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Haverfordwest: New cultural centre to open next month

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GLAN-YR-AFON, an innovative new cultural centre in the heart of Haverfordwest town centre, will open to the public next month.

The flagship facility, on the town’s riverside, will welcome visitors for the first time on Friday, December 7, from 10am.

The development, including a library, gallery, visitor information and coffee shop, is the result of an exciting partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Library of Wales.

Funding to build the facility came from a range of sources including Pembrokeshire County Council, Welsh Government, the Wolfson Foundation, the Foyle Foundation, and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Haverfordwest Town Council have given a five-year funding package to ensure the library is able to open throughout the year on Saturday afternoons, the previous library having been open on Saturday mornings only.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, Paul Miller, said it was an exciting new facility not only for Haverfordwest but for Pembrokeshire generally.

Councillor Miller went on: “It provides a blueprint for the way we need to engage with our customers. I look forward to similar innovative developments in the future to help revitalise our town centres.”

Mike Cavanagh, Head of Cultural, Leisure, Tourism and Registration Services, said Glan-yr-afon would be a cultural centrepiece that both the town and the county can be proud of.

“The eclectic offer caters for the needs of our local library users, while being an attractive destination for visitors to Pembrokeshire.”

“We anticipate welcoming 200,000 visitors per year to our riverside location, and hope to play a key role in kick-starting the regeneration of the centre of Haverfordwest.”

At the centre of Glan-yr-afon will be a 21st Century library space, blending traditional book stock with online access and self-service technology.

For the first time in a Pembrokeshire library, customers will be able to loan, return and renew their items using self-service kiosks which work like magic!

An interactive story wall will be the focal point of a fantastic children’s offer, featuring illustrations by local artist Jackie Morris.

The story wall will be set within a castle-themed children’s area, complete with children’s reading tower for reading, learning and play.

The library will also provide a comfortable space for young people, including reading booths, graphic novels and gaming.

A new, discreet area called The Life Hub will feature a wealth of information on Health & Wellbeing, and Work and Money Skills. This space will also have a dedicated activity room which will be available to hire by organisations and charities whose work involves health or employment-related activities.

A gallery of national significance will bring some of Wales’ most important artwork and objects to the county.

In partnership with the National Library of Wales, the gallery will host a programme of thematic six month exhibitions that display the library’s iconic collections, as well as a permanent exhibition on the history, culture, arts and legends of Pembrokeshire.

“We are delighted to be a part of this exciting new project in collaboration with Pembrokeshire County Council,” said Linda Tomos, Chief Executive and Librarian at The National Library of Wales.

“Extending and improving access to our vast reservoir of cultural heritage, increasing public engagement and tackling social inequalities through culture and sharing of information are all recognised priorities in our The Nation’s Memory: Informing the Future: Strategic Plan 2017-2021.”

“We look forward to sharing our collections with the people of Pembrokeshire and beyond.”

The opening exhibition, Kyffin Williams: Land and Sea, will feature the best collection of work from Wales’ most famous artist Sir Kyffin Williams to celebrate the centenary of his birth.

The National Library of Wales will deliver a programme of exciting events and education activities to accompany this exhibition.

Glan-yr-afon will also be a key stopping point for some of the County’s 4.3 million annual visitors, thanks to a partnership with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

A wealth of visitor information, including maps, leaflets and tablets pre-loaded with quick links, will be available to visitors.

Volunteers will also be on hand to assist with visitor enquiries during the visitor season.

Visitors will be able to unwind with a coffee and a riverside view at the venue’s own coffee shop.

Tŷ Coffi, run by Café Rio, will offer a range of high quality coffees roasted in Wales and a menu featuring locally sourced ingredients.

Group bookings, including meetings and celebrations, can be made by calling 01437 765411.

The opening of Glan-yr-afon will be marked with a week-long programme of activities, including a Family Fun Day on Saturday 8th December.

Full details of the activities to celebrate the opening will be announced shortly.

For more information, log onto: www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture
or visit the Pembrokeshire Libraries Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/PembrokeshireLibraryService

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Protest over animal welfare concerns at Bramble Hill Farm

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LOCALS held a peaceful protest at the site of a Pembroke Dock farm, where over 200 animals were removed after a multi agency response to animal welfare concerns last month.

Around 100 worried locals from Pembroke and Pembroke Dock gathered at the entrance to Bramble Hill Farm last Friday (Feb 15) at 4pm. Those present believed the farm owners are still in possession of dogs, which they cited as the reason for the protest. Head of Environment and Public Protection at Pembrokeshire County Council, Richard Brown later confirmed that there were two dogs left on the farm, but explained they were elderly and looked after. Locals hoped the protest would mean the removal of any animals still left at the property and a ban imposed to prevent any further animals being kept at the property or by the owners.

Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police were present, with the Herald reporter in attendance being told that the police were ensuring it remained peaceful and to keep traffic congestion to a minimum. There was evident hostility towards to the local authorities and RSPCA amongst the protesters, with many feeling that their concerns about the farm were not dealt with soon enough by the relevant organisations.

Speaking to the crowd, Richard Brown said: “So the idea of what we do is, we are proceeding with our enquiries and get the case together. If we get a successful conviction, it’s an opportunity to get a ban on keeping animals. Without that conviction we can’t get a ban.”

He was challenged numerous times on whether Sean Burns, owner of the farm, has been prosecuted for animal cruelty. Mr Brown then confirmed that ‘he has been prosecuted previously’.

He added: “We have to be careful not to prejudice any case. All of our interests is animal welfare. We can’t just go in and remove animals because people want us to. We don’t have those powers.

“There is a range of offences being investigated and a range of individuals being investigated.”

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Neyland woman imprisoned for driving while disqualified

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A 35-YEAR-OLD woman who was caught driving while disqualified twice in four days days has been sentenced to six months in prison.

Victoria Anne James, of College Park, Neyland, was stopped by Dyfed-Powys Police roads policing officers in Johnston on Friday, February 15. She was reported for the offences and her Alfa Romeo car was seized.

James was stopped a second time by police on Monday, February 18, for driving while disqualified while driving another car.

She was arrested and charged with two counts of driving while disqualified and two counts of driving without insurance.

She was convicted at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Courts that same day and received a six month prison sentence, and received a further 24 months Driving Disqualification.

Sergeant Justin Williams said: “Police intelligence led officers to stop Victoria Anne James on February 15 where she was reported for offences and her car was seized. For her to commit the same offence two days later shows her disregard for the law.

“I hope this targeted, swift work from roads policing officers and the courts, which has resulted in a prison sentence serves as a stark warning to James and others considering flouting the laws on our roads. We are monitoring our roads and we will take robust action to ensure we keep other drivers on our roads safe by upholding the law.”

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Boy took his own life after failure to refer him for psychiatric support

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THE INQUEST into the death of 14 year-old Derek Brundrett, who was found hanged at Pembroke School in December 2013, has found that there were individual failings in efforts to get psychiatric support for the teenage boy – who then went on to take his own life.

Derek had seven different social workers and record keeping by social services was in a “shocking state of affairs” leading up to his death.

Returning a narrative verdict, the Assistant Coroner, Paul Bennett, said: “That Derek Brundrett took his own life and intended to do so in circumstances where, despite efforts to refer him for psychiatric support there was a failure to do so.”

Although no systemic failures were found, the Assistant Coroner ruled that there was a failure to refer by a social worker, a failure by a GP to provide extra information when referrals in 2012 and 2013 were declined, and a further failure to provide the relevant information on the appropriate referral form of a Looked After Child.

Derek’s death was in the context that he had been returned to foster care and was concerned about a return to the Pupil Referral Unit.

Derek’s actions were not considered to be a cry for help but rather a deliberate attempt at self-harm, the Coroner’s report stated.

The inquest had previously heard there were numerous failed attempts to refer him to mental health services.

A social services referral plan was not completed by Derek’s social worker because “she believed him to be happy”.

The inquest also heard Derek’s GP had made “routine” referrals for mental health treatment in 2012 and 2013.

Angela Lodwick, head of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for the Hywel Dda University Health Board, said they had to “prioritise children with severe mental health disorders”.

She added requests for more information about Derek’s condition went unanswered.

But she told the inquest that, at the time, CAMHS was not proactive in seeking more information.

Ms Lodwick said CAMHS would have probably “taken him on referral and made an assessment” if they had known about Derek’s risk-taking behaviour and talk of suicide in 2013, such as when he climbed onto the school roof.

She told the inquest the system had been inadequate and “the position was that everyone sat on their hands waiting” but CAMHS has since made improvements.

A spokesman for the Pembrokeshire County Council said: “The death of a child is a profound loss and all the professionals involved in this tragedy feel great sympathy for Derek and his family and friends. We would like to repeat our sincere condolences to them at this time.

“Derek’s loss is deeply felt by those individuals who had formed close and caring relationships with him.

“We would like to thank the Coroner for his thorough investigation and consideration of the case.

“We will, of course, reflect upon all of the issues that have been raised during the Inquest, and consider what lessons can be learned with a view to continuing to ensure the safeguarding and well-being of all children and young persons served by Pembrokeshire County Council.”

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