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Criticism over £3.4m of public money spent in Bala

A report out today says £3.4 million of public money spent on a heritage centre in Bala could have been saved if the steps had been taken to prevent the centre from closure.

The Cywain Centre opened in April 2008 but ran into difficulties and closed in September 2011.

The report by the Wales Audit Office says those that funded the centre were aware that the business case for the centre was unrealistic.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "Safeguarding public money is something we take extremely seriously.

"We have already made improvements to the way we monitor projects, based on lessons learned from previous WAO reports. We will now consider the recommendations of the WAO's report and will respond to the findings in due course.

"However, it is important to recognise that EU programmes and projects are delivering for Wales. We are in a better situation now as a result of vital EU funds investment, worth some £4 billion since 2000."

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Bala Town's European dream to be continued...

Ian Sheridan´s goal gives Bala Town its first ever Europa win. Credit: Bala Town FC

Bala Town FC marked their first foray into European competition by edging out seven-time Estonian champions FC Levadia Tallinn 1-0.

Bala Town´s Europa dream is to be continued after the win last night at Rhyl thanks to an early goal from striker Ian Sheridan.

They beat the Estonia League leaders infront of a crowd of around 1,200.

It was the first leg of the Europa League for the Welsh part-timers in the qualifying round.

The away match for the second leg is in Tallinn on Thursday, 11 July.

Bala began as underdogs but former Wales player Mark Jones had a couple of chances straight after the break to extend the Town´s lead but was denied by the Levadia shot stopper.

The visitors then glanced the post from a freekick before Ian Sheridan had a one on one with the keeper but he pulled off a magnificent save.

After 3 minutes of added time Bala held on for an incredible victory.

Campers fire safety warning

North Wales Fire Service are urging people to take extra care when heating, or cooking in, a tent or caravan after a fire on a Bala campsite this morning. A 40 year old man is in hospital with burns to his hands and chest after an electric heater fell over setting his caravan awning alight.

This fire destroyed the family’s touring caravan. Fire can strike at any time, anywhere – and it is vital that we are all on our guard and try to do all that we can to keep safe. Caravans and tents are potentially more hazardous as the inherent risks are magnified in confined spaces.

– Paul Whybro, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service

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Drills 'to test flooding response'

"Like many emergency responders, fire and rescue services are accustomed to dealing with floods which can have far reaching effects such as trapping people in their cars, threatening livestock and, at worst, threatening homes, livelihoods and even lives. The exercise in Bala is designed to put the combined skills, resources and equipment of all the emergency responders to the test and ensure that we are fully prepared for such incidents in real life.

"The exercise scenario will involve dealing with rescuing trapped casualties, carrying out fast flowing water rescues and deploying an array of flood rescue equipment and highly skilled staff in the Bala area.

"Flooding exercises such as this provide vital experience for those involved in the emergency services to test their resilience during difficult times."

– Paul Claydon, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at North Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Exercise Berwyn to simulate severe floods

People on roof of flooded mobile home
Volunteer casualties prepare top be airlifted from a submerged mobile home during a similar training exercise Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A large-scale flooding rescue exercise is due to be held in Bala today. The operation is called Exercise Berwyn and will see volunteer casualties rescued from fast-flowing water and aims to simulate some of the worst flooding conditions.

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