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Growing number of Carmarthenshire schools link with African country of Lesotho

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Coedcae School in Llanelli is the 21st school in Carmarthenshire to connect with classrooms in Lesotho as part of an international learning programme.

Surrounded on all sides by South Africa, Lesotho is known as the Kingdom in the Sky – it is set above 1,388 metres and has the highest low point of any country in the world with many of its villages still hard to access other than by foot or on horseback.

There are many differences between life in Wales and Lesotho, but focusing on shared priorities such as climate change, raising aspirations, and promoting bilingualism ensures the links benefit learners in both countries; and they develop a better understanding of the wider world and their role in it as global citizens.

(Image by Simon Allen from Pixabay

Coedcae geography teacher Victoria Colbourne, on behalf of pupils from the school’s Eco Committee, said: “Here at Coedcae we are very excited to have the opportunity to join our classrooms and communities, and to work on projects that will allow us to discover first-hand about Lesotho’s country, culture and values.

“We can’t wait to share ideas, learn from each other and make friends along the way. This couldn’t be more important during these challenging times. We can’t wait to get started.”

Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning is a unique global education programme brought to schools by the British Council in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

By developing and networking with thousands of teachers across the world, it aims to help young people develop the knowledge, skills and values to live and work in a globalised economy.

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Schools in Wales and Lesotho also benefit from additional support from Dolen Cymru Lesotho, who help to organise longer-term exchanges through its teacher placement programme.

Glan-y-Môr School in Burry Port has maintained a successful partnership with Moyeni High School in Lesotho since 2008 and although the COVID-19 pandemic presents huge challenges in relation to exchange visits, schools have been quick to step up to the mark, adapt their plans, move collaboration online, and change the focus of their projects. Glan-y-Môr for example worked with their cluster of local schools to create a toolkit of activities, aimed at improving resilience skills for learners in both countries.

With schools in Lesotho having been closed since March, the teachers there have appreciated the opportunity to take part in online training provided by the British Council.

Mampheng Elane, teacher at Bocheletsana High School, partner school to QE High School, Carmarthen, said: “I have learnt that international learning is very significant.

Really our learners are going to benefit a lot due to new teaching skills and techniques we have acquired.”

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The successful partnerships of schools in Carmarthenshire will be included in Dolen Cymru Lesotho’s online education conference on November 19, which is celebrating 35 years of this unique country to country link.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services said: “It has never been so important for our young people to understand the big issues that shape our world and these partnerships will help to provide them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make a positive contribution.

“It will also help to promote and encourage respect for diversity, as well as help our schools to prepare for the new curriculum.

“I hope more schools will take advantage of the opportunities to connect and learn through this unique learning programme.”


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Carmarthenshire

Huge clean up operation continues in Carmarthenshire following Storm Arwen

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A huge clear up operation is still underway in Carmarthenshire following Storm Arwen which hit the county hard over the weekend.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s highways team has dealt with 150 fallen tree incidents – many of these were multiple and large trees – and 30 other weather related incidents in just 24 hours.

A four mile stretch of the A484 between Cynwyl Elfed and Bronwydd remains closed due to the extent of tree fall.  

The council say that their highways team have been working around the clock in difficult conditions to clear the debris left behind after the storm which was upgraded from a yellow warning to amber for the western periphery of Carmarthenshire on Friday.

The council continues to urge people to take extra care on the roads and look out for debris whilst its crews and contractors continue the clear up.

Work will continue into this week with main routes prioritised and people are being asked to allow extra time for their journeys as a number of diversions will remain in place.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, said: “I’d like to thank our staff and contractors who have had to work in the most horrendous and dangerous conditions.

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“The clear up is a mammoth task and work will continue well into this week to ensure our roads are safe to use.

“Some routes will take longer to re-open as specialist contractors are required to remove some of the damaged trees so please bear with us.

“I would also ask people to report any incidents online wherever possible as our contact centre is extremely busy.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Carmarthen

Major new TV drama latest to choose Carmarthenshire as its setting

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Carmarthenshire County Council has been working with location scouts and the production team to support the filming of a new thriller, which is using the county as its backdrop.

Y Golau/The Light In The Hall, produced by Triongl Cyf and Duchess Street Productions, is being filmed in Welsh and English and is set to air on S4C and Channel 4 in the UK, and Sundance Now in the US.

Cast and crew have been working in and around Llandovery, Carmarthen, Llangadog and Llandeilo over the past few weeks.

Actors including Joanna Scanlan, currently starring as Ma Larkin in the hit ITV family drama The Larkins, and Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones, are amongst those featuring in the thriller.

The council has been working to ensure the local area benefits financially from the production with location fees, accommodation and associated spending on food and retail in the Llandovery, Carmarthen, and surrounding areas set to bring a substantial boost to the local economy.

Council officers have also ensured minimal disruption to communities for the duration of the filming, with traffic management and access to local businesses unaffected.

This is the latest major production to be located in Carmarthenshire, on the back of the hugely successful Keeping Faith drama based in Laugharne and Carmarthen, and Save The Cinema, a film due to be released on Sky in the New Year.

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Although Llandovery and Carmarthen will see the most activity, other locations across the county are also hosting film crews for a range of other productions at the moment.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Yet again Carmarthenshire has been chosen as the location for a major production, which proves that what we have got to offer is enough to attract the best companies in the world.

“Our officers have been supporting the crew to scout locations, contact local landowners and liaise with partners – all part of our efforts to support the growth of the local economy. When we are able to attract productions of this scale, we are able to bring new money into the area – a cast and crew of around 60 people are staying and spending locally, and that means money in the tills of local businesses and in the pockets of local people.”

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, added: “We are very fortunate to have such a range of locations suitable for filming in Carmarthenshire, from large beaches that stretch for miles, to rural and urban landscapes, rolling countryside and historic buildings. We have worked hard to grow our reputation as a location for filming and that is paying off with more enquiries being made to us all the time. It will be fantastic to see Carmarthenshire featured on the screen once again.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Council moves customer services into former Carmarthen Debenhams store

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Carmarthen’s council customer services Hwb is moving to St Catherine’s Walk to make use of space in the council’s 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop.

Carmarthenshire County Council has secured temporary use of the former Debenhams unit in Carmarthen town centre to provide free retail space for local businesses in the run-up to Christmas.

And to take advantage of the space, it is also moving its customer service team there so people can call in and get advice about council services and support, pick up recycling bags and more whilst doing their Christmas shopping.

The cash desk and other council services will remain at Spillman Street.

Several local businesses have already signed up to make use of the free retail space being offered as part of the council’s 100% Sir Gâr initiative, which will see a new lease of life being brought to the empty town centre unit.

Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said it made sense to bring the customer service centre into town to make it easier for people to access council services in the run-up to Christmas.

“We are pleased to be making good use of this empty unit in Carmarthen town centre’s prime retail core,” he said. “We’ve got lots of fantastic local businesses signed up to make use of the free retail space we’re offering as a 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop.

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“We know this time of year is an exceptionally busy period for people, so it made sense to bring our customer services team into the heart of the town so people can get help and support from us without going further out of their way.

“Our customer services team are there to help with everything from accessing financial support to helping people find suitable housing, from applying for blue badges to supporting people with recycling, and much more.

“We hope people will call in to support local businesses as they do their Christmas shopping, and – if they need it – get the help and support of our customer services team at the same time.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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