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Alzheimer’s Society report praised

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Support in the community vital

Support in the community vital

LAST WEEK’s County Council meeting (Mar 10) received a presentation from Marcia Vale, the Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator from the Alzheimer’s Society.

Ms Vale prefaced her remarks by apologising for her lack of IT skills and lack of facility in the Welsh language.

Her report was well-received and touched upon the Alzheimer’s Society’s campaign calling for the Welsh government to commit to an appropriately resourced National Dementia Strategy, in respect of which it has launched a petition seeking support for its stance from members of the public.

Ms Vale also welcomed the expansion of a pilot scheme for supporting those with dementia in remaining living in their home communities and praised the success of a council-backed pilot scheme in Pontyberem.

In the run up to the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections, Alzheimer’s Society will be campaigning to ensure that all prospective candidates recognize the urgent need for a dementia strategy in Wales.

Responding to the report, Cllr Alun Lenny expressed his disappointment that the presentation was not bilingual, suggesting that it demonstrated a lack of awareness of the role of the Welsh language in the area of dementia.

Cllr Lenny stated: “It is a clinical fact that a number of Welsh speakers lose the ability to speak their second language namely English as this awful disease takes its toll. Imagine being a Welsh speaker who has dementia – advanced dementia – and has staff in a residential home speaking at you in English.

“I am sorry if it is an oversight. If this is an oversight, I hope that it is not a factor in the treatment and advice in all other fields of work by the Alzheimer ‘s Society in Wales.”

Marcia Vale apologised and said: “I am an English speaker. The Alzheimer ‘s Society does not present its policy as being not bilingual. In fact it is due to the Alzheimer ‘s Society’s lobbying of the Welsh Government that we now have the policy that bilingual memory testing services in Welsh will be part of the Health Board’s offer to support people living with dementia.

“It is my lack of skill that it is not side by side translation, not any lack of respect.”

The presentation itself was positively received by members, who took in turns both to praise the work of the Alzheimer’s Society generally and the work being done to assist those with dementia to remain in their home communities and continue to have fulfilling lives within them.

The presentation in part looked forward to the extension of a pilot scheme in Pontyberem to Ammanford, Kidwelly, and Llanelli, a fact spoken on by Cllr Gwyneth Thomas, who praised Parc y Scarlets for coming on board with the aims of the community scheme.

Cllr Sharen Davies (Llwynhendy) expressed surprise at discovering that the Llanelli area was to be part of a dementia friendly community, a fact of which she said she was previously unaware. Cllr John James reminded councillors that the local authority had itself voted to press the Welsh Government to bring forward the sort of concrete strategy the Alzheimer’s Society proposed.

Concluding the discussion, Cllr Jane Tremlett, the Executive Board Member for Social Care & Health, who has worked hard on the Council’s social inclusion policies, called upon councillors to act as leaders in their communities to share what they had heard about the Alzheimer’s Society’s work and to encourage those with dementia to remain engaged in their communities. She assured councillors that a Welsh translation of the presentation would be made available after the meeting.

Cllr Tremlett also made the point, responding to Cllr Lenny, that it was Carmarthenshire’s policy to have a Welsh-speaking member of staff on hand to ensure that those using County Council facilities, who had either lost the ability to communicate in English or preferred to communicate through the medium Welsh were able to do so.

A few days after the meeting, The Herald was contacted by three Labour councillors who expressed their misgivings at what they said was a school masterly approach to the Welsh language issue adopted by Cllr Lenny.

Cllr Sharen Davies told The Herald: “I was appalled at the way she was spoken to like a child in school! Brings back memories! This is no way to encourage individuals to learn or speak Welsh when you have those who criticise! We all understood the presentation and it’s a shame when someone who concentrates more on the language of the presentation than that of the positive delivery services it provides.”

Cllr Alun Lenny responded and told The Herald: “It’s truly sad that a small minority of Labour members just cannot hide their dislike of the Welsh language, judging by their reaction to my comments in the council meeting.

“Not only that, but they failed to understand the connection I was trying to make between language awareness and dementia care and treatment.”

Cllr Lenny explained: “Having care through the medium of Welsh is not just a human rights issue, it’s a clinical necessity. The Dementia Vision for Wales clearly states that if an assessment is carried out in the person’s language of choice, the diagnosis is more likely to be accurate.

“It’s also a clinical fact that as this awful condition progresses, people with dementia may only be able to communicate in their first language. In the case of many people in Carmarthenshire, that language is Welsh.”

Reflecting further, Cllr Lenny continued: “Over the years, I’ve known of Welsh-speaking dementia patients who became isolated and distressed because care staff could only speak English to them. Happily, the (Labour) Welsh Government – which I commended in the Chamber – recognises this in its strategy ‘Much More Than Words’.

“As a consequence, every effort is made by the County Council’s Social Care department to provide services through the medium of Welsh for dementia patients who need such care.”

Alun Lenny concluded: “As one who took part in a long campaign to ensure such service for those suffering from this cruel illness, I feared that the language of the presentation reflected a lack of awareness about language as a clinical factor in dementia. Hence my comments. To my great relief, I’ve since been assured that the Alzheimer’s Society, which does such excellent work, is fully aware of the linguistic dimension.”

The Alzheimer’s Society confirmed that the use of Welsh in the delivery of services to those living with dementia is central to its engagement in Welsh communities.

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Community

Nearly £50,000 of National Lottery funding for community groups in Carmarthenshire

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FIVE local community organisations across Carmarthenshire are celebrating after being awarded a share of £49,575 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund over the past month.

One successful project was MolTân Makers who will use their £9,820 grant to provide metal working workshops for people wishing to improve their mental health and well-being. The group will reach out to mental health groups and the wider community and also allow people to reconnect with the community following the pandemic.

One participant with MolTân Makers explained, “ The course was professionally run by four hard-working people who helped us with one to one tuition when needed. They were so welcoming and adaptable to individual needs and allowed me to attend the course at different hours due to health reasons.

“They were great company and created an interesting and positive atmosphere to help people with mental and physical health problems feel included and understood and we all took home what we made in the course.”

The Hangout received £10,000 and will help young people improve their mental health and wellbeing through structured outdoor activity programmes. The project will build on a previous pilot project that led to more young people becoming re-engaged in school following the pandemic and continuing to volunteer with the group after the initial sessions finished.

The Alternative Learning Company in Llanelli were awarded £9,955 and will recycle plastic bottles to build full size greenhouses. They will propagate plants for growing schemes in local schools and communities. The project will reduce the levels of plastic sent to landfill or polluting open spaces, and give young people an understanding of the impact of climate change.

Newcastle Emlyn Town Council will build an outdoor structure in collaboration with the community, to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. This £10,000 grant will fund building and design materials, and a water harvesting kit.

Messy Projects will use their £9,800 grant to run the activities and events they missed due to the pandemic. Activities will include celebrating the Queens platinum jubilee, a BBQ, and a Bonfire party.

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said “These groups play a vital role in supporting their communities and these grants will allow them to continue being there for people in future. 

 ”National Lottery players raise more than £30 million each week for good causes across the UK and the projects funded over the past month show the crucial difference players make through their tickets. I look forward to following all of their progress.”  

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Community

Tesco makes it even easier for shoppers in South Wales to help local food banks

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TESCO is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in South Wales this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare.

Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round.

Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Emma Shepherd, Project Manager at the Trussell Trust Cardiff Foodbank, and Becky Morgan, Manager at the Trussell Trust Vale Foodbank, added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection. We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

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Charity

Hywel Dda Health Charities’ annual Pet Competition is back

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HYWEL DDA HEALTH CHARITIES, the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board, has launched its 2022 Pet Competition.

The competition gives members of the public the opportunity to win prizes while also helping the charity to raise funds which make a positive difference to the lives of NHS patients, service users and staff in the Hywel Dda area.

Owners of fabulous felines, perfect pooches, gorgeous guinea pigs or beautiful budgies are invited to enter the annual competition.

Pet-owners can enter as many times as they like in the categories of Cutest Dog, Cutest Cat and Cutest Other Pet. Each photo entry costs £3.

It’s easy to take part, all participants need to do is send a photo of their pet to fundraising.hyweldda@wales.nhs.uk and follow the instructions in this link: https://hyweldda.enthuse.com/cf/pet-competition.

The competition is open to everyone in the Health Board area. Entries close on 30th June 2022. The final three in each category will be chosen by the Hywel Dda Health Charities team. The winners are then chosen by an online voting poll and will be announced in July.

There are 1st place prizes in each category donated by Wynnstay, Burns Pet Food and Vincent Davies Department Stores.

Diane Henry, fundraising support officer, said: “Each time people enter our Pet Competition with pictures of their fabulous pets, they are helping us to provide services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can provide.. Thank you for your continued support.”

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