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Ultrafast broadband voucher for communities

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COMMUNITIES in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and across Wales can come together to make a bid for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which can provide ultrafast broadband for homes and businesses.

The scheme, which is managed by the UK Government, has been given the boost of a top-up in Wales with the Welsh Government providing more funding to take into account the particular challenges caused by the country’s topography.

Ministers from both governments are now urging Welsh businesses and communities to apply as a group for the funding to get gigabit capable broadband.

The group must include at least one business along with surrounding premises. Two or more businesses can get together, or businesses with residents, to combine their vouchers towards the cost of building the infrastructure. Up to ten residents can get together with one business to create a group or community project.

Under the arrangements for Wales, the Welsh Government will provide an additional £3,000 for businesses up to a certain size and an additional £300 per residential property. This means that for group projects in Wales up to £5,500 is available per business, compared with £2,500 elsewhere in the UK. Up to £800 will now be available per residential property in Wales, compared with £500 elsewhere.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “While the vast majority of premises in Wales can access superfast broadband, we know we must reach the final five per cent. There is no one size fits all solution to do this, and the Gigabit Voucher Scheme is an important part of our efforts to do this.

“I would urge communities without access to look at this option and see if it’s suitable for them. The vouchers would potentially give them access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.”

UK Government Minister for Wales Kevin Foster said: “Improved digital connections for homes and businesses is a central part of our modern Industrial Strategy which invests in skills, industries and infrastructure to build a Britain that’s fit for the future.

“Together with the Welsh Government, we are working to ensure more people in Wales have access to reliable broadband speeds, supporting communities, enhancing access to online services and strengthening our rapidly expanding digital sector.”

The Welsh and UK Government funded £200m Superfast Cymru programme has already taken superfast broadband speeds to more than 733,000 Welsh homes and businesses commercial companies had no plans to cover. 

Residents and businesses can check whether they’re eligible for the voucher and look up their postcode to find a registered supplier in their area.

Further information on how to apply for the Gigabit Voucher scheme is available on: www.gov.wales/broadband

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Willy make the council fix the road?

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DRIVERS in and around the Maenclochog area are still recovering today after a hardened vandal spray-painted yellow penises along a stretch of road near Morvil.
The road, just off the B4313, was targeted with graffiti because of the number of potholes scattered along it’s length.
Locals have dubbed the cock-sure artist as ‘Wanksy’ and have discovered that whoever drew the penises also wrote ‘Follow the yellow d### road’.
Some of the penises have been drawn around more sizeable potholes, but simply pointing disapprovingly at the smaller ones.
If you want to report a pothole, the chosen method is still via the Pembrokeshire County Council website.
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‘Learning needs’ offered support through new website

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A NEW website, providing help and information for parents, teachers and professionals involved in supporting children and young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN), has been launched in Pembrokeshire.

Run by the County Council’s Inclusion Service, the website is divided into four main sections headed:

  • Support and Provision for ALN
  • Parent Partnership Services
  • Resources
  • Pupil Voice and Wellbeing

The website contains information for families about local events, parent networks and drop-ins providing the opportunity to meet with local support teams of specialists.

It also tells the touching story of Eliza and her inspiring journey as she began her schooling in Johnston Primary under the headship of Gareth Jones.

Other local young people such as Freya, Jack, Siana, Mair and Jamie are also featured and have important stories to tell on what is important to them in overcoming dyspraxia, dyslexia and autism

Many of them attended the launch in County Hall, Haverfordwest, on Wednesday (May 15) along with Scarlet’s rugby players, Simon Gardiner – himself dyslexic – and Josh Helps.

The County Council’s new Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, Guy Woodham, described how proud he was of the remarkable achievements of the children and young people in Pembrokeshire with additional needs.

He said he was especially pleased to learn that the outcomes for children and young people with ALN were consistently higher in the County than over half of the local authorities in Wales over the last two and three years.

Councillor Woodham added: “This website in an invaluable tool and provides professionals and families with a wide range of early screening, classroom strategies, resources as well as things that can help in the home.”

Nicola Jones, the Council’s Head of Inclusion, Disability and Wellbeing, said that early identification and intervention strategies had allowed the Authority to make significant strides in meeting the needs of youngster with ALN.

She said: “With the joined up offer of support and provision in schools, it means more children’s needs are being met within the classroom.
“There are now 24 per cent of learners with additional needs compared to 31% in 2012, with only 8 per cent compared to 18 per cent with complex needs.”

Describing his own experience, Haverfordwest-born rugby prop forward Simon said: “Teachers didn’t really understand my dyslexia when I was at school. They thought I was naughty or just wasn’t trying. I really loved maths and science, but when it came to putting anything on paper, I really struggled.

“If teachers had more understanding of dyslexia, they would have been able to help me more. That’s why this website is a good thing, because there is a lot of information there.

“I would especially recommend this website to parents. It’s a great way to point them in the right direction to get advice and find out more. Now teachers seem to know more about dyslexia and what to look for.”

The Council’s Chief Executive, Ian Westley added that although he recognised the Authority had one of the highest rates of exclusion, he was delighted that already the new approach was having a significant impact in reducing that number.

The website address is: https://pembsinclusionservice.wales/

To speak to someone directly about your child’s additional needs, contact the helpline on 01437 776354 or email pps@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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RNLI lifeguards return to Welsh beaches

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RNLI lifeguards will be returning to their posts across Wales from Saturday (25 May) to offer safety advice and assistance over the May half term.

The charity’s lifeguards will be on the following beaches to welcome those enjoying the half term holidays on the Welsh coast:

Denbighshire – Rhyl and Prestatyn.
Ceredigion – Borth, Aberystwyth North, Llangrannog, New Quay Harbour, Aberporth.
Pembrokeshire – Tenby South, Newgale Central, Whitesands
Carmarthenshire – Pembrey
Swansea – Langland, Caswell, Port Eynon, Three Cliffs Bay.
Neath and Port Talbot – Aberavon.
Vale of Glamorgan – Whitmore Bay
Bridgend – Rest Bay, Trecco Bay, Coney / Sandy Bay

A lifeguarding service will be provided everyday between 10am-6pm over the school half term. The lifeguard’s role is to advise, supervise and rescue those in trouble on the beach or in the water.

Joanna Price, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said: “The lifeguards have all completed their intense training in the sunshine over the past few weeks and are looking forward to returning to beaches across Wales this weekend. Hopefully you won’t need the lifeguards help, but by visiting a lifeguarded beach you get the peace of mind and reassurance that expert advice and assistance is available if needed. The lifeguards’ work is to advise, supervise and rescue those who need help on the beach or in the water.

“When visiting a lifeguarded beach always make sure to bathe between the red and yellow flags. This area is closely monitored by the lifeguards throughout the day. The flags are set out daily and moved depending on the state of the tide by the lifeguard team.

“We want people to enjoy the coastline and therefore urge people to respect the water and take extra care when visiting the coast, by taking some basic precautions. Plan your activity – check the weather and tide conditions before going to sea, and make sure your equipment is all in working order.

“Carry a means of calling for help should something go wrong. If you see someone in trouble please don’t attempt the rescue yourself, alert a lifeguard or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

For a full detailed list of lifeguard service dates in Wales as well as further safety advice please visit the RNLI website rnli.org.uk.

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