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Any takers for Joseph’s dream?

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Huw George: “No comment”

Huw George: “No comment”

THE ANNOUNCEMENT by Milford Central County Councillor Stephen Joseph that he is to form a new group on Pembrokeshire County Council is reported elsewhere in this paper. 

In an effort to find out how much support Councillor Joseph is likely to gather, the Herald attempted to contact every county councillor to find out where they stood. At the same time, we asked each councillor whether they supported the protest scheduled for County Hall on Friday, August 8. In order to ensure each councillor had the option of declaring their position in the public interest, each of them was also sent two emails, in some cases to multiple addresses, and given two phone calls.

From the 56 councillor’s polled by this paper’s deadline, we had received just 27 replies IPPG uber-loyalist Daphne Bush hung up on our reporter, rather than answer the first question. When rung to answer the second, she hung up again. Based on Councillor Daphne’s demonstrably less than independent turn of mind, we guessed that she did not know how to answer as she had not yet been told what to say. Pearl Llewellyn was more forthcoming. She told us that she had no intention of joining Pembrokeshire First, but did say that she was more than likely to support Friday’s action. Our reporter John Vaughan soon discovered that word had got around amongst IPPG members that these questions were being asked, and it appears the advice given, within the group, was to refuse to answer the key question as to whether or not they supported their workers’ protest.

Former Cabinet member Ken Rowlands hung up when asked about Pembrokeshire First and declined to answer whether or not he supported the workers’ protest. Fellow Labour turncoat Umelda Havard was another to hang up on our reporter when asked about Pembrokeshire First and would not comment on the protest against Bryn Parry Jones. IPPG members Lyndon Frayling and Huw George offered no comment to either question. From the members that were prepared to answer these two simple and direct questions, The Herald received some very strong comments. Councillor Peter Stock said: “As a member of the Pembrokeshire Alliance, we are determined to put Pembrokeshire first, and provide a quality service that the people of our county richly deserve.

So why try to form a new group with a similar idea and objectives?” Jacob Williams responded by stating: “I am not interested in joining Pembrokeshire First. I was elected independent and I will remain independent; as an unaffiliated member.” Predictably, Michael Williams, of Plaid Cymru, claimed Cllr Joseph ‘was deserting a sinking ship’. On the protest he said: “It is a sad state of affairs when we see this type of action, and it shows the failure of the controlling group to get a grip and give some firm political direction. Firstly by suspending the CEO until the investigation is completed. Secondly by admitting their failures and apologising to Pembrokeshire Taxpayers for the continued disastrous news stories that flow from this failing Authority. “I support that staff, and I have great sympathy for them. They see their pay cut or frozen, while the CEO seems to receive huge increases in salary. It is incredible to remember that he was appointed in 1996 on a salary of £60k.

The question must be asked of those that sat on the Senior Staff committee and authorised these obscene increases.” Anthony Wilcox, from the Labour Group, made his position clear: “I have no interest myself in joining Stephen Joseph’s group/party. However, if it leads to the downfall of the current ‘bought and paid for’ mob, I welcome it.” Councillor Tony Brinsden said: “I am an Independent (dictionary definition) member and intend to remain that way. Since being elected two years ago Cllr Joseph has changed his allegiance twice so who knows where he might be in a year’s time.”

Leader of the Labour Group, Paul Miller, confined himself to speaking about the Unison protest, confirming that he would be there to show support: “The joint union ballot and demonstration is an opportunity for staff to express their view on how Pembrokeshire Council is being run. “Many staff have been badly treated in recent years having had their salaries cut, hours reduced or pay frozen. I can only imagine how it felt to find out that, at the same time, the Chief Executive had been paid an additional £45,000 in unlawful pay supplements and that the Council had bought him a Porsche. We simply cannot continue like this. “The Independent Political Group are riding roughshod over the people of this county and undermining democracy at every turn.

We must all continue to do everything we can to fight for change!’” Tory Councillor Stan Hudson, a member of the secretive council committee that voted to help Bryn avoid a potential tax liability on his seven-figure publicly-funded pension by making unlawful payments to him, and who has supported the CEO in every subsequent vote even against his own party colleagues, was far less supportive of the workers’ protest against their CEO. Instead, Conservative Stan told us that he would not support the strike as he believed it was a Labour Party publicity stunt drummed up by Labour Leader Paul Miller, arranged for the benefit of what he alleged were Councillor Miller’s union paymasters. Fellow Tory David Bryan, formerly of the IPG until knifed by the group at the last election, offered no comment on either Pembrokeshire First or on supporting the protest against Bryn Parry Jones.

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Youth centre conquers coast path challenge to get the Point Across

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YOUNG people from the Fishguard area recently stepped up to the mark to take on a walking challenge set by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority Ranger, Richard Vaughan.

Members of the POINT Youth Centre had been tasked with completing a 22-mile sponsored walk along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – one mile for each year Richard has worked for the Park Authority.

Richard said: “I was so pleased to see 17 young people take part in the Get the POINT Across challenge, some of them giving up three days of their summer holidays to boot.

“The POINT team certainly went the extra mile and more, walking from Poppit Sands back to the youth centre in Fishguard, which is a total of 27 miles.

“I’ve worked with POINT for around 15 years and have seen how the centre encourages young people to play a positive role in their community. It was great to help them raise some money to continue this work, while they also discovered parts of the National Park for the first time.”

POINT was set up to provide young people aged 11-25 gain the self-esteem, skills and self-confidence to cope with the personal problems during the transition from childhood to adulthood.

The drop-in centre provides a safe and welcoming place six days a week with a range of activities, community projects, workshops and trips. Many have a particular emphasis on the environment such as the John Muir Award and beach cleans.

All the proceeds raised during the walk will go to POINT and Get the Boys a Lift, a not for profit based community interest company (CIC) working to better improve mental health within the community.

To view a video of the Get the POINT Across challenge on the POINT Youth Centre’s YouTube channel.

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New mosaic for Pembrokeshire School

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PUPILS attending Haverfordwest High School after the summer holidays were welcomed back by two new mosaics at the main entrance.

The artwork was the result of a series of free summer workshops for families of pupils from the ten feeder schools aimed at aiding the transition from primary to secondary school.

The workshops were run by Springboard – a Learning Pembrokeshire project for families – and Haverfordwest High School and led by local artist Paul Webb.

Participating families were tasked with creating two large scale mosaics to welcome students at the main entrance.

The finished mosaics incorporate the emblems of all 10 feeder primary schools along with the new Haverfordwest High logo thus ensuring that new pupils feel the connection between past and present on the learning journey at their new school.

Amy Delaney, Springboard Advisor on the project, described it as a fun and rewarding way to enable families to support their children through transition to secondary school.

“Working with other families to produce this amazing piece of artwork has helped both adults and children to feel engaged with the school and more confident about the transition to secondary school.”

Heather Cale, the headteacher of St Marks,Church in Wales VA Primary School in Merlins Bridge, said: “The head teachers of the feeder primary schools have been delighted with the transition project. It has given pupils and families the opportunity to work together, make new friends and to get to know their new school.

“As head teachers we have committed to working more closely together across our cluster, for all learners from 3 to 19 years. This is a wonderful  beginning, and we thank all those involved for their commitment and participation.”

Lauren Davies, Head of Year 7 at Haverfordwest High said the school was thrilled with the success of the project and the positive impact it has had on so many families.

She continued: “We are committed to providing a smooth transition between primary and secondary school for all pupils in the Haverfordwest cluster, and we are continually reviewing and developing transition opportunities in line with the new curriculum.

“Springboard were able to support us with offering something creative and ambitious for last year’s transition. We are already planning another project for the current Year 6 pupils and their families from our partner primary schools.”

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UK’s top skaters and riders drop in on Llanelli youngsters to celebrate a special birthday

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THE WORLD’S and the UK’s finest skateboarders, BMX and Wheelchair Motocross stars will drop in on young people at a Carmarthenshire Ramps skatepark on Saturday 19 October 2019 from 11 am till 2 pm. The event was arranged to celebrate the £3 billion National Lottery players have raised for projects which have specifically helped children and young people develop and thrive in the UK over the last 25 years. £2 million of National Lottery funding has specifically been awarded to support and develop over 47 BMX projects in local communities for young people in Wales to enjoy.     

Wales and Pembrokeshire’s own wheelchair sports superstar, Lily Rice; the Olympic BMX freestyler from Swansea, James Jones; Britain’s leading street skateboarder and 2020 Olympic hopeful, Alex Decunha; and YouTube influencer, Jake O’Neill (aka Jake100), visite hundreds of youngsters at Ramps indoor and outdoor skatepark in Llanelli as part of the National Lottery’s celebrations.
More than £340,000 was awarded by the National Lottery in 2013 to develop and build Ramps Skatepark which now provides activities for over 15,000 young people a year.

At 15 years old, Lily Rice from Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, is a World Champion wheelchair motocross (WCMX) star. She was propelled to fame two years ago when she became the first female in Europe to achieve a wheelchair backflip, and only the second girl in the world to pull off the stunt. Since then, Lily has emerged as one of the global leaders of WCMX – wheelchair motocross.
She says: “By contributing towards building amazing facilities such as this indoor and outdoor skate park, National Lottery funding is helping thousands of young people of all abilities to reach their goals and discover new opportunities. I have trained and practised at numerous National Lottery funded skate parks and there is no doubt that the funding has helped wheeled sports, enthusiasts, to become healthier and more active.”

The National Lottery has inspired millions of people to get active in their local community, as well as supporting individuals and teams from grassroots to elite.

James Jones is a 25-year-old professional BMX rider from Swansea. James, who also celebrated his 25th Birthday this year,  is one of six world-class athletes who make up the Freestyle BMX Team GB for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. James honed his skills and practised his tricks at the Ramps skate park in Llanelli when he was growing up and highlights the importance of young people having access to facilities like this on their doorstep.
James Jones said: “I practised a lot here growing up and this facility has played a big part in my development as a professional rider and a person. I probably wouldn’t be where I am now without the support I got here. It’s not just about learning to ride or skate, there’s a real family vibe here, a great social aspect and it’s well supported by the community. The National Lottery must fund parks such as this one so that young people can have a safe space to pursue their hobbies and meet friends.”
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