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Welfare telephone calls help dozens of elderly residents



Dozens of elderly residents have been helped by Carmarthenshire County Council’s trading standards team through welfare telephone calls in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the residents that were helped include a 93-year-old in self isolation, who normally relies on a family member for support, and was unable to access essential food and medication as the relevant family member was, at the time, in self isolation.

Also, a consumer in self isolation was found to be suffering from severe mental health issues as well as a respiratory condition. They required support as they had been unable to access essential goods and were living off yoghurts and diet drinks due to an eating disorder.

Council staff were able to identify high risk residents through the council’s Truecall nuisance call blocking systems and provide them with support during the coronavirus outbreak. The majority using the call blocker are over the age of 80. Since the project was established in 2013, Trading Standards have installed and monitored 120 Truecall devices. The device has blocked over 76,189 nuisance telephone calls and has prevented some of the most vulnerable residents in Carmarthenshire from being scammed over the telephone.

Other residents requiring assistance included an 81-year-old, who had no family and was living alone, expressed concerns regarding the sustainability of their arrangement for accessing essential goods and services should their neighbours become unwell. The consumer also needed to access money held in their bank account. Council staff contacted the consumer’s bank to arrange for money to be withdrawn by a third party and deliver the money to the consumer.

An elderly, vulnerable couple in self isolation required support as they were facing difficulty in organising for the collection and delivery of their monthly prescriptions.

A consumer, who has now been given support, was confused when their cleaner, who normally gets food on their behalf, had failed to do so. It was unclear whether they were self-isolating themselves.

Trading standards are responsible for enforcing legislation associated with Fair Trading, Fraud, Weights & Measures, Safety, Age Restricted Products and Trademarks.

The calls also provided an opportunity to review the performance of the call blocking devices.

The council’s executive board member for public protection, Cllr Philip Hughes said: “The majority of the consumers who have the call blocking facility are over 80 and are particularly vulnerable during this difficult time. Particularly with the social distancing measures, in accordance with government guidance it was likely that they would be experiencing difficulty in obtaining essentials goods and services.  By making these telephone calls we were able to find out if any assistance was required and provide them with it. The calls were also a welcomed friendly voice to some who are feeling lonely and might not have any family or friends to talk to.”


Carmarthenshire towns win two prestigious awards



CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has congratulated two local town councils for their success in the One Voice Wales Awards.

Pembrey and Burry Port Council won the Best Community Engagement category for the multi channels of communication it has set up which enables the community to participate in any decisions the council takes. It was also recognised for the shadow forums set up in both primary and secondary schools to ensure the younger generation have a voice.

Kidwelly Town Council won the Best Devolution of Service or Asset Project category for acquiring ownership of Parc Stephens play area from Carmarthenshire County Council in 2019 as part of the asset transfer process. Since then it has increased accessibility and inclusivity for a wide age range of children and includes a sensory garden.

Carmarthen Town Council was highly commended in the Best Annual Report category.

One Voice Wales is recognised by Welsh Government as the national representative body for Community and Town Councils in Wales, providing a wide range of services to our 634 member councils representing approximately 8000 councillors.

This year’s awards ceremony has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths who is responsible for liasing with town and community councils said: “I’d like to congratulate Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council and Kidwelly Town Council on winning the awards. It just goes to show the great work being done across Carmarthenshire and more importantly how we are working with the communities to meet their needs. I’d also like to congratulate Carmarthen Town Council on the commendation.”

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Woman arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply



AN AMMANFORD woman has been arrested on suspicion of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers were on patrol in the Glanamman area on when they saw the woman driving a silver Peugeot away from them.

They were aware that the driver had no driver’s licence, and that she was suspected of being involved in supplying class A drugs in and around Ammanford.

Additional units made their way to her home, where the car was stopped. A search of the vehicle resulted in class A drugs being found, and she was arrested.

Further searches were carried out by the response team and dog unit. Around 16g of cocaine, some amphetamine, and some cannabis were found.

A 42-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply, possession and driving offences. The vehicle was also seized.

She has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Sergeant Walters said: “This was a very swift response to information relayed by colleagues who recognised the woman and were aware that she should not have been driving.

“Ammanford Neighbourhood Policing Team, response teams and the dog unit worked closely together to achieve a positive outcome.”

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Play equipment gifted to children with disabilities



CHILDREN with disabilities in Carmarthenshire have been gifted play equipment by the county council during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 26 children are already making use of new play materials and outdoor equipment which are helping to maintain their health and well-being during the lockdown.

Items such as garden swing seats, paddling pools, tablets, sensory black out tents, trampolines are making a huge difference to them whilst staying at home.

It comes after funding was set aside for those identified by the council’s social workers or disability intervention staff as needing extra support, and subject to an assessment.

Anna Martin, whose son Finlay has benefited from a garden swing said: “Finlay has spent many an hour calmly swinging in the garden. It has been great for him to spend time with the family outdoors. Fin is like a ‘toddler’ and enjoys a cwtch and a nap so the fact that this turns into a bed has been a big hit! It has certainly perked him up during lockdown.”

Funds are still available and anyone who is supported by the council’s disability service can ask their support worker for an assessment.

The council’s executive board member for children’s services, Cllr Glynog Davies said: “The restrictions of the current lockdown have been a huge challenge for all families, but particularly for those with a child who is disabled or has autism. Our teams identified that for some families having extra play materials or outdoor play equipment could make a massive difference to children’s wellbeing. We established a process where staff from our specialist teams could assess if families would benefit from this type of help. We have been able to purchase and arrange delivery of a number of items so far and we’re delighted to see what a difference it has made.”

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