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Families ‘distraught’ as council ends contract

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‘We have been treated unfairly’: Dorothy McDonald, founder and trustee of the home in Glanamman

A SMALL care home providing facilities for dementia sufferers has had its contract with Carmarthenshire County Council terminated at short notice, The Herald can reveal.
The families of Hafan Croeso Care Home’s clients have been informed of the decision, which will involve removing their relatives from the care home they have lived in for the last ten years.
Dennis King Chair of Amman Care told the Herald: “We had notice on Tuesday that social services were finishing their contracts with us from this Friday (Jun 26). Until then we had no idea that the council were planning to remove our clients on such short notice. There are no other facilities like ours. We are the only specialist providers for dementia care in Carmarthenshire.”
Mr King pointed out that the home was run by volunteers and that Welsh Minister Edwina Hart said it was a model she would like to see throughout Wales. He also told us: “We also had the older people’s commissioner come down and she said if she had to go into a care home it would be this one!”
Dorothy McDonald is a trustee at Amman Care and she told the Herald: “We run a small community home in Ammanford. We have had problems trying to keep managers over the years. The manger we have is leaving on Friday. We appointed a new manager last Thursday and informed CSSIW and Social services but they had already placed an embargo on us. We couldn’t admit any new residents.”
Dorothy explained the steps taken to resolve the situation: “We went to see Neil Edwards, the Adult Safeguarding and Commissioning Manager for the local authority. He told us there would be a meeting to decide what would happen. We called him but he only came to the phone when Cllr Tegwen Devichand said he had two choices, either see us or we would go to press. We didn’t hear anymore from Neil until noon on Tuesday, when a letter containing all sorts of legal jargon was delivered to the home. Then, at 5pm, one of the staff rang me to ask if I knew that social services were removing the seven residents this Friday.”
Ms McDonald went on to say: “The families are very distressed and fearful about the effect of the sudden move on their loved ones. There should have been consultation Where are their human rights? We have been forbidden from contacting the families but they have been in touch with us. They are distraught.”
Expressing further concerns about the way events had developed, Dorothy told us: “David Jenkins is our councillor and he didn’t even know what was happening. Surely he should know as deputy leader.”
The Herald contacted CSSIW, which is responsible for inspecting care and social services in Wales, who told us: “We’re aware that the provider has been without both a Responsible Individual since May 29 and as of Friday 26 June will also be without a Registered Manager. This presents a significant risk to the safety and wellbeing of the vulnerable people living in the home, and we are seeking assurances from the provider on the arrangements in place after the Registered Manager has left post, to ensure that existing residents continue to receive appropriate care. In the meantime, and until we are satisfied with the management arrangements, we have issued a condition that prevents the provider taking on new residents into Hafan Croeso Care Home. We have been advised that Carmarthenshire County Council intends to terminate its contract with the care home with effect from Friday June 26, and we are also seeking assurances from the council on the continuity of care for existing residents.”
Mrs McDonald was asked what her next steps would be and she said: “Our next step is to get legal advice and see how we can get our clients back. It seems the authority have been down on us for a while. They tell us not to get involved but when something goes wrong they blame us.”
She concluded: “Our local representatives were not told anything about this. David Jenkins has been supportive and we hope he will help us now. There is a shortage of care managers in Wales. We have been treated unfairly and what they are doing is denying help and care to people in need. It is an injustice. None of us claim travelling expenses and we are all over 80 ourselves.”
The Herald contacted the local authority for a response but had received none by the time this story went to press.
Local MP Jonathan Edwards told The Herald: “We know there is a shortage of dementia care services in Carmarthenshire. It is crucial such services – which have been established and operated by the good will of so many volunteers – are encouraged in our community.
“I am surprised at how quickly this process has moved and I urge the local authority and home to work together as closely as possible. The care provided to what are extremely vulnerable residents is paramount at this time.”
Jake Morgan, Director of Community Services, said: “Carmarthenshire County Council’s priority is to support vulnerable users and their families to receive safe and high quality care. We agree with the position of the CSSIW that this provider falls short of the standards we should all expect. As of today all but one resident has moved to more suitable providers.
“We will continue to work with Hafan Croeso to assist them in developing plans to deliver the quality of care that both the county council and the CSSIW require and we are sure they would wish to provide.”

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Carmarthenshire’s sensory garden: why locals should embrace this wellness trend

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WITH ‘#sensorygarden’ 499.1k views on TikTok – locals have the advantage of experiencing a sensory garden on their doorstep at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Wildlife experts explain why you should visit.

Wildlife expert Sean McMenemy shares how sensory gardens can do wonders for our wellness whilst providing a safe haven for wildlife and encourages Carmarthenshire locals to visit their local sensory garden this autumn.

A sensory garden is an outdoor space that stimulates the five senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste, and can be created in your own garden. Sensory gardens at home remain relatively rare, but the trend is growing with the TikTok hashtag ‘#sensorygarden’ amassing 499.1k views*. 

Carmarthenshire, dubbed the Garden of Wales, has a huge array of beautiful green spaces to explore. It’s home to the National Botanic Garden of Wales which spans a huge 568 acres, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The stunning Great Glasshouse features a sensory trail that explores the largest single-span greenhouse in the world! From fluffy flowers from South Africa to a strongly scented Australian plant, it’ll engage all your senses. 

Having recently gifted King Charles with a beautiful oak sapling, the National Botanic Garden of Wales care deeply about the nation’s natural heritage. For those visiting the garden, the paths are wheelchair accessible with manual wheelchairs available on site. Open 10am – 6pm every day of the week.

Wildlife expert and founder of bird food provider Ark Wildlife, Sean McMenemy, explains the benefits of sensory gardening: “Sensory gardens provide a great deal of physical and mental benefits for different people and purposes. From getting vitamin D from sunlight to improving physical fitness by maintaining a garden, there are several physical benefits. Mentally, you can benefit from a mood boost and relaxation by spending time surrounded by calming stimulation.

“Sensory gardens can also have huge benefits for children, older people, those with learning disabilities and those who struggle with their physical and mental health. You can also create a sensory garden for your pets and garden wildlife!”

Top tips for creating your own sensory garden

If you do have the outdoor space, creating your own sensory garden is therapeutic in itself and doesn’t need to be a complicated process. The most important thing is to ensure that the garden engages all five senses. 

Melody Estes, landscape design gardening supervisor, says: “Whether you’re new to gardening or a seasoned pro, you can always improve your garden by adding some sensory elements.” 

Here are some tips from Melody for creating a sensory garden:

Sight – Plant colourful flowers that change with the seasons.

Sound – If you have a fountain or water feature on your property, consider adding some relaxing music to play alongside it. You could also place chimes near your front door to welcome people in.

Smell – Use scent. Consider planting scented flowers or herbs like lavender, rosemary and thyme that will give off a lovely aroma when they bloom.

Touch – Mix textures. The texture of plants can be as important as their colour and shape. Try using plants with soft leaves like ferns or grasses that are texturally different.

Taste – Planting herbs, fruits and vegetables not only provide tasty treats, but is a sustainable source of food.

Sean McMenemy adds: “Sensory gardens are an easy way to engage with wildlife and the outdoor environment. Growing your own plants and vegetables provides countless ways to learn about the natural world.

“You can bring your sensory garden to life by using bird feeders to attract beautiful feathered friends into your garden. They’ll bring the sound element to your sensory garden naturally. Fragrant flowers will attract colourful butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, giving you something to observe whilst helping nature to thrive.”

Some people may not have the time, money or space to create their own sensory garden. However, those with balconies and window ledges can still plant colourful, sweet-smelling flowers and edible plants. This mini sensory garden can still provide the benefits and satisfaction of an outdoor garden.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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Carmarthenshire farmer dies following attack by bull near Llandeilo

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A FARMER has died following an incident with a bull on a farm in Llandeilo.

The 58-year-old, named locally as Maldwyn Harrier, was attacked by the animal during a TB test on Friday morning.

Police have confirmed that they were called to a farm in the Penybanc area of Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, and are investigating alongside the Health and Safety Executive. 

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