ONE of the leading members of a group which is campaigning to keep a Carmarthenshire primary school dual stream has been suspended from the Labour party.
This follows a protest organised at the school last week (Feb 9) which was attended by UKIP AM Neil Hamilton. Leaked social media posts subsequently emerged that showed Michaela Beddows, a Labour Party member who told local media that she was standing for the party as a community councillor, had briefed Mr Hamilton, and invited him to attend the demonstration.
It was also alleged that she had shared social media posts from the English Defence League.
In an open letter to Jeremy Corbyn, published in this week’s Herald, Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards called for an investigation into Labour involvement in the protests against their party’s own education policy.
“Regrettably, the Labour party in Llanelli has run a nasty, divisive campaign against the plans of the local Plaid Cymru-led Council to implement a policy initiated by the then Labour-run Council administration and approved by the Labour Welsh Government. I am informed by local residents that parents who support the plans have been intimidated by local activists,” the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP wrote.
“Most surprising to you might be the fact that one Labour County Councillor referred to bilingual education as “apartheid” during a debate in the local Council. These actions are undoubtedly influenced by political considerations as we approach this year’s local authority elections. Both County Council seats in Llangennech are held by Plaid Cymru.
“I know it will be an issue of grave concern to you that the Labour party in Llanelli is actively coordinating efforts with UKIP in Llangennech community. UKIP Assembly Member Neil Hamilton recently campaigned with Labour in Llangennech – a visit we now know was coordinated in liaison with the official Labour party candidate for Llangennech ward. Labour party members pictured on social media wearing Labour party rosettes are too seen in the picture with UKIP’s Neil Hamilton. Furthermore, recent comments to local media from a Labour supporter in Llangennech suggest your party will contest the Llangennech Community Council elections in a joint campaign with UKIP.”
After the publication of this letter, a Welsh Labour Party spokesperson told the press that: “The Labour Party is aware of complaints about Michaela Beddows. Ms Beddows has been administratively suspended from the Labour Party while an investigation takes place.”
Responding to news of the suspension, Mr Edwards said: “Since publishing my letter to Jeremy Corbyn I have been contacted by parents and teachers who believe they have been the victims of systematic intimidation by Labour party activists. This is completely unacceptable and must stop now.
“Jeremy Corbyn has responded to the worrying collusion between his party and UKIP within a matter of hours, whilst the First Minister, Labour officials in Wales and elected members in Llanelli have done nothing for weeks.
“A suspension and investigation is a welcome course of action but the scope of it must be expanded to suspend all members and candidates that we have shown to be involved in actively campaigning with UKIP or have permitted such cooperation.
“The toxic actions of the Labour party in Llangennech are not the result of just one individual.”
Mr Edwards also noted that when the proposals for Llangennech School were brought before council only three Labour Councillors – Ryan Bartlett, Calum Higgins and Ryan Thomas – voted in favour of the motion, and questioned some of the rhetoric used by councillors: “As this investigation gets underway, I would expect all those who have perpetuated the divisive rhetoric of the far right; those who are found to have used intimidation; and those who brand this Welsh Government policy as ‘apartheid’ to be barred from standing for public office in the name of the Labour Party,” he asserted.
“Furthermore, with only three Labour councillors voting to support its own policy on Welsh medium education, Labour head office should ask itself whether those who disregard party policy should be allowed to represent the party at all.”
The Carmarthenshire Labour Party has been approached for comment.
Police appeal for missing woman
DYFED-Powys Police is appealing for help to find a woman who is missing in the Carmarthen area.
Christine, who is 58, left her van at an address in the Cwmduad area overnight and hasn’t been seen since.
She is described as being 5ft 8ins, with grey/blonde shoulder length hair, of very slim build and is believed to be wearing jeans and a T-shirt.
Anyone who has seen Christine, or knows of her whereabouts, is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at https://bit.ly/DPP101Online, by emailing email@example.com, or by calling 101.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908, quoting Ref: DP-20220812-040.
Discover Carmarthenshire launches 100% Carmarthenshire Larder Trails
TO HELP their visitors to eat and drink local and authentic produce, Discover Carmarthenshire has developed three new online guides, the 100% Carmarthenshire Larder Trails for them to follow. The three Larder trails can be viewed here.
With every season bringing the freshest local produce to the county’s markets, delis, farm shops and even the shoreline, as well as an increasing appetite for foodie focused travel experiences, the new trails help visitors head straight to the ‘source’ with some truly authentic experiences to be enjoyed along the way.
The ultimate aim is to help make the picnic, campsite cook up or holiday cottage kitchen supper feature as much Carmarthenshire produce as possible ensuring tourism secondary spend supports the local economy.
Discover Carmarthenshire enlisted the help of three food and travel writers who each spent time in the county researching their trails, locating the tastiest addresses to recommend. Kacie Morgan from The Rare Welshbit who lives in Cardiff covered the west, Binny’s Food and Travel from London hit the east and Carmarthenshire based travel writer Jade Braham, explored her mid county food and drink favourites.
Each trail breaks down advice under different categories including best places for produce market shopping, morning coffee, lunch, treats, hands on tasting experiences, take homes and dinner dates.
From pop up markets to coffee roastery cafes, to cheese makers, vineyards, bottle shops, butchers and delis, visitors following the trails are led on a self guided eating, drinking journey around the county meeting the makers themselves, the farmers, foragers, baristas and gelato producers adding to their experience.
Discover hidden milkshake vending machines down winding county roads and family-run cafes and delis tucked away in market towns, as each guide suggests the best of local eats and drinks.
The Eastern Larder Trail covers the Aman Valley, Llandeilo, Llanelli, the Western Larder Trail explores Laugharne, Whitland, St Clears and Newcastle Emlyn and finally the Mid County Larder Trail focuses on Carmarthen, Kidwelly and Llansteffan. The whole county is covered including experiences such as a low intervention vineyard tour and tasting, to gin and rum distilleries, cookery classes and coastal foraging.
As well as focusing on classic Welsh produce, the trails also celebrate diversity and guide visitors to where they can enjoy Asian curries and tapas cooked up using the freshest local veg followed by a visit to the county’s most famous cheese producer or a drive to a market to search out laverbread, Carmarthenshire’s very own caviar.
The guides also include recommended places to stay (Larder Sleepovers) where the food journey continues – from a new self-catering apartment above the Caws Cenarth dairy, to Mansion House restaurant with rooms and views over Carmarthen Bay, or Cowpots campsite with its own pizzeria and ice cream parlour.
To view the three 100% Carmarthenshire Larder Trails go to: https://www.discovercarmarthenshire.com/explore/carmarthenshire-larder-trails/.YvOdLS8w35Y:
Carmarthenshire based company supplies kit to Wales Commonwealth Team
A LLANELLI based business, that has received financial support from Carmarthenshire County Council, has won the contract to supply the Wales Commonwealth Team’s training leggings.
Onesta has only been trading since June 2020 but is already kitting out the likes of Rosie Eccles, Anwen Butten and Alys Thomas as they represented Wales at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The leggings were designed by University of South Wales students Beth Jones and Olivia Soady, who won a design competition set by Commonwealth Games Wales in partnership with the University. Beth and Olivia worked in partnership with Onesta to produce 360 pairs of leggings using sustainable, recycled materials.
Since it commenced trading, over two years ago, Carmarthenshire County Council has supported Onesta, not only during the COVID-19 pandemic but also to realise the company’s long-term ambitions. In June 2021, Onesta was awarded an Economic Resilience Fund grant of £2,500 by Carmarthenshire County Council as support to cover the business bills during the COVID-19 restrictions of May and June 2021. They were also awarded a £2000 Non-Domestic Rates Grant during the COVID-19 support schemes in February 2022.
In April 2022, Onesta was awarded a Business Growth & Recovery Grant of £10,000 to assist with the purchase of manufacturing equipment and workshop and office furniture. The grant money will fund a cutting table, overlockers, cutting machine, industrial iron, industrial sewing machine and lockstitch, which would assist in the manufacturing of the clothing for the Wales Commonwealth Team for the 2022 Games.
The company’s founder, Gabriella Diana, was nominated by the Council for the Wales Start Up Awards in 2021 in which she went on to win the Rising Star category.
Since then, Onesta has also won the Marie Claire Sustainability Award for Best Sustainable Small Brand 2021, UnLtd Social Entrepreneur Award, and was a finalist in the Cardiff Life Awards 2021 and the GBEA Awards 2021.
Onesta was highly commended in the Heroes of Net Zero competition at a special awards ceremony, hosted by Intuit, at the COP26 international climate change summit in Glasgow. More than 160 businesses entered the competition, making a commitment at the UK Business Climate Hub to achieve net zero by 2050, in line with the government’s own climate commitment. They were highly commended in the micro business category for demonstrating a range of measures taken on their journey to net zero, including sourcing eco-friendly materials locally, removing toxic chemicals used in manufacturing and re-purposing fabric scraps to make sustainable products for Surfers Against Sewage.
Gabriella Diana, Founder and Owner of Onesta said “I was over the moon when we found out that the Wales Commonwealth Team had chosen us to supply their leggings. The past few months have been very busy as we have been measuring the athletes and creating the garments. I’m so pleased to see them being worn on the international stage next week.
“I’m very grateful to Carmarthenshire County Council for the financial support we have received to, not only survive the COVID-19 restrictions but also to build the business and strive.”
Since launching the Business Growth & Start-Up Grant scheme in early 2022, Carmarthenshire County Council has approved 61 business grants to Carmarthenshire businesses. Of which 44 approvals were Business Growth & Recovery Grants, totalling £299,225.17 and 17 approvals were Business Start Up Grants, totalling £117,924.31.
Cllr Gareth John, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure Culture and Tourism said “As a local authority, we are delighted to have been able to invest in Gabriella and her company to enable her to grow the business. We are also very proud to have provided financial support to Onesta, and other companies based in Carmarthenshire, to weather the difficult COVID-19 restrictions of the past two and a half years.
“We have all enjoyed watching Wales’ athletes compete at the recent Commonwealth Games and the fact that they are wearing a kit that is made in Carmarthenshire has been a source of much pride for Carmarthenshire County Council.”
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