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Sincere apology to whistle-blower following Mik Smith cover-up

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THE COUNCIL has apologised after a damning report into the Mik Smith affair has heavily criticised senior council officers, including the former Head of Youth Service Eirian Evans, former Chief Executive Bryn Parry Jones, and former Council leader Jamie Adams.

The report prepared by a task and finish group of councillors takes no prisoners as it lays into the series of missteps and attempted cover-ups regarding the way the local authority’s then-leadership responded to a whistle-blower who reported serious concerns about the convicted paedophile’s relationship with young people in his care while a youth worker for the Council.

As the Leader of the present Administration of Pembrokeshire County Council, I am extremely pleased to see this report produced by the Members of the Task and Finish Group and I appreciate the input of Members, Officers and individuals to produce the conclusions in the report.

Cllr David Simpson said in a statement: “I am however drawn to the involvement of the Whistle Blower in this case. It is never an easy thing to whistle blow in the workplace and I appreciate this is something people have concerns over. It is crucial to ensure that we continue to encourage people to whistle blow and our policy and procedures, I am pleased to say have been updated and reviewed significantly since the period of time these matters occurred. These procedures now can empower people to whistle blow when they wish to report matters of concern.

“Regarding the case in question, I would very much like to thank the Whistle Blower who came forward in the first instance and who provided information of that experience to the Task and Finish Group process. That experience and insight is crucial when organisations like ours seek to learn from negative situations and by adopting recommendations from the group today we are continuing to ensure ever improving safeguarding procedures.

“Therefore I am extremely thankful for the involvement of the whistle blower in this process and would like to offer my sincere apology to her for having to be engaged in this sensitive matter over such a protracted period of time and having to re-visit what would have been a challenging and upsetting set of circumstances.

Community

Pembrokeshire Springboard students become best sellers!

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SPRINGBOARD students who took part in its ‘Be a Best Seller Course’ were invited to Glan-yr-Afon library and cultural centre in Haverfordwest for the official launch of their newly published books last week.

Gelliswick Church in Wales V.C School, Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary School, Tenby Church in Wales VC Primary School and Johnston Community School were the four schools to get involved in this Big Lottery funded project, delivered by Springboard.

On each of the ‘Be a Best Seller’ courses families got to work with three different tutors, in English, Illustration and Design, and Technology.

With their guidance, the families in each school got to work as a team to develop their own unique children’s stories.

They were inspired by the New York Times bestseller Press Here by Herve Tullet which the project coordinator discovered with her daughter on holiday last year.

Like Press Here, each book created by the families on “Be a Best Seller” invites the reader to physically interact with each page to prompt changes to the story that follows.

Gelliswick’s book, A Walk in the Forest, gets the reader blowing on leaves and turning like a bat.

Tenby’s book, The Snow Party, sees snow people getting on sledges and stumbling upon a Snow Dog.

The Perfect Home by Mary Immaculate follows a dragon on its journey from a little egg to a full grown adult in search of somewhere special to stay in Pembrokeshire.

And in Johnston’s book called The Christmas Tree the reader gets to choose their own tree, decorate it and light it up all ready for Santa to deliver his presents.

The families attending the book launch from all four schools were thrilled to see all their work come together in print.

Deborah Withey, the artist who led the families in the illustration and page designs of all four books, said: “The output of imagination and positivity was so high given that the concept of both writing a story and then telling that same story in images is a very big task.

“And what is more than worth noting is how well the children and their parents worked together, the children took the imaginative lead and their parents followed with supporting ideas. This project was a force of creative magic!”

Both the hard backed books and the e-books can be freely accessed from Pembrokeshire libraries around the county.

Laura Phillips, Springboard Coordinator was hugely impressed by the creativity of every learner who engaged on the project. The success of each book was hammered home to her when her daughter, just three years old, said “Again Mammy, again!” after being read each of the stories.

Springboard is a Learning Pembrokeshire project which runs a wide range of fun, free and exciting courses for adults and families in targeted areas.

Gelliswick

Gelliswick pupils and parents with copies of their colourful book A Walk in the Forest

Mary Immaculate

Families and pupils from Mary Immaculate proudly displaying their book The Perfect Home

Tenby

Tenby Primary pupils and their families produced The Snow Party
with the support of Springboard.

Johnston

Pupils and families Johnston Community School worked hard on their book The Christmas Tree

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Community

Haverfordwest: Farmers Market wishes Roly the best on his retirement

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TRADERS from Haverfordwest Farmers Market have presented a hamper of produce to the retiring manager of Riverside Shopping, Roland Keevil, on his retirement.

The market, which is run by Pembrokeshire County Council, has been based at the Riverside since it opened 20 years ago.

Chairman George Durham from the Old Park Apiary, thanked Roland and wished him all the best for his retirement.

“Roly has been the centre manager at Riverside Shopping since it was first built back in 1990 and of course, when the first Haverfordwest Farmers Market was held here in July 1999,” he said.

“He has been a huge supporter of the market over the years, not only as the manager, but also as a customer, and in all that time, has provided us with a great deal of help and guidance.”

Joe Welch, food officer at Pembrokeshire County Council and market manager, said he had been a great advocate for the market.

“Ever since it began, Roly has been a constant source of advice, help and reassurance,” she said. “Although we will miss him, we look forward to welcoming him back as a regular customer and working with the new manager, Nigel Stopher.”

Pictured above is Roland Keevil who is retiring as manager of Riverside Shopping in Haverfordwest, being presented with a hamper by traders from the Farmers Market.

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Milford Haven: Choir celebrates first concert of the summer term

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AN ENJOYABLE evening was spent at St Francis Catholic Church, Milford Haven last Friday with an appreciative audience for the first concert of the summer term. The choir was delighted to have the presence of young soloist Leah Bower, who sang some beautiful pieces and had everyone entranced with her lovely voice. Under the direction of Lynne Kelleher and accompanied by Peter Griffiths, a couple of new items were aired for the first time and were well received by the audience. The choir was rewarded with a superb supper provided by the ladies of the Church.

The ladies took time off for the half term break, but an extra rehearsal will take place in preparation for the busy programme in June and July. The next event will be the annual Songs of Praise at Neyland Marina Gardens on Sunday 9th June. Tickets are now on sale for the forthcoming charity concert in St David’s Cathedral on Friday 21st June when the ladies will share the stage with Haverfordwest Male Voice Choir in support of H.O.P.E.

For information regarding the choir please contact Carol (01646) 699417 or www.neylandladieschoir.weebly.com

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