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New befriending service

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Offering a shoulder to lean on: The Paul Popham Fund Befriending Service is being set up in Swansea on Thursday June 23.

A NEW support service will soon be launched to help kidney patients deal with their condition, as part of a South Wales kidney disease sufferer’s legacy.

Being set up in Swansea this month, organisers are eager to recruit people with first-hand experience of renal disease, whether through themselves, family members or friends, to help play a crucial role in the success of the support service.

The Paul Popham Fund Befriending Service sets out to not only give new renal patients support but also to offer them a shoulder to lean on as they come to terms with their diagnosis.

Chair of the Swansea-based charity Joanne Popham said: “Being diagnosed with kidney disease is life-changing and who better to understand that than someone who has either gone through it themselves or seen a loved one go through it.

“We need to hear from people who can listen to patients’ concerns, provide advice and guide them towards other services to help them learn to live with renal failure and to lead a better quality of life.

“They might be patients or just have cared for someone with kidney problems and need to be willing to share their knowledge.”

The charity has been working to develop the befriending service alongside staff from the regional renal team, who are based at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital.

The regional renal team deal with kidney patients living anywhere from Bridgend to Fishguard and even as far north as Towyn.

As well as its dialysis unit at Morriston which sees more than 220 patients, the service also has satellite haemodialysis units in Carmarthen, Haverfordwest and Aberystwyth.

Nell Brown, Regional Renal Service Manager, said: “Once you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, it may be a life sentence, but it is not all doom and gloom and patients need to understand that. That’s why having someone they can turn to is so important.

“We are delighted to have been able to work with the Paul Popham Fund to get this service off the ground. It is an important and much needed development.”

Swansea-based father-of-four Paul Popham, for who the fund was named, received two kidney transplants before sadly losing his battle with kidney cancer back in 2012.

The fund was set up in his memory by his loved ones to support renal patients across South Wales.

Besides holding fundraising events, and even establishing its own running club, the charity supports the work of NHS dialysis wards.

Paul’s daughter Joanne said that her father’s ethos was always based on believing in yourself and living the best possible life you could with the resources available to you. Allowing kidney patients to do just that is the main aim of the fund that bears his name.

Because Paul was such a longstanding supporter of the Welsh Kidney Patients’ Association, which runs its own befriending service in the country’s capital, the fund were eager to launch something similar.

Joanne added that anyone who signs up to become a befriender will be given specialist training by a clinical psychologist and receive support from the charity, as well as from the team at the renal unit.

The charity are looking for people who can understand and empathise, as well as offer a warm and friendly attitude when a kidney patient, or their carer, shares their worries or concerns.

Joanne said: “This is about giving a patient and their family knowledge and helping empower them – it’s about being a friend to someone when they need it most.”

The befriending service will be launched at 5.30pm on Thursday June 23 at Morriston Hospital’s Education Centre.

This special event will feature guest speaker Kevin Johns, who is a long-time supporter of the renal unit and patron of the Paul Popham Fund.

Kevin will be joined by kidney patients from across South West Wales as well as representatives of the Welsh Kidney Patients’ Association and Kidney Wales Foundation.

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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