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Two week national ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ announced for Wales from 6pm on Friday

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MARK DRAKEFORD, The First Minister of Wales has announced a two week ‘fire break’ lockdown from Friday October 23 at 18:00 HRS, to last until Monday November 9 at 00:01 HRS

Mr Drakeford said: “This firebreak is the shortest we can make it. It must be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus.”

All non essential businesses, including tourism businesses will be told to close.

Businesses have been told that they will be given £1000 each automatically to help with the economic impact of the shutdown.

Mr Drakeford added that children will be the priority and that childcare facilities will open as normal. Primary schools will open after half term.

Secondary schools will be closed for a week after half term to help control the virus.

Universities will offer a mixture of face-to-face learning and learning via video link. Students must stay at their university accommodation during the lockdown.

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of a Wales-wide lockdown, Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has called the lockdown “not-proportionate” and is calling on the Welsh Government to be “open and transparent” on the evidence to support a lockdown and if the First Minister is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns every month.

Paul Davies MS said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.

“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns. This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year. The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate. The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.

“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “The evidence to support an all-Wales lockdown is weak and I am sceptical that this so-called ‘fire-break’ will tackle the situation in those parts of Wales where infection rates have been out of control. The key issue for Welsh Government to address is what will be done differently after the firebreak ends in those parts of Wales where infection rates have spiralled out of control. Otherwise the whole of Wales risks being dragged back into a series of rolling lockdowns.

“As we saw earlier in the year, lockdowns come with huge costs in terms of harm to the economy and to people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. With the Welsh Government asking UK Government to fund this lockdown, I hope that as many businesses as possible get support they need quickly. Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses will be hit particularly hard by these latest restrictions and I will be fighting hard again to see that they are protected as the lockdown kicks in.”

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More support for West Wales carers

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A NEW strategy has been launched to improve life for more than 47,000 unpaid carers in west Wales.

Coinciding with Carers Rights Day, the West Wales Care Partnership has launched a five-year plan focused on four key areas to improve the support available for people caring for family or friends.

A carer is anyone, of any age, who provides unpaid care to someone who couldn’t otherwise manage, either because they are ill, frail, disabled, have mental health concerns or have substance misuse issues.

The strategy outlines how support will be provided to help carers maintain education, training and employment opportunities, and support to help them take advantage of digital services.

There will be greater focus on early intervention to identify people as carers and ensuring a range of services are available to support their well-being.

Judith Hardisty Chair of the West Wales Regional Partnership Board and Vice-Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “I’m delighted to be formally launching this regional strategy on Carers Rights Day. Improving lives for Carers is a priority for all members of the Regional Partnership Board as we strive to ensure that everyone lives longer healthier and happier lives and are supported to remain active and independent in their own homes for as long as possible. Our vision is to ensure that Carers are recognised, valued as expert partners in care and supported in their caring role.”

The West Wales Care Partnership covers the counties of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire and supports transformation and integration of care and support in the region.

Carmarthenshire Council’s executive board member for social care, Cllr Jane Tremlett said: “Caring for someone can be both challenging and rewarding. Some carers provide around the clock care which can be a huge struggle, exhausting and very demanding. Others have the added hardship of working whilst caring for a loved one. Many carers experience isolation, physical health problems and emotional issues such as anxiety and stress and balancing the caring role whilst juggling other commitments can be extremely hard. Thousands of unpaid carers in West Wales are helping to look after relatives, friends or neighbours, and without their dedication the burden on our health and social care services would be huge. This Strategy will put greater focus on what can be done to support them in as many ways as possible.”

For further information about the regional Carers Strategy contact the Strategic Partnership, Diversity and Inclusion Team by emailing inclusion.hdd@wales.nhs.uk

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Police and Crime Commissioner to broadcast live conversation with Health Board

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ON WEDNESDAY evening, November 25, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn will broadcast a live conversation with Hywel Dda University Health Board Chief Executive, Steve Moore on social media.

Steve Moore will be PCC Llywelyn’s fourth guest on his fortnightly Facebook live broadcast series, Commissioner in Conversation following on from previous broadcasts with Dyfed-Powys Chief Constable Mark Collins, Superintendent Ifan Charles, and Deputy Chief Constable Claire Parmenter.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn, said; “It will be a privilege for me to have Steve Moore as a guest on my next Commissioner in Conversation broadcast.  This year has been such a challenging year for our Health Board, and the NHS across the UK, with their staff being at the frontline, working hard to fight the pandemic, and saving lives on the way.

“This broadcast will be an opportunity for me to have an informal conversation with Steve to hear about his personal experiences of recent months, how the Health Board has dealt with all the challenges and the pressure, and to celebrate the fantastic work of his staff.

“We will not only concentrate on the COVID-19 pandemic, we will also discuss some partnership working between the NHS and the Police, how we often support each other, and as usual, I will try to get to know a little more about the person behind the name, his background and his journey to reach the position of Chief Executive at Hywel Dda University Health Board.”

Steve was appointed as Chief Executive at Hywel Dda UHB in 2014 following a career within both the public and private sectors. Like the rest of the UK, the NHS here in Dyfed Powys has seen significant challenges during the past few years but also significant advancements in care and outcomes for patients.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive Hywel Dda Health Board said: “The NHS is an institution that most of us hold very dear as it supports us from cradle to grave and can have a huge impact on our lives.

“I’m really looking forward to my conversation with the Commissioner as so many of our challenges, and indeed opportunities, are shared; and I’m particularly looking forward to receiving questions or input from social media users as well. COVID-19 has made us all look to new ways of connecting and I hope this provides an opportunity for people to find out more and for us to listen to the views of our communities and individuals.”

PCC Dafydd Llywelyn added; “This, again, will be a live broadcast, so please join us on our Facebook page, and feel free to leave your comments and questions, and as usual, we will try to reply best we can during the conversation.

Commissioner in Conversation with Steve Moore will be broadcasted live on www.facebook.com/DPOPCC  at 8pm on November 25, on the eve of Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn’s November virtual Community Engagement Day, where he will be spending the day meeting with several partners and organisations as well as community representatives.

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New ‘world class’ facilities for Carmarthen Leisure Centre

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WORK has been completed at Carmarthen Leisure Centre following a £1.5 million investment by Carmarthenshire County Council.

The improvements works which include a new eight-lane athletics track and a world class 2G astro turf pitch surface have been funded under the council’s capital works programme.

Features of the upgraded competition spec track include two 100m sprint tracks, a 400m track, startrack system and a complete lighting system replacement.

The four tennis courts have also undergone a ground respray with new netting and additional access and exit points.

Additional parking has been provided to meet current demand and a one way system has been introduced which will ease traffic flow.

More fencing and goal storage has been built around the 2G pitch to allow safe use of the facility for multiple sports, along with new light bases, spectator rails and rebound fencing.The council’s executive board member, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, said: “We are pleased that we have been able to make this significant investment available for our leisure centre. 

“More people than ever are using the centres to get more active and healthy, so it is critical that we are able to provide them with modern facilities that compete with a busy private sector market. If we don’t invest we face the possibility of losing our customers which would have a long term effect on the viability of our leisure centres. This investment will benefit our members and the local community and schools.”

Over £3 million has being ploughed into Carmarthen and Ammanford centres to ensure sport facilities are fit for the future.

Cllr Hughes Griffiths added: The new pitch will offer people a world-class facility for people to enjoy in all weathers, throughout the day and evening and will be open for hire by the public, clubs, schools and others for soccer, hockey and a range of sports and activities.”

 

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