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Son’s massive relief after his mum, 86, gets anti-covid jab

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The son of an 86-year-old care home resident has spoken of his massive relief after his mum was among the first in Wales to be given the Oxford-AstroZeneca vaccine to protect her against the deadly Coronavirus.

Mary Willis, who celebrated her birthday on Tuesday, was vaccinated this morning (Wednesday) along with 47 other residents of Crosfield House, in Rhayader, Powys, which was the first home in the county to receive the jab produced in Wrexham at the CP Pharmaceuticals factory.

Her son, Matthew, an NHS manager from Rhos y Garth, near Llanilar, said: “My mum went into Crosfield after a fall and the care home have been brilliant.

“She’s almost back to her old self and we’re just so relieved she’s been vaccinated.

“She’s been very keen to have the vaccine and is a firm believer in its benefits and hopefully it will provide some protection for everyone from this deadly virus.

“She is making a good recovery from her fall but because of lockdown restrictions she can’t be measured for a wheelchair or have tests on her hearing or eyesight but hopefully this vaccine will allow that to happen.

“It also means that we can maybe look forward now to her being able to come out for the day and hopefully next December we’ll all be able to sit round the table to a Christmas dinner.

“That’s down to the vaccine and I’m absolutely delighted that my mum has received it this week and I very much hope and believe it will allow us to get back to something like normal.

“It will be nice to plan ahead for the future and the vaccine is key to that – it gives us all something to look forward to.”

The vaccine was administered by a team of six nurses from Powys Teaching Health Board and the manager of Crosfield House, former paramedic Wayne Rees, said: “It’s been a very difficult time for everyone on a rollercoaster road but this is the glimmer of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

“The team from Powys Health Board were here at 8.30am to set up and the first vaccine was delivered at about 9.30am and working in pairs they have vaccinated 48 of the residents this morning.

“Some of the residents are not suitable for vaccination because of their condition but we have been very fortunate here and have stayed free of the virus.

“Our staff here have been fantastic because it isn’t easy coming in to work every day to do a 12-hour shift in full PPE.  It’s very pressurised.

“We’ve all got lives outside work, but they have been abiding by the rules and that’s what is helping get us through this difficult time.”

Care home residents are especially vulnerable to the virus because of their age and infirmity.

Care workers have also been among those most at risk but Crosfield House’s 98 staff received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in December and the home was chosen to receive the Oxford vaccine as one of Wales’s Pathfinder homes.

They were also one of only eight homes in Wales involved in the Lateral Flow Testing programme designed to identify symptom-free carriers of the virus.

The home has been able to convert the former library into a visiting room complete with floor to ceiling and wall to wall partition screen with apertures to allow special gloves to be used for contact between residents and visitors.

Wayne Rees added: “We’ve used the communal areas of the home for administering the vaccines to residents apart from those who can’t leave their rooms and there will be nurses there to monitor them for 15 minutes to ensure there are no ill effects.

“Powys Health Board and the local authority have been great during the pandemic and our staff were all vaccinated in early December.

“These last 12 months have been very challenging.  It’s taught me a lot and it’s taught the staff a lot and I really can’t praise them highly enough.  They’ve all really pulled together.”

Mary Wimbury, Chief Executive of Care Forum Wales, which represents nearly 500 independent social care providers, welcomed the roll-out of the vaccination to the sector.

She said: “Our care home residents and the people who look after them are right in the firing line especially with a new, rampant form of the virus on the loose.

“We’re in a race against time and it’s vital we protect these most vulnerable people and I welcome the fact that this vaccine roll-out is happening quickly because we are facing a health catastrophe.

“The pressure is on and many care homes throughout Wales are at crisis point so now we have the vaccine it is critical that we get it out to those who need it most.”

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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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