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The public currently has ‘no appetite to return to our auditoriums’ says theatre

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THE TORCH THEATRE in Milford Haven will remain closed until at least the end of October, it has been confirmed.

Ben Lloyd, Executive Director, on behalf of the Torch Theatre made the announcement in a press statement this week, made on behalf of the venue’s Senior Management Team.

Amongst ‘several reasons’ as to why the theatre will remain closed for so long was a consultation with audiences, which suggests that people are not yet ready to return to venues.

The statement reads: “Consultation with audiences suggests that there is no appetite to return to our auditoriums whilst there is so much uncertainty over the reproduction rate of Covid-19.

To open any part of our operation without an audience is not economically viable and would quickly lead to redundancies.
“Film distributors are unable to confirm release dates and producers of live shows are cancelling and rescheduling tours to ensure that their businesses remain viable. As such we are unable to deliver a theatre programme.

Ben Lloyd added: “We take our civic responsibilities seriously and do not believe that it would serve our audiences, staff, volunteers or artists well to rush in to opening before we can reassure them that the Torch is a safe place to return to.”

He further stated: “The need to undertake essential maintenance and remedial works on the fly tower renders an immediate opening impractical – with these factors in mind, we have made some difficult decisions on how we will operate from November 1, 2020”

“The past months in lockdown, although incredibly demanding for all involved, have given us an opportunity to plan, to seek emergency support through grants and funding, and to give back to our community. As a not-for-profit registered charity, we have been fighting to survive through this difficult period. We have been successful in applications to the BFI, Film Hub Wales and the National Lottery Resilience Fund, the Arts Council Wales Stabilisation Fund, as well as being eligible for two Welsh Government Business Rates Grants.

“This crucial support has given us the security to plan essential maintenance, maintain audience and community engagement, and develop new modes of working in view of Covid-19, without drawing on our precious extremely limited reserves. Nevertheless, whilst this support has allowed us to take the vital first steps toward recovery, it does not provide the solutions to the longer-term challenge of surviving the Covid-19 crisis.

Speaking of the damage suffered to the building during the winter, Mr Lloyd said: “We have recently received the hugely significant news that funding has been secured to repair our fly tower which was damaged in the February storms. This essential support will come from both Pembrokeshire County Council’s Enhancing Pembrokeshire Fund and Arts Council Wales who will each cover a proportion of the costs of repairs following the settlement of our insurance claim, and we thank them for their backing at this crucial moment. We hope to undertake these remedial works through August and into September this year, weather depending.”

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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Covid alert level lowered for whole of UK

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THE COVID alert level for all four nations of the United Kingdom has been lowered to alert level 4.

The decision comes following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in light of the most recent data.

In recent weeks, the R-rate and the number of covid cases has been on the decline.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations.

“The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

Under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 restrictions, schools and colleges, places of worship, community centres, playgrounds and public parks are among those that can be opened.

Theatres, entertainment venues, leisure facilities and outdoor visitors attractions are among the places that must remain close while the country is in Alert Level 4.

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Postmaster and politicians welcome Goodwick cash machine U-turn

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GOODWICK post office will now be keeping its ATM, after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd.

The machine was due to be removed within months with the post master, Jon Moverley saying that it would be a disaster for the village.

If the ATM had been removed, there would have been just two 24-hour ATMs serving the whole of Fishguard and Goodwick in the short term and three when the Co-op renovations are completed.

Both politicians and local residents then got behind the campaign to keep the ATM

Pembrokeshire politicians Paul Davies and Stephen Crabb have welcomed the news that Goodwick post office is now set to keep its ATM facility. Following representations made by both politicians to the Post Office, it’s now been confirmed that Goodwick Post Office will be included in the rollout of ATM machines across the post office network.

Mr Davies said “This is really welcome news. I’m pleased that the Post Office has listened to the representations made by the local community and decided to retain the ATM at Goodwick post office. The facility is so important for local people and businesses and it’s great that that’s been recognised and the Post Office has committed to keeping it.”

Following the Post Office’s decision to invest in Goodwick’s ATM rather than remove it, Stephen Crabb MP, who campaigned for the ATM to stay, commented: “It’s great news that the Post Office has overturned its own decision and will be keeping an ATM machine in Goodwick.

“Access to cash continues to be incredibly important for a number of people and businesses and I’m pleased to have played my part in working with John from the Post Office in Goodwick, Paul Davies MS and the wider community to highlight the ATMs importance to the area. It shows what can be achieved when we work together.”

The postmaster described the news as ‘brilliant’. Mr Moverley thanked supporters.

He said “Many thanks to all of you who have used the machine and complained to POL about the removal. We were also supported by our MP, MS and mayor, the National Federation of Sub-postmasters and our Chamber of Trade.

“Everyone did their bit, and it says an enormous amount about the strength of the community.

“We are delighted that locals and so many other people have come together to save this essential facility in the village.”

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