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Cyclist in 24 hour fundraising marathon

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A LOCAL cyclist is to stage a 24 hour marathon static-bike ride on March 27 at Tesco in Haverfordwest to raise vital funds for Pembrokeshire’s Mind charity.

Local fundraiser: Lee Anson hopes to raises thousands for Mind.

Local fundraiser: Lee Anson hopes to raises thousands for Mind.

Lee Anson suffered a family tragedy 3 years ago when his brother Mike Anson sadly took his own life as a result of severe depression. Lee spoke exclusively this week with The Herald and explained the reasoning behind what will be a gruelling 24 hours.

“In my mind after Mikey passed I wanted to do something to raise awareness for something that has a lot of stigma. Not enough people talk about mental health. We all suffer it at some point in our life but some of us don’t realise we are suffering with it. I myself have suffered and continue to – not to the extremes of my brother – fortunately, some of us come out of those dark places. There is always someone you can talk to. Michael was such a loud personality and really well liked – he hid his mental health problems so well – even on the day he passed he seemed normal, you wouldn’t have known. It’s very difficult to diagnose. I had been chatting with Mind since before Christmas. They are a Samaritan-style support network for people with mental health problems; you call them and they try and help you.”

The Herald wanted to know what sort of equipment was needed for such a feat and also what had inspired Lee to pick cycling for his fundraiser. He continued: “I’ve cycled for a lot of years and used to compete. I thought why not do something I enjoy and make it as difficult as I can for myself. I was going to do 12 hours but felt that wouldn’t be too much of a struggle. I have a normal road bike set up on a turbo trainer that applies magnetic resistance to the back wheel. I’m going to attempt to do 400 miles at about 85- 100 revs per minute, and an average speed of 15-17mph. I am sponsored by ‘Mike’s Bikes’ in Haverfordwest who will provide everything I need for the day; kit, wheels, sports drinks, etc.”

He went on to explain what preparations he has made, and the diet required for the ride. “I have taken a lot of advice – from Iron Man competitors. The key is avoiding salt loss and dehydration and keeping up calorie intake. I’ll burn between 600 to 800 calories an hour – so I need easily digestible food. I don’t think I’ll run out of food in Tescos! I still have to do some research on how much fluid I need, but as a rule about 750 ml per hour. Sweat is the biggest enemy and for the ‘sensitive areas’ there is a cream. I will change when my clothes are saturated, and pause for toilet breaks too. It’s about carb loading prior to the event so that I have a reserve tank. I’ll probably need about 150-200 calories per half hour.”

He then explained that he would need endurance to get through the full 24 hours and had support that would be invaluable for the event. Lee informed us that he would have another bike next to him where people can join him and offer support, but also could come along if they just wanted someone to have a chat with. On how much money he wanted to raise he finished by stating: “I chose that weekend as it’s the weekend before Easter; if you can spend a fiver on an egg I’m sure a pound would be OK so hopefully we will raise a lot and get some support – I’d love to say thousands – but it will be what it is and hopefully people will be generous.”

The Herald will be following the event and would encourage support and donations which can be made by going to the website www.justgiving. com or simply by turning up on the day and donating then, as well as offering some support for Lee. The award for innovative fundraising – for organisations that have run campaigns or events demonstrating creativity and innovation in fundraising.

WINNER

Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association Youth Group was set up to help Merthyr Housing reach its goal of raising the aspirations and life experiences of its young people through education and fundraising.

RUNNERS-UP

Inner Wheel District 15 is part of the largest women’s organisation in the world. The District has 31 clubs across West and South Wales, and in 2013 – 2014 raised more than £30,000 for charities.

Xcel Project– Towy Community Church in Johnstown, Carmarthen – the only charity-run bowling alley in the UK. Proceeds are invested back into the community through a foodbank and a recycled furniture project.

Award for the most admired organisation – for organisations most respected for their inspirational work and the causes they represent.

WINNER

Swansea-based Ethnic Youth Support Team (EYST), which was set up in 2005 by a group of ethnic minority young people to fill a gap in provision for young BME people aged 11 to 25 by providing a culturally sensitive and holistic support service to meet their needs.

RUNNERS-UP

Taking Flight Theatre Company was founded to promote complete inclusivity for disabled actors.

Time to Change Wales, the first national campaign to address the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems.

 

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Community

Wales hurtling towards 10,000 care home bed deficit over next decade

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EXPERTS have warned there will be desperate shortage of 10,000 care home beds in Wales over the next decade.

The alert has been raised specialist business property adviser Christie & Co who say there is a growing need for new, “future proof” care homes to meet the need.

Their prediction comes at a time when demand is spiralling upwards, with the over 85 population set to double over the next 20 years.

According to sector champions Care Forum Wales (CFW) the “alarming figures” illustrated the need for social care to be funded properly for existing homes to survive and encourage the development of new ones.

CFW warned that Wales was “sleepwalking into disaster” because the growing shortage of care home beds would pile pressure on the beleaguered NHS when hospitals were already virtually at breaking point.

Building new care homes is a costly business as Gwynedd and Flintshire county councils have shown recently.

They have plans to build two new facilities with a total of around 100 beds between them at an estimated cost of more than £250,000 per bed.

If their figures are correct that would mean it would mean it would cost £400 million for the extra beds needed in North Wales and £2.5 billion for the whole of Wales over the next 10 years.

Worryingly, Christie & Co also revealed in the report  that 40 elderly care homes in Wales closed and only four opened between 2020 and 2023 – with no new ones in North Wales.

Among the closures in North Wales were Trewythen Hall in Gresford, Bay Court in Kinmel Bay, Gwastad Hall in Cefn y Bedd and Morfa Newydd in Greenfield with the loss of more than 160 beds.

CFW Chair Mario Kreft MBE said: “The report from Christie & Co paints a bleak picture an illustrates how the existing crisis is going to get even worse, creating a double whammy for our overstretched hospitals which have rows of ambulances queuing outside and patients on trolleys in corridors.

“Instead of being able to build more care homes to meet growing demand, we are seeing more and more care home closures.

“The cost of building new care homes and replacing the beds we are losing now is absolutely eye-watering.

“Our public finances in Wales are already under pressure so where is this money coming from?

“The way care homes are funded in Wales is a total postcode lottery with 29 variations on a theme, with most of social care being commissioned by the 22 local authorities and seven health boards.

“Within that there is a gaping North-South divide with five of the six county councils in North Wales paying the lowest fees, arrived at by a fee-fixing cartel known as the North Wales Regional Fees Group.

“The one shining exception is Conwy Council where earlier this year announced inflation-busting plans to increase fees by up to 20% after warnings that care homes were at risk of financial meltdown and closure.

“Following a long-running campaign by Care Forum Wales they have introduced fairer fees which reflect the actual cost of providing care for vulnerable people in privately run homes, including those with dementia.

“That came about because Conwy broke away from the North Wales Regional Fees Group and took our advice by  commissioning leading healthcare economists Laing & Buisson to analyse the true costs of care providers for the current year.

“It’s and internationally recognised tool to ensure that and those living and working in care homes can receive the best care, while at the same time, ensuring that the

“This is something we have been calling for over many years. All we want is fairness in line with the Welsh Government’s ‘Let’s agree to agree’ guidance.

“The fundamental issue threatening the viability of care homes is the unrealistically low fees that the vast majority of councils and health boards pay, fees that come nowhere near covering the true cost of providing care.

“Economically, it would make a lot more sense to ensure the financial security of our existing care homes instead of just relying on the forlorn hope that somebody is going to magically build enough new ones to  meet current needs and the increasing demands for social care.

“We’ve had a generation of injustice and it’s a generation where the institutional prejudice and discrimination against the private care sector in Wales has meant that those living and working in these fantastic community assets have not been valued.

“The problems we have in social care lead to the pressures in the NHS which lead of course then to extra costs being placed on the NHS which would largely be alleviated if local authorities had a more enlightened approach to social care.

“If Conwy can do it, the other five local authorities in North Wales can and should do it and of course, the money has always been there. It’s how you politically choose to spend it.

“Across the famous Foryd Bridge, which links Kinmel Bay and Rhyl, Denbighshire County Council is budgeting announced  much smaller increases of around 8% on rock bottom fees which have been immediately wiped out by inflation and the cost of living crisis.

“The vastly differing rates mean that Denbighshire will be paying £9,224 a year less per person than Conwy towards the cost of giving exactly the same level of nursing care to residents.

“It is simply an outrage. It’s an affront to the families that that bridge spanning the mouth of the River Clwyd can mean such a massive difference for vulnerable people, including those with dementia.

“The families of those people, who will often be expected to make up the difference,  need to ask why and quite frankly, it is a bridge too far.

“This is undoubtedly a stealth tax on families and quite frankly, the people making these decisions in those authorities should be utterly ashamed of themselves in the way they are betraying vulnerable people including those with profound dementia and their families.

“What this demonstrates is that there is an urgent need for us to look again at the way social care is funded.

“We need a national approach to eliminate this iniquitous postcode lottery so that the people for whom we provide care and our staff are treated fairly.

”This is too important to be left to local authorities and health boards alone – it has to be driven by the Welsh Government.”

Pictured: Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care Forum Wales

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Community

Tenby park and ride service returns for summer

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THE ANNUAL summer Tenby park and ride service returns from this Saturday, July 20th.

The handy service operated by Pembrokeshire County Council runs between 11am and 6pm every day until Friday September 13th.

Buses operate from The Salterns car park and call at The Green and South Parade.

The bus service is free with customers just needing to pay for parking as normal.

Buses run approximately every 15 minutes (with exception of one 45 minute driver break per day, taken when demand allows).

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Community

Petitions against Pembrokeshire day care centre closures to be discussed

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TWO PETITIONS calling on Pembrokeshire County Council to reverse its decision to close day care centres in Pembroke Dock, Crymych and Narberth are to be heard at County Hall later this week.

The two petitions, on the council’s own e-petitions webpage, drew nearly 3,400 signatures between them.

Earlier this year, senior councillors backed plans to close two of the county’s centres for older adults and those with learning disabilities, Portfield SAC, Haverfordwest, and Avenue SAC, Tenby; service users moving to other centres in the county.

The county council is currently changing care provision for older adults and those with learning disabilities, and fears have been raised recently that Pembroke Dock’s Anchorage day care centre is to close.

A series of engagement events have taken place at The Anchorage recently, outlining the reasons and the options in continued service.

One parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “One young woman who attends ran out of the first meeting sobbing when she was told it was going to close.

“Another, at the second meeting, tried to address the meeting, but was so choked up at the thought of not seeing her friends any more she could hardly speak.”

It now is feared Narberth’s Lee Davies Day Care Centre and Crymych’s Bro Preseli Day Centre could also close, with concerns it is due solely to budgetary reasons.

An e-petition on the council’s own website, by John Llewellyn of Living Memory Group, entitled against the closure of the Lee Davies and Bro Preseli day care centres.

The two petitions, which have now both closed, attracted 1,701 and 1,675 signatures respectively.

As they have both met the threshold for debate at council, they will both be heard at the July 18 meeting of full council.

Peter Welsh, in his petition for Pembroke Dock’s The Anchorage, says: “We call on Pembrokeshire County Council to reverse its decision to close the Anchorage Social Activity Centre based in Pembroke Dock as part of the council’s reduction in services being imposed following the recent budget approval.”

Mr Llewellyn’s petition for the Lee Davies and Bro Preseli day care centres reads: “We call on Pembrokeshire County Council to Review the closure of the Lee Davies Day Care Centre at Bloomfield’s and the Bro Preseli Day Centre at Crymych.

“Staff at both Day Care Centres were informed in Mid-March that both facilities would be closing due to PCC budget cuts. Both centres are an essential outlet for the well-being of the attendees and their families.”

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