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There is a brand new visitor attraction in cool Carmarthenshire

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IN a dreamy, wooded valley with water all around, there’s a very special experience waiting to be discovered.

Paid for with the fruits of a remarkable fundraising effort, the Regency Restoration project is the largest piece of work undertaken by the National Botanic Garden of Wales since it opened in May 2000.

More than 200 years ago, it was one of the UK’s finest waterparks. It has taken five years and more than £7 million. It’s seen the restoration of a 1.5km lake, a waterfall and a cascade; a new 350-metre-long dam built, six new bridges. . . but now it’s restored and ready for all to see.

Fancy a walk? There are miles of perfect paths that take in all of the amazing features.

Love wildlife? Come and luxuriate in nature’s bounty, where kingfishers, brimstone butterflies, otters and wild trout thrive.

Looking for the perfect family day out? Here’s a place for adventure. To explore. Look under rocks, turn back the clocks and play at being children once more where there is freedom and space and beauty into which you can be loosed on a wondrous journey of discovery and delight. For children of all ages.

This is just part of what’s on offer at the national garden, of course.

The Botanic Garden is also now home the British Bird of Prey Centre – a unique collection of raptors and the only place in the UK you can see a golden eagle and a European sea eagle fly, with stunning flying displays every day. It provides awesome encounters with remarkable creatures and a guaranteed, never-to-be-forgotten, up-close-and-personal experiences with owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, kestrels and red kites.

The Botanic Garden’s centrepiece is the awesome glass dome that is Lord Foster’s Great Glasshouse, home to one of the finest collections of Mediterranean climate-zone plants in the world.

Cardiff-based writer and broadcaster Charles Williams said of this amazing building: “The world’s biggest single-span glasshouse looks like an alien mothership has crash-landed into the middle of some rural idyll (but in a good way).”

All around the Great Glasshouse you will find plenty of paths to take and around every corner is something to savour, enjoy and marvel at.

Why not take a tranquil lakeside walk?

A little further and you will find the ambitious Arboretum, where we are growing trees and shrubs from around the world with wild collected seed – planted for the future and growing fast.

Further still and you are on the wider estate where specially planned out and clearly-marked routes will transport you to new and amazing revelations – wild waxcap meadows where brightly coloured red, green and yellow fungi nestle like improbable gems in the tufty grass of the sheep-chewed pasture; and where the trees and hedgerows throng with whitethroats and flycatchers.

Not far from here, our carefully managed hay meadows reveal a treasury of orchids and other almost forgotten, stunning countryside wildflowers like ragged robin, yellow rattle, knapweed, greater burnet, eyebright and an abundance of orchids.

Make sure you include in your itinerary the unique and historic Double-Walled Garden, a steamy Tropical House, the busy Bee Garden, our Welsh heritage orchard and a newly-planted grove of more than 100 cherry trees.

For more information about the Botanic Garden, please visit our website.

If you want admission or booking info, contact our Admissions team on 01558 667149 or via gatehouse@gardenofwales.org.uk

For more details about the British Bird of Prey Centre, please take a look at their website

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What impact will digital media have on Welsh speaking rural communities?

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Cllr. Ann Davies, Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs, Carys Ifan - Director of Yr Egin, Wynfford James - Cymdeithas yr Iaith

At an open forum under the title Tynged yr Iaith (The Fate of the Language in Carmarthenshire): The Contribution of Digital Media on Saturday the 25th of September, Cymdeithas yr Iaith will bring together elected councilors and officers of the county council, chief officers of Yr Egin center and those developing online Welsh language content to discuss how digital media can benefit our communities.

Carmarthenshire County Council is due to publish its Digital Transformation Strategy. This will include funding specifically to develop the network. According to Cymdeithas yr Iaith, there will be new opportunities for rural communities but, to take advantage of these opportunities, specific steps need to be taken

A spokesperson for the Cymdeithas yr Iaith in Carmarthenshire said: “Digital media can strengthen rural Welsh-speaking communities in Carmarthenshire by enabling more people to find work locally and even work from home, and by broadening and enhancing the community culture and links between communities.

“The council’s digital strategy and Yr Egin in Carmarthen will provide opportunities, but we must plan to capitalise on the opportunities. In the past, it has been assumed that the development of better highways is sure to boost the economy, but they can just as easily attract commuters to work out of county and raise house prices Similarly, the development of “digital highways” could be used only by people moving into the county to work from home and further inflate house prices beyond the reach of local people – unless there are concrete steps in place for training, collaboration with the Education Department and the Careers Service, and projects for Yr Egin to work with the county’s local communities.

“There will be an opportunity for everyone to ask questions and be part of the discussion by sending us a zoom link”

As well as discussing infrastructure and connectivity there will also be a presentation on the concept of creating a digital Menter Iaith, to ensure that Welsh language material is available online.

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Psychological thriller from Carmarthenshire author draws on real experience with victims

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Killing Eve

John Nicholl’s new book Killing Evil features a child abuse survivor who takes revenge

Psychopath or agent of justice? John Nicholl’s compelling narrator in his new book Killing Evil is a victim of devastating childhood abuse who sets about hunting down and killing abusers. 

A cunning loner who uses her job in the probation service to find her victims, Alice Granger gives each her own “trial” and punishment – but as she continues with her mission, she descends further into darkness and her crimes become harder to comprehend.

Told through the killer’s eyes, the tale is dark and gripping, with a satisfying twist at the end. It asks important questions about the rehabilitation of offenders, the plight of victims and the dangers of taking justice into your own hands.

Like his previous 10 bestsellers, Nicholl’s book draws on his own experience in his previous roles in the police and child protection. 

In a long career that saw him start out as a police officer, move into social work and become a head of child protection services, Ferryside-based Nicholl experienced many harrowing cases. 

He was left with PTSD and started writing fiction after a psychologist recommended writing as a form of therapy.

John Nicholl. Image by Helen Oakes

Nicholl self-published his first book, White is the Coldest Colour, in 2015 It sold 150,000 copies on Amazon; this led to him getting signed by an agent and a publisher, and he has written prolifically ever since.

John Nicholl says:

“What I’m always trying to get across is the rage and the anger that survivors often feel – and it’s a rage that’s often shared by the professionals trying to protect them. I worked with so many people who had been through those sort of awful experiences – some even worse than what Alice goes through. There’s a lifelong effect from that. One thing which has surprised me is the number of people who messaged me after reading Killing Evil saying they went through similar experiences. I don’t think a lot of people realise how many predatory offenders there are out there. This is the first book I’ve written through the eyes of the killer. As with all my books, I hope people find it a gripping read, but also that it gets people thinking. It’s been surprising how people have said they sympathised with Alice and wanted her to get away with it until she crossed the line.”

What people are saying about Killing Evil:

“The master of the psychological thriller at his brilliant best.” Sarah Stuart – Award-winning author

“Ice cold, chilling and brilliant.” Goodreads

“This was a great, page-turning, intriguing book that I highly recommend.” Joyce Stewart Reviews

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Council launches campaign to recruit carers

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The council offers good rates of pay with full and part-time, permanent and temporary contracts available.

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has today (Monday September 20) launched a county-wide campaign to encourage more people into a career in social care.

The campaign, which focuses on real people in real situations, shines the spotlight on the council’s dedicated team of carers who deliver an outstanding service throughout the county and encourages others to consider a career in care.

Cllr Jane Tremlett, Cabinet Member for social care and health, said: “Our new recruitment campaign focuses on the type of person we are looking for to help us deliver a quality care service. We need positive, kind and caring individuals to join our team and help us to make a difference to service users in Carmarthenshire.

“We can offer support and training to those with no previous experience, but what we need most are people with a friendly nature and a positive attitude.”

Home and residential care vacancies are available throughout the county with full time and casual positions available.

As a carer, duties include providing personal care (bathing, dressing and other tasks), meal preparation and a range of other duties, to help promote independence where possible and to provide a good quality service to those in need. 

The council offers good rates of pay with full and part-time, permanent and temporary contracts available.

For more information on care job vacancies please e-mail SCRecruitment@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 01267 228703.

To apply or to read any job descriptions visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/jobs-socialcare

If you have worked within the care sector previously and would consider returning to work, please get in touch.

The council’s requirement to recruit additional care workers in both home and residential care roles mirrors shortages seen throughout the UK.

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