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First year anniversary for Transport for Wales

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TODAY, Transport for Wales reaches its first- year anniversary since taking responsibility for rail services across Wales and the Borders, which marked the beginning of their £5 billion investment programme.

Over the past twelve months, TfW have put the customer at the heart of their decisions and as a thank you to them, they’re offering 20% off advance tickets bought between 14 and 20 October for travel up until 26 November.

Some of the key highlights over the year include the creation of the advanced fare initiative, making it cheaper for journeys over 50 miles; delay repay 15 was launched so that customers can claim for delays of 15 minutes or more and the implementation of new performance measures designed to provide a more reliable and punctual service.

TfW also began their £194 million plan to improve every railway station across their network and committed to spend more than £600,000 a year on Community Rail Partnerships, creating community ambassador roles, that will be responsible for promoting regional tourism and local economic growth.
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James Price, Transport for Wales CEO said;

“It has been an exciting and challenging first year and we are proud to have started transforming the rail service for the people of Wales through delivering on our promises.

“We are implementing some ambitious programmes that will help us to improve the customer experience. Work has started on our railway stations; modernising them, making them safer and more accessible for local businesses and communities. We successfully reintroduced regular passenger services along the Halton Curve, providing 215 new services per week and connecting Wrexham with Liverpool by rail for the first time in 40 years.

“We have introduced additional trains to our network and our December timetable change will bring further increases in capacity across our busiest routes.

“Behind the scenes, there has been detailed planning and preparation work going on for the delivery of Metro services across Wales, the introduction of brand-new trains and the vision to create a fully integrated transport network.

“As well as our customers, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff for their dedication over the year and also thank the partners and businesses that we’ve worked with.”

Ken Skates, Minister for Economy and Transport, said:

“One year into our ambitious journey of rail improvement I believe it is important to recognise the progress that has been made. There have been the start of new services and new advanced fares and we will soon see extra capacity being added to some of our busiest lines. We’ve also outlined an ambitious £194m package of investment to improve every station in Wales.

“It’s clear that there are significant challenges and this journey will take time, but we have ambitious plans to transform transport across Wales to deliver a fully integrated network, with customers at the heart of everything. We have outlined a vision for a transformed railway across Wales – including the development of Metro systems – and Transport for Wales will continue to have an essential role to play in helping to deliver this.”

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Living Wage Week highlighted during Kidwelly launch

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Plaid Cymru Mid and West AM, Helen Mary Jones visited Burns Pet Food in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire to launch Living Wage Week locally.

PPLAID CYMRU Mid and West AM, Helen Mary Jones visited Burns Pet Food in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire to launch Living Wage Week locally.

The company is a champion of the Living Wage movement in Carmarthenshire, and the visit emphasised the importance of employers adopting the Living Wage for their workers.

Speaking at the launch Helen Mary Jones AM said:

“A big thank you to Burns Pet Food for hosting the Living Wage Celebration in west Wales. It’s very fitting that we are here today in the headquarters of this pioneering company that was established to provide a much-needed focus on nutrition, health and natural ingredients in animal food. Animal welfare is at the heart of everything for the firm. Their ethical emphasis also extends to the Burns workforce.

“The organisation is the first champion of the Living Wage Movement in Carmarthenshire; what a privilege and a responsibility that brings and one that John Burns and his staff have taken on board with energy and commitment.

“Everyone here at Burns is a passionate advocate for paying a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and we are delighted they hosted the event to help encourage and inspire as many employers in the region as possible to take up the mantle and follow their excellent example.

“Living Wage Week is about celebrating our Living Wage Employers – thanking them for making such a difference in people’s lives. It’s also about helping our friends and colleagues in other organisations who are also in favour of fair pay and want to learn as much as possible about what it means to become accredited Living Wage Employers.”

In addition to the advocation of the Living Wage implementation across Wales, Helen Mary Jones AM congratulated the 224 Living Wage accredited employers and celebrated the achievement in a statement of opinion in the Senedd. The statement has been signed by Labour and Plaid Cymru members.

Burns Pet Food in Kidwelly kicked started the celebrations of The Living Wage Week, which runs from 11th November to 17th November 2019.

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Health Board issues clarification following row over hospital parking charges

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD has put out a press release responding to criticism about its parking enforcement policy at Glangwili Hospital and at Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli.

In August 2019, a new parking enforcement system was implemented to protect parking spaces for both patients and visitors, according to officials.

This enforcement was in the form of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and the introduction of a four hour stay limit for patients and visitors.

While this has improved parking availability for patients and visitors, the decision has been made to temporarily suspend the parking enforcement following feedback from staff until additional parking improvement schemes have been implemented.

Until these schemes are in place and show improved parking availability for staff, it has been confirmed:

Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) will only be issued to those parked inappropriately i.e. causing an obstruction or to cars parking in zero tolerance zones.
Patients and visitors who need to park for over four hours are asked to input their registration details into one of the validation terminals available across both hospitals. However, during this temporary suspension no PCNs will be issued to unregistered vehicles exceeding the four hour limit
Members of staff with a parking permit who need to park as a patient or visitor should when not on duty must request temporary access to use the public (blue) car parks by contacting the Central Transport Unit on 01267 229620 or use their permit to park in a staff (red) or mixed (purple) car park.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB), said: “The decision to introduce parking enforcement at Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals was in response to long running difficulties that our patients and visitors have experienced when attending appointments or visiting loved ones. However, the changes made did not have the impact we hoped for so we are having to consider other options.

“I want to reassure members of the public that this is a temporary measure and call on staff to do their very best to refrain from parking in public car parks when on duty while we scope parking improvement schemes as a priority.

“Our choices are limited but I am confident we can find some solutions. We are going to need the help of our staff, however, to make a real difference.

“I’d like to thank all members of staff who have met with me to discuss what these possible solutions could be. We know we did not get this right for staff and we need to work with you to make sure that the decision made improves the parking experience for both staff and visitors.”

PCNs issued to staff parked in public car parks will be cancelled and refunds given. Please note this does not apply to PCNs issued to those parked in zero tolerance zones.

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The NSPCC and Childline are here to help children

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THE NSPCC and Childline want children and young people across Wales to know that they are not alone and that they have someone to talk or turn to if they have any worries about bullying.

It is heart-breaking to know that last year more than 500 children and young people in Wales contacted Childline due to concerns about bullying.

This week is ‘Anti-Bullying Week’ which runs from Monday 11 November to Friday 15 November.

We know that 501 youngsters from Wales contacted the free and confidential NSPCC-supported counselling service last year about bullying – which is a rise on the previous year of almost 28 percent.

The majority of those contacts from Wales – nearly 85 per cent – related to concerns about bullying which were not online.

It can be difficult for children to know where to start with helping someone who is being bullied.

Bullying, whether it happens online or offline, can take over a child’s world and have a devastating impact on them and their family, leading in some cases to serious mental health problems and even suicide.

Every year at Childline, we provide support to hundreds of young people who are struggling with bullying and have nowhere else to turn.

This ‘Anti-Bullying Week’ we want to remind young people how important it is to talk to someone they trust –  be it a friend, parent, teacher or a Childline counsellor.

We are also encouraging children to remember that just a few words of support can make a massive difference to a friend who is being bullied.

The new Childline ‘#IGotYou’ campaign encourages young people to remember that just a few words of support can make a massive difference, whether the bullying is happening offline or online.

  • Let them know you’re there for them,
  • Help them to get support,
  • Think before you like or comment on something,
  • Help to distract them.

Any child who has concerns about bullying can contact Childline (0800 1111) or look at our advice pages on the Childline website.

We also have some advice for carers, guardians and parents who may have concerns or worries about a child or young person with regards to bullying.

  • Talk to your child about bullying and cyberbullying,
  • Let them know who to ask for help,
  • Help them relax and take a time out,
  • Report bullying on social media and online gaming,
  • Report bullying videos shared online,
  • Talk to your child’s school or club.

The NSPCC, in partnership with 02, runs an advice line (0808 800 5002) for parents with questions about how to protect their children online – our experts can advise on privacy settlings, parental controls or how to have conversations about bullying online.

Parents can also visit the NSPCC and O2’s Net Aware website which explores the most popular apps and games, featuring helpful safety tips and feedback from both parents and children.

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