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Thomas Cook crisis – here is what you can do if your airline goes bust

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THE COLLAPSE of Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company, has caused another holiday meltdown; leaving hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded and many half term and winter travellers without a holiday.

But when does your travel insurance kick-in with a crisis like this, and are there ways to protect yourself from the continuing travel issues the UK is facing? Can you buy travel insurance to protect yourself?

Fiona Macrae, from the consumer awareness initiative travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk, gives advice on what you should do if your holiday provider goes bust.

What if I have purchased my flight as part of a package holiday through a tour operator?

If you have purchased a package holiday from Thomas Cook, you will not be left out of pocket. Thomas Cook hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL). This means they are responsible for your flight and accommodation arrangements if you are already abroad. Those who are already abroad should not panic, the Civil Aviation Authority are already working to bring holidaymakers back to the UK at the end of their holiday.

If you have a future package holiday booked with Thomas Cook, you can submit a claim and your money will be reimbursed.

If I made my own holiday arrangements, can I get compensation?

Travellers, who booked directly with Thomas Cook but have yet to travel, will have various avenues available to them to recoup their flight costs. If the flights are ATOL protected you will be able to make a claim to get the cost back. However, if they are not ATOL protected, travellers can approach their credit card provider (or if they paid by debit card, their bank) and obtain a chargeback form. However, they will not be able to claim back any other elements of their trip (hotel, car hire etc.) from their bank or credit card company which they have had to cancel because of the Thomas Cook collapse.

But will my travel insurer pay up?

Once you have exhausted all of the avenues detailed above, you can approach your travel insurer, but do not expect to be able to claim under the conventional cancellation, curtailment or travel delay sections of the policy. Most travel policies do not provide cover under these sections for the failure of an airline, tour operator or travel agent.

The section you are looking for will be called either Scheduled Airline Failure, or End Supplier Failure.

If your policy has Scheduled Airline Failure, then you will be able to claim back the cost of your flight if you are unable to travel, provided you purchased your policy before any formal announcements were made. If you are abroad the policy will pay the cost of a one-way ticket (in the class you originally booked) to get you back home. It will not cover your unused elements of the holiday such as hotel and car hire.

If your policy has End Supplier Failure then you get both the scheduled airline failure cover and the cost of any other elements of their trip (hotel, car hire etc) which you have had to cancel because of the Thomas Cook collapse.

Fiona Macrae from travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk said: “Thomas Cook customers should explore whether the travel arrangements they have booked are ATOL protected before checking their travel insurance policies to see whether they are covered for scheduled airline failure. This cover would provide cover for the costs of the flight (if they have not travelled) or the cost of a flight home (in the same class they travelled out in if they are already abroad), or end supplier failure, which would provide cover for the costs of the flight (if they have not travelled) or the cost of a flight home (in the same class they travelled out in if they are already abroad), and also things like hotels and car hire, which have been paid for and can no longer be used.

“In these uncertain times, we would urge anyone buying a travel insurance policy to look for one that provides the scheduled airline or end supplier failure. These policies may be slightly more expensive, but would be a couple of pounds well spent if you find yourself in a situation like this.”

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Community

New Mural at Theatr Gwaun tells multiple stories

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Wide angle shot of the finished mural

THE SCAFFOLDING came down to reveal the new mural on the exterior wall at Theatr Gwaun on Friday 24th September and it has had a very positive reception from the people of Fishguard and Goodwick. 

The mural was commissioned by Ancient Connections, a cross-border arts, heritage and tourism project, linking North Pembrokeshire and North Wexford, funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation programme.

The mural was created by Grant Radford of Accent London, originally from Port Talbot. He engaged with local schools and community groups linked to Theatr Gwaun before coming up with a draft design. 

This was then further honed and developed through dialogue with the team at Ancient Connections, Theatr Gwaun staff and a public engagement session held at the Theatr.

A simple colour palette of a rich dark purple/blue background, with black and gold images over the top gives the mural an elegant and contemporary feel. 

A silhouette of black birds flocking across the building is layered over with sparkling gold creatures of the sea and figures from folklore, such as a mermaid. 

Another layer of yellow stars presents these figures as constellations, paying homage to the navigation of seas using star maps in times gone by.

An anchor in the bottom right hand corner references Fishguard and Goodwicks’ rich maritime history and trade.

A local resident said:

“It’s fabulous. Relevant, bold yet delicate. I love how the different colours create depth and fluidity and the references to nature.”

A story key at eye level on the wall presents a series of smaller images that touch on significant stories and heritage of the local area, as well as links to Wexford across the water. 

Motifs include the ‘Sgadan Abergwaun’ or Fishguard Herring – as local people were referred to due to their dependence on herring fishing. 

A coiled rope references the traditional ropemaking trade in Fishguard that gave Ropewalk street its name. 

The enormous whale in the main mural and in the motif points to the presence of whales such as minke in the Irish Sea, as well as the famous film of Moby Dick, which was shot in the Fishguard area in 1954 starring Gregory Peck and Orson Wells. 

A light aeroplane recalls the first flight over the Irish Sea from Goodwick to Enniscorthy in 1912. A galleon conjures up the infamous pirate Barti Ddi who hailed from Puncheston and sailed the seas in the early eighteenth century.

Ruth Jones, Project Officer for Ancient Connections says:

“We are delighted with the mural, it is stylish and striking, and at the same time speaks of movement and migration across the Irish Sea, which are key themes for Ancient Connections. We hope that it will become a focus point for the twin towns to evoke local heritage and folklore, as well as give visitors an insight to the rich history of this area”.

A forthcoming leaflet will provide more information on Fishguard and Goodwicks’ local stories, folklore and heritage for local people and curious visitors alike. Ancient Connections is led by Pembrokeshire County Council, together with partners Wexford County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co- operation programme.

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Community

Deadline approaching for Enhancing Pembrokeshire Panel

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THE LOCAL AUTHORITY is urging organisations and community groups to apply for the final round of Enhancing Pembrokeshire grants of the current political administration.

The deadline is 22 November so the council is encouraging those who have thought about applying to do so prior to the closing date.

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet will meet in January next year to make its final decision.

The Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, uses funds raised via the Second Homes Tax, to provide funding for new projects that help address the negative impact of second homes – and in doing so adds value to our communities.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, the Cabinet Member for Finance, said: ‘I would urge organisations and groups to get in touch and take this opportunity to improve and enhance the services they provide.

‘This fund has been critical to so many projects and has helped to develop incredible and worthwhile initiatives.’

To date, the Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant has supported a significant amount of people in the county through a variety of projects that focus on connecting people. These initiatives address a range of issues from raising standards of health and wellbeing by providing affordable housing and improving social care – to promoting self-sustained and vibrant communities, regeneration and safeguarding our environment.

Here are some examples of current projects to see how people’s lives have been improved and supported:

Neyland Community Hub Community Interest Company   £46,150.00

This project was to establish a Community Interest Care Company in Neyland Community Hub focussed initially on domiciliary care.

Skrinkle Park Play Area £9,741.00

Providing essential play equipment created a more vibrant village facility supporting the wellbeing of families and children in Manorbier.

Clydau Communty Council  £12,611.00 split between the three wards of Crymych, Boncath and Clydau

The Helping Halls project provided a Project Support Officer who supported volunteers managing community halls in four villages. Working with the volunteers they identified ways to make the halls more resilient to changes in their communities, and more economically sustainable.

Fishguard Sports AFC £13,600

The Project prepared and developed a good quality cricket pitch. This enabled the sports facility to attract more sports participants, families and Fishguard School to enjoy all year round. It will ultimately make the Club more sustainable and help restore vibrancy to a large section of the Fishguard and Goodwick community.

Cantabile Singers of Pembrokeshire £2,377.60

The project was to encourage community participation in isolated areas through singing. Beneficial to those suffering from dementia, mental health issues or loneliness, enhancing the wellbeing of all. The project was for the provision of PA equipment necessary to reach bigger audiences, performance overheads and the purchase of Welsh and English music to support maximum audience.

The Tenby Talking Newspaper (TTN) £5,240.00

The project upgraded their recording equipment. It enabled them to maintain and improve their service to around 75 local people with impaired sight, offering participants news and information via audio extracts from the weekly Tenby Observer newspaper, allowing them to remain part of, and stay in touch with their community.

Cllr Kilmister adds: ‘This round is the final of the current administration so it is even more important to get involved and engage with the process. If you have any questions about how the scheme works please contact the email below and one of the team will call you back and talk you through the process.’

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News

Increase in people hare coursing and lamping without landowner’s permission

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE’S Rural Crime Team is reporting an increased number of calls regarding persons suspected to be Hare Coursing, and/or lamping rabbits on private land, in which permission has not been sought.

The police say they are asking that land owners in rural locations please remain vigilant, ensuring to keep gates and access points secured.

A spokesperson for the police told The Herald: “We urge any land owners that suspect hare coursing is taking place on their land, to report it to the police immediately, as hare coursing is illegal under the Hunting Act 2004. Any land owners that suspect individuals are using their land to go ‘lamping’, without the landowners permission, should also contact the Police.

“We would ask members of the public not to approach any individuals that are suspected to be hare coursing or lamping. Instead, we ask that you contact the Police and provide as much detail as possible.

“You can contact Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.”

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