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Council appoints contractor to start delivering Llanelli’s Pentre Awel scheme

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Carmarthenshire County Council has appointed Bouygues UK to design and build Zone One of its Pentre Awel development.

Pentre Awel is the first development of its scope and size in Wales, bringing together life science innovation, community healthcare and modern leisure facilities at the 83-acre Delta Lakes site on the Llanelli coastline.

Having received UK and Welsh Government approval of its £40million Swansea Bay City Deal business case earlier this year, the council has led an extensive tendering process via the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework for contractors to deliver the exciting scheme.

Zone One will benefit from around £70million of public sector investment and will feature education, business, research, leisure and health facilities to provide transformational social and economic benefits to people in the region.

The contract, which is one of the highest valued tender exercises the council has ever undertaken, puts a key focus on social value to ensure that local people and businesses will reap the benefits of the ambitious scheme.

Bouygues UK will now work with the council, the Regional Learning and Skills Partnership (RLSP), schools, colleges and universities, as well as local employment agencies such as Workways and Communities for Work to deliver a comprehensive programme of community benefits during the construction phase.

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It will mean employment and training opportunities for local people, including jobs for people just starting their careers, apprenticeships, work placements and wider employability support.

There will also be a targeted focus on supporting those who are long-term unemployed or economically inactive, and tailored initiatives in local communities and schools to inspire people towards relevant careers.

Carmarthenshire County Council and Bouygues UK have now entered into an initial pre-construction period – a stage of works undertaken prior to the commencement of construction on site next year.

During this period, further design will be undertaken together with preparation and submission of detailed planning information and preparatory works on site.

Property and construction consultants Gleeds will manage the build contract, supported by design and planning experts Arup.

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Artist’s impression of the Leisure Centre at Pentre Awel in Llanelli (Image: Carmarthenshire Council)

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “Pentre Awel will create a lasting legacy, and this starts with the construction phase. Bouygues UK has a proven track record in constructing projects of Pentre Awel’s scale and complexity, and we look forward to working with them to deliver this landmark project.

“I am confident they share our vision for, and commitment to, social value and as we continue to recover from Covid it is critical that the employment and training opportunities generated during the construction phase of Pentre Awel benefit the people of Llanelli and Carmarthenshire.

“We’re excited to be pushing ahead with the delivery of Zone One of this landmark scheme, and to be making good progress on other zones that make up Pentre Awel.”

Bouygues UK is a global leader with an extensive portfolio of multi-million pound schemes where innovation has been applied to a range of state-of-the-art healthcare, education, commercial and residential developments, including the recently completed £120million Cardiff Innovation Campus.

Simon Barnes, Pre-Construction Director for Bouygues UK, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder on the Pentre Awel project, a first of its kind project in Wales. Our experience in large scale projects like this will ensure the successful delivery of the scheme.

“We are pleased that Carmarthenshire County Council is aligned with our ambitious vision to bring a positive social impact alongside this project. Together with our supply chain we look forward to bringing lasting value to the local community. By using local employment and social enterprise, we will be supporting Well-being and the Future Generations Act. Through engagement with regional learning and skills partnerships, we will also help deliver learning and career opportunities. This project will also benefit from using a local supply chain with particular focus on small and medium size enterprises.”

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The exciting Pentre Awel project includes integrated care and physical rehabilitation facilities, a well-being skills centre which will focus on health and care training, a clinical delivery centre to deliver multi-disciplinary care, and a new state-of-the-art leisure centre, along with landscaped outdoor public spaces for walking and cycling.

A hotel, a range of social and affordable housing, assisted living accommodation and a nursing home are being planned for later phases of the scheme.

Promising to create around 1,800 jobs over 15 years and boosting the local economy by some £467million, it is being delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board, Universities and Colleges. Memorandums of Understanding have been signed with Coleg Sir Gâr, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University and Cardiff University for the delivery of courses on site.

Pentre Awel is one of the world-class projects forming part of the Swansea Bay City Deal.

The £1.3billion Swansea Bay City Deal is an unprecedented investment which will transform people’s lives, creating major opportunities and generating over 9,000 jobs over 15 years.

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The Deal will transform the economic landscape of the Swansea Bay City Region, providing at least a £1.8billion boost to the local economy across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

It will bring major investment in the region’s infrastructure by delivering nine world-class projects in the fields of digital, energy, smart manufacturing, innovation and life science.

The total investment is made up of £241 million of UK Government and Welsh Government funding, £330 million of other public sector money and £581 million from the private sector.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Carmarthenshire

New Year start date for new state-of-the-art Pembrey primary school

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Work will get underway to build a state-of-the-art primary school in Pembrey in the new year.

Carmarthenshire County Council has unveiled plans for its latest new school, part of its multi-million pound Modernising Education Programme, jointly funded by Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools initiative.

The new modern purpose-built £8.25million primary school will be built next to the existing school site on Ashburnham Road.

On completion it will provide high-quality teaching facilities for 270 primary pupils and 30 nursery pupils.

It will also incorporate a Flying Start facility for younger children, located in a mobile classroom on the current school site.

The school has been designed by Carmarthenshire County Council’s own architects and the work will be carried out by Carmarthenshire-based TRJ Construction Ltd, selected from the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework.

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Headteacher Helen Jacob said: “Teaching staff, pupils and families are excited and looking forward to seeing our new school come to life. Our children will benefit from seeing every phase of their new school being built right alongside us – it has been designed to enhance learning and teaching and it is very much deserved.”

Artist’s impression of the new Primary School in Pembrey (Image: Carmarthenshire Council)

Cllr Glynog Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, added: “We are proud to be delivering yet another fantastic new school in Carmarthenshire as part of our Modernising Education Programme.

“The new Ysgol Pen-bre will provide an excellent learning and teaching environment and will also benefit the local community, with many features built into the design that can be used by local people when it opens.

“We look forward to seeing construction start in January.”

By the end of the 2020/21 financial year, Carmarthenshire County Council will have invested £295million in transforming its network of nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Since the programme was launched, 12 new primary schools and two new secondary schools have been built and a number of other schools have been remodelled and refurbished to provide top-class learning and community facilities.

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(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Carmarthen Primary school issues warning after pupils as young as EIGHT are watching graphic violence on viral hit Netflix TV show Squid Game

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Richmond Primary School in Carmarthen has issued a warning to parents after reports of Year 4 children attending the school had either watched Squid Game on TV or had downloaded third-party apps associated with the show.

Squid Game has become a viral hit TV show for streaming platform Netflix – and is currently the service’s most-watched ever series.

The South Korean show however has high levels of gore, death, violence, and physical assault. It also has graphic depictions of suicide, murder, and sexual assault.

The plot is based on a group of adult debtors, thieves, and gamblers competing against each other in a series of childhood games for a grand cash prize. However, there is a dark twist to these seemingly innocent games – losing competitors are violently killed off in ways that grow more twisted as the games grow more intense.

A statement on Richard Primary School’s social media said that while Squid Game has a rating of 15+, children and young people are likely to know about the show via word of mouth and because it is so popular on social media. They may be unaware of the extent of gore, death, and violence the show contains. It also focuses on adult themes that are not appropriate for younger sensibilities.

For young people who live with mental health issues, they may be triggered by some of the content

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Mobile App

The “Squid Game Challenge” (also known as K-Game Challenge) is an app for smartphones and tablets that has been released for Android and iOS, and the two systems differ significantly on their age ratings for the game. The iTunes Store rates the app as 12+ (advising of “mild/infrequent horror/fear themes”), while the PEGI rating for Android is just 3+, which means that very young children might be able to download and play the game even with parental controls activated on their device or through Google Play.

The gameplay is frequently interrupted by pop-ups and ads (sometimes appearing while the user is rapidly tapping their screen while attempting to complete the challenge). This could easily lead to unwanted purchases or accidental visits to inappropriate sites beyond the app.

Warning for parents

Richmond Primary School warns: “As a parent or carer, keep a watchful eye on the content that your children are viewing. Speak to them openly and chat about how they have been spending time on their devices; let them ask questions too. Ensure that the parental controls are activated on your child’s device and that age-restricted child profiles are properly set up, as well as any on-demand services available through the family TV (such as Netflix, in this case) to prevent inappropriate content being streamed.

“If you see your child replicating the challenges from the show or hear them talking about scenes and characters from Squid Game, it would be a timely opportunity to discuss with them that the programme is not intended for children, that much of the content would be inappropriate for their age, and that the violence in the series is very realistic and often upsetting.”

(Lead image: Netflix)

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Pembrey Country Park retains prestigious Green Flag award

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Pembrey Country Park has once again received the prestigious Green Flag Award.

The international award has been given to the popular tourist attraction for its amazing green space for the last three years.

The award is recognised for having the highest possible standards, being beautifully maintained and boasting excellent visitor facilities.

Around £4 million is being invested into the park as part of a masterplan to continue its development as a major tourism destination within Carmarthenshire and Wales.

This is the second award for Pembrey Country Park after it celebrated winning the Blue Flag status for Cefn Sidan earlier this year.

Since the Blue Flag awards were first introduced in 1988, Pembrey Country Park has won more Blue Flags than anywhere else in Wales. Cefn Sidan was also the first Welsh beach to win the accolade.

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Much of the investment has been completed with upgrading and extending camping and caravanning including the installation of a new amenity block and the opening of Yr Orsaf restaurant.

Work has already been completed on a national closed road circuit, a BMX pump track, an adventure golf course, a changing places facility at the ski and activity centre and new accessible toilets.

Improvements will soon be underway to upgrade the outside area surrounding Yr Orsaf restaurant and hub to give visitors a better experience.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said a lot of effort has been put into making the park what it is today. He said: “We are thrilled to be receiving this award once again which is only given to those green spaces that have demonstrated high standards. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how important our green spaces are and they clearly provide health benefits for everyone.”

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government.

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Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: The pandemic showed us just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites.

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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