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Claire wins Inspire! Award



Inspirational adult learner: Claire Arnold

Inspirational adult learner: Claire Arnold

A PEMBROKESHIRE mum-of-three who helped adults in her community get back into education has been crowned overall winner at a major learning award ceremony.
Claire Arnold was presented with the Learner of the Year award for Wales at the Inspire! Awards as part of Adult Learners’ Week 2015.
The 39-year-old, who left school at age 15 with no qualifications, went on to set up a community-based degree course for people in one of the most deprived areas of Wales.
Adult Learners’ Week runs from June 13 to 19 and celebrates lifelong learning, whether work-based, as part of a community education course, at college, university or online.
Now in its 24th year, it aims to promote the range of courses available to adult learners, from languages to computing and childcare to finance.
The Inspire! Awards are hosted each year ahead of Adult Learners’ Week to celebrate the achievements of outstanding learners in Wales who have shown exceptional passion, commitment and drive for learning, often in the face of difficult circumstances.
“I struggled at school, I was never a high flyer,” said Claire, who also won the Learning Progression award. “I wanted to be a teacher. I was always making work sheets for my class mates on wet weather days. But I never thought I was good enough.”
Claire, who lives in St Twynnells in Pembroke, found work at an old people’s home, spending the next few years working as a care assistant.
“It wasn’t what I wanted to do but I’d messed around at secondary school and didn’t think there was any way of me following my ambition to be a teacher,” said Claire, who lives with husband Matthew and daughter Cara, 17; son Euan, 14, and daughter Amelia, three.
Ten years after leaving school, Claire found out about a learning support assistant job at her former primary school, Monkton Community Primary.
“I got the job and I loved it,” she said. “I loved working with children and found education had changed so much. I watched the teachers and learned from them and thought, maybe I can do that.”
Claire’s head teacher suggested she enrol on a new project set up to provide adult education in the community and, along with 15 others, she completed a Foundation Degree for Learning Support Assistants.
“We were travelling to the University of Wales Trinity St David, an hour away, and I realised it meant not everybody could have access to education,” she said. “So when more funding became available, I asked whether there was anything that could be done to help those who wanted to learn but struggled with childcare and transport.”
Claire, who has worked closely with the area’s gypsy families, arranged for a maths GCSE course to be run at Monkton Community Primary with Learning Pembrokeshire.
“It started at 5pm and we had a kids’ club, which meant childcare wasn’t an issue,” said Claire. “The year after, we started doing GCSE English, and science the year after that.”
Claire, who had by then also completed a BA Joint Honours Degree in Education and Social Inclusion, also arranged, with the school’s head Shelley Morris, for the University of Wales Trinity St David to run the same degrees at the school in Monkton.
While helping others, she was completing her own degree while living out of a static caravan with no internet access.
“We were building a house so we lived in the caravan for four years,” she said.
“I used to go to my sister-in-law’s every night to use their computer when the children were in bed.”
“I stay in touch with what’s going on at the degree courses at Monkton,” added Claire, who is now preparing to graduate with a teaching degree, in Primary Education with QTS.
“We have all ages and I’m really proud of what the scheme has achieved – it has around 20 students a year. I never want to stop learning. It’s never too late to learn.”
Adult Learners’ Week is organised by NIACE Cymru with the support of the Welsh Government and European Social Fund.
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James, said: “Adult Learners’ Week gives everybody the opportunity to learn something new, whether you learn from home, in the workplace or in your local community.
“The Inspire! Awards recognise the people who have taken that step, and their examples should encourage anybody who thinks it’s either too late or too difficult to learn a new skill.
“We hope Adult Learners’ Week will encourage adults across Wales to find out more about their skills and career options by going along to events in their area. Adults can also access the Skills Gateway to get careers advice and guidance, whether they want to improve their skills and employability or get back into work.”
Cerys Furlong, Director of NIACE Cymru, said: “The Inspire! Awards remind us of the power of learning and every story is a testament to the hard work of the learners and the tutors. “Each winner has come such a long way and shown real determination and passion for learning and we wish each one every success for the future. Everyone can get involved with Adult Learners’ Week by joining a free learners’ event in their area on anything from first aid to digital photography.”
For more information on Adult Learners’ Week, go to www., call 0800 028 4844 or follow @ skillsgatewaycw

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Pembrokeshire RNLI crew member completes seven marathons in seven days



BYRON GREY, 21, an RNLI volunteer at Little and Broad Haven has run 186 miles across the Pembrokeshire coast, raising nearly £5,000, to be shared between the lifesaving charity and a local mental health charity.

The fitness fanatic joined the RNLI crew at the age of 17, following in the footsteps of mum Vivienne Grey, launch authority at the station and dad Andy, Lifeboat Operations Manager at Little and Broad Haven.

He was keen to challenge himself to run the extra mile during lockdown and decide to use his efforts to support two of his favourite charities.

Byron, an apprentice at Valero trained hard to complete the gruelling challenge running from Amroth to Poppit, which he completed on Easter Monday. He said:

‘Though lockdown I got into fitness, running especially and wanted to test what I am capable of. So I came up with the idea of running the Pembrokeshire coast path in seven days and decided to raise money for two charities close to my heart.’

To donate to Byron’s challenge please visit

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Crymych Library now offering order and collect service



PEMBROKESHIRE Libraries has extended its popular Order and Collect service to Crymych Library.

Located at Ysgol y Preseli, the library becomes the latest in the county to operate the service, which is already available at libraries in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Saundersfoot and Tenby.

On weekdays, orders can be placed online via the Order and Collect form at, by e-mailing and copying in, or over the phone by calling 01437 776126.

On Saturdays, orders can be placed by e-mailing, or over the phone by calling the library on 01239 832092.

Library members can select up to a maximum of six items, and can either ask for a pre-selected collection such as romance or thrillers, or select specific titles from the online catalogue that are located at Crymych Library.

To access the online catalogue, log on to, and select ‘Find Library Books’.

When placing an order, members can also specify their preferred format, such as Spoken Word, Large Print or items in the Welsh Language.

On submitting an order, members will be allocated a timeslot on Saturdays between 10am and 1pm to collect their items.

Library members should be aware of the following guidelines when using the Order and Collect service:

·         The service is for collection only – you will only be allowed to collect your chosen items and will be required to wear a face covering.

·         Queue only if you have an appointment to use the service.

·         Aim to arrive no more than 10 minutes before your allocated timeslot.

·         If you wish to order books but are unable to collect the items yourself, a friend or family member can do so by prior arrangement.

·         You will need to provide your own bag/box when collecting your items.

·         2 metre social distancing must be observed during the collection process.

·         Do not use the Order and Collect service if you or a member of your family is displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said “I am delighted that we are now in a position to add Crymych to our list of libraries who are offering the Order and Collect service.

“We continue to work hard behind the scenes towards our ultimate goal of reopening all libraries across the county, when it is safe to do so, and we will announce further developments in due course.”

Library members can also continue to enjoy free access to thousands of e-books, e-audio books, e-magazines and e-comics from home via the 24/7 e-Library.

To access the 24/7 e-Library, log on, and select ‘24/7 e-Library’.

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Ambitious community project to capture untold stories from across Pembrokeshire



MILFORD HAVEN’S Torch Theatre is launching ‘The Pembrokeshire Story’, an exciting new community project that aims to connect people across generations in celebrating the Pembrokeshire spirit.

We all love a good story, but they are especially good if they throw light on the place that we are from. The Pembrokeshire Story is trying to bring local artists and our community together by mapping the county through everyday stories told by the people who live here. A story might be something as simple as how life has changed over the years or it might be a special event that you would want to remember. So often these stories remain as legends within our own families, but this is a chance to share them with the world. Everyone has a story to tell and this project will facilitate these stories to be recorded and remembered for generations to come.

The inspiration behind the project originated from the Torch Theatre’s Artistic Director, Peter Doran, who, whilst caring for his father who was suffering with Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic in 2020, encouraged his father to elaborate on stories which previously he had only touched on in passing.

Peter said: “My father told us of his time as an evacuee, having been sent from his home in Liverpool to the Welsh speaking village of Llamberis in North Wales. It was a fascinating tale and one that we might never have heard about had it not been for Covid-19. We’re all so busy, I feel we just don’t spend enough time with each other to allow these wonderful moments to happen, we’re all so busy it would seem.”

Peter’s father has thankfully gone on to make a full recovery from Covid-19 and is continuing to tell many more stories.

The Pembrokeshire Story is being led by Tenby based creative James Williams, who has assembled a team of freelance artists to capture extraordinary stories in different mediums from across the county. These stories are only part of the project and the Torch Theatre requires your help to capture your stories told across the generations.

James added: “Local artists have already been working to gather stories from over the county, and now we’d like to ask you to join in. We are putting out a call for videos made by young people where they interview their grandparents or older relatives about their experiences and stories of Pembrokeshire. These videos will be added to an online Living Archive which will be available for anyone to access.”

All the stories submitted will be added to the Living Archive on the Pembrokeshire Story website which will be launched in April. Videos can be made on a phone or recorded from a digital platform call (ideally filmed in landscape), they can be in English or in Welsh but must be no longer than 5 minutes.

If you would prefer not to film your submission, we would be happy to receive your story as an audio recording (mp3 format) or in writing, with an accompanying photograph.

For more information visit

If you would like to submit a story, please contact James Williams via this email address

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