A LARGE cedar tree which has been a focal point near Ammanford’s busy bus station for generations has reached the end of its life and is to be removed.
A third large branch has fallen from the tree in recent weeks.
Specialists working on behalf of Carmarthenshire County Council have advised that the tree is close to the end of its life-expectancy – typically around 150 years for a cedar – and could shed more branches from high in its canopy despite regular crown reduction work.
As a result the tree has been fenced off, and will be removed in the coming weeks.
A new tree will be planted in its place.
Cllr Hazel Evans, the council’s Executive Board Member for Environment, said: “This tree has been a prominent feature and focal point in the centre of Ammanford for a considerable number years. Despite our efforts, the tree has recently suffered a third branch failure and having taken professional advice we will be making arrangements for its removal and replacement.
“I’m sure that this will be disappointing news to anyone who has enjoyed the shade of the tree over the years, but public safety must be our priority.”
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.”
Carmarthenshire leads the way in supporting families to stay together
CARMARTHENSHIRE’S approach to supporting families and preventing children from going in to the care system has been recognised at a national level.
First Minister Mark Drakeford and Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan have visited Carmarthenshire County Council to meet the team who are driving a positive change to family social care.
Carmarthenshire has the lowest number of children in care throughout Wales, and figures are reducing steadily year-on-year with more and more families being supported to stay together.
The council’s strategic aim to reduce the number of looked after children is aligned to the Welsh Government’s, and is achieving this via a whole range of services which are together making a positive difference to hundreds of local people.
In conversation with social work managers, Mr Drakeford said Carmarthenshire stood out because the team is prepared to think and do things differently, and he wanted to find out how other areas of Wales can replicate their success.
One of the simplest, yet most effective, changes made in recent years is to align teams working across children’s services and education and bringing staff with specialist skills together to provide a whole team around a family in need, opposed to attaching a single social worker to an individual case.
The First Minister was told how this has allowed sharing of skills, perspectives and ideas to provide a bespoke package of support for each family, as well as creativity in finding different ways of linking in with families and keeping them together.
Teams say they focus on building relationships with families to fully understand their needs, and what intervention will work best for them – often inviting families to work with them to commission tailor-made specialist support ensuring their needs are met in a way that best works for them.
Prevention and early years intervention is also a key feature – in the last six months the service has supported 18,000 families with a range of community-based services to build resilience and prevent the need for families to have contact with the statutory social care system.
Mr Drakeford said he was keen to share his learning from Carmarthenshire with other authorities in Wales to reduce the number of children being taken in to the care system and keeping more families together.
“Carmarthenshire Council is doing some great work to keep families together and avoid children going into care,” he said. “As First Minister, I want to build on the work happening here, understand why it is having an impact and to share the good practice throughout Wales so we can help to keep more families together.”
Jake Morgan, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Director for Communities, said: “We share and support the Welsh Government’s strategic intent. For us, it’s not about targets, but about keeping families together, and reducing the number of children requiring care without ever compromising safe practice.”
Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said he was proud that Carmarthenshire is at the forefront of developing such a diverse range of services that support families with a variety of needs and supports them to care for their children at home and within their own communities.
“Keeping families together with the right kind of support is something I feel very strongly about,” he said. “I’m proud of the work of our teams, and their willingness to work differently and try new approaches to support families in need and prevent them from needing our services. It was great to hear the enthusiasm of the team today and their pride in making a difference to so many children’s lives.”
Welsh pet food company is set to feed thousands of rescue animals in 2020
Leading pet food company Burns Pet Nutrition is set to improve the health and wellbeing of rescue animals in Wales by providing pet food and donations to animal charities across the country.
The family-run firm based in Kidwelly, which already regularly donates its specialist line of natural pet food to over 40 rescue centres across the UK, has announced that it will this year offer vital support to Bedlington Terrier Rescue Foundation, as part of its ongoing Charity of the Year programme.
The Carmarthenshire-based charity, which cares for and rehomes Bedlington Terriers and their crosses, has been selected by Burns as one of its two charities of the year, joining West Cork Animal Welfare, and will receive a year’s worth of financial assistance and food amounting to over £50k in value.
The charities were chosen following an application and interview process. The collaboration marks the fifth consecutive year that Burns has run its Charity of the Year programme as part of an ongoing initiative to give back to charity.
Business Owner and Veterinary Surgeon, John Burns commented: “We are in a very fortunate position that, as a company, we are able to support causes in the community as well as deserving charities. I have decided that Burns should be a force for good.”
In 1976 Bedlington Terrier Rescue Foundation was founded by Barbara Butcher MBE and Phyllis Cooper. The foundation was established to rescue and rehome Bedlington Terriers and their cross breeds throughout the UK.
In the coming year Burns Pet Nutrition will be supporting Bedlington Terrier Rescue Foundation by providing funding to finance their innovative foster carer Training Scheme. The foundation does not house their rescues in kennels but ensures that each rescued dog is homed with a foster carer until a forever home is found. The new training scheme will provide foster carers the opportunity to work with appointed behaviourists to prepare the fostered dogs for life in their new home.
Frances Fuller, Director of Bedlington Terrier Rescue Foundation said “We’re really happy to be working again with Burns on this exciting project. They helped us celebrate our 40th anniversary at Discover Dogs 2016. It’s great that they are as enthusiastic for our training scheme as we are and we’re looking forward to now making this happen thanks to their generous support.”
Founded in May 1999, West Cork Animal Welfare was established to help unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused animals in West Cork. In 2020 Burns Pet Nutrition will be helping them to continue their work by providing a monetary donation to help towards purchasing much needed items for the rescue centre.
Jennifer Headlam from West Cork Animal Welfare said, “We are absolutely delighted and thankful, for all the dogs, cats and kittens in our care, to have been chosen as the Burns Charity of the Year. We all know what incredible quality Burns food is and the benefits it will give the animals in our care, from tiny pups and kittens to older frail dogs. It is a massive boost to the West Cork Animal Welfare Group team and an honour to be the winners.”
In addition to its Charity of the Year Programme, Burns runs a number of grassroots projects including The Better Tomorrow Programme, which aims to engage and help young people to develop valuable life skills, and The Burns by Your Side reading to dogs programme, designed to help children struggling with literacy and communication. The company takes a proactive approach to giving back and has 8 full-time members of staff working in its community department.
Burns was founded in 1993 on the principle that feeding pets a healthy, natural diet is key to helping them thrive. Today, John Burns wants to use the success of the business as a vehicle for positive change. He is calling on companies of all sizes to support and engage with their local communities and charitable organisations as much as possible, stressing that it’s integral to maintaining and securing customer trust.
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