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The Rev Shirley Murphy’s Christian message of hope for 2022

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SHIRLEY MURPHY, chaplain to the Bishop of St Davids at The Diocese of St Davids, has penned this Christian message of hope for 2022.

Originally published on the pembrokeshire.online website, here is what The Rev Shirley Murphy has to say:


“Amazingly, it’s that time. A new year is approaching right on schedule – again. This is the time of year so many of us start making resolutions to change a certain area or multiple areas in our lives. Maybe we have some extra pounds to shed. We might be committed to changing a specific, harmful behaviour. New Year’s resolutions range from simple desires to seemingly fool proof plans for extensive life change. What we all have in common is the hope that something will change, and life will be different (and better) in the year ahead.

Every year, people ring in the New Year with goals to live differently on some level. However, a few short weeks later, many of these very same well-wishers end up discouraged and filled with shame and remorse over their failed attempts to make their resolutions come to pass. Who knows? This may be the second, third, fourth or 15th year someone has tried to “kick the habit”. After so many misguided attempts, why would they even want to try again?

We’re all looking forward to a better year, a year where our lives can become what they were again. With the vaccines, we’re starting to hope once more. We are dreaming of holding our family and friends and we see a light at the end of this viral tunnel.

But the pandemic is not over yet. We’re in the middle of surging infections worldwide, with a scary number of hospitalisations and deaths. It’s not a time to back down from this fight. It’s time to double down our guard to protect ourselves and each other. We can do it.

In 2021 we have learned to appreciate the small pleasures and joys of everyday life. We have learned how we can adapt, pivot and come up with new ways of connecting with each other. We have become more patient and learned how to better handle our impatience. We have realised the absolute importance of cultivating inner peace, especially when the world around us trembles.

But most importantly, we’ve learned to be even more grateful for the gift of life, especially in this time where more people around the world have died in the past 18 months. It’s staggering to consider the loss and grief that so many families are enduring. I am grateful that, so far, I’ve been spared this pain. My heart and soul reaches out to all those who have suffered this year. I want to hold them in my arms and comfort them.

On a global level, it has sometimes felt like the world is collapsing around us. We have seen refugees fleeing their countries in search of safe havens for their family and children; sadly many have lost their lives in this attempt. In public commentary and behaviour, we’ve seen an unfortunate rise in anti-“outsider” sentiment and blatant racism. Terrorist attacks continue to inspire fear and sorrow around the world, and our hearts have broken wide open upon seeing the ongoing atrocities and slaughter in war-torn Syria and Afghanistan. As this rollercoaster year now draws to a close, I don’t think we are alone in contemplating what it has all meant; musings on life, death, human nature, the future occupy our minds.

As I look forward to 2022, I think we should give thanks to the Lord for getting us through another year as we look forward to what He has for us up ahead and praise Him that He is faithful and worthy to be praised!
May the Lord bless you and your family with a blessed New Year!”

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Community

Citizens sought to sit on Council’s Governance and Audit Committee

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Council Chamber

PEMBROKESHIRE County Council is looking for two citizens to sit as Lay Persons of its Governance & Audit Committee.

The committee’s work includes:

  • Reviewing and scrutinising the Authority’s financial affairs
  • Making reports and recommendations in relation to the Authority’s financial affairs
  • Reviewing and assessing the risk management, internal control, performance assessment and corporate governance arrangements of the Authority
  • Making reports and recommendations to the Council or to the relevant Committee on the adequacy and effectiveness of those arrangements
  • Plus several other functions

The successful applicants will be expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the value of the Audit function. They are also expected to demonstrate commitment to the values of accountability, probity, openness, independence, fairness and sound financial management in the public sector.

Citizens cannot become a Lay Member if they are:

  • A member or officer of any Local Authority
  • If they have in the period of 12 months ending with the date of appointment been a member or an officer of any Local Authority
  • If they are a spouse or civil partner of a member or officer of any Local Authority.

The appointment will be made by a panel of five individuals including an Independent Chairman, three Members of the Council and a Community Council Member.

An allowance will be payable for attendance at Governance & Audit Committee meetings.

The closing date for applications is 24 January 2022. Applications are welcomed from all sections of the community.

For a full description of the role and an application pack please contact

Jackie Thomas (tel: 01437 776292) or e-mail: JackieJ.Thomas@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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Community

Local MS urges eligible Pembrokeshire residents to apply for Fuel Payment Support

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CEFIN CAMPBELL, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales has urged eligible locals to claim a one-off payment made available to address pressures on living costs. 

The Welsh Government’s Winter Fuel Support Scheme is part of a wider support package of over £50m issued by the Welsh Government to address “immediate pressures on living costs.” A total of £38 million has been earmarked through a Winter Fuel Support Scheme, and those eligible have until 18 February 2022 to claim a one-off £100 payment from their local Council to provide support to pay their winter. 

The payment will be available to all eligible households regardless of how they pay for their winter fuel, and the scheme is open to households where the resident or their partner are in receipt of any of the following welfare benefits: 

  • Income Support 
  • Income-Based Job Seekers Allowance 
  • Income-Related Employment & Support Allowance 
  • Universal Credit 
  • Working Tax Credits 

Cefin Campbell MS, who has previously highlighted the cost-of-living crisis facing communities across Mid & West Wales in the Senedd, has urged eligible constituents to apply for the payment, saying: 

“One in three children in Wales lives in poverty, and rural poverty is particularly pertinent in communities across Pembrokeshire and too often goes under the radar.   

Cefin Campbell urges Pembrokeshire residents to apply for fuel payment support if eligible

Households across Mid & West Wales are facing a cost-of-living crisis. Bills are soaring whilst household incomes remain stagnant or fall. Regretfully the Tories’ cruel decision to remove the additional £20 a week on Universal Credit – a decision that will see over 10,000 households in Pembrokeshire impacted – will merely see more families face hardship over the coming weeks.  

This week alone we also see the Tories voting against a measure calling for a VAT cut on energy bills. Instead of providing families, pensioners and small businesses with security, they are abandoning them. 

As we emerge from the festive period, people shouldn’t have to choose between heating their homes, putting food on the table, and keeping up with the day-to-day cost of living – and that’s why I’m urging those that are eligible to apply for this payment.” 

Anyone who believes they are eligible for the payment have been able to submit a claim on their local council’s website since 13 December 2021, and all applications must be received before the closing date on 18 February 2022. The Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs have confirmed that this payment will not affect an individual’s current benefits or be subject to tax. 

For any further information on the winter fuel support scheme, follow this link: Winter fuel support scheme | GOV.WALES

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Sky Cinema original ‘Save The Cinema’ filmed in Carmarthen to hit local screen

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has annonuced that it has secured a two-week showing of Sky Cinema original movie Save The Cinema at Carmarthen’s Lyric Theatre – the very subject of the film.

Welsh Government Covid-19 restrictions meant that plans to premiere the film at Carmarthen had to be called off, but the council has since brought specialist equipment in to allow people to see the film being screened in the very place it was filmed during 2021.

The film is based on a true story inspired by the life of Carmarthen hairdresser Liz Evans who called on Hollywood to save her local cinema.

Save The Cinema illustrates how the resolve of a small Welsh town, inspired by the magic of cinema, was able to bring Tinseltown to their doorstep.

The film stars Golden Globe-winning Samantha Morton as the main character, supported by Oscar-nominated Jonathan Pryce, Harry Potter star Tom Felton and Keith Allen among others. Filming started last year and parts of the town were transformed to look like the early 1990s when the film is set.

Carmarthenshire County Council has been working closely with Sky Cinema throughout the production, supporting the filming of key scenes at The Lyric, in streets around Carmarthen, in council offices in Ammanford, and in other areas of the county such as Laugharne and Llandeilo.

The film has boosted the local econonmy by around £750,000 already, with more economic benefit expected in the coming months.

The sleepy town of Carmarthen in Wales is not exactly the first place to spring to mind when thinking of Hollywood blockbusters. But this changed in 1993.

Supporting filming in Carmarthenshire is one of the council’s key aims because of the money it brings into the county.

Council leader, Cllr Emlyn Dole said: “We were delighted to host the production of this fantastic film earlier this year, with scenes filmed in Carmarthen, Ammanford, Laugharne and Llandeilo. And now to screen it in the place where it was filmed is just the icing on the cake. Carmarthenshire has proven itself again and again to be a desirable destination for the media and it’s enjoying a growing reputation as a filming location for major television dramas and movies, with several award-winning productions finding their home here in Carmarthenshire. Attracting national and international productions such as this has a major impact on the growth of our economy and ensures that our communities reap the benefits.”

Tickets for the screenings in The Lyric, from January 14-30, can be booked at www.theatrausirgar.co.uk. Bookings will only be allowed for maximum groups of six, and seating will be socially distanced. A Covid Pass will be required.

The film is also showing on Sky Cinema from Friday, January 14.

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