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Junior Agri-academy fact-finding tour of Brussels

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EU HQ: visited by Wales’ Junior Agri-Academy

EU HQ: visited by Wales’ Junior Agri-Academy

FOURTEEN members of Wales’ Junior Agri-academy have taken the opportunity to meet EU politicians, senior commission officials and NFU lobbyists, during a recent study trip to Brussels, thanks to NFU Cymru and its team at the British Agriculture Bureau (BAB) in Brussels. The youngsters, aged 16 to 18, all with a strong interest in developing a career in Welsh agriculture, did a three day tour of Brussels, to gain an insight of the political workings of Europe and the interaction and impact it has on Welsh agriculture, as well as promoting the need for European policy to recognise and help the next generation access a profitable and growing industry.

During a packed few days the Junior Agri-academy members had dinner and a presentation with Welsh MEP, Derek Vaughan, had a guided tour of the European Parliament and visited the Welsh Office. They also received a presentation from senior officials on the links between Welsh Government and the European Commission and how the interests of both Welsh agriculture and wider industry are represented in Europe.

The group also attended and observed the agriculture committee. The group also met with the General Secretary of the European Council of Young Farmers, where they discussed and shared their vision and belief in the future of agriculture and learnt first-hand how youngsters from across the EU are represented and influencing future policy. John Mercer, NFU Cymru Director, also attended the trip. He said: “It was a fantastic few days and a real pleasure to take such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of youngsters to the heart of European politics.

“The group saw at first-hand how influential NFU Cymru is within Europe and how important it is for us to have an office and staff representing the interests of Welsh farmers in Brussels, which is based at the heart of the EU institutions.” The group had the opportunity to hear from Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, on two occasions. Firstly, the group sat as observers at the Commissions Agriculture Committee meeting and then they sat in on and observed COPA Presidium with NFU Cymru, whilst visiting COPA COGECA headquarters.

On the second occasion the academy had the opportunity to meet Commissioner Hogan, who stressed that he believed there was a bright future for youngsters across Europe. He later wrote in his blog:“It was inspirational to meet a group of dynamic young farmers from Wales, who were there at the invitation of NFU Cymru.” Junior Agri-academy member, Sioned Davies, said: “European politics plays a significant role in how we farm in Wales today and how we’ll farm in the future. It was a fantastic experience and meeting Commissioner Hogan face-to-face and hearing his views on the future was a real bonus.

We are very grateful to NFU Cymru for giving us the opportunity to see the workings of EU policy making and to Derek Vaughan for sponsoring and helping arrange the visit to the European Parliament.” The final day of the trip saw the group return to London where they met the NFU Parliamentary team in the NFU London office, to learn about their Westminster lobbying role and activities. The group then toured the Houses of Parliament before finishing with a question and answer session with Roger Williams, the MP for the constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire.

Swansea NFU Cymru Group Secretary, Kate Miles,who also travelled with the group representing Wales YFC said: “We are incredibly grateful to Roger Williams for staying on an extra day in London to meet with the Junior Agri-academy members and answer their questions. For the group to see behind the scenes of both the European and Westminster Parliaments within three days is an amazing opportunity and an experience I am sure they will never forget. “This trip, combined with their previous visit to the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Government in Cardiff, has given the group an excellent understanding of the main political factors that shape our industry and this will undoubtedly help them in whatever career they develop and hopefully inspire them to stay within agriculture.”

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Pembrokeshire Leisure welcomes back school swimming

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PEMBROKESHIRE Leisure is welcoming back school swimming lessons around the county for the first time since March 2020.

Swimmers from over 20 schools will be attending in their class bubbles to enjoy learning vital water competency skills in Pembrokeshire Leisure’s six swimming pools.

In a county which is surrounded by beautiful beaches and coastline, being safe in and around water is a potentially life-saving skill.

The programme of school swimming lessons helps to achieve the Welsh national priority that every child is a swimmer by the time they leave primary school.

The National Curriculum requirement which has been designed in line with this is that every key stage 2 child should be able to:

  • Swim 25 metres with clothes on (shorts and t-shirt), then tread water for 30 seconds and demonstrate an action for getting help and move into the Heat Escape Lessening Position (H.E.L.P)
  • Demonstrate a shout and signal action to attract attention.

The first school to return was Ysgol Glannau Gwaun at Fishguard Leisure Centre and there are now 20 primary schools which will be attending swimming lessons around Pembrokeshire.

On Monday 14 th June, Coastlands County Primary School attended and their Head Teacher Sonja Groves said: “We are delighted to finally get back to swimming after such a long time away. The children were so happy to be back in the water learning and enjoying. Swimming is a vital life skill which helps to keep the children of Pembrokeshire safe in and around all types of water.”

Leisure Services Manager Gary Nicholas said: “It is fantastic to be able to safely welcome back school swimming to our facilities. Primary school aged children have missed over a years’ worth of swimming lessons and Pembrokeshire Leisure are committed to supporting the aim of every child a swimmer by age 11.

“We will continue to do this by delivering quality school swimming lessons following the Swim Wales Nofio Ysgol programme, using the Free Swimming Initiative to provide targeted sessions for the most deprived swimmers and by continuing to provide swimming lessons at all sites in our Learn to Swim programme.”

For more information about how you can book your child swimming lessons and support their journey to becoming a competent swimmer, contact your local leisure centre.

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Landmarc flies the flag at local training camp to celebrate Armed Forces Week

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TO CELEBRATE Armed Forces Week 2021 and the contribution made by local military personnel, Landmarc Support Services (Landmarc) has raised the Armed Forces Day flag at Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire.

Following an unprecedented year for the UK’s troops as they responded to the challenges raised by the pandemic, Landmarc, which manages the UK Defence Training Estate in partnership with Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), wanted to extend an extra special thank you, by flying the official Armed Forces Day flag at military training estates across the UK, including local camp, Castlemartin.

Landmarc employees were joined by Armed Forces personnel and staff from DIO to witness the raising of the flag, where it will fly proudly until Armed Forces Week comes to a close on the 28th of June.

This Armed Forces Week, Landmarc has pledged its support and sponsorship of Team Emotive in its mission to complete one of the world’s most difficult ocean rowing challenges – the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – all in the name of raising money for mental health charity, Veterans at Ease.

Made up of four Armed Forces veterans, including one Landmarc employee, Team Emotive is preparing to travel 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua. Rowing two hours on, two hours off for forty days, this challenge will push the team to its limits both physically and mentally. 23 rd June 2021

In addition, Landmarc has also announced its official partnership with the Armed Forces charity, SSAFA, working together to support veterans as they transition into civilian life.

Mark Neill, Managing Director at Landmarc, comments: “Each year, every one of us at Landmarc gives thanks to our troops during this special week. As part of the 25 per cent of veterans and reservists that make up Landmarc’s workforce, I know first- hand how important this event is for morale within the Forces community.

“It’s always fantastic to see so many people and organisations come together each year for Armed Forces Week, but the events of the last fifteen months have heightened our gratitude. The efforts from our servicemen and women have been immense and impossible to ignore in the nation’s fight against COVID-19; with our own staff working alongside the military to support the demands of the training estate as it hosts troops from across the country.”

For more information on Landmarc Support Services, please visit www.landmarcsolutions.com.

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Endurance runner tackles Pembrokeshire Coast

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ENDURANCE runner Sean Conway has successfully completed his epic series of marathons in the UK’s National Parks.

On Thursday, June 17, Sean tackled the Pembrokeshire coast, running from Newport to Dinas Head and back, fuelled by sports nutrition brand ‘Grenade’.

Sean, who is from North Wales, has ran the length of Britain before but says this was the longest stretch of days where he has had to constantly do a marathon every day.

Speaking of his run in Newport, Sean said: “It was so hilly. Honestly, the weather was amazing. It wasn’t too hot and there were some nice views along the way. At Dinas Head, it was amazing looking down at the lagoons and there are some amazing rock formations.”

He took six hours to complete his marathon but there was little time for recovery as he moved on to his final run in Snowdonia the day after.

“This was my second-last marathon so my body was feeling pretty battered and I’ve had to do it fully self-supported so I was doing one run out then back to the car and then out again”, Sean added.

“With covid we’ve all been staying at home more so I wanted to show off how amazing the National Parks are.

“There will be more of us visiting as restrictions are eased but we don’t want to ruin it by being silly.”

Sean was provided with his nutrition for the runs by Grenade and he said he ‘would not have been able to survive without them’.

In the morning he would have an energy drink which contained vitamins and electrolites and he would also mix this in with his water for some of his runs.

Sean would also have protein bars to give him an extra boost as he tried to keep on top of his protein intake.

“Pembrokeshire was so scenic. When I announced the runs this was the run that stood out online and I was really looking forward to doing it. We’ll definitely be coming back soon” Sean concluded.

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