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Heritage grant programme delivers wellbeing boost to communities in Carmarthenshire

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A WALES-wide programme that boosts mental and physical wellbeing by connecting communities with their local heritage has today awarded four grants to groups in Carmarthenshire.

Cadw – the Welsh Government’s historic environment service and The National Lottery Heritage Fund teamed up to launch the 15-Minute Heritage programme in September.

It was in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and awards of between £3,000 to £10,000 were available for applicants who could inspire people to take a greater interest in their local places.

Commenting on the announcing of the grants, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas said:

“15-Minute Heritage makes us realise that heritage isn’t just found in places we travel to visit, but is also in the streets and green spaces that are literally on our doorsteps. I am delighted that Cadw has been able to work with the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support so many projects that are finding new ways to connect people to heritage in every part of Wales.”

The 15-Minute Heritage grant programme is based on a concept called the 15 minute city where everyone can meet most of their needs within just a short walk from their home.

Staying close to home is something many of us can probably identify with because of our experiences during the pandemic and the 15-Minute Heritage programme builds on that.

It aims to help people strengthen the connections they have with their surrounding environment through ideas such as creating new walking trails; window displays; digital resources or interpretive panels.

The programme has also encouraged the groups involved to look at heritage through different lenses such as heritage between generations, ethnicity or a shared or specialised interest.

Andrew White, director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said:

“We’re all probably more aware of our local areas of late and local heritage – whether that’s a building, a landmark, a nature reserve or even our local shop, is important because it helps create and shape our communities.

“Connecting with our heritage is also good for our wellbeing and thanks to National Lottery players and our partnership with Cadw we have been able to encourage a diverse range of people right across Wales to get out and about to explore and re-discover their local area.”

“We’re very excited to have been awarded this grant that means we will be able to help people in Torfaen to benefit from the amazing natural heritage in their local patch. During lockdown, local greenspaces became important places to visit, exercise, connect with other people and with nature, supporting wellbeing.”

Oriel Myrddin Gallery’s ‘Hoelion Wyth Cymdeithas/Pillars of Society’ project has secured £10,000 funding.

Emily Laurens, Community Art Co-ordinator for Oriel Myrddin said: “This project will provide a safe space for debate about race, identity, and the experience of Wales as coloniser and colonised by stimulating conversations in Carmarthen around statues and monuments. The project will bring together residents, artists, students and historians using technology to look at heritage through a new lens.”

Full list of projects in Carmarthenshire that have received 15-Minute Heritage grants:

Laugharne Township Community Council’s ‘Enhancing interpretation and learning about Laugharne’s heritage’ project – £10,000;
Oriel Myrddin Gallery’s ‘Hoelion Wyth Cymdeithas/Pillars of Society’ project – £10,000;
People Speak Up’s ‘Square Stories’ project in Llanelli – £8,200;
Pembrey and Burry Port Heritage Group’s ‘Connecting the community with the Copperworks School’ – £6,500;

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Eligible unpaid carers encouraged to register for COVID-19 vaccine

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UNPAID carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire who are not already registered as a carer with their GP practice are being asked to complete an online registration form if they wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that unpaid carers are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as part of priority group 6, subject to certain eligibility criteria.

Revised national guidance from the JCVI describes unpaid carers as those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

Those clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 include children with severe neuro-disabilities, those who are designated Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV), adults who have underlying health conditions, and those who need care because of advanced age. Eligible carers should be vaccinated in priority group 6.

Anna Bird, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Unpaid carers play a vital role offering care and support and it is in everyone’s interest that they are supported. 

“For many years now, the health board has built strong links with unpaid carers across our three counties through initiatives such as our Investors in Carers scheme, designed to help organisations focus on, and improve, their carer awareness and the help and support they give to carers.

“There are over 10,000 unpaid carers registered with GP practices or the local authority across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire but we know there are many more people out there who may not recognise themselves as an unpaid carer and are unaware that support is available for them, including their eligibility for a COVID-19 vaccine.”

If you believe you may be eligible, are aged 16 or over and are not registered as an unpaid carer with your GP, please complete this online form https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/carers-information/covid-vaccine-for-unpaid-carers/covid-vaccine-for-unpaid-carers/ to register your details. People without internet access can contact the health board on 0300 303 8322.

Those already registered as an unpaid carer with a GP will be contacted directly to receive a COVID vaccination and do not need to do anything further.

Please wait to be invited for your vaccination and do not contact your GP or health board to ask about your vaccine appointment.  You will be contacted when it is your turn, thank you for your patience and understanding.

To find out more about the support available for unpaid carers in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire please visit https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/carers-information/

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Air ambulance assists with medical emergency in Carmarthen

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MEDICAL assistance was provided today by the Wales Air Ambulance today in Carmarthen

A spokesman from Wales Air Ambulance told The Herald: “I can confirm that Wales Air Ambulance attended an incident in Carmarthen on Monday morning (08/03/21).

“Our Dafen-based crew were mobile at 10:32 and arrived at the scene at 10:47.

“Following critical care treatment from our medics, we escorted the patient via a road ambulance to Glangwili General Hospital, Carmarthen.

“Our involvement concluded at 11:52.”

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to reports of a medical emergency at an address in Carmarthen this morning, Monday 08 March at 10.11am.

“We responded with two emergency ambulances and the Wales Air Ambulance. One patient was taken by road to Glangwili Hospital for further treatment.”

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Smiles as the youngest learners return to school

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THE SMILERS on these children’s faces says it all.

The youngest learners at Ysgol Carreg Hirfaen in Cwmann are happy to be back in school with their friends and teachers.

Like all children, they have been learning from home since before Christmas due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the school has now welcomed back Foundation Phase children aged 3-7 for face-to-face learning.

Headteacher Aled Jones Evans said it was wonderful to see pupils in school again, he added: “Our younger pupils are so happy at being back in school with their friends. Most of them engaged fully in distance learning over the past few months but being back at school, back in class amongst their peers, is so much better for their learning and especially so for their emotional and mental well-being.

“Indeed, the joyful sound of children playing on the school yard echoing around the village once again is a great tonic for all of us within the community and brings us a little bit closer to a sense of normality.”

Like all schools, the safety measures in place have been reviewed in line with Welsh Government’s latest operational guidance.

Staggered start and finish times, classroom bubbles and frequent handwashing/sanitising, social distancing and face coverings are now part of the new normal.

“Of course, pupil and staff safety is still of paramount importance and we go to great lengths to ensure that parents, staff and pupils adhere to our strict guidelines on social distancing, hand sanitising and the use of face coverings,” said Mr Jones Evans.

“All within our school community have embraced these many changes and the school is as covid safe as it possibly can be under the current circumstances.”

Parents are also being reminded on the importance of wearing a face covering and keeping a 2m distance from others when dropping off and collecting their children.

The school is now planning for the safe return of older children from March 15, subject to Welsh Government’s three-week review on Friday, March 12.

Mr Jones Evans said: “We are now looking forward to welcoming back our key stage 2 pupils on March 15 and our aim is to follow a similar strategy to what we used in the foundation phase in getting pupils back into school and re-engaging in quality face to face learning.”

Schools across Carmarthenshire have been welcoming back learners in a phased and flexible way. Attendance figures have increased steadily from 35% on February 23 to over 80% on March 3 as schools bring in more pupils. The aim is for all Foundation Phase children to be back in school full-time by the end of this week.

Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “I am delighted to see children back in school where they belong, playing with their friends, and in the classroom learning with their teachers.

“It is so important that children are in school for both their physical and mental development, as well as their overall wellbeing.

“Research shows that transmission rates in schools is very low; with transmission more likely in households or in the community, so it is vital we continue to follow the rules to keep our schools safe, and to keep them open so that we can welcome even more children back to the classroom.

“I want to thank all our schools and teaching staff for all their hard work, I know it has been an extremely challenging time but together we can keep our children learning and our communities safe.”

More information on schools carmarthenshire.gov.wales/education

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