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Meleri Walked 100k in May for Wales Air Ambulance

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A CARMARTHENSHIRE teaching assistant has raised £1,270 for the Wales Air Ambulance by walking 100km in May as part of the Charity’s Walk Wales challenge.

Mum-of-two Meleri Brown put on her walking shoes in aid of the Charity that’s close to her family’s heart after the medics helped save her cousin, Gwyndaf Davies’, life.

Gwyndaf ‘Dafs’ was just 21 when he fell through a roof of a building he was restoring and was airlifted to Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

Meleri, from Llanpumsaint said: “This Charity is close to my heart and one that in my view I can’t help enough! 13 years ago, we were very fortunate as a family to have the Wales Air Ambulance service! My cousin was airlifted to hospital after an accident when he fell through a roof of a building – we owe a big thank you to the service! Without them the story wouldn’t be so positive today and the outcome would be bleak!

“This service meant that ‘Dafs’ was treated within the ‘golden hour’ which is the most important hour to receive vital treatment! We live in a rural area which depends immensely on the work of the Wales Air Ambulance so supporting this service is vital!”

Walk Wales 2022 -100km in May virtual challenge allows ‘walkers’ the chance to either get out and about and explore Wales or to get their steps in at home, doing gardening, taking the dog for a walk, or even walking up and down the stairs!   

Gwyndaf played his own part in the fundraiser and walked nearly 4 miles with Meleri around Carmarthen park as part of her challenge.

Meleri is no stranger to fundraising for the lifesaving charity – 12 years ago she previously did a big fundraiser by completing a skydive in Swansea for the Wales Air Ambulance – this time she kept her feet firmly on the ground.

Pupils from Cynwyl Elfed School with Meleri Brown

The Wales Air Ambulance celebrated its 21st anniversary on St David’s Day 2022. Now operational 24/7, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its emergency helicopters flying and its Rapid Response Vehicle’s on the road.

As well as being a part time teaching assistant at Cynwyl Elfed School, Meleri, who lives on their family run farm, also runs her own business from home as a holistic therapist.

Meleri is over the moon to have smashed her original target of £150 for the Charity, she said: “I am overwhelmed by the support and generosity of friends and family which makes me feel proud to be part of my community!  I know that this amount will make a big difference to the Charity whom, will be glad to receive every penny.”

Meleri, who is married to Mathew and mum to Sara,19, and Cerys, 18 has also had the support of the pupils from her school.

She added: “The school children were so happy to help and encourage me on my last mile, they walked with me around the school yard to finish my challenge! Parents have been so supportive too, donating money to help build up my funds! 

“Thanks again to everyone who has contributed, special thanks to my family who have been a great support to enable me to take time away from the farm and running our home for me to give my all to this 100km challenge.”

Elin Wyn Murphy, Events and Partnerships Fundraiser for Wales Air Ambulance, said: “Congratulations to Meleri who managed to complete her challenge with two weeks to spare, whilst working, running a farm and business. Meleri has a personal reason for raising funds for the Wales Air Ambulance and the support and donations from her friends and family show how much it means to Meleri to complete 100km in May for the Wales Air Ambulance. Meleri has raised an incredible amount for the Wales Air Ambulance. Donations like this one will help the Charity be there for people, like Gwyndaf, when they need us the most. A huge thank you goes to the pupils at Cynwyl Elfed School who have supported Mrs Brown with her challenge. They’re all little superstars.”

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance.

These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com.  

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.

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Environment hero helps to keep Carmarthenshire clean

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A young volunteer has been praised by Carmarthenshire County Council for his environmental work in the Whitland area. 

10-year-old Leon litter picks his local area every day, helping to keep the area clean and tidy. As a reward for his fantastic work Leon was invited on a behind the scenes tour of Nantycaws recycling centre and Canolfan Eto.

During the visit, Leon saw the different processes that Carmarthenshire’s household recycling goes through as well as seeing the transformation of items at Canolfan Eto re-use project.

Cllr Edward Thomas, Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services said: “Leon has done a wonderful job in helping to keep Whitland clean and tidy and I’m delighted that we were able to recognise his efforts with a visit to Nantycaws.

“Carmarthenshire is very lucky to have an excellent group of volunteers who are a real asset to the community, giving up their precious time to help keep Carmarthenshire clean. Thank you to everyone who dedicates their time to helping us.” 

Businesses can also support their local environment by becoming a custodian of a ‘2 minute clean’ board. These A-frame boards are equipped with everything needed to clean the area including litter pickers and bags.

For information on becoming a 2 minute clean board custodian or to organise a litter pick please e-mail prideinyourpatch@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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‘People are booking the test when they’re not ready, and the pass rate is actually declining’

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THE CEO of one of the UK’s biggest driving schools has revealed that learner drivers are still facing massive driving test delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking to GB News presenters Esther Vey and Philip Davies, Seb Goldin said: “It depends where you are in the country, but the backlog is really not being got through at any rate from Covid. We’re hearing six, seven, eight and nine months now.

“It’s made worse because people are just trying to book a test when they’re perhaps not even test ready. And then the pass rate is actually declining at the moment, so then tests are just not available for those who would be ready, which is exacerbating the problem.

“We’d say take your lessons, book the test but only when your instructor tells you that you’re test ready.”

Discussing the possible introduction of self driving cars on UK roads and into driving lessons, Goldin explained: “I think with all technology, where there’s such a step-change from human behaviour to machine behaviour, if we could flick a switch overnight and say everyone’s driving autonomous cars then it would be a very easy segway and move on through. But when you’re gonna have human behaviour on the road with semi or fully autonomous cars, that’s where the challenge is gonna be. We expect to be very busy for the next few years at least.”

He added: “Your car even now compared to what you had ten years ago has so much more technology. One of the challenges that we think is that people are not given instruction or coaching in what a car can do and what it can’t do.

“So for example, if you got a new car with cruise control with a radar at the front which manages the distance which is fine if you get used to it. But if you get a bit of road grime on the front of the car it packs up and then suddenly you have to drive normally again, and if you’re not ready for it or not used to it it can be a challenge. So we’re really excited about integrating technology into driving lessons and we’re working with the government and DVSA to help improve and change the curriculum as technology comes through.”

Whilst self driving cars are not fully on the roads, Goldin explained a driver would still be needed behind the wheel: “There are various steps of autonomy. So at the moment, we have cars on what we call Level 1 and Level 2. What the government is taking about is Level 3, where the car can actually be fully in control of the vehicle without the driver needing to have hands on the wheel or control.

“An analogy is if you think of pilots in big ships or aeroplanes, they still have to be trained in how to manually control them if the technology fails. It’s exactly the same with driving.

“All technology that we work with, trust has to grow and we need to understand what it does, and there’s very much back to the point of teaching people and coaching people to drive. Even when people have passed the driving test, you’re not necessarily a ‘safe driver’ you’ve just passed the driving test. So there’s very much a coaching and a learning role as technology comes on.

“When you get a new car from a car dealer, a lot of them are very good at selling you on the finance but perhaps not so much on what the car can do and more importantly, what it can’t do.”

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Communities for Work Plus is on hand to assist with disability support

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CONGRATULATIONS to Tina Evans who has recently joined the BBC Wales presenting team and is currently covering the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

In preparation for starting her new job, Tina sought the services of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Communities for Work Plus programme to help overcome multiple barriers such as access to work and communicating with social services.

Tina, who is from Pontyberem originally, faces numerous challenges, due to long-term health conditions and disabilities, and requires a lot of support in relation to mobility and everyday care, as she is a wheelchair user.

Writing ahead of starting her new role with the BBC, Tina said “I had been offered work with BBC Wales, as part of the presenting team, and needed to sort out support during my role. As I was tight against time, I accessed the Communities for Work Plus hub in Carmarthen with the hope to speed things up. This was the best decision I made. After speaking with their team, I felt a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders as I, now, wasn’t sorting things alone.

“I would especially like to thank Desiree from the Communities for Work Plus team. She supported me through telephone calls with access to work and social services and liaised with them to make sure we met the deadlines required. There were a few barriers to overcome along the way, but with Desiree’s support and determination, we hurdled over them. I must admit, her support was invaluable in gaining access to work and without it, I would have given up.

“I can now look forward with excitement for this opportunity, knowing that I have the support I need.”

Desiree De Mouilpied, Community Employment Officer/Disability Specialist said “It’s been a privilege to assist Tina with her journey to accessing work. Her character and determination, to pursue her dreams and overcome complex barriers into employment, have been inspiring. We all wish her the best of luck in her new job.”

Communities for Work Plus provides the infrastructure to support the ongoing delivery of Communities for Work. The programme enhances the employment-focused support for those, often with complex barriers, who are furthest from the labour market into training and future employment with a holistic and person-centred approach.

Carmarthenshire County Council coordinate employment support from its Llanelli Hwb and office, which are based in the middle of Llanelli Town Centre.

For further information about the Communities For Work Plus programme, please visit https://www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/home/council-services/jobs-careers/help-to-find-a-job/ or email c4wplus@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or phone 01554 784847.

Cllr Gareth John, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism said “We’re delighted for Tina and proud of her success in gaining employment with BBC Wales.

“I would urge people in our county, who are looking to get into work, to take advantage of the support that Carmarthenshire County Council can give to you. Our employment support teams can help you identify training opportunities, provide you with a personal mentor, work with you to develop a job action plan, help you to build your confidence and help with writing a CV and completing job applications.

We want to support more people, like Tina, to overcome barriers to get into work.”

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