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Shoppers help choose Tesco Centenary Grants

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THE results are in after Tesco customers cast their votes this summer to help community projects in Mid and West Wales bag up to £25,000.

The supermarket is marking its Centenary year with two special Bags of Help funding rounds, with a huge £100,000 funding pot in Mid and West Wales.

The first of these special rounds concentrated on groups delivering health and wellbeing benefits. In first place, Cancer Research UK has been awarded £25,000, in second place, Cardiac Risk in the Young has been awarded £15,000 and, in third place, Maggie’s has been awarded £10,000.

Bags of Help, run in partnership with Groundwork, sees funding awarded to thousands of local community projects every year. So far, Bags of Help has awarded more than £5m to groups across Wales since it launched in 2016.

Cancer Research UK will be using its grant to help improve prevention and early diagnosis of cancer by providing free locally-tailored support to GPs and healthcare professionals across Mid & West Wales.

Emma Shiggins from Cancer Research UK, said: “Without our programme, it’s a sad fact that more people in Mid and West Wales would lose their lives to this horrible disease. Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what age you are, where you are from or what you do for a living. It affects everyone.

“With support from shoppers and Tesco’s grant the Cancer Research UK facilitators can help to drive further cancer prevention in the region and make sure that more people with cancer are diagnosed as early as possible, when treatment is more likely to be successful, and they have a better chance of survival.”

Dr Steven Cox, Chief Executive of Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), said: “We are delighted by the news that support from local shoppers has placed the charity 2nd in the vote. The £15,000 grant from Tesco will now go towards funding three cardiac screening clinics across Mid & West Wales, allowing our experts to screen 300, local young people for underlying cardiac conditions.

Dr Cox added: “This has been a great opportunity for us to reiterate that the vast majority of CRY’s community screenings are funded by bereaved families, meaning there is no charge to the individual when CRY’s mobile cardiac screening service comes to a local venue.”

Maggie’s Swansea are using the funding through Tesco to provide free practical and emotional support for people with cancer, as well as their family and friends. With backgrounds in the study and treatment of tumours and years of experience within the NHS, Maggie’s Swansea supports people with the full breadth of a cancer diagnosis, from explaining test results to understanding how best to support a family member.

Maggie’s Swansea Centre Head, Sarah Hughes said: “We are so grateful to Tesco for their support and to everyone who took the time to vote. We rely almost entirely on voluntary donations to be able to support people living with cancer.

“Our Cancer Support Specialists are at the heart of this, being on hand to give anyone who walks through our door a warm welcome, a willing ear and a wealth of expertise to allow them to manage their own personal challenges.”

Keith Jackson, Tesco’s Bags of Help Manager, added: “Congratulations to the recipients of our first Centenary Grant voting round. They are all worthy winners and we hope these awards help them continue their important work in our communities.

“In 2019, we are celebrating a century of delivering great value for our customers. And what better way to celebrate this occasion than by using our flagship community grant scheme, Bags of Help to support even more groups and organisations who are helping to make a difference across Britain.”

The first special Bags of Help rounds concentrated on groups with a particular focus on groups tackling cancer, heart disease and diabetes, in line with Tesco’s National Health Partnership.

Another voting round is underway in stores now, with even more projects sharing in the cash. Customers are invited to vote for the project they wish to receive the top prize using blue tokens handed out at checkouts.

The funding will reach more than 30 regions, with an incredible £3,300,000 up for grabs in total.

Find out more about Bags of Help at www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp.

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Community

Kidwelly Tea Dance Club donate £500 to Breast Care Unit Prince Philip Hospital

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A big thank you to Kidwelly Tea Dance Club for raising funds for the Breast Care Unit at Prince Philip Hospital.

Sandra Griffiths, Club Secretary said, “We all know someone who has undergone treatment for breast cancer and we would like to support this wonderful service at Prince Philip hospital. We raise funds by selling raffle tickets at our tea dances, which are held every fortnight at the Princess Gwenllian Centre. Everyone is welcome to join us, even if you don’t like dancing, it’s an opportunity to meet socially in a friendly atmosphere.”

Claire Rumble, Carmarthenshire Fundraising Officer said “Thank you for inviting me to your tea dance and presenting the £500 donation, it really will make a difference to our local Breast Care Unit – thank you and keep dancing!”

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First dog breeder signs up to Buy With Confidence scheme

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has become the first in the UK to bring a dog breeder on to the national Buy With Confidence Scheme.

Knocking Stone Kennels, of Mynydd Y Garreg, has signed up to the scheme, which provides consumers with a list of local businesses that have given their commitment to trading responsibly and fairly.

Every business the council signs up undergoes a rigorous vetting process before being approved as a member of the scheme.

Becoming a member allows the business to display the Trading Standards Approved Badge, and provides their customers with additional reassurance that they are buying or commissioning services from a responsible trader.

Carmarthenshire County Council has a strong and proactive approach to enforcing dog breeding standards.

Bringing responsible breeders on board with the Buy With Confidence scheme allows the council to further strengthen the standards it expects from breeders.

The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr Philip Hughes said: “This scheme helps protect customers from rogue traders and illegitimate businesses. It also gives them peace of mind about the products and services they are purchasing.

“Our animal health team proactively enforces dog breeding standards in Carmarthenshire and are constantly striving to improve conditions in this industry. Bringing breeders on board with the Buy With Confidence scheme is another way of encouraging licensed breeders to be responsible, and is in addition to the process of vetting and inspections with standard licensing.

“We have worked closely with Knocking Stone Kennels to bring them on board with this scheme, and hope that they will be the first of many.”

Knocking Stone Kennels has been established for 50 years, specialising in Yorkshire Terriers and other toy breeds.

Owner, Linda Baxter said: “We are delighted to become a member of the Trading Standards Buy with Confidence Scheme and to be approved and accepted as the very first dog breeder on the scheme in Carmarthenshire, Wales and UK. A big thank you to the council’s animal welfare team for their help and guidance through the process and to Trading Standards for entrusting us on the scheme.”

Carmarthenshire County Council licenses over 80 dog breeders across the county, allowing them to enforce standards and carry out regular inspections.

The council employs a qualified vet to complete inspections and dedicated investigation officers proactively monitor selling sites and visit premises to pursue action.

Over the last year, the council has prosecuted four breeders, confiscating over £275,000 by means of Proceeds of Crime which has been reinvested into the pursuit of illegal activity and substandard licensed conditions.

It is now working to encourage other breeders to come on board with the Buy With Confidence scheme to provide added reassurance to their customers.

Anyone who would like further information about joining the scheme, or who is looking for a registered trader, can visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

Lee Waters MS and Cllr Tina Higgins have backed a commitment by the Welsh Labour Government to improve welfare standards for dogs at breeding premises in Wales.

Welsh Labour’s Minister for the Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths has said she will act immediately to strengthen how the law is applied across Wales.

And she has re-confirmed the Welsh Government will take forward Lucy’s Law and ban third party puppy and kitten sales.

It comes as a review of the existing laws by the Wales Animal Health and Welfare Framework Group, called for greater consistency in the inspection and enforcement of breeding regulations and a review of the licensing process, including application of a staff to adult dog ratio appropriate to the breeding premises. These actions can quickly improve the welfare of dogs in Wales. The Group also recognised the need for better welfare standards for all breeding dogs in Wales rather than only those at licensed premises.

All of these changes can be implemented straight away, and should improve animal welfare quickly. A bill to ban third party puppy and kitten sales will be introduced to implement Lucy’s Law.

Last year, Councillor Tina Higgins successfully brought a motion to the full Carmarthenshire County Council calling on the council to support Lucy’s Law, a national campaign calling for a ban on puppies being sold by dealers and other third parties. The motion was successfully carried, and Cllr Higgins has led the campaign for better animal welfare standards in Carmarthenshire.

Lee Waters MS said:

“I welcome the commitment made by the Welsh Labour Government to drive up the welfare standards for dogs at breeding premises – it’s something I have long campaigned for.

“We all want to see the highest welfare standards for animals in Wales. So it’s good news some of the recommendations can be delivered through existing legislation and enacted quickly.

“The combination of new regulations on pet sales and dedicated funding for enforcement and delivery of the breeding regulations will result in lasting improvements to the welfare standards of puppies bred in Wales.”

Cllr Tina Higgins said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that the Welsh Government have taken action to strengthen and implement Lucy’s Law here in Wales, and drive up standards for all dogs being used for breeding.

“We can learn from elsewhere and help make sure that Wales has the best animal welfare standards in the UK.”

“I’ll be making sure Carmarthenshire Council is ready to use its powers to protect animals being bred here.”

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Council to consider new regional relationship for school improvement

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Executive Board will meet next week to discuss the authority’s future as part of the regional school improvement consortium ERW (Educational Regional Workforce).

The council, along with authorities in Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Swansea, has been a part of the consortium since it was established in 2014.

However, the Executive Board could decide to withdraw from the consortium to support a new arrangement for school improvement services based on the footprint of the Swansea Bay Region.

Neath Port Talbot Council has already served notice to withdraw.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, has recognised the many positive achievements of the consortium in recent years, but said it was right to discuss what was best for Carmarthenshire going forward.

“ERW has achieved many positive things, however it is fair to say that it has also navigated through some difficult times with changes in political and managerial leadership,” he said. “The large geographical area of the ERW footprint has added to these challenges.

“We truly value working with our neighbours, but it is timely to review the regional arrangements and potentially look to realign with other partnerships across the Swansea Bay City Region which could have bigger benefits for Carmarthenshire’s children and young people.”

The Executive Board will meet on March 16 (2020) to review the authority’s position, but has promised to work with partners to ensure a seamless and robust transition should members decide to withdraw.

Cllr Glynog Davies, the council’s Executive Board Member for education and children’s services, added: “We are committed to working in partnership and across local authority boundaries where this delivers benefits for our communities.

“It’s right to acknowledge the significant progress of ERW over the last 12 months, in terms of staffing and organisation, but we must be confident that we are providing the very best support for our schools and it’s timely to look at how this can best be achieved.”

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