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Senedd21: Plaid Cymru | Mid and West Wales Region

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PLAID CYMRU CANDIDATES –
MID AND WEST WALES REGION

1. Cefin Capmpbell

What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

In the context of Mid and West Wales my priority would be to develop a wide-ranging strategy for regenerating our rural communities – economically, socially, environmentally and culturally, improve broadband provision and deal with the second homes crisis that in many areas is having a damaging effect on the availability of affordable homes for local people.

On a wider level the Senedd needs to intensify the integration of social care and health, tackle child poverty and create an ambitious green energy programme.

What will you do for your constituency/region if elected?

In addition to listening to the needs of constituents and acting on their behalf I would like to be a champion for rural communities and be a voice for those urban areas that face their own unique challenges as we face an uncertain future following Covid and Brexit and further cuts in public expenditure from Westminster Government.  

2. Helen Mary Jones

What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

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I remember being so angry during the 1980’s that a Tory Government we didn’t vote for – the people of Wales have never elected a majority of Conservative politicians – was free to destroy our mining communities. Plaid is the natural home for someone with my beliefs – in equality and social justice and in the right of nations to govern themselves.

I was first elected to represent Llanelli in 1999 and I believe in this time of a pandemic we need someone with experience to provide stability in this time of uncertainty.  The focus on Welsh democracy has probably never been higher because of Coronavirus, perhaps even more so than in 1999 when I beat the odds to win the Llanelli seat.

If elected next May in Llanelli – as a Minister for the Economy I would want to focus on building back well, not just better,  we must ensure young people’s life chances aren’t too detrimentally affected by the downturn and ensure when we rebuild our economy we ensure we take in account the climate emergency that faces us as well as Coronavirus.

What will you do for your constituency/region if elected?

There are so many able and talented people in our communities, here in Llanelli and across Wales. Too often those talents are wasted, just struggling to get by. We need a new Welsh Government with Adam Price as First Minister to set free all that potential, ensuring good jobs available are for all, a government that’s ambitious and confident, that really believes in our nation and the communities we can be. We need to create wealth so we can share it, and invest in world class health, care and education services. After 20 years of Labour Government in Wales a third of our children are growing up in poor families. It doesn’t have to be like this. Plaid Cymru, working with people and communities across Wales, can change this. And we will.

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3. Elwyn Vaughan

What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

It needs to focus on the Climate emergency as it affects us all and that means taking positive, clear action and leading the way by supporting the principles of Zero Carbon Britain and the work done by CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology).

I’d also like to see a greater focus on encouraging the development of Hydrogen production and technologies.

Zero carbon technologies and new zero carbon producing economic opportunities are at the heart of the post Covid economic renewal.

What will you do for your constituency/region if elected?

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Rather than being seen as a gap between North and South, I’ll ensure that both the constituency and the region will be like a Celtic knot tying the rest of Wales together. That means raising its profile, focusing on its economy and pressing for the establishment of a rural enterprise agency. I’d also like the establishment of the equivalent of the New Zealand WRONZ – a wool research organisation to promote innovation and add value to wool; establish a facility to add value to beef in the area thus supporting our agricultural sector, and facilitate the establishment of an enterprise park similar to one in Andoain in Euskadi/Basque Country which has sustainability and sense of place at its heart.                       

4. Cris Tomos

What is the most important thing you think the Senedd should do in the next five years?

Over the next five years, the Senedd should focus on issues relating to reducing poverty while offering opportunities for people to develop skills reach their full potential. People could be supported in setting up their own businesses and creating new social enterprises to fill the gaps in the provision of local services.

What will you do for your constituency/region if elected?

I will ensure that the people of Preseli Pembrokeshire can build on the great community and neighbourhood schemes that emerged during the Covid19 pandemic so that services are controlled and prioritised by local people. This will range from health and well-being services to economic and net carbon initiatives. Local communities will play a great role in social and economical developments.

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Swansea tourism accommodation businesses given funding opportunity

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Tourism businesses in Swansea could be in line for funding to help improve the quality of their visitor offer.

Swansea Council says its tourism fund can give grants of up to £8,000 for small accommodation providers based in rural or semi-rural parts of the city that employ 25 people or less.

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Eight tourism businesses benefitted from the first round of the scheme, which is part of the council’s overall £25m economic recovery fund.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism, said: “Our tourism businesses make such an important contribution to Swansea’s economy, so they’re very deserving of support from the council. As we emerge from the pandemic, grant schemes of this kind are more needed than ever, with tourism among the sectors that was hardest hit.

“The businesses that successfully applied as part of the first round of this funding scheme are already benefitting.

“Improvements of this kind will combine to further raise Swansea’s profile as a visitor destination, helping attract even more people here in future. This will then create more spending and more jobs for local people and local businesses.”

Run by Ellen and Andrew Taylor, Hillside Glamping Holidays in Llangennith (pictured top) was among the businesses to benefit from the first round of the scheme. Funding helped the business install wood panelling in its four glamping pod bedrooms and create a sheltered outdoor seating area for guests to enjoy stargazing.

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Ellen said: “We wouldn’t have been able to carry out all this work without the help of the council’s tourism support fund, so it’s made a big difference to our business.

“We’ve been able to do a lot more than we originally intended, with many of our return customers saying how much they love the improvements we’ve introduced.

“Thanks to the grant, we also achieved a Gold Award from Visit Wales for our glamping accommodation.”

Other businesses to have benefitted from the first round of the scheme included Clyne Valley Cottages, where the Keeper’s Cottage and adjoining Barn Owl Cottage have been refurbished. The funding also helped Tir Cethin Farm in Three Crosses with the purchase and installation of Scandinavian-style hot tubs for their guests to enjoy all year-round.

Head to swansea.gov.uk/tsf for more information about the tourism support fund and the chance to apply by the July 26 deadline.

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The council have said priority will be given to projects which are aimed at improving the visitor experience through upgrading the accommodation offer or achieving higher grading.

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Art

Swansea students’ art showcased at global ‘Without Borders’ project

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Students and staff at University of Wales Trinity St David (UWTSD)’s Swansea College of Art are amongst 300 participants connected to 21 groups around the world who have contributed to a new global art project.

Without Borders’ has sought to remove barriers, create alliances, and connect with neighbours and aims to bring creative people together, to collaborate in an international touring exhibition of works on paper – a collection of artists pages.

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Without Borders has been curated by Jonathan Powell, Elysium gallery Director and Heather Parnell, artist, and co-editor of 1SSUE. The exhibition of artist works has now made its way from Kyoto to Nagoya in Japan on the next leg of its world tour.

At the end of this exhibition, these pages will be gathered together and forwarded to another venue to be dismantled and displayed, and then reassembled before moving again to the next location. The exhibition will travel the globe and at the end of the tour, the book will be placed in a special collection’s library.

UWTSD Cert HE Art and Design Foundation Programme Director Katherine Clewett said: “I am delighted to see that the exhibition has now entered its next phase. ‘Without Boarders’ Includes work by staff and students from Swansea College of Art in collaboration with Elysium Art Gallery

“It is an evolving digital project and physical exhibition, aimed at bringing together communities and artists from around the world.

“The exhibition title upholds ideas and perspectives concerning current socio-political boundaries. This project was an opportunity for students and staff to reflect on constricted connections, and to seek collective responses.

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“Swansea College of Art contributors comprises students and staff from Foundation, Degree and MA courses, exhibiting in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, photography, and stitch.

“We are again thankful to Jonathan at Elysium Art Gallery for inviting us to contribute to this timely exhibition and working with us as we follow it around the world.”

The student’s art at Elysium Gallery (Image: UWTSD)

Jonathan Powell said: “A big thank you to Izuru Mizutani – Director of the Art and Mind Center in Nagoya for hosting this ambitious exhibition. Also, a big thank you to Masahiro Kawanaka & Art Spot Korin in Kyoto for hosting us previously.”

Artist and project organiser Heather Parnell said: “This exhibition and what it stands for has become more significant than ever. Freedom to connect and share with our neighbours, without restrictions and in peace, is fundamental to human flourishing.”

In response to the crisis unfolding in Ukraine, a special ‘Prayer for peace‘ corner will be in place at the Elysium gallery. It is a place where artists express their intentions to pray for the safety of the Ukrainian people.

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Tourism

Top 5 romantic (but COVID-friendly) last-minute Valentines getaways revealed

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A last-minute Valentine’s Day trip might be essential if you and your partner are desperate to escape the UK’s dramas and chilly weather.

However, many travellers are still nervous about ever-changing restrictions and unsure where to try for their romantic getaway.

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To help plan a stress-free trip to remember, Quotezone.co.uk has rounded up some of the best Covid-restriction friendly Valentine’s Day getaways both home and abroad.

1. Lisbon, Portugal

If you’re looking for the perfect city getaway to sight-see with your partner, Lisbon is a one-stop shop. From beautiful cobblestone streets to cultural and historical attractions plus delicious local wines and delicacies, this mid-February escape can turn a dreary winter into an enjoyable and sunny one.

Even better, from 1 December people from the UK have been allowed to travel to Lisbon for essential and non-essential travel, meaning that a romantic trip is still on the cards. Further, mandatory negative tests will be dropped for those who are fully vaccinated.

If you do opt for Lisbon, be sure to check out:

  • Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  • Pink street
  • Praça do Comércio
  • Lisbon Castle
(Image: Gaurav Jain on Unsplash)

2. Amsterdam, Netherlands

If a quiet break is high on the agenda, Amsterdam is a must-see. Although the Venice of the North is holding onto some restrictions, including a 10pm curfew, limited capacity at bars and restaurants, and social distancing rules – this tulip filled gem is packed with culture and provides the perfect excuse for a quiet and restful getaway.

The plethora of options available to couples means you’ll never be bored. A go-to for couples is touring the canals on a pedal boat – but for a dose of culture, attend the theatres such as Pathe Tuschinski – or, if you’re looking to save some money, stop by the Concertgebouw for a free lunchtime classical concert.

(Image: Colin Watts on Unsplash)

3. Cotswolds, England

If you and your partner are looking to avoid airports and longer travel times, the Cotswolds could provide the perfect balance. Its stunning natural backdrop, and relaxed pace of life, provides the perfect staycation for a couple looking to escape the chaos of city life.

As of 27 January, making your way through the Cotswolds shouldn’t be an issue, as Covid passes are no longer required and face masks are no longer mandated anywhere – however some venues may impose their own restrictions.

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The Cotswolds is home to many top tourist attractions, including the 1,000-year-old Warwick Castle. But if you’re looking for something more niche, try hunting for antiques in Circencester or for a boozy night for two, be sure to visit Britain’s oldest inn, The Porch House.

(Image: Marko Hankkila on Unsplash)

4. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Voted one of the most Instagrammable* spots in Europe, Dubrovnik will not fail to capture the perfect romantic moment with its stunning scenery.

Most of Dubrovnik’s main attractions are open in winter, but note the reduced hours, generally closing at 3pm. That said, a walk around the medieval City Walls can be exceptionally impressive on a winter’s day especially without the big crowds.

Getting into Croatia shouldn’t be an issue provided travellers from the UK can present one of the following documents on arrival:

  • Proof of vaccination, or;
  • a negative Covid-19 antigen not older than 48 hours, or;
  • a negative PCR test result not older than 72 hours, or;
  • a doctor’s certificate of recovery from COVID-19
(Image: Jad Limcaco on Unsplash)

5. Paris, France

The ‘city of love’ is the obvious choice for Valentine’s Day, given it’s filled with flowers, champagne and chocolates but Paris is also many couples’ go-to destination for its wealth of history and world-famous cuisine.

Even though Paris often comes with a hefty price tag, there are cost-effective options to make a memorable Valentine’s weekend. From taking a trip to Versailles and having a picnic in the Champs de Mars to enjoying the sunset from the rooftop of Galleries Lafayette, the options really are endless.

However, be warned, travellers who are not fully vaccinated will need to self-isolate on arrival in France for 10 days. Those that are fully vaccinated must:

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· Present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 24 hours pre-departure if aged 12 years and over.

· Provide a completed ‘sworn statement’ (déclaration sur l’honneur) form self-certifying you’re not suffering from symptoms associated with coronavirus and have not been in contact with confirmed cases in the preceding fortnight. This can be found on the French government’s website.

Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, comments: “Countries across Europe are all at varying stages of dealing with Covid, creating confusion for many travellers who are unsure of where and how they can escape for a winter break. Our research will hopefully help make things easier for those looking to leave January behind and plan something to look forward to in February.

“Of course, it’s still important to exercise caution when travelling abroad. Covid-19 hasn’t ended just yet and trips abroad may still be impacted through illness or restrictions. If you are planning on getting away this Valentine’s Day do consider buying travel insurance when booking the holiday, rather than when the trip starts. This should ensure you are compensated if anything prevents you from travelling.” 

(Lead image: Juan Ordonez on Unsplash)

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