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Project catches attention of BBC

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bbc attentionSTUDENTS from Pembrokeshire College, Ysgol Bro Gwaun and Portfield School recently found themselves featuring on the well-known BBC Countryfile programme as part of their John Muir Discover Award.

In early January members of the John Muir Discover Award team met at the Iron Age fort, Castell Henllys, to carry out an important conservation task and participate in filming for an upcoming BBC Countryfile programme.

The group, made up of students from Portfield School in Haverfordwest, Ysgol Bro Gwaun and Pembrokeshire College’s Health Science course had been meeting weekly since September 2013 to pursue the John Muir Discover Award, which they all successfully completed in December of last year.

The award, delivered by Mark Bond of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, required the students to spend numerous days visiting various “Wild Places” around the county where they explored and conserved the environment whilst sharing the experiences gained. The group participated in beach, river, upland and woodland based sessions where they formed a real connection with nature and contributed to some important conservation projects around the county.

When the BBC Countryfile team heard about the group’s experiences they decided to come and film them for their programme. The task for the day was to mend the walls of the Iron Age Round Houses at Castell Henllys. This involved the students following the historic method of daubing a special mix of clay, straw and cow manure onto the walls.

It was an extremely mucky job but it was met with the levels of enthusiasm and determination that the group has become known for. The students took turns producing the mix, ferrying barrow-loads of it around the ancient village and daubing in on the walls. A huge effort meant that the largest among the roundhouses at Castell Henllys was entirely re-daubed and it looked very impressive as the sun shone down onto the fort near Newport.

Working with the BBC was a wonderful experience for the young people who were also interviewed by Countryfile host Ellie Harrison about the task they had undertaken.

Your Park Discovery Ranger Mark Bond had this to say in tribute to his group: “It has been a fantastic project to be involved with from start to finish.

This is a quite exceptional group of young people who quickly grasped the meaning and potential of this John Muir Award and made lasting connections, not only with the natural world but also with themselves and each other. It’s so fitting that the project ended with a task such as this, and having the BBC come and celebrate what we’ve achieved was just the icing on the cake.”

The episode was aired on BBC1 on January 26 and can be viewed at: http://youtu.be/SasXTx0_NII

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Health volunteers thanked for incredible support

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THERE’S no more fitting time than National Volunteering Week to say thank you to all of the volunteers within Hywel Dda University Health Board, management have said in a press release.

‘Volunteering for Health’ is the Hywel Dda UHB’s volunteer service and has covered the three counties of Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire for the past 11 years.

During this period, volunteers have carried out 376,000 hours of volunteering and in 2019 carried out 56,000 hours.

At the start of the year prior to COVID, 400 registered volunteers were providing a range of services to support patients and improve their experience whilst in hospitals, these include; library trolley service, shop trolley service, pharmacy runners, meet and greet, patient befrienders, gardeners and many other roles.

Lisa Gostling, Director of Workforce and OD said: “Volunteers are an integral part of our service and it’s hard to think that only seven months ago we celebrated the 10th anniversary of volunteering within Hywel Dda together at Bronwydd Hall.

“It’s important at this moment in time to recognise that some of our long standing volunteers can’t be with us and we look forward to welcoming you back to the organisation soon.

“And also to recognise those volunteers who have changed what they do to support our patients during these particularly difficult times.

“So I want to just say thank you. Thank you for your commitment, your generosity and your kindness. I look forward to seeing you all soon. Take care and stay safe.”

David Fretwell. Volunteering for Health Manager, added his thanks for the overwhelming response from volunteers old and new to an unprecedented situation: “This year has been unprecedented for the volunteer service with the onset of the COVID pandemic and has dramatically affected the way we have involved volunteers.

“We had an amazing response from the community wishing to help us through volunteering with over 600 offers of support.

“To help manage the numbers of people offering to help we set up a ‘Volunteer Pool’ and are extremely mindful where we can place volunteers for their safety.

“We have now deployed volunteers to support the health board’s transport department as drivers; we also have gardeners, virtual volunteers and drivers delivering food parcels from food banks to some of our most vulnerable patients in the community.

“We appreciate the fantastic support you have provided prior to COVID and through the pandemic. Thank you for your incredible support.”

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Inflatable kayak group rescued by the Coastguard

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A GROUP of people in an inflatable kayak had to be rescued by the Coastguard on Saturday (May 30) evening.

HM Coastguard Dale said they were “very lucky people”.

They had been exploring to the north of Skomer Island when they got caught in the tidal race of Jack Sound and ended up off Gateholm.

A passing Dale sailing vessel helped them to the Little and Broad Haven Lifeboat team before they were transferred to Angle RNLI to navigate Jack Sound.

The casualties were received by HM Coastguard Dale at Martin’s Haven and given safety advice.

The group had no lifejackets on and were not wearing wetsuits, despite the cold water.

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Hart defends a tweet police boss says is incorrect

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WELSH Secretary Simon Hart has defended a tweet accused of being incorrect by a chief constable.

The MP for South Pembrokeshire and West Carmarthenshire told The Herald that he had simply been quoting Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable Mark Collins when he said people in Wales were allowed to travel up to 15 miles to exercise.

Mr Collins later said people should not drive to take exercise.

Hart told MPs he was “quite surprised” to hear Mr Collins’ response.

Welsh Government guidelines on lockdown restrictions say “exercise should be undertaken locally – as close as possible to the home”.

They continue: “In general this should not involve people driving to a location away from home for this purpose.”

Last Friday Mr Hart tweeted: “Fascinating to hear from Wales’ four police chiefs today, and the commissioners too, especially on what’s permissible under lockdown.

“Consensus was that travelling 10-15 miles from home to fish, play golf, surf or exercise is fine – subject to all other distancing requirements”.

However responding to questions from MPs on Thursday, Mr Hart said “the reference to 10 to 15 miles to travel to play golf or fish was actually Chief Constable Mark Collins’ own words – not mine – and not disputed by anybody on that call”.

He told the Welsh Affairs Select Committee that he was “quite surprised” to then hear that the comment he tweeted was “interpreted as being incorrect”.

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