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Award for driving the use of Welsh in care homes

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A ONE-TIME car salesman who has been driving forward the use of the Welsh language in a group of south Wales care homes has taken silver in major national awards.

Despite starting to build up his skill in promoting the language for a busy doctors’ surgery in Carmarthenshire a few years ago, Sion Page decided to leave the job when the practice was faced with closure.

For six months he became a car salesman before rejoining the care sector as a support worker for Integra Community Living Options which provides residential care, supported accommodation and outreach services in Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Neath, Rhondda Cynin Taff and Swansea for adults with mental health issues or an acquired brain injury.

With Integra the first-language Welsh speaker has really got into top gear by actively championing the Welsh Active Offer – the Welsh Government’s plan to strengthen the language in health and social care services.

This has meant enabling clients to communicate in their preferred language and helping an increasing number of residents and staff to learn and speak Welsh.

It is this dedication to his role that has landed 26-year-old Sion a silver in the 2019 Wales Care Awards.

The glittering presentation ceremony organised by Care Froum Wales was held at City Hall in Cardiff and hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.

Sion scored silver in the Commitment to Training and Workforce Development Award sponsored by City & Guilds and WJEC Consortium.

Born and raised in the Trelech area of Carmarthenshire where he still lives with his fiancée Elizabeth and their two-year-old daughter Esme, after leaving school his first job was as a shop assistant in Carmarthen.

After four years he got a job as an administrator and receptionist with a doctors’ surgery in Llandysul.

After winning promotion as assistant to the practice manager Sion began working to promote the use of Welsh, translating letters and posters.

He said: “After a while I spoke to the doctors and asked them if they would like me to do more of this sort of thing and they told me to carry on, which meant I was then translating lots of things including blood test and x-ray results into Welsh for our patients.

“Things went so well that that in 2015 the practice won a More Than Just Words Award sponsored by the Welsh Government to promote bilingual services in primary care and I was very proud of that.”

After his brief spell in the motor trade Sion joined Integra in 2017 and last year was promoted to senior support worker and rehabiltation practitioner.

Based at Elm Lodge in Carmarthen, he is now responsible for promoting the use of the Welsh language at all 10 of the group’s homes across the south of the country, which involves helping spread the good word to about 70 staff.

In nominating him for the award, home manager Anthony Craggs said of him: “Sion as a first language Welsh speaker has taken a key leading role in promoting the Welsh Active Offer within Integra.

“As a company we have witnessed a marked increase in the use of the Welsh language within our services.

“Sion has been instrumental in promoting the usage of Welsh across our homes and recently he produced packs for St David’s Day which included information on St David, some useful phrases related to St David’s Day and some bilingual recipe cards. The recipe cards went down so well in our homes that we were able to feature photographs and stories of how they celebrated the day in our internal newsletter.

“Some feedback from this training included one member of staff stating, ‘it has reminded me to try and speak more Welsh to Welsh-speaking service users, I think it is important to know our mother tongue.”

Sion said: “I love my job, although it can be challenging at times. It’s lovely to see people coming through the system from being unwell to the point where they are well enough to be discharged and helping clients and staff with using the Welsh language means that I can go home at the end of the day feeling fulfilled.”

Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the standard of entries was extremely high.

He added : “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights and in the months and years to come.

“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.

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Ascona Group announces new Car and Truck wash facilities

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Charlie's Truck Wash

ASCONA GROUP, one of the UK’s fastest-growing forecourt operators, is pleased to announce two new vehicle washing partnerships as part of improvements to its unique roadside retail proposition across its forecourt estate.

As part of a new partnership with the American based PDQ Manufacturing, a leader for in-bay automatic vehicle washing facilities, Ascona Group will be the first in the UK to install the ‘Laserwash 360 Plus’, a touchless car wash system for its customers.

The partnership will initially expand the wash options at the Hinton Service Station, with a view to roll out the system to other sites under the Ascona Group’s brand, ‘Charlie’s Express Car Wash’ later this year. The partnership is a significant investment for Ascona and demonstrates its commitment to ever improving the experience for customers.

Ascona Group is also delighted to announce a strategic partnership with WashTec UK that will see Ascona introduce a ‘First of its Kind’ truck washing facility at the Tenby Road site on the A40 Eastbound in Carmarthenshire, which offers the very best technology available to HGV drivers.

The truck wash employs a fully ‘closed loop’ total water recycling system, the first of its kind in Wales, which recovers all water used within the wash process, filtering it for reuse with little or no water entering the mains drainage system. This system ensures Ascona not only has the best commercial wash in South Wales, but also offers customers one of the more environmentally friendly approaches in operation.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO Darren Briggs said: “From the very beginning, we knew that our sites must present our customers with a unique and compelling offer which is why we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to improve our roadside retail facilities.

“These two new partnerships further demonstrate our focus on creating industry-leading propositions and we are really excited to be working with PDQ Manufacturing USA and WashTec UK. Together, we are keen to continue to build on the success of these new operations and we are actively reviewing multiple opportunities across the Ascona portfolio to roll out more units such as these.”

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Carmarthenshire cheese maker secures Co-op listing

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Caws Cenarth award

A CHEESEMAKER from Carmarthenshire has secured its first listing with the Co-op as part of the retailer’s continued focus on local and community sourcing.

Family-owned Caws Cenarth, which has cheese making in the family dating back to 1903, will now see two of its cheeses listed in more than 20 Co-op stores across the region.

Made on farm in Glyneithinog, Caws Cenarth will supply Co-op with its Organic Caerffili – which has a light and lemony taste with hints of sea salt – and, one of its best known cheeses the Organic Perl Las Mini – which is described as a blue cheese, golden in colour, with a creamy, gently salty taste that grows stronger with maturity.

Carwyn Adams, whose parents rekindled the family tradition for cheese making in 1987 with the creation of Caws Cenarth, said: “We are absolutely thrilled. I shop in our local Co-op and regularly thought how nice it would be to see our cheese on the shelf and, now that is to become a reality. Working with Co-op will support our business development, and raise awareness of our cheeses, not only across the region, but also further afield as visitors to the area often look for local produce to take back home with them as gifts or to remind them of their stay in the area.”

Jo Wadsworth, Co-op’s Community Buying Manager, said: “We are delighted to welcome Caws Cenarth onto our shelves. We know that our Members and customers value the quality and provenance of locally produced food and drink and, here at the Co-op we are focussed on supporting local suppliers as part of our commitment to creating value and making a difference in our local communities.”

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The 10 powerful stain removers you already have in your kitchen

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DID you know that you can remove grass stains with bicarbonate of soda, and that milk can work wonders with juice and ink stains? 

If your fabric has a tannin stain, don’t use soap on it – and if you have protein stains such as milk or egg, then cold water and soap are the answer.

These tips and many more are included in a new, free e-book from natural cleaning product company ALLAVARE. 

The company’s founder Ed Willes has put together his definitive cleaning guide which will enable you to save money and protect the environment while removing stains with ease.

ALLAVARE makes all its products at its headquarters in rural West Wales and sells them via its website and in selected shops across the UK. The business has its roots in a book of “cleaning remedies” created in the last century by housemaid Bette Smith. 

Bette grew up in London and went into service in 1922 at the age of 14. Starting out in Belgravia, she went on to clean in some of the UK’s most prestigious houses. She made her own cleaning products following formulas passed on by her mother, and collected them together in a book.

Bette became good friends with Ed’s mum Vanessa Willes and the secret formulas in “Bette’s Book” were first produced commercially by Vanessa’s company, Mangle & Wringer. 

Now, having moved from the Cotswolds to a farm in Llandeilo, Vanessa has handed Bette’s Book and the company to Ed, who has rebranded it as ALLAVARE (from the Latin “to wash”) and launched an extended range of products based on Bette’s cleaning remedies.

All ALLAVARE’s products are sustainable and contain no harsh chemicals, petrochemical ingredients, fillers, artificial fragrances or dyes. They rely on simple, natural ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar and coconut oil. With an eye for recycling, they come in metal tins and refillable glass bottles.

Now, by sharing many of Bette’s secrets in an e-book, Ed hopes to help his customers get even more out of natural cleaning.

Ed Willes said: “We believe in helping our customers save money and protect the environment, so I decided to share many of the secrets from Bette’s Book with your customers for free. Her cleaning ‘remedies’ as she called them are simple and effective, and more people should have the chance to share in this knowledge. The e-book outlines the key types of stain and how to tackle them using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen cupboard – and it includes recipes for cleaning scrubs and sprays, loo cleaner, floor cleaner and more.”

To download the full e-book head here: https://allavare.co.uk/pages/natural-cleaning-guide-ebook

10 natural stain removers and how to use them

Bicarbonate of soda

Use for: mud, grass and perspiration

A fantastic natural stain remover. It is safe and non-toxic and works on most surfaces to clean and deodorise them. In the laundry it can be added to hand washed items to help break down protein stains. As a stain remover, make into a paste with a little water and leave on for 30 – 60 minutes.

Cornflour

Use for: grease stains

Sprinkle onto fabric and rub gently. Leave for 30 – 60 minutes and brush off. Launder as normal.

Glycerine

Use for: tannin stains

Mix glycerine 50:50 with water and work into the back of the stain. Leave for 30 minutes. Launder as normal.

Milk

Use for: juice stains and washable inks

The original enzyme cleaner.

Lemon juice

Use as a: mild bleach

Apply directly to the stain and leave to dry. This is particularly effective on white fabrics and if left in the sun works doubly fast. On coloured fabrics a colour test is recommended.

Eucalyptus oil

Use for: grease stains, oil and tar

A naturally distilled oil. Add a few drops directly to the stain and leave for 10-15 minutes. Rub gently for thick tar stains. Air dry and repeat if the stain isn’t completely removed.

Soda water

Use for: tannin stains

Great remedy for coffee, tea, wine and other tannin stains.

Soap

Use for: grease stains

Great for collars and cuffs where it can be rubbed on prior to washing in hot water. Never use soap on tannin stains.

Washing up liquid

Use for: grease stains

It should preferably be a colourless, biodegradable, plant based detergent, which is fragrance free. Apply directly and agitate the fabric. Rinse in hot water.

White vinegar

Use as: a mild bleach

Perfect for use on urine stains as a deodoriser, mud and grass. Soak for 1 – 2 hours. On coloured fabric a colour test is recommended.

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