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Social distancing plea following Carmarthenshire Covid cluster

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council is calling on residents and visitors to take responsibility for social distancing as a cluster of positive Covid-19 cases are confirmed in the county.

The council is working with Public Health Wales to manage a number of cases identified through the national Test, Trace, Protect procedures.

The cluster is centred around a presentation evening held on Saturday August 29 at Drefach Cricket and Football Club, organised in breach of coronavirus regulations.

To date 12 people who are linked to the evening have tested positive for Covid-19 and all those who attended the event will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Contact tracers are in the process of making contact with all those who attended.

A closure notice has been served on the person responsible for the premises, meaning the club cannot re-open for at least 14 days.

Drefach Cricket and Football Club: Presentation evening was centre of outbreak

The council said it is as important as ever that people recognise that the virus has not gone away, and is urging people to heed the national advice and take responsibility for keeping themselves, and others, safe.

Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said: “This virus has not gone away, and unless we all take responsibility for our own actions we will be back in the dreadful situation where we will have to enforce the closure of some businesses and restrict people’s access to services.

“Social distancing needs to be adhered to, people and businesses need to comply with the NHS Test, Trace, Protect programme, and everyone needs to play their part in preventing the spread of this virus. This event was organised in breach of the regulations showing a complete disregard for the wider public. Moving forward we will not hesitate to take action, including issuing closure and fixed penalty notices where sports clubs or businesses breach regulations and put the public’s health at risk.”

He added: “We are just beginning our recovery from this pandemic, and we do not want to go back to a place where we have to close our schools, restrict visits to our parks, pubs, recycling centres and more – this is the risk that organisers of such events cause in our communities.

“There is plenty of advice and guidance available from Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and on local authority websites in Carmarthenshire and other areas you may be visiting. It is your responsibility to stay up to date and take all action necessary to protect yourself and others around you.”

Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales can confirm that we are responding to cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Drefach Cricket and Football Club. We manage any clusters of Coronavirus appropriately, including by providing advice around infection prevention and control, and by supporting contact tracing where required.

“We remind the public that they have a vital role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus. They can do this by always observing social distancing guidelines – that’s staying two metres away from others – washing hands regularly, and working from home if they can.”

Executive Director of Therapies and Health Sciences for Hywel Dda University Health Board Alison Shakeshaft said: “It is absolutely vital that we all abide by social distancing measures in order to protect our communities. Most important to remember is to self-isolate when asked to do so, keep 2m away from others outside of your household bubble, minimise your contacts where you can, avoid gatherings, and wash your hands regularly.

“We are working closely with the council and Public Health Wales, and this includes tracing potential contacts. Some people will be asked to undertake a test, but others will not need to be tested but will be asked to self-isolate and book a test if symptoms occur. All members of the public are reminded that if they have symptoms – that is a high temperature, continuous cough or loss of taste or smell – they should immediately self-isolate and book a test.”

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

Symptomatic members of the public can apply for a test by visiting the Welsh Government website and choosing either a mass drive-through testing centre or ordering a home testing kit. Those without digital access can apply for a test by calling the free number 119 (between 7am-11pm) and people with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119.

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RNIB brings LEGO® Braille Bricks toolkits to children in Carmarthenshire

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CHILDREN with vision impairment in Carmarthenshire are set to benefit from LEGO® Braille Bricks toolkits thanks to the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) work with the LEGO Foundation.

The toolkits have so far been distributed to Ceredigion Council, Swansea Council, Conwy Sensory Support Service, Carmarthenshire Council, Bridgend Council, Neath Port Talbot Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf.

LEGO Braille Bricks introduce a new way to help children with vision impairment develop tactile skills and learn the braille system. The kits are made up of approximately 300 LEGO bricks that are specially moulded so that the studs on top reflect individual letters and numbers in the Braille alphabet. The bricks also feature printed letters, numbers and symbols so that they can be used simultaneously by sighted peers, classmates, and teachers in a collaborative and inclusive way.

The kits are being brought to the UK by RNIB, which worked with the LEGO Foundation to develop and test the Braille Bricks and will distribute toolkits to schools and home-schooled children in Carmarthenshire from September.

RNIB Director of Services, David Clarke said: “We are excited to bring the LEGO Braille Brick toolkits to UK classrooms to help children learn how to read and write braille in a fun and engaging way. Braille is an important tool and these inclusive toolkits will make a real difference to children with vision impairment, allowing them to play and interact with their sighted classmates.”

RNIB has also trained teachers and support staff working with children with vision impairment in the teaching concept. Although the toolkit is intended as a playful introduction to braille for younger children aged from four up, it has also proven to have learning opportunities and benefits for children in secondary school.

Senior Play & Health Specialist at the LEGO Foundation, Stine Storm, said: “We are thrilled to launch the first wave of the LEGO Braille Bricks program and get the toolkits into the hands of children. With LEGO Braille Bricks, students and educators can tailor their activities in countless different ways to meet their needs and learning goals in a fun and inclusive manner. The possibilities for learning through play are endless, and we look forward to seeing how LEGO Braille Bricks can inspire children of all ages along their journey to learn braille.”

The UK is one of several countries that LEGO Braille Bricks will launch in this year. The toolkits, or sets of bricks, are not on general sale and can only be ordered by heads of service from local sensory services. Heads of service can also nominate an education professional from schools for children with vision impairment, or a QTVI (qualified teacher of children and young people with vision impairment), to place an order on behalf of their area. For more information visit www.rnib.org.uk/legobraillebricks

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Police appeal for witnesses after 20-year-old pedestrian tragically killed on A40

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is appealing for witnesses to a fatal road traffic collision on the A40 west of Carmarthen on Saturday (Sept 26) in which a 20-year-old man, a pedestrian, lost his life.

The police have asked The Pembrokeshire Herald to publicise this appeal.

A spokesman for the police told this newspaper: “At around 9.40pm, a white VW Transporter was in collision with a pedestrian on the A40 westbound, near the junction of Llangynog, Carmarthen.

“The pedestrian, a 20-year-old male, died as a result of his injuries.

“It appears the pedestrian had left his vehicle, a black Seat, following a single-vehicle collision further along the westbound carriageway shortly before.

The police have asked that if anyone has any information on either or both collisions, or may have been travelling along the A40 at the relevant time, please contact the serious collision investigation unit, quoting reference DPP-20200926-339.

This can be done by email: contactcentre@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, by phone on 101 or by text: If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

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Tir Coed build outdoor classroom for Cross Hands Primary

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The local charity Tir Coed teamed up with Cross Hands Primary School to design and install a locally
grown woodland shelter to enable primary school pupils to benefit from outdoor lessons-even when
the rain pours!

Last year Cross Hands Primary School received funding from Carmarthenshire is Kind for their
intergenerational project. The project brought the schoolchildren together with older people in the
community. Through intergenerational activities, everyone involved increases social connectedness,
reduces social isolation, learns from one another and has a great time!

Before the lockdown, Tir Coed was contracted to lead a group mainly made up of parents from the
school on a shelter-building course. The attendees would gain knowledge and skills and the children
and the older people would be able to use the shelter, a third generation now included in this
fantastic project. The plans, however, had to change due to restrictions and in an effort to have it
ready for the children when they returned to school, three intrepid Activity Leaders braved the wet
August weather to build the beautiful shelter .

Studies have shown that being in the outdoors significantly reduces the risk of spreading the Corona
Virus. With this addition to their already impressive outdoor area, it is hoped that more learning can
take place outside the classroom. Deputy Head, Emma Walters said, “It looks amazing! I am very
impressed with the shelter and I cannot thank Tir Coed enough for organising this. Additional
covered space in the outdoors will mean that we can take more learning into our lovely nature
area.”

If you would like to find out more about the work of Tir Coed or have a project you would like our help
with you can contact Nancy, the Carmarthenshire Coordinator: carms@tircoed.org.uk

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