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Carmarthenshire students go for gold

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Benjamin Allen: Took home gold in the carpentry competition.

Benjamin Allen:
Took home gold
in the carpentry competition.

FOUR students from Coleg Sir Gâr have all scooped gold in an initiative designed to boost skills levels across the country.

The successful students were also announced winners of the Welsh heats in their respective categories of UK-wide WorldSkills competitions, SkillBUILD and SkillPLUMB.

19 year-old Benjamin Allen from Ammanford took gold in the carpentry competition and Charlie Short, 20, from Tumble, won the Wales plastering and dry wall systems final. Robert Goodman 20, from Cynwyl Elfed won gold in Brickwork, while in SkillPLUMB, Daniel Doughty 21, from Cwmann was announced winner in the Plumbing final.

Coleg Sir Gar students took the top two places in the carpentry competition, with Thornton Boswell, who is on the same course as Benjamin, coming second. The twelve finalists had to make a Mansard roof, a four-sided hip roof with two slopes on each of its sides, based on a basic drawing.

Benjamin, who is currently in his third year of a carpentry apprenticeship, said: “It was a real challenge. There was a lot to get done in the time and lots of difficult angles, which wasn’t exactly what we were expecting, but we had had a lot of practice in college. I have always wanted to be a carpenter as my dad runs his own carpentry business in Ammanford and I’ve been helping him out since I was around 15. He is thrilled that I won gold and that I am now following in his footsteps.”

The finals were held in Deeside as part of the SkillBUILD, SkillPLUMB and SkillELECTRIC Welsh heats, which were sponsored by British Gypsum, STIHL and Crown Trade. SkillBUILD is part of the largest multi-trade competition in the country, run by CITB with the endorsement of WorldSkills. SkillPLUMB is organised by SummitSkills and SkillELECTRIC is sponsored by National Electrotechnical Training (NET) and the JIB.

As well as winning the Welsh heats of the WorldSkills competitions, the four students also scooped gold in the finals of Skills Competition Wales, a Welsh Government-backed initiative that is designed to promote the importance of vocational skills and developing a highly-skilled workforce with the aim of boosting the overall skill level and prosperity of Wales.

Supported by the European Social Fund, the Welsh Government is funding a total of 32 Skills Competitions in 2015 in a range of sectors, from welding and brickwork to popular music and web design.

The four gold medal winners are now waiting to hear whether or not they will go forward to represent Coleg Sir Gar at this year’s Skills Show Birmingham in November.

This year, competitors representing Squad UK are in the running to travel to São Paulo. The competition takes place every two years in cities across the globe and is the largest international skills competition in the world.

Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James AM said: “Having a highly skilled workforce is essential for the future of our country. It’s important to highlight the value of practical vocational skills that can be applied to our thriving industries in Wales. Skills Competition Wales aims to encourage young people and adults to develop their talents to the highest possible level and the healthy competition will set a benchmark for skills. Dozens of colleges, Sector Skills Councils and work-based learning providers across Wales are already involved in the initiative but we’re keen to see more Welsh businesses encouraging their talented young employees to enter.”

The Deputy Minister added: “It takes hard work, sheer determination and a lot of skill to compete against Wales’ most talented apprentices and learners, so their achievements should be commended and celebrated. We wish all the finalists and winners the very best of luck, not only in the next round of the competitions, but also in the careers they go on to pursue.” A GROUP of robin chicks have made a cosy home for themselves within a net at WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre. They were discovered by student Laurie Allnatt, who found the chicks when he entered a storage shed on site.

Learning Manager, Pam Styles said: “Some birds always seem to find strange and innovative places to make their nests and this was a really great find.

“The robin chicks are very young and we must be very careful not to disturb them. We have been watching their mum fly in and out of the shed to give them food. She is often perched on a tree right outside the shed guarding the area.”

This is not the first time a feathered family has picked an unusual location for their future home at WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre.

Pam continued: “A few years back one of our grounds staff was sweeping up, then he leant the broom up against a wall while he went for lunch. When he came back a swallow had made a nest on the top of it! We left the nest alone and found another broom.”

As well as the common sight of a robin, Llanelli Wetland Centre welcomes tens of thousands of migratory birds that visit every year.

The Wetland Centre in Llwynhendy, Llanelli, is a 450 acre mosaic of lakes, scrapes, pools, streams and lagoons.

So, if you visit the Wetland Centre anytime soon, be sure to look out for birds making their nests in unusual places. It can be quite a find.

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Community

Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire

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FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

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Tesco makes it even easier for shoppers in South Wales to help local food banks

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TESCO is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in South Wales this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare.

Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round.

Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Emma Shepherd, Project Manager at the Trussell Trust Cardiff Foodbank, and Becky Morgan, Manager at the Trussell Trust Vale Foodbank, added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection. We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

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Charity

Hywel Dda Health Charities’ annual Pet Competition is back

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HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has launched its 2022 Pet Competition.

The competition gives members of the public the opportunity to win prizes while also helping the charity to raise funds which make a positive difference to the lives of NHS patients, service users and staff in the Hywel Dda area.

Owners of fabulous felines, perfect pooches, gorgeous guinea pigs or beautiful budgies are invited to enter the annual competition.

Pet-owners can enter as many times as they like in the categories of Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat and Cutest Other Pet. Each photo entry costs £3.

It’s easy to take part, all participants need to do is send a photo of their pet to fundraising.hyweldda@wales.nhs.uk and follow the instructions in this link: https://hyweldda.enthuse.com/cf/pet-competition.

The competition is open to everyone in the Health Board area. Entries close on 30th June 2022. The final three in each category will be chosen by the Hywel Dda Health Charities team. The winners are then chosen by an online voting poll and will be announced in July.

There are 1st place prizes in each category donated by Wynnstay, Burns Pet Food and Vincent Davies Department Stores.

Diane Henry, fundraising support officer, said: “Each time people enter our Pet Competition with pictures of their fabulous pets, they are helping us to provide services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can provide.. Thank you for your continued support.”

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