A LACK of school transport is having an adverse impact on the education of some Cardigan schoolchildren, a town councillor fears.

During a discussion on inequality within the community Cllr Philippa Noble said fewer school buses put some pupils at a disadvantage before they even arrived for lessons.

“There is certainly inequality as regards school transport at the moment,” she told colleagues. “Some kids who have to walk to school are drenched, cold and fed up before they even get there – surely that must have a negative impact on their education?”

She made her comments in response to a presentation by Hazel Lloyd Lubran, chief executive of the Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations, who pledged that all age groups from all parts of society would be targeted by a five-year-old Well-Being Plan for Cardigan.

Yet she revealed there was ‘a huge gap’ in the number of 16-24-year-olds who had responded to the consultation, prompting Cllr Noble to disclose she was planning to set up a forum ensuring young people were included in the conversation.

“There are people in the poorer parts of Cardigan who are not fully engaged and we should really try to get them involved as well,” she told Ms Lubran, who acknowledged that all possible challenges, as well as potential solutions, had to be examined.

The plan – running from 2023-28 – has been drawn up by the Ceredigion Public Services Board with the aim of bringing together multiple agencies in one place.

Its main objective is to target and address inequalities in the town following a lengthy study of such issues.

Ms Lubran said the four key areas were the town’s economy, culture, environment and social well-being and hardship.

Working alongside the Hywel Dda Health Board’s Health Challenge in south Ceredigion, the project sought to link social and green solutions with physical and mental health, while prioritising issues in various wards through green spaces, food growing and digital support.

“Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi could be the first community school in the county,” Ms Lubran told councillors. “Also, the new Well-Being Centre is coming so we are very keen to work with all groups – including the town council.

“If the needs of people are greater than ever we have also never seen the current type of pressures on services.”

When pressed on the likely location of the Well-Being Centre – which some councillors feel should be at The Fairfield – she said the ultimate decision lay with Ceredigion County Council.

“To me, the question of the Well-Being Centre is not about one building,” she added.

Cllr Clive Davies suggested that groups such as Area 43 and the Men’s Shed should be involved in any work programme, while Cllr Catrin Miles felt the input of Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi and Coleg Ceredigion was also important.

Cllr Nick Bolton said while such schemes invariably focused on older or younger people, a ‘significant’ part of the working population tended to be excluded.

“A lot of working people are subject to the same mental, physical and financial pressures as well so we have also to make this available to those who work,” he added.