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Month: July 2017

Royal Welsh Show is vital for austerity-hit farmers, says Bishop

The Royal Welsh Show is more important than ever to the rural community as it faces the challenges of austerity, isolation and uncertainty over Brexit, says the Church’s Senior Bishop. The Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, John Davies – whose diocese includes the showground at Llanwelwedd – says the four-day annual event, which begins on Monday, gives isolated farmers a chance to meet others and also to seek help if needed. Bishop John Davies Bishop John says, “This year, as always, there will be a strong Christian presence at the Show with daily services, to which everyone is welcome,...

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A road to Cardiff Airport…or regeneration in Pontypridd?

Its back again…talk of a £100M link road from J34 of the M4 south through the Vale of Glamorgan to Cardiff Airport has resurfaced (they’ll be choking on their ginger beers in Pendoylan).  Sounds familiar? Well it is.  Welsh Government tested and consulted on this option (and others) in a process in 2007/8 as I recall. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now… I wholeheartedly support better access to Cardiff Airport – which is now a Welsh Government strategic asset.  However, with limited public funds we have to invest, yes strategically, but also proportionately and giving due...

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WCVA becomes an accredited Living Wage Employer!

WCVA becomes an accredited Living Wage Employer! Cynnal Cymru and the Living Wage Foundation is pleased to announce that WCVA has today accredited as a Living Wage employer. Their Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action), regardless of whether they are direct employees or third-party contracted staff; receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.45 in the UK or £9.75 in London. Both of these rates are significantly higher than the statutory minimum for over 25s of £7.50 per hour introduced in April 2017. The real Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the real costs of living. Ruth Marks, Chief Executive, WCVA said: “WCVA has a range of progressive and inclusive working practices.  Our reward and recognition policy values all our staff and the opportunity to demonstrate this by becoming a Living Wage employer is really important to us. “Many charities in Wales support people through issues connected with ‘in work poverty’ and wider social challenges including health, mental health, transport, housing and digital inclusion. In our view the living wage is a positive movement for society and particularly our members and the organisations we support in the third sector.” Employers choose to pay the real Living Wage on a voluntary basis. The Living Wage enjoys cross-party political support. Katherine Chapman,...

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Titbits & Updates 15.07.2017

JULIAN RUCK While I was away I picked up a copy of the Evening Post, a Swansea institution that has gone downhill in recent years. The ‘paper I knew long ago used to bring out its first edition around midday, with further editions up to and including the ‘Final’ or ‘Late Night Final’. You knew which edition it was by the number of windows filled in on the Mumbles lighthouse image at the top right of the front page. One window filled for the first edition . . . Then of course there was the Sporting Post on Saturday night, with young boys racing from pub to pub to sell their allotted copies. In competition with them were the ladies of the Sally Ann with bundles of War Cry, and occasionally, yours truly with a band of Plaidistas, offloading Welsh Nation. The competition was fierce! (Though unlike the paper-sellers and the bonneted ladies I could – and did – partake of liquid refreshment to keep me going.) In those days, long before the internet, before pubs had wall to wall television, but after bookies became legal in 1960, the pubs downtown seemed to be filled in the afternoons with men reading newspapers, men of studious mien, a pencil in one hand and often a half-smoked fag behind an ear. The real professionals had a fag behind one ear and a...

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Keep singing to win

The great German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said, ‘Without music, life would be a mistake’ and I think he was onto something. Maybe this thinking is what drove, in part, the successful Save Womanby Street campaign in Cardiff recently which fought to protect some of the city’s grassroots music venues; because let me be clear, venues like these and the music scene they support are crucial to the Capital city and wider Wales, both economically and socially. Music and the arts are pivotal to any thriving city, especially one with aspirations to continue to grow and become a beacon of creativity and positivity, a place where people want to live and socialise. A modern European capital. It is therefore so important that Cardiff Council and all local authorities in Wales address the planning issues around noise when new developments are given the green light alongside existing music orientated business, an issue that so very nearly contributed to the demise of small venues along Womanby Street. In addition, the Welsh Government needs to have a clear music strategy that reinforces a vision for making Wales a true ‘land of song’ which puts in place the infrastructure to support these smaller venues with sound business advice, to help them through the barren spells we all experience. A Welsh Music Foundation perhaps? This vision is needed for a number of reasons. Let’s...

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