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Why some older people may need to prepare for Digital Switchover 

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CHANGES to our landline telephones are taking place across Wales 

Between now and December 2025 the UK’s telephone network is being upgraded, so the technology we currently use to make landline calls, called ‘analogue’, is being replaced with an internet-based system, called a Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP for short. 

Many of the services that lots of older people use via their landline such as telecare, personal alarms, burglar alarms and fax machines may be affected by the change. However, if people’s devices are relatively modern, they should still work fine but older ones may need to be reconfigured or replaced.  Very old handsets may also need to be changed. However, your phone provider will be able to provide advice on all these matters.  

For many people, the change will be as simple as plugging a phone into the provider’s router to link into their system. And in most cases, people will still be able to keep their existing numbers.

However, if there’s a power cut people may lose access to some of their services. Therefore, speak to your current provider to make sure you have a suitable back up in place such as a mobile phone, a battery back-up, or some other solution.   

Be scam aware  
The digital switchover will be free of charge, and no one should ask you for any payments. If they do, please report them to the Police using 101 and to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. If your bank account was used in a scam, contact your bank as soon as possible.    
  
If somebody tries to sell you equipment or get you to sign up to expensive contracts as part of Digital Switchover, don’t rush into any decisions, seek a second opinion, and speak to your phone company who will be able to advise you about what you need. 

Age Cymru’s chief executive Victoria Lloyd says: “Digital Switchover should be a simple process in most cases. But I would advise older people to contact their telephone provider if they run services off their landline or are worried about any aspect of the switchover. And of course, I would urge older people to be wary of potential scammers who may try to trick you into paying them a fee. Remember that the actual switchover is completely free of charge.”

Carmarthenshire pensioner Sandra Llewelyn says: “I recently had a VoIP phone system installed. It is just a different technology and nothing scary. The process was very simple. I called them, agreed a package and then we arranged a date for the work to be done.
“There was a period of about four weeks between agreeing to change and when the work would take place. I was updated at every stage with details such as delivery dates for the new equipment and what work needed to be done and when.

“On the day of the installation the engineer installed a new junction box outside then installed the equipment inside and that was that – it took no more than an hour.”

For more information   
Your current phone provider should be in touch with you to let you know when your services are due to change and what, if anything, you need to do. You can always contact them too, at any time, using the customer service details on correspondence such as your bill.  You may also visit Age Cymru’s website:  www.agecymru.org.uk/digital-switchover or call Age Cymru Advice on 0300 303 44 98.

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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New recycling facility opens for Carmarthenshire businesses

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A new commercial waste recycling centre located in Nantycaws has been launched today (Monday October 31) by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with CWM Environmental Ltd.

Located next to Nantycaws Household Waste Recycling Centre, the new facility will focus on providing an outlet for businesses in Carmarthenshire to recycle their waste responsibly, with the waste collected at the site recycled or re-used to create sustainable products whenever possible.

The paid for service accepts a range of materials including metal, cardboard, plastic, plasterboard, soil, hardcore, paint, glass, asbestos (double bagged), large white goods including fridges and mixed general waste.

Costs will be competitive to encourage as many businesses as possible to use the facility and will vary depending on the type and amount of waste presented.

A valid waste carrier’s certificate and waste transfer note will be required to use the site.

Cllr Edward Thomas, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services said: “We hope to significantly increase the amount of waste being recycled from businesses in Carmarthenshire thanks to the introduction of this new recycling centre in Nantycaws”.

“Our long-term ambition is to change the perception of recycling for businesses by supporting them to recycle as much as possible. We want to promote responsible waste practices in the county and minimise the levels of business waste being presented at our household waste recycling centres, which has risen in recent months.

The new commercial recycling centre will help to achieve Carmarthenshire’s ambition of delivering a circular economy throughout the county as well as becoming a leader in recycling and re-use within Wales.

For more information visit the recycling section of the Council’s website – Carmarthenshire.gov.wales/recycling

A circular economy focuses on eliminating waste by cutting down on throw away consumption and turning materials that would have previously been sent to landfill into a valuable resource.

This project has been funded through Welsh Government’s Circular Economy fund.

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National Botanic Garden of Wales welcomes new director

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Dr Lucy Sutherland is the new Director of the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

She has joined the Welsh institution from her role as a strategic consultant to the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust which manages the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden and the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan.

She started in her new job on Monday October 24.

Dr Sutherland said: “It is an exciting and rare chance to lead a relatively young botanic garden through its next phase of maturity.

“It is also a unique opportunity at a time when the global population is facing multiple crises and there is growing ambition and support for addressing climate change and continuing efforts towards biodiversity conservation and a sustainable future.”

Dr Sutherland sees the National Botanic Garden of Wales as “continuing to have a critical role in this agenda.”

She is an Honorary Professor at the University of Adelaide and was previously the Director of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium in South Australia, Acting Director of the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the National Co-ordinator of the Australian Seed Bank Partnership.

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