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Kidwelly

Hop back into the history of South Wales this Easter

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Visitors to Cadw sites can explore hundreds of years of Welsh history this Easter (08 – 25 April 2022), as castles, abbeys and historic houses across the country host an array of family-friendly events.

From meeting a medieval monk at Tintern Abbey to knight school classes at Kidwelly Castle, here are 6 of the best ways families can experience the sights, sounds and smells of historic Wales this Easter. 

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For those who fancy making the most of the events on offer, Cadw membership offers free event entry and unlimited access to over 100 historical sites across Wales. 

Watch a medieval fashion show at Raglan Castle 

A weekend of medieval mayhem will come to Raglan Castle this Easter weekend — courtesy of living history group, Historia Normannis, and award-winning falconers, Wings of Wales.

From archery and armoury demonstrations to medieval fashion shows and breath-taking falconry displays, this jam-packed event will offer an unforgettable day of fun for all the family.

Historia Normannis: Life in the Marches at Raglan Castle
Saturday 16 April – Monday 18 April, 10:00 am – 4:00pm.
Standard admission prices apply. No prior booking required.
More information available here

Enrol at Kidwelly Castle’s silly knight school

Visitors to this larger-than-life event can have a go at everything from juggling to diabolo and plate spinning — courtesy of Juggling Jim. Following this, silly knight school students will be challenged to complete three fun challenges to become a knight.

Juggling Jim at Kidwelly Castle
Tuesday 19 April and Wednesday 20 April, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Standard admission prices apply. No prior booking required.
More information available here

Meet Brother Thomas at Tintern Abbey

As the cellarer of Tintern Abbey, Brother Thomas knows all there is to know about monastic life — and he’ll be sharing all the secrets with visitors to this unique event. You will learn about everything from the monks’ duties to their hygiene and eating habits.

Brother Thomas the Cellarer at Tintern Abbey
Saturday 09 April: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Standard admission prices apply. No prior booking required.
More information available here.

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Fly high with Falconry at Laugharne Castle 

Discover falcons, eagles and even vultures at this fascinating event — which will explain the role that birds of prey played in medieval Wales, complete with flying displays throughout the day.

Birds of Prey at Laugharne Castle
Friday 15 April and Saturday 23 April, 11:00 am – 4:00pm.
Standard admission prices apply. No prior booking required.
More information available here

Uncover the deliciously rich history of Chepstow Castle

Families are invited to discover what the medieval residents of Chepstow Castle would have cooked and eaten — as the site prepares for a very important, noble visitor. Attendees will be drafted in to help the Castle stewards assemble ingredients and set the grandiose table ahead of the feast. 

What’s more, the 900-year-old site will host a game of Easter Bingo every day from 09-24 April, with families invited to search the entire Castle for clues.

Let’s Discover… Medieval Food at Chepstow Castle
Wednesday 13 April 10:00am – 4:00pm.
Standard admission prices apply. No prior booking required.
More information available here

Meet the Marchers at Tretower Court and Castle

Visitors to this event will discover a day in the life of the 17th century — with the Marcher Stuarts on hand to teach modern visitors about everything from dining etiquette to the best ways of keeping your powder dry. Plus, families can follow Rhys the Rabbit’s Easter Trail around the grounds of the medieval fortified manor — for a chance to win a chocolatey surprise.

Meet the Marchers at Tretower Court and Castle
Saturday 16 April – Monday 18 April 10:30am – 4:30pm.
Standard admission prices apply. No prior booking required.
More information available here

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Business

Specialist care home provider based in Neath and Kidwelly sold to national firm

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Learning disabilities care home provider Care without Compromise has been sold to national specialist care provider, Choice Care.

Care without Compromise, founded in 2009, operates three care homes in Cilfrew, Bryncoch and Kidwelly.

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They offer high-quality care for up to 18 people with learning disabilities, challenging behaviour, and complex mental health disorders.

In 2021, the Directors of Care Without Compromise decided to retire from the sector and so appointed Christie & Co to run a discrete marketing campaign. Amid strong interest from a variety of buyers, the Directors elected to sell the business to Choice Care, which already operates services across 80 settings throughout the UK. This is Choice Care’s first acquisition in Wales and will provide the company with a platform to expand in the region.

Speaking on behalf of Care Without Compromise, Directors, Steve Richards and John Doyle, comment, “We are proud of what we have achieved at Care Without Compromise over the past 13 years. The staffing team are fantastic and have showed amazing resilience over the past two years of the pandemic to ensure the quality of care has been maintained for our clients. We are delighted to secure the sale of the group to Choice Care and wish them all the very best.”

Gareth Williams, Chief Commercial Officer at Choice Care, comments, “We are very excited to acquire such a quality group and look forward to working closely with the residents, staff and families over the coming years.”

Rob Kinsman, Regional Director – Healthcare at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, adds, “We were able to target the key acquirers for Care Without Compromise through our depth of experience in the sector and generated multiple bids for the Directors’ consideration. We are delighted to achieve a successful outcome for the Directors and have no doubt that Choice Care will continue to deliver the very best care.

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“The level of interest generated in this business underlines the strength of investor demand for specialist care services with a wide variety of buyer groups seeking to expand their portfolios throughout the UK.”

The vendors were represented by Paul James of Redkite Solicitors in Cardiff and Choice Care was represented by Acuity Law in Cardiff.

Care Without Compromise was sold for an undisclosed price.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Commissioner visits old Police station to see its transformation into community food bank

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Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn visited the old Police Station in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire last week, which has been converted to a hub for the community’s local Foodbank.

Mr Llywelyn was in the Kidwelly area, as part of a Community Engagement Day, where he met with staff and volunteers of CETMA who are leasing Kidwelly Police Station from Dyfed-Powys Police to run a foodbank for local communities.

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As well as running the local foodbank, CETMA are involved in several community projects with the aim of improving the local area.

The Megan and the Food Squad Project is an example of an educational programme developed by CETMA, funded by Sir Gar, and ran from the old Police Station, that aims to educate children and young people about the benefits of growing food, importance of healthy eating, and the effects of food waste on our environment.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said, “I am so pleased to see how the old Police Station here in Kidwelly is being utilised, and to see first-hand that it has developed into a vital hub for the local community, with its foodbank and community projects proving to have such a positive impact on the lives of local people.

“It is pleasing to see our Neighbourhood Policing Team involving themselves and engaging with the staff and volunteers in the area and that they have developed strong relationships with key partners in the Community, and I hope that the foodbank hub here in the old Police Station will go from strength to strength as it develops in to an essential resource for the area.”

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn and staff at the John Burns Foundation (Image: Dyfed Powys PCC)

Later on in the day, the PCC visited the John Burns Foundation in Kidwelly, to learn more on the community programmes they run that aim to make a difference to the lives of local people.

Melanie Jones Programme Development Manager at John Burns Foundation said: “Having been accredited recently as a Living Wage Employer,  we have met with the Commissioner a couple of times to discuss regional opportunities for employers, and we are grateful to him for visiting our facility here in Parc y Bocs, to discuss options on how we can work together in the future for the benefit of the community.”

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Lead image: PCC Dafydd Llywelyn with CETMA staff and volunteers at the foodbank hub in the old Kidwelly Police Station (Image: Dyfed Powys PCC)

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Carmarthenshire

PCSO works to bring end to unscrupulous cockle pickers in Kidwelly, Ferryside, Llansteffan and Laugharne

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PCSO Helen Fender has been recognised at Dyfed Powys Police’s awards for her efforts in tackling anti-social behaviour associated with unscrupulous cockle pickers descending on the communities of St Ishmael, Kidwelly, Llanybri, Llansteffan and Laugharne.

To effect change, PCSO Fender looked at the issue and its cause – pinpointing an old by-law that allowed anyone to get a free permit to pick cockles in the Three Rivers Fishery cockle beds.

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PCSO Helen Fender (Image: Dyfed Powys Police)

In 2017 there were more than 1,000 permit holders and the only regulation for obtaining a permit is to give a name, address, contact details and a photograph for ID.

“I noticed that something had to be done, it couldn’t go on this way as it was causing no end of issues for the community and the genuine fishermen who relied on picking cockles for a living,” she said.

“On the Bury Inlet there was no issue as it was much harder to get a permit.”

PCSO Fender set about working with the Welsh Government to try and make the Three Rivers Fishery regulated as other cockle beds are.

A three-month consultation is being launched with the aim to bring in tougher legislation for permits to be issued – with requirements to include training, minimum kit standards, their employment status for HMRC and an annual fee of £800.

“I’ve worked with the communities and with the local fishermen on this, and they are supportive,” said PCSO Fender.

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“When you’ve got 1,000 permits handed out to people from all over the country, there is going to be problems for the community and it impacts the local gatherers who depend on this industry to make a living.

“It was having a really detrimental effect on the lives of people in the area and it was proving dangerous, with numerous quads on the beaches and villages, even crossing railway lines.”

The issue has caused problems over the years with the Welsh Government Marine and Fisheries Division closing the Three Rivers Fishery cockle beds from 2012 to 2017 due to serious reports of anti-social behaviour, including people sleeping rough, litter not disposed of properly, no toilet facilities, and large articulated lorries trying to access small village roads.     

Sgt Gemma Davies said: “Helen has conducted a thorough and detailed enquiry into the underlying issues at the location, has sourced expert opinion and discussed numerous options to try and implement change for the better for the cockling community and the people living near to the cockle beds.

“We’re hopeful to achieving a regulated permit system which can be monitored and ‘policed’ by the fisheries more effectively.”

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Lead image: File photo of cockle picking in the Burry Inlet (Image: Natural Resources Wales)

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