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‘Just do it’, advises 91-year-old leisure centre member

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ARE you struggling to find the motivation to keep fit?

Then help is at hand! Meet the inspirational Valerie Coleman – one of Pembrokeshire Leisure’s oldest members at 91 years of age.

Valerie attends an astonishing 10 classes a week at Fishguard Leisure Centre, from swimming to Pilates, chair aerobics and back care classes.

Centre manager Lisa Starkey said she was amazing. “Val really is an inspirational woman,” she said. “We are always so pleased to see her once, twice and sometimes three times a day. Her determination to keep healthy and active is inspiring to us all.”

A former nurse, Valerie was also an active PTA member who helped to fundraise for Fishguard’s old Leisure Centre which was replaced by the new centre 14 years ago.

“Val has been involved with leisure for some time and absolutely loves it,” said Lisa. “She has made so many special friends and coming to the leisure centre now is such an important social aspect of her life.

“Her mental health along with her physical health and wellbeing all benefit from her visits to the centre that she loves.”

Valerie praised staff at Fishguard for their support in helping her to recover after suffering a fractured femur, and said the centre had a ‘great atmosphere’.

“They have very helpful and understanding staff who are there for everyone and give encouragement to all of their customers,” she said.

“If you’re thinking about joining a leisure centre, just do it. The staff and facilities are here for everyone and all the encouragement you will ever need will be given.”

For information on leisure centre facilities and classes, or how to join as a member, please visit www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/leisure or pop into your local leisure centre.

Community

Marisa celebrates in style with Chatty Man Alan Carr

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A Slimming World Consultant from Whitland celebrated their group’s success by meeting chat show host and comedian, Alan Carr.

Alan, a well-loved TV personality, co-hosted the annual Slimming World Awards with the organisation’s founder and chair Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE. Margaret opened her first group in 1969 and over the last 50 years Slimming World has become the nation’s favourite way to lose weight*, supporting almost one million slimmers.

Marisa Miles, who runs a Slimming World group at Sports & Social Club, Saundersfoot every Wednesday, was delighted to get a chance to meet Alan, and said it was the perfect end to a fantastic year for the Saundersfoot Slimming World group. “The members at our Saundersfoot group make me burst with pride, not only have they seen big changes on the scales, many have improved their health and completely changed their lives too.

“For many people, taking that first step into a Slimming World group takes a huge amount of courage. But they’re always certain of a warm welcome and introduction to our fabulously flexible eating plan which means you’re never hungry while you’re losing weight. And when you join a group and stay each week members support each other with motivation, tips and ideas, cheering each other on and boosting each other to face any challenges.

“Watching people grow in confidence each week and take on things that they didn’t think possible before losing weight absolutely amazes me. I feel proud of the small part I play in supporting people to achieve their dreams and to celebrate alongside them when they do, so I was honoured to represent the Saundersfoot group at the Slimming World Awards. Alan was left in awe of the difference Slimming World makes to people’s lives too.”

Alan, who presented comedy chat show Chatty Man on Channel 4, said it was great to meet Marisa at the event, which was held at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre. He said: “I met so many people who had transformed their lives and it was clear how much the support they received from their ‘Slimming World family’ meant to them. Every one of them spoke passionately about how they couldn’t have made those changes to eat more healthily and become more active without the support of Consultants like Marisa and their group every week. I left the awards feeling so uplifted and positive, I wish I could’ve bottled that Slimming World feeling.

Marisa continues: “Last year was our 50th year, which was full of celebrations and successes. We’ve supported more people than ever to achieve their dreams and we’re so excited about what 2020 has in store.”

“For anyone who may be thinking of taking that step to lose weight and improve their health this New Year I truly believe that joining a local Slimming World group is the best way for people to learn new habits and make long-term healthy changes. At the Saundersfoot group they’ll discover a whole world of support to help them achieve their dreams and stay slim for life – with lots of fun along the way too!”

To find out how you could get that Slimming World feeling call Marisa on 07834643525 or visit www.slimmingworld.co.uk to find your nearest group.

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RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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