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Syrian family settling well in Cardigan

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A LOCAL charity, Croeso Teifi, welcomed one Syrian family to Cardigan in November last year and it seems they are settling in well.

The family met them at the airport along with two other community groups meeting a family each. The families shed tears of relief.

It was quickly found out that the Syrian family spoke no English. This did not inhibit communication or joy. The two children danced when they stopped in a cafe on the way home.

The parents started learning English straight away and are improving fast. This term the young children started full time school and are learning Welsh. The parents are also volunteering every week.

Croeso Teifi works with the Home Office and local authority on settling a small number of Syrian refugee families in or near Cardigan – wherever there is a welcome.

The team are aware of the importance of not competing with local needs for jobs, and minimising use of scarce public services.

The family were chosen by the United Nations organisation working with the Home Office with guidance from the Local Authority. Croeso Teifi let the Home Office know the skills that this area is short of before the selection.

The family say they love Wales, love Cardigan and love their home. The children go to school with a smile and come back practicing their Welsh. Their father is looking forward to getting into full time work, and both parents are doing a lot of homework to learn English quickly. They want to learn Welsh after learning English.

Croeso Teifi feel that the first family have been a success so far, They welcome new people to work to befriend and integrate a second family.

Community sponsored settlement is different to government supported settlement. The community provide all the money and gifts to ensure a successful integration. We find and equip a home, provide translation and English lessons, friendship and work and training and opportunities.

The generosity of people in and around Cardigan has been breath-taking. The hard working team of Croeso Teifi volunteers are regularly moved and surprised at the generous spirit of the town. We do our best to ensure that the area benefits as well as us benefitting the refugee family.

Wales is actually leading the UK in community sponsorship. Aberystwyth has its own community scheme with a first family due, and there are several families already in Pembrokeshire. The scheme was inspired by Canada where community sponsorship has been running for over 40 years. It enables refugee newcomers to belong to a local community from the word go, to quickly adapt and contribute their energy and skills.

The team look forward to the next phase of this journey of discovery.

However, a new report published by a coalition of organisations working to support refugees and asylum seekers in Wales shows that families separated from close relatives are experiencing significant trauma and long-lasting harm to their well-being.

At a time when 65 million people worldwide – half of them children – have been forced from their homes because of conflict, violence and persecution, the report also finds that barriers to reuniting family members can seriously impact on their ability to integrate into new communities and rebuild their lives in Wales.

Rihana, a woman from Syria, whose extended family are separated with different family members in Damascus and Lebanon, said: “Being apart from loved ones has brought about a lot of anxiety and distress. We are mentally affected as we always think of our extended family and the difficulties they must face.”

Published by the British Red Cross, Welsh Refugee Council, Displaced People in Action and Asylum Justice, the report calls on politicians in Wales to offer more support for refugees seeking to reunite with family members.

It also recommends that Welsh MPs support a Private Members Bill for Refugee Families that has its second reading in Parliament on Friday, March 16.

That Bill calls for changes to UK immigration rules that would expand the criteria for who qualifies as a “family member” for the purposes of refugee family reunion to include: young relatives, adult sons and daughters, adult siblings, parents, any dependent relatives and any person granted refugee leave.

It also calls for family members of children to be brought to the UK under the refugee reunion policy and for the reintroduction of legal aid for refugee family reunion cases.

The report also calls on the Welsh Government to offer additional support to refugees in Wales by looking at ways to mitigate the adverse impacts of UK policy in Wales by enabling refugees to access the free accredited legal advice required for complex family reunion cases and supporting Welsh local authorities and local health boards to implement protocols for successful family reunion applications.

Red Cross refugee services operations manager for Wales Ruth Gwilym Rasool said: “For many of us, family is the most important thing in our lives and refugees, just like the rest us in Wales, desperately want to remain close to their loved ones.

“Worldwide, we see conflict, violence and persecution driving families apart, with close relatives often separated by continents and loved ones left behind to face danger on a daily basis.

“Refugees now living in Wales have already been through barely imaginable pain and trauma and they deserve to be able to rebuild their lives and reunite their families in safety.

“Present family reunion rules prolong that suffering – causing untold stress and anxiety – and prevent refugees from beginning their new lives in their new communities in Wales.”

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Pembrokeshire residents will not be able to vote for the Brexit Party at General Election

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THE BREXIT PARTY will not field any candidates in the two Pembrokeshire constituencies in December’s General Election it has just been confirmed, meaning locals will not be given an opportunity to vote for the party.

Nigel Farage said that he will not field candidates in any seats where conservatives won in the last general election, and instead the Brexit Party will field candidates against Labour held seats or other parties who are pro-Brexit.

He made the decision last night he said.

Speaking at a press conference flanked with supporters, Nigel Farage said: “We will expose labours betrayal. It is also fair to say that the London dominated labour party is now thousands of miles away from his traditional safe seats, some held since 1918. It’s now time for a seismic shift.

He added: “Trying to stop a second referendum is the single most important thing in our country.

He ended his speech today by saying: “In a sense we now have a leave alliance. We have done this unilaterally.

“We decided ourselves that we have to put country before party and take the fight to Labour.”

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Delays for Pembrokeshire rail users due to downed trees and shortage of drivers

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TRAINS in Pembrokeshire have been hit by a series of cancellations this morning.

The 09:09AM Milford Haven to Manchester Piccadilly service was started in Carmarthen due a shortage of drivers.

E J Evans Coaches were running a bus replacement service on behalf of Transport for Wales picking up passengers at all stations to Carmarthen.

There was also trouble today on the Fishguard Harbour Branch Line. Unsafe trees were spotted on the line after Clarbeston Road and the line is now closed until November 18.

This follows delays earlier this month and in October due to the same problem.

There are also more delays across the network in Wales.

South Wales Central AM, Andrew RT Davies, has blasted the network operator, after another day of chaos for commuters on the country’s rail network.

Services in South Wales and North Wales have been hit by a series of cancellations and passengers are complaining across several areas about a lack of coaches and trains not running on
time.

Commenting on the ongoing crisis, Andrew RT Davies said: “Sadly, it’s Groundhog Day on the Welsh rail network with commuters in my region on the receiving end of yet more unsatisfactory service from Transport for Wales.

“The rail crisis in Wales is creating chaos on a near daily basis and commuters deserve a much better service than they are currently receiving from TfW.

“Labour’s economy and transport minister promised there would be numerous ‘quick wins’ on the launch of the service but things have only got worse.
“We’re seeing an appalling level of customer service – a real crisis on the rail network – which is having a detrimental impact on the lives of hardworking people.
“Transport for Wales and the Welsh Labour Government have run out of excuses and desperately need to get a grip on the situation before people give up on public transport.”

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Haverfordwest: Car tyres slashed and windscreen smashed at Castle Lake

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POLICE in Haverfordwest are appealing for information about damage caused to a car at Castle Lake car park..

Four tyres were slashed and the windscreen was smashed on a silver Mazda MX-5 sometime between 6pm on Friday, November 8 and 11am on Saturday, November 9.

If anyone has information about the damage please contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

Police said: “Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DPP/0017/09/11/2019/01/C.”

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