REFORM UK CANDIDATE – LLANELLI
1. Tell us about yourself:
Gareth Beer is the standing Senedd candidate for Reform UK – Wales (formerly the Brexit party) at the next Welsh Parliament elections held on Thursday May 6. Gareth who lives in the constituency area, is standing for the first time in these elections. He is a Kidwelly Town Councillor, Community Hall Committee Trustee, small business owner, husband and dad to 4 children.
2. What will you do for your constituency/region if elected?
“I have been frustrated with our politicians and political parties for many years and although I am certainly not a career politician, I felt it was time to make a stand and speak boldly for those wanting to see change and reform in Wales.
“We have not seen any real opposition with our main parties and have not seen many healthy debates. There has been no real opposition, and I don’t mean opposition just for opposition sake, but for sense and balance in our politics. I am pleased to see that Reform UK have, like the other major parties 40 candidates, from all walks of life, standing in all seats in Wales. This means, every voter in Wales now have a real alternative choice to the current parties.
“Reform UK Wales is a credible party standing to serve the people of Wales and will be able to challenge the cosy consensus in the Senedd. People tell me, it will be a challenge to change voters from the party they have always voted for and this is true in one way. However, given what has happened in the last year, people are desperate to see change and looking for an alternative voice to represent them. We have seen Labour lead Wales for over 20 years and sadly we are lagging behind in almost every measures from our children’s education, to health and to economic growth.
“We need to think bigger, do things smarter, not hold Wales back and support the people to achieve its true potential.”
“Voters have two votes on May 6, one for the Llanelli Constituency and one for the Region. Even if you voted for another party in your constituency but voted for Reform UK in your region. Then if 1 in 10 of the people vote Reform UK, this will elect us to the Welsh Parliament. The election uses proportional representation so every vote counts.
“I encourage people, even if they have never engaged with politics before, now is the time to do so, our country really do need you. You have the opportunity to help reform politics in Wales, which we desperately need and start to see some fresh faces and not just the same career politicians.
“I was pleased to see the party’s ‘Contract with the People of Wales’ launch on Wednesday April 21 where we have made a range of pledges to the people of Wales in several areas.
“If elected, my key priorities is to reopen Wales fully. No full scale lockdown again; we now have the vaccines, new treatments and a knowledge of who is at risk from Covid-19, we can use this information to manage the disease without full scale-scale lockdowns. At least 750,000 people and counting have lost paid work as a result of lockdowns across the UK, the diagnosis and treatment of serious illnesses such as cancer has fallen significantly and the economic fallout and long term health implications are yet to emerge. We need an intelligent approach to avoid further damage. I will also support the self-employed and SMEs to get trading again; these people are the backbone to the Welsh economy and to help Llanelli create good well paid jobs and opportunities.
“We have some amazing talent, people, businesses and attractions in the Llanelli constituency. As staycations holidays are more likely in the future, we need to nurture and grow what we already have here and to grow our tourism potential. I’d love to be involved and influence the potential and capability of Llanelli and the wider communities – from Llangennech to Pontyberem, up to Mountain Road in Trimaran, where you can view the stunning beauty of wider Llanelli area and the stunning beaches of Pembrey and Burry Port to the ancient town of Kidwelly with its stunning Castle. Llanelli had a very successful food and drinks festival last year and much credit has to be given to the organisers of the event.
“I will do all that I can so Llanelli and its surrounding communities becomes a vibrant and safe place to live, work and visit.
“I pledge to serve the people of Llanelli and to let you, the people steer the direction of growing your town and communities, to help you and not hold back Llanelli to unleash its potential to prosper and grow.” You can engage with Gareth on Twitter and Facebook @garethreformuk
Swansea shows rise in business growth despite fears high streets are empty
Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) are celebrating the opening of the 60th new business in Swansea City Centre since January 2020.
According to a recent Federation of Small Business report on Welsh towns, only 3% of people feel their town centres are thriving; but given the impact of Covid-19, Swansea BID have continued to see businesses opening since the pandemic began.
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Since January 2020, 66 new businesses have opened in the city centre. In the same period, only 27 have closed, with over half of these businesses citing the pandemic as the reason. As many large high street names such as Debenhams, Disney, Topshop and Pizza Express have closed, the rate of smaller, independent businesses opening has increased.
“We have seen strong growth in start-up businesses over the last few years. I think excellent customer service and experience is a key factor in their success,” said Russell Greenslade, Swansea BID Chief Executive. “We have also seen sharp growth in the hospitality sector, independents and more sustainable businesses.”
Responses to the FSB survey showed that 67% of people in Wales feel that their town centres are ‘bad’ or ‘bleak’. The Vision for Welsh Towns report makes a series of recommendations to support and grow businesses in town centres, many of which Swansea BID actively do; including helping to reduce business costs and directly supporting businesses.
The High Street is Resilient
Simon Kendrick, Director of the Games Emporium on Swansea’s High Street said the business is likely to renew their lease for another 10 years thanks to their confidence in the developments happening in Swansea.
“We’ve enjoyed growing with the High Street, it has been fabulous to see the once run down and talked down part of town continue its transformation towards a vibrant part of the city’s cultural life,” he said.
“Swansea BID have been helpful in driving some of that change with initiatives like the Big Heart and city-wide treasure trails to drive shoppers our way, as well as more behind the scenes support like advocating reductions in street-table rates for local cafes.
“Currently, the BID is assisting us (and many other businesses) with applying for grant funding to renovate our shopfront, which will further enhance the appearance and character of the High Street,” said Kendrick.
Investing in Regeneration
With £1bn set to be invested in regeneration projects over the next few years, the landscape of Swansea is set to transform.
Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism said, “The growth is encouraging. It shows the combination of our business talent and the work the council and its partners are carrying out to regenerate Swansea to create a modern, confident city that’s attracting more and more businesses to invest.
“We’re doing all we can to create an environment where businesses can thrive, such as the £135m Copr Bay district and our work to transform the look and feel of The Kingsway and Wind Street.
“Much more is planned too, including a revamp of Castle Square Gardens, a state-of-the-art office at the former Oceana nightclub site, and the work our development partners Urban Splash are leading on to transform parts of the city centre, including the old St David’s Shopping Centre.
“Our business community, residents and visitors have lots to look forward to.”
Aldi responds to call to #GetOnARoll by including cancer symptoms on toilet roll packs
Aldi is to add signs and symptoms of bowel cancer to all its packs of own brand toilet roll in response to Bowel Cancer UK’s #GetOnARoll campaign.
Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common cancer and the second biggest cancer killer. Yet almost half of adults around the UK could not name a single symptom of bowel cancer in a recent survey.
Red flag symptoms include changes in bowel habit and bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo, which can all be noticed while people are on the toilet.
Knowing the symptoms to look out for, and acting on them, can lead to bowel cancer being diagnosed at an earlier stage when it is easier to treat and even cure.
Now, Aldi has teamed up with Bowel Cancer UK to include the potentially life-saving information, together with a QR code for customers to find out more, on over 70m packs of toilet rolls every year.
Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying, at Aldi, said: “It’s shocking to learn that almost half of all adults in the UK cannot name a single symptom of bowel cancer. When we heard how powerful it could be to simply print the signs and symptoms on loo roll packaging – so they are there when people most need to see them – we were really keen to get involved.
“Spotting signs early is so important, so anything we can do to raise awareness of what people should look out for, and signpost them to Bowel Cancer UK to find out more, is crucial.
“We’re delighted to be the first retailer to announce we’re getting on board since the launch of the #GetOnARoll campaign and we’re calling on all other retailers and loo roll brands to follow suit.”
Genevieve Edwards, CEO at Bowel Cancer UK, added: “We are delighted to partner with Aldi to raise vital awareness of bowel cancer symptoms with people all over the country. It’s the UK’s fourth most common cancer, with someone diagnosed with the disease every 15 minutes in the UK.
“Bowel cancer is treatable and curable especially if diagnosed early, but 60% of people are diagnosed at later stages when it is much more difficult to treat. Part of the problem is low awareness of the red flag symptoms of bowel cancer that should prompt people to contact their GP.
“It’s such a simple idea to share this vital information on loo roll packaging. It could help us reach millions more people every year, and will undoubtedly help save lives. We want to thank Aldi for taking this step and encourage all other retailers to follow suit.”
Swansea 7 year-old girl badly burned by buried disposable BBQ on beach
Beach-goers in Swansea are being urged to use purpose-built bins designed for disposable BBQs after a young girl suffered severe burns to her feet.
Swansea Council has condemned the actions of individuals who buried a disposable BBQ in the sand on Swansea Bay beach, which was then walked on by a seven-year old girl. The child is now waiting to see if she needs skin graft surgery
Simi Adenaike, 7, and her mother Alex Adenaike from Mt Pleasant, along with other family members, had not been on the beach long when their day out turned to horror.
Simi’s mum, Alex, said: “We had only just arrived at the beach and were looking forward to having some fun. The children started playing almost immediately and had been running around in the sand. We heard a horrifying scream and my daughter came running back.
“She was in so much pain, she was unable to tell us what happened. Eventually we realised one of her feet was very red and blistered. We had some help from some other visitors on the beach to cool down the burn with water and we got her to hospital immediately.”
The family had discovered a disposable BBQ buried in the sand and were told by witnesses that a group had been seen burying the foil tray before leaving.
Alex’s mum said: “This is so upsetting and my daughter is now needing further treatment and possibly a skin graft.
“The Council has made the effort to install disposable BBQ bins and there was one not far from where the BBQ had been buried.”
Cyril Anderson, Cabinet Member for Community said: “This incident is horrendous and we wish Simi and her family all the best as she receives medical treatment.
“The dangers associated with discarding or leaving disposable BBQs on our beaches are well known and that’s why we have gone to the trouble of installing fifteen bins at all of our beaches.
“Anyone who thinks that it’s OK to bury BBQs or any other waste in the sand on a day out is simply irresponsible and thoughtless to the injuries they can cause to beach users.
“We’ve invested thousands of pounds installing permanent BBQ waste bins along Swansea Bay beach and also at Port Eynon, Horton, Caswell and Langland with more to come at Rotherslade.
“BBQs and charcoal retain their heat for hours after they’ve been used and can cause serious burns for people who accidentally step on them.”
The Council’s beach cleansing teams clean the beaches every morning during the summer and throughout the day. They are often supported by volunteers who also want to see pristine-clean beaches. Additional teams also target littering hotspots at the busiest times.
Beaches in Swansea where disposable BBQ bins are located
- Langland Bay – 2
- Port Eynon
Locations on Swansea Bay between West Pier and Mumbles, including:
- Swansea Point playground car park entrance to beach
- Top of the Civic Centre steps near the beach
- Bay View slip
- Steps by Secret car park opposite Victoria Park
- Near the Secret
- Brynmill Lane Slip
- Just above Clyne stream near the Footgolf attraction
- Blackpill, one at each end of the picnic area
(Lead image: Swansea Council)
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