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Siôn Pennar

Poznań, Poland
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About Siôn
Siôn Pennar is a freelance journalist based in Poznań, Poland.

Formerly a Senior Reporter with BBC News based in Wrexham, Wales, he has years of experience in broadcasting for television and radio, as well as writing for online outlets.

Available for hire in Poland and neighbouring countries. Always open for discussion on other potential deployments.

Speaks: English, Welsh, Polish, French, with some knowledge of Spanish, Catalan and Portuguese.
Welsh English French
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
Politics Current Affairs Sports

Housing development should be for everyone, not just the wealthy, says local councillor

05 Oct 2023  |  BBC
A housing development in Llandyrnog, Denbighshire, is under debate, with local councillor Gwilym Evans advocating for homes that cater to the entire community, not just the wealthy. The project, proposed by Jones Bros, includes 40 homes, mostly pairs or single units with three or four bedrooms. Concerns have been raised about the affordability and suitability of the homes for young people and the community. The development is currently in the consultation phase, with some locals, like butcher Daniel Jones, supporting the need for more housing to boost local businesses and services. The planning company Caulmert, representing the developers, claims the project will contribute positively to sustainable development in the area, with 10% of the homes designated as affordable housing.

Farming: Teen takes over family farm after dad's stroke

01 Oct 2023  |  BBC
At 18, Ffion Hooson took over her family's farm near Denbigh after her father suffered a stroke. Initially inexperienced, she now manages 100 cows and sheep while sharing her journey on Instagram, which has helped her cope with the isolation of farm work and connect with a supportive online community.

Affordable housing: Call for changes to Llandyrnog plan

01 Oct 2023  |  BBC
A rural development in Llandyrnog, Denbighshire, is under scrutiny for potentially being unaffordable for young local residents. Community councillor Gwilym Evans emphasizes the need for homes that cater to the entire community, not just the wealthy. The current plans, which are in the public consultation stage, predominantly feature semi-detached and detached houses with three or four bedrooms. Developer Jones Bros has included four homes for social housing in the proposal.

BBC Wales Today, BBC One Wales: Ryan Giggs Trial 10-8-2022 Live top and tail around a package from the high-profile trial of ex-footballer Ryan Giggs at Manchester Crown Court.

Newyddion, S4C: Poland refugees 01-03-2022 (in Welsh, my subtitles). 
TV report from a day spent at the Polish-Ukrainian border at Medyka and Przemyśl.

Newyddion, S4C: Poland refugees 28-02-2022 (in Welsh, my subtitles)
. TV report on Polish attitudes to Ukrainian refugees, from Warsaw, Lublin and Medyka.

Beekeeper's relief after 14 stolen hives found in Denbighshire

16 Aug 2023  |  BBC News فارسی
A beekeeper expressed immense relief after 14 stolen hives, valued at up to £11,000, were recovered about three miles from their original location in Denbighshire. The hives, belonging to West Coast Apiaries, were found in good condition following a tip-off to the police. The beekeeper, Nathan Egerton Evans, noted that the theft required some knowledge of beekeeping and described such incidents as rare. The recovery has brought unexpected joy to the beekeepers, who had begun to come to terms with the loss.

University: Set up societies for student carers, graduate says

09 Jun 2023  |  BBC News فارسی
Emma Walker, a graduate from the University of Gloucestershire, advocates for the establishment of university societies for student carers to alleviate their sense of isolation. She highlights the challenges faced by student carers, including mental health issues and the need for better support systems. The article also features Fayeth Jones, a prospective psychology student, and insights from Sally Duckers of Credu Cymru and Wendy Williams from Bangor University, emphasizing the importance of holistic support and the positive impact of new measures like the UCAS tick box for carers.

Eurovision Liverpool: Boost for north Wales businesses

04 Mar 2023  |  BBC News فارسی
North Wales businesses are expected to benefit from the 'ripple effect' of Liverpool hosting Eurovision, with increased bookings and job opportunities. The event is anticipated to bring 100,000 people to Merseyside, and officials hope visitors will also spend time in north Wales. The Department of Work and Pensions highlights job opportunities, while local hotels report rising bookings. Experts believe the long-term benefits will come from increased exposure to the region.

Farming: Teen takes over family farm after dad's stroke

08 Nov 2022  |  BBC News فارسی
At 18, Ffion Hooson took over her family's farm in Denbigh after her father suffered a stroke. Despite initial challenges and loneliness, she successfully manages the farm and shares her journey on social media, gaining a significant following. Ffion emphasizes the importance of mental health support in the farming community, highlighting her connection with the DPJ Foundation. She encourages young people to pursue careers in agriculture while taking care of their mental well-being.

Covid: Llangollen International Eisteddfod back after pandemic

07 Jul 2022  |  bbc.co.uk
The Llangollen International Eisteddfod is set to welcome live audiences once again after two years of virtual events due to Covid-19. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, the festival will be shorter, running for four days, and scaled down to reflect Covid guidance and lower ticket sales in the arts industry. Executive producer Camilla King highlighted the challenges of planning during the pandemic and the decision to allow for digital entries. Despite a smaller venue and no parade for safety reasons, the event will feature notable performers such as Aled Jones, Russell Watson, and Anoushka Shankar, and has been updated with a freshened-up site design.

US fighter jets over town could upset Ukrainian refugees, says MP

28 Apr 2022  |  BBC
The US Air Force has been criticized for flying low-flying fighter jets over Caernarfon, potentially upsetting Ukrainian refugees. MP Hywel Williams described the noise as 'deafening' and has written to the Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, to address the issue. The US Air Force has apologized and is investigating the incident. Williams emphasized the distress caused to already traumatized refugees and questioned the necessity of such flights.

Opportunities for Wales' agriculture sector through exporting to Australia

18 Feb 2022  |  BBC
The article discusses the potential opportunities and challenges for Wales' agriculture sector through exporting to Australia following a new trade agreement. George Brandis, Australia's High Commissioner to the UK, visited Ynys Môn and met with farmers and food producers, highlighting the benefits of the agreement for processed food producers. However, NFU Cymru's president, Aled Jones, expressed concerns about the agreement, citing unequal competition due to differing agricultural standards. The agreement, which aims to facilitate tariff-free imports and exports, is expected to bring significant economic benefits but also poses challenges for the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sectors. The article also mentions the gradual relaxation of import restrictions on Australian lamb and beef over 15 years to mitigate negative impacts.

Storm-hit Llanerch bridge funding delay frustration

10 Feb 2022  |  BBC
Residents of Tremeirchion and Trefnant in Denbighshire express frustration over delays in funding for the replacement of Llanerch Bridge, which was destroyed during Storm Christoph in January 2021. The council is accused of inaction, while it claims efforts are ongoing to secure the necessary £7m from the Welsh government. Local businesses and residents are suffering due to the increased travel distance, with some fearing the project could take years to complete.

Parking clampdown at Covid lockdown visitor hotspot

11 Nov 2021  |  BBC
Plans are underway for a parking clampdown at Moel Famau, a popular beauty spot on the Denbighshire-Flintshire border, which saw illegal visits during Covid lockdowns. The site, attracting 300,000 visitors annually, experienced gridlock during the summer of 2020, limiting access for emergency vehicles and residents. Proposed measures include double yellow lines along Bwlch Pen Barras and 50 new parking spaces with ticket machines. Similar changes were implemented at Snowdonia's Pen-y-Pass car park in 2020. Ceri Lloyd from the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB emphasized the importance of these changes to manage the area's traffic issues.

Denbigh: Hopes and fears over abandoned asylum flats plans

17 Sep 2021  |  BBC
Plans to transform Denbigh's North Wales Hospital into apartments and up to 300 homes have been approved by Denbighshire council, sparking mixed reactions. While some residents and former hospital workers welcome the restoration, concerns have been raised about potential traffic issues, pressure on local services, and the lack of affordable housing. The council views the development as a significant milestone, with conditions to address various impacts, including traffic, ecology, and cultural considerations.

Covid: Children missing school to protect family holidays

13 Jul 2021  |  BBC
Parents in Wales are keeping their children out of school to avoid the risk of COVID-19 self-isolation before summer holidays. Heddwen Lois Williams has chosen to keep her children home, prioritizing a family trip. Unauthorised absences have increased, with the lowest classroom attendance rate since Easter. Education Minister Jeremy Miles emphasizes the importance of school for children's education and support. The Welsh government aims to continue education with minimal disruption.

Second homes: Hundreds gather to protest housing 'crisis'

10 Jul 2021  |  bbc.co.uk
In Wales, campaigners have criticized the government's response to the second homes crisis as vague and unambitious. Hundreds protested at Llyn Celyn in Gwynedd, where 20% of Wales' second homes are located. The Welsh government is working on solutions, including a pilot for new policies and closing tax loopholes. Official figures show 24,873 second homes in Wales, with 44% of homes sold in Dwyfor Meirionnydd subject to higher land transaction tax. The Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan is set to launch in the autumn.

Encouragement to not use Welsh in prison

02 Feb 2021  |  BBC
Welsh speakers in Berwyn Prison, Wrexham, are allegedly being discouraged from using their language, with claims of better treatment in English prisons. The Welsh Government finds this unacceptable and promises to investigate. The Prison Service denies the allegations, asserting support for Welsh speakers. Advocacy groups Undod and Prisoner Solidarity Network urge action to end the alleged discrimination.

Mental Health: Covid lockdown sees demand rise for Childline

12 Jan 2021  |  BBC
Childline is experiencing a significant rise in demand for mental health counselling services for young people in Wales during Covid-19 restrictions, with a 13% increase in sessions since April. However, the service is facing a 40% decline in volunteer counsellors across the UK, exacerbating the challenge of meeting the needs of children and young people. The NSPCC-run service is appealing for more volunteers, especially for evening and weekend shifts and fluent Welsh-speakers. The pandemic has intensified mental health issues among young people, with increased reports of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

Finding 'important remains' in Mold

28 Dec 2020  |  BBC
Recent findings have elevated the significance of an old castle site in Mold, Flintshire, according to archaeologist Ian Grant. The team discovered stone walls and human remains at Bryn y Beili, which is currently undergoing a £1.8m redevelopment project aimed at increasing its use for leisure and events. The project, which began in February and is expected to conclude in January 2021, includes new accessible paths, a performance platform, and an extension to a cottage to serve as a historical center. The discovery suggests the castle was more strategically important and well-funded than previously thought. The site will feature new information boards created with the help of community volunteers, and Mold Town Council's Jo Lane expressed excitement about the community-focused project and its potential for educational and cultural events.

Concerns about flood defenses in Conwy County

15 Nov 2020  |  BBC
Flood defenses in Conwy County are at risk of 'catastrophic failure' despite recent reinforcement efforts. Partial improvements to the sea wall in Old Colwyn were completed this year, but a council document indicates a 'high' risk until a broader £34m plan is fully realized. Local councilors Cheryl Carlisle and Brian Cossey welcome the recent work but view it as a temporary solution. The Welsh Government has allocated £6m to Conwy Council for the plan this financial year, with ongoing discussions for additional funding. The detailed design of the project, which will transform a 1.2km coastal area, will be revealed in due course.

Training St John volunteers to help with the pandemic

11 May 2020  |  BBC
St John Ambulance Cymru volunteers in Rhyl are undergoing extensive training to assist with the COVID-19 pandemic, including patient transport and advanced first aid skills. The pandemic has necessitated a shift in focus from public events to frontline support, with nearly 1,600 hours of training provided. The organization faces significant challenges, including financial strain, prompting an urgent appeal for donations.

Agreement to close path near Ruthin to protect vulnerable boy

22 Apr 2020  |  BBC
Denbighshire County Council has decided to close a footpath near Ruthin to protect a seven-year-old boy, Gruff, who has cystic fibrosis, from potential Covid-19 infection. The family had previously attempted to close the path themselves, but their signs were removed by officials. Following a meeting, the council agreed to close the path, acknowledging the unique circumstances and the need to protect Gruff's health. The decision has been welcomed by Gruff's family, who feel a significant burden has been lifted.

Wrexham homelessness project has 'changed lives'

17 Jan 2020  |  BBC
A seasonal accommodation project in Wrexham, run by Housing Justice Cymru, Esgobaeth Llanelwy, and Wrexham Council with the help of 100 volunteers, has been transformative for the homeless. David Evans, a former rough sleeper, benefited from the project, which provides shelter, food, and support to help individuals move forward with their lives. The initiative aims to address long-term homelessness issues and prevent people from returning to the streets.

Children's prosthetic fund 'to make a huge difference'

03 Dec 2019  |  BBC
A new £417,000 fund announced by the Welsh Government aims to provide specialized prosthetic limbs for children, potentially making a significant difference in their lives. Rebecca Roberts, who petitioned for the fund on behalf of her daughter Elizabeth, hopes it will allow her daughter to receive specialized sports prosthetics. The fund, set to open in April 2020, will also enable the hiring of additional prosthetic technicians and specialists, addressing the current limitations of NHS-provided prosthetics designed for everyday use.

U-turn over giving English name to Y Pentan pub

20 Nov 2019  |  BBC
Admiral Taverns reversed its decision to rename the Y Pentan pub in Mold, Flintshire, to an English name, Tailor's Rest, following local and social media backlash. The company clarified that it did not intend to mock or belittle the Welsh language and emphasized its commitment to community-led decisions. The pub's name, Y Pentan, is derived from a work by novelist Daniel Owen, who worked as a tailor at the pub's current location. Local Assembly Member Hannah Blythyn and others voiced concerns about erasing the Welsh name, leading to the company's decision to retain it.

Intention to build new estate on site of major floods

13 Nov 2019  |  www.bbc.co.uk
Plans are underway to build a new affordable housing estate by Cymdeithas Dai Clwyd Alyn on a site in Rhuthun, Wales, previously hit by major floods in 2012. Local councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts supports the need for housing, while resident Iola Jones expresses concerns over flood risks due to inadequate river maintenance. Another resident, Emma Logan, worries about increased traffic. Clwyd Alyn's CEO, Craig Sparrow, states that infrastructure has been upgraded to mitigate flood risks. A consultation on the plans is open until November 27.

Opposition to moving county archive from Ruthin Jail

03 Oct 2019  |  BBC
There is opposition in Ruthin to plans to move the county archive from the town to a new £16.6m purpose-built facility in Mold, which would unite the collections of Denbighshire and Flintshire due to space shortages in the current archives. Councillor Emrys Wynne, representing Ruthin, is against the idea, suggesting an alternative solution using another building at the old Ruthin Jail site. The relocation plans indicate little hope for expanding the Ruthin site, and Flintshire's archive in the Old Rectory in Hawarden is also full, with the county paying for commercial space to store documents. Local history society secretary Gareth Evans expressed concerns about the empty building that would be left in Ruthin if the collection were moved.

New festival to 'awaken' awareness of Welsh history

12 Sep 2019  |  BBC
A new festival in Corwen aims to 'awaken' public awareness of Welsh history, featuring attractions like a virtual recreation of Owain Glyndŵr's court in Sycharth, Powys. Organizers Dylan Jones and Gwyneth Ellis hope the festival will invigorate the town and educate people about Glyndŵr's legacy, who led a rebellion against English rule in the early 15th century. Despite a prominent statue in Corwen, there is a need to raise awareness of this historical figure.

Parents angry about lack of school bus transportation

04 Sep 2019  |  BBC
Concerns have arisen in two Welsh counties over school transportation policies undermining students' opportunities to receive Welsh-medium secondary education. In Ceiriog Valley, sixth-form students lack bus seats to Ysgol Morgan Llwyd in Wrexham, while in Denbighshire, the bus from Llanrhaeadr to Ysgol Glan Clwyd has been canceled. Wrexham Council states they are not obligated to provide transportation for post-16 students, and Denbighshire Council attributes the cancellation to high demand for free seats. Parents argue that their children have the right to attend Welsh-medium schools, highlighting disparities in transportation provisions compared to institutions like Coleg Cambria.

Village school on Anglesey reopened as a community center

13 Jul 2019  |  bbc.co.uk
An old village school on Anglesey has been reopened as a community center. A community committee came together to establish the center as a replacement for a previous aging facility. Local councilor Carwyn Jones expressed that the school means a lot to many people and its sale for housing development would have been a tragedy. The new center is seen as an opportunity for the community, potentially housing a shop and post office. Rhian Hughes, chair of the committee that worked to establish the center, shared her emotional response to the reopening, especially upon seeing former teachers of the school.

Questions about financial control at Tŷ Pawb center in Wrexham

30 May 2019  |  bbc.co.uk
An internal audit of the financial control at Tŷ Pawb, conducted in February and March, revealed gaps in the process that expose the service to risks and highlighted the need for improved financial management efficiency. Although no financial losses were disclosed, 13 recommendations were made, including five with high priority. The center was expected to incur a loss of £173,000 during the period, and there was a public dispute between the council and some of the traders at the site.

The Stiwt clock strikes twelve after 12 silent years

10 May 2019  |  BBC
Dozens gathered at a historical building near Wrexham on Friday afternoon to hear the Stiwt clock chime for the first time in over a decade. The clock in Rhosllannerchrugog has been restored as part of a £100,000 expenditure on the building, originally erected for local coal miners. Local schoolchildren who raised funds for the clock's restoration turned on its mechanism. The Stiwt holds significant sentimental value for the community, with memories of weekly cinema visits and games. The clock, which has been silent since around 2007, was traditionally used to wake miners at the start of their workday before the Hafod coal pit closed in 1968. The restoration appeal began in 2018, marking 50 years since the Hafod pit's closure.

Discussing the future of the Bodffordd community center

08 Mar 2019  |  BBC
Around 50 people attended a public meeting in Bodffordd, Ynys Môn, to discuss the future of their community center, which shares a site with the village school set to close due to Ynys Môn Council's primary school reorganization. The council legally owns the building, but the community raised thousands of pounds to establish the center in the 1980s. The meeting highlighted the local community's lack of formal ownership but significant investment in terms of labor and funds. The potential cost of purchasing the building could be up to £400,000, considering repair costs and the need for parking. Ynys Môn Council has not set a price yet and is asking interested parties to submit expressions of interest by March 15. Councillor Bob Parry stated the local authority is willing to support the community if they wish to purchase the site. Villagers decided to establish a committee to explore the possibility of acquiring the center for free from the council, as well as the option to purchase the rest of the site.

Controversial housing development approved in Denbighshire

13 Feb 2019  |  bbc.co.uk
A controversial housing development of 33 homes on agricultural land in Llanrhaeadr, near Denbigh, was approved with 11 votes to 7. Local councillors, including Elfed Williams of the Community Council, raised concerns about the potential impact on the Welsh language, noting that over half of the village speaks Welsh. The planning company Cadnant argues that population growth ensures sustainable Welsh communities. The development site is earmarked for housing in the Denbighshire Local Development Plan, which also considers potential linguistic impact. Welsh speakers in the village decreased from 60.9% in 2001 to 51.2% in 2011. Williams, also a governor at Ysgol Bro Cinmeirch, fears a negative impact on the language. Cadnant states there will be a financial contribution to address any increase in school pupils and emphasizes the inclusion of affordable homes and a mix of housing types to meet community needs.

Cars on fire: Man arrested

27 Dec 2018  |  BBC
A man has been arrested on suspicion of deliberately setting cars on fire in Flintshire. Four cars were destroyed and another damaged in incidents in Treffynnon and Bagillt overnight on December 26 and 27. Firefighters from Treffynnon, Flint, and Deeside dealt with the cases. The 26-year-old man from Treffynnon was also arrested on suspicion of serious assault and attacking an emergency services worker. No injuries were reported from the alleged deliberate fires. North Wales Police stated the incidents began around 21:15 on December 26 and ended around 01:30 on December 27. The North Wales Fire and Rescue Service was called to five incidents, including an attempt to set a car on fire at 22:55 on Ffynnon Street, Treffynnon, and subsequent car fires at Rosehill, Treffynnon at 00:40 and High Street, Bagillt at 01:10.

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