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Concerns over Tenby Museum’s future

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Tenby Museum and Art Gallery: At risk of closure

Tenby Museum and Art Gallery: At risk of closure

TENBY Museum and Art Gallery has received cross-party support from local AM’s after it emerged this week that it is facing closure due to local authority budget cuts.

The museum anticipates that the Local Authority funding will be nil or close to nil in future years. Tenby Museum is a successful tourist attraction with over 17000 visitors last year.

The Museum is an independent charitable trust and has been open in the town since the 1870s.

Among its many interesting displays and attractions is a recently updated gallery telling the fascinating story of Tenby from prehistory to modern times – including piratical legends and its involvement with the D-Day Landings.

The museum has won many awards over the years and recently the museum’s permanent art collection has been ranked at Number 6 in the Top 20 in Wales.

Every effort is being made by the Trustees to keep this important Pembrokeshire museum open and among the actions taken is a reduction in staff costs and a review of the admission charge.

The adult admission ticket, which is valid for one year after purchase, is a valuable stream of income; shop sales, the Friends organisation and commission from Art sales complement this. Accompanied children are welcomed free of charge at all times.

County Councillor Michael Williams, Chair of the Trustees, said; “The small admission charge keeps over 100,000 artefacts in good order. By regularly changing displays Tenby Museum is always constantly surprising local and tourist visitors. It is a special place with activities for the whole family and we believe that a visit to the museum and its galleries is Truly Memorable, Totally Magical. It would be a tragedy should it have to close.”

Plaid Cymru’s Simon Thomas immediately tabled a question to the Minister responsible for museums in Wales when he heard about the possible cut in funding to the museum by Pembrokeshire Council.

Party of Wales Assembly Member Simon Thomas said:

“I asked a question at the National Assembly for support for independent museums in Wales, such as the Tenby Museum and Art Gallery.

“The museum expects a massive cut in the money from Pembrokeshire Council. The museum is important for tourism in Tenby. The resource should be protected as a jewel in the crown of the town.

“Plaid Cymru will be asking people to support the campaign to keep the museum on Saturday when my team hold a street surgery in the town centre.”

His concerns were echoed by Angela Burns, the Conservative Member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, who has already met with Museum officials and has questioned Pembrokeshire Council officials as to whether the cuts are disproportionately affecting Tenby, with the Avenue Centre also facing closure:

“I have met with representatives of Tenby Museum and was surprised to learn of the scale of the cuts that Tenby Museum is being asked to absorb over the next few years and I have asked Pembrokeshire County Council to review the situation in order to ensure the proposals are not disproportionately affecting Tenby. I have also requested information on the cuts the museum services face across the county again because I want reassurance that areas such as museums, libraries and leisure facilities are not seen as an easy touch in comparison to the challenges of providing social care or education.

I hope that at my next meeting with the museum’s trustees I will be able to offer some possible alternative funding sources for them to apply too. Of course a key component in meeting the yearly costs are admission fees and in the rush of a busy life it’s very easy to forget about these gems such as Tenby and Narberth museums that are right on our doorstep. So I will also be suggesting ways of drawing more support from locals and tourists alike to keep these lovely places open”.

William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales was equally concerned, stressing that it is important that future generations have an opportunity to discover Tenby’s unique history:

‘Tenby Museum and Art Gallery is in a real sense a Pembrokeshire gem – and I am very concerned indeed to hear that its’ future is in peril. The Tenby Museum Trustees have been proactive over the years in developing the attraction and have sought to build its sustainability, with revenue generated from the museum shop, art sales and admission fees.’

‘It is no secret that local authorities in Wales are under real budgetary pressure in the current fiscal climate, with austerity cuts coming down the track from Westminster. In this context, the Trustees are right to be alert to the danger of Pembrokeshire Council reducing its’ support. Whilst the Museum’s existing Service Level Agreement SLA does have another year to run, and the lease on the building continues for some time, it is timely for the Trustees to be reviewing the basis of the Museum and Gallery’s business model.’

‘Just as is the case with the threat to the Avenue Centre in Tenby, which I raised last week in the National Assembly with the Minister for Public Services, Leighton Andrews, AM, Tenby Museum and Gallery is an important part of community life in Tenby. I shall be attending the meeting on the Avenue Centre next week, with my friend and fellow Lib Dem campaigner, Alistair Cameron, our candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. I shall also be seeking a meeting with the Museum Trustees, to explore ways in which I may be able to assist. It is imperative that Tenby Museum is safeguarded for generations to come.’

You can help Tenby Museum and Art Gallery to stay open by purchasing a ticket to view their vast collection. All tickets purchased are valid for a year, and with the displays and collections regularly changing, it is great value for money.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms

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AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website: https://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/eng/your-safety/in-your-home/

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent

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A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to a Herald reporter Callum Hicks said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, he said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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