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Concerns over Tenby Museum’s future

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Tenby Museum and Art Gallery: At risk of closure

Tenby Museum and Art Gallery: At risk of closure

TENBY Museum and Art Gallery has received cross-party support from local AM’s after it emerged this week that it is facing closure due to local authority budget cuts.

The museum anticipates that the Local Authority funding will be nil or close to nil in future years. Tenby Museum is a successful tourist attraction with over 17000 visitors last year.

The Museum is an independent charitable trust and has been open in the town since the 1870s.

Among its many interesting displays and attractions is a recently updated gallery telling the fascinating story of Tenby from prehistory to modern times – including piratical legends and its involvement with the D-Day Landings.

The museum has won many awards over the years and recently the museum’s permanent art collection has been ranked at Number 6 in the Top 20 in Wales.

Every effort is being made by the Trustees to keep this important Pembrokeshire museum open and among the actions taken is a reduction in staff costs and a review of the admission charge.

The adult admission ticket, which is valid for one year after purchase, is a valuable stream of income; shop sales, the Friends organisation and commission from Art sales complement this. Accompanied children are welcomed free of charge at all times.

County Councillor Michael Williams, Chair of the Trustees, said; “The small admission charge keeps over 100,000 artefacts in good order. By regularly changing displays Tenby Museum is always constantly surprising local and tourist visitors. It is a special place with activities for the whole family and we believe that a visit to the museum and its galleries is Truly Memorable, Totally Magical. It would be a tragedy should it have to close.”

Plaid Cymru’s Simon Thomas immediately tabled a question to the Minister responsible for museums in Wales when he heard about the possible cut in funding to the museum by Pembrokeshire Council.

Party of Wales Assembly Member Simon Thomas said:

“I asked a question at the National Assembly for support for independent museums in Wales, such as the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery.

“The museum expects a massive cut in the money from Pembrokeshire Council. The museum is important for tourism in Tenby. The resource should be protected as a jewel in the crown of the town.

“Plaid Cymru will be asking people to support the campaign to keep the museum on Saturday when my team hold a street surgery in the town centre.”

His concerns were echoed by Angela Burns, the Conservative Member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, who has already met with Museum officials and has questioned Pembrokeshire Council officials as to whether the cuts are disproportionately affecting Tenby, with the Avenue Centre also facing closure:

“I have met with representatives of Tenby Museum and was surprised to learn of the scale of the cuts that Tenby Museum is being asked to absorb over the next few years and I have asked Pembrokeshire County Council to review the situation in order to ensure the proposals are not disproportionately affecting Tenby. I have also requested information on the cuts the museum services face across the county again because I want reassurance that areas such as museums, libraries and leisure facilities are not seen as an easy touch in comparison to the challenges of providing social care or education.

I hope that at my next meeting with the museum’s trustees I will be able to offer some possible alternative funding sources for them to apply too. Of course a key component in meeting the yearly costs are admission fees and in the rush of a busy life it’s very easy to forget about these gems such as Tenby and Narberth museums that are right on our doorstep. So I will also be suggesting ways of drawing more support from locals and tourists alike to keep these lovely places open”.

William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales was equally concerned, stressing that it is important that future generations have an opportunity to discover Tenby’s unique history:

‘Tenby Museum and Art Gallery is in a real sense a Pembrokeshire gem – and I am very concerned indeed to hear that its’ future is in peril. The Tenby Museum Trustees have been proactive over the years in developing the attraction and have sought to build its sustainability, with revenue generated from the museum shop, art sales and admission fees.’

‘It is no secret that local authorities in Wales are under real budgetary pressure in the current fiscal climate, with austerity cuts coming down the track from Westminster. In this context, the Trustees are right to be alert to the danger of Pembrokeshire Council reducing its’ support. Whilst the Museum’s existing Service Level Agreement SLA does have another year to run, and the lease on the building continues for some time, it is timely for the Trustees to be reviewing the basis of the Museum and Gallery’s business model.’

‘Just as is the case with the threat to the Avenue Centre in Tenby, which I raised last week in the National Assembly with the Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews, AM, Tenby Museum and Gallery is an important part of community life in Tenby. I shall be attending the meeting on the Avenue Centre next week, with my friend and fellow Lib Dem campaigner, Alistair Cameron, our candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. I shall also be seeking a meeting with the Museum Trustees, to explore ways in which I may be able to assist. It is imperative that Tenby Museum is safeguarded for generations to come.’

You can help Tenby Museum and Art Gallery to stay open by purchasing a ticket to view their vast collection. All tickets purchased are valid for a year, and with the displays and collections regularly changing, it is great value for money.

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Health

Police and drugs advice service issue warning over ‘deadly batch’ of heroin

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POLICE have asked the media to issue a warning over a batch of heroin.

The drug circulating in west Wales, first detected in Llanelli, is particularly dangerous, it has been confirmed.

“We are warning drug users to take extra care following reports of a particularly harmful batch of heroin circulating in the Llanelli area” said a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson.

“We have reasons to believe some drugs being distributed and used in the Carmarthenshire area at present have been contaminated with other substances and could be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately if they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone you believe could come into contact with these drugs.

”In an emergency or if you think someone’s life is at risk always dial 999.”

Earlier this week Barod, the drug and alcohol abuse service reported a dangerous and toxic heroin circulating in Pembroke Dock which a spokesperson described as being ‘potentially deadly’.

To comes as Public Health England issued a formal alert about the risks of heroin containing fentanyl or carfentanyl.

The warning reads: “There is significant evidence from a small number of post-mortem results of recent drug user deaths and from police seizures that some heroin may contain fentanyl or carfentanyl added by dealers.

“These are highly potent synthetic opioids and very small amounts can cause severe or even fatal toxicity.

“Those of you in contact with heroin users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from heroin cut with these synthetic opioids, be able to recognise possible symptoms of overdose and respond appropriately.”

The fentanyls are a group of synthetic opioids; some have legitimate uses while others are illicit drugs.

Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and is a licensed medicine used to treat severe and terminal pain. Carfentanyl is 4,000 – 10,000 times more potent than morphine and principally used as an animal tranquilliser.

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Tenby’s famous walrus ‘Wally’ has been spotted again

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TENBY’S most famous marine animal has been spotted again after fears she had been scared away.

Wally was spotted on Friday evening by the seaside town’s Lifeboat station.

Thought to be a two-year-old male, the walrus’s return comes after it was feared she had been disturbed by people flocking to catch a glimpse of her and “getting too close”

The animal has attracted hundreds of people to the seaside town now that the travel restrictions with Wales have been lifted to coincide with the Easter school holidays.

Wally was last seen on Monday, but  members of the public were warned it was in the animal’s “best interests” to be “left alone” as much as possible and they were urged to “avoid the temptation to get near and disturb” her.

A joint statement was issued by the RSPCA, Tenby harbour master Chris Salisbury, Welsh Marine Life Rescue, Tenby lifeboat coxswain Phil John, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, Natural Resources Wales and CSIP Marine Environmental Rescue said that they were concerned to hear that people had tried to get close by using personal watercraft or paddle and surfboards.

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Police plan to deter badly behaved youths from gathering in Tenby

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POLICE in Tenby responded to community concerns over antisocial behaviour and groups of between 15-20 youths gathering and clashing over the Easter bank holiday weekend. They moved the youths on, seized alcohol from them and stopped matters escalating when there were clashes between the groups. And they have a clear message ahead of this weekend – there will be extra police patrols and presence in Tenby, including on the trains, so this type of behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers used powers under the Antisocial Behaviour Act to disperse groups of youngsters meeting to drink alcohol in and around Tenby, many of whom had travelled by train to the area to meet up.

Based on these scenes from last weekend, plans are in place as part of a joint operation with Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers and British Transport Police, to address and prevent any further gatherings.

A Section 34 Order is in place covering Tenby, which allows officers to move people out of the area and prevent them from returning for up to 48 hours.

Sergeant Stuart Wheeler said: “Following last weekend we had some concern from the community of Tenby, due to antisocial behaviour related to the groups of youths from Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby, and subsequently those groups clashing. Alcohol consumption by these youngsters was a factor.

“Proactive action was taken, and we are keen to avoid a repeat of this behaviour this weekend, and have therefore put plans in place. Additional resources have been allocated, which will allow us to respond quickly and prevent matters from escalating.

“Tenby Neighbourhood Policing Team and response officers, will be carrying out high visibility patrols in the area, covering areas known to be popular with youngsters. Pembrokeshire County Council licensing officers will be assisting us in ensuring youngsters can’t buy alcohol in the area by visiting shops and reminding them of the laws around selling alcohol, and if they bring it with them it will be seized. And our colleagues in British Transport Police will be patrolling the train network to prevent problematic groups getting to Tenby by train.”

Police are also appealing to parents and carers to know where their children are, and what they are doing.

Sergeant Wheeler added: “We would like to appeal directly to parents to be aware of where their children are, and prevent them from gathering in large groups. This type of behaviour is distressing for people living and working in Tenby, and we are urging you to be accountable for your children’s actions.

“We understand that the past few months have been difficult, and that children want to see their friends, but remember that only 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors still. Please do your best to ensure they are adhering to regulations that are in place for all our safety.”

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