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Flying Start app launched to connect with families

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A NEW app has been launched in Carmarthenshire to help Flying Start families to stay connected during the coronavirus pandemic.

Flying Start is a Welsh Government funded programme which supports families in disadvantaged areas of Wales to give children under the age of four a flying start in life.

Flying Start Carmarthenshire has become the first Flying Start in Wales to use a mobile app to help keep in touch with families.

The team developed the app as a way to increase engagement, and to signpost families to important information and promote events in the local areas.

The app can also be used to invite families to various baby groups and drop-in clinics with the health visitors, as well as to share photos and information with parents from the Flying Start childcare services.

However, it has been particularly useful since the coronavirus outbreak to communicate with families by using push notifications to provide COVID-19 information and to direct families to trustworthy sources.

The Flying Start Language and Play team is also using the app to carry out story time and sing-a long videos.

Mum Liz Maul from Garnant said: “The Flying Start app has been invaluable during lockdown with plenty of advice and ideas for keeping my baby Reggie occupied.”

Flying Start is active in a number of local communities including Ammanford, Carmarthen, Llanelli, Pembrey and Burry Port and Trimsaran and Carway.

Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “Although the app was being developed long before we even knew about the coronavirus, it has been very beneficial in helping the team to stay in contact and letting families know that they are still there for them during these difficult times.

“It is also a good way for families to keep updated with what’s is going on in the local area and keep up-to-date with the latest information.

“It is wonderful that they can also provide some of the baby group activities such as story time through the app, again very important at this time when we are all having to stay at home, I am sure it is bringing a lot of joy to many families.”

The app is free to download and available on both IOS and Android, just search for Flying Start in your Apple / Play Store and then choose one of the five centres closest to you.

For further information on Flying Start visit the Carmarthenshire Family Information Service website fis.carmarthenshire.gov.wales

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Carmarthenshire towns win two prestigious awards

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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

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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

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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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