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Trains could be opening from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth

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THE REOPENING of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway is not only possible, it’s now on the cards. This was the message of a meeting at Plaid Cymru’s Annual Conference in Swansea, arranged by Ben Lake MP, Elin Jones AM and Traws Link Cymru.

The meeting came after the publication of the Welsh Government’s rail strategy document, ‘A Railway for Wales – Meeting the needs of future generations’, in which the Welsh Government states that it wants to ‘improve connectivity on the nation’s key corridors – especially the western corridor from Ynys Môn to Aberystwyth, Carmarthen and Swansea Bay.’

Over the years, Plaid Cymru has secured commitments by the Welsh Government to invest in scoping, feasibility and technical studies. It has also made several manifesto pledges to reopen the line.

The inclusion of the rail route in the Welsh Government’s rail strategy document is a major step as it lists, for the first time, that the re-opening of the line is part of the Welsh Government’s overall transport plan for Wales.

Ben Lake MP said:

“I am grateful to Mike Walker and Geraint Blayney for preparing such a detailed presentation, and indeed to the entire campaign for working so diligently to ensure that this important proposal receives the attention and consideration it deserves.”

Elin Jones AM said:

“It’s great to see that the campaign to reopen has now for the first time been given official status within a Government transport strategy.

“Whilst Welsh Government had commissioned both a scoping study and a full technical feasibility study for the reopening in recent years, it is only now that they have included the line as part of its future thinking.

“It will be for Westminster Government under the current devolution settlement to fund new rail infrastructure, but Welsh Govenrment has a role in ensuring that it is high on the agenda for rail investment.”

Mike Walker, a campaigner for Traws Link Cymru said:

“Following the Feasibility Study into the re-opening of the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway that was published in 2018, and which showed that there are no insurmountable engineering problems associated with the re-establishment of the line, Traws Link Cymru is further encouraged by the recent document released by the Welsh Government  “A Railway for Wales: Meeting the needs of Future Generations’.

“This outlines future Strategic Corridor Developments for Wales including enhanced connectivity from Ynys Mon, through Dolgellau, Aberystwyth and Carmarthen, to Swansea and South West Wales. For the first time, the Welsh Government has publicly acknowledged the need for a north-south rail corridor, a key element of which is the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen line that has been the focus of the Traws Link Cymru campaign.

“The onus is now on the Welsh Government to accept that the re-opening of this railway line is a transport priority for Wales, and to seek funding from Westminster to deliver the project.”

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More support for West Wales carers

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A NEW strategy has been launched to improve life for more than 47,000 unpaid carers in west Wales.

Coinciding with Carers Rights Day, the West Wales Care Partnership has launched a five-year plan focused on four key areas to improve the support available for people caring for family or friends.

A carer is anyone, of any age, who provides unpaid care to someone who couldn’t otherwise manage, either because they are ill, frail, disabled, have mental health concerns or have substance misuse issues.

The strategy outlines how support will be provided to help carers maintain education, training and employment opportunities, and support to help them take advantage of digital services.

There will be greater focus on early intervention to identify people as carers and ensuring a range of services are available to support their well-being.

Judith Hardisty Chair of the West Wales Regional Partnership Board and Vice-Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “I’m delighted to be formally launching this regional strategy on Carers Rights Day. Improving lives for Carers is a priority for all members of the Regional Partnership Board as we strive to ensure that everyone lives longer healthier and happier lives and are supported to remain active and independent in their own homes for as long as possible. Our vision is to ensure that Carers are recognised, valued as expert partners in care and supported in their caring role.”

The West Wales Care Partnership covers the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire and supports transformation and integration of care and support in the region.

Carmarthenshire Council’s executive board member for social care, Cllr Jane Tremlett said: “Caring for someone can be both challenging and rewarding. Some carers provide around the clock care which can be a huge struggle, exhausting and very demanding. Others have the added hardship of working whilst caring for a loved one. Many carers experience isolation, physical health problems and emotional issues such as anxiety and stress and balancing the caring role whilst juggling other commitments can be extremely hard. Thousands of unpaid carers in West Wales are helping to look after relatives, friends or neighbours, and without their dedication the burden on our health and social care services would be huge. This Strategy will put greater focus on what can be done to support them in as many ways as possible.”

For further information about the regional Carers Strategy contact the Strategic Partnership, Diversity and Inclusion Team by emailing inclusion.hdd@wales.nhs.uk

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Police and Crime Commissioner to broadcast live conversation with Health Board

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ON WEDNESDAY evening, November 25, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn will broadcast a live conversation with Hywel Dda University Health Board Chief Executive, Steve Moore on social media.

Steve Moore will be PCC Llywelyn’s fourth guest on his fortnightly Facebook live broadcast series, Commissioner in Conversation following on from previous broadcasts with Dyfed-Powys Chief Constable Mark Collins, Superintendent Ifan Charles, and Deputy Chief Constable Claire Parmenter.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn, said; “It will be a privilege for me to have Steve Moore as a guest on my next Commissioner in Conversation broadcast.  This year has been such a challenging year for our Health Board, and the NHS across the UK, with their staff being at the frontline, working hard to fight the pandemic, and saving lives on the way.

“This broadcast will be an opportunity for me to have an informal conversation with Steve to hear about his personal experiences of recent months, how the Health Board has dealt with all the challenges and the pressure, and to celebrate the fantastic work of his staff.

“We will not only concentrate on the COVID-19 pandemic, we will also discuss some partnership working between the NHS and the Police, how we often support each other, and as usual, I will try to get to know a little more about the person behind the name, his background and his journey to reach the position of Chief Executive at Hywel Dda University Health Board.”

Steve was appointed as Chief Executive at Hywel Dda UHB in 2014 following a career within both the public and private sectors. Like the rest of the UK, the NHS here in Dyfed Powys has seen significant challenges during the past few years but also significant advancements in care and outcomes for patients.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive Hywel Dda Health Board said: “The NHS is an institution that most of us hold very dear as it supports us from cradle to grave and can have a huge impact on our lives.

“I’m really looking forward to my conversation with the Commissioner as so many of our challenges, and indeed opportunities, are shared; and I’m particularly looking forward to receiving questions or input from social media users as well. COVID-19 has made us all look to new ways of connecting and I hope this provides an opportunity for people to find out more and for us to listen to the views of our communities and individuals.”

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn added; “This, again, will be a live broadcast, so please join us on our Facebook page, and feel free to leave your comments and questions, and as usual, we will try to reply best we can during the conversation.

Commissioner in Conversation with Steve Moore will be broadcasted live on www.facebook.com/DPOPCC  at 8pm on November 25, on the eve of Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn’s November virtual Community Engagement Day, where he will be spending the day meeting with several partners and organisations as well as community representatives.

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New ‘world class’ facilities for Carmarthen Leisure Centre

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WORK has been completed at Carmarthen Leisure Centre following a £1.5 million investment by Carmarthenshire County Council.

The improvements works which include a new eight-lane athletics track and a world class 2G astro turf pitch surface have been funded under the council’s capital works programme.

Features of the upgraded competition spec track include two 100m sprint tracks, a 400m track, startrack system and a complete lighting system replacement.

The four tennis courts have also undergone a ground respray with new netting and additional access and exit points.

Additional parking has been provided to meet current demand and a one way system has been introduced which will ease traffic flow.

More fencing and goal storage has been built around the 2G pitch to allow safe use of the facility for multiple sports, along with new light bases, spectator rails and rebound fencing.The council’s executive board member, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, said: “We are pleased that we have been able to make this significant investment available for our leisure centre. 

“More people than ever are using the centres to get more active and healthy, so it is critical that we are able to provide them with modern facilities that compete with a busy private sector market. If we don’t invest we face the possibility of losing our customers which would have a long term effect on the viability of our leisure centres. This investment will benefit our members and the local community and schools.”

Over £3 million has being ploughed into Carmarthen and Ammanford centres to ensure sport facilities are fit for the future.

Cllr Hughes Griffiths added: The new pitch will offer people a world-class facility for people to enjoy in all weathers, throughout the day and evening and will be open for hire by the public, clubs, schools and others for soccer, hockey and a range of sports and activities.”

 

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