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Sandy Bear: Leaked letter explains council’s proposals to replace vital service

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County Hall

County Hall

EXCLUSIVE

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it has been working with the local health board to look at how The Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service (EHWS) can be reconfigured to deal with drastic funding cuts.

Suggestions include bolstering in-school services, which are already in place.

The news comes as Hwyel Dda University Health Board says that it will shut the doors on the Sandy Bear child bereavement service next month.

Cllr Sue Perkins

Cllr Sue Perkins

The health board’s move follows last month’s letter from Pembrokeshire County Council explaining to Hywel Dda stating that there were problems with providing funding following “significant” reductions to two grants.

The Sandy Bear service was entirely funded via the council, by the Families First (Welsh Govt) and the Youth Justice (UK Govt) grants.

Cllr Sue Perkins, Cabinet Member for Children and Safeguarding, has been under pressure from colleagues including Cllrs Tudor and Woodham who have expressed surprise and shock that such an “important service” is to close. They have asked for clarification following last week’s Scrutiny Committee meeting.

Speaking last week, Cllr Perkins said that no decision had yet been taken by the council, and that she would be fighting tensure support would still be available to children and young people, even if this had to be in a different form to Sandy Bear.

However, a leaked document – a letter sent by e-mail to all councillors – suggests that Pembrokeshire County Council has already made arrangements for what will replace the service.

Councillors have now been told that officers have been working with the Health Board over the last month – long before any announcement that the Sandy Bear service was to be scrapped.

Cllr Sue Perkins said in the letter: “[We] will continue to offer a bereavement support service, and Pembrokeshire children will receive the same level of bereavement support service as in other parts of the Hywel Dda area.

“We are confident that no child will be disadvantaged as a result of the changes that we will make.

“More work will be done on the proposal, and a detailed and final statement on the shape of bereavement support and wellbeing services in Pembrokeshire will be made in early May, well in advance of any discontinuation of Sandy Bear.

“This will be jointly issued by Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda Health Board.”

sandybearThe letter explained to Councillors: “The Youth Justice grant was cut by £45,000 at the beginning of the 2015/16 financial year, and then cut again by £20,000 during the year.  Pembrokeshire Youth has also had to deal with cuts of £49,000 from Families First, and £40,000 from PCC core funding.

“The total reduction in funding to Pembrokeshire Youth over the last 12 months therefore totals £154,000.  We know that the Youth Justice grant will be cut again for the 2016/17 financial year, but we do not yet know how much by – it could be anywhere between £20,000 and £50,000.

“The Families First grant was cut by £170,000 for the 2016/17 financial year.  From April 2017 onwards, the intention of the Welsh Govt is to ‘align’ the Families First funding stream with the Communities First and Supporting people funding streams.  We don’t know at this stage what impact this will have on the total monies available in the County, but we anticipate further reductions.

“As a consequence of these reductions, we have had to give notice to the Health Board that there was a risk to the continued level of funding to the EHWS, and that it was likely that the funding to the service would have to reduce by around £45k.

“This was formally done on the 10 March.”

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan

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MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link: 

https://haveyoursay.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/regeneration-communities

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.

 

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Business

Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence

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GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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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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