BRYNCYNON COMMUNITY REVIVAL STRATEGY LTD
I added an update to the previous post about Empower after learning more about this group, and perhaps what struck me most was the fact that despite the latest Accounts telling us (top of page 4) that “Trustees are elected from Bryncynon and its surrounding areas”, only one of the trustees lives anywhere near Bryncynon.
So I took it upon myself to make enquiries into these non-local trustees, assuming that if they’ve been recruited without knowing the area then they must bring some special talent to the venture. The four, all appointed 31.03.2017, are: Elizabeth Claire Bryan of Brackla, Bridgend; Paul Christopher Maliphant of Whitchurch, Cardiff; David Joseph Haines of Llandaff, Cardiff; and Robert Andrew Dickens of Mitchel Troy, Monmouth.
Ladies first. Elizabeth Claire Bryan is also a Designated Member (partner) in Coherent Light Consulting LLP. The other Designated Member is Michael Haydn Bryan, of Tonteg, Pontypridd, who I assume is her father. Bryan père is involved in a number of other bodies – Arts Factory Ltd of Ferndale, Toogoodtowaste Ltd of Porth, Citizens Advice Rhondda Cynon Taff Ltd, and Ffotogallery Wales Ltd.
Given that these are all reliant on public funding it would be reasonable to assume that Bryan is a Labour Party member or supporter. But on the Companies House website (and elsewhere) he consistently gives his nationality as ‘Welsh’.
As Labour Party members tend to be Welsh only for the duration of a rugby international this might indicate that Bryan is not a bruvver. Someone out there must know.
Either way, Claire Bryan is a consultant.
Next up we have Paul Christopher Maliphant, whose Linkedin profile would suggest that he’s a geologist . . . ideal then for a community venture like Bryncynon Community Revival Strategy Ltd. But he is also a mentor, approved and recommended by the ‘Welsh’ Government.
Above his photo you’ll see a tab for ‘Mentor profiles’. I urge you to click on it and go through some of the bios. God Almighty! it’s frightening, with a worrying number of them having moved here in their twilight years or else they’re not living in Wales at all.
These mentors are listed alphabetically – by Christian name! Which means they run from Adrian T. Barsby to Yasmin Crawford. So if you’re looking for ‘Wassisname Doyle’ you’d better know that it’s Lindsay Hugh Doyle.
Moving on, the next trustee is David Joseph Haines. Now Dai has an interesting business background . . . in shipping, which must be useful along the bustling quays and wharfs of Cwm Cynon.
The only company he’s involved with that hasn’t sunk or been scuppered is Bryncynon Community Revival Strategy Ltd itself. Quite what he brings to the party is a mystery to me.
The final non-local is Robert Andrew Dickens whose business interests seem to flit between addresses in Monmouth and Aberthaw. I guess what puts the bread on his table now is Safety Technology Ltd.
Though there are disasters in his past, too. Not least Mainline Safety Ltd, which sank with all hands – and a few creditors – off Liverpool some years ago. Merseyside being where Dickens calls home, Southport to be exact.
Bringing up the rear we have the only local trustee in John Matthews, Earth-botherer, former policeman and now bus driver who’s been in post for over ten years. I suppose they had to keep him on to have one trustee who could pronounce Bryncynon.
The ‘Welsh’ Government has obviously stepped in and appointed these new trustees (and in so doing might have broken the rules), perhaps because the Abercynon venture has relied heavily on Communities First funding and this has now come to an end.
But what has it all achieved?
We have areas across Wales like Abercynon in desperate need of help, but the only response from Cardiff Bay is, ‘OK, we’ll give you money to buy an old chapel – turn it into a cafe, crèche and community building – then we’ll send you up a few mentors, and if things are really bad we’ll chuck in a motivator, too. And then, when this pot of money runs out, we’ll look for another one. Tidy, mun’.
All this system achieves is the normalisation of deprivation and the creation of a dependency culture. For politicians it’s being seen to be doing something. For civil servants it’s a box-ticking exercise. And for the third sector it’s just milking the system.
Something in it for everybody . . . except those it’s supposedly helping.
Regular readers will have heard me mention Wynne Jones of Cardigan. Wynne is a scourge of the third sector and the civil servants with responsibility for the third sector due to his probing questions and his meticulous record-keeping. I bet there are senior civil servants quaking at the mere mention of his name.
So wary have civil servants now become of Wynne that he is receiving letters with neither signature nor name appended, suggesting that some civil servants don’t want to put their name to the answers they’re providing. Why would that be?
And the same thing is happening to me. Here are a couple of samples. The one on the top was received by Wynne last week and the other was sent to me last month.
And it’s getting even more strange now with Wynne because he is being asked to discuss things on the telephone, suggesting that some of the civil servants he’s dealing with don’t want to put anything in writing, whether signed or not.
What a situation! What does it tell us about the way Wales is run?
If you’re reading this, Carwyn (and if you’re still FM), what do you think about civil servants answering letters anonymously? I’m sure there must be a rule that says there should be a name attached.
Because when we take over, how will we know who to put on trial?
USING THE MEDIA
In case you missed it, there was a curious story in the media earlier this week about a man accused of being a paedophile because he stayed in a Cheshire hotel with his fourteen-year-old daughter while visiting his cancer-stricken mother. Here’s the WalesOnline report which also tells us that the man’s wife – and presumably the girl’s mother – suffers from multiple sclerosis.
The family lives in the relatively remote Carmarthenshire village of Rhydcymerau, which may be found on the B4337 between Llanybydder and Llansawel. I assumed they had recently moved to the village. A suspicion borne out by his Linkedin profile and these entries from 192.com.
As I say, this story appeared in WalesOnline and its print version Llais y Sais. And though it was claimed as an Exclusive by the Daily Star it also appeared in the Independent, the Sun, the Express, Mirror and a host of other ‘papers and online sites. Nick Ferrari had a rant about it on LBC, it was reported in Australia, and even beyond the Anglosphere. Here’s a Czech report, a Flemish account, and finally, for good measure, it’s covered here in what I think is Chinese.
This coverage, for what was little more than a misunderstanding, is quite incredible. How was it achieved?
If we look at the photograph above we see that the attribution is “Image: Karl Pollard / SWNS.com”. Which would suggest that the image belongs to Pollard and was distributed by South West News Service, an agency dealing in ‘news’ for those who prefer ‘human interest’ stories.
The Twitter feed, with tales of a hairy-chested woman and a foetus flicking a V-sign, tells us that SWNS is to news reporting what The Jeremy Kyle Show is to intellectual discourse, or am I being too harsh? Whether I am or not, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that after the incident at the Travelodge in Macclesfield Pollard went to SWNS with the story and the pictures.
What’s more, he wasn’t slow about it. The WalesOnline report is datelined 10:20 Monday the 19th and says the incident happened “last week”. The Star, Sun, Express and Mirror reports are dated Sunday the 18th.
Perhaps this explains why it has been suggested to me there may be something ‘contrived’ about the whole thing. I’m not sure about that because it wasn’t Pollard who called the police, it was staff at the hotel. But then again, he must have realised that a 46-year-old man sharing a bedroom with a 14-year-old girl is guaranteed to attract suspicion.
But it’s how Pollard responded to a misunderstanding that was soon sorted out that causes me disquiet.
Let’s look at the three most important females in Karl Pollard’s life. His mother is gravely ill with cancer, his wife is suffering from multiple sclerosis, and his 14-year-old daughter was, in Pollard’s own words, “distraught” after being questioned by police, so all three would surely have craved peace and quiet.
But no, Pollard goes chasing global exposure for a simple misunderstanding made by sincere people acting out of the best possible motives.
I can’t help thinking that the media got this story arse-backwards.
As you might imagine, I get a lot of strange messages, from all sorts of people and by a number of different routes. This week has been no different. Here’s one I feel able to share with you.
Let me start by saying that I know nothing of ‘massage’ in the Tonypandy area (or anywhere else, come to that), nor have I been Googling for such services. So it was easy to dismiss this message as some kind of joke. But then I was drawn to the logo, which made me think the source at least might be kosher.
More than that, a pink butterfly with the body made up of a woman in a tight-fitting dress suggested to me that if it exists then the Women’s Business Club is for women, rather than the wimmin I have written about of late. So I Googled Women’s Business Club and sure enough, it is genuine.
This may have started as someone’s idea of a joke but I was very impressed with what I read on the website, consequently – and even though the heels are killing me – I have now joined and I’m looking forward immensely to the next Wonderbra Session.
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