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Llanelli prepares for festive fun

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(L-R): Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Stephen Donoghue, Llanelli Town Mayor Cllr Bill Thomas, Steve Wilson, Managing Director of Wastewater Services at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, and Carmarthenshire County Council Chairman Cllr Eryl Morgan

(L-R): Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Stephen Donoghue, Llanelli Town Mayor Cllr Bill Thomas, Steve Wilson, Managing Director of Wastewater Services at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, and Carmarthenshire County Council Chairman Cllr Eryl Morgan

FESTIVE fun for all the family is on its way, as Llanelli’s annual Christmas carnival and lights switch-on will take place on Friday, November 18.

Expect traditional floats, spectacular fireworks displays, funfair, live music and a host of entertainment on the biggest night of the year!

Around 20,000 people are expected to line the streets to watch the largest carnival procession in Wales, and Heart FM is back for the second year running to broadcast the event across the nation with DJ Jason Harrold.

The carnival is organised by Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Rural Council, Llanelli Town Council and Llanelli Round Table and, this year, it is being supported by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water.

Carmarthenshire County Council Chairman Cllr Eryl Morgan said: “Llanelli Christmas Carnival has a reputation for being one of the best in Wales, attracting people from across Carmarthenshire and beyond.

“I am sure that this year’s event will once again be a night to remember; it marks the start of Christmas in Llanelli and is the first of a number of events to be held in the town for the festive season.”

Cllr Bill Thomas, Llanelli Town Mayor, said: “The carnival is the highlight of the calendar year in Llanelli, with thousands of people descending upon the town to enjoy the festivities. A lot of work goes in to organising the carnival and preparations are well underway. I am looking forward to what promises to be yet another brilliant night.”

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Stephen Donoghue added: “Llanelli Rural Council is proud to be a partner in the Llanelli Christmas Carnival. It is one of the highlights of the year for Llanelli and gives residents and visitors an opportunity to not only set themselves up for the festive season, but to see what the town has to offer. The ongoing support of this annual event shows the commitment we have to making Llanelli a better place to live, work and enjoy.”

There are already 16 floats confirmed in this year’s carnival procession, including Coedcae School, Dancing Divas, Evans Recovery, Llanelli Gymnastic Club, the Friendship Theatre Group, Wales Air Ambulance, Trostre United Football Club, Ysgol Heol Goffa and Nando’s. But there is still time to get involved.

Roger Bowen, from Llanelli Round Table, said: “We are looking forward to yet another successful Christmas carnival this year. We already have 16 floats confirmed but are hoping to have at least 20 on the night. Hopefully, the weather be on our side this year, but even if it isn’t, I know it won’t stop people coming out to enjoy what is always a fantastic night.”

Steve Wilson, Managing Director of Wastewater Services at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, commented: “We are delighted to be supporting Llanelli Christmas Carnival 2016. As Carmarthenshire’s largest annual event, we are looking forward to working with the county, town and rural councils, along with Heart FM and Llanelli Round Table, to make this year’s event even bigger than the last.

“Our RainScape team will be adding to the Christmas cheer at the event by offering visitors the chance to take part in fun and games to win prizes.

“We’ll be investing another £20 million in RainScape projects in and around Llanelli’s Station Road from 2017, so our customers will have the opportunity to get more information at this event.

“RainScape helps to reduce the risk of sewer flooding and pollution by catching, slowing and reducing the amount of rain water which goes into the sewer network.

“Residents can speak to a member of the team every Thursday at The Hub in Stepney Street. Customers can also email or call the team for more information at rainscape@dwrcymru. com or on 0800 085 3968.”

Local businesses and community groups interested in taking part in the carnival procession, please email Roger atrogerbowen@taxassist.co.uk or call him on 07940 115864.

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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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Community

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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Community

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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