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The British obsession with possessions

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Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 13.37.41A NEW survey has revealed that British people just love to hoard possessions, struggling to let go of items even when they know that they don’t need them and will never use them again.

The survey was conducted by insurance specialist RIAS to mark the start of National Spring Clean Week which kicks off today (Apr 14).

Results from the survey identified that 79% of people have at least one space in their home full of items that they’re fully aware they will never need again.

For 31% of people, that space is a drawer, 28% it is a cupboard and for a shocking 19%, that space is an entire room.

An astounding one in 10 people admitted that they had never had a clear-out of items they do not use or want any longer, but the majority of people, 64%, admitted to having a clearing once a year at most.

Yet, 79% of everyone questioned acknowledged that they were fully aware that they were holding onto items they no longer need, want or use purely for sentimental reasons.

The research also found that when moving home, which is a key opportunity to remove clutter and reappraise current belongings, many people decided to just take their ‘junk’ with them.

In fact, a whopping 55% of people who moved home in the last five years stated that they didn’t clear out any of their possessions when they moved. Once settled into their new home, 79% of people said they realised they had kept items that they shouldn’t have.

Psychologist Dr Elizabeth Forrester said: “People seem to struggle to let go of material things, often citing emotional attachment or sentimental reasons for holding onto unnecessary items.

“It seems to be a subconscious decision to simply hold onto things even though it’s known there’s no need to use for them anymore. Items are kept out of sight and never used, but hold comfort simply in the knowledge that they are there.

“For many people this ‘comfort’ extends from a kitchen drawer to occupying an entire room.”

To put these survey results to the test, RIAS put blogger Louise Parker in touch with Dr Forrester to help her take a less emotional view of possessions she no longer needed or wanted.

Having recently moved home, Louise was not one of the 55% of people who held onto everything through the move, instead opting to clear out a large portion of her unwanted items. However, she realised that she was still clinging onto a lot of her clothing, toiletries and other beauty items unnecessarily.

Louise said: “I was a little nervous about de-cluttering with Liz if I’m honest! I like to think I’m quite a streamlined person, so I really thought that there wouldn’t be anything that I would deem as clutter. However, my wardrobe and drawers that were bursting at the seams were telling a different story, so something really needed to be done!

“Liz’s approach was very simple. After putting all my clothes from my wardrobes and drawers, and secret suitcases filled with further clothes, on the bed, it was as easy as picking up each item one by one and really assessing whether I wanted it or needed it.

“Asking myself whether I actually wore it or if it was too similar to lots of my other clothes was a particularly handy approach. I found that I hadn’t really thought about many of the items of clothes for quite a while, just because I rarely saw them in my packed wardrobe!

“My drawers full of bottles, make-up and skincare were an area that really needed addressing. It was amazing the great feeling I got when I found something in amongst the clutter that I forgot I had.

“It was also really great to rid myself of the little sample sachets and bottles from magazines and make-up counters. Physically seeing the piles of stuff that I was happy to get rid of was quite a shock and that image will really stay with me when I next go into Boots!

“Another thing Liz taught me was to contemplate the amount of things I bring into the house every day, and whether I clear the same amount out. Now when I do choose to buy something new, I’ll be thinking about what I could get rid of to balance it out.”

Dr Forrester said: “Louise made some interesting comments about some of the items she’d struggled to discard. This applied to quite a few cosmetic items which had lain unused and unloved in the drawer

“Attempts to avoid unpleasant, negative feelings is a key reason for not tackling clutter. When Louise came face-to-face with these items, it reminded her of money she had spent on them, so getting rid of them felt wasteful, and led to further feelings of guilt.

“A self-confessed lover of shopping, I asked her about the feeling she experienced when she bought the items. When we shop, we see items that we desire and it often seems as if we will never get over that intense feeling of longing we experience.

In fact, that feeling has too often fizzled out before we’ve even set foot through the door and the item loses its magic. In a similar way, we may fear that the negative thoughts and emotions we get when contemplating getting rid of some unworn or unused purchases won’t go away either.

“By clearing out a significant amount of clutter, such as half-used tubes and bottles, and taking a novel approach to discarding her unwanted purchases, such as passing them onto friends and colleagues or a donation to a favourite charity, Louise had a very different experience.

“She found that, rather than being left with uncomfortable feelings, she got the same familiar buzz she would get when acquiring something new. What’s more, delighting friends with a nearly-new bargain, and being able to give some cash to a good cause, will give her some additional ‘feel good’ experiences.

“So, by having a good clear-out, it is possible to fall in love all over again with some things that have been languishing in the back of cupboards.”

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Community

Llandeilo Festival publishes its Entertainment schedule

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“CHILDREN AND families are at the heart of our festival this year,” announces festival vice chair Debbie Ince. “On Friday 18th November the festival stalls will start trading at 10am but in the evening there will be the official opening, followed at 6:15pm by Santa coming through the town on his sleigh. A children’s Lantern procession from CK to King Street led by Llandeilo Primary School’s Samba group will meet Santa on King Street to tunes by the Llandeilo Town Band and bilingual hymn singer Ffion Haf. Once the children had their fill of Santa, the Christmas Lights will be switched on by Mayor Gordon Kilby. Local legend singer and actor Harry Luke and Ffion Haf will entertain the crowd until 8pm.”

People enjoying the festival

A spectacular and pet-friendly Laser Show will replace the controversial fireworks at 8pm. “There’s also a tea cup ride on King Street for kids,” adds Ince. “On Saturday and Sunday kids can go to Santa’s Grotto 10 – 4, and on Saturday to St Teilo’s Church or Hengwrt for activities. At our park and ride on Beechwood Estate ‘Sgiliau’ will be open for our youngest visitors.”

“There is of course plenty of entertainment for adults, too,” adds festival chair Christoph Fischer. “From Davies & Co Station Road to Flows on Market Street, most Llandeilo venues will play indoor music, many day and night. The stage will host a variety of acts: from school and adult choirs, bands, solo singers and dance groups, such as Mixed Youth Group, Lotus Sisters Belly dancers and Sunflowers Wales. Cooking demonstrations on Saturday and a Santa Run on Sunday morning round up the festival programme. You can find updates on the Llandeilo Town App Dyma Llandeilo.”

Santa at the Parade

“With our wide selection of street food, arts-,crafts-, fashion- and food stalls there should be something for everyone,” adds stalls coordinator and treasurer Mered Williams. “See you all on the 18th.!”

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Carmarthenshire County Council has launched its annual Christmas Toybox Appeal

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The appeal, in its 12th year, helps hundreds of children with families who can’t afford to buy toys or gifts.

Last year saw us help more families than ever who were struggling financially with more than 7,700 gifts distributed to 1,287 children. This year during these unprecedented times we rely on support more than ever.

The appeal was launched online for the first time in 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic and people were asked to make a financial donation instead of buying gifts and toys.

This year people can either give a financial donation or drop off gifts from games, arts and craft items to toiletry gift sets for all ages – from 18 months up to teenagers, at one of a number of collection points around the county.

Schools, family centres and youth workers identify those who are in greatest need of support and council staff will distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

The council’s executive board member responsible for the Toybox Appeal, Cllr Linda Evans said:

“I am proud to be following on from the legacy of Cllr Mair Stephens who sadly passed away earlier this year. The Toybox appeal this year is going to be more important than ever. We have always had fantastic support and this year we hope this will continue to ensure that hundreds of children will receive a Christmas gift. We know times are hard, but if people are able to spare a gift or a donation no matter how big or small, it will make a great difference to those families less fortunate.”

You can make a donation of your choice online at the Christmas Toy Box Appeal website. If you have a cash or cheque donation please call 01267 246504.

To view the collection point locations please visit the council’s website

Donations are being taken up until November 30.

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Council responds at pace to deliver significant improvements in its planning Service

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Audit Wales has carried out a Follow-up Review of Planning Services by Carmarthenshire County Council and concluded that the council has successfully addressed all its recommendations.

In July 2021, Audit Wales published a report following a review of the council’s planning services, with its findings identifying significant and long-standing performance issues in the planning service that needed to be urgently addressed to help support the delivery of the council’s ambitions.

A total of 17 recommendations were made by Audit Wales for the council to address. All of which the report has confirmed have been met.

In response to the recommendations of the report, Carmarthenshire County Council convened an Intervention Board to provide oversight of a 49 point action plan to respond to the Audit Wales findings that were published in July 2021. Over the past 15 months, progress against the plan has been monitored through the council’s governance framework to provide assurance of progress made against the recommendations.

Audit Wales has been following the council’s progress through regular catch-up meetings with the council, document reviews and observing governance and audit committee meetings. They have also interviewed key council officers during the audit process.

Within the follow up-review, which can be viewed on their website, Audit Wales states that:

“The Council is to be commended for the swift, decisive action it took in response to the findings of our 2021 report, and for the way it has driven improvements in its planning service.

“The constructive way in which the Council received our report and acted on the recommendations is a particularly positive example of a Council demonstrating its commitment to driving improvement in service delivery.

“The Council has learnt lessons from the review that it has also applied more widely, particularly in relation to performance management.

“Overall, we found that the Council has successfully addressed all our recommendations and has responded at pace to deliver significant improvements in its planning service.”

Cabinet member for rural affairs and planning policy, Cllr Ann Davies said:

“I am very pleased with the Audit Wales report which states that Carmarthenshire County Council has succeeded in overcoming challenges within our planning department.

“The report is excellent, it praises the work and the change in systems, procedures and leadership, recognising the significant improvement that has been achieved.

“The issues in question were not due to a lack of work ethic, as I know first-hand of the effort and commitment that is put in by a number of our officers. It was rather the processes which were to blame and needed to be adjusted, as it did not provide officers with the appropriate environment to carry out the work required.

“I would like to thank all council officers that have worked so hard since the Spring of 2021 to achieve the goal of meeting all 17 of the recommendations that were initially set out by Audit Wales.

“The next step, of course, is to keep going, keep moving forward to stay at the forefront as one of the most productive planning authorities in Wales. There is further work to be done and we are committed to continuous improvement, especially in the world of enforcement but we are moving in the right direction with over 1000 enforcement cases having already been resolved in the last year.”

Click here to visit the Audit Wales website and view a full copy of the Follow-up Review of Planning Services.

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