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Young carers challenge ‘discriminatory’ law

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YOUNG adult carers in Carmarthenshire launched a national campaign to change the law regarding the length of time a young carer can study and still receive Carers’ Allowance.

Current eligibility criteria for Carers Allowance states that carers:

1. Must provide 35 hours or more care per week
2. Must not earn more than £110 per week
3. Cannot be in education, training or employment for more than 21 hours per week.

Carmarthenshire Young Adult Carers (YAC) have teamed up with the Carers Trust and Fixers organisation to launch a parliamentary petition to seek to change the 21 hour rule which it says discriminates against carers who wish to study to improve their employment prospects and to reach their full potential in life.

The petition was launched on Friday (Nov 3) on the UWTSD campus with a range of organisations present to support the campaign.

The campaign hopes to achieve the 100,000 signatures necessary for the debate to be held in Parliament.

Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards is also supporting the campaign and attended the official launch where he pledged to do all he can in parliament to help bring about a change in the law. Mr Edwards said the young carers were just asking for a chance to help themselves.

Urging everyone to sign the petition, the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP, said: “We first have to remember that caring is not a uniform job in which every carer undertakes the same role. Caring comes in many forms and, depending on an individuals’ need, their carers may deliver around the clock care or work with professionals to share caring responsibilities.

“At the heart of this campaign is enabling young adult carers – those who selflessly help look after their loved ones – to study and improve their future employment prospects.

“When we consider that Carers Allowance is equivalent to around £2 per hour, it’s notable that these young people aren’t asking for more money, but are instead asking for the chance to help themselves.

“Many carers and their families experience financial hardship due to an illness or disability within the family, so the current 21-hour rule increases the likelihood that a cycle of financial hardship will continue if young people aren’t able to get good education.

“I don’t doubt the current legislation was deliberately designed to save the state money, but the government must recognise that one small change to the law will better support young adult carers and, of course, save the state money in the longer term.

“I’m very proud to see young people in Carmarthenshire establishing a national campaign which seeks to make life better for young adults across the UK. I’m 100% behind this campaign, and I pledge to do all I can in parliament in support these young carers in their endeavours. I would urge as many people as possible to back the campaign too and sign the petition.”

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Baby died an hour after birth following ‘failings’ by Health Board

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A BABY died just minutes after being born following failings by Hywel Dda Health Board, a damning report by the Public Services Ombudsman has found.

Callum James was born at Glangwili Hospital in Carmarthen on May 5, 2016, but died less than an hour later despite attempts to resuscitate him.

His parents, Ellie and Christopher James from Haverfordwest, complained that there had been a failure to monitor Callum’s development during pregnancy and to provide a birthing plan.

Mrs James also complained that the Health Board failed to respond to unusual pains during labour and to conduct necessary tests.

The report states there were also delays in Callum receiving treatment after he was born due to the First Consultant being sent to the wrong ward, delaying emergency treatment by 12 minutes.

The Health Board said that, in its view, there were no unnecessary delays in the attempts to resuscitate Callum, as the midwives in attendance had been trained in neonatal resuscitation.

In addition, the Ombudsman found that Callum’s death was also incorrectly registered as a stillbirth rather than neonatal death.

The report says Callum was ‘pale’ and ‘floppy’ at birth and immediately transferred to a resuscitation table where a team of medics worked for over half an hour to save his life.

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint that there had been a failure to monitor Callum’s development during pregnancy and labour and to provide a birthing plan.

Hywel Dda agreed to implement all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations, including providing Callum’s parents with an apology and £4,500 for the distress caused.

The Board also agreed to change Callum’s cause of death from ‘stillborn’ to ‘neonatal death’.

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3,000 Welsh landlords still unregistered

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JANET FINCH-SAUNDERS AM has called on the Welsh Government to urgently work to improve landlord registration under Rent Smart Wales, as estimates released indicate around 3,000 remain unregistered.

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “Rent Smart Wales estimates that still 3,000 landlords are unregistered here in Wales.

“Whilst that makes up a small percentage of our total landlords, it is most concerning for those living in properties leased to them by those who have not yet registered.

“The Welsh Government has confirmed that a landlord who is not registered with Rent Smart Wales is unable to serve a valid Section 21 eviction notice – so where unregistered landlords do indicate that they want tenants to vacate a property, this is not recognised by local housing associations, which can cause stress to tenants who may not be aware of their full rights under the law.

“By focusing on ensuring that all landlords are properly registered, the Welsh Government can alleviate such concerns, and I will be urging the Cabinet Secretary to act to ensure all landlords are abiding by this legislation in full.”

The Minister for Housing and Regeneration told Ms Finch-Saunders that the latest figures released by Rent Smart Wales show that 90,812 landlords are now registered. Rent Smart Wales’ latest estimate for the number of unregistered landlords is approximately 3,000.

This is based on the dwelling stock estimates recently published by StatsWales, and an estimation of the average number of properties owned by each landlord.

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Care home honour Armed Forces Day

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PLAS Y DDERWEN in Johnstown will be celebrating Armed Forces Day on Thursday, June 28, with a big brew up supporting SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity.

SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families. Armed Forces Day is a chance to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.

Janet Williams, Activities Coordinator, said: “It is very important that we keep the memories of those who fought alive and that we also think about those involved in conflicts around the world today. We welcome anyone that wishes to attend and will have the chance to meet the team and look around the home.”

Plas Y Dderwen is part of Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers, supporting older people living independent lives over the last 25 years.

Barchester services include residential care and nursing care as well as expert dementia care.

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