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Social distancing plea following Carmarthenshire Covid cluster

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council is calling on residents and visitors to take responsibility for social distancing as a cluster of positive Covid-19 cases are confirmed in the county.

The council is working with Public Health Wales to manage a number of cases identified through the national Test, Trace, Protect procedures.

The cluster is centred around a presentation evening held on Saturday August 29 at Drefach Cricket and Football Club, organised in breach of coronavirus regulations.

To date 12 people who are linked to the evening have tested positive for Covid-19 and all those who attended the event will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Contact tracers are in the process of making contact with all those who attended.

A closure notice has been served on the person responsible for the premises, meaning the club cannot re-open for at least 14 days.

Drefach Cricket and Football Club: Presentation evening was centre of outbreak

The council said it is as important as ever that people recognise that the virus has not gone away, and is urging people to heed the national advice and take responsibility for keeping themselves, and others, safe.

Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said: “This virus has not gone away, and unless we all take responsibility for our own actions we will be back in the dreadful situation where we will have to enforce the closure of some businesses and restrict people’s access to services.

“Social distancing needs to be adhered to, people and businesses need to comply with the NHS Test, Trace, Protect programme, and everyone needs to play their part in preventing the spread of this virus. This event was organised in breach of the regulations showing a complete disregard for the wider public. Moving forward we will not hesitate to take action, including issuing closure and fixed penalty notices where sports clubs or businesses breach regulations and put the public’s health at risk.”

He added: “We are just beginning our recovery from this pandemic, and we do not want to go back to a place where we have to close our schools, restrict visits to our parks, pubs, recycling centres and more – this is the risk that organisers of such events cause in our communities.

“There is plenty of advice and guidance available from Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and on local authority websites in Carmarthenshire and other areas you may be visiting. It is your responsibility to stay up to date and take all action necessary to protect yourself and others around you.”

Dr Giri Shankar, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales can confirm that we are responding to cases of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Drefach Cricket and Football Club. We manage any clusters of Coronavirus appropriately, including by providing advice around infection prevention and control, and by supporting contact tracing where required.

“We remind the public that they have a vital role in preventing the spread of Coronavirus. They can do this by always observing social distancing guidelines – that’s staying two metres away from others – washing hands regularly, and working from home if they can.”

Executive Director of Therapies and Health Sciences for Hywel Dda University Health Board Alison Shakeshaft said: “It is absolutely vital that we all abide by social distancing measures in order to protect our communities. Most important to remember is to self-isolate when asked to do so, keep 2m away from others outside of your household bubble, minimise your contacts where you can, avoid gatherings, and wash your hands regularly.

“We are working closely with the council and Public Health Wales, and this includes tracing potential contacts. Some people will be asked to undertake a test, but others will not need to be tested but will be asked to self-isolate and book a test if symptoms occur. All members of the public are reminded that if they have symptoms – that is a high temperature, continuous cough or loss of taste or smell – they should immediately self-isolate and book a test.”

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

a high temperature: this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
a new, continuous cough: this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste: this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

Symptomatic members of the public can apply for a test by visiting the Welsh Government website and choosing either a mass drive-through testing centre or ordering a home testing kit. Those without digital access can apply for a test by calling the free number 119 (between 7am-11pm) and people with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001 119.

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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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