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Carmarthenshire secures almost £3million from UK Gov to invest in local people, places and businesses

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Carmarthenshire County Council has secured almost £3million of funding to support a range of projects that will help more people into employment, invest in local businesses and communities and boost the skills of local people.

The council was successful in 12 out of its 13 bids to the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund, which has brought a £2.94million boost to the local economy.

The Government said the investment will help improve everyday life for people, places, businesses and communities across the UK.

In Carmarthenshire, the funding will support a range of projects that will support the regeneration of town centres; invest and support local people to launch new businesses; help people gain skills and confidence to apply for jobs, and help the self-employed to market and grow their businesses.

A number of projects will also enhance the county’s cultural identity by digitising its history and encouraging the use of the Welsh language in business.

Many of the projects will be delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council and others will be delivered by a range of public sector partners, charities and local organisations.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “This is another big funding announcement for Carmarthenshire and great news for 12 different projects that will focus on supporting people and communities to thrive.

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“Last week we announced our success in bringing £36million to Carmarthenshire from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund. Now we have secured a further £2.9million from the Government’s Community Renewal Fund.

“This is significant money that will boost Carmarthenshire’s economy and improve the lives of local people.

“It is excellent news – I want to thank our economic development team for their hard work in securing this funding, and to every business and organisation that came to us with fantastic ideas for supporting Carmarthenshire’s growth.”

The council, advised by the Carmarthenshire Public Services Board, assessed a number of ideas brought forward by businesses and organisations earlier this year.

Those with the greatest potential to deliver against key priorities to help the county recover from the pandemic were given priority.

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As part of its economic recovery plan, the council is focusing on safeguarding existing businesses, supporting new start-ups and growing businesses; protecting jobs and helping people gain skills for current and future jobs; and investing in Carmarthenshire’s strategic growth areas, town centres, the rural economy and deprived communities.

The 12 Carmarthenshire projects that will be supported by the UK Community Renewal Fund

Business Skills Bank Sir Gar (delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council)

Offering self-employed and micro enterprises the opportunity to develop an entrepreneurial, innovative culture by supporting them to access specialist skills, increase their performance and become more resilient and competitive in their marketplace.

Carmarthenshire Towns Recovery and Growth Pilot (delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council)

A suite of pilot activities delivered to develop and support Carmarthenshire’s 10 rural market towns and three primary towns as they recover from the pandemic.

Carmarthenshire’s Old Towns – Their Past, Present and Potential (delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council)

Improving sense of place and supporting sustainable regeneration in Carmarthen, Llanelli and Newcastle Emlyn. It will contribute to the development of small-medium businesses, with practical skills training and expanding the local knowledge base.

Digging Beneath the Surface – Archives, Archaeology and Access in Carmarthenshire (delivered by The National Trust)

A project to discover, digitise and disseminate the rich and varied history of Carmarthenshire’s internationally important heritage sites at the Dolaucothi and Dinefwr estates.

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CYCA Dragons – Opportunity to Thrive (delivered by CYCA – Connecting Youth, Children and Adults)

Helping beneficiaries with business ideas. A panel of judges will convene monthly to hear business pitches from entrants with four finalists and two winners selected each month and given a start-up package of investment and tailored support. Individuals not ready for self-employment will have access to training and mentoring.

Enterprise Carmarthenshire (delivered by Business in Focus)

A pilot to support people into self-employment, building skills and confidence. Investing in digital, employability and entrepreneurial skills, and supporting newly established microbusinesses.

Llanelli Town Centre Ambassador and Delivery Service Project (delivered by Llanelli BID in partnership with Llanelli Town Council and Carmarthenshire County Council)

Ambassadors will be appointed to welcome and signpost visitors and residents to services and attractions across the town centre. An electric cargo bike product delivery scheme will also be piloted with local businesses. A community fund will be available for emerging initiatives. 

Rapid Skills Shortage Response (delivered by Coleg Sir Gâr)

A collaborative education and industry led project to address immediate and medium-term skills gaps in the hospitality and construction sectors, supporting the employment markets for local businesses and communities, supporting unemployed people into employment, and up-skilling people to realise their potential.

Regenerating Llanelli (delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council)

Complementing key projects and enhancing the regeneration of the Llanelli area – planning and mapping out a suite of ambitious, innovative, and transformational projects.

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Revitalise Rhydaman (delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council)

Building on Ammanford’s recovery plan to deliver four projects that will enable the town to harness solutions that will build a stronger, locally focussed and more resilient town.

Supporting the Welsh Language in Business and Communities (delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council)

A pilot project delivering key activities to encourage businesses and community organisations to use the Welsh language.

The Life You Want (delivered by Threshold DAS)

Supporting individuals to learn new skills, update existing skills, or find a new direction. The project will also offer in-depth support with job searches and living skills.

(Lead image: Geograph)

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Carmarthen

Major new TV drama latest to choose Carmarthenshire as its setting

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Carmarthenshire County Council has been working with location scouts and the production team to support the filming of a new thriller, which is using the county as its backdrop.

Y Golau/The Light In The Hall, produced by Triongl Cyf and Duchess Street Productions, is being filmed in Welsh and English and is set to air on S4C and Channel 4 in the UK, and Sundance Now in the US.

Cast and crew have been working in and around Llandovery, Carmarthen, Llangadog and Llandeilo over the past few weeks.

Actors including Joanna Scanlan, currently starring as Ma Larkin in the hit ITV family drama The Larkins, and Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones, are amongst those featuring in the thriller.

The council has been working to ensure the local area benefits financially from the production with location fees, accommodation and associated spending on food and retail in the Llandovery, Carmarthen, and surrounding areas set to bring a substantial boost to the local economy.

Council officers have also ensured minimal disruption to communities for the duration of the filming, with traffic management and access to local businesses unaffected.

This is the latest major production to be located in Carmarthenshire, on the back of the hugely successful Keeping Faith drama based in Laugharne and Carmarthen, and Save The Cinema, a film due to be released on Sky in the New Year.

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Although Llandovery and Carmarthen will see the most activity, other locations across the county are also hosting film crews for a range of other productions at the moment.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Yet again Carmarthenshire has been chosen as the location for a major production, which proves that what we have got to offer is enough to attract the best companies in the world.

“Our officers have been supporting the crew to scout locations, contact local landowners and liaise with partners – all part of our efforts to support the growth of the local economy. When we are able to attract productions of this scale, we are able to bring new money into the area – a cast and crew of around 60 people are staying and spending locally, and that means money in the tills of local businesses and in the pockets of local people.”

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, added: “We are very fortunate to have such a range of locations suitable for filming in Carmarthenshire, from large beaches that stretch for miles, to rural and urban landscapes, rolling countryside and historic buildings. We have worked hard to grow our reputation as a location for filming and that is paying off with more enquiries being made to us all the time. It will be fantastic to see Carmarthenshire featured on the screen once again.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Carmarthen

Council moves customer services into former Carmarthen Debenhams store

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Carmarthen’s council customer services Hwb is moving to St Catherine’s Walk to make use of space in the council’s 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop.

Carmarthenshire County Council has secured temporary use of the former Debenhams unit in Carmarthen town centre to provide free retail space for local businesses in the run-up to Christmas.

And to take advantage of the space, it is also moving its customer service team there so people can call in and get advice about council services and support, pick up recycling bags and more whilst doing their Christmas shopping.

The cash desk and other council services will remain at Spillman Street.

Several local businesses have already signed up to make use of the free retail space being offered as part of the council’s 100% Sir Gâr initiative, which will see a new lease of life being brought to the empty town centre unit.

Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said it made sense to bring the customer service centre into town to make it easier for people to access council services in the run-up to Christmas.

“We are pleased to be making good use of this empty unit in Carmarthen town centre’s prime retail core,” he said. “We’ve got lots of fantastic local businesses signed up to make use of the free retail space we’re offering as a 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop.

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“We know this time of year is an exceptionally busy period for people, so it made sense to bring our customer services team into the heart of the town so people can get help and support from us without going further out of their way.

“Our customer services team are there to help with everything from accessing financial support to helping people find suitable housing, from applying for blue badges to supporting people with recycling, and much more.

“We hope people will call in to support local businesses as they do their Christmas shopping, and – if they need it – get the help and support of our customer services team at the same time.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthen

New state-of-the-art prostate biopsy machine for Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals

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A £50,000 state-of-the-art prostate biopsy machine has been purchased for use at Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals, thanks to charitable donations to local urology services, including a £30,000 donation from the West Wales Prostate Cancer Support Group.

The new diagnostic equipment will transform the way prostate cancer is diagnosed, according to Urology Consultant Mr Yeung Ng, and enable the Urology team to continue to develop the targeted biopsy service locally.

Consultant Mr Ng said: “The new equipment allows the capacity of prostate biopsies to be doubled, while also allowing the biopsies to be undertaken.

“The equipment will enable us to undertake transperineal biopsies which are safer procedures with a lower rate of infection as we do not have to undertake the biopsy rectally and diagnostic rates are also improved. 

“The Urology Department is extremely grateful for the charitable donations that we have received to make this purchase possible, as well as for the continued support that WWPCSG has provided us.

“The support of our local communities has helped us acquire new state-of-the-art prostate diagnostic equipment that equips us well for transitioning over to a transperineal prostate service while continuing to develop the targeted biopsy service.

“This support is helping to transform the way we diagnose prostate cancer, especially as patients have previously had to travel to a neighbouring health board to receive this advanced biopsy.”

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Pictured from left, with the new biopsy machine, are: Specialist Nurses Wolfgang Ackerman, David Ceri Thomas and Nicola Thomas; Consultant Mr Yeung Ng;  and Cancer Support Worker Janet Mackrell. (Image: Hywel Dda NHS)

Ken Jones, chairman of the West Wales Prostate Cancer Support Group, said: “Our group offers help to men and their partners living in west Wales.

“While we are not an organisation that sets out to raise funds, we are frequently given donations by people that we have helped. So, when we are able, we donate larger sums to areas where they are needed, such as health boards and cancer research charities that work within west Wales.

“We are delighted to be able to assist in the purchase of this equipment that will help in the work of Hywel Dda’s Urology Department.”

Lead Image: From left, at the cheque presentation are: Urology Service Manager Lianne Wood; Clinical Nurse Specialist Angharad Watkins; Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board Maria Battle; Consultant Mr Yeung Ng; David Goddard, Ken Jones and Iori Rees of WWPCSG; and Claire Rumble, Hywel Dda Health Charities Fundraising Officer. (Image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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