Prison Suicide Rates At Alarming Figure

March 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm (Cardiff news) (, , , , , )

A LEADING charity has said suicide rates in prison are already at an alarming figure for 2009, just days after a Cardiff man was found hanging in his prison cell.
The Prison Reform Trust said suicide rates in prisons in England and Wales in 2009, which have already reached 11, are expected to rise and the current figures were “very worrying”.
These statistics come three days after Gareth Thomas, 28, of Gwent, was found hanging in his cell at Cardiff Prison. Thomas was due for release as early as next week after being sentenced to two months, 18 days in prison for theft and non-payment of fines.
A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “South Wales Police was called to a report of a sudden death of a 28-year-old man at Her Majesty’s Prison, Cardiff, on Tuesday, 10 March 2009. An investigation is being carried out on behalf of the coroner.”
Last year David Cushing, 35, from Ystrad Mynach, who was on remand after being accused of murdering his baby son was found hanged in his prison cell at Parc Prison, Bridgend on August 16.
South Wales Police said: “We have been at the forefront of influencing the debate as to how such complex needs of health related drug and alcohol dependencies and mental health needs are met.
“The challenge is to ensure wider community and partnership engagement so one of societies most vulnerable groups can be addressed as a health need within the health system and not one of being detained within police cells.”
A spokesperson for the Prison Reform Charity said: “Prison suicides are a problem and we need to figure out ways to reduce them. More needs to be done, especially for those in the first few days of custody when people arrive in prison and are at their most vulnerable.”
“There is not one factor behind these deaths, but people clearly need to recognise overcrowding in the prisons. The prison system as a whole is overcrowded. Whether the figures will go down for this year is difficult to tell but what we know already is very worrying.”


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Campaign to Save Pub Steps Up

March 24, 2009 at 4:14 pm (Cardiff news)



The campaign to save one of Cardiff’s oldest pubs have stepped up as time is running out before it gets demolished

The Vulcan Hotel, Adam Street, Adamsdown, has been under threat since plans were announced to knock it down to become a car park for St David’s 2.

The pub, which is owner by Cardiff brewery Brains, is situated in the middle of a car park and it has now been decided that it will be demolished to make more room for parking.

The pub, which is 155 years old and become apart of Cardiff’s historical culture, is only five years away form being classed as a listed building, which would prevent any damage being done to it.

The campaign has been ongoing since September after the announcements were made last year to save the Vulcan and make it a listed building to protect it. But the campaigners are having to step up the campaign and gather increased support before time runs out, as the pub is planned to be demolished in June.

T-shirts have been made with slogans saying “Save the Vulcan”. There have been various protests organised and events to raise awareness and gather support.

Support to sae the pub has also come from Assembly Members Jenny Willott and Jenny Randerson.

Facebook groups and blogs have been set up to gather support, the biggest group being -Save the Vulcan with over 700 members.

Rachel Thomas is the campaigns organiser for the Liberal Democrats, Cardiff and has organised the campaign to save the Vulcan.

Miss Thomas said: “Cardiff is becoming like every other city in the UK- same shops, same restaurants and faceless bars, same atmosphere. The Vulcan characterises Cardiff’s character and must be left to thrive.

Miss Thomas said the pub was a reminder of Cardiff’s history from when it used to serve the workers on the docks, and this was an important part of Cardiff’s history.

A protest was held outside the Senedd to present the 5,000 signature petition to the Assembly’s Petitions Committee.

On 12th March a literary night is being held in the Vulcan, with writers including Peter Finch and John Williams, and musician Heather Jones.

On March 16 a concert will be performed at the pub by the Orion IV String Quartet, who will play a selection of music that has existed since 1853.

Dr Bernard Kane, violist in the quartet said: “The Vulcan represents and example of our past here, in Cardiff. Once a building like The Vulcan is destroyed it can never be replaced. That part of this city’s history, along with the memories of our ancestors basically would be torn down with its destruction.

“I am passionate about saving The Vulcan as I have seen far too many buildings of its like destroyed to create pre-fab structures that will not last even a fraction of the Vulcan’s age.”

So far the campaign has received a lot of support from Cardiff residents who do not want to see the Vulcan demolished. The group have sent round a petition with 5,000 signatures was handed to the Welsh Assembly to put pressure on them to stop the plans.

Miss Thomas said: “That is not a number the Welsh Assembly Government can ignore. I am more than confident that the Assembly will do everything it can, I am confident that we can win.

An idea to move the Vulcan to St Fagan’s Museum was strongly rejected by the campaigners.

Miss Thomas said: “Moving the pub to St Fagan’s would be a crime. Why close a thriving business in a recession, spend thousands and thousands of pounds moving it to a museum for it to rot as an empty shell? The pub is a living reminder of our history. It has stood on that plot of land on Adam Street since 1853, and doesn’t deserve to be dumped in a museum.”

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Cardiff School rasies money for Rwandan Children

March 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm (Cardiff news) (, , , )

A PRIMARY school in Cardiff has raised money for new classrooms in a primary school in Rwanda through their partnership with the African school. Llanederyn Primary School has been raising funds for Kigali Junior Academy and Kayonza Primary School for the last four years.

Each year the school has managed to raise about £250 to go towards the school. The money was raised from donations at the school’s harvest festival celebrations and has been enough to build and furnish two new classrooms at Kayonza Primary School. They have also received donations from the British Council. Kayonza School is a charity project for Llanederyn but the links with Kigali Junior Academy is an equitable link where both schools benefit.

Madeleine Fox, who teaches at Llanederyn Primary School set up the link through her brother, after she visited her family who live in the Kayonza district of Rwanda. Ms Fox has helped arrange events in the school and has organised her own events outside of her teaching. A concert she organised at the Electricity Social and Welfare Club in Llandaff included performances from a school teacher’s band. The event managed to raise £1,000. Ms Fox has raised more than £2,000 for the Rwandan schools through a number of charity events.

Ms Fox said: “I initially went out to Rwanda to visit my family and we vitied the schools. We have had the link for about four years we have been sending letters back to them. I think the links are good for the children because we do not want them to feel that a link has to be charitable, it can also be equitable. The equitable link with the academy exists because it is not such a poor school and it is very important to move the children out of stereotypes of poor Africans.”

Ms Fox and another teacher, Helena Jones, visited Kayonza Primary School in May 2008 during an exchange visit and were shown around the two new classrooms. The Rwandan school has now renamed itself the Kayonza Llanederyn Primary School in recognition of the link. Some of the students have now got pen pals with the pupils in the African schools and regularly write to them. Members of staff from Kayonza Primary School also came over the teach in Llanederyn, and showed pupils traditional flags, drums, instruments and dances.

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Children do charity

March 19, 2009 at 11:18 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

With charity and giving being on everyone’s mind at the moment for Comic Relief tonight (Fri), people are putting themselves through all kinds of trials and tribulation to raise money for children both in the United Kingdom and Africa.

This year the slogan is ‘Do something funny for money’, and students, schools and businesses all over Cardiff are performing tasks such as dressing in pyjamas all day to telling jokes to raise funds for the cause.

But what happens when all the fun surrounding Comic Relief stops? It is easy to forget the help that is needed, especially in Africa where children are suffering daily. One Cardiff school broke the trend and decided last year to raise money for an East African orphanage, so they would receive money and help at a time of year when they may not be in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Albany Primary School, Albany Road, Plasnewydd celebrated their harvest festival in October by raising money for the East African Mission Orphanage in Kenya. Now the money has been put to good us and the orphanage has just managed to buy new bunk beds with the donations that were raised by the pupils. The beds means the children, who are in the orphanage after losing their parents to disease or not being properly cared for, can have a better night’s sleep and be more comfortable in their surroundings.

All classes, from class one to class 14 took part in the Harvest Festival on October 6. They had the choice of either donating food to local homeless centres or donating money to the orphanage. They managed to raise £150 to be sent to Kenya. Jody Sage, 27,teacher of class 9 pupils, helped organise the donation to Mission Orphanage after she travelled through Africa and had visited the orphanage herself.

The school prefers to donate to a cause that is linked to one of their teachers, so Mrs Sage suggested the orphanage would be perfect as the children would be able to relate to it by helping other children.

Mrs Sage said: “We spent 24 hours at the orphanage with the children. They are children at the need of the day and need help. It is a brilliant orphanage but it is only voluntary so they need support.”

The orphanage has been established for more than 10 years, and provides a home for more than 125 children and teenage mothers. They care for children who would end up either dying a premature death through malnutrition, or walking the streets in search of food. They often turn to as a means of survival. The children are often taken into Kenyan gangs and are exploited by the gang leaders. The orphanage tries to find the children and help them before they are forced onto the streets.

Because they are so short of funding, they rely on donations to survive. The orphanage only applies to children who are orphans, not HIV victims, which Mrs Sage say is a problem for the institution, as HIV sufferers often get a lot of coverage and support but places such as the orphanage are overlooked.

The children at Albany Primary School were sent photos of the orphans and the new beds they had brought with the donations from the school. Mrs Sage said the children were very pleased to have seen the photos and how their money had been used to help other children like themselves.

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