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Local MP seeks answers from Home Secretary over Penally Training Camp plans

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FOLLOWING the protest which took place at Penally Training Camp, the local member of parliament has said that he is trying to find out the exact details on how the camp will be used, and how long for.

Simon Hart has contacted the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, seeking clarification, he says.

Approximately two hundred people were at the demo at the entrance to the base from 6pm on Tuesday night (Sept 15) – police attended and closed the road to keep the attendees safe. The protest passed peacefully.

Protestors said that they were unhappy with the lack of communication regarding the plans, which could see 250 male asylum seekers staying at the camp, very near to the village of Penally.
Simon Hart MP posted on his Facebook page saying: “I have spoken to the Home Secretary to seek further clarification regarding plans to house asylum seekers at Penally Training Camp.

“Whilst being mindful of our legal obligations and our responsibilities, as well as the extensive powers held by the Home Office on all security and immigration scenarios, I appreciate that residents are concerned about a number of issues so I have included as many of these as possible in our submission.

“For example, I have asked how long the site will be used, what the security arrangements will be and whether the Home Office will be funding any additional costs that Pembrokeshire County Council, Hywel Dda Health Board and Dyfed-Powys Police might incur.

“I also want to know how many people could be housed at one time, what the gender balance and likely age profile could be as well as how local residents’ welfare will be ensured.

“I have enquired about the arrangements for occupants entering or leaving the site and further detailed queries regarding healthcare and COVID testing of staff and occupants.

“I have also asked for an explanation of the day-to-day workings of the site in relation to processing asylum claims.

“As soon as I receive a reply, I shall post it on my website and Facebook page. In the meantime, I am keen to avoid too much speculation in case this causes increased tension and concern.”

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner,  has added his voice to the row over the cap.  Mr Dafydd Llywelyn has also contacted Priti Patel.

Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn said: “I am deeply concerned about the lack of clarity relating to the proposed arrangements. Greater strategic planning and engagement is needed to ensure we support and safeguard these vulnerable individuals and respond to local concerns.”

In an open letter to the Home Secretary he says: ‘I write in relation to plans being considered to utilise the Ministry of Defence camp at Penally in Pembrokeshire, Wales as emergency asylum accommodation in the near future. I am personally grateful for the actions of your Home Office in Wales Team who coordinating, at short notice, a meeting for an initial discussion with your officials yesterday. I will continue to work with the team on this issue over the coming days and weeks.

‘However, I write to express my significant concerns in relation to the lack of a clear strategy, detail and consultation surrounding these plans. I was not suitably reassured by your officials of the existence of any detailed planning, impact assessment or implementation arrangements on a practical level. Alongside other agencies, a number of practical concerns were communicated to your officials that I hope can be addressed.

‘You will be aware that this evening a protest was held at the proposed site and that since the news has been in the public domain local concerns have been raised. I believe that this largely stems from the lack of consultation and limited information being provided. You will know that in 2016, communities within the Dyfed Powys area successfully supported the Syrian Vulnerable Person Relocation Programme. This was achieved through careful planning and significant community engagement, ensuring that the local community felt a part of the decision making. I repeat to you the comments that I made at yesterday’s meeting in that there is an urgent need for greater clarity on the strategic plan and considerable engagement to ensure we support and safeguard these vulnerable individuals whilst addressing local concerns.

‘I am personally unable to fully understand the rationale for selecting the Penally site and would like clarification on how this decision was reached and how the proposed logistics will work. Asylum seekers, upon arrival at the UK, will have to travel a further 5 hours and 300 miles to a proposed site in Penally, Pembrokeshire albeit there will be no power to detain once at the site. The site and local community is unlikely, in my opinion, to have the necessary infrastructure to support their needs and the location of the site would make accessing services unnecessarily difficult for vulnerable individuals.

‘I fully realise that difficult decisions need to be made in the interests of both those seeking asylum and our local communities and therefore trust that you will understanding and support of my position of wanting detailed planning, community engagement and transparency of decision making.’

Wants answers: Simon Hart MP

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Pupils from two Pembrokeshire school’s asked to self-isolate

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FURTHER cases of Covid-19 has been confirmed in Ysgol Harri Tudur/Henry Tudor School (Pembroke) and at Milford Haven School.

As a result, all pupils in Year 11 from Ysgol Harri Tudur and some students from year 7 in Milford Haven have been asked to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.

Parents of the pupils in those classes have been informed.

Parents and carers do not need to contact the schools to find out if their child has been affected.

Pembrokeshire County Council, Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda University Health Board are working with the school to ensure that all possible precautionary measures are being taken to minimise risk of transmission of the virus.

Parents/guardians have been given the following advice by Hywel Dda University Health Board:

If a child/parent/household member develops symptoms of Covid-19, the entire household should immediately self-isolate, and book a test for the individual with the symptoms. It is unnecessary to test the entire household if they are not symptomatic.

The Covid-19 symptoms are:
● a new continuous cough
● a high temperature
● loss of or change to sense of smell or taste

Booking a Covid-19 test:
Hywel Dda University Health Board recommends testing only for those with a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell.

If a child does not have symptoms of Covid-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they and you do not need to self-isolate. Your child can go to school if fit to do so.
If a Covid-19 test is required, this should be arranged via the UK Booking Portal, https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-test or by ringing 119. Testing is available within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire or via a home testing kit delivered to and collected from your home. The Covid-19 test is undertaken via a throat swab or combined throat and nose swab.

 Self-isolation:
It is essential that people who have Covid-19 symptoms, or who share a household with someone who has symptoms, must self-
isolate, even if your symptoms are mild. To protect others, you must not attend school, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or go to or to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They can return to school or work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so. A pupil must remain fever free for at least 48 hrs.

Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self- isolate for 14 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.

If a parent thinks their child has symptoms BUT chooses not to put them through a test all household members must remain in self-isolation for 14 days from the onset of symptoms.

If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team who will advise you further.

Non-household members/contacts:
If a person has been in contact with an individual experiencing symptoms, they should carry on as normal until that individual
receives their test result. If this is positive, the Test, Trace, Protect Team will contact those people identified as contacts and advise accordingly.

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Jessica ready to help in access officer role

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Pembrokeshire County Council has a new Access Officer.

Jessica Hatchett took up the role earlier this month and has always
been passionate about disability equality in Pembrokeshire.

Jessica, from Neyland, has cerebral palsy and epilepsy and uses a
wheelchair or a walking frame to get around.

She believes her experiences as a disabled person will give her a
different perspective on the role which aims to build on the Council’s
commitment to making Pembrokeshire an accessible county to all.
A founder member of the Young Voices for Choices youth forum,
Jessica has previously featured on the cover of two access guides, as
well as the cover of a Bus Buddies project leaflet.

And Jessica is hoping to continue the good work of her predecessors,
Trever Owens and Alan Hunt.

Jessica said: “This job is an absolutely fantastic opportunity to help
make Pembrokeshire even better.

“Inclusive, accessible designs don’t just benefit disabled people –
they make life easier for parents with buggies, people with broken
legs or anyone who might not be steady on their feet.

“Simple design changes make a world of difference to someone with
additional needs.”

The Access Officer role involves responding to requests, comments
and concerns on accessibility issues; liaising with community access
groups; ensuring the Authority’s duties and responsibilities with
regard to the Equalities Act (2010) are met; supporting the work of
Pembrokeshire Access Group and giving advice on all access design
issues such as ramps, disabled parking bays, welfare facilities and
much more.

Jessica, a former journalist with the Western Telegraph, added: “I’m
really looking forward to meeting new people and giving them the best
advice that I can – and if I don’t know the answer I will find someone
who does.

“Also, whilst I am going to investigate good practice collaboratively
with other Local Authorities, I am keen for Pembrokeshire to set the
standard for access issues and introduce new and innovative ideas to
improve people’s quality of life.

“I’m also looking forward to doing my first site visit. I know I have an
important job to do and will take it seriously, but I can’t wait to see
what I look like in a high-vis jacket and hard hat!”

To get in touch with Jessica, call 01437 775148 or email
jessica.hatchett@pembrokeshire.gov.uk.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Brexit update

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AS THE Brexit transition period draws to a close in the New Year, Pembrokeshire County Council is working closely with the Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and other organisations.

The Authority’s aim is to minimise any potential for Brexit to negatively affect Council services and the county’s businesses and residents.

The transition period ends at 11pm on December 31, after which many changes come into effect.

To this end, the Council is publicising a number of websites providing Brexit information. 

They include:

https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support/pembrokeshire-preparing-for-brexit

https://gov.wales/preparing-wales/

https://www.gov.uk/transition

EU and European Economic Area (EEA) citizens who need to apply for Settled Status can find support from Welsh Government and Home Office-funded organisations here: http://www.eusswales.com/en/index.html

Meanwhile, public-facing frontline staff working in support organisations and local authorities throughout Wales are being made aware of the issues involved.

This will enable them to direct EU/EEA nationals and their family members who have queries to the appropriate specialist staff.

For public information on the Settlement Scheme go to: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families

Pembrokeshire County Council also has a generic Brexit enquiry email address at: brexit@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

 

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