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£9m extra care scheme opens its doors

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bro-preseliBRO PRESELI, Family Housing’s new £9million Extra Care scheme of 40 one and two bedroom apartments for rent alongside a new 20 space Day Centre and a new Health Centre for Hywel Dda Health Board will open on August 18. The new health centre will create new facilities for the existing GPs practice and Community Health Team on the former Livestock Mart site in Crymych. Phil Dennis, Director of Operations at Family Housing said: “Bro Preseli has been a great opportunity for us to build on our successes in the field of Extra Care.

We have created much needed facilities right in the heart of the community which goes to show what can be achieved when different agencies work towards a common goal. We aim to create a vibrant hub providing much needed state of the art facilities for the older generation and wider community of Crymych. “ An Open Day on Thursday, August 14 will be an opportunity for both prospective tenants and the community to see what Bro Preseli has to offer.

The first tenants will move in on August 18 and, while demand has been high, there are still some vacancies. County Director and commissioner for Pembrokeshire and Project Director for the University Health Board development, Sue Lewis said: “The new facility is a significant improvement from the current temporary buildings which the GPs have been working out of. It has been purpose built in consultation with the GPs and the community to ensure it meets the needs of residents not just now but in years to come.”

Building on the success of their Hazel Court Extra Care scheme in Swansea, and Maes Mwldan in Cardigan, and part of an ongoing programme of excellence in extra care, Family Housing have been able to put experience to good use in designing this new scheme which includes a large lounge, a restaurant, shop, wellbeing room and craft and hobby room. Bro Preseli forms part of Pembrokeshire County Council’s programme to provide extra care schemes throughout the county as part of their older persons’ strategy and will be officially opened by The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, on November 17.

County Councillor Simon Hancock, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Well-Being and Equalities said: “I am delighted to see the completion of this project that will provide excellent housing, the opportunity to reduce social isolation amongst older people and a health facility for the Crymych area all on one site. “The project will help further our overall aim to deliver services in people’s own homes that meet their needs in a flexible and sustainable way.” Pupils from Ysgol y Preseli worked with Family Housing, Pembrokeshire County Council and Hywel Dda Health Board to suggest names for the new development from which the community council chose Bro Preseli.

Jayne Jones, Head of Care and Support Services at Family Housing said: “Moving to a purpose built apartment can make a lot of sense as well as free up some extra money from the sale of a home that is maybe too big and too high maintenance for you. Our extra care apartments are maintenance free and designed for older people. You can retain as much independence as you choose.” Jayne added: “All of our extra care homes are designed to be part of the local community rather than separate from it and local people are encouraged to come in and use the facilities. “And the other important thing about our extra care apartments is that they are future proof against any changing needs as you age – with a range of safety and security features so that you can live well, age well and stay well.” Design and Build contractors Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd created nine apprenticeships in the building trade during construction.

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£66m in Covid-19 business grants paid to Pembrokeshire businesses

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WHAT has been described as an incredible team effort has seen Pembrokeshire County Council pay out more than £66m to county businesses in Covid-19 support grants so far.

And across Wales more than £1bn has now been paid to businesses since the start of the pandemic.

In Pembrokeshire 9,171 grants have been paid across the 10 grants introduced by the Welsh Government.

The total amount of £66,370,548 paid in Pembrokeshire is the fourth highest amount paid out so far across Wales.

And the figures are growing all the time with further payment runs undertaken this week.

The team is now currently focussed on the Restrictions Grant and working their way through the applications.

Cllr Paul Miller, the Cabinet Member for the Economy, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has worked tirelessly to ensure that the money available to support businesses through this
difficult period gets to them as soon as possible.

“The sheer number of applications processed and the money delivered is a testament to those efforts and we’re not done yet.

“We have now moved onto the Restrictions Grant and we’re ready to continue the effort to help Pembrokeshire businesses for as long as it takes.”

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Health Board’s vaccination priorities questioned

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THE HEALTH BOARD has denied claims that the wait for Covid vaccinations has been ‘queue-jumped’ by Council employees and other non-front line workers.

On Thursday evening, a member of the public contacted The Herald via our Facebook page and asked us:

‘Can you please investigate and shine a light on the Pembrokeshire council employees, (some of whom are office staff who have been working from home since March, some are repair and maintenance guys.)

‘They have had phone calls to book and are booking appointments to have their vaccines done at the new vaccination centre in Haverfordwest at the records office run by the council. Some have been for jabs today and others have appointments for the weekend. They are definitely not in any of the first few priority groups and are taking vaccines away from those who need it more.”

When we put the issue to the local authority, Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The decision was made this week to extend the vaccine invitation to staff groups critical to the COVID response, without which we would not be able to run essential COVID response services.

“Many of these staff are currently redeployed from frontline and patient facing roles and employed by the health board, social care services, independent or third sector care services and fall within the JCVI’s priority group 2.

“The invitation was only extended once we were absolutely certain frontline staff had been provided ample opportunity to receive a vaccine and once all stand-by reserve lists were exhausted. This approach has led us to having one of the lowest vaccine wastage figures, despite the challenges of our rural location.

“I’d like to reassure the public that vaccinating this essential group of staff has in no way delayed our rollout to the wider population and I can confirm the first invitations for members of the public to attend our mass vaccination centres will be issued this week.”

The Welsh Government’s strategy is to inoculate frontline staff and then Over 80s – that is its First Priority. Other people fall into different Priority Groups. With so many unvaccinated in the First Priority Group – over 80s – the question goes begging as to the basis upon which their claims to the vaccine were bypassed in favour of those in the Second Priority Group.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb told us: “I am very concerned about the claims being made of vaccine queue jumping. From the explanation given by Hywel Dda University Health Board, it looks like the priority list drawn up by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has now been ripped up and lots of other people are being invited to get vaccinated who are not in the priority groups.

“The whole reason for the priority list, which was agreed to by all four Chief Medical Officers from across the UK, was to save the greatest number of lives by vaccinating the most vulnerable people first.

“I have consistently raised concerns about the slow rollout in Wales. We are not where we should be by now especially when it comes to vaccinating the over 80s. There is limited supply of vaccines and the Health Board should be using these for the most vulnerable people in our community. It’s important for building confidence in the roll-out that people can see there is a clear plan being followed. I’m afraid situations like this undermine that confidence.”

The Welsh Government faced increasing criticism this week about its management of Wales’ vaccine distribution. On Monday, there was outrage about the First Minister’s remarks on Wales’ strategy which the Welsh Government spent the next four days trying to stem.

On Tuesday, Vaughan Gething, Wales Health Minister, claimed that 70% of over 80s would receive their first vaccine dose by this weekend. On Wednesday evening, figures released by Public Health Wales showed less than a quarter of over 80s had got their first shot.

Mr Gething later claimed he’d made “an innocent mistake”, saying: “There was a minor amount of confusion about the difference between care home residents, where we had vaccinated a majority, and over 80s.”

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Asylum seekers to be moved out of the former Penally Army Training Camp

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ASYLUM SEEKERS are to be moved out of the former Penally Army Training Camp; the Home Office have confirmed.

Camp residents will be moved out of the camp in small numbers, it is understood.

The confirmation by the government that they are intending to move all of the asylum seekers at Penally Camp into “suitable dispersed accommodation as soon as reasonably practical” has been welcomed by many local politicians.

The statement that they were hoping to start moves for small numbers of people from was made by Home Office Minister, Chris Philp MP, in an answer to a Parliamentary Question from Liberal Democrat MP, Wendy Chamberlain.

Home Office minister Chris Philp said: “It remains our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation as soon as reasonably practical. We are hoping to commence moves for small numbers of people out from week commencing January 18. However our immediate priority is to ensure that we continue to meet out legal duty to house destitute asylum seekers and ensure their safety and wellbeing.”

As we previously reported 20 residents of the camp were moved out following two protests in Tenby over standards of food, sanitation and accommodation.

The cost of policing the camp has been higher than expected (Pic Herald)

In welcoming the news, Alistair Cameron, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said: “Whilst the Welsh Liberal Democrats welcome this emerging information, we need to see evidence that people are moving out.

“The Asylum Seekers are staying in the middle of Winter in army barracks which are unsuitable as long-term accommodation.

“They are sleeping six to a room and run the risk of being infected with coronavirus. Many will have fled areas of conflict and they will have been deeply traumatized by their experiences.

“As a caring country, we should provide safe, warm and clean accommodation just as we would expect if we were in similar circumstances.

“I now urge the Home Office to move all of the asylum seekers out of the Camp as quickly as possible and to process their claims for asylum.”

There are 123 residents left at the camp, it was recently confirmed.

The crippling cost of running the Penally camp, with policing and security being more than expected, along with legal challenges regards conditions have most certainly contributed to the Home Office’s new position on Penally.

There was also an outbreak of Covid-19 in a similar facility in Kent where more than one hundred asylum seekers backing up the concerns of camp residents that there was insufficient social distancing in ex-military camps.

Demo to support asylum seekers in Penally (Photo Herald)

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