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£1.3m environmental project given green light



A £1.3 MILLION project that promises to boost the well-being of Welsh people, plants and pollinators has been given the green light.

‘Biophilic Wales’ is being led by the National Botanic Garden of Wales and funded by Welsh Government’s Enabling Natural Resources and Well-being Grant.

The main delivery partners in the project are Swansea Bay University Health Board, Natural Resources Wales and Swansea University.

The overall aim of Biophilic Wales is to increase the well-being of people, biodiversity and the environment, throughout Wales, using three interconnected work packages: Inspiring Spaces, Grasslands for Life and Plants for People.

It will result in: the ‘greening’ of vital, outdoor spaces, in places where people can benefit from them the most; the protection and improvement of our most beautiful grassland landscapes; and the celebration of Wales’ natural heritage by protecting some of our most endangered plants.

Top of the project’s hit-list are sites surrounding hospitals, health-centres and mental health facilities, run by Swansea Bay University Health Board – one of the key partners in the project.

The Botanic Garden’s Head of Science and Biophilic Wales lead, Dr Natasha de Vere, said: “We will increase access, biodiversity value and create vital wildlife habitats. We will create inspirational green spaces for people to connect with and benefit from the natural environment. The work we do will be used to develop models that can be applied throughout Wales.”

As Chair of Swansea University Health Board, Professor Andrew Davies has been one of the key figures behind the project.

Professor Davies, who has recently retired from the role, said: “I am delighted with this news, which has grown out of the unique partnership created between Swansea Bay University Health Board and the National Botanic Garden Wales.

“It will bring huge benefits to the well-being of patients and staff, as well as the wider communities, through an increased engagement with the natural world.

“As the first health board in Wales to be awarded Green Flag status, Swansea Bay is very committed to working with nature and developing green infrastructure on its land and many sites, including its hospitals.

“It is well known that engaging with the natural environment helps improve people’s well-being, their quality of life and also helps recovery after illness.”

The ‘Inspiring Spaces’ element of the project will see a transformation of under-used outdoor areas into spaces that are full of wildlife, where people can enjoy and be restored by the natural world.

An army of community groups and volunteers will be recruited to deliver this and all aspects of the work – and they will continue to champion the cause after the project is finished.

Under the heading of ‘Grasslands For Life’, Dr Andrew Lucas, of Natural Resources Wales, says: “This project will revolutionise how we monitor grasslands, enabling us to manage, restore and create sites that maximise biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. We will use innovative soil DNA barcoding to determine the entire biosphere of grasslands, including plants, animals, fungi and microbes.”

This part of the project will focus on grasslands throughout Wales, ranging from amenity grasslands within the Swansea Bay University Health Board estate, colliery spoil sites, to conservation grasslands in national nature reserves all over Wales.

The final component – ‘Plants For People’ – will be a celebration of Wales’ natural plant heritage.

Dr de Vere said: “We will ensure that our nation’s most threatened plants and key grassland species are protected for the future by collecting seed for the National Seed Bank of Wales. We will develop approaches to ensure that Welsh-provenance seed of grassland species is available for restoration and creation projects in the future.

“This exciting project is core to the delivery of the Botanic Garden’s mission. In particular, it emphasises the social role of the Garden and further increases its contribution to the delivery of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.”

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “This project will make a major contribution to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity through collaboration between Wales’ public bodies, communities and world-class academics. It will also benefit the physical and mental well-being of our communities through increasing access to nature-rich green spaces”.

“This is exactly the kind of collective action needed to tackle the ecological emergency affecting Wales’ most precious species and habitats and shows how the intentions of the Well-being of Future Generations Act are being realised on the ground.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. peter penrose

    September 9, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    If I can’t read a story without a pop-up for Adam’s bloody Autos constantly covering the screen, they why bother to try and read your websie at all?

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Senior Learning Disability nurse recognised for her outstanding contribution



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



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 or Facebook and Twitter.

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Heart charity search for Welsh heart heroes



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

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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