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Resident fined for fly-tipping at community recycling site – Powys County Council

Resident fined for fly-tipping at community recycling site – Powys County Council

5 June 2023

Image of a CCTV camera

A South-Powys resident has been issued with a £400 Fixed Penalty Notice after being caught dumping cardboard boxes on the ground at their local community recycling site.

Following concerns from the local councillors about residents abusing the community recycling site in Llangynidr’s village hall car park, the council’s Waste Awareness and Enforcement Team set up a temporary CCTV camera.

The fly-tipping suspect was then caught on camera leaving cardboard on the ground. Using their car number plate, the culprit was traced via the DVLA database and issued with a fine.

Some people are under the illusion that if the recycling banks are full, they can just leave their items on the ground.” Explains Cllr Jackie Charlton, Cabinet Member for a Greener Powys. “This is totally inappropriate, it is illegal and constitutes as fly-tipping, as this local resident has found out to their cost.

“We always appreciate it when people wish to recycle their waste, but if the recycling banks are full, please take it home and return another day rather than leave stuff on the ground.

“Not only does it create an eye-sore, but the dumped materials also often get blown around in the wind and ends up being an environmental hazard for the whole area. Plus, it creates an awful lot of work, for our already stretched workforce, needlessly picking up other people’s rubbish because they can’t be bothers to recycle it responsibly.”

By working with the partnership initiative, Fly-tipping Action, the Waste Awareness and Enforcement Team are quickly and easily able to set up motion sensitive, infra-red cameras in fly-tipping hotspots across the county. This is not only acting as a good deterrent to would-be-law breakers, but also helps catch the irresponsible individuals who abuse community recycling facilities.

Members of the public are urged to report any incidences of fly-tipping online: Report fly tipping 

Borrow a balance bike – Powys County Council

Borrow a balance bike – Powys County Council

05 June 2023

Cllr David Selby with a balance bike

Balance bikes are now available to borrow from select libraries across Powys, the county council has said.

Through a joint initiative between Powys County Council’s Library Service and Sports Development Team (Sport Powys), library members now have the opportunity to borrow a balance bike for free.

The bikes, which include a helmet, are suitable for children from 2-6 years old and are available to loan for 4-weeks at a time from the following libraries:

  • Brecon
  • Builth Wells
  • Hay-on-Wye
  • Knighton
  • Llandrindod Wells
  • Llanfyllin
  • Llanidloes
  • Newtown
  • Ystradgynlais

The initiative is available thanks to funding from the Welsh Government, through Sport Wales.

Cllr David Selby, Cabinet Member for a More Prosperous Powys, said: “This is a great initiative, helping to support families to improve their children’s skills and confidence. Learning to ride a bike provides children with their first taste of mobile independence, as well as being a great family activity.

“I would encourage all families with young children to take up this opportunity and borrow a balance bike from your closest participating library. It’s also a great excuse to become a member of the library service and enjoy all the extra perks it has to offer, for free.”

If you’re not a Powys library member already, don’t worry, it’s really easy to join. Anyone who lives, works or is studying in Powys can join the for free. Either visit www.storipowys.org.uk/join or drop into your local library.

For more information, please contact the library service via,

Email – [email protected]

Phone – 01874 612394

Or find a library near you – www.storipowys.org.uk/find-a-library

Home Office confirms Stradey Park Hotel plans

Home Office confirms Stradey Park Hotel plans

Following repeated requests for information, Carmarthenshire County Council has this afternoon received written confirmation from the Home Office of their plan to accommodate asylum seekers at the Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli from July 3, 2023.

Within the plan provided by the Home Office, which has been sent to Hywel Dda Health Board, Dyfed Powys Police and Mid and West Wales Fire, a maximum of 207 people, made up of family groups, will be accommodated across 77 rooms.

The County Council remains firmly against the Stradey Park Hotel change of use and continue to explore the legal position in regards to this proposal.

Cllr. Darren Price Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “I am outraged that this proposal by the Home Office to concentrate a large number of asylum seekers is going ahead. Even at this stage I call on the hotel owners, Sterling Woodrow, to reconsider their position and stop this from progressing.”

Dame Nia Griffith MP said: “This is hugely concerning, and I will continue to oppose any such proposal very vigorously, making clear the very strong opposition from local people.”
This decision is that of the Home Office and, therefore, all press enquiries should be directed to the Home Office on 0300 123 3535.

Pledge your commitment to decarbonise our county

Pledge your commitment to decarbonise our county

This week, the county of Carmarthenshire is decorated red, white and green in celebration of the Urdd Eisteddfod being hosted at Llandovery and today. At its stand on the Maes, Carmarthenshire County Council is focussed on our vision to become a net zero authority, and on the day to day actions that everyone can take in helping to combat the causes of climate change.

To harness public support, the Council has set up a pledge wall on its stand and is encouraging everybody, both residents of Sir Gâr and visitors to our beautiful county, to sign their pledge to reduce energy usage and cut the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through the generation of energy.

Carmarthenshire County Council is committed to playing its part in combating climate change, having unanimously resolved to declare a climate emergency in 2019. The council was the first local authority in Wales to adopt and publish a net zero commitment action plan and is committed to being a net zero carbon local authority by 2030.

The Council continues to press the Welsh and UK Governments to provide leadership, and the necessary support, and resources to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy and mitigate against the harmful impacts of climate change to protect our communities and the environment. We are committed to working with our partners, including the government, and the public sector across the Swansea bay city region, and the private and third sectors, to harness a range of opportunities to decarbonise our energy systems and create innovative solutions to achieve carbon savings.

Taking inspiration from our patron saint, Saint David, Carmarthenshire County Council is doing the small things ‘gwneud y pethau bychain’ across its estate to achieve energy efficiency, which include installing energy efficient lighting, insulation, swimming pool covers, garage speed doors, shut-down software on computers, TRV’s and much more.

Town and Community Council streetlamps have also been upgraded to LED technology.

The Council has embarked on an innovative programme of work to install smart meters across its estates to provide half hourly energy data. The ability to accurately evaluate consumption data is essential to establish our carbon footprint and assess the impact of our energy projects.

100% of the Council’s gas meters have also been upgraded and the authority is now working to achieve the same target for its electricity meters by the summer, before turning its attention to upgrade all water meters.

Carmarthenshire County Council is proud to continue to invest its time, resources, and energy to improving the county’s environment and contribute to the global cause to mitigate against the impacts of climate change. Here are a few examples of how we are investing in our planet.

Carmarthen Learning Centre 

Work has recently been completed at Carmarthen Learning Centre to make it more energy efficient and reduce its carbon emissions by 76%. Retrofit measures that include cavity wall insulation, double glazing, and roof improvements have been implemented to improve the heat retention of the building. The Learning Centre is no longer reliant on a gas supply as Solar Panels and an Air Source Heat Pump provide energy and heat to the building. Energy efficient LED lighting have also been installed.

Not only has the upgrade works reduced the building’s environmental impact, but it has also improved the comfort and experience for those who work and learn in the building.

Tree Planting 

To help improve Carmarthenshire’s Authority’s natural environment and increase biodiversity, the Council’s Rural Conservation Team and Property Department arranged the planting of over 8,000 native broadleaved trees to create 4.5 hectares of new woodland on Council owned land at Tregib (Llandeilo), Pendre (Kidwelly) and Maesdewi (Llandybie). Community planting days, including a day for pupils from Llandybie Primary School, were held at two of the locations.

Not only will the trees help tackle climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, the new woodlands will provide new habitats for wildlife and thus also contribute to addressing the nature emergency and become places where people can enjoy nature.

Tree Nursery Plans at our Day Centres 

Plans have been put together by the Council’s Communities and Conservation teams, with the help of the Botanic Gardens, for a Tree Nursery and wildlife friendly grounds to be developed in Johnstown Day Centre. With financial support from the ‘Places for Nature’ funding scheme, the garden will include an accessible outdoor growing area, sensory garden, a woodland garden, a bog garden, meadow areas and an orchard. Although the project is taking place at the Johnstown centre, it will involve all day services through the collecting and planting of native seeds. There are also plans for a similar project to take place at Manor Road Day Centre. Not only will the garden improve the biodiversity of the area, but it will also provide a safe and accessible space for all to enjoy.


Over many years, across Britain, there has been a huge decline in insects which pollinate flowers and crops, also known as ‘pollinators’.  Carmarthenshire County Council currently is looking at ways of managing grassland that will make it both richer in wildflowers and more attractive to pollinators. Simply by cutting less frequently, flowers that are already growing in the grass can flower and also support insects. There is no need to sow wildflower seed. Last summer, the Council experimented with this new approach, and it was well received by residents who enjoyed seeing the flower rich grasslands that appeared.

Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability, Cllr. Aled Vaughan Owen said: “This week, Wales’s attention is focused on the Urdd Eisteddfod and us, Carmarthenshire, as the host county. It’s an excellent opportunity, therefore, for us to show case our bold intentions to reduce carbon emissions across all aspects of the county in order to give our children and our children’s children a healthy and sustainable county. 

“We cannot do this alone. It is no coincidence that we are asking people to support our cause and sign the pledge wall during the Urdd Eisteddfod, which is Wales’s largest youth festival, to focus people’s minds on why and for who we are doing this on behalf of.”

Negotiations for Moldova’s accession to the EU could commence this year

Negotiations for Moldova’s accession to the EU could commence this year

The original version of this post was published by NewsMaker. The following edited version has been translated and published on Global Voices under a content partnership agreement.

The second summit of the European Political Community was held in Moldova on June 1 — marking an event of unprecedented scale and political significance in the history of the Moldovan Republic.  The summit was held at the Mimi winery castle in Bulboaca, located 20 kilometers away from conflict-ridden Ukraine and 10 kilometers from the unrecognized region of Transnistria.

The summit commenced with the arrival of 48 European leaders, along with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, and European Council President Charles Michel. Notably, the leaders of Turkey and San Marino did not attend the summit.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu warmly welcomed all the summit participants, expressing pride in bringing together representatives from across the continent. The agenda touched on numerous topics, with a primary focus on Ukraine and the restoration of peace amidst Russian aggression. Discussions also revolved around security, energy, and economic development for the benefit of citizens.

Sandu emphasized Moldova’s goal of preparing the country for EU accession by the end of the decade. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who arrived secretly for security reasons, expressed gratitude to the Moldovan people for their hospitality and highlighted discussions on infrastructure, important projects, and their shared future within the EU.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, made an impactful statement before the summit, suggesting that Moldova could potentially become an EU member despite the unresolved Transnistrian conflict. Borrell referred to the case of Cyprus, which joined the EU despite territorial issues, indicating that Moldova could follow a similar path.

One significant topic of discussion during the summit was the establishment of a coalition for acquiring and delivering Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems, as well as supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. President Zelensky emphasized the urgency of obtaining fighter jets for the protection of Ukrainian airspace, highlighting the role of the United States in providing the F-16s.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, expressed Europe’s continued support for Ukraine in countering Russian aggression. He drew parallels between the situation in Ukraine and the occupation of parts of Moldova by Russia, stating that the presence of leaders from around 40 countries at the summit demonstrated their solidarity. The provision of assistance to Ukraine, including F-16 fighter jets and the expansion of the Patriot coalition, was among the key topics on the agenda.

The Transnistrian settlement [Transnistria is a region within the republic of Moldova where civil war had erupted over its status in March 1992. Concluded with a ceasefire agreement in July the same year.As part of the ceasefire agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarised zone. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory’s political status remains unresolved: Transnistria is an unrecognised but de facto independent presidential republic] also featured prominently during the summit. President Sandu emphasized that Moldova was actively engaged in both European integration and the reintegration of Transnistria. The security issues discussed included protecting Europe from war and hybrid threats, fostering strategic cooperation, and enhancing the security and resilience of critical infrastructure and power grids.

Regarding Moldova’s gains from the summit, Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, pledged to triple macro-financial assistance to Moldova from EUR 600 million to EUR 1.6 billion. Furthermore, telephone roaming charges between Moldova and EU countries will be eliminated beginning in 2024. Additional financial support of EUR 50 million for railway infrastructure repair and EUR 100 million for energy efficiency programs benefiting vulnerable segments of the population were also allocated. Norway pledged an extra EUR 50 million for Moldova, emphasizing that President Sandu must manage the funds responsibly.

Roberta Metsola, the head of the European Parliament, announced that negotiations for Moldova’s accession to the EU could commence this year, expressing admiration for Moldova’s swift response to European Commission recommendations. Finally, French President Emmanuel Macron, the initiator of the European Political Community, expressed pride in Moldova’s candidacy for EU membership and commended President Sandu’s leadership in the fight against corruption and the pursuit of freedom. Macron firmly believed that Moldova’s future lay within the EU.

Queer-led unions show the way forward for sex workers in Spain and Latin America

Queer-led unions show the way forward for sex workers in Spain and Latin America

Sex workers from OTRAS lead a march in Spain celebrating LGTBIQ workers’ rights. Image credit: OTRAS, used with permission.

Throughout the world, being a sex worker is often equated with being vulnerable, but today sex workers are building movements to strengthen their rights, making steady progress that can be recognised today, International Sex Workers’ Day.

In Latin America, 14 countries have made sex work legal while criminalizing the management and organizing of sex work, while others have made local laws that criminalize sex work. But even in countries where it is legalized, labor rights have not been extended to sex workers, and sex work is still not recognized as work. This places sex workers at risk of abuse, limits their access to justice, and makes them more dependent on intermediaries. Many, for example, point to law enforcement and the police as the primary abusers and perpetrators of sexual violence. Many people migrate to Europe, where they are faced with even stronger anti-sex work regimes. In Spain, for instance, where there are approximately 200,000 sex workers, the current government introduced a bill for an Organic Law for the Abolition of Prostitution in 2022. If passed, this law would further drive undocumented migrant sex workers underground. On top of that, migrant, transgender, and queer sex workers are at increased risk of facing layered stigmas around their gender and sexuality, migration status, and sex work.

Migrant queer sex workers have had no choice but to self-organize and build autonomous alternatives in order to survive, leading to the birth of unions and workers’ collectives that are fighting for workers’ rights, dignity, and decriminalization. 

These are not just stories of queer resistance; they are stories of re-existence. LGBTQIA+ people are transforming paradigms, redefining life and economies from a place of care, dignity, and self-determination.

OTRAS, the first sex workers’ union in Spain

OTRAS (Organización de Trabajadorxs Sexuales, the Organization of Sex Workers) obtained its legal status in 2021 after years of legal struggles. Today, it supports more than 600 members, the majority of whom are migrants, queer and/or trans. OTRAS works in a transparent, horizontal, and intersectional way, with a focus on anti-racism, human rights, and popular education. 

Speaking of their successes on the ground, Sabrina Sanchez, one of the founders of OTRAS said to The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID):

La mayor victoria del sindicato OTRAS es que el Tribunal Supremo de España haya reconocido nuestra existencia, no se obligó a que se desescribiera, no anuló el registro. Gracias a esto tenemos herramientas para luchar contra las violaciones de los derechos laborales …Otro de los logros fue el poder co-organizar con otras organizaciones un crowdfunding para fondos de emergencia durante la pandemia. También reparto de comida durante los 3 primeros meses de confinamiento total donde además vimos atropellos por las fuerzas de seguridad principalmente contra las compañeras trans. Servir a nuestras compañeras en un momento de emergencia fue lo que había que hacer, lo que nos pedían las compañeras.

The biggest victory of the OTRAS union is that the Supreme Court of Spain recognized our existence, it did not force us to deregister, it did not cancel the registration. Thanks to this, we have tools to fight against labor rights violations … Another achievement was to be able to crowdfund with other organizations for emergency funds during the pandemic. We also distributed food during the first 3 months of total confinement, where we also registered attacks by the security forces, mainly against trans women. Serving our sisters in a moment of emergency was what we had to do, what our sisters asked us to do.

A Latin American network for rights

Representatives from RedTraSex attend a policy meeting at the Asamblea General in Colombia, 2019. Image credit: RedTraSex, used with permission.

Similarly, the Latin American and the Caribbean Women Sex Workers Network (RedTraSex) organizes workers across 14 countries in the region. The network, set up in Costa Rica in 1997, takes a feminist, rights-based approach to demand the recognition of sex workers as subjects of rights and decent working conditions and social protections. They have made inroads by engaging directly with policymakers in various jurisdictions, along with gains in community-based mobilizing.

Carlos Héctor Mesa, the Political Coordinator at RedTraSex, said to AWID:

Nuestra Red se conformo con mujeres cis, en estos 25 años logramos que compañeras trans, lesbianas, varones gay e identidades diversas logren sumarse a la lucha para que no se criminalice el ejercicio del trabajo sexual que es una problemática trasversal a cualquier persona que decida ejercerlo.

Our network was formed with cis women, and in these 25 years we have managed to get trans women, lesbians, gay men and people with diverse identities to join the struggle so that the exercise of sex work is not criminalised, which is a transversal problem for any person who decides take up this work.

Lucy Esquivel, President of RedTraSex says that this work happens with very little support, as mainstream unions led by cis men do not recognize them as workers, and anti-sex work groups (many of them under the umbrella of “abolitionist feminists”) are working with governments to undermine their work and agency. 

Queer leadership shows the way

OTRAS and RedTraSex work in regions that are linked by historical and present-day colonialism, with a large flow of Latinx migrant workers performing informal work in Spain. They share common strategies — like negotiating with employers, organizing legal campaigns, and politicizing workers to join the struggle for less exploitation in the workplace — to counter the attacks of trans-exclusionary radical feminists and abolitionists. 

Queer leaders in trade unions are fighting against all forms of discrimination in the workplace, to eliminate racial and gender gaps; to allow everyone access to health care, labor rights, economic rights and sexual health and reproductive rights, and to ensure better working conditions for queer and marginalized workers.

Mesa, from RedTraSex, explains the intersectional stigma faced by non-binary and transgender workers:

El estigma que vivimos quienes ejercemos el trabajo sexual es acentuado cuando provenimos de identidades no binarias y machistas patriarcales, es necesario poder despojarnos de conductas discriminadoras que no segregan y aíslan dejándonos expuestos a violencias y maltratos por no cumplir los requisitos que el sistema nos impone como ideales.

The stigma experienced by those of us who practice sex work is accentuated when we come from non-binary identities clashing with sexist and patriarchal norms. It is necessary to strip ourselves from discriminatory behaviors that segregate and isolate us, leaving us exposed to violence and abuse for not meeting the requirements that the system imposes on us as ideals.

Sanchez added:

El segundo anhelo es la decriminalización del trabajo sexual conforme a las trabajadoras, poniendo en el centro nuestras necesitdades y problemas. Que se legisle para que lo podamos resolver. Quizás nos tome muche tiempo, pero estamos ahí.

We also fight for the decriminalization of sex work in accordance with sex workers, putting our needs and problems at the center. We know it may take us a long time, but we are not giving up.

Unions hold a key role in ensuring safer working conditions for sex workers, while they fight to decriminalize sex work and countering the stigma, discrimination and exclusion workers face on a daily basis. The struggles and gains of sex workers’ unions are paving the way for protecting the rights of all marginalized and persecuted workers across the world.

Note: For more such stories of how feminist movements are bringing to life alternative economic models, see AWID’s series on the “Feminist Economies We Love”.

#FramedinBelarus: An art group makes embroidery depicting the stories of political prisoners 

#FramedinBelarus: An art group makes embroidery depicting the stories of political prisoners 

#FramedinBelarus_Maria Kalesnikava_stitched by Tiffany Chin_2022. Photo by Stitchit art group, published with permission by authors.

Stitchit is an art group created in 2021 by visual artist Rufina Bazlova (Belarus) and curator Sofia Tocar (Moldova). As the art group presentation states, the group work is dedicated to raising awareness of important troubling socio-political issues in Belarus, using the traditional technique of embroidery as a tool of resistance and dialogue. Stitchit involves different communities and individuals in the creation process and thus blurs the lines of authorship.

Rufina Bazlova is a Prague-based artist from Belarus who works in illustration, social artwork, scenography and performance. Sofia Tocar curates artists’ projects and exhibitions. She was born and raised in Moldova. Global Voices interviewed the art group over Zoom about their new project #FramedInBelarus. The project aims to create portraits of each illegally convicted citizen in Belarus (political prisoners) using the traditional Belarusian embroidery technique of red thread on a white background, thereby recording an important era of Belarusian history with a folk code — ornament. The work in the picture above, tells the story of Maryia Kallesnikava, opposition political activist and a musician who was sentenced to 11 years in jail and is currently serving her sentence in Belarus. 

Read more: There are almost 1,500 political prisoners in Belarus

Global Voices (GV): Please tell our global audience about your project

Rufina Bazlova (RB):  Starting in 2020, I created the series, the History of Belarusian Vyshyvanka about protests in Belarus. But time passed and everybody understood it was not possible anymore to go and protest on the streets. It had become dangerous. And the number of political prisoners  started growing very fast. I was thinking how to depict this era of Belarus. In  winter 2021, this idea came to create the story of each political prisoner. The idea was to create the picture, the pattern of each political prisoner. In the middle [of the embroidery], there is the figure of a political prisoner, the name, the surname, and the story of what happened,  why the person is in prison. Then we ask everyone from all over the world who wants to support  political prisoners or who wants to show their solidarity, just to participate and to stitch one or more stories of political prisoners. And then  we collect all the works and we want to put them together as a big quilt or mosaic and exhibit it in free Belarus. 

Read more: Ways of punishing dissent in Lukashenka’s Belarus

Sofia Tocar (ST): This is, of course, an idealistic idea, But for now, while the project is going on for the last almost two years, we also exhibit most of this work. The idea is to show it in the process. We had about ten exhibitions during the last year or during  this period, and it’s very important to show them while the project is continued. It’s not only to gather them all in one place and then make one big exhibition, but also to make these little steps and to speak about the problem, to show the stories through this visual language and artistic language. This is important for us. So far, we have had ten exhibitions and numerous workshops in Germany, Baltic States, Czech Republic, Poland, Norway and Italy.  

Rufina Bazlova and Sofia Tocar, art group Stitchit. Photo by Stitchit, published with permission.

GV:  What is the significance of the exhibitions and workshops you’ve been organizing?

ST: The exhibitions and workshops serve multiple purposes. First, the project is both artistic and activist in nature. We aim to create a collective art piece that acts as a memorial for the political prisoners. By exhibiting the works, we keep the issue visible and raise awareness about the situation in Belarus. The workshops allow us to engage with people, share the stories behind the project, and create a sense of community among participants. We believe in erasing boundaries between artists and viewers, making everyone part of the project. Additionally, the project serves as a form of art therapy for those directly affected by the situation, while also educating people from around the world about Belarus and its challenges.

We also encourage people to send  postcards to political prisoners and their families. We give people contacts and sources how to get more information and how to help them. 

GV: What about people’s awareness of the situation in Belarus 

RB: Some people are already aware of the situation and come to the workshops or exhibitions to show their support and contribute to the project. Others may be less informed but are drawn to the artistic form and decide to participate. We encourage people to learn more about the situation and provide resources for further information and ways to help the political prisoners. The project has been accessible to people from different backgrounds and locations, creating a space for dialogue and understanding.

GV: Regarding the number of political prisoners, how many pieces of embroidery do you already have, and do you have a plan for the future?

RB: We currently have around 250 completed works and an additional 200 to 250 in progress. However, with over 1500 political prisoners and the number growing, it’s a challenge to keep up. Our initial aim was to create portraits of all the political prisoners, but due to the rapid increase in their numbers, we had to adapt our strategy. We decided to prioritize those who have received longer sentences, with the assumption that others would be released earlier. However, it’s difficult to predict the timeline and the exact number of embroideries needed. We will continue the project for as long as it takes and react to the evolving political situation in Belarus.

Read more: The band that Lukashenka declared extremist sang ‘Zhyve Belarus’ (Long live Belarus!)

GV: Do you collaborate with other artists or civil society groups from Belarus or abroad for similar projects?

ST: We collaborate closely with Viasna, a human rights organization in Belarus. They provide us with the necessary information about the political prisoners, enabling us to create the stories and patterns. As for other collaborations, our project focuses on engaging individuals from all over the world rather than specific groups or organizations

RB: We spread information on social media, particularly on Instagram. We mention dissidents and political issues in Belarus in our posts. We collaborate with Viasna through reposts. But with artists, we don’t have much collaboration at the moment; we are a separate artist group.

ST: But of course, other Belarusian artists create artworks dedicated to political prisoners in different formats, too. 

It is possible to join the embroidery art project in support of political prisoners in Belarus via the projects’ website.

Update on Home Office Proposal

Update on Home Office Proposal

Following a meeting between Carmarthenshire County Council officers and the Home Office on 30 May 2023, Council Leader Darren Price has written to the owners of the Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli urging them to provide an honest answer to the people of Llanelli as to whether they are in discussions with the Home Office regarding the potential use of the hotel to accommodate asylum seekers.

Carmarthenshire County Council officers were informed by a Home Office official that the Minister of State (Immigration Minister) in Westminster has given agreement for the use of Stradey Park Hotel to proceed to house asylum seekers, subject to a contract between the hotel owners and Clearsprings, the operator who works on behalf of the Home Office running these sites.

To be able to secure a contract with the hotel owners (for the placement of Asylum seekers) the County Council understand that Clearsprings have a range of assessments and work that is yet to be completed, including a fire risk assessment. The use intended by Clearsprings is still for 207 asylum seekers in the hotel rooms and up to 107 emergency provision in communal areas. The County Council are yet to receive any of this information in writing despite repeated requests. Public Sector Partners have also raised concerns regarding health services and have been advised that additional funding for this would be the responsibility of the Welsh Government.

The Council is firmly against the Stradey Park Hotel proposal going ahead and are exploring a range of legal routes, including planning, to persuade the Home Office and hotel owners of the unsuitable nature of the site for this purpose. 

Cllr. Darren Price Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “It is time for the owner of the Stradey Park Hotel, Sterling Woodrow, to come clean about its discussions with the Home Office. I have written to them to demand answers on the future use of the hotel, as the local community of Furnace and Llanelli need answers, as do the staff of the hotel, Carmarthenshire County Council and our range of partners. 

“Only this week, the Home Office, once again, repeated their intention to use the Stradey Park Hotel as a site for contingency accommodation for in excess of 300 asylum seekers. The hotel owner, Sterling Woodrow, must now be open and honest with the people of Carmarthenshire; yes or no, are they in discussions with the Home Office and, if so, do they intend to proceed with the planned proposal to concentrate a large number of asylum seekers at the hotel?

“The Stradey Park Hotel plays an important role within our county as a venue that is often used by local people for events such as weddings, conferences and social events. It is also popular with tourists and visitors to Carmarthenshire. The hotel has enjoyed a significant amount of support from the local community over the years, it is only right, therefore, that they are honest with the local community.

“As a local authority, we want to be able to work with the hotel to encourage and develop tourism and growth in the area. The experience of the past few weeks has left the local community feeling very disappointed, with wedding receptions being cancelled due to the uncertainty. It is having a very real impact on people’s lives in the area. It is not fair on couples looking forward to their wedding day, it is not fair on the local community, and it is not fair on the staff at the hotel. The hotel owners have an opportunity to put a stop to all of this by telling the Home Office that they do not want to proceed, and I would urge them to do just that.”

Carmarthenshire County Council and its public sector partners will seek to persuade the Home Office not to proceed with the proposal to use the Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli for the purpose of providing contingency accommodation for in excess of 300 asylum seekers.

This decision is that of the Home Office and, therefore, all press enquiries should be directed to the Home Office on 0300 123 3535.

Welcome to Carmarthenshire

Welcome to Carmarthenshire

Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2023 has finally began and the whole of Carmarthenshire is delighted to welcome children, young people, families and friends from across Wales to Llandovery.

For information about the Urdd Eisteddfod, the town of Llandovery and getting there, please visit our designated Urdd Eisteddfod page.

Today, Monday 29 May, marks the first day of the week long youth-festival, and Carmarthenshire County Council is delighted to have a prominent presence on the Maes (field) of the Eisteddfod.

We have a jammed packed schedule of events tacking place at our stand all week.

Today, Monday, we will have a range of events taking place to suit all ages, including a Live Fitness class provided by Actif Sir Gâr, an interactive children’s show with Mewn Cymeriad and a youth performance by some of Carmarthenshire’s schools. 

100% Sir Gâr and supporting local businesses will be our theme of the day on Tuesday. Our stand will also focus on the various projects and initiatives around the county that are supported by the Shared Prosperity Fund. Visitors can also find out more about the Pentre Awel development at Delta Lakes in Llanelli, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people across the region.

Wednesday will see Carmarthenshire County Council promoting its Prosiect Carbon Zero Sir Gâr, which focusses on our vision to become a net zero authority and on the day to day actions that everyone can take to help combat the causes of climate change. 

On Thursday we will be launching our ambitious Welsh Language Promotion Strategy, which sets out the Council’s plans to take firm and confident action to increase the number of Welsh speakers in the county and maintaining the pride, use and confidence of our residents in the Welsh language. 

The launch event will be chaired by Meri Huws, former Welsh Language Commissioner and Chair of the Carmarthenshire Welsh Language Strategic Forum. 

Working in Carmarthenshire is Friday’s theme, with a specific focus on the Llwyddo’n Lleol project, which is partly funded by the Welsh Government through the Arfor Innovation Fund 2050.  The Arfor programme aims to deliver a range of strategic intervention aimed at promoting entrepreneurship, business growth, community resilience with a focus on the Welsh language within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Anglesey.

As the Urdd Eisteddfod draws to a close on the Saturday, Sir Gâr invites you back again to enjoy your summer holidays in our county. Tourism in Carmarthenshire will be the theme of the day and we have plenty to offer holiday makers, from our beaches, museums, cycling and walking routes to our theatres, country parks and markets, to name only a few.

Cllr. Darren Price, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council said: “Croeso cynnes i Sir Gâr –  a very warm welcome to Carmarthenshire! It is an honour to host this year’s Urdd Eisteddfod at Llandovery and to welcome children and young people from across Wales to participate in this unique and special festival.

“Carmarthenshire County Council is incredibly proud to contribute financially and culturally to the Urdd Eisteddfod 2023. I’m looking forward to the week ahead and encourage children, young people, families and friends from across Carmarthenshire to take the opportunity to visit the Eisteddfod at Llandovery this week.

“I am very pleased that the provision of free entry for families on a low income is available, as it will enable every family and child in Carmarthenshire to have the opportunity to experience the Urdd Eisteddfod.”

Urdd Eisteddfod a boost for the local economy

Urdd Eisteddfod a boost for the local economy

Llandovery is the place to be this week as the town hosts Eisteddfod yr Urdd on behalf of Carmarthenshire.

During the weeklong festival, children, young people and families, from across Wales, are making their way to the town of the drovers. Local shops and businesses have been busy preparing for their much anticipated arrival.  

Peter Rees is the owner of long established family business in Llandovery, 5* Erwlon Caravan and Camping Park. Speaking ahead of the Urdd Eisteddfod, Peter said:

“Events are great for the town and often bring in visitors for the very first time to this part of Carmarthenshire and to us in Erwlon. Our Whitsun half term is always very busy for the team here but the addition of the Urdd has mopped up any spare availability we might have had. We hope the event goes well and that participants have such a great time they want to come back and explore a little bit more – we have so much to offer and Llandovery is well placed to get to so many attractions and places.”

The Bear Inn is another business that has experienced the positive vibes of the Urdd Eisteddfod coming to town. Kirk Denton is the Landlord at The Bear:

“The Eisteddfod has already begun to positively affect The Bear. We’ve seen an increase in bookings for both accommodation and dining along with seeing a real community spirit building up in anticipation of the event. The town is looking fantastic as everyone is pulling together to give Llandovery a splash of White, Red and Green! We are all looking forward to welcoming new and returning visitors to our town”.

It’s not only businesses offering accommodation that are making the most of the youth festival. Caroline Whitney is the owner of The Old Printing Office. Caroline said:

“We are really looking forward to welcoming the many thousands of visitors to the town and the Old Printing Shop. We have sourced and produced some special gifts to mark the occasion. We’ll also be open every evening during the week, so that we can welcome visitors who may have been unable to leave the Maes during the day.”

100% Sir Gar – Go for local

Here in Carmarthenshire, we are lucky to have a vibrant and diverse range of small local businesses who are producing some wonderful arts and crafts, food and drink, fashion, homeware, gifts, toys and more.

100% Sir Gâr is a Carmarthenshire County Council scheme that has been developed as a virtual shop window with support from town and community councils, business and retail groups, to give local retailers and producers a platform to highlight their products.

Carmarthenshire based independent retailers, producers, makers and crafters are encouraged to register to become part of the platform which will provide an extra opportunity to promote and market their business to new and existing customers.

One such company to have taken advantage of the scheme is luxury candle makers, Cwyr Cain, who will have a presence on the 100% Sir Gâr stand at the Eisteddfod.

Carys, co-owner of Cwyr Cain said:

“The Cwyr Cain homemade candles and fragrance boutique came about following a complete career change after working in education. Following a training day on to how to make candles and homemade fragrance products, the idea came to venture into business as a partnership. 

“Through the support and assistance of 100% Sir Gâr, we have had great opportunities to promote our initiative and sell our Welsh/bilingual products in nearby locations and learn how to improve and develop the shop window of our new business. Being part of the Sir Gâr platform also ensures that we are seen on social media and therefore reach more people. 

“Receiving the Iaith Gwaith grant from Carmarthenshire County Council has proven to be beneficial so we can promote the Welsh Language, as well as develop our new bilingual website. Being part of 100% Sir Gâr has been a very positive experience for Cwyr Cain.”

Cllr. Gareth John, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism said: “It’s wonderful to see the Urdd Eisteddfod and the local economy complimenting each other in this way. I’m confident that visitors from across Wales and beyond have enjoyed what the Drovers’ Town and surrounding area have to offer this week and I hope they will consider us again when planning their summer holidays. 

“As a county, Carmarthenshire is blessed as a haven for holiday makers, from our beaches, museums, cycling and walking routes to our theatres, country parks and markets, there are plenty of things to do here whilst on holiday. For inspiration for your next vacation, visit the Discover Carmarthenshire website.” 

Cllr. Ann Davies, Cabinet lead for Rural Affairs and Planning Policy said: “I’m delighted to see Llandovery and other towns and villages of Carmarthenshire decked red, white and green for the Urdd Eisteddfod. 

“Llandovery is amongst one of the Council’s Ten Towns initiative, which has been established to support the economic recovery and growth of rural towns across the County. Hosting events such as the Urdd Eisteddfod at Llandovery demonstrates a clear ambition by the community of Llandovery and Carmarthenshire as a whole. 

“There are clear cultural benefits of hosting the Eisteddfod to the children and young people of our county and its positive impact upon the Welsh language. However, we should also celebrate the valued contribution this festival brings to local businesses, both on the Maes and to Llandovery and the surrounding area.”

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