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Carmarthen grandmother will star alongside Eddie Izzard and Jo Brand

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A GREAT GRANDMOTHER from Myddfai taking part in Festival of Discovery alongside Eddie Izzard and Jo Brand!

Valerie Wood Gaiger, who wants to break stigma that the elderly can’t use Facebook, is encouraging people to connect through social media, and will share her story at the digital festival hosted by Eden Project Communities.

A 79-year-old great grandmother wants to break the stigma of the elderly not being able to use social media, and has created Facebook groups to connect people across the world.

Valerie Wood Gaiger MBE, created her first Facebook account in 2008, thanks to help from her grandson, and now has a personal mission to try and close the digital age gap.

She said that now during national lockdowns, using the online communities you are part of to stay connected is “more important than ever before.”

The great-grandmother of seven, and grandmother to seven more, has said the internet is a great “social leveller” and has so far used social media to connect with people in need around the world. Her project, ‘Learn with Grandma’ has international networks with Facebook groups from Australia to Canada; Ukraine to South Africa.

It was this network that got the attention of the festival organisers. Val will be sharing her story at the Eden Project’s first online festival, the Festival of Discovery, alongside a host of other speakers and headliners Eddie Izzard and Jo Brand.

The Festival of Discovery is aiming to help people connect from across the UK through lively discussions, fun demonstrations and inspiring stories.

She said: “Now more than ever it is important to stay connected with those in need. It has been a tough time for a lot of people, but it is important we all stay in touch as much as we can. Keeping in touch via the internet is not as good as having a hug – but it’s better than not seeing family and friends at all!”

Lowri Jenkins from Eden Project Communities said: “We’re thrilled to have Val as part of our schedule of events this Festival weekend. We’ll be covering hot topics like climate change and inclusive communities, alongside sessions on wellbeing and some fun activities for everyone.

“We’d love everyone to join and hear more about Val’s inspiring work – she’ll be speaking on Friday 20th at 1.30pm, where else but live on Facebook!”

Val told us: “Young people tell me that Facebook is for older people now, for people in their 40s and 50 and they’ve moved onto WhatsApp and other things.

That’s evolution, my grandmother didn’t want electricity upstairs because of a fear of burning down the house, my mother didn’t want to drive a car because she didn’t trust it, but it’s all evolution.

“I have evolved to use the Internet and I love it, but others don’t want to know, and there’s no reason why they should, there’s no law. But an awful lot of them realise that its a lot quicker easier and cheaper to do a lot of things online, and how wonderful and easy it is to connect with friends on social media.”

For more information about the festival, and to watch all the acts, go to the Festival of Discovery website https://thefestivalofdiscovery.com/

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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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