchanges so that other schools here could link up with other schools in Agen. That was the purpose of the visit to explore the possibilities of doing that.”

Mr Edwards continued: “Other schools are aware that they can, with assistance of the Town Council, make those necessary connections to have the link. The guidelines are based on the number of people travelling. There is banding from one to four people travelling. Up to ten people travelling and then over 25 people. I can certainly circulate the guidelines.”

Councillor Price turned her attention to a letter sent to the Town Council by the New Dock Stars RFC.

She said: “Regarding the Town Twinning committee, in relation to the rugby exchange, I haven’t got sight of the letter from New Dock Stars committee. I was wondering who the letter came from and who is the Chair of the New Dock Stars’ committee?”

The clerk told her: “It is a matter of public record. The leader of the council has declared an interest as secretary of New Dock Stars previously. He wasn’t at the meeting. The letter was circulated with the agenda and it is a public document. Since then we have had a letter from the chair again thanking us.”

Councillor Price persisted with her line of questioning and said: “If nothing has been put in from Councillor Lucas it would be nice to see the declaration of interest in relation to this, in case there is a conflict of interest there.” The Clerk pointed out to Councillor Price that as Councillor Lucas was not at the meeting he was not required to declare an interest.

Plaid’s Tyisha Ward councillor, Roger Price said: “I can’t help but notice when there are these trips to Agen that other parties apart from Labour group appear to be conspicuously absent. As a mayor myself, I didn’t have a look in.

“They are going quite regularly now and I am wondering whether there is a need and whether it should be one party all the time. It seems to be totally biased like so much in this council. It is run more like a Labour club than a town council.”

The clerk said that he could not comment on any political issue: “It is my job to ensure any expenditure incurred is authorised properly, which it has been. When there was a larger delegation in August the invitation to fill spaces available was on seniority to the people on the town twinning committee. Some people couldn’t go but actually more than one party was represented on that visit.”

Councillor Jan Williams said that she could sympathise with Cllr Roger Price: “It is the luck of the draw. These things happen. What I would say is that everything is done above board and by the book. We go not by the person but by the position. The position is usually the mayor, the leader, the clerk obviously, because somebody like the clerk and the leader have a position which lasts from year to year and they can establish a good rapport which is very important, with Agen. “There is nothing political about it.” Cllr Williams continued without irony to observe: “It would be a pity to bring this down to small town politics.”

He remarked: “We have been linked with Agen for many years. They are random visits. If they think the twinning committees can benefit from it they ask us and we attend. It is done purely according to seniority.

“Personally I take exception to the inference that Councillor Lucas, in particular, is anything other than scrupulously fair about this matter.”

It was not clear why Cllr Williams felt moved to defend Cllr Lucas in relation to visiting Agen for the Festival of Prunes, as the point raised by Cllr Roger Price did not mention him at all.

Councillor Bill Thomas added his voice to the discussion saying that he had been invited twice but had not gone. Cllr Thomas said: “There are unscrupulous people who said I was snubbing it by not going. I think this needs to be brought to a head. I think this is a bit petty.”

Councillor Winston Lemon observed that the invitation to the Agen Prune Festival was an annual event and that he had not been invited when he was mayor: “In times of austerity there is quite a big delegation going on ‘this prune jolly’.”

He asked if the council were paying the full cost for representatives of Coleg Sir Gar and if he could have the full costs of the visit so that the people of Llanelli knew where the Town Council were spending their money in a time of austerity.

The clerk pointed out that any expenditure was a matter of public record.

Councillor Jeff Edmunds then asked for clarification as to whether the council had been asked to the festival every year. The clerk pointed out that it was an annual event but they had not been invited every year.

The Mayor, Cllr Shahana Najmi pointed out that the festival had been running every year but that the council had only been invited since last year (2015).

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend

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WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo

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A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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