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PATCH concerned after Job Centres told not to refer those in need to food banks

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THE MANAGER of PATCH, the charity running Pembrokeshire’s food bank, has expressed concern following reports in the national press that the Department for Work and Pensions is now banning Job Centres from referring those in need to food banks.

According to The Independent, some Job centre staff have been ordered not to refer Universal Credit claimants to food banks, in a move campaigners have said is preventing vulnerable people from getting vital help and “hiding” those who are in need.

A leaked email from two Job centres,, said the DWP policy “does not permit” food bank referrals and that the local job centre had been advised to “verbally signpost” people to charities who can formally refer them instead.

Tracy Olin, who runs the charity said: “This is terrible news, I am intending to write to our local MPs to ensure they are aware of the situation, and we may have to re-think our referral system.”
“This [move] is possibly just to manipulate figures” she added.

PATCH have confirmed that local Job Centres have already been stopped from holding parcels for emergencies, in a move which the charity slammed as “just awful.”

But volunteers said many who needed support would not approach charities because of the additional stress and embarrassment of asking for help for a second time.

Tracy Olin told The Herald: “We have seen so many referrals because of the Universal Credit roll-out and with so many hit by sanctions, but I guess we’re blessed in Pembrokeshire because we do have so many brilliant support agencies such as CAB, PATH and Gwalia.”

Concerned: Tracy Olin

She added: “Most of the people I speak to at the job centre are so good and really want to help the client.
“I think this would be so hard for the Job Centre staff, not just the client.
“How horrible for them if they have to send someone away that’s in genuine need!
“Things like this do seem to take a bit of time to reach here, but I hope it is not implemented any time soon.
“I will email our MPs on Monday to express my concerns.
“The poor staff at the job centre. I would find it unbearable to send away someone in need.”

A DWP spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald that their policy on food bank referrals had not changed. “Jobcentres will signpost people to food banks and other services according to their individual circumstances, as part of their support to help people manage their finances and get into work,” the spokesperson added.

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Crown court to sentence Pembroke Dock paedophile

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A 46-YEAR-OLD man who pleaded guilty to being in possession of over 6,500 indecent ‘real photographs’ of children, has been sent to Swansea Crown Court for sentencing by Haverfordwest magistrates.

Brett Johnson of Finch Close, first appeared before magistrates at Haverfordwest Law Court on August 27, and appeared again before the court on Monday (Sept 16) following a pre-sentence report made by the probation service.

Johnson pleaded guilty at the first court hearing to a charge of downloading one indecent image of a child between March 30, 2009, and June 28, 2018, and pleaded guilty to a second charge of downloading 6,570 indecent images of children between June 30, 2005, and June 28, 2018.

Prosecuting at the first hearing, Mr Vaughan Pritchard-Jones told the Court that the reason for the long dates related to when he owned various computers.

Magistrates at Haverfordwest on Monday (Sept 16) decided to decline jurisdiction and sent the case to be dealt with at Swansea Crown Court on October 4 at 10am. Johnson was released on unconditional bail.

Magistrates made no direction under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

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Glebelands Fun Day A Hit

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A FUN DAY at Glebelands play park in Hakin on Saturday (Sept 14) to garner support to further develop the facility, has been hailed a success.

The prime movers behind the community-led event were two local residents, Richard Nicholas and Wayne Richards.

“As well as trying to raise the profile of the park, the aim of the fun day was to get other local residents involved in setting up a community group to move the project forward,” explained Richard.

“I’m pleased to say there was a lot of interest in forming a group and we also had some great feedback on what play equipment should be installed. There was a clear view that people want the park back to being a safe, clean area where children can play.

Working with Richard and Wayne, to organise the community-led fun day were Pembrokeshire County Council and the Invest Local organisation.

The County Councillor for Hubberston, Viv Stoddart, who attended the event, said: “It was an amazing day – a perfect example of the community coming together to host an afternoon of fun for all the family. There was something for all to enjoy – and enjoy they did, with lots of smiley faces from everyone.

If Saturday’s event is a guide, it was evident there is enthusiasm in the community to transform the play park into an up-to-date facility. I wish them well, and will give all the support I can to see the playground become a truly family fun place for all.”

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St Florence: Fire fighters tackle blaze at 20-room hotel

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A FIRE has been reported to have occurred at a busy hotel in Pembrokeshire earlier this afternoon.

Firefighters were called to the scene at around midday with reports of their being a fire at the Greenhills Hotel, St Florence, Tenby

The incident at the 20-bedroomed property was attended by firefighters from Tenby, Pembroke Dock, Haverfordwest and Swansea.

A spokeswoman for the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said early this afternoon that the incident is still ongoing and the area surrounding the hotel has been cordoned off to all public members.

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