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Puddle Jumping Championships coming to Llanelli

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Great fun: A boy enjoying splashing around

CHILDREN of all ages are being encouraged to get out into the fresh air and have fun jumping in puddles this February half term at the Welsh Puddle Jumping Championships held at WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre.

The competition is part of WWT’s Big Splash, a national puddle jumping championship taking place across the UK at all nine WWT wetland centres. At each centre, kids (and big kids) will be able to compete against each other to see who can produce the biggest splash from their puddle jump. They will also be judged on their enthusiasm, creativity and jumping style.

Nigel Williams, Centre Manager at WWT Llanelli Wetland Centre said:

“We know that children love nothing more than to splash about in puddles, so we thought we’d give them the chance to channel their inner splasher through our Welsh Puddle Jumping Championships.

It’s a lot of fun and we know that children who love puddles often grow up to be adults that love the outdoors. So through the Big Splash we’re gently nurturing a love that may help protect wetlands and the wildlife that depend on them for years to come.”

Miranda Krestovnikoff, wellknown TV wildlife presenter and regular contributor to BBC’s The One Show, is a keen fan of WWT’s Big Splash saying:

“This will be brilliant fun. I’d love to have a go and I know my kids would too. There’s nothing like splashing about in puddles and making it a competition adds an exciting new dimension to this well loved British tradition. It is also a fantastic way to get children outdoors and engaged with our most important natural resource – water.”

Daily winners will be announced at the centre throughout half term and each lucky ‘super-splasher’ will receive a fantastic prize.

At the end of half term, the regional winner from each centre and the overall UK national winner will be crowned and receive further splash-tastic prizes. Every contestant will receive a sticker to acknowledge their puddle jumping skills.

As well as the main puddle jumping competition area – known as the ‘splash-zone’, there will be practice puddles set up nearby to help entrants perfect their splashing techniques. Practice puddles will be available to use all day with the all important main puddle jumping competition being held at 2pm each day.

And remember, the competition is open to everyone, regardless of age or ability so grab your wellies and waterproofs and have a splashing adventure at this brand new event.

In addition to creating impressive splashes, families can also:

  • Get close to amazing wildlife
  • Try their hand at den building using natural materials from around the grounds
  • Take part in crafts and other great activities • Have fun at outdoor adventure play areas
  • Watch nature’s winter spectacles from cosy hides
  • Eat delicious home cooked food in our cafes and browse our fantastic gift shops

Join in the fun by visiting wwt.org.uk/bigsplash or follow #wwtbigsplash.

The Welsh Puddle Jumping Championships at Llanelli Wetland Centre is a great example of one of the many adventures you can experience in 2016 as part of Wales’s Year of Adventure – a celebration of the wide range of adventure experiences this great country has to offer, with its outstanding natural landscapes and rich and distinctive culture.

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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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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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