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More than 100 new council homes delivered as part of ambitious £300million plan

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Dylan

A TOTAL of 119 new council homes will have been delivered by Carmarthenshire County Council by the end of this financial year.

Providing quality, affordable homes is a key priority for the council which is investing over £300 million to support the delivery of more than 2,000 additional homes across the county over the next five years.

The Housing Regeneration and Development Delivery Plan will also help to grow the local economy and regenerate communities by creating much-needed jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships in the construction industry.

Last year the council built eight new two-bed semi-detached houses in Maespiode in Llandybie and converted the former Hafan Croeso residential home in Glanamman into two self-contained flats, and shared accommodation for five people.

A further four new housing developments and a total of 106 new houses will be completed over the next few weeks  – a total investment of £223million and just the start of a programme of affordable house building not seen since the 1970s.

The first to be completed and to go on the housing register is a 14-home site in Garreglwyd, Pembrey. A mix of two and four-bedroom properties, the houses were designed by the council’s in-house property design team and the contract awarded via the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework (SWWRCF) to local builder TRJ Ltd. It also includes a new bridge over the river to link the site with the cycle path.

The first phase of four new homes will soon be available for council tenants to rent on land near Dylan in Bryn, Llanelli. The remainder of the 32 homes will be released in phases over the next two months. The development, again designed by the council’s in-house property design team, includes 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council.

A development of 32 homes will be completed in Glanmor Terrace in Burry Port by the end of March, along with a further 28 homes at site in Gwynfryn in Ammanford, built by local contractor Morganstone via the SWWRCF.

All the new houses are fitted with modern kitchens and bathrooms, they have exceptionally high levels of insulation to help minimise heat loss and are fitted with renewable technology including solar panels, electric vehicle charging points and battery storage helping to provide lower energy bills for tenants.

Dylan

The developments in Garreglwyd, Dylan and Gwynfryn have all been part-funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The site in Glanmor Terrace has received funding through Welsh Government’s Innovative Housing Programme (IHP) and the houses have been designed with a greater range of measures that will reduce both energy use and carbon emissions, supporting the council’s commitment to tackling climate change and becoming a net zero carbon local authority by 2030.

Constructed by TRJ Ltd, the 32 homes have all been built with timber frames and have external wooden panels, which means the carbon footprint of these buildings is very low. They have also been built to Passivhaus standard, which adopts a whole-building approach to provide a high level of occupant comfort using very little energy for heating and cooling. There are solar panels installed on every roof, connected to batteries which in the summer will be capable of supplying electricity off grid 24 hours-a-day. Each property has an electric vehicle charging point, all lighting is LED and have a MVHR (mechanical ventilation heat recovery system) so they are very energy efficient.

As part of the development, a new public car park has been provided in Glanmor Terrace and additional parking bays created in Silver Terrace, as well as a public open space with landscaping and benches, which is linked to the new development by a footpath.

All four developments have created eight new jobs for people that were previously unemployed, as well as four apprenticeships and 19 work experience opportunities.

The Housing Regeneration and Development Delivery Plan was today (Monday, February 14)  approved by the council’s Cabinet and shapes the future plans for housing in Carmarthenshire for the next five years, building on the success of the council’s current affordable housing delivery plan.

It will also support economic growth by investing over £300 million into communities and directly supporting businesses, people and places as part of the council’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

Glanmore

A consultation exercise carried out last summer saw more than 2,500 responses, and these views have been used to help develop the plan.

As well as building more council homes, the plan includes working with housing association partners to deliver more new build schemes, buying stock that suits its needs, working with developers to ensure a range of affordable homes are built as part of private developments and bringing empty homes back into use.

The council will also actively work with landlords to encourage them to make their properties available at affordable rent levels, including bringing more private sector homes into the management of its in-house social lettings agency Simple Lettings.

Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “This new five-year delivery plan will see the greatest development of new council homes in the county since the 1970s, three generations ago.

“The plan is exciting and bold, supporting the delivery of over 2,000 homes in our communities. We have already exceeded the targets in our first five-year plan, produced in 2016, which delivered over 1,000 homes, nearly a year ahead of programme. This plan sets out an even greater ambition.

“The homes delivered through this plan will be for rent and sale in all areas of our county, including rural and urban areas. We will provide homes for all household types, including families, older people, single people, couples and households with specialist needs. Our developments will include a mix of property types, including apartments, bungalows, large and small family homes.

“But it’s not just about building homes – the homes we build will have a design where the quality and the way they look is distinctive, and sustainable in terms of their carbon footprint. Our new homes will create communities with a real sense of place that people of all ages are proud to call home.

“And the investment we are making will have a huge impact in stimulating the economy, creating jobs for local people and supporting the county’s recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic.”

In 2015, the council became the first in Wales to suspend the Right to Buy to retain its declining housing stock, and built a number of bungalows – the first local authority housing to be built in Wales since the 1980s.

Garregglwyd

A year later, in 2016, it launched its affordable homes plan to deliver 1,000 additional affordable homes in the county by 2021 by building new, buying from the market and converting empty buildings – which was delivered a year ahead of schedule.

Council Leader Emlyn Dole said the plan recognises the role of housing development and investment in stimulating the overall economic growth of the county – even more critical as we recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have set clear goals and actions for the next two years that will support the recovery of the county’s economy, and increasing the supply of homes is recognised in the plan as a key driver of economic recovery and growth,” said Cllr Dole.

“This plan sets out our housing regeneration priorities for the next five years, stimulating economic growth and helping our economy and communities become stronger than ever before.

“We will ensure that we deliver the right homes in the right places, and this includes providing affordable homes for young and working aged people in both rural and urban areas, helping them to remain in the county, increasing footfall in our towns and protecting the Welsh language and culture in rural areas.

“It supports the development of our strategic regeneration sites throughout the county by delivering more homes for rent and sale, such as the multi-million-pound Pentre Awel development, which will create mixed tenure assisted living accommodation for older people with support and care; and the Transforming Tyisha project, which will deliver new mixed-tenure modern homes in the community.

“We are investing more than £300million – this will support local businesses and the supply chain, creating and safeguarding jobs and helping to replace those jobs that have been lost.”

Cabinet Member with responsibility for climate action Cllr Ann Davies said building new energy-efficient homes played a significant part in the council’ s efforts to tackle climate change.

Glanmore

“Developing energy-efficient new homes, with the latest renewable technology helps support the council’s net zero carbon targets and the circular economy,” she said.

“We are also supporting our tenants to live more sustainably which forms a large part of our net carbon zero agenda. As well as helping them live in environmentally friendly homes, we are making their homes warmer and more comfortable, and cheaper to run by reducing their energy use and therefore their bills.

“We need everyone to make an effort and do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint,  however small, it all helps, this is why we launched Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr in November.”

The council is planting a tree in the garden of every new home it builds to off-set carbon emissions, as part of its commitment to become net zero carbon by 2030.

Cabinet Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans explained how important it was that council was able to procure highly experienced and qualified contractors for its new housing developments through the South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework (SWWRCF).

Cllr Evans said: “The framework is managed by Carmarthenshire County Council on behalf of the South West Wales regional local authorities (Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea Council) and provides a competitive procurement platform and solution to public sector construction works.

“All our contracts for our new housing developments are awarded through the framework and this provides a number of benefits, both for the council, as well as for the contractors themselves.

“A number of local contractors have gained a place on the framework, and we are committed to maximising community benefits across the South West Wales Region including creating jobs for local people, training opportunities and apprenticeships in the construction industry.

“I am delighted that these new housing developments have created new jobs for those who were previously unemployed, and provided apprenticeships for our young people.”

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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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Tesco makes it even easier for shoppers in South Wales to help local food banks

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TESCO is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in South Wales this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare.

Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round.

Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Emma Shepherd, Project Manager at the Trussell Trust Cardiff Foodbank, and Becky Morgan, Manager at the Trussell Trust Vale Foodbank, added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection. We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

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Charity

Hywel Dda Health Charities’ annual Pet Competition is back

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HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has launched its 2022 Pet Competition.

The competition gives members of the public the opportunity to win prizes while also helping the charity to raise funds which make a positive difference to the lives of NHS patients, service users and staff in the Hywel Dda area.

Owners of fabulous felines, perfect pooches, gorgeous guinea pigs or beautiful budgies are invited to enter the annual competition.

Pet-owners can enter as many times as they like in the categories of Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat and Cutest Other Pet. Each photo entry costs £3.

It’s easy to take part, all participants need to do is send a photo of their pet to fundraising.hyweldda@wales.nhs.uk and follow the instructions in this link: https://hyweldda.enthuse.com/cf/pet-competition.

The competition is open to everyone in the Health Board area. Entries close on 30th June 2022. The final three in each category will be chosen by the Hywel Dda Health Charities team. The winners are then chosen by an online voting poll and will be announced in July.

There are 1st place prizes in each category donated by Wynnstay, Burns Pet Food and Vincent Davies Department Stores.

Diane Henry, fundraising support officer, said: “Each time people enter our Pet Competition with pictures of their fabulous pets, they are helping us to provide services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can provide.. Thank you for your continued support.”

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