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Tŷ Hafan thanks supporters as £1m refurbishment fundraiser nears target

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“THANKS to you, our incredible supporters across Wales and beyond, we’ve almost done it. We’re so nearly there – now we need just one last push.” 

That’s the message from Tŷ Hafan CEO Maria Timon Samra, as the appeal by the charity to raise £1m to refurbish its hospice in Sully enters its final few weeks. 

“In January 2020, just before the world – and our charity – was blighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Tŷ Hafan launched a much needed £1m project to upgrade our children’s hospice facility in Wales,” said Maria, who took over as Interim CEO at Tŷ Hafan in May 2020. 

“Against all the odds, and thanks to the generosity of our loyal local, national and international supporters, we are now in the final stages of this refurbishment.  

“One month ago we updated our stakeholders on Tŷ Hafan’s ‘fit for the future’ fundraising appeal and at that point we were £170k short of our £1m target. 

“Today, with just a few weeks to go until our appeal closes, we have nearly reached our £1m target. 

“So we’re asking our supporters to show their love for Tŷ Hafan once more and to give whatever they can afford to help us over the finish line.  Every penny will make a huge difference to the unfairly difficult lives of the children and families whom we support with much needed respite, crisis and end-of-life care.” 

Tŷ Hafan opened its doors 22 years ago and has been a lifeline for children with life-limiting conditions and their families ever since. 

After more than two decades of being used 365 days a year and providing essential around-the-clock care to more than 1,000 children and families in Wales, including 24 in Monmouthshire, Tŷ Hafan’s hospice in Sully, South Wales, needed essential refurbishment to ensure that it can continue to help families for the next 20 years and beyond.  

As well as providing a more bright and cheerful ‘beach hut’ theme throughout which fits with our peaceful location on the Bristol Channel, Tŷ Hafan’s £1m fit for the future refurbishment programme includes essential clinical adaptations to the hospice, which has remained open and operational for crisis and end of life care throughout the pandemic. 

Key features include infection-control flooring, optimising space from top to bottom, providing more purpose-built space for nurses to prepare medicines for children, and ensuring facilities are as accessible as possible for children with various complex conditions. 

Mum Becca and Harley, seven, from Llanelli, benefited from their first stay at Tŷ Hafan last summer during the early months of the pandemic. 

Harley has Adenylosuccinase deficiency (ADSL), a rare, complex and progressive disorder which also means that Harley is at high risk of sudden death through epilepsy. 

Becca said: “I never thought Tŷ Hafan was right for us because I thought it was for end of life only and that wasn’t us. But when we went to the hospice to stay, it gave the doctors a chance to see what was going on. 

“We have too much to pack to go away for long, so holidays are impossible. Going to Tŷ Hafan is different because they are used to it and it’s normal for them. It makes it easy to fit in there. You can talk to people about things, but to meet other parents in the same position as you is good, as you feel less self-conscious with a Tŷ Hafan group. 

“All the staff were amazing. I wasn’t ready to leave Harley, I’m still not, so I stayed with him the whole time, but I saw other children and was amazed at how the staff were with the kids. I’ve never met such nice people. The one time I left him was to go for a shower for an hour. I’ve never done that before, but I felt able to as I knew he was being looked after.” 

Already hundreds of individuals, groups, businesses and organisations have donated generously to Tŷ Hafan fit for the future appeal, including: 

  • Employees of Circle IT and partners who are taking on the challenge of travelling the distance of the Earth – 40,075km by walking, running, and cycling the cumulative distance within seven weeks 
  • 100 employees of Admiral Group who have pledged to complete one million press ups with a fundraising target of £10,000 
  • Taylor Wimpey who have pledged £12,000 to help fund the creation of a Den which will feature a cinema and games room which will enable peer to peer support 
  • Machen teenagers Ben, Lewis and Ollie who together ran 100km in all winds and weathers throughout January, raising more than £3,000 

“I cannot thank enough everyone who has donated so generously so far, but if you have not already donated, it’s not too late,” continued CEO Maria Timon Samra. 

“There are still a few weeks to go until our ‘fit for the future’ appeal ends and it goes without saying that we really appreciate every single donation we receive, however big or small.  Every donation represents a step closer to us completing this project so we can provide these children, young people and their families with the support they so urgently need.” 

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Calls for collaboration in effort to stop future Towy floods

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CARMARTHEN WESTE and South Pembrokeshire Senedd Candidate Cllr Samuel Kurtz has called for collaboration to address the continued flooding in Carmarthen. 

The Towy River has breached its banks a number of times in quick succession, causing misery for a number of businesses and residents. 
Senedd candidate Cllr Samuel Kurtz has written to the Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister urging for a collaborative approach to deliver an action plan that will help protect against flooding.

Commenting, Sam Kurtz said: “The distressing scenes of the flooding of the Towy have become all too regular, causing anguish and pain for those affected. 

“I’ve called upon the Rural Affairs Minister to ensure that there is an agreed action plan, which is financed, to introduce proper mitigating features and flood defences. 

“This can only be achieved with everyone working together to an agreed end solution, from business owners and Carmarthenshire County Council to Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government. I’m willing to work with all to help bring an end to these floods.”

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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