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Firm wants Aberystwyth-Carmarthen link

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TRAWS LINK CYMRU are to host a meeting to report on the progress of the campaign to re-open the rail line between Carmarthen and Aberwystwyth.

On Thursday March 19, in St. Peter’s Civic Hall, the West Wales Rail Campaigners will host the meeting, which will be open to the public.

Following two meetings held in Lampeter in Autumn 2013, Traws Link Cymru was formed in the spring of 2014. In order to provide a railway connection between north and south Wales, Traws Link want to re-build the rail link between Carmarthen and Aberwystwyth, as well as a connection between Afon Wen and Bangor.

In 1998, the idea to better the connection between the north and south of Wales was first put forward by Friends of the Earth. The idea gained renewed relevance when the Scottish Borders Railways, from Edinburgh to Galshiels, were due to reopen in 2015.

A debate was led by Simon Thomas (AM) at the Welsh Assembly in March 2014 and was supported by all political parties. It gave momentum to the campaign, and a meeting was soon held with Network Rail, who supported the idea.

8,000 signatures were accumulated over the summer, emphasising the desire for an improved connection. A survey of the trackbed indicated that less than 3% was already built on. The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, indicated his support and Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion have now voted to support the campaign, along with over 40 community and town councils along the line.

Traws Link are soon to meet with civil servants in Cardiff to help prepare for a Feasibility Study. They are also going to meet with the Minister of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb MP, to discuss plans for the improving railway links in Wales.

Traws Link have said: “The new railways will provide a swift connection across west Wales linking six universities and providing passengers with access to hospitals, shopping and cultural facilities. It will encourage investment and new job opportunities for one of the poorest parts of the EU and help sustain the Welsh language. In addition, the potential for freight transport will help to make our roads safer and encourage a more environmentally sustainable transport infrastructure.”

Adrian Kendon, the Chairperson of Traws Link Cymru, commented: “We expect that, following the devolution to the Welsh Government of responsibility for infrastructure and the completion of a feasibility study, the railway will be rebuilt from 2019 onwards. We have estimated the cost as being between £400m and £650m including devising new routes into Carmarthen and Aberwystwyth.”

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News

Respect, protect and enjoy Halloween safely

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RESPECT, protect, and enjoy. That’s the message from Dyfed-Powys Police as officers urge people to celebrate Halloween safely.

The force has launched Operation Bang 2021, asking people to think differently about the way they mark Halloween this year.

Covid-19 hasn’t gone away, and with some restrictions in place, officers are encouraging people to respect their neighbours, protect emergency services by reducing demand, and enjoy celebrations at home.

Inspector Justin Evans of the Crime and Harm Reduction Unit said: “You might be familiar with Op Bang, which is an annual operation aimed at keeping people safe over Halloween and bonfire night. This year, while our policing focus remains firmly on tackling antisocial behaviour and keeping people safe, for the second year our message is a little bit different given the unusual circumstances we’ve found ourselves in.

“We’re asking people to consider celebrating at home instead of going out and about, respecting that there are people who find Halloween distressing at the best of times, and who might find that the uncertainty of the current situation has heightened these feelings of anxiety.

“We also ask that you do your best to keep yourself and your family safe to prevent adding pressure to the emergency services during already busy times.”

Carving pumpkins, making crafts, and creating a spooky trail around your house or garden are all ways to celebrate Halloween at home with younger children.

While older children and teenagers might still want to meet up with friends, parents are urged to keep track of their plans, remind them to consider the consequences of their actions, and be mindful of lockdown restrictions.

“Fortunately, the majority of communities we police don’t experience a great increase in crime at this time of year, but there can always be one or two people who spoil it for everyone else,” Insp Evans said.

“We don’t want anyone’s enjoyment to get out of hand and cause distress or harm to others.

“By working together we can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.”

For Halloween craft ideas and ways to celebrate at home, check out the Dyfed-Powys Police Pinterest page.

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Community

Christmas Toy Box Appeal to support families

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Council staff will purchase gifts and toys and distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has launched its annual Christmas Toybox Appeal.

The appeal, in its 11th 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 7,500 gifts were distributed to 1,256 children.

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. Given the current situation people are asked to donate in the same way.

Gifts will be bought out of the money donated and given to families who, for a range of reasons, are not able to give their children a Christmas that most of us take for granted.

Schools, family centres and youth workers identify those who are in greatest need of support.

Council staff will purchase gifts and toys and distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.

The council’s executive board member responsible for the Toybox Appeal, Cllr Mair Stephens said: “Last year we saw an unprecedented demand from families struggling to buy their children gifts. The appeal ensured that local children, who might otherwise have received nothing or very little, were given a gift at Christmas. We have always had fantastic support from the public and couldn’t do it without their help. Every donation, no matter how big or small, will make a huge difference to those less fortunate families. So please dig deep and donate to the online Christmas appeal.”

You can make a financial donation by visiting their website

If you have a cash or cheque donation please call 01267 234567.

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Education

New Year start date for new state-of-the-art Pembrey primary school

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The new modern purpose-built £8.25million primary school will be built next to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.

WORK will get underway to build a state-of-the-art primary school in Pembrey in the new year.

Carmarthenshire County Council has unveiled plans for its latest new school, part of its multi-million pound Modernising Education Programme, jointly funded by the Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools initiative.

The new modern purpose-built £8.25million primary school will be built next to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.

On completion it will provide high-quality teaching facilities for 270 primary pupils and 30 nursery pupils.

It will also incorporate a Flying Start facility for younger children, located in a mobile classroom on the current school site.

The school has been designed by Carmarthenshire County Council’s own architects and the work will be carried out by Carmarthenshire-based TRJ Construction Ltd, selected from the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework.

Headteacher Helen Jacob said: “Teaching staff, pupils and families are excited and looking forward to seeing our new school come to life. Our children will benefit from seeing every phase of their new school being built right alongside us – it has been designed to enhance learning and teaching and it is very much deserved.”

Cllr Glynog Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, added: “We are proud to be delivering yet another fantastic new school in Carmarthenshire as part of our Modernising Education Programme.

“The new Ysgol Pen-bre will provide an excellent learning and teaching environment and will also benefit the local community, with many features built into the design that can be used by local people when it opens.

“We look forward to seeing construction start in January.”

By the end of the 2020/21 financial year, Carmarthenshire County Council will have invested £295million in transforming its network of nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Since the programme was launched, 12 new primary schools and two new secondary schools have been built and a number of other schools have been remodelled and refurbished to provide top-class learning and community facilities.

Find out more at www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education

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