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Wales Olympian Jasmine Joyce shares the inspiration behind her passion to teach

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University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD) PGCE student and Wales Rugby International Jasmine Joyce has told how her passion to teach was inspired by a teacher at school who encouraged and motivated her to succeed.

Jasmine, who is one of just three Welsh women named in the initial 24-strong GB Women’s Sevens squad for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo said: “My PE teacher Rachael Thomas, at Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi, was one of the driving forces which led me to where I am now.

“I’ve always wanted to train to be a teacher probably because of the good experiences I had at both my primary and secondary schools. In particular Rachael was an amazing support when I started my rugby training, encouraging me to succeed.”

Jasmine started her PGCE course at UWTSD in September and said it was one of the best decisions she’s made.

“Since Joining UWTSD, I am exactly where I want to be, combining my sporting career with training for a job that I know I already love,” she said.

Jasmine is currently enjoying a 6-week placement at Pontarddulais Primary School as part of her course.

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“Because of the current lockdown situation, I am helping to prepare online work for the pupils. It’s been such an amazing experience despite the restrictions and has fuelled my love for teaching even more,” she said.

“Like all other students, I was nervous at the start, but the support of lecturers has been amazing. Any questions are answered immediately, and I feel closely supported at all times. I’ve been able to form a close bond with other students through social media groups. It means we’re in touch constantly and can support and encourage each other.

“I can’t wait to graduate, and I would like to start teaching as soon as possible. I’m training three times a week during the evenings with games taking place at weekends, which means I am able to teach during the week. I also want to be able to inspire youngsters as part of my new role to be active and keep active. I know I can help to motivate the girls in particular, showing what is possible through hard work.”

Welsh Olympian Jasmine in action on the rugby pitch

Elaine Sharpling, Academic Director of Teacher Education at UWTSD’s Athrofa: Institute of Education said: “The teaching profession is enriched when people from different backgrounds and with different experiences and talents make a choice to be a teacher. Jasmine is a very successful PGCE student and we are confident that her story will inspire children to aim high and reach for those ‘Olympic rings’ in their own lives.”

Jasmine, who currently plays for Bristol Bears Women, was one of the first British women to play rugby on the Olympic stage after the sport was reintroduced for Rio 2016.

The year before, the St Davids-born winger was selected to play for the Wales sevens team at the Dubai sevens tournament.

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Jasmine helped Wales claim seventh spot in the World Series qualifiers in Dublin in August 2015 and made her Wales XVs debut in the 2017 Women’s Six Nations.

Interested in finding out more?
https://www.uwtsd.ac.uk/teacher-education/

Discover for yourself, book an online taster:
https://uwtsd.ac.uk/visitus/virtual-open-evening—teacher-training/

(All images: JMPUK / UWTSD)


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Sport

Half marathon returns to Swansea after two-year break

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There were moments of anticipation, excitement, and joy at this year’s JCP Swansea Half Marathon event.

Runners took to the city’s streets to participate in the seventh edition of the race, which is traditionally held in June. They braved the 13.1 miles in slightly cooler conditions which were perfect for running.

After Hayley Davies, CEO of JCP Solicitors, set the runners on their way, she said: 

“It was fantastic to see everyone back at the start line and enjoying such a wonderful event for the city. It is always inspiring to see others taking part, whether it’s their first event, a personal challenge, or raising money for charity. Today was an extra special day full of emotions for everyone as it marked the return of the biggest running event for the region.”

The JCP Swansea Half Marathon was last held 28 months ago in June 2019, and last year was set to be the greatest event the organising team had ever staged.

Managing Director of Front Runner Events, David Martin-Jewell, said: “It has been such a challenging time for us as event organisers, but we have pulled out all the stops to ensure that the event could run as smoothly as possible. We are thrilled to have been able to deliver the JCP Swansea Half Marathon and hope that our runners loved being back to experience race day once again!”

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The events sector has been one of the most severely affected industries during the last 18 months, so it was important that the event was just right for everyone involved. There were some changes as to be expected in a post-Covid-era, with everyone asked to register a negative lateral flow test result before participating. There were also a few changes to the route this year, but it remains one of the flattest half marathon routes in the UK.

Just over 3,000 runners attended the event, which had previously attracted a field of 6,000 from all over the World. Many chose to run virtually this year in their own towns or cities wearing their official race number and were still part of the excitement online.

The elite field remained competitive as always, with wheelchair record holder Richie Powell shaving a few seconds off his record time that was gained in 2016 and finished the race in a staggering 60:54. He was followed by Ron Price in 2nd and Leslie Hampton in 3rd for the wheelchair racers.

Samuel Goodchild of Cornwall AC won 1st place in the men’s race in a time of 1:09:28. 2nd place was taken by David Green of Rugby & Northampton AC, in a time of 1:011:09 and in 3rd place was Michael Roderick of Tri Hard Harriers achieving a time of 1:11:22.

The women’s race was equally competitive, and 1st place went to Commonwealth Games and Team GB athlete Sonia Samuels in an impressive 1:14:09. 2nd place went to Georgia Holden Edwards in a time of 1:19:59 and 3rd place went to Hayley Munn of Rugby Northampton AC in 1:20:05.

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Also taking part was Welsh TV presenter, endurance adventurer and athlete Lowri Morgan. She’s well-known for presenting Scrum V and the World Rally Championships and an avid runner that’s not afraid of a challenge. This year was the first time Lowri had participated in the JCP Swansea Half Marathon.

She commented: “I love running in Swansea, it’s such a beautiful city with an amazing coastline, so it’s an absolute delight to be finally taking part in the event! I’ve wanted to participate since it first started back in 2014, but with it being staged in the Summer, my training has never allowed me to. It’s been a tough time for everyone these last couple of years, so it feels great to be back at events, and this one is certainly one I’ll aim to be back for next year!”

Hundreds of charity runners took part in the event for good causes, raising awareness and much-needed funds for their chosen charities. Since so many events had been cancelled during the last 18 months, fundraising is still taking place for the event charity partners; Maggie’s Swansea, Cancer Research UK, and Diabetes UK Cymru so runners fundraising pages will remain open for the few weeks yet.

Team spirit was in full flow as seven companies took on the Corporate Challenge. There was some stiff competition as the teams at Matthews & Co, HMT Sancta Maria, Brecon Carreg, Carmarthenshire Actif, Arvato Bertelsmann and Swansea University were unable to beat off the team at JCP Solicitors.

Other keen runners were sporting their club vests or wearing fancy dress, including the very special Captain Beany, who makes an appearance at the race every year!

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David Martin-Jewell added: “The JCP Swansea Half Marathon is more than just a race it’s about bringing people together to share their challenge and experience. It’s about teamwork, helping the running community achieve their goals in both a mental and physical capacity, providing a platform for charity fundraising and providing volunteering opportunities for people in the city. These are all the reasons we love what we do and hope that we can continue to deliver great events for many years to come.”

The organising team behind the JCP Swansea Half Marathon, Front Runner Events, continues to work tirelessly alongside their trusty team of volunteers, dedicated sector heads and event partners who all help deliver an event Swansea can be proud of. The team continue to work closely with the founding headline sponsors, JCP Solicitors and long-term partners Matthews & Co and HMT Sancta Maria. The event hydration partner remains to be the Welsh favourite Brecon Carreg.

(Lead image: Front Runner Events)

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Rugby paywall sets “dangerous precedent”

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Plaid Cymru is calling for all Wales rugby games to be aired live on S4C following news that matches will only be accessible on Amazon Prime.

It’s been confirmed that fans of Welsh rugby will not be able to watch Wales’ autumn international matches on free-to-air television.

Matches will only be televised live on Amazon Prime, which sits behind a paywall.

This marks a change from previous matches, which have been available to watch live on S4C, which is free-to-air.

The reason the change has been made is because Amazon Prime will be providing commentary in both English and Welsh languages.

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for sport, Heledd Fychan MS said, “This sets a dangerous precedent for the future of sports broadcasting in Welsh. It also raises questions about the future of S4C. Not only have S4C lost the right to broadcast Welsh rugby matches, but it puts in place a model that could be adopted by other broadcasters in the future.

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“The red button offer from Amazon is a gesture at best. If you do not already pay for Amazon prime, you will still need to pay to watch in Welsh. And what about pubs and clubs that have always shown the games in Welsh?

“All games from our national teams should be free to watch on S4C. Welsh rugby belongs to everyone in Wales – we must not be priced out of our own culture.”

(Lead image: Crown Copyright)

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Cycling

Funding award gives green light to school cycling initiative

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An innovative cycle maintenance and safety awareness scheme led by pupils from Gowerton Comprehensive School has received a funding boost from the South West Wales Community Rail Partnership.

Launched in February 2021, the Partnership’s ‘Community Changemakers Fund’ is aimed at supporting people and organisations wishing to deliver improvements in communities across the region. 

More than sixty applications were received from individuals and organisations seeking a share of the £16,000 fund, which was supported by Transport for Wales, Great Western Railway, Siemens Mobility and the Community Rail Partnership.  

Administered by the Carmarthenshire Association for Voluntary Services (CAVS) and the Community Rail Partnership, between £300 and £1,000 was available to apply for; with the main criteria being able to demonstrate how funding and small interventions could improve community well-being and being located near the rail network.

In a recent community survey undertaken by the school, 89% of respondents said they would use a cycle maintenance facility while 72% said they would be interested in taking a cycling safety course. Many of the individuals interested in the safety course were adults over the age of 35.

Sue Davies, Head of physical education at Gowerton Comprehensive School, said; “The grant funding is the first step for our cycling project. The funding will enable us to equip our cycling maintenance facility and allow us to train pupils in Level 1 and Level 2 Cycle maintenance.  They will work alongside Kevin Rees of Gower Cycles to coordinate a Cycle Maintenance facility, which will be available to all members of the community.”

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She continued; “We are also linking with the Active Journey team to develop a safe pathway to school initiative and to increase the number of pupils who can safely walk or cycle to school.  As part of the health & wellbeing curriculum, all year 7 and 8 pupils will have the opportunity to follow a safe cycling or cycle proficiency programme.  We are confident that they can cycle to school safely and that cycling can play a part in their lifelong journey as healthy active individuals.”

Part of the funding received from the Community Rail Partnership will be used to purchase cycle maintenance tools and stands.

Hugh Evans, head of community rail for Transport for Wales, said; “We are delighted to support this initiative.  It’s great to see pupils developing new skills while helping to promote healthier and safer cycling in the community.”

GWR Community Manager Emma Morris said; “We have a specific pot of money designed to support community and not-for-profit organisations. These projects will help to enhance thousands of lives across South Wales and we know the funding will be put to good use.”

Rob Morris, Managing Director, Rail Infrastructure, Siemens Mobility UK&I said; “I’m delighted that Siemens Mobility can support the Changemakers Programme. Initiatives like these help local people proactively drive positive change – particularly important in challenging times – and I’m pleased we were able to work with South West Wales Connected to create new opportunities for community engagement.”

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Formed in 2020, the community rail partnership covers the rail routes west of Port Talbot to Swansea, Carmarthen, Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven and Fishguard Harbour.  

Its objectives are to develop positive partnerships between the rail industry and local organisations to promote social inclusion, sustainability, health and well-being, green travel, tourism and economic development across the region.

Lead image: Pictured left to right are; Jennifer Barfoot (Community Rail Officer), Toni Cardew (Projects & Impacts Officer), Kevin Rees (Cycling Coordinator Gowerton Comprehensive), Sue Davies (Head of PE, Gowerton Comprehensive) and Cassey Williams (Head Girl Gowerton Comprehensive)

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