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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.”

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Eggstra special Easter treat for Carmarthenshire children

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VULNERABLE children and children of critical workers in Carmarthenshire will be getting an eggstra special Easter treat this year.

Kind donations of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns are being delivered to all the childcare hubs and food hubs in the county.

The childcare hubs have been set up to look after the children of critical workers and to support vulnerable children during the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of food hubs have also been set up by the council across the county to help families in need. Children who are entitled to free school meals also receive food supplies to feed the whole family.

Now thanks to the generosity of local businesses and organisations, the children and staff are guaranteed a very ‘hoppy’ Easter.

Food wholesaler Bookers in Carmarthen have given 50 boxes of Cadbury’s crème eggs to share out between the food hubs for children receiving free school meals – that’s a total of 1,968 eggs!

And the Co-op stores in Ammanford and Burry Port, Morrisons in Llanelli, Carmarthen and Llanelli Rotary Clubs, and Llandeilo Town Council have donated Easter eggs to give out to all the children attending the care hubs.

Morrisons in Carmarthen are also providing Easter eggs for all the staff working in the hubs on Good Friday; and Carmarthen-based Hafod Bakery will also be making a special delivery of hot cross buns and loaves of bread.

Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “I would like to thank everyone involved for their generosity, both the children and staff will be delighted.

“It is particularly important at this difficult time that we remain positive and take joy in all that we can. These Easter eggs will put a big smile on all the children’s faces, and it also shows how much we appreciate the hard work of all the staff.

“This is an excellent example of what we are trying to achieve as part of our SirGâredig campaign – the incredible community spirit and kindness that is taking place throughout Carmarthenshire during the pandemic.

“It is at times like these that we see the good in people, and I am proud of the people of Carmarthenshire for the support and kindness they are showing one another in these challenging times.”

Thanks also to Morrisons in Carmarthen for delivering Easter eggs to our bin collection crews at the Cillefwr depot today (Thursday, April 9), they were very happy indeed!

If you have an act of kindness you would like to share, please tweet us @CarmsCouncil using the hashtag #SirGaredig or post on our Facebook page @CarmarthenshireCC

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Supporting vulnerable children and their families

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SUPPORT for vulnerable children and their families is continuing during the coronavirus crisis.

Staff from Education and Children’s Services are continuing to offer wellbeing support as well as respite to families that need it.

With schools closed, headteachers and staff at specialist settings are making regular contact to make sure children are receiving the support they need and that the family is coping.

Other families with children that require individual support have been contacted directly by one of the council’s family liaison officers to find out what support is needed and how best it can be delivered, either through one of the childcare hubs, or through alternative arrangements.

Some pupils who need additional support are having their needs met through the childcare hubs and the feedback from parents is that it is working well.

Although schools are closed, Area 43, the school-based counselling service can still be accessed by children and young people from Year 5 upwards. Staff are available to provide information, support and counselling remotely; either online, by telephone or text and through its social media pages. Visit Area43.co.uk for more details.

Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “Respite and support services are continuing for vulnerable children, and will continue to do so as long as staff remain well, and families want and need it.

“It is more important than ever that we have this support in place for families, and it is also important that our young people can still access the counselling service whilst the schools are closed. This is a very difficult and uncertain time for everyone, and this type of support is essential.

“I am also very pleased to receive positive feedback from parents of children with additional learning needs that are using the hubs.”

If you have any concerns about a child or young person, please get in touch by emailing CRTChildren@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or by calling 01554 742322. If a problem occurs out of office hours that cannot wait, please call 0300 333 2222.

More information and support for parents can be found at newsroom.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/coronavirus

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Lottery win for local neighbours

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Two people in Ferryside are celebrating today after winning £1,000 each thanks to their lucky postcode.

The neighbours netted the windfall when SA17 5YP was announced as a Daily Prize winner with People’s Postcode Lottery on Wednesday 8th April 2020.

People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Judie McCourt sent her well-wishes to the winners. She said: “Congratulations to our winners! What a great surprise for them, I hope they enjoy their winnings.”

A minimum of 32% of ticket sales goes directly to charities and players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised over £500 million to date for thousands of good causes in Britain and beyond.

This draw was promoted by Maggie’s which has received over £16.1 million in funding from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. Maggie’s runs a network of cancer support centres across the country. These centres bring people together to help combat the isolation and distress that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis.

Many good causes close to the winners have also benefitted from players’ support, and local charities can next apply for funding in August.

For more information on People’s Postcode Lottery, please visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk or Facebook and Twitter.

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