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Wales archaeology App is a world first

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Wales archaeology App is a world firstEXPLORATION of Wales’ archaeological treasures is set to be transformed, not only for those with limited knowledge of archaeology but also seasoned archaeologists alike, with the launch of the fun and interactive Archwilio APP –a world first for Wales.

The Archwilio APP, commissioned by the four Welsh Archaeological Trusts and designed by the University of South Wales’ Centre for Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services (CEMAS), is the first time a whole country’s archaeological records have been listed in one APP. Free to download, the Archwilio APP, will be launched on Thursday 7th November by The Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths, at the National Museum Wales in Cardiff.

The APP, which has been designed from scratch in Wales, is a highly flexible new tool for anybody wishing to explore thousands of archaeological sites across Wales. The APP will enable professionals as well as members of the public to access the extensive records held for Wales from anywhere – be it a city centre, beach or mountainside.

The APP holds information on a vast range of archaeological sites from the well known to the quirky. These include details on a conservation project undertaken on a substantial ‘lost’ coastal medieval settlement near St Ishmaels in Carmarthenshire.

Another record provides details of a Roman trading settlement alongside the Menai Strait on Anglesey. The site was investigated by Gwynedd Archaeological Trust following significant finds of Roman date. Geophysical survey and excavation have revealed evidence for a substantial settlement of a rare type in Wales. There are no surface remains, but the APP would allow walkers on the Anglesey coastal footpath which runs through the site to be made aware that they were walking through a 2,000 year old settlement.

At Strata Marcella Abbey, to the north of Welshpool, the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust has been investigating the site of the Cistercian abbey of Strata Marcella. Founded in 1170 it was already partially ruined at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries n 1536 and today there is very little left o see of a once grand religious site.

Louise Austin, Head of Heritage Management, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, said, “The launch of this free APP is a world first for Wales and enables archaeological records for the whole of the country to be available on one APP.

“However, the archaeology of Wales is a truly moveable feast and that is the beauty of the new Archwilio APP. The technology enables us to update records as soon as new evidence for existing archaeological features is found or as new sites are uncovered in Wales.

“We want to make archaeology as easily accessible as possible for all. Downloading the APP will enable users to access millennia of archaeological information specific to Wales, providing a fun resource to improve education and understanding of the importance and sheer variety of Wales’ archaeology. The APP will also enable locals and visitors alike to go out and explore the unique heritage and archaeological sites across Wales.”

John Griffiths, The Minister for Culture and Sport, added, “The new Archwilio phone APP puts the heritage of Wales on the map. Available to download for free, it makes it possible for anyone with a suitable smartphone to access information on the thousands of known archaeological and historic sites in Wales. The historic environment records of Wales were already available online, but with the launch of the Archwilio APP Wales will make this wealth of information, collected by generations of investigators, available to mobile users, allowing them a glimpse of the hidden heritage all around us.

“The Archwilio app marks an important leap forwards in using technology to discover the heritage of Wales. As well as allowing users to check records, the app can be used to add information, opening up opportunities for volunteers to get directly involved in archaeological recording and investigation. The Archwilio app truly opens archaeology to everyone in Wales.”

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Cabinet to decide on £165,000 of grants

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL Cabinet will meet next week (Monday, Nov 2) to decide on grants totalling almost £165,000.

The Cabinet will consider nine recommendations for approval for grants under the Second Home Council Tax – Community Element Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant scheme.

The scheme uses funds from raised from a Council Tax premium on Second Homes and empty properties in the county.

Among the projects applying for support is Age Cymru Dyfed, which wants to promote and provide outreach services from Haverfordwest throughout Pembrokeshire.

The Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre is applying for money to help the centre gain nationally recognised museum accreditation.

And a project by Resilience Network Pembrokeshire seeks to champion and develop allotments, encouraging new sites and community growing land.

The Cabinet meets remotely at 10am on Monday, Nov 2 and the meeting will be webcast live.

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Crabb defies government over free school meals

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STEPHEN CRABB, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, says his abstention in a vote on extending free school meals during school holidays to English students eligible for them was a protest against the UK Government.

Although the Welsh Government decided to retian provision for children who qualify for free school meals to cover half terms until Easter 2021, Pembrokeshire’s two MPs have endured a huge social media backlash for their voting record on a similar scheme for England.

Simon Hart MP has been ‘named and shamed’ by The Daily Mirror for voting with his Government to remove the free school meals the holiday for 1.4 million of the most vulnerable children in England.

Stephen Crabb MP, abstained from voting on the bill – a decision he says was done in protest to let his government know he did not agree with their views.

Mr Crabb has spoken previously of his background. He came from a single parent family, was raised in a council house and receivws free school meals.

Many social media users took Crabb’s decision not to vote as a decision that was just as bad as voting with the government with some branding him a hypocrite.

Taking to his Facebook page, Crabb defended his decision.

He told his constituents: “I took a decision to abstain on the vote, which is a well-recognised form of protest. I have made it very clear to the Government that I do not agree with them on this issue.”

Even though Crabb abstained from voting, he told his followers that the free school meal provision wasn’t the way to tackle the problem of child poverty.

He added: “I am supportive of the holiday provision of free school meals but I think we also need to be looking at solutions that go beyond just vouchers. The main poverty charities I speak to have different views about whether vouchers are effective or not.
“I did not like the nature of the Labour Party’s debate in the Commons last Wednesday and I think some of the abuse being thrown around is appalling. The vote last week would have had no material impact on provision even if it had passed.”

Mr Crabb added: “More widely, whilst the issue of free school meals is important, ultimately we should be aiming to lift people out of poverty so that they no longer need this support. I have spent much of the last few months working hard on the campaign to keep the temporary £20 uplift to Universal Credit.
“The UK Government introduced a much welcome per-week increase in UC at the start of the crisis but this measure will expire in April, unless the Government commits to an extension.”

Mr Crabb assured his Pembrokeshire constituents he will continue to try and tackle child poverty.

He added: “I have spent a large proportion of my time in Westminster over the last few months campaigning on the issues of child poverty and pushing for more support for families on low incomes. I will continue to make this a priority.”

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Webpage details penally camp information

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A WEBPAGE has been set up to keep residents of Penally and the surrounding areas up to date with key information relating to the housing of asylum seekers at the MoD base in the village.

The web page here includes a list of frequently asked questions relating to the site.

Residents are urged to check the page for updates.

People will also be able to find links to virtual community meetings held on the issue, Pembrokeshire County Council press releases regarding the camp and a contact email address for further information.

Pembrokeshire County Council Leader Cllr David Simpson said: “It is important for residents to be able to find information about the camp easily and to know that information is accurate, collated by the Council, Dyfed-Powys Police and the Home Office.

“Hopefully the FAQs will answer some of the questions that are being asked and we will have the ability to update and add further information to the page as required.”

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