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Homeless issue tackled by locals

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Milford charity: local campaigners to help the homeless

Milford charity: local campaigners to help the homeless

LOCAL campaigners, Sara and Peter Hurley, are about to launch a local charity, whose working title is Feed the Homeless’. Statistics from July of last year (published by the Joseph Rowntree Organisation) stated that in Wales, the numbers of those officially accepted as statutory homeless by criteria set down by the National Assembly and UK Government was just under 5300. Of those, 860 (16.8 percent) were homeless due to a violent break up of a relationship and a further 1100 (22 percent) were due to friends, parents or relatives no longer being able to accommodate them. The Herald spoke exclusively with the Milford couple to find out what the purpose of the charity was, and how they hoped to launch it in Milford Haven.

Sara Hurley explained: “This idea came about just before Christmas after a lady on Facebook had spoken about giving money to those selling the Big Issue, and I said you are better off finding a rough sleeper and buy them a hot drink or a sandwich. “I don’t know that there are enough people in Milford itself to warrant just feeding them. I think we are going to have to look at other people; there are a lot of people who work who are even more hard-up than those on benefits.

“Also, there are a lot of isolated lonely people and I want to reach out to them as well. If they are financially able and they’ve come along to us and had a nice meal we could have a voluntary contribution box. This could feed someone else who has absolutely nothing”. She went on to explain what was required to make the venture succeed: “What I desperately need at the moment are premises. “I have a meeting here next week, and anyone who might have something to contribute should contact me. Many people have already come forward to offer support. Bakers could help; yesterday’s bread is today’s croutons or bread pudding. If you are sleeping rough you need something to warm you up and keep you going for the day.

“I am not going into this with rose tinted glasses. I know these people have problems and we would deal with that as these things arise.” The Herald asked how many people she thought were sleeping rough in the Milford area, to which she continued: “I have emailed Pembrokeshire Action for the Homeless, but nobody really knows how many people are sleeping rough.

“What I do know is that, from the end of March to the beginning of November, people who are not priority needs are not given temporary accommodation. If you didn’t have anywhere to sleep you would be sleeping rough. “No one wants to be identified as isolated and lonely so we need to find a way to get those people in as well as the homeless. We aren’t offering the same service as Patch, for example, we are not giving out food parcels, we would be actually feeding them. “If you give a homeless person a box of food how will they cook it? I have a chef who can cook.” Sara went on to explain how they would find the people to come to the centre, once it is up and running:

“We will have to go out, find them and approach them, and hopefully they’ll spread the word themselves. Hopefully Patch can tell us places where people do sleep rough.” The Herald was interested to know why Pembrokeshire County Council was not providing this service, to which she responded: “I am not critical of the Council as they have hard budget restraints and they supply the minimum service by law. They haven’t got the money to put all these people up in bed and breakfasts.

The help they are obliged to give is primarily advice, even if they have put them on a list (for housing). There is no obligation to give people sustenance. “Our next step is to find premises, and we are meeting someone next week who will assist in this. The premises don’t need to be big, but we will need a working kitchen. If someone could donate this it would be great. “We are looking to the private sector and have invited local councillors to a meeting we are having next Thursday, and some have said they will come, Peter Stock, for example.” Sara said that if anyone wanted to help out or get involved they could contact her on 01646 694364.

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Community

Library reservations service expanded

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S Library Service has extended its reservation service.

Customers can place up to two reservations for books and audiobooks, which are available and in stock at libraries in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Saundersfoot and Tenby.

Items are also available to reserve from the service’s Stack (store).

Library members can place reservations free of charge, in person or via the online catalogue.

To access the online catalogue, log on to https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture and select ‘Find Library Books’.

Customers can also place a request for an item not currently in stock, to be purchased as one of their two reservations.

The Library Service is not offering an Interlibrary Loan service at the present time.

For details on the library services currently offered in Pembrokeshire, please view https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture

 

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Extra police patrols at Tenby skate park after ‘men approached young girls’

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CONCERNED locals in Tenby have taken to social media to write about concerns of inappropriate behaviour – between males they think may have been asylum seekers currently housed at Penally Army Camp – and young girls in Tenby.

The police have said they are investigating the matter.

Witnesses have said that young girls have been approached by males while at the skate park in Tenby.

The Home Office has said that the camp will be used to house up to 250 male asylum seekers whilst their claims are processed due to a shortage of alternative accommodation, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports circulating on Facebook have claimed to have direct knowledge that male residents of the camp have been talking and exchanging contact information with local school girls, some suggesting that they were in school uniform when talking with the men.

However, the police have not confirmed that that is the case – it remains an unproved allegation.

One local claimed on Facebook: “So tonight a few of us concerned local parents decided to go to Tenby skate park.

“As we got there two young girls where sat on a bench waiting for someone.

“Some kids told us they were the ones talking to the men yesterday exchanging Snap Chat details and stuff.

“Then the men from the day before turned up… saw us and scurried off down the beach.

“The two girls then quickly wandered off.

“These girls were about 14.”

One resident had stated that they had reported the incidents he had seen and heard to the local police station, he claimed that an officer told him they were in talks with Greenhill School about the incidents.

Pembrokeshire County Council said that they are unable to comment on the alleged incidents, however a spokesman told The Herald in a statement: “All I would say is that our schools regularly advise pupils not to engage with strangers.”

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed they are investigating two alleged incidents at the skate park, and have been in contact with the local schools.

A police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We have received two reports of alleged inappropriate behaviour at the skate park in Tenby and are looking to speak to the people who contacted us.

“In the meantime the skate park is now part of our patrol plans and we have linked in with local schools to reinforce the School Beat Stay SMART online messaging.”

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Community

Off-duty lifesavers were lost but ready to react

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A PEMBROKESHIRE man whose life was saved by multiple twists of fate has praised those who stepped in during his hour of need.

Keen amateur triathlete Steven Landrey, 51, of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, was out on a post-lockdown bike ride when he suffered a cardiac arrest that was to set off the incredible chain of events.

Steven said: “We were about 40km into an 80km ride when it happened.

“It was strange and lucky as only two weeks earlier I was running alone in Paris, and the night before I swam 2km alone in the sea, and during lockdown had done lots of exercise on my own.

“But that day, I had met my brother-in-law, Chris, and some friends.

“I dread to think what would have happened if I would have been alone.”

Meanwhile, just a mile or so away was off-duty Welsh Ambulance Service Community First Responder Angharad Hodgson, from Martletwy, and her firefighter partner Steve Bradfield, from Narbeth.

Steven Landrey, 51, of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

“We were heading to meet friends at Barfundle Beach. We hadn’t been there for a few years so were following the sat-nav in the car,” said Angharad.

“We were running late and had taken a wrong turn as the sat-nav must have frozen or lost signal.

“We decided to turn back on ourselves, and that’s when we saw Steven on the floor being worked on by Chris.”

Always travelling with their defibrillator and kit, Angharad and Steve, who is also a trained medical responder, were able to pull over swiftly and step in with their life-saving defibrillator.

Angharad, 23, said: “We put the pad on his chest and after about 30 manual chest compressions, Steven had stopped breathing and the defibrillator told us we could shock him twice.

“We did it and he came back to us, but his breathing was very sticky so we continued CPR until the air and land ambulances arrived to take over.”

Steven was taken by road to Swansea’s Morriston Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to fit a stent into a lower left artery of his heart, which had flooded with blood and caused the cardiac arrest.

Steven is making a good recovery at home and is taking the first steps back to work in his role as a European Managing Director for Babcock Aviation, an aerial emergency services business.

He said: “I’m working with the National Cardiac Referral Scheme and also a personal trainer and am feeling well and getting strength back every day.

“With my work, I have seen emergency care provision across Europe and Canada and the care I received at every step of the way here in Wales has been world-class.

“I can’t thank Chris, Angharad, Steve, the air ambulance crew and the paramedics enough, along with the doctors and surgeons at Morriston, they were all amazing.

“I realise everything went my way that day, and for those few hours I was the luckiest man alive, but having these trained people in our communities to support emergency medical services is absolutely vital.

“Community First Responders like Angharad, CPR training and Public Access Defibrillators really do save lives and are to be respected.”

Glyn Thomas, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Community First Responder Officer in Mid and West Wales, said: “The prompt actions of Angharad and Steve were no doubt a major factor in the patient’s survival.

“Even off-duty as they were, they demonstrated control and organisation – they are both a credit to their communities and organisations.

“We wish Steven a smooth recovery and all the best for the future.”

Today is Restart a Heart Day, a national initiative run by the Resuscitation Council UK, British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the ambulance services across the UK to promote education around Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

In the absence of physical events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Welsh Ambulance Service is encouraging people to watch a video by Resuscitation Council UK and keep an eye on social media from partners like Save a Life Cymru who are promoting key messages such as early recognition of cardiac arrest, early CPR and early defibrillation.

Restart a Heart Day runs parallel to the Trust’s month-long Shoctober campaign which aims to educate primary school children on the benefits of getting confident with CPR – even making this brilliant animated video.

Angharad, who also works for the local authority’s social services team in Pembrokeshire, has been a Community First Responder since April 2019 and was inspired to make that brave step by another incident back in 2018.

She said: “I was driving home from shopping along the A40 in Carmarthen when I came across a terrible car accident on the opposite carriageway.

“I pulled my car over and crossed the road to try and assist without any thought process really.

“Seeing the work of the paramedics on scene really spurred me on to become a Community First Responder.

“I’d like to thank Tony Wall who is my CFR Co-ordinator for being so supportive and giving so much of his time to fundraise for life saving equipment such as defibrillators in local communities.”

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