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Kelly Brook leads the hunt for Carmarthenshire’s favourite community heroes as 2022 awards campaign begins

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Kelly Brook

MORE than £4.1 million of National Lottery funding went to projects in Carmarthenshire in 2020/21, according to new figures released to mark the launch of this year’s National Lottery Awards.  

A total of 209 National Lottery grants were allocated in this period, providing crucial support to arts, sports, heritage and community organisations in Carmarthenshire. 

The National Lottery Awards are an annual celebration of the inspirational individuals and groups who do extraordinary things in their community with the help of National Lottery funding.  

More than 1,500 inspirational people and projects were nominated for last year’s National Lottery Awards, and now the search is on once again for 2022’s nominees. 

The National Lottery is looking to highlight the exceptional work of local heroes who have gone the extra mile and made a difference in their community.  

Anyone who has received National Lottery funding is eligible for nomination. 

Green Valley Project

Wales certainly shone at last year’s awards, scooping three accolades in total. 

Katherine Hughes, a volunteer and the Secretary of Caerphilly Miners’ Centre for the Community (The Miners), was crowned as the UK winner in the Community and Charity category for her unwavering voluntary efforts over the years and as one of the driving forces behind saving the historic local landmark for future generations. 

Wales’ gold medal Olympic boxing champion, Lauren Price, was crowned Olympian of the Year following her exploits in Tokyo. 

The Green Valley Conservation and Heritage project in Abercynon, which uses gardening and nature as a way of improving people’s employability skills and wellbeing, was named as the 2021 National Lottery Wales Project of the Year. 

Kelly Brook, who is leading the hunt for this year’s favourite National Lottery-funded people and projects, said: “It’s a real honour to be supporting this year’s National Lottery Awards, which highlight inspirational champions all over the UK. 

Katherine Hughes and Cerys Matthews

“There are so many people up and down the country working tirelessly to make a difference in their communities, so it’s really important that we take a step back and recognise that.  

“I hope lots of people put forward their nominations, because there are so many who deserve one of these awards. 

“It’s thanks to National Lottery players that so much funding goes towards helping these local heroes carry out their vital work.” 

Jonathan Tuchner, from the National Lottery, added: “The National Lottery has continued to make an incredible contribution to life in the UK ever since it was first established in 1994. 

“Thanks to National Lottery players, an incredible £30 million of funding is raised for good causes every single week. 

“The National Lottery Awards seek to honour those who have stepped up and worked tirelessly on behalf of others. We want to thank them and celebrate their incredible efforts.” 

Lauren Price

The National Lottery Awards will seek to celebrate outstanding individuals in the following categories: 

Community/Charity 

Art, Culture & Film 

Sport 

Heritage 

Environment 

Young Hero (Under 25s) 

A new addition for 2022, the Environment category, will look to celebrate an individual who has gone above and beyond to keep their community on the green path. 

Winners of these categories will be chosen by a judging panel made up of members of the National Lottery family and partners and will receive a £5000 cash prize in addition to an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy. 

In addition, any projects that have benefited from National Lottery funding are also eligible to enter the Project of the Year category. 

The nominees will be whittled down to 16 finalists, with a UK-wide public vote in September deciding the winner. 

To make your nomination for this year’s National Lottery Awards, tweet @LottoGoodCauses with your suggestions or complete an entry form through our website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards . Entries must be received by midnight on June 1, 2022. 

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Environment hero helps to keep Carmarthenshire clean

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A young volunteer has been praised by Carmarthenshire County Council for his environmental work in the Whitland area. 

10-year-old Leon litter picks his local area every day, helping to keep the area clean and tidy. As a reward for his fantastic work Leon was invited on a behind the scenes tour of Nantycaws recycling centre and Canolfan Eto.

During the visit, Leon saw the different processes that Carmarthenshire’s household recycling goes through as well as seeing the transformation of items at Canolfan Eto re-use project.

Cllr Edward Thomas, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services said: “Leon has done a wonderful job in helping to keep Whitland clean and tidy and I’m delighted that we were able to recognise his efforts with a visit to Nantycaws.

“Carmarthenshire is very lucky to have an excellent group of volunteers who are a real asset to the community, giving up their precious time to help keep Carmarthenshire clean. Thank you to everyone who dedicates their time to helping us.” 

Businesses can also support their local environment by becoming a custodian of a ‘2 minute clean’ board. These A-frame boards are equipped with everything needed to clean the area including litter pickers and bags.

For information on becoming a 2 minute clean board custodian or to organise a litter pick please e-mail prideinyourpatch@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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‘People are booking the test when they’re not ready, and the pass rate is actually declining’

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THE CEO of one of the UK’s biggest driving schools has revealed that learner drivers are still facing massive driving test delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to GB News presenters Esther Vey and Philip Davies, Seb Goldin said: “It depends where you are in the country, but the backlog is really not being got through at any rate from Covid. We’re hearing six, seven, eight and nine months now.

“It’s made worse because people are just trying to book a test when they’re perhaps not even test ready. And then the pass rate is actually declining at the moment, so then tests are just not available for those who would be ready, which is exacerbating the problem.

“We’d say take your lessons, book the test but only when your instructor tells you that you’re test ready.”

Discussing the possible introduction of self driving cars on UK roads and into driving lessons, Goldin explained: “I think with all technology, where there’s such a step-change from human behaviour to machine behaviour, if we could flick a switch overnight and say everyone’s driving autonomous cars then it would be a very easy segway and move on through. But when you’re gonna have human behaviour on the road with semi or fully autonomous cars, that’s where the challenge is gonna be. We expect to be very busy for the next few years at least.”

He added: “Your car even now compared to what you had ten years ago has so much more technology. One of the challenges that we think is that people are not given instruction or coaching in what a car can do and what it can’t do.

“So for example, if you got a new car with cruise control with a radar at the front which manages the distance which is fine if you get used to it. But if you get a bit of road grime on the front of the car it packs up and then suddenly you have to drive normally again, and if you’re not ready for it or not used to it it can be a challenge. So we’re really excited about integrating technology into driving lessons and we’re working with the government and DVSA to help improve and change the curriculum as technology comes through.”

Whilst self driving cars are not fully on the roads, Goldin explained a driver would still be needed behind the wheel: “There are various steps of autonomy. So at the moment, we have cars on what we call Level 1 and Level 2. What the government is taking about is Level 3, where the car can actually be fully in control of the vehicle without the driver needing to have hands on the wheel or control.

“An analogy is if you think of pilots in big ships or aeroplanes, they still have to be trained in how to manually control them if the technology fails. It’s exactly the same with driving.

“All technology that we work with, trust has to grow and we need to understand what it does, and there’s very much back to the point of teaching people and coaching people to drive. Even when people have passed the driving test, you’re not necessarily a ‘safe driver’ you’ve just passed the driving test. So there’s very much a coaching and a learning role as technology comes on.

“When you get a new car from a car dealer, a lot of them are very good at selling you on the finance but perhaps not so much on what the car can do and more importantly, what it can’t do.”

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Communities for Work Plus is on hand to assist with disability support

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CONGRATULATIONS to Tina Evans who has recently joined the BBC Wales presenting team and is currently covering the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

In preparation for starting her new job, Tina sought the services of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Communities for Work Plus programme to help overcome multiple barriers such as access to work and communicating with social services.

Tina, who is from Pontyberem originally, faces numerous challenges, due to long-term health conditions and disabilities, and requires a lot of support in relation to mobility and everyday care, as she is a wheelchair user.

Writing ahead of starting her new role with the BBC, Tina said “I had been offered work with BBC Wales, as part of the presenting team, and needed to sort out support during my role. As I was tight against time, I accessed the Communities for Work Plus hub in Carmarthen with the hope to speed things up. This was the best decision I made. After speaking with their team, I felt a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders as I, now, wasn’t sorting things alone.

“I would especially like to thank Desiree from the Communities for Work Plus team. She supported me through telephone calls with access to work and social services and liaised with them to make sure we met the deadlines required. There were a few barriers to overcome along the way, but with Desiree’s support and determination, we hurdled over them. I must admit, her support was invaluable in gaining access to work and without it, I would have given up.

“I can now look forward with excitement for this opportunity, knowing that I have the support I need.”

Desiree De Mouilpied, Community Employment Officer/Disability Specialist said “It’s been a privilege to assist Tina with her journey to accessing work. Her character and determination, to pursue her dreams and overcome complex barriers into employment, have been inspiring. We all wish her the best of luck in her new job.”

Communities for Work Plus provides the infrastructure to support the ongoing delivery of Communities for Work. The programme enhances the employment-focused support for those, often with complex barriers, who are furthest from the labour market into training and future employment with a holistic and person-centred approach.

Carmarthenshire County Council coordinate employment support from its Llanelli Hwb and office, which are based in the middle of Llanelli Town Centre.

For further information about the Communities For Work Plus programme, please visit https://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/council-services/jobs-careers/help-to-find-a-job/ or email c4wplus@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or phone 01554 784847.

Cllr Gareth John, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism said “We’re delighted for Tina and proud of her success in gaining employment with BBC Wales.

“I would urge people in our county, who are looking to get into work, to take advantage of the support that Carmarthenshire County Council can give to you. Our employment support teams can help you identify training opportunities, provide you with a personal mentor, work with you to develop a job action plan, help you to build your confidence and help with writing a CV and completing job applications.

We want to support more people, like Tina, to overcome barriers to get into work.”

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