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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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Welsh Guards sergeant shot dead during Castlemartin live-fire training exercise

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A BRITISH ARMY sergeant was killed on Thursday night (Mar 4) in a shooting accident at Castlemartin Training Area, The Herald can confirm.

The solider was training with live ammunition, ahead of a planned deployment to Iraq this summer.

Five police cars and an ambulance were seen screaming through Pembroke towards the incident at approximately 10pm towards the incident.

A coastguard helicopter, CG187, was scrambled to the scene, and hovered near Bosherston for a while, but was stood down and returned to base.

The Herald has contacted the MOD for a comment, who said: “It is with great sadness we can confirm the death of a soldier on the 4th of March.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this tragic time.

“The circumstances surrounding this death are being investigated and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

THIS STORY IS UPDATING

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Pembrokeshire County Council bills Home Office for Penally camp costs

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THE COUNCIL has sent an invoice for more than £80,000 to the Home Office.

It is to cover some of the costs that the local authority has incurred in connection with the Penally Asylum Seeker Centre, near Tenby.

Following a question on the issue from Cllr Jonathan Preston at Full Council the Council have confirmed that a bill has been sent.

The Member for Penally ward asked: “Please can the relevant Cabinet Member provide a breakdown of all costs to this authority which have been incurred in providing staff, services and other associated resources to Penally camp since its re-purpose by the Home Office last September?”

Council leader Cllr. David Simpson confirmed that on February 22 Pembrokeshire County Council submitted an invoice for £83, 858 which includes £65,564 in staff costs, £12,799 of specialist support and £5,495 for works such as barriers.

Pembrokeshire County Council is currently awaiting payment, the Authority confirmed.

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Hospitality sector welcomes Budget boost

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IT HAS been so long it seems since we could stand at a bar and enjoy a well-earned pint, but now we are on the road back to normality, the Herald has spoken to some of those in the hospitality sector who have been asked to close. We wanted to know what the owners in businesses in these sectors locally thought of the budget and if Rishi Sunak had done enough to help them.

We first spoke to a Milford Haven restaurant business. Owner of Martha’s Vineyard in Milford Haven, Dan Mills said that the budget was not a silver bullet to fix all problems but said that the budget had gone a fair way to delivering what many in the Pembrokeshire hospitality sector have been calling for in recent weeks.

Dan Mills said: “The biggest risk many of us were facing was the cliff edge of a VAT increase, the end of the Furlough Scheme and a return to full business rates, I’m pleased that the Chancellor has recognised this and taken action on all fronts.

“With talk of the Welsh Government restricting us to outside trading for an initial period, the flexibility that the Furlough Scheme brings will be a huge help to ensure staff retain their jobs.

“I was also delighted to see that the Chancellor has provided funding to Wales to ensure that we benefit from a further 12 months of Business Rate Relief here in Pembrokeshire, that’s money that many of us can instead invest into restarting our businesses.

“I hope that the conversation that unfortunately began due to Covid between politicians and the Pembrokeshire hospitality and tourism sector can continue long beyond this crisis, it seems that through some open and honest feedback we are making real progress.

Award winning gastro-pub The Griffin Inn is well known throughout Wales and has received many national reviews. Their reputation puts them in a strong position once they are allowed to re-open. We spoke to Sian and Simon Vickers about the budget.

Simon Vickers, co-owner is also a director of Visit Pembrokeshire. He told The Herald: “I think the budget was very positive for the hospitality industry with the reduction in VAT being the biggest help.

“Overall I feel the government have supported the industry amazingly

In regard to tax on alcohol, Simon said: “Duty has been frozen It would have been nice to have seen a cut in it. Whether there’s a cut or not the breweries always increase their prices so in all honesty it never affects us.”

The ongoing financial support has been welcomed by industry group CAMRA, The Campaign or Real Ale, but the organisation said that the Chancellor had missed the opportunity to lower beer duty to save our pubs.

Their national chairman Nik Antona issued a statement to The Pembrokeshire Herald saying: “Freezing alcohol duty is obviously better than a rise. However, CAMRA had hoped to see the Chancellor announce a cut in duty on beer served on tap in pubs and social clubs to benefit consumers and help the great British pub recover and thrive in the difficult months and years ahead by being able to compete with supermarket alcohol.

“The Government’s commitment to review alcohol duties in the coming months is welcome. CAMRA will continue to call for a lower rate of duty for beer served in pubs – an option available to the Government now we have left the European Union.

“Reducing tax on beer served in pubs and social clubs would encourage responsible drinking in a supervised, community setting – as well as boosting jobs and local economies, helping consumers and benefiting pubs and licensees.”

On financial support announced, Nik commented: “Cutting VAT as pubs begin to reopen, and reducing it until April next year, means they can now start benefiting from that cut – but CAMRA believes this VAT cut should be extended to alcohol so that traditional locals that don’t serve food can benefit too.

“The extension of furlough until September and new grants of up to £18,000 are very welcome. However, pubs are unlikely to be able to fully reopen at pre-COVID trading levels due to outside space and then table service only indoors. The beer and pubs sector will need further support over the coming months, over and above new loans, to help them get back on their feet until there is a full and proper re-opening and they can trade at full capacity.

“Extending the business rates holiday until the end of June will help keep the wolves from the door for many English pubs, with the two-thirds reduction for the rest of the financial year a welcome step. However, given how tough it will be for many pubs we believe the 100% cut in business rates needs to be extended for a full 12 months as has already happened in Scotland.”

Picture: Simon Vickers, Griffin Inn, Dale

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