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Additional £657k invested in Welsh woodlands by The Woodland Investment Grant

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THREE woodland projects in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Cardiff are the latest to benefit from a Welsh Government environmental grant programme.

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water is getting £245,860 for the ‘Llys y Fran’ project in Pembrokeshire.

Carmarthenshire County Council has been awarded £219,397 for its Coed Ynys Dawela project near Brynamman.

And near Cardiff, St Fagans National Museum of History’s ‘Gwyrdd Ni’ project is receiving £191,786.

The money – £657,043 in total, comes from The Woodland Investment Grant (TWIG) which is run by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

These latest awards brings the overall investment by the TWIG programme since it launched in June 2022 to over £1.7 million – £1,715, 498.

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “We all know the importance of having access to green spaces and nature near to our homes and places of work. These projects will not only be of great importance for biodiversity but for the local communities that will benefit, enabling better access to our existing woodlands so more people can use and enjoy.

“As part of our National Forest programme these projects will help to restore and maintain some of Wales’s irreplaceable ancient woodlands, which in time will form a connected network running throughout Wales, bringing social, economic and environmental benefits.”

The TWIG programme provides grants of £40,000 – £250,000 to create, restore and enhance woodlands in Wales.

It is part of the Welsh Government’s National Forest for Wales programme and this is the second round of five funding awards to be made over two years.

Welcoming the announcements, Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said:

“Funding natural heritage projects which help tackle the effects of climate change and support nature’s recovery is a key priority for The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales. The Woodland Investment Grant in partnership with the Welsh Government is just one of the ways that we are meeting this objective.

“From the creation of new woodlands and the restoration of others, these grants will also contribute to the National Forest for Wales programme, enhance capacity to adapt to the climate crisis and bring direct health benefits to the people and communities involved.”

One project benefitting close to home is run by Welsh Water. They are getting £245,860 for the ‘Llys y Fran’ project in Pembrokeshire. The project will focus on delivering multi-purpose woodlands to create access to them for recreation, tourism, community engagement, education and learning opportunities, as well as enhancing the woodland and creating a wildlife corridor around the reservoir. Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water will bring the woodlands up to National Forest of Wales standards and promote tourism, health and wellbeing. Culverts and bridges will be installed to open up a 6.5 mile route to a wider range of visitors including those who require mobility equipment or pushchairs.

Vicky Martin, Head of Visitor Attraction Strategy at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water said: “We are delighted to be awarded this funding which will enable us to bring the woodlands around Llys-y-frân Lake up to National Forest of Wales outcomes allowing us to promote tourism, health, and well-being, whilst also enhancing the biodiversity in a much-loved and valued area. 

“Collaboration with the local community is important to Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. This project will support the creation of a forest school and will develop volunteers’ skills and knowledge, along with broadening public access by providing accessible green spaces for the community and visitors.”

Further east in Carmarthenshire, the county council has been awarded £219,397 for the Coed Ynys Dawela project at the Ynys Dawela Nature Park near Brynamman. A mix of semi-ancient woodland and secondary woodland, it provides a unique habitat for a diverse range of wildlife including the marsh fritillary butterfly is a valuable community resource used by a wide range of people and the local primary school. Work will include coppicing of selected areas to improve the structure of the woodland; installing approximately 400m of boardwalk over wet areas; replacing existing bridges with drainage pipes to reduce the around of maintenance required; improving signage to the site and creating a webpage about it.

Cllr. Gareth John, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism said: “This grant funding will create the opportunity to maintain and enhance the biodiversity of the woodland and meadows at Ynys Dawela for the present and for the future.

“Through the use of this fund, we will be able to showcase the incredible diversity of natural life in the woodlands and meadows and, in doing so, create and maintain a space for the whole community to enjoy and cherish.

“Opportunities will be created for the local community to benefit from the investment by offering a wide range of wellbeing activities, which include the chance to learn new woodland and outdoor based skills. Volunteering opportunities will also be created with a mix of citizen science opportunities, volunteer ranger roles, and conservation workdays.”

St Fagans National Museum of History is getting £191,786 for its ‘Gwyrdd Ni’ (Verdure/’Our lush green vegetation’) project to enhance an existing deciduous woodland on its site outside Cardiff.  Many of the trees there are over 100-years old, consisting of a mixed broadleaf canopy of oak, elm, sycamore, beech, ash, cherry, and birch. The current ground layer is a fallen mix of bramble, nettle, and fern. The vigorous growth of bramble and hung-up windblown trees restrict access. The project will create a dynamic and interpretative woodland which will be managed not just through the seasons, but as it matures and evolves.

Janet Wilding, Head of Estates, St Fagans Museum of National History said: “We are delighted to receive funding for Gwyrdd Ni project. Thank you to the Welsh Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund! The funding from The Woodland Investment Grant (TWIG) will give our visitors the opportunity to explore Gwyrdd Ni woodland at St Fagans National Museum of History.

“We will be installing an accessible footpath through the woodland to provide a peaceful, wellbeing walk with interpretation panels about the trees and wildlife, supported by the Welsh Government and The National Lottery Heritage Fund and as part of the National Forest for Wales programme. We will also be providing an area dedicated to school groups to introduce them to wellbeing as well as nature.”

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Community

Milford Haven School warms hearts with over 200 gifts for local children

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MILFORD HAVEN SCHOOL has once again led a successful Christmas charity initiative, bringing festive cheer to over 200 children in need.

For several years, the school has been supporting PATCH, the Defender House Charity, through its annual Toy Appeal. This November, a special tradition continued as a Christmas tree adorned with tags stood tall in the school, each tag representing a local child affected by deprivation.

Staff members at the school wholeheartedly participated by selecting a tag, purchasing a thoughtful gift, and placing it under the tree. These gifts were then collected by PATCH for distribution, ensuring a brighter Christmas for many children.

This year, responding to requests from the wider community, the initiative expanded beyond the school gates. Additional Christmas trees with tags were placed in prominent community locations including Milford Haven Library, Neyland Library, and Hubberston and Hakin Community Centre, allowing more community members to contribute to this noble cause.

The response was overwhelming. Over 200 presents were lovingly donated, highlighting the communal spirit of Milford Haven. Ms. Morris, the headteacher of Milford Haven School, expressed her immense pride in the staff’s involvement and extended heartfelt thanks to the libraries and community centres for their indispensable support.

“It’s more than just gifts; it’s about showing we care and understand the challenges some families face, especially during the festive season,” said Ms. Morris. She emphasized the school’s ongoing commitment to supporting local families and raising awareness of the community’s needs.

The initiative’s success not only brought joy to children but also reinforced the strong bonds within the Milford Haven community. The generosity and compassion shown by the school and its wider community stand as a testament to the power of collective effort in making a significant difference in the lives of those in need.

As the festive season approaches, the Milford Haven community can take pride in their substantial contribution to the PATCH Charity Toy Appeal, embodying the true spirit of Christmas and bringing the warmth of “Nadolig Llawen” – Merry Christmas – to many.

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Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office wins prestigious national award for its custody visiting

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The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys has won a prestigious national Gold award for the quality of its Independent Custody Visiting Scheme.

The Independent Custody Visiting Scheme is a volunteer scheme that is run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Arising after riots in the 80s centred around public distrust in policing, and in particular the policing of black communities, independent custody visitors (or ICVs) are volunteers who give their time to make unannounced visits to police custody across the UK, ensuring the rights, entitlements and wellbeing of detainees throughout the country.

In Dyfed-Powys, there are currently eighteen volunteers who act as Independent Custody Visitors, and make unannounced visits to police custodies in Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Powys. 

They report their findings to the Police and Crime Commissioner, who in turn holds the Chief Constable to account.

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) Quality Assurance Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Old Library, Birmingham on 29 November.

ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.

There were four graded levels of award, and the Dyfed-Powys Scheme was delighted to have received the Gold standard; meaning their Scheme provides an excellent standard of custody visiting and volunteer management. The Scheme was established in Dyfed-Powys in 2001, and since its roll out, thousands of visits have been made to custody suites across the force area.

Welcoming the award, Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys told The Herald: “I am thrilled to announce that our Independent Custody Visiting volunteer scheme in Dyfed-Powys has been honoured with a prestigious national Gold Award.  This recognition reflects the commitment and dedication of our volunteers and the high standards of custody visiting and volunteer management in our region.

“It is a testament to the collaborative efforts of our community, Dyfed-Powys Police and my Office, reinforcing our commitment to excellence in ensuring the welfare and rights of individuals in Custody.  I would like to congratulate and thank all of our volunteers for their hard work – we are proud of this achievement and will continue our efforts to maintain this gold standard in the service we provide to our community”.

On a blog, published following the awards ceremony to congratulate volunteers, ICVA Chief Executive Katie Kempen said; “I am so grateful for all of your incredibly hard work on the Quality Assurance Framework, in what for many have been quite challenging times.

“At the opening of the assessment window, many of your schemes were still in a period of Covid recovery and getting schemes back up to resilience, recruiting and training new volunteers all over the country.

“As we have moved through the process, many of you have come into post and as well as getting accustomed to your new role have taken on the Quality Assurance Framework too. I am so proud of each and every scheme and their award.

“It hasn’t happened without a commitment to the scheme, to the amazing volunteers and ultimately to the fair and effective treatment of those deprived of their liberty by the state. Thank you all so much.

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Community

Pure West Radio is Prestige Wales Awards Radio Station of the Year

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S very own Pure West Radio is celebrating it’s multi-award winning status after being crowned Radio Station of the Year for a second year running.

Prestige Wales Awards is available to around 30,000 readers across Wales who nominate their favourite businesses in variety of categories.

Pure West Radio has now built to a strong team over 90 – a mix of volunteers and paid-staff – that provides a comprehensive and varied programme of shows and outside broadcasts covering Pembrokeshire.

Its commercial community radio station business model has been recognised as sustainable and attractive to advertisers and the wider community in Pembrokeshire and Pure West Radio is one of the most trusted media brands in the region.

“It’s a great honour to receive this award again” said Toby Ellis, Station Manager. “We love what we do with great passion serving Pembrokeshire, it’s our duty to deliver quality hyper local content to the community and to be recognised for that is just wonderful”

Pure West Radio will be launching on DAB in 2024 and will be looking to recruit people in marketing, sales, content creation and broadcasters – so watch this space!

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