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2022 Urdd Eisteddfod Crown and Chair Unveiled

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THE 2022 Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod Chair and Crown were revealed in a special event at Denbigh Library on Monday evening, 16 May.

Jeweller Ann Catrin Evans from Caernarfon designed the crown and carpenter Rhodri Owen from Ysbyty Ifan created the chair. Having had to postpone the work for two years, integrating elements from the local area and the Urdd’s centenary celebrations into the pieces was very important to them both.

“As the Urdd is celebrating 100 years this year, I redesigned the crown which was originally meant for the 2020 Eisteddfod to reflect this,” said the notable designer and maker Ann Catrin. This is the eighth crown that she has designed during her career, and she was inspired by the agricultural landscape of Denbigh and the surrounding area and agricultural tools and equipment.

“I am a farm girl and the ‘Bamford Major’ grass cutting machine was an inspiration. I have used contrasting materials in the crown that create drama – copper and sterling silver are the main materials, and the lovely velvet and silk cap complement the drama. It is a majestic crown and I can’t wait to see it worn by the winner within the month.”

Rhodri Owen from Ysbyty Ifan is the chair designer. Creating the chair for the Eisteddfod in the Urdd’s centenary year was very important to him, as well as reflecting the Eisteddfod’s region and its young people.

“The Urdd’s Art, Design and Technology competitions played an important part as I nurtured my creativity as a child, and without a doubt the same is true for thousands of other children all over the country,” said the carpenter. “I wanted to note the Urdd’s centenary in a subtle way that was relevant to the area, and so the marks on the chair count to 100, and also spell Sir Ddinbych on both sides.

“The bottom panel is in the form of some of Clwyd’s hills and the colourful marks on the largest panel denotes the area’s vibrant youth in the shape of a river flow. I see these colours running through the beech like the River Clwyd’s source on Hiraethog before running from one end of the County to the other.”

The chair is sponsored by Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd. As Wales’ first Welsh secondary school, celebrating the growth and innovation of new generations of Welsh people was at the core of the brief.

Siân Alwen, Deputy Headteacher at Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd said: “As the Urdd celebrates its centenary, it is a pleasure to sponsor the Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod chair this year. Our aim when working with Rhodri was to convey the vibrancy of our youth and the flow of Welshness that can be seen from one end of the valley to the coast. When designing, colour was an important element to represent the freshness and vigour of our young people. As the first Welsh secondary school in Wales celebrating growth and innovation of new generations of Welsh people continues to thrill and affirm our purpose and vision as a school.”

The crown is sponsored by Cymdeithas Gymraeg Dinbych (Denbigh Welsh Society), and according to their Secretary Dilwyn Jones, it was a “pleasure” to work with Ann Catrin to make their vision a reality: “Cymdeithas Gymraeg Dinbych was very keen to sponsor the Crown for the Urdd Eisteddfod but Covid has meant that we have had to wait a long time to fully realise the gift.

“Ann Catrin Evans has been excellent from the beginning, giving us the chance to share our ideas but we have also benefitted from her experience, talent, and wise and knowledgeable guidance. Working with Ann Catrin has been a pleasure and we look forward with anticipation to see the winner crowned… hopefully!”

According to Siân Eirian, Director of the Urdd Eisteddfod and Arts; “The change to the date has been a part of the challenge for our skilled makers this year, and we are extremely grateful to Ann Catrin and Rhodri Owen for creating such striking prizes.

“People from all over Wales and beyond are looking forward to returning to the Eisteddfod this year and to enjoy what the festival and this wonderful area has to offer. I do hope that we will have winners in both competitions so that the prizes can be enjoyed in homes for years to come.”

The 2022 Denbighshire Urdd Eisteddfod will be held on the outskirts of Denbigh town between 30 May and 4 June and entry to the festival is free this year. The Chairing Ceremony will be held at the Urdd Eisteddfod on Thursday 2 June and the Ceremony is sponsored by the Ivor and Aeres Evans Charitable Trust. Grŵp Cynefin sponsors the Crowing Ceremony which will take place on Friday, 3 June.

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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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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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