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Council’s plan to cut CO2 by almost 700 tonnes a year

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council is investing over £2.5million to make energy efficiencies in its buildings in a bid to cut carbon emissions by almost 700 tonnes a year.

It is part of the council’s efforts to become a net zero carbon local authority by 2030, a commitment it made in February when declaring a climate emergency.

The authority has taken out an interest-free loan to pay for the Welsh Government Re:fit scheme, which it will pay back over 10 years from savings on running costs.

New technology will be installed in non-domestic buildings – including schools – to save energy and water, with an estimated 691 tonnes of CO2 saved every year.

Over 30 sites have been identified for phase one of the roll-out, undertaken on behalf of the council by renewable energy company Ameresco.

The scheme is in addition to the energy saving measures the council has already applied in its buildings.

To date, over £2million has been invested in over 200 energy efficiency projects, saving over £7million in running costs and 41,000 tonnes of CO2 over the lifetime of installed technologies.

The council has a policy of integrating low and zero carbon technologies into major building works projects such as schools, where PV installations and Passivhaus standards are already in use.

Its fleet of refuse lorries is the most emission-friendly fleet in Wales; street lighting has been converted to LED units; and there has been significant investment in Safe Routes in the Community and Safe Routes to Schools to encourage more sustainable travel.

In 2012 Carmarthenshire became the first council in Wales to introduce electric pool car vehicles, and has recently secured funding for plug-in chargers following an increase in electric vehicle sales.

Last year, the council vowed to reduce single-use plastics in council buildings and offices and ban plastic cups and straws.

The council’s climate declaration was backed unanimously by councillors in February.

As well as making and planning changes towards a target of becoming a zero carbon local authority by 2030, it has called on Welsh and UK Governments to provide support and resources to enable effective carbon reductions.

Cllr Hazel Evans, Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “We take our commitment to working towards becoming a carbon neutral authority very seriously, and we’re pleased to be making this investment not only to save harmful carbon emissions, but also to save financially on the cost of running our buildings.

“Coupled with our on-going property rationalisation programme, we are producing financial and carbon savings in times of increasing utility prices. This is a win-win situation when we are also able to help the environment.”

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Senior Learning Disability nurse recognised for her outstanding contribution

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A SENIOR Learning Disability nurse at Hywel Dda University Health Board is celebrating after receiving a prestigious award for her outstanding contribution to Learning Disability nursing.

Laura Andrews, Professional Lead for Learning Disabilities Nursing, was presented with the Cavell Star by the Chair of the Health Board, Maria Battle, at a special event held recently.

The Cavell Star recognises outstanding nurses, midwives, nursing associates and healthcare assistants who go above and beyond in their professional duties and show exceptional care.

Laura, from Llanboidy, was nominated for the award by her colleagues in the Learning Disabilities health liaison service for her passion and dedication towards LD nursing. She has been been a LD nurse for over 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge and experience, having worked in many settings both in England and Wales.

She said: “It’s really marvellous – I’m really surprised and shocked!

“I don’t even have the words – I’m speechless. It’s nice that this is happening around the same time that we prepare to celebrate 100 years of LD nursing.

“This award is for everyone that works in LD services. It shows that for me, the passion is still there even after 35 years.”

Emily Andrews, Laura’s daughter, who is training to be an adult nurse, added: “I’m really proud of my mum. She’s worked so hard and she really deserves this.”

Maria Battle, Chair of the Health Board, added: “Laura is a true advocate and champion of learning disability nursing. She has tirelessly raised the profile of learning disabilities in all arenas she attends and takes every opportunity to encourage new students into the profession.

“Laura has been instrumental in developing new services to meet the needs of those with a learning disability and she always includes and values the input of people with a learning disability to ensure their voice is heard.”

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30K Lottery win for Ammanford neighbours

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RESIDENTS surprised with cheques during Storm Brendan

Five neighbours in Ammanford were celebrating this weekend despite the miserable weather, after they won a large cash sum with People’s Postcode Lottery.

Four of the players scooped £30,000 each, with the fifth doubling their prize to £60,000 thanks to playing with two tickets.

The Carmarthenshire residents scooped the cash after their postcode, SA18 2EW, was announced as a winner on Sunday 12 January.

Pam Harris (49) was one of the lucky winners receiving a cheque for £30,000. She said: “I’m totally shocked! It’s a life-changing experience. Today I’ve had a very big adventure which I’m very happy about.”

Pam has a 13-year-old son who she plans to treat with the prize money, as well as booking a holiday to escape the wet weather.

She said: “My son is over the moon, he wants to spend it on all sorts of stuff. He wants to change his bedroom and he also wants to go abroad, which is fine by me as I want to go on holiday as well! I’d love to go to the Fiji Islands for a few weeks. I’d also love to hire a helicopter and go for a spin over the Grand Canyon.”

Pam was delighted to find out that some of her neighbours won too and plans on celebrating with her friends. She said: “I’m going to the local pub over the road with a couple of mates tonight. I’m going to absorb the atmosphere and soak it all in. Drinks are 100% on me, steaks all round, happy days!

It’s absolutely brilliant that my neighbors have won too. They’ll all be happy and we’re helping good causes too. You’ve got to be in it to win it, winner winner chicken dinner!”

Gwyneth Williams (62) was another local picking up a cheque for £30,000.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it, I’m still shaking. I’m not used to having this much money. I have four children and 11 grandchildren so that’s it spent already!”

With a minimum of 32% of every ticket going to good causes, players have helped raise more than £500 million to date for charities and good causes. Gwyneth commented: “It’s wonderful the amount of people it helps and that something good comes out of it. It’s a well worthy cause.”

There were another three winners in the postcode who were not available to receive their cheques in person, however the money will be paid into their bank accounts.

People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador, Danyl Johnson, was in Ammanford meeting the winners and handing out cheques. He said: “I had a great day meeting our winners and we definitely didn’t let the stormy weather dampen the mood! It sounds like Pam and her son have a lovely tropical holiday planned, and Gwyneth’s family is in for a treat. Congratulations to everyone who won in Ammanford, even those we weren’t able to visit!”

The draw was promoted on behalf of WWF UK. The charity has received over £13.4 million to help build a future in which people and nature thrive.

For more information on People’s Postcode Lottery, please visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk or Facebook and Twitter.

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Heart charity search for Welsh heart heroes

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Do you know a special person in your community who deserves a British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cymru award in 2020?

The charity’s Heart Hero Awards 2020 are open and people can now nominate their heart hero. The awards recognise the different ways people are helping beat heartbreak from heart and circulatory diseases. This could be through fundraising, volunteering or helping patients and their families.

This year there are three categories: Healthcare Hero, Young Heart Hero and the Inspiration Award. Nominations can be made at
https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/in-your-area/heart-hero-awards/nomination-form

The Healthcare Hero award will recognise a doctor, nurse, or person working in a healthcare setting who has made a special effort to make a difference to the life of a heart patient or their family.

The Young Heart Hero award will go to an exceptional person under the age of 18 years who has done something amazing for the BHF and is a source of inspiration to others.

The Inspiration award will recognise a person who inspires others through their determination and dedication. Whether that is through their fundraising efforts, taking part in a physical challenge, organising an event, or volunteering activities.

Nominations are open until Saturday 29 February. The winners will be announced at a very special gala awards dinner which will take place in London in September 2020.

Previous winners in Wales include 11 year old Llew John from Efailwen in Carmarthenshire; Healthcare Hero Liana Shirley, a Physiologist from Anglesey and Inspiration Award winner Jovita Jones from Abergavenny.

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru said: ““Heart and circulatory diseases affect the lives of thousands of people across Wales, often in devastating ways. Yet, there are so many ordinary people who, when confronted with that challenge, are doing extraordinary things.

“The BHF’s Heart Hero Awards recognise and celebrate the efforts of those who are working selflessly to make life better for other people.

“It would be fantastic to reward some of our supporters in Wales, so if you know someone who is making a difference then please put them forward for an award so that their contribution can be recognised.”

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