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Social care workforce praised

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Cllr Tessa Hodgson, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for
Social Services, has expressed her gratitude to all members of the social
care workforce in Pembrokeshire, both in the private and public sector.
“Carers have always been on the front line and their work is of the utmost
importance,” she said.

“I’m glad to see their status as key workers has been recognised during this
crisis and I thank them all for their continued support and dedication to the
most vulnerable in our communities.”

The Council’s Home Support Manager Amy Simes said staff had been
doing a fantastic job.

“They’re doing back-to-back visits with a positive smile on their face,
helping people to get up and about and providing emotional support as
well,” she said.

“What they do and the amount of people they support is amazing.”

She said carers often play down their role. “A lot of them say it’s my job –
but it’s not just that. It’s about having empathy and the right approach to
work with someone emotionally and physically.

And she added that the crisis has meant some changes for both carers and
residents.

“We’re working hard to protect and reassure not only our customers but
also our staff.

“All carers use personal protective equipment for every visit, and we have
procedures in place so that we can continue to provide a service no matter
what happens.”

But, she said, the essential aspects of the job – to be a friendly and
reassuring source of support for people – has not changed.

“For some people, their carer is the only familiar face they see all day.
We’re really aware of how much it means to them and how important it is
that we continue to provide this service.”

One carer who says she finds the role ‘extremely rewarding’ is Samantha
Williams from Milford Haven.

Samantha, 44, started working in domiciliary care last year after 22 years at
Tesco’s in Haverfordwest.

“The first day I was terrified!” she said. “I was worried about messing up t or
doing something wrong.

“But as time went on I loved it. It’s just lovely being out and about, meeting
people all the time. Quite often the people we go and see are a bit down in
the dumps and if you can have a laugh and make people smile by the time
you leave, raise their spirits a bit, then it’s great.

“Sitting and talking is a big part of it too. Some people don’t get to see
anyone else. They might see their family and have a chat through the
window, but they can’t come into their home like they used to. They just
want to have a chat.”

The coronavirus pandemic has also seen a number of Council staff
redeployed from other jobs to help, including 20-year-old Nia Matthews of
Maidenwells.

University student Nia has worked as a part-time lifeguard at Pembroke
Leisure Centre for the last three years in between her studies in
Chiropractics at the University of South Wales.

But when she had an email offering an opportunity to be redeployed, she
jumped at the chance.

“I’m always willing to cover shifts and help out so I was more than happy to
give it a go!” said the former Ysgol y Preseli and Golden Grove pupil.
Following manual handling and safe administering of medication courses
and several e-learning modules organised by the Council’s learning and
development team, Nia started working shadowing care staff at a nursing
home in Tenby.

Now in her fourth week, she says it’s been a ‘really positive experience’.
“Everyone has been so nice. I’ve been really lucky. It has given me such a
massive appreciation of the work of carers and what they do; I had no idea.
I’ve loved talking to them and the residents. They’re all so lovely, and they
have so many amazing stories!

“It’s great spending time with people, helping them to get out of bed in the
morning and encouraging their independence, helping them with their
personal hygiene, keeping everything tidy and keeping their spirits up.
“You do hear people saying that you’re either the sort of person who enjoys
care or you’re not; but I’m honestly so keen – I didn’t expect to be! It’s great
seeing people look happy.”

Nia said she’s also finding time to keep up with her university work.
“It’s more than manageable, and actually what I’m doing is really useful for
my studies as well. I happen to live in a house with perfectly healthy people
and so I’m not exposed to people’s different complications and troubles, so
it’s really opened my eyes.

“I’m so grateful for the experience. I come in helping them but they’re also
helping me!”

News

First Minister eases COVID restrictions

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NEW rules have come into force today (Monday Aug 3) to make it easier for family and friends to meet outdoors, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Friday 31 July as he set out further changes to the coronavirus regulations in Wales.

The latest package of changes follow the sixth review of the coronavirus regulations and focus on enabling friends and family to meet each other outdoors and enabling more businesses to open indoors.

The First Minster has explained that consideration has been given to extend the number of people able to meet indoors, however this will depend on people continuing to follow the rules and levels of the virus in Wales.

And has urged people to follow the new rules and guidance to help keep Wales safe and control the spread of coronavirus in the face of worrying trends across Europe.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“We are becoming accustomed to living with coronavirus but we shouldn’t forget the danger it poses. This is a deadly disease and the risk to our health has not gone away – as we can see in parts of Europe where there have been new outbreaks and new measures introduced to control its spread.

“The rates of the virus in Wales remain low, allowing us to relax the restrictions further over the next few weeks but we can only do this if everyone continues to take steps to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“Businesses are required to take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of spreading the virus on their premises. They have worked really hard to put in place measures to protect staff and customers. And we all need to do our bit too by complying with these and to keep our distance whenever we leave home and meet others.

“To the small minority who aren’t following the rules – we will take action. We’re working with our enforcement authorities here in Wales to ensure they have the powers and resources they need. I want to make sure all the measures developed to keep us safe are complied with.”

A series of changes will be made to the coronavirus regulations over the next three weeks:

From 3 August:

The restrictions preventing more than two households or extended households meeting outdoors will be changed to allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
Pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes will be able to re-open indoors. As will indoor bowling alleys, auction houses and bingo halls.

Licenced wedding venues will be able to re-open to provide wedding ceremonies. However, indoor receptions will not be able to take place for the time being – they will be considered as part of the changes for August 15.

The guidance will be updated to relax the position on children under 11 having to maintain a 2m distance from each other or from adults. This reflects the scientific evidence, which shows the risk of transmission is lower among this age group. However, it is very important older children and young adults continue to follow social distancing and the other measures to keep them safe.
If conditions remain favourable, from 10 August:

Swimming pools, indoor fitness studios, gyms, spas and indoor leisure centres will be able to re-open.
Children’s indoor play areas will be able to open.

The Welsh Government is also exploring whether changes can be made to the rules to enable people to meet indoors with other people who aren’t part of their household or extended household from August 15.

The First Minister added:

“It is thanks to the hard efforts of everyone in Wales that we have been able to control the spread of coronavirus and relax the restrictions. We can only continue to do this if everyone carries on this hard work.

“If we stop now, there is a real risk we will see new outbreaks of coronavirus and we may have to reverse some of these restrictions to control its spread again.

“We are facing the likelihood of a resurgence of the virus over the autumn and winter –this will not be over by Christmas. We all have an ongoing responsibility to keep Wales safe. This means maintaining social distancing, washing our hands often and thinking carefully about where we go, what we’re doing and why.”

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Temporary measures create extra space around the county

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FURTHER measures to aid social distancing are being considered by Pembrokeshire County Council following the successful implementation of several schemes.

Through engagement with local communities and funding from the Welsh Government for the re-allocation of road space, the Council has created extra space to support social distancing measures and the unlocking of businesses.

The measures also look to promote active travel and other forms of sustainable travel.

Over recent weeks schemes have been focussed on the centres of Tenby, Saundersfoot and St Davids as well as some measures in Narberth and Haverfordwest.

In Saundersfoot parking bays have been suspended and temporary barriers have been put in place to extend the width of the footway at Cambrian Terrace and The Strand.

A new one-way system has also been introduced in the centre of St Davids. This has allowed the carriageway width to be reduced and a new pedestrian footway created linking Oriel-y-Parc to Cross Square.

In addition the Authority has also partially pedestrianised Cross Square which has created a pedestrian friendly environment and an area that can be utilised for other types of activities including market stalls.

In Narberth the Council has introduced measures to support social distancing where footway widths do not lend themselves to two way pedestrian flow. Again parking has been suspended and temporary barriers installed to allow part of the highway to be utilised by pedestrians. Further measures are currently being considered at other locations.

In Tenby for the annual pedestrianisation scheme, the Council has looked to support the unlocking of businesses by providing guidance and advice on various matters including Café Culture and social distancing.

Our Streetcare team has played a pivotal role in meeting various businesses including those from the hospitality sector, and has looked at individual properties to see what measures can be implemented.

In addition we have provided extensive information signage at all of the above locations highlighting the need to social distance.

All measures have involved community engagement from the start which has meant that we have been able to develop the schemes with the support of those impacted.

The situation across Pembrokeshire is currently being reviewed with regards to whether further measures are needed.

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Licensing and Major Events, said: “By working closely with our communities we have been able to determine what needs to be done and where, to ensure we can continue to unlock safely.

“The extra space provided and the safe space for pedestrians is part of our plans to work together and adapt the way we live in response to Covid-19.

“These schemes will support our businesses, residents and visitors and we will implement further schemes where it is deemed necessary.”

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Police dispersed large group of teenagers and seized alcohol in Broad Haven

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POLICE have been out in force in Broad Haven dealing with groups of teenagers gathering and drinking in Broad Haven.

It is currently illegal for more than two households to meet together outdoors due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Friday night (Jul 31) operation resulted in an amount of alcohol being seized.

A police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “Officers are currently in Broad Haven dispersing a large group of teenagers who have gathered. Alcohol has been seized and they have been directed to leave the area.

“If a parent has a child currently in Broad Haven could you please contact them and arrange to collect them.”

Police are urging youngsters to respect local communities by not gathering in large groups this weekend

Officers and their partner agencies are concerned about reports there may be gatherings of youngsters planned for this weekend in Pembrokeshire.

Police are working closely with partners in the county this weekend, and will act quickly to disperse any such gatherings.

Police are urging youngsters to act responsibly, and respect our local communities and the sacrifices we’ve all made over the past few months to have some more freedom now.

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