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Work underway to tackle ash dieback disease

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WORK is underway in Carmarthenshire to tackle a serious fungal disease which is affecting ash trees across the country.

It is estimated that 90% of ash trees could die from ash dieback disease for which there is currently no known treatment.

The fungus infects the leaves and spreads through to the branches, causing the tree to eventually die. Dead branches and the trunk of the tree can become very brittle causing it to fall, posing a serious risk to both people and property.

The council is taking a risk-based approach to tackling the issue and ash trees along all Class 1 and 2 roads, the county’s busiest roads which make up 17% of the total highway network, have been surveyed.

Trees showing at least 50% of ash dieback in their crowns and which pose a risk to road users will have to be felled. A total of 2,512 trees have been identified.

Felling work will start later this month in Llanelli along the A4138 between Trostre and Llangennech where 215 trees along the stretch will be felled. This is the busiest road in the county for which the council is responsible.

The works are scheduled to start at Penprys roundabout on Wednesday, February 26 and are expected to take eight days to complete with the final phase taking place at the Talyclun junction on Sunday, March 1. The majority of works will be carried out from the cycle path to maintain traffic flow as much as possible and between 9am and 3pm to avoid rush hours.

The council will be writing to private landowners with trees alongside Class 1 and 2 roads offering guidance and advice on how to deal with ash dieback.

Surveys are also being carried out on ash trees on other council-owned land such as schools, car parks, council housing areas, safe routes and cycle paths. Surveys on ash trees alongside Class 3 and 4 roads will follow.

Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans said: “This is a very sad situation, but unfortunately we have no choice but to remove the trees if they have the disease and are in a location which poses a risk to public safety. We will try to minimise the disruption to road users as much as possible.

“It is a serious problem for both councils and other landowners across the UK and a lot of work is being carried out. It is important we raise awareness of the disease, particularly with landowners to offer guidance and advice, as well as the public in general.

“There will be a need for new trees to be planted to compensate for the loss of ash trees in the county, and we will be actively seeking funding to support re-planting projects.”

Symptoms of ash dieback disease are usually first apparent in the crown of the tree, with leaves turning black and falling in late summer rather than autumn, there can also be visible lesions above and below the point where the branches join the trunk of the tree.

For further information including frequently asked questions and advice please visit the website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/ashdieback

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Community

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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Community

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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