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ALL SCHOOLS in Wales will close by Friday this week.

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Schools in Carmarthenshire have been preparing for the closure by placing as many teaching resources as possible online.

UWTSD has already moved to online delivery of lectures and seminars for its students.

In a written statement, Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “We are in an unprecedented period, one that is changing hour-by-hour, and governments around the world are having to make quick decisions.

Firstly, I would like to extend my gratitude to all those working in our education and childcare settings for the critical work you have been undertaking, under incredible pressure to support our children and young people. You have been at the front-line in supporting wider efforts to prepare for the challenges we are all now facing and I am incredibly grateful and proud.

Today, I can announce we are bringing forward the Easter break for schools in Wales. Schools across Wales will close for statutory provision of education at the latest on 20 March 2020.

I have been clear up to now that the continuity of education and the wellbeing of our learners has been at the heart of my decision making. This will always be the case.

From next week, schools will have a new purpose. They will help support those most in need, including people involved in the immediate response to the coronavirus outbreak. I am working with my colleagues in the Cabinet, with government officials and our partners in local government to develop and finalise these plans.

The key areas we are looking at are supporting and safeguarding the vulnerable and ensuring continuity of learning. We are looking in detail at how we can support and safeguard all those who benefit from free school meals and children with additional learning needs. I will make sure you are kept up-to-date.

While this will apply to schools, childcare settings are expected to remain open until we have definitive advice from the Chief Medical Officer and from Public Health Wales that any closures are required. Parents can, and should, speak with their usual childcare providers if they need care over the Easter holidays

I have discussed my intentions with the Leader of the Welsh Local Government Association, Andrew Morgan, who reflects the views of local authorities. Some school staff will likely have an important role to play in this. We are working closely with our key stakeholders to look at what this will look like for both education and childcare settings, including Flying Start. This position will of course evolve over the coming days and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

One of the critical decisions that we will seek to clarify with urgency is that of the forthcoming examinations. I am also working with Qualifications Wales and the WJEC about this year’s exam series. In line with all education ministers across the UK, I will be making a further announcement shortly.

From the outset, the decisions being taken have been focused on public health advice, and it is right that these science-based recommendations are front and centre of the decisions being made.

The announcement I am making today will help ensure an orderly closure for schools so that they have the time to prepare. However, I am conscious that the SAGE Committee and COBR meet this afternoon, and I will of course be listening closely to see if advice changes and any further urgent decisions about school closures are needed.

Today’s decision will help ensure an orderly closure, so schools have time to prepare ahead of the early break.

My main message for everyone is to stay safe and stay well. We will work together and we will face this outbreak together.

I will of course continue to keep you updated.”

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Works to improve Carmarthenshire roads gets underway

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NEARLY £2million is being invested in Carmarthenshire roads over the next few months.

Carmarthenshire County Council has announced that 37 sections of road will be resurfaced after funding was made available from the council’s capital works programme and the Welsh Government.

This significant investment is in addition to a programme of preventative dressing treatment which is already underway.

Short term road closures will be necessary on some sections however these will be planned to minimise disruption as far as possible.

Traffic management will be in place and details will be published in advance on https://one.network/tm.

All work will be carried out in line with latest Covid-19 guidance and social distancing requirements.

The council’s Executive Board Member for environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, said: “This is a significant amount of money that we have secured to improve our roads in the county.

“Whilst we can’t treat every road, the combined improvements will support safer and improved journeys for Carmarthenshire’s road users.

“We will minimise as far as possible the impact on road users by careful planning, however, some disruption cannot be avoided, so please bear with us. We thank everyone in advance for their cooperation and patience.”

The roads being improved are:

  • W9007, Parc Pemberton, Llwynhendy, Llanelli
  • W5113, Havard Road, Dafen, Llanelli
  • A484, Farm Foods roundabout, Llanelli
  • C2200, Lon Y Dderwen, Pentrepoeth, Llanelli
  • B4308, Trimsaran Road, Cwmbach, Llanelli
  • A48, Pont Abraham roundabout approach, Hendy
  • B4306, Heol Y Parc, Pontyberem
  • A476, Gorslas Square to Gate Road, Gorslas
  • B4297, Coopers Junction, Tycroes
  • C2130, Lotwen Road, Capel Hendre, Saron
  • C2043, Trevaughan Village, Carmarthen
  • A484, Morrisons roundabout to Pensarn roundabout, Llangunnor, Carmarthen
  • C2032, St. Catherine Street lights to Mansel Street junction, Carmarthen
  • A484, Jail Hill, Carmarthen
  • A484, Bronwydd Road to Pante Farm entrance, Carmarthen
  • A484, Bronwydd Village, Cynwyl Elfed
  • B4301, Bronwydd Village junction with A484 to Gwili Railway Level Crossing, Cynwyl Elfed
  • B4299, Maniwan bend, Bryn Iwan, Cynwyl Elfed
  • U5589, Esgair to Pen Ffynnon bend, Cynwyl Elfed
  • B4333, Ty’r Park to Hermon, Cynwyl Elfed
  • A484, Gillo Farm to Forest Lodge, Cenarth
  • A475, Newcastle Emlyn Bridge, Cenarth
  • A484, Cenarth Bridge, Cenarth
  • A484, Woodlands, Newcastle Emlyn
  • C2111, Llanllwni Mountain to cattle grid, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth
  • B4336, Penrhiw to Pontyweli bypass, Llanfihangel-ar-Arth
  • A482, Pyllau Crynion to Ram Inn, Llanybydder
  • A485, Pont Yr Henfaes, Llanybydder
  • A485, St. James’ Hall to junction with A482, Cwmann, Llanybydder
  • A4068, New Road, Ystradowen to Cwmllynfell county boundary, Quarter Bach
  • A4069, between Llwyn Jack and 30mph speed limit, Llandovery
  • C2153, Beili Glas to Minyffordd, Llangadog
  • C2058, Lanfach roundabout to Bryncrwys, Porthyrhyd, Llanddarog
  • C2081, Danyfforest to Nantygrove, Llangynog
  • B4314, West Rose Farm to Mountain Farm, Tavernspite, Red Roses      
  • B4328, Whitland Bridge to Bryngwenllian, Whitland
  • A4066, Wood End to Pendine, Laugharne

 

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Police dog finds missing mum and baby on first operational shift

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A MISSING mother and baby were found on the edge of a ravine after spending the night outdoors thanks to a police dog on his first shift.

Newly licensed Dyfed-Powys Police dog Max, and his handler PC Peter Lloyd, were crucial in tracking down the woman who had spent a night in a remote location in Powys with her young child.

Two-year-old German Shepherd cross Max swiftly put his training into action during his first operational shift, covering a significant distance to find the mum and child.

He was called into duty at just before midday on Saturday, August 1, when the force received a call reporting the mum missing and immediately launched a search to find her and her one-year-old.

Inspector Jonathan Rees-Jones said: “The woman had not been seen or spoken to for two days, which was out of character, and her phone wasn’t working, so naturally concern for her safety was high.

“Response officers, neighbourhood policing teams and specialist search officers were dispatched to her home, and enquiries were carried out to try and trace her steps.

“Thanks to excellent work between teams, the woman’s car was quickly found on a mountain road. Although this gave officers a location to search from, there was still a vast area to cover given the amount of time she had been missing.

“This is where PD Max’s tracking skills really came into play. Despite only recently becoming licensed, and on his first operational shift, he immediately commenced an open area search.”

With support from Brecon Mountain Rescue Team and an NPAS helicopter, along with advice from a search expert, additional units were deployed to assist in searching the area which included a small reservoir and woodland.

Police dog Max and PC Peter Lloyd

PD Max and PC Lloyd covered a significant distance, and at around 1.30pm, guided by Max, the officer spotted the missing woman waving for help near a steep ravine on the mountain side. She was helped down, and arrangements were made for her and her baby to be checked over by a Mountain Rescue doctor and the ambulance service.

Insp Rees-Jones said: “Extensive searches of the area were undertaken by officers, supported by specialist assets such as the dog unit and the NPAs helicopter, with advice from a police search adviser.

“Thankfully, after an hour-and-a-half of searching, the mum and baby were found. They were safe, but cold, and appeared to have been in the area for a significant amount of time.

“This was a fantastic coordinated and determined team effort from everyone involved, which no doubt ensured the safety of the mum and baby who were at significant risk of harm.

“I must give a special mention to PC Pete Lloyd and Max, who on their very first day since completing their training together covered a significant amount of mileage in the search, eventually locating them safe.”

PC Lloyd joined the Dyfed-Powys Police dog section in February, and was on his first operational shift with Max when the woman was reported missing.

Max is a general purpose dog, who will primarily be used for tracking and locating people in buildings and open air, tracing discarded property and tracking and detaining suspects.

PC Lloyd said: “I was really pleased that during our first operational deployment as a dog team, myself and Max were able to safely locate the missing mother and baby. Max remained focused throughout the long search and he proved invaluable when he reacted to the call for help which resulted in us locating them.”

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Eat Out to Help Out Launches today – with Government paying half on restaurant bills

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FROM today, Monday, August 3, customers will get up to 50% off on bills when visiting participating restaurants, pubs and cafes;

Half price discount will run through August and applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks consumed on the premises – with Pizza Express, Costa Coffee and Nando’s among thousands signed up.

The scheme, part of the Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs, aims to protect jobs in the hospitality sector – which has been hit hard by coronavirus.

Diners across Wales will see their restaurant bills slashed by as much as 50% from today as the government’s landmark Eat Out to Help Out scheme officially opens for business.

Anyone visiting a participating restaurant, café or pub on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August will receive the half price discount – keeping more money in hardworking families’ pockets and giving a vital boost to the UK’s hospitality sector.

The scheme – part of the government’s Plan for Jobs that will spur the country’s economic recovery from coronavirus – applies to all food and non-alcoholic drinks, with a maximum discount per person of £10. It could save a family of four up to £40 per meal.

2,084 outlets have so far signed up for the scheme in Wales.

You can check to find outlets in individual towns and cities by downloading the list here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eat-out-to-help-out-scheme-registration-data-for-software-develop

Alternatively, you can use the online restaurant finder to search for participating outlets using a postcode:

https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/eat-out-to-help-out/find-a-restaurant

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “Wales has some of the best pubs, cafes and restaurants and our hospitality sector plays a vital role in our economy, employing thousands of people. Recognising the incredible challenges faced by the sector, we are doing everything we can to encourage customers through the door.

“By offering 50% off bills in restaurants, cafes and bars, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme will boost custom, protect jobs and help to kickstart the Welsh economy.

“I hope as many people as possible make the most of this fantastic scheme which is another step in securing the future of Wales’ world-class tourism and hospitality industry.”

More than 72,000 establishments are participating, including independent eateries and family favourites such as Pizza Express, Costa Coffee and Nando’s.

There have already been over 3.3 million hits on the Eat Out to Help Out restaurant finder since it launched last week, which shows what businesses are participating in local areas, and many restaurants have since seen a boost in bookings. Apps like Opentable, Fork and Bookatable are all planning pages to support the scheme.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Our Eat Out to Help Out scheme’s number one aim is to help protect the jobs of 1.8 million chefs, waiters and restaurateurs by boosting demand and getting customers through the door.

“More than 72,000 establishments will be serving discounted meals across the country, with the government paying half the bill. The industry is a vital ingredient to our economy and it’s been hit hard by coronavirus, so enjoy summer safely by showing your favourite places your support – we’ll pay half.”

The scheme will help protect the jobs of the hospitality industry’s 1.8 million employees by encouraging people to safely return to their local restaurants, cafes and pubs where social-distancing rules allow.

Around 80% of hospitality firms stopped trading in April, with 1.4 million workers furloughed, the highest of any sector.

Many participating restaurants offer healthy and low-calorie options, and the scheme should be enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle. No vouchers are needed, with the participating establishment deducting 50% from the bill.

People may be worried about returning to eat out. To address these concerns, businesses have prepared to become Covid-secure through, for example, protective screens, contactless payments, social distancing, one way walking systems, online bookings and reduced capacity.

The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is one part of the Chancellor’s £30 billion Plan for Jobs, announced last month. Other measures announced to protect, support and create jobs include cutting VAT for tourism and hospitality by 15%, a £2 billion Kickstart Scheme and an £8.8 billion investment in new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects.

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