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#IPledge2Talk about male suicide, says Eluned Morgan – will you too?

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Eluned Morgan AM pictured with Marc Tierney, Labour Candidate for South Pembrokeshire; Carys Jones, Trustee at The DPJ Foundation and former Welsh footballer, Neville Southall at the recent event in Cardiff Bay to launch the #IPledge2Talk campaign.

EACH year, more than 300 people die by suicide in Wales. In 2017, 278 of the 360 lives lost were male.

It’s a shocking statistic which has prompted Eluned Morgan to champion a new approach to encouraging men, especially in rural Wales to seek support.

Working with mental health charities across Mid and West Wales including The DPJ Foundation in Pembrokeshire, Eluned is focussing on building community resilience to end the stigma of poor mental health.

Data shows that men are less likely than women to seek help or to express depressive or suicidal thoughts. The causes of suicide are always desperately complex. According to Eluned Morgan, this undeniable trend in male suicide must be confronted, beginning with a move to challenge views surrounding mental health, so that it becomes a topic we can all talk about.

The #IPledge2Talk social media campaign is designed to do just that, by encouraging people to reach out and to open up about their feelings.

Championed by Assembly Member, Eluned Morgan and legendary Welsh footballer, Neville Southall, the movement endeavours to foster an openness in seeking support and to give people more confidence to intervene if they are concerned about someone being at risk.
At the heart of this drive is a pledge card, a resource developed by Mind, whose initiative came about in response to growing concerns over suicide rates.

Speaking on this important issue, Eluned Morgan AM said: “Every suicide is a tragedy. It is important to remember that there are many suicide attempts for each death. As we heard during the launch, the impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching. But we can and must do more to prevent those deaths.

#IPledge2Talk campaign Pledge card

The launch of the #IPledge2Talk movement is about empowering individuals to seek support and to educate the wider community that just some simple words of encouragement can go a long way in helping someone to manage their mental health crisis. Help is available, we can all make sure it is accessible to those who need it.”

Ex-Everton and Wales Football Keeper, Neville Southall said: “These pledges are fantastic. They should be on every tractor, taxi, bus and train to help make talking about mental health issues the norm. There are support services all over Wales, shining a light for those who need it. But having the confidence to seek help isn’t always easy. The #IPledge2Talk campaign is about how we can all play out part to help those who need it, to get the support they need and deserve.”

Carys Jones, who attended the event on behalf of The DPJ Foundation said: “Thank you to Eluned Morgan for highlighting the work that is being undertaken in Wales with regards to raising awareness of suicide and its causes. We at the DPJ Foundation welcome any initiative that encourages men to talk about mental health issues and it helps to have fantastic advocates like Neville Southall on-board to spread the word.”

The #IPledge2Talk campaign launched at an event in the Senedd last Monday, 1st April 2019. You can get involved by visiting the website ipledge2talk.wales and by sharing your own pledge on social media using the hash tag.

It’s up to all of us to start talking – and to keep talking.

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West Wales protesters join Extinction Rebellion

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Extinction Rebellion: The protest started on April 15

MANY people from west Wales made the journey to London over the past week to take part in the Extinction Rebellion climate change protests.

Some had set off weeks earlier to walk their way to London, distributing leaflets as they went. A woman from Narberth was the last to be arrested at Oxford Circus, while another protester from Eglwyswrw was among those held the longest in custody. She had locked herself onto the pink boat that had become a symbol of the protests, and an angle grinder had to be used to remove her.

A woman who walked 140 miles from Ceredigion said: “We met so much warmth and support, I wondered, where were the opponents? Everyone seems to get it, it was like I was doing it for them.”

The Extinction Rebellion movement is demanding the UK Government acknowledge the planet’s ecological emergency, have 0% net CO2 emissions by 2025, reverse policies inconsistent with addressing climate change and create a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes required. The group started its protest on April 15, stopping traffic at Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge and the area around Parliament Square.

The Metropolitan Police said that as of Monday (Apr 22), 1,065 arrests had been made and 53 people charged in relation to the protests. Organisers have described the protests as the biggest civil disobedience event in recent British history.

Late on Sunday, police had moved the last of the protesters from Waterloo Bridge after activists at Parliament Square and Oxford Street had been moved on earlier in the day. Another protest was held at the Natural History Museum, as activists lay down underneath the blue whale skeleton to raise awareness of the mass extinction of species.

Extinction Rebellion is holding a public meeting to decide its next course of action.

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Police and Crime Panel to put focus on drugs and cyber crime

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DYFED Powys Police Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn will be pressed on what he is doing to tackle drug related crime at the next meeting of the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel.

Panel members, representing the four local authorities in the force area, are keen to hear from the Commissioner following growing concern about County Lines and drug abuse in many of the area’s main towns.

The Panel, which has a duty to hold the Commissioner to account, will also be asking for assurances about fraud and cyber crime.

Members have significant concerns about these issues and are keen to explore the Commissioner’s response to them on behalf of residents in the Dyfed Powys area.

The meeting will be held at Pembrokeshire’s County Hall from 10.30am on Friday, April 26, and is open to members of the public and press. Proceedings will also be webcast, with an archive of the meeting available online.

Later in the meeting, the Panel will present its annual report.

Cllr Alun Lloyd Jones, who chairs the Panel, said: “Drug related crime, as well as fraud and cyber crime, are two main areas of concern for the Panel and we will be pleased of the opportunity to question the Commissioner about the plans he has in place to deal with such issues.

“We have heard so much through the media in recent weeks about the rise of so-called County Lines activity, and we know this is a worry to many people who we represent.

“We want a full and frank discussion about the matter and reassurance that we have the resources to deal robustly with those who are driving this awful trade.”

For more information about the Dyfed Powys Police and Crime Panel, including its membership, forthcoming meeting dates, agendas and webcasting links, visit www.dppoliceandcrimepanel.wales

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Ultrafast broadband for communities through voucher scheme

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COMMUNITIES in Carmarthenshire and across Wales can come together to make a bid for the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme which can provide ultrafast broadband for homes and businesses.

The scheme, which is managed by the UK Government, has been given the boost of a top-up in Wales with the Welsh Government providing more funding to take into account the particular challenges caused by the country’s topography.

Ministers from both governments are now urging Welsh businesses and communities to apply as a group for the funding to get gigabit capable broadband.

The group must include at least one business along with surrounding premises. Two or more businesses can get together, or businesses with residents, to combine their vouchers towards the cost of building the infrastructure. Up to ten residents can get together with one business to create a group or community project.

Under the arrangements for Wales, the Welsh Government will provide an additional £3,000 for businesses up to a certain size and an additional £300 per residential property. This means that for group projects in Wales up to £5,500 is available per business, compared with £2,500 elsewhere in the UK. Up to £800 will now be available per residential property in Wales, compared with £500 elsewhere.

Deputy Minister for Economy Lee Waters said: “While the vast majority of premises in Wales can access superfast broadband, we know we must reach the final five per cent. There is no one size fits all solution to do this, and the Gigabit Voucher Scheme is an important part of our efforts to do this.

“I would urge communities without access to look at this option and see if it’s suitable for them. The vouchers would potentially give them access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.”

UK Government Minister for Wales Kevin Foster said: “Improved digital connections for homes and businesses is a central part of our modern Industrial Strategy which invests in skills, industries and infrastructure to build a Britain that’s fit for the future.

“Together with the Welsh Government we are working to ensure more people in Wales have access to reliable broadband speeds, supporting communities, enhancing access to online services and strengthening our rapidly expanding digital sector.”

The Welsh and UK Government funded £200m Superfast Cymru programme has already taken superfast broadband speeds to more than 733,000 Welsh homes and businesses commercial companies had no plans to cover.

Residents and businesses can check whether they’re eligible for the voucher and look up their postcode to find a registered supplier in their area. Further information on how to apply for the Gigabit Voucher scheme is available on: www.gov.wales/broadband

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