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First Minister on NATO summit: Costly but worth it

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NATO-logoWELSH First Minister, Carwyn Jones, this week extolled the benefits, despite the cost, of the recent NATO summit held in Newport. He explained that the majority of the costs had fallen to the UK Government as the host state but that the Welsh Government, who had worked in partnership with the UK Government, had spent around the £3m mark. The costs were broken down by the First Minister as two million spent on the security requirements, equipment and man power, and around one million spent on promoting Wales, marketing and advertising and events in London, Brussels and Washington.

He said of the event: “The NATO Wales Summit was the largest event of its kind ever held in the United Kingdom and an unprecedented opportunity to promote Wales globally. The Welsh Government, local authorities, the NHS and a range of other agencies worked with the UK Government and NATO to ensure a safe and memorable summit. “The procurement process for the Summit was led by the UK Government and it is understood that a number of Welsh suppliers secured contracts for the event. In addition, it is understood that 24,000 bedroom nights were reserved for the summit in the cities of Newport, Cardiff and Bristol alone, providing a major boost to the tourism sector in Wales.

“66 delegations attended the Summit, along with 1,500 media from around the world. All major TV news stations in the USA covered the two days in their evening news shows, including coverage of the opening banquet in Cardiff Castle. And, of course, President Obama said on camera, “you can see the extraordinary beauty, the wonderful people and great hospitality, so I’d encourage everybody in the USA to come and visit Wales”. The combined value of this publicity is literally incalculable. “The Welsh Government’s pre and post NATO media releases were picked up by a total of 550 news outlets with an Advertising Value Equivalent of some £900,000. In terms of social media, highlights included the development of a “Welcome to Wales” film, featuring Welsh talent, which has received some 13,000 views to date. The development of our ‘Wales Made’ stamp and hash tag provided Wales with an opportunity to promote Welsh businesses, tourism, food and culture under a common theme for the Summit. This was deployed on twitter both in Wales and through the network of British Embassies overseas.

“The NATO Wales Summit raised the profile of Wales and we capitalised on this through the UK Investment Summit Wales held at the Celtic Manor on 21 November. This brought together global investors, business leaders, the Prime Minister and Ministers from around the world. “At the Investment Summit I announced a package of investment projects receiving Welsh Government support. As I have said on many occasions, the best advertisement for Wales is our investors, who choose to come here because we have the people, the skills, the infrastructure and expertise to compete in the global marketplace. “The NATO Wales Conference presented Wales with a superb opportunity. The Welsh Government worked closely with the UK Government, local authorities, the NHS, police and other agencies to deliver an outstanding conference and other related events. Wales should be proud of its achievement and the reputational benefits to our country will be apparent for years to come”.

Also commenting on the event, was the Secretary of State for Wales, Stephen Crabb, who said: “Every step of the way we have shown Wales’s entrepreneurial ability and spirit. The NATO Summit could not have taken place without the strength and support of Welsh business. World leaders are returning home in no doubt as to the skills, talent and expertise on offer in Wales and the breadth and quality of products and services we provide. Thousands of the world’s media have seen what a beautiful place we live in and our breathtaking landscapes and rich heritage have been seen across the world. Our global profile has never been higher”. He went on to explain what the wider implications were, in terms of the Investment Summit that was brought to Wales in November, saying: “The NATO Summit has put us on the international map and brought a boost to our economy.

I am determined to build on this. The legacy of the NATO Summit must be to promote Wales’s potential as a great place for investment, business, tourism and education. That is why the UK Investment Summit (brought) to Wales in November was so important. Wales is home to some of the most successful international companies in the world. The Investment Summit showcased those businesses to potential new investors to encourage them to also invest in Wales. This conference highlighted why Wales is such a great place to invest. It focussed on the high-tech sector, where we have a growing reputation for excellence.” He added: “I have always been clear that the NATO Summit should bring a lasting economic legacy to Wales. By attracting new investment and growing exports from Wales the Investment Summit will help to secure a stronger economy for Wales”.

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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Covid alert level lowered for whole of UK

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THE COVID alert level for all four nations of the United Kingdom has been lowered to alert level 4.

The decision comes following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in light of the most recent data.

In recent weeks, the R-rate and the number of covid cases has been on the decline.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations.

“The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

Under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 restrictions, schools and colleges, places of worship, community centres, playgrounds and public parks are among those that can be opened.

Theatres, entertainment venues, leisure facilities and outdoor visitors attractions are among the places that must remain close while the country is in Alert Level 4.

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Postmaster and politicians welcome Goodwick cash machine U-turn

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GOODWICK post office will now be keeping its ATM, after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd.

The machine was due to be removed within months with the post master, Jon Moverley saying that it would be a disaster for the village.

If the ATM had been removed, there would have been just two 24-hour ATMs serving the whole of Fishguard and Goodwick in the short term and three when the Co-op renovations are completed.

Both politicians and local residents then got behind the campaign to keep the ATM

Pembrokeshire politicians Paul Davies and Stephen Crabb have welcomed the news that Goodwick post office is now set to keep its ATM facility. Following representations made by both politicians to the Post Office, it’s now been confirmed that Goodwick Post Office will be included in the rollout of ATM machines across the post office network.

Mr Davies said “This is really welcome news. I’m pleased that the Post Office has listened to the representations made by the local community and decided to retain the ATM at Goodwick post office. The facility is so important for local people and businesses and it’s great that that’s been recognised and the Post Office has committed to keeping it.”

Following the Post Office’s decision to invest in Goodwick’s ATM rather than remove it, Stephen Crabb MP, who campaigned for the ATM to stay, commented: “It’s great news that the Post Office has overturned its own decision and will be keeping an ATM machine in Goodwick.

“Access to cash continues to be incredibly important for a number of people and businesses and I’m pleased to have played my part in working with John from the Post Office in Goodwick, Paul Davies MS and the wider community to highlight the ATMs importance to the area. It shows what can be achieved when we work together.”

The postmaster described the news as ‘brilliant’. Mr Moverley thanked supporters.

He said “Many thanks to all of you who have used the machine and complained to POL about the removal. We were also supported by our MP, MS and mayor, the National Federation of Sub-postmasters and our Chamber of Trade.

“Everyone did their bit, and it says an enormous amount about the strength of the community.

“We are delighted that locals and so many other people have come together to save this essential facility in the village.”

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