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Rowan taking on ultimate climbing challenge



Dream Team: Rowan and friends fundraise in Birmingham

Dream Team: Rowan and friends fundraise in Birmingham

18-YEAR-OLD Rowan Staden- Coats from Pembrokeshire is to undergo the challenge of a lifetime in 2016 by climbing the highest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation. Currently a first year student at the University of Birmingham, in September 2016 Rowan will be travelling to Tanzania with a group of 27 students from the University, to undertake a 6-day trek to the summit to raise money for this worthy cause. Having lived in the village of Treffgarne for her whole life, Rowan has always been and will continue to be an active part of the local community.

She is a member of Keyston YFC, with whom she has helped to raise money for local charities including PATCH and Paul Sartori. She has used her musical talents to perform in charity concerts, both as a vocal soloist and part of small ensembles and larger choirs raising money for various local and national charities. She has been well-prepared for her challenge as during her school years, she completed the bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh awards which as well as including tough physical activity, also meant that she spent a considerable number of hours volunteering in her local primary school, working with the children there.

In summer 2013, Rowan spent two weeks volunteering in rural Malawi with the Fisherman’s Rest Charity, helping to build schools and teaching English. Meningitis Research Foundation is an excellent charity to which Rowan has a strong personal link. The charity is close to her heart, as when she was a toddler, she lost a friend to the disease overnight. More recently, a very c l o s e friend is thought to have contracted viral meningitis, which meant that she could not attend school for two years, meaning she missed out on completing her A-Levels. For such a bright, hardworking and enthusiastic pupil, this was very upsetting.

Thankfully, she has now recovered from the episode and is attempting to resume her studies. However, this is not the case for a lot of people who are permanently affected by the disease. The charity carries out research projects all over the world and in the UK into both Meningitis (bacterial, viral and fungal) and Septicaemia. Their current research projects include experimentation with new vaccines, which in future years will help to combat the disease, but they also work very closely with people who have already been affected, and raising awareness in order to prevent the spread.

Recently, Meningitis Research Foundation were responsible for attaining a free vaccination for the ACWY strain of the disease for all first year university students – only since starting university did Rowan realise just how important this is, as students are the second highest risk demographic category, following babies, to contract the disease. Symptoms can be very similar to that of hangovers, meaning lots of students may dismiss the symptoms, which could prove fatal. Many people are very unaware of many of the symptoms and effects of the disease, and the charity does great work to try and raise a w a r e n e s s . It provides lots of s u p p o r t f o r families and victims already affected, and has rehabilitation programmes in order to help them to re-establish normality to their lives.

The fundraising target is £2990, which the charity will be spending on a variety of projects, including the genome research library and rehabilitation programmes. The trek up Kilimanjaro itself will take place over the course of 6 days, in early September 2016 and the group should reach the summit on day 4, at a height of 5,895m (19,336 ft.) they will be at the highest point in Africa. This will be a hugely challenging experience, and will take lots of commitment to physical training, as it will be Rowan’s first experience of high altitude, as well as overcoming mental and emotional obstacles and of course the fundraising challenge. Throughout the course of the year the intrepid teenager will be organising multiple fundraising events, both in Pembrokeshire and in Birmingham, but will also be taking part in other activities such as the Birmingham 10k run and the Tenby Boxing Day Swim in order to reach the personal target of £2990. If you would like to donate to Rowan’s challenge and help the fight against meningitis then you can do so by going to the fundraising page: https://carnivalrag.everydayhero. c o m / u k / r o w a n – c l i m b s – kilimanjaro-2016 For more information on events or to contact Rowan you can get in touch via her email address:rowanstadencoats@gmail. com

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Bluestone Foundation makes waves in west Wales communities



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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‘No second homes’ call for Saundersfoot estate plans



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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Torch Theatre and Port partnership strengthens community engagement



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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