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Community raises funds for refugees

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Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 11.16.49WEST WALES refugee support group Hiraeth Hope’s ‘Greek Supper’ helped raise over £2200 for families who have made the harsh sea crossing to Lesvos, Greece from Turkey. 

Hiraeth Hope supported group members Cara and Steve Wilson with their Greek Supper event which took place on Friday January 15, and raised over £2200 to send Steve Wilson and Ian O’Donahue to the Greek island of Lesvos for 10 days, where they will be helping to rescue and take care of refugees who have reached and are crossing the sea to the small island.

Speaking to The Herald Steve said: “It’s much easier to take over money, than items. The money will be spent on aid for some of the 500,000 refugees who have made the crossing from Turkey to Lesvos.”

Cara Wilson, supporting her husband arranged a fund raiser in St. Dogmaels Memorial Hall. Expecting only 40 people to turn up until two-weeks before the night, she was overwhelmed by the support received with over 200 people attending.

She said: “I cannot believe how well this has gone, we only had the idea a month ago, and with little advertising, it really goes to show that despite the negative media image, lots and lots of people do support refugees.”

“I would love to get the message out that anybody, anywhere can do what we have done, there are no big organisations fighting for this cause locally, so it is up to us in communities to get together and raise funds, and when available go and visit these places where men, women and children are in need,” Cara added.

170 Greek dinners were served, with entertainment from the St. Dogmaels choir and Rasallilah, a Greek music group, the evening also held a raffle and auction which included outdoor benches made by volunteer refugees.

Adele from Swansea brought along three refugees, Karim, Tamo and Ayesha who have gained asylum to the UK who all stood before the crowd to speak about their former professions and lives before coming to Wales.

The events supporter Hiraeth Hope, offer respite and working holidays to those already in Wales. Hiraeth Hope’s director and the evenings chef, Fred Luckman works with Swansea refugee organisations like Unity and Diversity.

In the UK refugees are not allowed to work while their papers are being processed. Many fail to get asylum at which point they must leave their accommodation within 28 days and are not allowed to rent or work at all, despite this they are not sent back to their countries which are generally considered too dangerous so they are left in limbo, often having to rely on others who have been granted asylum for support.

“We are also particularity looking for people in Pembrokeshire who are interested in perhaps providing some weekend housing for these refugees. Activities and craft work, staying with a family in West Wales provide a breath of fresh air for some of them.” Fred Luckman said.

“The present policies are a recipe for problems” said Vicky Moller, a Plaid Assembly candidate and a director with Hiraeth Hope. “I am urging the UK to allow a sponsorship scheme, which could be piloted in one county or in Wales. Then we could invite in refugees who would fit in, on the basis of friendship and avoid using any public money. They could work without taking local jobs.”

“I am taking two MEPs and an MP to the refugee camp in Calais to discuss with the people living within them and aid workers what we could do to respond to the crisis more intelligently.”

All counties in Wales have been asked to take a small number of Syrian refugees, first to answer was Ceredigion Council who took a group in before Christmas. Carmarthenshire has also responded and is taking a number of Syrians shortly, despite continued pressure from Pembrokeshire locals and Hiraeth Hope, Speakers said: “Pembrokeshire County Council refuse to take in any refugees and sometimes don’t even reply to questions regarding the topic.

“With very little monetary support we could work together to with the council to house and provide activities for Syrian refugees.”

One North Pembrokeshire resident who had a phone call with a housing officer for Pembrokeshire County Council said: “The counties around us are responding but Pembrokeshire officers cite lack of political will as the reason for inaction.”

St. Dogmaels Councillor Mike James, was prevailed upon to look in on the fundraiser. He was shocked at the level of support and promised to ask for a progress update at County Hall.

A spokesperson for PCC told the Herald: “A report on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme will be presented to Cabinet for consideration in February.”

He also added that the issue: “is not only a matter for the local authority but for a number of agencies who will need to work together to deliver services to ensure that any placements are sustainable.”

To find out more details about Hiraeth Hope and the work they do visit: www.hiraethhope.org.uk

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‘Cautious optimism’ for county’s tourism sector – but clarity still needed

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‘GIVE us clarity’ is the overriding message from the County’s tourism and hospitality businesses as the sector looks forward with cautious optimism to another busy season.

In a meeting hosted by Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb, thirty key local businesses were able to share their views with Paul Davies MS, Pembrokeshire County Council, the National Park and Visit Pembrokeshire.

The meeting focussed on the need for business support measures so long as uncertainty remains over the timetable for re-opening the economy in Wales.

Stephen Crabb said: “There is a lot of belief around that this summer will see another ‘staycation’ boom so long as the vaccination programme continues to make good progress and infection rates fall. Pembrokeshire has had a lot of national media coverage in recent months and could experience a bumper season but it’s crucial we get the re-opening right. There is a clear need for some kind of timetable to help businesses prepare appropriately and for clear rules to avoid confusion and contradictory messages.”

Paul Davies said: “It was a pleasure to hear from tourism businesses across Pembrokeshire about some of the challenges that they’re currently facing. The message was pretty clear – they want clarity from the Welsh Government and some timescales by which they can start to plan for reopening. I’ll certainly be taking back the concerns highlighted during the meeting and raising them with Welsh Government Ministers at the Senedd.”

Emma Thornton from Visit Pembrokeshire added: “Great to attend the Hospitality and Tourism Round table event today and to have the opportunity to discuss the ongoing challenges our industry faces over the coming months but also to share a collective optimism for what we believe will be a really strong year for tourism in Pembrokeshire when we are able to reopen and welcome our visitors back.

“Visit Pembrokeshire as the new Destination Management (DMO) for Pembrokeshire will be working closely with local stakeholders and businesses to help realise this opportunity in a sustainable and responsible way mindful of protecting what makes our beautiful county so special”

Stephen Crabb: Wants clarity for tourism businesses

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Funding secured for volunteering support at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home

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PAUL SARTORI Hospice at Home, a Pembrokeshire-based charity, is delighted to announce that they were recently awarded £29,814.00 by the Pembrokeshire County Council Enhancing Pembrokeshire Scheme. The charity has been awarded a grant to develop the “We Care: Volunteering Support” project, which will improve the volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community.

The project will combat issues around Second Home ownership by increasing community engagement and opportunities to connect people through training, open days, new social events and wider community outreach and communication. The first phase of the project has been completed with the successful recruitment of Eleanor Evans, the We Care: Project Officer. Eleanor joins this part of the charity, on a secondment basis, and brings a wealth of
experience, not only within the charity but also working with volunteers throughout the county.

The charity has experienced challenges over the last 12 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new project will enhance the existing volunteer structure within the charity, develop incentives to increase volunteer engagement; support volunteers by providing increased training opportunities and develop a new social culture to decrease loneliness and isolation. Recognising that the pandemic has been a difficult time for many, improving and increasing community communication will also be a key aim.

Furthermore, the Sartori Stores throughout Pembrokeshire, have been through a difficult year, closing, opening and closing again. Most volunteers have gracefully assisted the charity, often at the drop of a hat, to open the stores.

Unfortunately, the charity has witnessed a decrease in the number of available volunteers to help, due to the pandemic. So therefore, another key objective will be to recruit and train more volunteers to assist in generating vital income and supporting areas within the clinical services.

“I am very excited to join this area of the charity and am looking forward to this new role. Having worked within the retail sector previously, I know how a lack of volunteers within a store can have a detrimental effect on the opening days and times. This will be where I will be concentrating my recruitment efforts on initially,” stated Eleanor Evans, We: Care Project Officer.

“Here at Paul Sartori we work hard to deliver a rewarding volunteer experience – we
ensure that adequate training is given to all volunteers. Our managers provide training and invest time with our volunteers to ensure they have the skills to work in many areas across the charity. Our stores can be a very busy, fast-paced environment, which offers a great opportunity for the environmentally conscious individual who wishes to help out a local charity selling pre-loved goods,” added Eleanor.

Cllr Bob Kilmister, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, said the Council were pleased to support Paul Sartori deliver their We Care: Volunteering Support project.

“This project will add to the wide range of essential services Paul Sartori already provide to people in Pembrokeshire, improve their volunteer infrastructure and support the volunteer community,” he said.

“This is such a difficult time for charities and local organisations to maintain their services and volunteer activities and it is important to support them to strengthen their volunteer base, especially at this time when Covid is increasing the incidence of isolation and loneliness.”

The Enhancing Pembrokeshire Grant, using funds raised via the Second Homes Tax is available to provide funding for new projects that help address the negative impact of second homes and in doing so adds value to our communities.

“This grant has come at a good time for the charity. Assisting our valued volunteers; recruiting more active volunteers and investing more in our existing training programme will ensure that the charity is financially sustained for many years to come,” said Judith Williams, Grants Coordinator at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home provides a range of services to Pembrokeshire people living in the final stages of a life-limiting illness, including home nursing care, equipment loan, complementary therapy, bereavement and counselling support, under 18’s anticipatory grief and bereavement support, physiotherapy, advance care planning and training.

The services provided by the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home enable people in the later stages of any life-limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear, if that is their wish. All of the services are free of charge and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, thanks to the generosity of the Pembrokeshire Community. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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Police at scene of RTC – officers seeking witnesses

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POLICE in Milford Haven are making door to door enquiries in the Great North Road area following an accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle.

It is understood that CCTV in the area was not pointing in the right direction so police are appealing for help with the case.

There is still a large police presence in the area as of 11.20am this morning (Feb 26).

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We were called to a collision in Great North Road, Milford Haven, at around 11am today.

“A vehicle pulling out onto the road has come into contact with a pedestrian.

“No-one was injured.”

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