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First Minister on NATO summit: Costly but worth it

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NATO-logoWELSH First Minister, Carwyn Jones, this week extolled the benefits, despite the cost, of the recent NATO summit held in Newport. He explained that the majority of the costs had fallen to the UK Government as the host state but that the Welsh Government, who had worked in partnership with the UK Government, had spent around the £3m mark. The costs were broken down by the First Minister as two million spent on the security requirements, equipment and man power, and around one million spent on promoting Wales, marketing and advertising and events in London, Brussels and Washington.

He said of the event: “The NATO Wales Summit was the largest event of its kind ever held in the United Kingdom and an unprecedented opportunity to promote Wales globally. The Welsh Government, local authorities, the NHS and a range of other agencies worked with the UK Government and NATO to ensure a safe and memorable summit. “The procurement process for the Summit was led by the UK Government and it is understood that a number of Welsh suppliers secured contracts for the event. In addition, it is understood that 24,000 bedroom nights were reserved for the summit in the cities of Newport, Cardiff and Bristol alone, providing a major boost to the tourism sector in Wales.

“66 delegations attended the Summit, along with 1,500 media from around the world. All major TV news stations in the USA covered the two days in their evening news shows, including coverage of the opening banquet in Cardiff Castle. And, of course, President Obama said on camera, “you can see the extraordinary beauty, the wonderful people and great hospitality, so I’d encourage everybody in the USA to come and visit Wales”. The combined value of this publicity is literally incalculable. “The Welsh Government’s pre and post NATO media releases were picked up by a total of 550 news outlets with an Advertising Value Equivalent of some £900,000. In terms of social media, highlights included the development of a “Welcome to Wales” film, featuring Welsh talent, which has received some 13,000 views to date. The development of our ‘Wales Made’ stamp and hash tag provided Wales with an opportunity to promote Welsh businesses, tourism, food and culture under a common theme for the Summit. This was deployed on twitter both in Wales and through the network of British Embassies overseas.

“The NATO Wales Summit raised the profile of Wales and we capitalised on this through the UK Investment Summit Wales held at the Celtic Manor on 21 November. This brought together global investors, business leaders, the Prime Minister and Ministers from around the world. “At the Investment Summit I announced a package of investment projects receiving Welsh Government support. As I have said on many occasions, the best advertisement for Wales is our investors, who choose to come here because we have the people, the skills, the infrastructure and expertise to compete in the global marketplace. “The NATO Wales Conference presented Wales with a superb opportunity. The Welsh Government worked closely with the UK Government, local authorities, the NHS, police and other agencies to deliver an outstanding conference and other related events. Wales should be proud of its achievement and the reputational benefits to our country will be apparent for years to come”.

Also commenting on the event, was the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, who said: “Every step of the way we have shown Wales’s entrepreneurial ability and spirit. The NATO Summit could not have taken place without the strength and support of Welsh business. World leaders are returning home in no doubt as to the skills, talent and expertise on offer in Wales and the breadth and quality of products and services we provide. Thousands of the world’s media have seen what a beautiful place we live in and our breathtaking landscapes and rich heritage have been seen across the world. Our global profile has never been higher”. He went on to explain what the wider implications were, in terms of the Investment Summit that was brought to Wales in November, saying: “The NATO Summit has put us on the international map and brought a boost to our economy.

I am determined to build on this. The legacy of the NATO Summit must be to promote Wales’s potential as a great place for investment, business, tourism and education. That is why the UK Investment Summit (brought) to Wales in November was so important. Wales is home to some of the most successful international companies in the world. The Investment Summit showcased those businesses to potential new investors to encourage them to also invest in Wales. This conference highlighted why Wales is such a great place to invest. It focussed on the high-tech sector, where we have a growing reputation for excellence.” He added: “I have always been clear that the NATO Summit should bring a lasting economic legacy to Wales. By attracting new investment and growing exports from Wales the Investment Summit will help to secure a stronger economy for Wales”.

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Pembrokeshire Leisure welcomes back school swimming

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PEMBROKESHIRE Leisure is welcoming back school swimming lessons around the county for the first time since March 2020.

Swimmers from over 20 schools will be attending in their class bubbles to enjoy learning vital water competency skills in Pembrokeshire Leisure’s six swimming pools.

In a county which is surrounded by beautiful beaches and coastline, being safe in and around water is a potentially life-saving skill.

The programme of school swimming lessons helps to achieve the Welsh national priority that every child is a swimmer by the time they leave primary school.

The National Curriculum requirement which has been designed in line with this is that every key stage 2 child should be able to:

  • Swim 25 metres with clothes on (shorts and t-shirt), then tread water for 30 seconds and demonstrate an action for getting help and move into the Heat Escape Lessening Position (H.E.L.P)
  • Demonstrate a shout and signal action to attract attention.

The first school to return was Ysgol Glannau Gwaun at Fishguard Leisure Centre and there are now 20 primary schools which will be attending swimming lessons around Pembrokeshire.

On Monday 14 th June, Coastlands County Primary School attended and their Head Teacher Sonja Groves said: “We are delighted to finally get back to swimming after such a long time away. The children were so happy to be back in the water learning and enjoying. Swimming is a vital life skill which helps to keep the children of Pembrokeshire safe in and around all types of water.”

Leisure Services Manager Gary Nicholas said: “It is fantastic to be able to safely welcome back school swimming to our facilities. Primary school aged children have missed over a years’ worth of swimming lessons and Pembrokeshire Leisure are committed to supporting the aim of every child a swimmer by age 11.

“We will continue to do this by delivering quality school swimming lessons following the Swim Wales Nofio Ysgol programme, using the Free Swimming Initiative to provide targeted sessions for the most deprived swimmers and by continuing to provide swimming lessons at all sites in our Learn to Swim programme.”

For more information about how you can book your child swimming lessons and support their journey to becoming a competent swimmer, contact your local leisure centre.

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Landmarc flies the flag at local training camp to celebrate Armed Forces Week

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TO CELEBRATE Armed Forces Week 2021 and the contribution made by local military personnel, Landmarc Support Services (Landmarc) has raised the Armed Forces Day flag at Castlemartin Training Area in Pembrokeshire.

Following an unprecedented year for the UK’s troops as they responded to the challenges raised by the pandemic, Landmarc, which manages the UK Defence Training Estate in partnership with Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), wanted to extend an extra special thank you, by flying the official Armed Forces Day flag at military training estates across the UK, including local camp, Castlemartin.

Landmarc employees were joined by Armed Forces personnel and staff from DIO to witness the raising of the flag, where it will fly proudly until Armed Forces Week comes to a close on the 28th of June.

This Armed Forces Week, Landmarc has pledged its support and sponsorship of Team Emotive in its mission to complete one of the world’s most difficult ocean rowing challenges – the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – all in the name of raising money for mental health charity, Veterans at Ease.

Made up of four Armed Forces veterans, including one Landmarc employee, Team Emotive is preparing to travel 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua. Rowing two hours on, two hours off for forty days, this challenge will push the team to its limits both physically and mentally. 23 rd June 2021

In addition, Landmarc has also announced its official partnership with the Armed Forces charity, SSAFA, working together to support veterans as they transition into civilian life.

Mark Neill, Managing Director at Landmarc, comments: “Each year, every one of us at Landmarc gives thanks to our troops during this special week. As part of the 25 per cent of veterans and reservists that make up Landmarc’s workforce, I know first- hand how important this event is for morale within the Forces community.

“It’s always fantastic to see so many people and organisations come together each year for Armed Forces Week, but the events of the last fifteen months have heightened our gratitude. The efforts from our servicemen and women have been immense and impossible to ignore in the nation’s fight against COVID-19; with our own staff working alongside the military to support the demands of the training estate as it hosts troops from across the country.”

For more information on Landmarc Support Services, please visit www.landmarcsolutions.com.

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Endurance runner tackles Pembrokeshire Coast

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ENDURANCE runner Sean Conway has successfully completed his epic series of marathons in the UK’s National Parks.

On Thursday, June 17, Sean tackled the Pembrokeshire coast, running from Newport to Dinas Head and back, fuelled by sports nutrition brand ‘Grenade’.

Sean, who is from North Wales, has ran the length of Britain before but says this was the longest stretch of days where he has had to constantly do a marathon every day.

Speaking of his run in Newport, Sean said: “It was so hilly. Honestly, the weather was amazing. It wasn’t too hot and there were some nice views along the way. At Dinas Head, it was amazing looking down at the lagoons and there are some amazing rock formations.”

He took six hours to complete his marathon but there was little time for recovery as he moved on to his final run in Snowdonia the day after.

“This was my second-last marathon so my body was feeling pretty battered and I’ve had to do it fully self-supported so I was doing one run out then back to the car and then out again”, Sean added.

“With covid we’ve all been staying at home more so I wanted to show off how amazing the National Parks are.

“There will be more of us visiting as restrictions are eased but we don’t want to ruin it by being silly.”

Sean was provided with his nutrition for the runs by Grenade and he said he ‘would not have been able to survive without them’.

In the morning he would have an energy drink which contained vitamins and electrolites and he would also mix this in with his water for some of his runs.

Sean would also have protein bars to give him an extra boost as he tried to keep on top of his protein intake.

“Pembrokeshire was so scenic. When I announced the runs this was the run that stood out online and I was really looking forward to doing it. We’ll definitely be coming back soon” Sean concluded.

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