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Guide dogs help freshers relax

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Destressing with guide dogs: UWTSD freshers

Destressing with guide dogs: UWTSD freshers

UNIVERSITY students in Carmarthen were the first in West Wales to get their very own canine chill-out room this week, courtesy of Guide Dogs Cymru.

Trinity Saint David Students’ Union set up the Canine Calming Room at its Carmarthen campus on Wednesday (Oct 5) to help freshers unwind in the company of some friendly guide dogs.

The event, which took place during Guide Dogs Week, has proved popular at universities and colleges elsewhere in the UK, and has been credited with helping to reduce the stresses and strains of being away from home for the first time. In exchange for a small donation, the students can stroke the dogs and learn more about them from their owners.

Allison Charles, community fundraiser for Guide Dogs Cymru, said she was ‘delighted’ that the Union had brought this event to Carmarthen

“Lots of students will be missing their own pet dogs while away at university, so we’re looking forward to meeting them. It’s also a chance for people to find out more about the important work guide dogs do,” she added.

“Since they were tiny puppies, our dogs have enjoyed being around people and love nothing better than being the centre of attention – when they are off duty, that is!”

The welfare of the dogs was paramount, and they were given regular breaks as well as being with their handlers at all times.

Ms Charles added: “It’s fantastic that the Carmarthen campus is fundraising for Guide Dogs, as we rely on public generosity to fund our life-changing service. Hopefully, some of the students might use their energy and creativity to become volunteer fundraisers of the future.”

President of the union at the Carmarthen campus, Gwyneth Sweatman, said: “I’ve told the students about this event in all their induction talks and we’ve had a big response.

“It’s a chance for them to relax and feel like they are home for a bit. It’s also an opportunity to find out more about Guide Dogs.”

To find out how you can help Guide Dogs Cymru in Carmarthen, contact Allison on 07990 540130.

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Charity

Hywel Dda Health Charities’ annual Pet Competition is back

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HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has launched its 2022 Pet Competition.

The competition gives members of the public the opportunity to win prizes while also helping the charity to raise funds which make a positive difference to the lives of NHS patients, service users and staff in the Hywel Dda area.

Owners of fabulous felines, perfect pooches, gorgeous guinea pigs or beautiful budgies are invited to enter the annual competition.

Pet-owners can enter as many times as they like in the categories of Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat and Cutest Other Pet. Each photo entry costs £3.

It’s easy to take part, all participants need to do is send a photo of their pet to fundraising.hyweldda@wales.nhs.uk and follow the instructions in this link: https://hyweldda.enthuse.com/cf/pet-competition.

The competition is open to everyone in the Health Board area. Entries close on 30th June 2022. The final three in each category will be chosen by the Hywel Dda Health Charities team. The winners are then chosen by an online voting poll and will be announced in July.

There are 1st place prizes in each category donated by Wynnstay, Burns Pet Food and Vincent Davies Department Stores.

Diane Henry, fundraising support officer, said: “Each time people enter our Pet Competition with pictures of their fabulous pets, they are helping us to provide services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can provide.. Thank you for your continued support.”

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Community

New grants scheme launched to break barriers to accessing nature

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A £2MILLION funding pot designed to bolster community resilience by harnessing the power of nature is set to be launched by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) this summer.  

The launch of the Resilient Communities Grant Programme stems from calls for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a recovery which places a stronger focus on action for nature and a recovery that spreads to every part of society.

 The Welsh Government’s declaration of a Climate and Nature Emergency has also galvanised communities, businesses and public bodies in Wales to work together to mitigate against and adapt to the impacts of climate change, now and in the future.

The Resilient Communities Grant will provide communities with the opportunities to restore and enhance nature in their local areas, particularly in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities, and those with little access to nature. Supporting the provision of more green space will also support the changes needed to make to society to respond to the challenges of the climate emergency and reverse the decline in biodiversity.

 With applications set to open in July, NRW is urging projects from across Wales to develop and submit proposals that have at their heart:

  • Opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion, particularly amongst communities that have less access to quality green spaces.
  • Creative ways to reconnect people with nature and their local environment to improve physical and mental health, confidence, self-esteem and encourage ‘green behaviours’.
  • Promoting health and wellbeing through therapy and nature, particularly interventions that tackle health inequalities.
  • Nature-based solutions that help communities feel safer and secure, for example improving greenspaces blighted by criminal activity.
  • Creating more opportunities to access nature, especially where this need is reflected in future development planning.
  • Opportunities to improving community awareness and understanding of climate risks, empowering communities to be involved in decision-making and taking action to tackle climate change impacts.
  • Ensuring communities feel a sense of connection and empowerment with their natural environment and have an active role over how it is managed and improved.
  • Creating opportunities for education and involvement in citizen science so communities have a better connection and greater understanding of their local environment and the benefits that a healthy environment can bring.

Gareth O’Shea, Director of Operations for NRW, said: “We have seen people connecting with nature during the Covid-19 pandemic and a greater appreciation of the way in which it underpins our health, our economy and our wider wellbeing.

“There has also been increasing recognition that the climate and nature emergencies are upon us, and its impacts are being felt amongst the parts of society that have contributed least to its acceleration. More needs to be done to mitigate and adapt now.

“Our Resilient Communities Grant Programme seeks to support that effort – providing communities with the opportunities to meet these challenges in a number of ways.

“From promoting the benefits of greater access to nature, tackling loneliness and exclusion and empowering people to influence the decisions made in their local areas, we’re encouraging people to submit proposals that can make a significant difference to the health, wellbeing and resilience of current and future generations.”

The Resilient Communities Grant Programme can provide 100% funding and applications are welcomed for amounts from £10,000 to £250,000. Applications can be made across different places and address multiple themes. Applicants who collaborate with other partners to submit joint applications are also warmly welcomed.

For further information on NRW’s Resilient Communities Grant Programme and the upcoming webinar, please visit: Natural Resources Wales / Current grant funding opportunities or contact grants.enquiries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

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Community

Communities in Carmarthenshire invited to inform next steps to shape Commemorative Woodland

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COMMUNITIES surrounding the Tywi valley in Carmarthenshire, are being invited by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to inform the next steps in shaping the design for the commemorative woodland at Brownhill.

NRW has today (23 June) launched a second consultation to seek people’s feedback on how they will achieve the proposed objectives for the site.

The next round follows on from the feedback received from the first round of public consultation which ran from 1 March – 26 April earlier this year.

Having listened to the responses from first round of public consultation, NRW has set out a proposal for the site. This includes three distinct areas that will prioritise different objectives: a conservation space for wildlife to flourish, a woodland space for commemoration that is fully accessible, and a growing space to deliver sustainable opportunities for food, trees, and nature.

The new woodland will form part of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, which is managed by NRW on behalf of Welsh Government and the National Forest for Wales.

Residents will also have an opportunity to join staff from NRW at a drop in event 14 of July at Llansadwrn reading room, in Carmarthenshire, to share their feedback.

Miriam Jones-Walters, Specialist Advisor Land Stewardship at Natural Resources Wales said: “We were pleased to be able to engage with so many residents through our initial on-line consultation and community drop-in session at Llangadog in March earlier this year, and have the opportunity to listen to people’s views and ideas on the proposals for Brownhill. 

“It’s crucial for us to provide people living and working in this area with every opportunity to share their views on plans for this site. We have already received some fantastic suggestions about what people would like to see from the site. As a result we have been able to divide it into three main areas, setting out objectives for each.

“We think this is an exciting opportunity to work in partnership (with, for example, a community group, a young farmer or someone else) to test out and demonstrate land use proposals to tackle the climate and nature emergencies,  integrated with productive agriculture.”

“We’re keen to hear people’s feedback on the objectives and would encourage people to come along on the 14 July and talk to us, or take part in our online consultation and have their say.”

The consultation opens on 23 June and closes on 28 July. 

The community drop-in event will be held 12:00 – 7:00pm  on 14 of July at Llansadwrn reading room, SA19 8HH in Carmarthenshire. 

To find out more about the plans for the woodland and have your say please visit:

Commemorative woodland at Brownhill – next phase of consultation – Natural Resources Wales Citizen Space – Citizen Space (cyfoethnaturiol.cymru)

Alternatively, residents can call 0300 065 3000 to request a hard copy of the consultation.

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