AFTER a heavy festive season, Carmarthenshire residents are being urged to find out how to love their liver during the Love Your Liver campaign, this January.
To spread awareness and educate people about liver health, professionals will be visiting a series of locations across the Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) area, in the coming weeks. Nicola Reeve, Blood-borne Virus Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hywel Dda University Health Board explained: “You may not hear much about it but your liver is your largest organ and is amazing as it has over 500 different roles in the body! “If you do think about your liver you may think about alcohol – a major risk factor which can affect the health of your liver. Breaking down poisons and toxins such as alcohol is just one of your liver’s jobs.
“Two other major risk factors which can affect the health of your liver are hepatitis and obesity. Across Wales the number of people with Hepatitis C has increased; every day people are newly infected with entirely preventable viral hepatitis. “Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus and by taking some simple steps to protect yourself, for example not sharing needles, you can dramatically reduce your risk of getting it.” Mark Lewis Team Leader of Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service Engagement team added: “With liver damage and Hepatitis C many people may have no specific symptoms as symptoms are often blamed on other things. “Hepatitis C is just one cause of liver disease and can be prevented by taking simple precautions. Even a tiny amount of dried blood – too small to be visible to the naked eye – is enough to pass on the infection if it gets into your blood stream. “During January, to mark Love Your Liver month, we will be running a series of road shows with the Drugaid Recovery Bus, talking to people about this virus, how they can get tested and what they can do to prevent getting it – including not sharing personal items such as razors, nail scissors, toothbrushes or any drug paraphernalia. “There is treatment but this is more effective if the virus is detected early, so if you think you may be at risk come along and have a chat with us at our road shows or give us a call on 03303 639997.”
Teresa Owen, Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “There are many easy ways to Love Your Liver. Being overweight and not doing enough exercise can damage your liver. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise into your day by making it part of your daily routine -like taking the stairs instead of the lift or taking a lunchtime walk; and take a look at your diet and make one healthy change.
Every little can help, as small changes can turn into big changes over time. “Another simple step you can take is to have two alcohol free days a week. Your liver works really hard, so come along to the road shows and find out how to keep you liver healthy and show it some love!” The roadshow will be in Carmarthen on Saturday (Jan 15) outside the Court on Guildhall Square between 9am and 5pm.
If you are unable to visit the road show but want more information visit: www.loveyourliver.org.uk.
Llandeilo Festival publishes its Entertainment schedule
“CHILDREN AND families are at the heart of our festival this year,” announces festival vice chair Debbie Ince. “On Friday 18th November the festival stalls will start trading at 10am but in the evening there will be the official opening, followed at 6:15pm by Santa coming through the town on his sleigh. A children’s Lantern procession from CK to King Street led by Llandeilo Primary School’s Samba group will meet Santa on King Street to tunes by the Llandeilo Town Band and bilingual hymn singer Ffion Haf. Once the children had their fill of Santa, the Christmas Lights will be switched on by Mayor Gordon Kilby. Local legend singer and actor Harry Luke and Ffion Haf will entertain the crowd until 8pm.”
A spectacular and pet-friendly Laser Show will replace the controversial fireworks at 8pm. “There’s also a tea cup ride on King Street for kids,” adds Ince. “On Saturday and Sunday kids can go to Santa’s Grotto 10 – 4, and on Saturday to St Teilo’s Church or Hengwrt for activities. At our park and ride on Beechwood Estate ‘Sgiliau’ will be open for our youngest visitors.”
“There is of course plenty of entertainment for adults, too,” adds festival chair Christoph Fischer. “From Davies & Co Station Road to Flows on Market Street, most Llandeilo venues will play indoor music, many day and night. The stage will host a variety of acts: from school and adult choirs, bands, solo singers and dance groups, such as Mixed Youth Group, Lotus Sisters Belly dancers and Sunflowers Wales. Cooking demonstrations on Saturday and a Santa Run on Sunday morning round up the festival programme. You can find updates on the Llandeilo Town App Dyma Llandeilo.”
“With our wide selection of street food, arts-,crafts-, fashion- and food stalls there should be something for everyone,” adds stalls coordinator and treasurer Mered Williams. “See you all on the 18th.!”
Carmarthenshire County Council has launched its annual Christmas Toybox Appeal
The appeal, in its 12th year, helps hundreds of children with families who can’t afford to buy toys or gifts.
Last year saw us help more families than ever who were struggling financially with more than 7,700 gifts distributed to 1,287 children. This year during these unprecedented times we rely on support more than ever.
The appeal was launched online for the first time in 2020 following the coronavirus pandemic and people were asked to make a financial donation instead of buying gifts and toys.
This year people can either give a financial donation or drop off gifts from games, arts and craft items to toiletry gift sets for all ages – from 18 months up to teenagers, at one of a number of collection points around the county.
Schools, family centres and youth workers identify those who are in greatest need of support and council staff will distribute them in the run-up to Christmas.
The council’s executive board member responsible for the Toybox Appeal, Cllr Linda Evans said:
“I am proud to be following on from the legacy of Cllr Mair Stephens who sadly passed away earlier this year. The Toybox appeal this year is going to be more important than ever. We have always had fantastic support and this year we hope this will continue to ensure that hundreds of children will receive a Christmas gift. We know times are hard, but if people are able to spare a gift or a donation no matter how big or small, it will make a great difference to those families less fortunate.”
You can make a donation of your choice online at the Christmas Toy Box Appeal website. If you have a cash or cheque donation please call 01267 246504.
To view the collection point locations please visit the council’s website
Donations are being taken up until November 30.
Council responds at pace to deliver significant improvements in its planning Service
Audit Wales has carried out a Follow-up Review of Planning Services by Carmarthenshire County Council and concluded that the council has successfully addressed all its recommendations.
In July 2021, Audit Wales published a report following a review of the council’s planning services, with its findings identifying significant and long-standing performance issues in the planning service that needed to be urgently addressed to help support the delivery of the council’s ambitions.
A total of 17 recommendations were made by Audit Wales for the council to address. All of which the report has confirmed have been met.
In response to the recommendations of the report, Carmarthenshire County Council convened an Intervention Board to provide oversight of a 49 point action plan to respond to the Audit Wales findings that were published in July 2021. Over the past 15 months, progress against the plan has been monitored through the council’s governance framework to provide assurance of progress made against the recommendations.
Audit Wales has been following the council’s progress through regular catch-up meetings with the council, document reviews and observing governance and audit committee meetings. They have also interviewed key council officers during the audit process.
Within the follow up-review, which can be viewed on their website, Audit Wales states that:
“The Council is to be commended for the swift, decisive action it took in response to the findings of our 2021 report, and for the way it has driven improvements in its planning service.
“The constructive way in which the Council received our report and acted on the recommendations is a particularly positive example of a Council demonstrating its commitment to driving improvement in service delivery.
“The Council has learnt lessons from the review that it has also applied more widely, particularly in relation to performance management.
“Overall, we found that the Council has successfully addressed all our recommendations and has responded at pace to deliver significant improvements in its planning service.”
Cabinet member for rural affairs and planning policy, Cllr Ann Davies said:
“I am very pleased with the Audit Wales report which states that Carmarthenshire County Council has succeeded in overcoming challenges within our planning department.
“The report is excellent, it praises the work and the change in systems, procedures and leadership, recognising the significant improvement that has been achieved.
“The issues in question were not due to a lack of work ethic, as I know first-hand of the effort and commitment that is put in by a number of our officers. It was rather the processes which were to blame and needed to be adjusted, as it did not provide officers with the appropriate environment to carry out the work required.
“I would like to thank all council officers that have worked so hard since the Spring of 2021 to achieve the goal of meeting all 17 of the recommendations that were initially set out by Audit Wales.
“The next step, of course, is to keep going, keep moving forward to stay at the forefront as one of the most productive planning authorities in Wales. There is further work to be done and we are committed to continuous improvement, especially in the world of enforcement but we are moving in the right direction with over 1000 enforcement cases having already been resolved in the last year.”
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