Moorland Primary School continues Rights Respecting journey

Primary school pupils in Cardiff are being educated about their human rights as part of an ongoing UN initiative.

© Jess Daly

© Jess Daly

Moorland Primary School in Splott is one of the schools taking part.

Head teacher, Jane Jenkins, said: “I think it’s really powerful for our children to know that in some parts of the world children are actually valuing their education and their right to education so much they’re walking several miles each way to get to school every day - I think that does very much bring it to life for them.”

The Rights Respecting Schools Award launched in 2004 and encourages schools to educate children about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - the convention contains over 50 separate rights, reaching from social and cultural to economic and political.

To reach the Bronze level schools must show how they intend on committing to teach their children about the rights of children, reaching the Silver level requires an assessment which measures the school’s ability to train, model and develop teacher and pupil knowledge, and Gold assesses and certifies that children's rights are included in all aspects of school life.

Mrs Jenkins believes they will have secured Silver by the end of the academic year, with Gold following a couple of years later – they completed the Bronze level within the first six months.

She said: “We’re now taking a couple of the rights each month and exploring them through assemblies, personal and social sessions, and circle time sessions – it’s really enhancing what we were already doing.” 

Mrs Jenkins has also used links with schools in Zambia and Bangladesh to engage her pupils further.

She said: “We are thinking about what those rights are actually saying, what it means for the children in this school and what it means for children in other schools around the world.”

Other schools in the area taking part in the Rights Respecting Award project include Whitchurch Primary, Christ the King Primary in Llanishen and Stacey Primary School in Roath.

What! Stores developing abandoned St Mellons Kwik Save site

An abandoned building in St Mellons is being given a new lease of life thanks to the retailer What! Stores.

Building work has begun on the former Kwik Save and Hypervalue site, which has been left abandoned since 2007.

In recent weeks the building has been secured and cleared, with fencing and scaffolding also put in place.

Earlier this year one local resident said that the lack of work on the site - which is shared with Indian restaurant Shamrat, Boots and Willowbrook Surgery - was “an absolute disgrace”.

Speaking to me this week, a spokesperson from What! Stores said: “The site is owned by What! Stores and we are planning on opening one of our stores in the St Mellons location.

“The Newport Road store is closing down and in effect relocating to the old Kwik Save location.”

During the 11 years the Kwik Save site has been abandoned it has attracted fly-tipping, graffiti and other forms of anti-social behaviour. South Wales Fire & Rescue also attended twice within the space of a week in 2016, after fires were deliberately started inside the building.

Councillor Michael Michael, said: “I, and the other Trowbridge and St Mellons councillors welcome the work being done on the former Kwik Save store as it’s long been an eyesore.

“We also welcome the development of a new What! store in St Mellons and the possibility of jobs.”

Local residents campaigned hard for progress to be made, causing Cardiff Council to re-think their original plans for more housing back in 2014 - at a meeting that same year the site’s owner said that his consultants were looking at retail opportunities for development.

What! Stores have not given a timeframe for the store to be complete, only suggesting that their Newport Road branch will close in the “near future”.

If you live in the local area feel free to get in touch with your thoughts.

nextbike UK to double bikes in Cardiff next year

nextbike UK has announced plans to double the number of bicycles in the Welsh capital by summer 2019.

The nextbike Cardiff scheme launched in March with 5 docking stations and 50 bikes, and as of September there have been 500 bikes. A further 65 docking stations will go live next year, doubling the number of bikes.

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Last month Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport at Cardiff Council, Councillor Caro Wild, revealed that in October there were over 50,000 rentals in Cardiff, and nearly 150,000 since launching.

Speaking about the schemes success, he said: “We’ve broken records in terms of the most popular scheme across the UK so we’ve just been delighted, but also delighted how it’s brought lots of different people to maybe take a bike for the first time that otherwise wouldn’t have done. 

“There’s bike hire places not just in the city centre – we’re out in some of our suburbs which have also been popular.” 

“People are sick of congestion. A lot of people don't want to use their cars but they haven’t had alternatives in the past.”

nextbike have teamed up with Cardiff Bay-based charity Pedal Power to maintain the bikes – they will grow their team to keep up with the demand.

One student from the city, Ella Walsh, said that hiring the bikes is “really easy” and that pricing was “reasonable”.

Dave Leemas is a regular nextbike user, he believes that the scheme is “great” for commutes, and believes it is “faster and more under your own control than public transport”.

In weeks to come the company will be asking their social media followers for input on where the new docking stations should be. 65 locations will be picked before the roll-out begins in 2019.

Women Connect First prepare for World Café launch

A group of refugees living in Cardiff have unveiled plans to launch a World Café.

© Niamh Colclough

© Niamh Colclough

Supported by Riverside-based charity Women Connect First, the group cook every week for locals, offering a selection of food from the Middle East. They are now seeking to officially register their space with Cardiff Council so they can set it up as a business.

Up until March 2018 the women raised £5,000 through donations to the café – a proportion of this has been spent on purchasing new equipment.

Overseeing the project is Amal Beyrouty, who has been with the women since it began. She said: “They are still in the process of learning skills, they’ve done starting a business course, but they still need the skills to run a business.”

Women Connect First has helped the women seek advice, socialise with other women and learn new skills including English and IT. The charity’s Operational Director, Maria Mesa, said: “Amal and the women were the brains behind the idea. They came up with the idea. They had a brainwave about what they wanted.

“It was quite an accident that it became such a big thing. Initially, it was just to share food and to raise a little bit of money for activities, but it’s big now. 

“Women Connect First has invested quite a lot of money, and of course the staff have invested lots of time.

“I think it’s been amazing, it’s been very successful.” 

If the World Café is a success, the women are hoping to cater for events and meetings by various organisations. They would also be looking to launch a weekly takeaway lunch service.

"Reclusive" brothers sentenced for growing cannabis

Two “reclusive” brothers have been handed a 12-month community order and ordered to stay inside their house with a curfew for growing cannabis plants.

Thomas Wilkins, 32, and Michael Wilkins, 27, were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court.

In April a police officer entered their property in Helen Place, Adamsdown, after smelling the class B drug whilst patrolling the area.

On entering the property, the pair admitted that they were growing the plants and led the officer to a first-floor bedroom which contained 10 mature plants. An airing cupboard nearby house 17 smaller plants. They were fed by an irrigation system. Lighting and heat reflectors were also used.

The brothers said that the cannabis was grown for personal use to save money – no evidence was found showing an intent to supply.

Michael Wilkins’ defence barrister, Steven Donoghue, described the pair as being “reclusive in nature”. He said: “They can’t be separated, they live together, they do everything together.”

Before Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke sentenced the pair, she acknowledged that Thomas Wilkins had “managed to get to court, albeit with difficulty” and that he “will need support” carrying out the community order.

As the both men had admitted possessing the plants from the outset, the judge granted them a guilty plea discount of one month.

In addition to the community order, the brothers will have to complete 15 days of rehabilitation activities and have an electronically monitored curfew. They were also ordered to pay £300 between them in court costs.