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GovTech Catalyst challenge now in second phase

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MID and WEST WALES Fire and Rescue Service says it is pleased to announce that it is progressing into Phase 2 of its GovTech Catalyst challenge.
Phase 1 of the GovTech Catalyst challenge involved 5 companies who were each awarded up to £50,000 to develop location tracking technology in order to enhance firefighter safety within buildings. Following a highly competitive process, Phase 2 will provide funding for the two successful organisations, Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems and Brandwidth, as they progress to the next stage of the Challenge.

Under the terms of Phase 2, Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems and Brandwidth will continue to work with MAWWFRS to further develop and refine their solutions to track firefighters within building and structures in real-time. Both organisations will now be eligible to apply for up to £500,000, including VAT, to further develop this ground-breaking technology over the course of the next 12 months.

The GovTech Catalyst challenge aims to enable real-time tracking of firefighters within buildings and structures by developing technology to answer the following four questions:

1.How can we enable instantly deployable real-time tracking of Firefighters within buildings and prevailing hazards at unknown locations?
2.How can we deploy mobile technology to allow the tracking of Firefighters which can instantly create a ‘digital network’ to share information at all incident locations?
3.How can we provide a software solution which improves the way we collect and share information with other Emergency Responders and partner agencies?
4.How can we present a real-time 3D map of operational environments, using virtual and augmented reality technologies, to enhance operational safety and post-incident review?

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Roger Thomas said, “We have grasped this opportunity to utilise funding from the GovTech Catalyst challenge to reduce operational risk and further enhance the safety and wellbeing of our firefighters.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service is looking forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems and Brandwidth to develop a product that will help us realise our vision, to be a world leader in emergency response and community safety.”

MAWWFRS Programme lead for the GovTech Catalyst challenge, Group Manager Steve McLinden said “I am delighted to be able to continue our work with Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems and Brandwidth following the successful progress which was made within Phase 1 of the challenge. We are looking forward to further developing our professional partnership with both teams to evolve this pioneering, lifesaving safety solution. The complexity and difficultly of this technical innovation should not be under-estimated, however, we are extremely confident that we will be able to develop commercially viable solutions over the next 12 months.”

Jason Jones, CEO, Brandwidth, said: “Winning one of the two final spots in this process, which saw us compete against defence contractors, incumbent firefighter OEMs and engineering specialists, is a huge validation of our agile, innovation-led approach.

It’s been a humbling experience working with the Mid and West Wales Fire Service, and we’re delighted to have built such a strong partnership with them. Our close relationship has enabled us to create a cutting-edge, potentially life-saving solution to their everyday challenges.”

Chris Murray, Tech Lead, Oxon Tech / Greeve Systems, said: “Oxon Tech is delighted to be supporting this exciting project, alongside collaboration partners Greeve Systems and Dynium Robot. Wherever IT meets extreme use cases is always a fascinating area to be working in, and we’re looking forward to bringing our combined experience to the table to solve this incredibly worthwhile challenge.”

Community

CO-OP serves-up newest Welsh store in Carmarthen

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THE CO-OP is set to serve-up its newest food store in Wales following a £550,000 investment creating 15 jobs in Carmarthen.
The 2,500 sq. ft. new store – located on Job’s Well Road and opening on Friday, 6 December – runs on 100% renewable electricity, and provides a funding boost for local causes through Co-op’s membership scheme.

The store – which opens between 7am – 11pm daily – includes customer car parking, free ATM, a Costa coffee dispenser and bakery alongside its focus on fresh, healthy products, food-to-go, vegan and free-from foods, hot food, chilled beers, award winning wines, meal ideas and, essentials.

Co-op also offers a 10% discount off groceries to TOTUM cardholders (the new name for the NUS extra card) to support students during their studies.

Alun Roberts, Co-op Store Manager, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to carry out such significant investment in the area – It really is exciting to be opening Co-op’s newest Welsh store and we are looking forward to serving the community. Connecting communities and bringing people together is at the core of the Co-op and our aim is to operate at the heart of local life, a community hub. The investment is a great way to mark the Co-op’s 175th anniversary year!”

Chris Ellis, Co-op Area Manager, added: “Co-op is committed to making a difference and creating value in its communities – our focus is all about delivering what our members and customers want, need and care about, conveniently. We also want the community to know that they can become a co-owner and Member of their Co-op, and every time a Co-op product or service is bought by our Members, local community groups receive funding.”

The Co-op picked up the “Convenience Retailer of the Year” and “Food-to-go Retailer of the Year” titles at the latest Retail Industry Awards.

There are offers and promotions in and around the store to mark its launch.

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Mobile library services put in place for Cross Hands

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OPTIONS are being explored for a temporary home for Cross Hands Library, pending a proposed permanent move to a purpose-built facility within the town.

The library will leave its current home at the Cross Hands Cinema building during December following expiry of a lease agreement.

Services will be provided from Carmarthenshire County Council’s mobile library from Saturday, December 7, until a new temporary premises is found.

It will provide a comprehensive range of reading materials along with iPad access to online services and will operate during existing Cross Hands library hours – 10am-5pm Mondays and Thursdays, and 10am-1pm on Saturdays.

The council said it welcomes suggestions from members of the public and businesses about a temporary solution.

Longer-term, there are proposals for the library to be permanently based at a new Health and Wellbeing Centre planned for the Cross Hands area.

Ian Jones, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Head of Leisure, said: “We would like to thank people for their understanding whilst we work towards the permanent provision of a modern, fully-equipped, and purpose-built library service within the Cross Hands area.

“We will shortly be leaving our current home at Cross Hands Cinema, and thank the trustees for welcoming us over the last few years.

“Our mobile library service will be operating in the area from late December, offering a good range of reading and audio material, as well as digital access for our customers.”

The current provision at Cross Hands Cinema will come to an end on December 7.

For further information, email libraries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or call 01269 598360.

Gwasanaethau llyfrgell teithiol ar waith yn Cross Hands

MAE opsiynau’n cael eu hystyried ar gyfer cartref dros dro i Lyfrgell Cross Hands, hyd nes y gwireddir y bwriad i symud yn barhaol i gyfleuster pwrpasol yn y dref.

Bydd y llyfrgell yn gadael ei chartref bresennol yn adeilad Sinema Cross Hands yn ystod mis Rhagfyr ar ôl i gytundeb prydles ddod i ben.

Bydd gwasanaethau’n cael eu darparu o lyfrgell deithiol Cyngor Sir Caerfyrddin o ddydd Sadwrn, 7 Rhagfyr, hyd nes y bydd safle dros dro newydd yn cael ei ganfod.

Bydd yn darparu amrywiaeth gynhwysfawr o ddeunydd darllen ynghyd â mynediad i iPad i gyrchu gwasanaethau ar-lein. Bydd yn gweithredu yn ystod oriau presennol llyfrgell Cross Hands, sef rhwng 10am a 5pm ar ddydd Llun a dydd Iau, a rhwng 10am ac 1pm ar ddydd Sadwrn.

Dywedodd y cyngor ei fod yn croesawu awgrymiadau gan y cyhoedd a busnesau ynghylch ateb dros dro.

Yn y tymor hir, mae cynigion ar gyfer lleoli’r llyfrgell yn barhaol mewn Canolfan Iechyd a Llesiant newydd sy’n cael ei chynllunio ar gyfer ardal Cross Hands.

Dywedodd Ian Jones, Pennaeth Hamdden Cyngor Sir Caerfyrddin: “Hoffem ddiolch i bobl am eu dealltwriaeth wrth inni weithio tuag at ddarparu gwasanaeth llyfrgell pwrpasol a pharhaol sy’n fodern ac yn cynnwys yr holl gyfarpar angenrheidiol, a hynny yn ardal Cross Hands.

“Cyn bo hir byddwn yn gadael ein cartref presennol yn Sinema Cross Hands, a hoffem ddiolch i’r ymddiriedolwyr am ein croesawu ni dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf.

“Bydd ein gwasanaeth llyfrgell teithiol yn gweithredu yn yr ardal o ddiwedd Rhagfyr, gan gynnig amrywiaeth dda o ddeunydd darllen a sain, yn ogystal â mynediad digidol i’n cwsmeriaid.”

Bydd y ddarpariaeth bresennol yn Sinema Cross Hands yn dod i ben ar 7 Rhagfyr.

I gael rhagor o wybodaeth, anfonwch neges e-bost at llyfrgelloedd@sirgar.gov.uk neu ffoniwch 01269 598360.

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Community

Big donation boosts Toybox Appeal

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The Christmas Toybox Appeal has received a huge boost thanks to a large donation.

Llanelli’s Business Improvement District (BID) handed over £600 to the council’s appeal team and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on a lot more faces this Christmas.

The money will be spent locally on gifts and toys for families who cannot afford to buy for their children.

Last year, over 6,000 gifts were donated to 957 children from babies from 18 months up to teenagers.

The appeal has been running for the last eight years and Carmarthenshire County Council staff are joined by volunteers to sort, wrap and deliver toys in the run-up to Christmas.

The council’s Toybox Appeal co-ordinator, Nia Thomas said: “We are thrilled to receive such a large donation off the BID. The money will go a long way in ensuring we reach as many families as possible who haven’t got the money to buy their children any gifts or toys.”

When you’re out and about doing your Christmas shopping this year, please spare a thought for those less fortunate families, and purchase an extra present to donate to the Christmas appeal.

Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at a number of collection points throughout the county by December 1. People can also donate gift wrap, scissors and sellotape for the volunteers. You can also give a monetary donation which will only be used to buy toys and gifts. You can send your contributions (cheques payable to Carmarthenshire County Council) to Building 2, St David’s Park, Job’s Well Road, Carmarthen SA31 3HB, or telephone 01267 246657 if you have a cash donation.

The BID chair, Lesley Richards said: “The number of stallholders at the food festival was astounding, so it only felt right to donate all that money to two great local initiatives. We thought that the event’s success should go as far as possible, so we agreed with Carmarthenshire Markets that we would donate the funds to two Llanelli-based initiatives that would benefit local people. These are, after all, the people who support our town centre.”

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