The son of an 86-year-old care home resident has spoken of his massive relief after his mum was among the first in Wales to be given the Oxford-AstroZeneca vaccine to protect her against the deadly Coronavirus.
Mary Willis, who celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, was vaccinated this morning (Wednesday) along with 47 other residents of Crosfield House, in Rhayader, Powys, which was the first home in the county to receive the jab produced in Wrexham at the CP Pharmaceuticals factory.
Her son, Matthew, an NHS manager from Rhos y Garth, near Llanilar, said: “My mum went into Crosfield after a fall and the care home have been brilliant.
“She’s almost back to her old self and we’re just so relieved she’s been vaccinated.
“She’s been very keen to have the vaccine and is a firm believer in its benefits and hopefully it will provide some protection for everyone from this deadly virus.
“She is making a good recovery from her fall but because of lockdown restrictions she can’t be measured for a wheelchair or have tests on her hearing or eyesight but hopefully this vaccine will allow that to happen.
“It also means that we can maybe look forward now to her being able to come out for the day and hopefully next December we’ll all be able to sit round the table to a Christmas dinner.
“That’s down to the vaccine and I’m absolutely delighted that my mum has received it this week and I very much hope and believe it will allow us to get back to something like normal.
“It will be nice to plan ahead for the future and the vaccine is key to that – it gives us all something to look forward to.”
The vaccine was administered by a team of six nurses from Powys Teaching Health Board and the manager of Crosfield House, former paramedic Wayne Rees, said: “It’s been a very difficult time for everyone on a rollercoaster road but this is the glimmer of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.
“The team from Powys Health Board were here at 8.30am to set up and the first vaccine was delivered at about 9.30am and working in pairs they have vaccinated 48 of the residents this morning.
“Some of the residents are not suitable for vaccination because of their condition but we have been very fortunate here and have stayed free of the virus.
“Our staff here have been fantastic because it isn’t easy coming in to work every day to do a 12-hour shift in full PPE. It’s very pressurised.
“We’ve all got lives outside work, but they have been abiding by the rules and that’s what is helping get us through this difficult time.”
Care home residents are especially vulnerable to the virus because of their age and infirmity.
Care workers have also been among those most at risk but Crosfield House’s 98 staff received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December and the home was chosen to receive the Oxford vaccine as one of Wales’s Pathfinder homes.
They were also one of only eight homes in Wales involved in the Lateral Flow Testing programme designed to identify symptom-free carriers of the virus.
The home has been able to convert the former library into a visiting room complete with floor to ceiling and wall to wall partition screen with apertures to allow special gloves to be used for contact between residents and visitors.
Wayne Rees added: “We’ve used the communal areas of the home for administering the vaccines to residents apart from those who can’t leave their rooms and there will be nurses there to monitor them for 15 minutes to ensure there are no ill effects.
“Powys Health Board and the local authority have been great during the pandemic and our staff were all vaccinated in early December.
“These last 12 months have been very challenging. It’s taught me a lot and it’s taught the staff a lot and I really can’t praise them highly enough. They’ve all really pulled together.”
Mary Wimbury, Chief Executive of Care Forum Wales, which represents nearly 500 independent social care providers, welcomed the roll-out of the vaccination to the sector.
She said: “Our care home residents and the people who look after them are right in the firing line especially with a new, rampant form of the virus on the loose.
“We’re in a race against time and it’s vital we protect these most vulnerable people and I welcome the fact that this vaccine roll-out is happening quickly because we are facing a health catastrophe.
“The pressure is on and many care homes throughout Wales are at crisis point so now we have the vaccine it is critical that we get it out to those who need it most.”
Have your say on the future of housing in Carmarthenshire
RESIDENTS and businesses are being urged to have their say on the future of housing in Carmarthenshire.
Carmarthenshire County Council is developing a new 10-year Housing and Regeneration Masterplan and residents are being asked for their views.
Providing quality, affordable homes is a key priority for the council and it is investing millions of pounds in new housing stock; creating much-needed jobs and helping to grow the local economy and regenerate communities.
In 2015, the council became the first in Wales to suspend the Right to Buy to retain its declining housing stock, and built a number of bungalows – the first local authority housing to be built in Wales since the 1980s.
A year later, in 2016, it launched its affordable homes plan to deliver 1,000 additional affordable homes in the county by 2021 by building new, buying from the market and converting empty buildings.
Now the council is shaping its plans for the next 10 years which includes building over 900 new council homes and investing nearly £150million across the county by 2029.
It is important that the new homes are of the right type, size and tenure, and in the right places to build strong sustainable communities where people want to live and work.
The Housing and Regeneration Masterplan will also recognise the role of housing development and investment in stimulating the overall economic growth of the county – which is now even more critical as we recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents are being encouraged to take part in our online consultation which starts on Monday, June 14.
Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “We are proud to be leading the way here in Carmarthenshire to deliver new, affordable, high quality and much-needed homes for local people.
“We have already achieved so much during the last few years, but we must now plan for the next 10 years and we need the views of our residents to help tell us where they think these homes should be developed, who should have them, and what type and size they should be.
“We are committed to making more homes available for those in highest need, and aim to deliver a plan that will provide homes in communities where people want to live, with a range of homes to suit specific needs.
“This includes our rural towns and villages, where we must help to make sure that local people are able to afford quality affordable homes and remain in their communities; as well as increasing the residential offer in our town centres, increasing footfall and helping businesses to thrive.
“Aside from providing much needed homes in the county, the investment will also boost the local economy creating jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships in the construction industry.”
The council is delivering this commitment in a number of ways, including building more council homes and working with housing association partners to deliver more new build schemes, buying stock that suits our needs, working with developers to ensure a range of affordable homes are built as part of private developments and bringing empty homes back into use.
It is also actively working with landlords to encourage them to make their properties available at affordable rent levels, including bringing more private sector homes into the management of our in-house social lettings agency.
To take part in the survey please visit the consultation pages on the council website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultations Paper copies are available from one of our customer service Hwbs. The survey closes on July 26.
Community wardens hit the streets of Tyisha and Glanymor
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has appointed two new community wardens to patrol the Tyisha and Glanymor areas of Llanelli.
The community wardens will support the local Neighbourhood Policing Team and other agencies to provide a visible presence within the area and will have a varied role which will include:
- Patrolling hot spot areas to deter crime and anti-social behaviour
- Tackling vandalism and fly tipping as well as issues relating to communal areas and open spaces/parks
- Supporting the introduction of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
- Organising the installation of crime prevention measures
- Offering targeted support to vulnerable members of the community
- Encourage wellbeing activities and community engagement with youth projects, schools and clubs including the promotion of volunteering opportunities.
Linda Evans, chair of the Tyisha steering group and executive board member for housing said: “I am delighted that Tyisha and Glanymor now have community wardens who will work closely with Dyfed Powys Police and other agencies to deliver a multi-agency approach to tackling issues of community concern. In response to community feedback they will prioritise tackling anti-social behaviour issues, reducing crime relating to drug and alcohol misuse and engaging with the community to make positive changes throughout Tyisha and Glanymor.”
Ann Davies, Executive Board Member and vice-chair of the Tyisha Steering Group said: “The work carried out by the community wardens will make a positive difference through helping to reduce fear of crime and incidents of anti-social behaviour as well as improving quality of life for those who live in these communities.”
The introduction of community wardens to the Tyisha area forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.
To contact the community wardens or for more information on joining Tyisha and Glanymor’s Neighbourhood Watch Scheme please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Pollinators protected during annual grass verge cuts
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council highways crews are starting their annual roadside grass cutting operations this week, but not every verge will be fully cut.
As part of its duty to protect biodiversity, grass will only be cut in one metre swathes in most areas where growth is affecting road visibility and pedestrian safety and several verges will be left until later in the year allowing flowers to set seed before being cut.
Much of Carmarthenshire’s roadside growth of grass and wildflowers will be left untouched to support local wildlife and pollinating insects.
Cuts will only be taken in these areas if there are health and safety concerns, particularly in 30-40mph areas in towns and villages.
Cllr Hazel Evans, the council’s executive Board Member for Environment, said the authority has taken a careful view of grass cutting operations not just for the sake of biodiversity but also to keep costs down.
“We have to carefully balance the needs of local wildlife with our responsibility for highway safety,” she said. “The importance of the road verge network for nature conservation is reflected in our verge maintenance policy. We delay the cutting of some verges in the interests of conservation as long as highway safety for motorists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians is not jeopardised.
“This is not only a reflection of our duty to the environment but also follows budget reviews which have identified cost savings by reducing and delaying grass cutting operations.”
Pollinating insects are essential for the maintenance of ecosystems through pollination of the wild plants which form the basis of most habitats. They also play an important role in the production of many crops.
The council works to conserve and enhance biodiversity and has a range of projects to support local species and habitats.
Managing areas for wildlife can provide opportunities for individuals, community groups and schools to get involved, benefiting wildlife and people.
Visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/biodiversity for further information and ideas for ways to support local conservation.
For further information on highways operations, visit the website’s travel, roads and parking pages.
News2 weeks ago
Police probe circumstances surrounding child’s death in Carmarthenshire
News2 weeks ago
Missing girls found thanks to eagle-eyed police and digital enquiries
News7 days ago
Further £48,000 for foodbanks in Carmarthen
News1 week ago
Drakeford: “We will not be lifting every restriction in Wales from June 21”
Sport1 week ago
Ammanford march on in Welsh Cup
Sport1 week ago
Ammanford well beaten by Port Talbot
Health1 week ago
Coronavirus cases in Wales still lowest in UK says Health Minister
News2 weeks ago
Make some noise: Crowds allowed at Welsh sport, festivals and outdoor gigs