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Work underway to re-open schools

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An example of signage being developed for primary schools

PREPARATIONS are underway to re-open schools across Carmarthenshire for children to ‘check in and catch up’ before the summer holidays.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams announced that schools could re-open from June 29 and that the summer term would be extended by a week.

The council has already been working hard to put plans in place for increasing the operation of county schools to enable more children to attend when the time is right to do so.

It is up to parents whether they choose to send their children back to school this term and schools are in the process of contacting parents to try and establish the likely number of pupils returning in June. Parents are being urged to please respond as soon as possible to help both the council and their school to make the necessary arrangements.

Schools will be open to all year groups, but with smaller class sizes and staggered break times, and start and finish times. Children will be offered sessions of face to face time with their teachers during this period, as well as continuing distance learning activities. Parents who choose not to send their children back will continue to receive support with home learning.

Risk assessments are being carried out at all our schools across the county, with each school being individually assessed on its own situation. It is likely that ‘a one size fits all’ approach will not work, which means that some schools may not be able to offer the same level of provision, dependent on building space and staffing capacity.

The council is working closely with Coedcae Comprehensive School and Brynteg Primary School to pilot the new arrangements and the measures that are being put into place.

It will include social distancing measures such as separate entrances and exits and one-way systems, increased cleaning regimes with hand-sanitisers in every classroom and portable handwashing stations where needed.

Various signs will be in place to educate and encourage pupils to keep to social distancing and practice good hygiene; with additional more fun / friendly resources being developed for primary schools.

Decisions on school transport and school meals will be made later this week following guidance from Welsh Government.

Further information on childcare provision for children of critical workers will also be announced as soon as possible.

Executive Board Member for Education and Children’s Services Cllr Glynog Davies said: “Our main priority throughout this pandemic has always been the safety of our children, their families and our school staff and this will continue to be our main consideration as we prepare to re-open our schools.

“It will mean that, at most, a third of pupils will be present at any one time. Classes will be much smaller, providing secure dedicated time with teachers and classmates, which, after being at home for such a long time, will be very welcome I am sure.

“It will also help to prepare pupils for their return in September; this new classroom experience will be much different to what pupils and teachers have been used to, but we are trying to make it as easy as possible for everyone involved.

“I would again like to thank parents for all their support and co-operation during this uncertain time; as well as all our school staff that have been working under very difficult circumstances, at our childcare hubs, and supporting pupils with their distance learning.”

Parents who have children that are shielding or are living with someone who is in this group, should not come back to school this term and should continue learning at home.

Parents who choose not to send their children back to school will not be fined.
Schools in Carmarthenshire will finish on Friday, July 24, as Monday, July 27 will be an INSET day.

Please visit the council website
newsroom.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/coronavirus for further updates on the re-opening of schools, including some Frequently Asked Questions, which will be published as soon as possible.

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Police launch public appeal following Carmarthenshire burglary

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating a burglary at a property in Ponthenry.

People broke into a shed at a home in Victoria Road at around 8.30pm on Monday, 31 October, before leaving after spotting a CCTV camera.

They returned at around 10.15pm and again at around 10.55pm.

During their raids they tooka green Wolf motocross helmet with a full face with a peak and line green motocross goggles.

Officers are appealing for help to identify two people they would like to speak to over the incident.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DPP/0756/01/11/2022/02/C. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Morrisons Foundation supports children’s charity with grant for vital equipment

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The Morrisons Foundation supports registered charities that make a positive difference. They recently awarded national children’s disability charity, Cerebra, based in Carmarthen, a grant of £11,109.

This will fund the creation of writing slopes through the Cerebra Innovation Centre, which is partnered with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and designs wonderful toys and equipment to help children living with a brain condition to learn and play.

The writing slopes are designed to help children who struggle with posture and fine motor skills. They also aid children with writing, drawing and hand control. Ross Head, Product Design Manager at the Cerebra Innovation Centre explains;

‘The slopes include a lovely wipe-clean surface for children to experiment with mark making, their own set of pens and a clever lid-free pen store to remove the challenge of removing lids for some children. We are so lucky to be able to do what we do and funding like this is so important to allow us to push boundaries and provide vital equipment that looks beautiful.’

At the start of 2022, the Cerebra Innovation Centre highlighted that they anticipated the need for an additional 20 writing slopes for children. Cerebra Fundraising Manager, James Hay then worked with the grants team at the Morrisons Foundation, who were delighted to support this project. David Scott, Morrisons Foundation Trustee said:

‘Cerebra is dedicated to helping families who have a child with a brain condition to discover a better life together, that’s why I’m delighted that we’ve been able to provide this support. The specialised writing slopes will make a huge positive impact on children with sensory and mobility issues, providing a great opportunity to develop their skills, which will last a lifetime.’

Grants like this are a vital source of funding for Cerebra so that they are able to continue to support children living with a brain condition and their families who face challenges every day. The Cerebra Innovation Centre is one of the many support services provided by the charity that so many families have come to rely on. James Hay adds;

‘Thank you so much to the Morrisons Foundation for this generous grant! We are over the moon as we know how much this project will change young lives. These are particularly challenging times for charities and so this funding from Morrisons for the creation of 20 writing slopes is warmly welcomed.’

You can find out more about Cerebra and how they help children and families by visiting www.cerebra.org.uk 

Writing Slope
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White Ribbon campaign supported by Carmarthenshire County Council

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is again showing its support for the White Ribbon campaign, which takes place on Friday, November 25 and is followed by 16 Days of Action.

White Ribbon is the UK’s leading charity engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls.

While domestic abuse affects both sexes, the largest number of violent incidents involve men against women. But ultimately male violence against women is everyone’s issue, not just women’s.

The council was awarded White Ribbon UK accredited status for the first time in 2018 and is continuing to work to tackle such violence.

White Ribbon flags will be flying at County Hall in Carmarthen and town halls in Llanelli and Ammanford on White Ribbon Day (Friday, November 25). County Hall will also be lit up on the evening to show support.

The council is working alongside partners to raise awareness of the campaign across the county – from sports clubs, joint visits with the Police to licensed premises, our leisure centres and libraries to bus stations.

With this year’s White Ribbon Day falling on the same week as the start of the FIFA men’s World Cup, there has never been a better time to come together and start playing as a team to end violence against women and girls.

The council will be raising awareness of the campaign at special events including a Walking Football session at Amman Valley Leisure Centre on November 30 and at “An Evening with Sam Warburton” at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen on White Ribbon Day (November 25).

Cabinet Member responsible for Community Safety, Cllr Philip Hughes, said: “It’s vital that we raise more awareness about domestic abuse so that anyone affected can get help and support from one of our local services.”

Support locally can be found at: Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422 or www.threshold-das.org.uk; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 or www.calandvs.org.uk; Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service on 01267 238 410 or www.carmdas.org and Goleudy on 0300 123 2996 or www.goleudyvictimandwitnessservice.org.uk or call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 or visit https://gov.wales/live-fear-free for free advice and support 24/7

For more information on the White Ribbon campaign visit www.whiteribbon.org.uk

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