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Bwcabus goes online

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Passengers using the award winning Bwcabus service in Carmarthenshire will soon be able to book their journeys online.

Carmarthenshire County Council has team up with Transport of Wales to launch the new fflecsi Bwcabus online app.

fflecsi Bwcabus will give people the choice to book and track their journeys on their mobile as well as booking over the telephone via a new call centre.

The popular bus service has been operating since 2009 and serves rural communities across North Carmarthenshire and South Ceredigion.

It operates with a mix of prebooked and fixed route journeys.

Single or return journeys can be booked up to 28 days in advance and up to an hour before travelling.

Passengers can also continue to use Bwcabus fixed route services.

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Tailored to the needs of its passengers, journeys can be pre-booked allowing people to travel between local towns and villages within the zone or connect to the main line bus services to travel to places such as Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Cardigan, Haverfordwest and Fishguard.

The fflecsi Bwcabus app can be downloaded for free from play store on Android or Iphone mobile phones.

Alternatively, the new Transport for Wales call centre is open from 6am to 11pm Monday to Saturday and 9am-7pm on a Sunday.

To book a journey call 0300 234 0300 – calls are charged at a local rate and free to call from mobiles or landlines with inclusive minutes/calls.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Hazel Evans said: “We’re delighted to be working with Transport for Wales on this new development. As we have seen over the last 12 years with Bwcabus, on demand transport has been extremely popular here and we believe this is a great opportunity to improve the public transport offer across the region and provide our residents with bus services that give more choice and flexibility on their journeys. I’m sure fflecsi Bwcabus will continue to be popular with passengers and we are delighted to be working with our partners to provide public transport services fit for today and the future.”

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Bwcabus is a partnership between Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire county councils and has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Improved Transport for North Pembrokeshire

Meanwhile Bwcabws and Fflecsi Pembrokeshire are joining together to provide an integrated service, with standard fares and booking procedures.  

The move will enable customers to switch seamlessly between buses, said Cllr Phil Baker, Pembrokeshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure.

“This is great news for passengers,” he said. “Instead of having two different systems and pricing structures, the whole process will be streamlined, make booking transport much more straightforward.”

He added: “The TfW Fflecsi service has demonstrated how demand responsive transport can play a vital part in transforming public transport in other parts of Pembrokeshire already. We are delighted to be playing a part in delivering this innovative new service enhancement and learning from the customer and operational feedback provided by the new technology.”

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Whilst the bus serving the Bwcabus zone will still be operated by Richards Bros, the service will become part of Fflecsi Pembrokeshire which will see the introduction of matching ticket fares.

The amalgamation will also allow customers the ability to book via the Fflecsi App and get a confirmed booking straight away. Customers will still be able to phone to book by using the Fflecsi Call Centre – 0300 234 0300.

Fflecsi Pembrokeshire is now made up of four zones:

  • St Brides – covering the West coast from Little Haven up to St David’s, across to Trefin, down to Haverfordwest and then back across to Little Haven.
  • St Aidan – covering the North coast from St David’s to Lower Town Fishguard, down to Trecwn, across to Newgale and back up to St David’s.
  • Jemima – covering central north Pembrokeshire from Haverfordwest, up to Abercastle, across to Lower Town Fishguard and back down to Haverfordwest.
  • Bwcabus – covering central north Pembrokeshire from Castlemorris, across to Mynachlogddu, down to Llanycefn, across to Hayscastle Cross and back up to Castlemorris.

The fixed Bwcabus routes will also be returning and these can be used without prior booking:

642 (Crymych-Mynachlogddu-Llangolman-Rhosfach-Maenclochog-New Moat-Clarbeston Road to Haverfordwest) – Every Friday

643 (Puncheston-Little Newcastle-Ambleston-Wallis-Woodstock-Spittal to Haverfordwest) Every Monday and Friday

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644 (Rosebush-Maenclochog-New Moat-Clarbeston Road to Haverfordwest) – Every Tuesday

645 (Trecwn-Puncheston-Little Newcastle-Letterston to Haverfordwest or Fishguard) – Every Thursday

There are also some improvements which are being made to schedules of the three existing Fflecsi zones:

  • On Saturdays, the service will be available throughout the three zones from 08.30 to 18.30.  
  • More journeys available between 12 noon and 1 pm [as the drivers will be taking a more flexible lunch break].
  • New ticket options.  As well as weekly and monthly tickets for regular passengers, Fflecsi are introducing a new 12 trip ticket, giving significant savings against the single ticket price. [12 trip tickets for journeys under 5 miles £18 adult, £7.20 child; 12 trip ticket for journeys over 5 miles £25.20 Adult, £14.40 Child].  This is a great option for people wishing to travel regularly but not every day. It also offers a discounted option for groups travelling together.  
  • You can now see all the public transport options for your journey in one place.  The app will show you information about fixed bus services (such as the T5 and T11) if they are an option for your journey.
  • Community groups and activity organisers – please talk to Fflecsi about how they could help meet your members’ travel needs.  Contact Karel on pvtprojectcoordinator@gmail.com 

Also, with the coastal buses now moving to their winter timetables, Fflecsi Pembrokeshire continues to run six days a week throughout Northwest Pembrokeshire, giving access to the coast from Fishguard, around the St Davids peninsula to Little Haven.  

Lead image: Bwcabws in Wolfscastle (Image: Pembrokeshire Council)

For more information visit www.bwcabus.info

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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

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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Carmarthenshire

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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