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Tŷ Hafan thanks supporters as £1m refurbishment fundraiser nears target

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“THANKS to you, our incredible supporters across Wales and beyond, we’ve almost done it. We’re so nearly there – now we need just one last push.” 

That’s the message from Tŷ Hafan CEO Maria Timon Samra, as the appeal by the charity to raise £1m to refurbish its hospice in Sully enters its final few weeks. 

“In January 2020, just before the world – and our charity – was blighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Tŷ Hafan launched a much needed £1m project to upgrade our children’s hospice facility in Wales,” said Maria, who took over as Interim CEO at Tŷ Hafan in May 2020. 

“Against all the odds, and thanks to the generosity of our loyal local, national and international supporters, we are now in the final stages of this refurbishment.  

“One month ago we updated our stakeholders on Tŷ Hafan’s ‘fit for the future’ fundraising appeal and at that point we were £170k short of our £1m target. 

“Today, with just a few weeks to go until our appeal closes, we have nearly reached our £1m target. 

“So we’re asking our supporters to show their love for Tŷ Hafan once more and to give whatever they can afford to help us over the finish line.  Every penny will make a huge difference to the unfairly difficult lives of the children and families whom we support with much needed respite, crisis and end-of-life care.” 

Tŷ Hafan opened its doors 22 years ago and has been a lifeline for children with life-limiting conditions and their families ever since. 

After more than two decades of being used 365 days a year and providing essential around-the-clock care to more than 1,000 children and families in Wales, including 24 in Monmouthshire, Tŷ Hafan’s hospice in Sully, South Wales, needed essential refurbishment to ensure that it can continue to help families for the next 20 years and beyond.  

As well as providing a more bright and cheerful ‘beach hut’ theme throughout which fits with our peaceful location on the Bristol Channel, Tŷ Hafan’s £1m fit for the future refurbishment programme includes essential clinical adaptations to the hospice, which has remained open and operational for crisis and end of life care throughout the pandemic. 

Key features include infection-control flooring, optimising space from top to bottom, providing more purpose-built space for nurses to prepare medicines for children, and ensuring facilities are as accessible as possible for children with various complex conditions. 

Mum Becca and Harley, seven, from Llanelli, benefited from their first stay at Tŷ Hafan last summer during the early months of the pandemic. 

Harley has Adenylosuccinase deficiency (ADSL), a rare, complex and progressive disorder which also means that Harley is at high risk of sudden death through epilepsy. 

Becca said: “I never thought Tŷ Hafan was right for us because I thought it was for end of life only and that wasn’t us. But when we went to the hospice to stay, it gave the doctors a chance to see what was going on. 

“We have too much to pack to go away for long, so holidays are impossible. Going to Tŷ Hafan is different because they are used to it and it’s normal for them. It makes it easy to fit in there. You can talk to people about things, but to meet other parents in the same position as you is good, as you feel less self-conscious with a Tŷ Hafan group. 

“All the staff were amazing. I wasn’t ready to leave Harley, I’m still not, so I stayed with him the whole time, but I saw other children and was amazed at how the staff were with the kids. I’ve never met such nice people. The one time I left him was to go for a shower for an hour. I’ve never done that before, but I felt able to as I knew he was being looked after.” 

Already hundreds of individuals, groups, businesses and organisations have donated generously to Tŷ Hafan fit for the future appeal, including: 

  • Employees of Circle IT and partners who are taking on the challenge of travelling the distance of the Earth – 40,075km by walking, running, and cycling the cumulative distance within seven weeks 
  • 100 employees of Admiral Group who have pledged to complete one million press ups with a fundraising target of £10,000 
  • Taylor Wimpey who have pledged £12,000 to help fund the creation of a Den which will feature a cinema and games room which will enable peer to peer support 
  • Machen teenagers Ben, Lewis and Ollie who together ran 100km in all winds and weathers throughout January, raising more than £3,000 

“I cannot thank enough everyone who has donated so generously so far, but if you have not already donated, it’s not too late,” continued CEO Maria Timon Samra. 

“There are still a few weeks to go until our ‘fit for the future’ appeal ends and it goes without saying that we really appreciate every single donation we receive, however big or small.  Every donation represents a step closer to us completing this project so we can provide these children, young people and their families with the support they so urgently need.” 

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Mobile COVID-19 vaccination van to visit Ammanford

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HYWEL DDA UNIVERSITY HEALTH BOARD is pleased to confirm that its mobile vaccination van, in partnership with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, will be located in Ammanford from Wednesday 28 to Saturday 31 July.

The mobile vaccination clinic will be based at Ammanford’s Tesco Superstore car park (Park Street, SA18 2LR) and will be open between 11.00am and 7.00pm.  There is no need to contact the health board to book an appointment. 

The vaccination van will deliver the vaccine to anyone aged 18 and over that requires either a first or second dose (Moderna and Oxford AstraZeneca).  Second doses can be given 8 weeks after the first dose. 

The fire service is providing one of its vehicles and members of the team will also be in attendance to provide the public with general community safety advice, including about home safety.

With the rise in cases across the UK, it is important as many people as possible to come forward for their first and second doses as soon as possible.

Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We are thrilled that we are able to bring our mobile vaccination van to Ammanford for four days.

“Over 2,000 vaccines have been delivered from the van to date and we hope many more people in Ammanford and the surrounding area will choose to have their vaccine with us during our time at Tesco car park.

“Everyone is welcome, if you have changed your mind having already declined a vaccine we will be happy to see you or if you would like to speak to someone before deciding whether to have it, our brilliant vaccination team will be more than happy to speak to you and answer any questions you may have.”

Chief Fire Officer for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, Chris Davies said: “I am pleased that we can, again, assist Hywel Dda in its vaccination programme, having recently concluded a hugely successful partnership where we were able to assist with transportation of people within our communities to and from mass vaccination centres. 

“This opportunity and partnership allows us to expand our assistance further within the health arena, and is going to make a positive impact on our response to this global pandemic and we are pleased to be able play our part and collaborate with our NHS partners to change the lives of many people.” 

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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