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Public invited to submit questions ahead of Welsh Ambulance Service AGM

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MEMBERS of the public are being invited to submit questions ahead of the Welsh Ambulance Service Annual General Meeting next week.

The once-yearly gathering of Board members will be streamed via the Zoom platform on Thursday 14 July 2022 from 09.30am.

Chair Martin Woodford said: “It’s been another very challenging year for all of us, and the Welsh Ambulance Service has been no exception.

“With a combination of the ongoing pandemic, coupled with a return to high levels of our ‘routine demand’ and the impact of the pandemic starting to be felt significantly both by our staff and the wider health and care system, it’s fair to say that 2021/22 has not been easy.

“In amongst the challenges, there have been pockets of real positivity and progress, more about which you can hear about at the AGM, where we will reflect on the last year – until March 2022 – as captured in our Annual Report.

“Here we hope you will find a real sense of how this year has felt for us as an organisation, for our people and for the people we serve.

“We hope you will be able to join us.”

Click here to join the Zoom meeting on Thursday 14 July 2022 from 09.30am If you have a question for the Board, please email it to AMB_AskUs@wales.nhs.uk and if appropriate, your question will be answered as part of the Q&A portion of the event.

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New ward extension opens at Werndale Hospital

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WERNDALE Hospital opens its £1millon ward extension, featuring a suite of new spacious patient en-suite rooms and additional light and airy ward space for new nurses’ stations, new technology and medical equipment, in pleasant and comfortable spaces. 

Werndale is part of Circle Health Group, the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare. The group is carrying out a £125 million redevelopment programme across its 50 hospitals in the UK.

Werndale has a strong history in the village of Bancyfelin, where is has been serving the local communities of Wales for over 32 years.

James Davies, Wales and Scarlets rugby player, from Bancyfelin, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Monday 1st August. His nickname “Cubby”, is reference to his brother’s nickname, “Fox”; this refers to the Fox & Hounds pub their parents ran in Bancyfelin, the village where they grew up. Staff and consultants were given the chance to view the new extension, with a small gathering to mark the occasion and celebrate all the hard work that has gone into this project over the last 12 months.

Jacky Jones, Executive Director of Werndale Hospital said: “The investment programme is an exciting opportunity to expand what we can offer to patients at Werndale. Our staff and consultants are delighted with this expansion which will allow us to meet the private healthcare needs of patients and families in Wales and will decrease waiting times which will positively impact the patient’s experience. Having the new patient rooms here increases our ward capacity by 20%, it is a great investment”.

Gaynor Llewellyn, Director of Clinical Services said: “At Werndale we are committed to continuous improvement of clinical facilities and services. We continually invest in the hospital so that we can offer our patients and consultants reassurance when they visit us for treatments”.

Werndale Hospital is seeing increased demand for its services across all specialities particularly orthopaedic surgery, ophthalmology, and general surgery. Nearly 4,000 patients had surgery at Werndale Hospital, Bancyfelin during 2021 and the new investment will enable ward capacity to be increased by 25 per cent.

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Help shape the future of third sector services in Carmarthenshire

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RESIDENTS are being asked for their views to help shape the future of third sector services in Carmarthenshire.

The third sector includes a range of different organisations, such as charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups that deliver essential services to a wide range of residents, helping to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Carmarthenshire County Council is looking to change the way it commissions third sector services to make it simpler and easier for residents to access, and to enhance the quality of support and activities provided by focusing on what is important to local people.

Changes that had to be made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are being looked at as an opportunity to build on the positive work that has been carried out and to identify what services are needed for the future.

A public consultation exercise is underway to gather people’s views to help plan and deliver a new community-based service model which will meet the needs of communities.

The council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Services Cllr Jane Tremlett said: “The council has a long-standing, valued relationship with the third sector which plays an important role in helping to improve people’s wellbeing

“Our discussions have highlighted that there is a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills within organisations, particularly in relation to the lived experience of service users and what matters to them.

“It is important that we continue to work together to deliver modern, high-quality services that meet the needs of the communities we serve.

“This consultation will help us to identify what services are needed in the future and where, and how people would like to access them.”

Visit the consultation pages on the council website before August 26 to have your say. Paper copies are also available from the council’s customer service Hwbs in Llanelli, Carmarthen and Ammanford, and a number of face-to-face events are being held over the summer to engage directly with residents. For more information, please visit carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultations

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Community groups in Carmarthenshire celebrate nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding

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THE NATIONAL Lottery Community Fund has awarded a total of £47,575 of funding to local community groups in Carmarthenshire over the past month. 

The funded projects include improving the local environment and biodiversity, respite and days out for families of people battling addiction, and free boxing sessions for young people.

Llanerch Community Group were one of the recipients of the funding and will use their £8,000 grant to continue to provide a local food share service, and work with volunteers to create a community growing space for fruit and vegetables.

Sharon Burdess & Heather Peters from Llanerch Community Group said, “We are delighted to have been awarded the National Lottery Fund grant and will put it to good use in enhancing the community of Llanerch.

“Lleidi Foodshare has been set up to help families, young and old in our local community with the rising cost of living. The funds will help the community to come together have a chat, coffee and cake which will reduce loneliness and isolation within the older members within our community.

“The funds will also be used to set up a community food growing garden which will work alongside our Lliedi Foodshare. Groups of all ages will get involved in this project from the soil preparation to the final stages of picking, then this will be distributed for free through our Lleidi Foodshare.

“Community Biodiversity native plant growing sessions will help tackle decline of bees and bugs which will help improve their population. This will enhance the natural beauty of Llanerch where the community can relax and enjoy the Open Green Space.”

The John Burns Foundation received a £10,000 grant to support people interested in improving biodiversity in their local community. It will provide practical tuition in traditional crafts and improve the mental health of those participating in outdoor activity.

Zara, Group Leader at Mencap who’ve worked with The John Burns Foundation explained, “Our staff and team members with a learning disability from Mencap Me Time all benefitted from learning hedge laying, a new skill. We all increased confidence and felt sheer pride at seeing the result.

“People we support commented on being one step further to finding a job in the future.”

Stallion Community Hub CIC will use their £9,884 grant to provide 80 free boxing sessions to young people, encouraging participation. They will address the impact of poverty, and instil values, support health and wellbeing, and promote life skills.

Trallwm Area Community Hall were awarded £10,000 to provide sessions on topics including improving IT skills, mental health and healthy eating.  They will help people get to know each other and ease loneliness.

C.A.S.M. Support of Carers of Alcohol and Substance Misuse in Llanelli were also successful and will use £9,690 to provide respite and days out, enabling families with loved ones with addiction to take much-needed breaks, in a safe environment.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, celebrated all the organisation’s saying: “We are proud to be the largest funder of community activity in the UK. The Fund is dedicated to supporting projects like these that bring people together to support their communities, create stronger social connections and help develop new skills. National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes like these throughout the UK”   

These projects are just some of 56 projects awarded across Wales in the past month totalling £1,821,550 of funding raised by National Lottery players. To read the full list please see the attached document.   

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