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Community Rail Partnership launched for South West Wales

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SOUTH West Wales now has its very own Community Rail Partnership, designed to help
communities get the most benefit from their existing railway lines.

The new Community Rail Partnership, South West Wales Connected, will engage with communities
across Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire to maximise the role the
railway can play in fulfilling the goals of the Welsh Government’s Well-Being of Future Generations
Act.

SWW Connected has been established by Transport for Wales and is hosted by 4theRegion, a
membership alliance working to bring about positive change across the region. It is based in a
dedicated community facility at Swansea Railway Station in a previously empty area that has been
redeveloped as part of Transport for Wales’ Station Improvement Vision.

The overall aim of SWW Connected is to connect local communities with their railway, delivering
social and economic benefit and increasing rail use within the region. Among other things it will
promote rail as a sustainable, accessible and healthy means of travel, encourage rail use by locals
and tourists, and help local communities and businesses engage with the rail network.

New Community Rail Partnership Officer Jennifer Barfoot, who will be leading the initiative, said it
will bring the communities and the railway closer together to promote and celebrate everything the
region has to offer.

“I am very excited to be joining South West Wales Connected,” she said. “We are distinctly aware of
the challenges that Covid-19 has brought to our communities and we have the opportunity to help
communities overcome those challenges.

“By connecting and encouraging collaboration among businesses and organisations in local
communities, we can empower those communities to work better together on a whole range of
social, economic, cultural and environmental issues. I am very much looking forward to working with
communities across South West Wales.”

Jennifer has a background in education and has been delivering regional initiatives for the past nine
years, including My Train Wales, an initiative to educate school pupils about rail safety.
“We welcome Jennifer to this new role, for which she is perfectly suited,” said 4theRegion founder
and chair Dawn Lyle. “South West Wales Connected will play an important part in helping
4theRegion achieve its aims of creating positive change in the region in areas such as wellbeing,
sustainability, tourism and economic development. Our rail network is a hugely valuable resource
that connects and unites the region, and we want to help people get the most out of it. We very
much look forward to working with Jennifer and SWW Connected on this project.”

Transport for Wales is part funding South West Wales Connected to deliver its wider vision for
community rail. South West Wales Connected will work collaboratively with Transport for Wales and
other local partners to identify and develop opportunities to help individuals, groups and
communities make the most of the advantages the rail network can deliver.

Head of Community Rail at Transport for Wales Hugh Evans said: “Community Rail can drive real
change for the better across our network, helping make rail travel more accessible and inclusive,
which in turn creates a real economic benefit and an opportunity, during these difficult times, to
support the health and mental wellbeing of people in these communities.

“We’re delighted that South West Wales Connected have become the first new Community Rail
Partnership since Transport for Wales took over the Wales and Borders network. Their ideas and
ambitions are incredibly exciting and we look forward to working with them over the coming years.”
Community Rail Network Chief Executive, Jools Townsend said: “As the umbrella body representing
community rail partnerships and groups across Wales and beyond, we’re thrilled to welcome South
West Wales Connected on board. Community rail plays an incredibly important role in helping
communities get the most benefit from their local railways, including promoting sustainable travel
and tourism by rail, and developing accessibility and inclusion. They also help local people to have a
voice in rail development, making the railway more inclusive, community-minded and future-
focused. This is doubly important right now in helping our communities and railways recover and
build back better from Covid-19. We’re looking forward to supporting South West Wales Connected
to engage and empower their local communities, connecting them with their railways.”
Transport for Wales Rail Services also works with five other community rail partnerships around its
network. Its wider Community Rail Vision also includes an active and successful station adoption
scheme. The eventual aim is to have Community Rail Partnerships to cover its entire network of 247
stations across almost 30 local authority areas.

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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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Community

Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire

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FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

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Family of power station worker calls on former colleagues to help with asbestos claim

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THE WIFE of a Carmarthenshire man, who was just 66 when he died of an asbestos-related cancer, is calling on colleagues who worked with him in the 1970s to help understand where and how he contracted the disease.

Peter Colton, from Llanelli, died in July 2021 after being diagnosed with the asbestos-related disease, mesothelioma.

He worked as a conveyor and weighbridge operator for the CEGB at Carmarthen Bay Power Station. During his time at the power station, his duties included offloading coal wagons and conveying coal to the boilers.

It is possible that Mr Colton was exposed to asbestos during those years and now his family has sought the help of local asbestos specialists J.M Parsons, to investigate a claim for compensation.

Ann Colton, Mr Colton’s wife, wants answers. She said: “Peter was diagnosed with mesothelioma and died just six weeks later. He had been suffering from shortness of breath and just had no quality of life.

“It was devastating to see someone who had been so healthy and active slowly get worse and worse. We just want to know where and how he was exposed to asbestos and hope someone out there can help us.”

According to data from the Health and Safety Executive, annual mesothelioma deaths in Britain increased steeply over the last 50 years, a consequence of mainly occupational asbestos exposures that occurred because of the widespread industrial use of asbestos during 1950-1980.

Amanda Jones is one of the specialists at J.M Parsons, which is owned by Thompsons Solicitors. Thompsons has paved the way for asbestos litigation in the UK ever since it brought about the first successful asbestos disease claim to the House of Lords in 1972, 50 years ago.

She said: “We would be grateful to hear from anyone who remembers working with Peter Colton in Carmarthen Bay Power Station in the 1970s or anyone who worked in the same field as Peter beyond the 1970s.

“Such individuals will be invaluable to Mr Colton’s family as they may be able to add important information that will assist us in building a civil claim. We hope that we will then be able to answer questions about the conditions that Mr Colton worked in during his working life.”

Anyone with information should contact Amanda Jones on 01554 779940, or via email at amanda@jmplaw.co.uk.

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