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Carer to undertake ten weeks with Tearfund

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Tearfund: Tara sees helping poor communities as part of her discipleship

Tearfund: Tara sees helping poor communities as part of her discipleship

A PEMBROKE DOCK carer is following in her friend’s footsteps and heading off to South Africa to play her part in an initiative, devoted to transforming the lives of families and children blighted by the scourge of HIV. Tara Baker, who heads off to Durban for ten weeks in early January, has been selected to serve with the Christian relief agency Tearfund in conjunction with ICS (International Christian Service). Tearfund/ICS offers volunteers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend ten weeks in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Rwanda or South Africa working alongside young in-country volunteers and contributing directly to genuine development projects “I heard about this programme from Sophie Merrix’s mother” Tara explained.

“Sophie was on the same programme last year and I have to admit it has grabbed my heart. I will be working in the Inchanga Primary school in Kwa Zulu Natal, but have been told ‘to expect the unexpected and to prepared to do anything’.” She added: “I am sure it is going to prove a very exciting ten weeks. I like the idea of getting out of my bubble and being able to exploring different cultures and countries, and best of all to feel I will be able to make a difference. “I am a Christian and I see this as part of my discipleship.

Christians are called to be a light to the world and to care for the poor. Sophie told me that it changed her life – it changes your outlook on everything” Tara’s interest has already had an impact on her current lifestyle, as she explained. “I am engaging in ‘Below the Line’ Challenge, which is seeking to arouse awareness of those who are living in poverty in the UK by trying to live on £1 a day.”

“This is not a fund raising exercise,” she added. “This is a solidarity challenge. I’d read about it before and wondered if I would be able to do it but the training I have received at Tearfund has opened my mind up to the way other people have to live. Now this has given the motivation to get stuck in and the training at Tearfund has really made me think a lot about poverty – I think its amazing what they do.” I hope to make a difference but I also hope it will open my mind to learn how other people live. I have given up my job but I am not too concerned about that I am trusting God 100% for the future “I am absolutely thrilled to see Tara wanting to serve God in this way,” said Pastor Rob James of Pembroke.

“Like her friend Sophie Merrix who is now working full time for Tearfund she is an inspiration to us all. I am convinced that the quickest way to finding a fulfilling life is to reach out to help those in need. “Selfishness is corrosive and destructive whereas caring for others is enriching and extremely rewarding. Tara will discover that as she steps out in faith and in her love for others

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Community

Bluestone Foundation makes waves in west Wales communities

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THE BLUESTONE FOUNDATION, the charitable arm of Bluestone National Park Resort, is continuing to make a positive impact on the people and communities of West Wales through its latest round of events and funding totalling £17,500

The Foundation has recently completed a successful round of grant allocations through its Community Fund and is gearing up for its next fundraising event in August at the Blue Lagoon Water Park. It has supported local groups with more than £250,000 since it was launched in 2010.

The Bluestone Foundation offers two avenues of support: the Community Events and the Community Fund. The Community Events at the Blue Lagoon raise funds and awareness for local charities.

This year, the Foundation has already hosted events for Get the Boys a Lift and VC Gallery, with upcoming events supporting Paul Sartori and Team Cruising Free in August and Sammy Sized Gap in October.

Each event is hosted by a local charitable organisation and local residents will be able to buy tickets. All of the proceeds are directed into the community, with 75% of funds going to a local charitable organisation and 25% through the Bluestone Foundation.

Each event will mean up to 600 local community members can enjoy our water park’s facilities while raising money directly for local good causes. On Tuesday 27th August, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home and Team Cruising Free will benefit from the fundraising created through ticket sales.

“We are thrilled to see the positive impact our Community Events have on local organisations,” said Marten Lewis at the Bluestone Foundation. “The Blue Lagoon provides a unique and enjoyable setting for fundraising, and we are grateful for the community’s support.”

The Community Fund, which runs in three rounds this year, provides financial assistance to projects focused on economic, social, and environmental initiatives. The Foundation recently allocated approximately £7,500 to three projects in its first round of funding and is currently reviewing applications for its second round which closes in July. A third round of funding will close on 17 October.

Among those to have benefited in the first round are the South Ridgeway Community Association in Manorbier to help develop a community garden and allotments; The Tenby Project, to support weekly sessions with a trained nutritionist on healthy eating for adults with learning difficulties; and Transition Bro Gwaun in Fishguard, to host community energy engagement events.

The Foundation is inviting the community to join them at their next Blue Lagoon event on August 27th, where they will be raising funds for Cruising Free and Paul Sartori. Tickets can be purchased at  Blue Lagoon event in support of Team Cruising Free Tickets, Tue 27 Aug 2024 at 18:30 | Eventbrite

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Community

‘No second homes’ call for Saundersfoot estate plans

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A SCHEME by one of the UK’s largest housebuilders to site 72 homes, 25 of them affordable, on the outskirts of a Pembrokeshire village is not expected to have a no second homes condition, despite a plea by the local community council.

Back in 2022, Persimmon Homes applied to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for the scheme on a 2.26 hectare area of land adjoining the northernmost houses of a long-established Sandyhill Park residential estate, Saundersfoot.

The official application, including 47 open market dwellings, proposes a variety of detached, semi-detached, terraced and apartment properties to create an “attractive and integrated extension to Saundersfoot”.

The application is recommended for delegated approval when it comes before the national park’s July 17 development management committee.

The affordable housing units will be split into four low-cost ownership units and 21 socially rented units, a report for national park planners says; the 35 per cent affordable percentage taking precedent over an affordable housing policy requirement of 50 per cent as it is designated as an allocated site.

As well as the affordable housing element and an open space provision, a financial contribution of £2,000 per open market property, some £94,000, is required by the county council’s highways department to cover the contribution towards Active Travel Routes within the local area (Saundersfoot Harbour to New Hedges).

Local community council Saundersfoot has objected to the scheme on a number of grounds, asking for its refusal, the report says.

The community council also wants a caveat that no property is bought for second-home holiday use.

Reasons of objection include: potentially causing an imbalance of the aesthetics of the remaining green areas of the village; the scheme being dominant, overbearing, and intrusive to existing residents; access and road safety issues; infrastructure, and the effect on local services.

On a potential residency condition, the report says: “With regards to whether or not it is appropriate to apply a planning condition limiting the use of the market houses to C3 primary dwellings only and therefore preventing use as a second home or holiday let, the authority has undertaken an assessment based on its established methodology.”

It says the assessment “demonstrates that there is not a sufficient justification in this case to impose such a condition,” adding: “Whilst Saundersfoot as a whole has a slightly higher percentage of second homes and holiday lets than was anticipated when the LDP2 was developed, the majority of detached properties of the estate style type proposed as market dwellings on this site in Saundersfoot are occupied as primary dwellings.

“It is the flat or apartment-style properties that are more likely to be occupied as a holiday let or second home, however within the development these properties will already be controlled as they are designated as affordable housing.

“There is therefore no need to apply a use class condition to the properties, based on the evidence gathered.”

It is recommended, subject to further updates to be received at the committee meeting, that delegated powers of approval are given to officers, subject to receipt of a Section 106 legal agreement addressing the provision of affordable housing, open space and a financial contribution towards the Active Travel Route.

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Community

Torch Theatre and Port partnership strengthens community engagement

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A TWO-YEAR funding partnership between the Torch Theatre and the Port of Milford Haven is going from strength to strength, providing over 10,000 hours of engaging, creative activities for the community in its first year.

During the past 12 months, the Torch Theatre has welcomed 45 schools and over 5,000 students to workshops, performances and tours of the building expanding young peoples’ knowledge, experiences and aspirations. Over 130 youngsters attended the Youth Theatre, 35 took part in the Summer Schools, 40 adults benefited from Creative Writing courses and 45 members enjoyed participating in the community choir, Torch Voices.

Chief Executive of the Port of Milford Haven, Tom Sawyer, is delighted with how the partnership is developing: “The Torch Theatre is a fantastic arts and culture hub for Pembrokeshire and I’m inspired when I hear how many people they’ve supported over the last year through their vibrant programme of performances, workshops and activities. Everybody should be able to access the arts, it nourishes our hearts and minds, and we’re pleased to see so many people getting on board and embracing what the Torch has to offer.”

Ben Lloyd, CEO at the Torch Theatre, said “We are very grateful for the Port’s support through this successful partnership. It is hugely important to us as it enables us to extend our reach to more people, particularly young people, across our community which we know contributes to feelings of inclusion and wellbeing. This partnership has bolstered our youth and community offer, allowing us to keep activities affordable and accessible for all.”

Throughout 2024, the team at the Torch will be building on the success of last year. The uptake of subsidised youth theatre engagement has increased, educational outreach continues to reach further into the community, their entire Youth Theatre will come together, for the first time in a generation, to present a Main Stage production Wind in the Willows featuring a collaboration with Torch Voices, and their subsidised summer schools are growing in popularity.

P: Chief Executive of the Torch Theatre Ben Lloyd (left) with CEO of the Port of Milford Haven Tom Sawyer (right).

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