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Pembrokeshire ranked 2nd in Wales for local authority services

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County HallPEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has been ranked 2nd out of the 22 local authorities in Wales when it comes to providing local services, according to a report released today (Sep 7).

The report ‘Local Government Performance 2015-16’ looks at a range of local authority services throughout the whole of Wales. It is based on data gathered by the Local Government Data Unit Wales.

Cllr Jamie Adams, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, said he was delighted and thanked members of Council staff for their dedication to delivering high-quality services to local people.

“We are very proud of this report,” he said. “It shows that, despite the budgetary pressures on the Council and the significant savings we have had to make, we are continuing to deliver exceptional services – overall, the second best in Wales – to the people of Pembrokeshire.

“Our aim is to further improve this high level of service while continuing to be sensitive of the need to keep Council Tax as low as possible for hardworking local people.

“I am mindful that the public we represent rightly challenge members, particularly myself as Leader. I can now demonstrate that we are delivering outstanding value for money for our residents.”

The report looks at 40 indicators which are part of the Performance Improvement Framework for local authorities in Wales. The indicators reflect key priorities identified by the Welsh Government and local government in Wales.

Pembrokeshire County Council rated especially highly in safeguarding children, where it was ranked 1st in Wales in two of the indicators, and 2nd in another indicator.

Pembrokeshire scored very highly when it came to the education of children in care, who, following a significant improvement on last year’s result, achieved better results than any in other authority in Wales.

The County was also the 2nd highest authority in Wales when it came to recycling waste, 4th highest in Wales for visits to Council-run sports and leisure facilities, and 5th highest for roads in a high or acceptable level of cleanliness.

Cllr Adams said Pembrokeshire’s performance built on last year’s success, when it was rated the most improved local authority and 4th in terms of overall performance.

He continued: “I’d also like to pay tribute to the efforts of my members, in particular cabinet members. To achieve further improvement against the backdrop of having to save more than £25 million over the last two years is testament to the determination and focus that they have given in very challenging circumstances.”

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Pembrokeshire Sibling Group thanks Valero Energy Ltd for second major donation

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VALERO first supported Pembrokeshire Sibling Group back in 2018 when they were blessed to be chosen as their charity of the year. 

Throughout 2018 Valero staff, through the Valero Volunteer Council, took on various challenges and organised fundraising events with all the funds going to their group. In total, Valero raised close to £20,000 for them that year which as they said at the time, was enough to sustain them for a couple of years on its own! 

After 2019 came and went, Covid-19 meant that they had to suspend their activity programme and like many others, they didn’t restart normal activity until well into 2021.

This meant that they still had some of the Valero money in their bank accounts towards the end of 2021 and this meant that they were able to take 10 young people on the voyage of their lives on the tall ship, Johanna Lucretia. Even though voyages on this training vessel are partially subsidised by the Island Trust, it’s true to say that without Valero funding, this would definitely have remained a dream for the Sibling Group.

This trip was an amazing experience for all who sailed, and it was life changing for a couple of the young people who have since enquired about further sailing experiences.

They are incredibly grateful to Valero for enabling them to be able to give young people this fantastic experience.

Now again, Valero have chosen Pembrokeshire Sibling Group as one of the recipients of the Valero Benefit for Children Classic golf event and they are delighted to announce that they have received £10,928 donation from this event.

As in 2018, this donation cements their existence and will allow them to both enhance what is already planned but also to provide additional treats to the young people they support that would be otherwise unaffordable. They would like to publicly thank Valero for their continuing and unwavering support.

Lee Hind, Pembrokeshire Sibling Group Chairman said “Once again, I find myself here thanking Valero for an amazing donation. This means the world to us, and we are honoured to have been selected to receive this money. This will enable us to plan in another residential experience later this year or early next and not have to worry about funding for it. Thank you to everyone at Valero!”

Stephen Thornton, Valero Refinery Public Affairs Manager said: “We are delighted to support Pembrokeshire Sibling Group, children are in need of respite and following the Covid Pandemic, it is essential that a service of this nature continues. We hope that many more children in our community benefit from the service”

If you’d like to know more about Pembrokeshire Sibling Group, including their referral criteria for a child and opportunities to volunteer, please visit www.pembrokeshire-sibling-group.org.uk or email psg.enquiries@gmail.com 

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£200 Fuel Support Scheme payments begin

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AROUND 7,000 Pembrokeshire households will receive payments direct into their bank accounts this week under the Welsh Government’s Wales Fuel Support Scheme, 2022-2023, Pembrokeshire County Council has said.

The £200 payment per household is to provide support towards paying fuel bills and is available to all eligible customers, regardless of how they pay for fuel.

It is in addition to the Energy Bill rebate being offered by the UK Government and the Winter Fuel Payment normally paid to pensioners by the Department for Work and Pensions.

From the information the Council holds on its Council Tax and Council Tax reduction records, it has been possible to identify thousands of people who are likely to be entitled to the payment.
If you have recently received a cost of living payment and you are in receipt of a means tested Council Tax reduction, you are eligible for this payment and it will be made automatically to the bank account that the cost of living payment was credited to.
Please check your account to see if a payment has been made before applying.
Who can apply?

The scheme will be open to eligible households, where an applicant is responsible for paying the fuel costs for the property and they or their partner are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits between 1st September 2022 and 31st January 2023:
• Income Support
• Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
• Employment and Support Allowance
• Universal Credit
• Working Tax Credits
• Child Tax Credits
• Pension Credit
• Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
• Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
• Attendance Allowance
• Carers Allowance
• Contributory Benefits
• Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS)
The full criteria, decided by the Welsh Government, is available on the Pembrokeshire County Council via the link below.

Please read the full criteria before applying.

Applications are open now and can be made online at https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/benefits-support-and-grants/welsh-government-fuel-support-scheme-202223 until 5pm on Tuesday 28th February, 2023.

If you have problems filling in the application form, please call 01437 764551 for assistance.

After application there will be some checks to confirm eligibility.

Payments are likely to start in October 2022 and will continue until the end of March 2023.

Please be patient as payments are made.

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Prince and Princess of Wales to visit Wales

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THE PRINCE and Princess of Wales have planned a trip to Wales to visit a variety of communities across the nation and learn about the work of key charitable organisations. 

The Prince and Princess have a deep affection for Wales, having made their first family home in Anglesey, and have thoroughly enjoyed their previous visits and the warmth and kindness shown by the Welsh people. 

Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to spending more time in Wales over the next few years, they hope to strengthen their relationship with communities in all parts of Wales. 

During their first engagement, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the RNLI Holyhead Lifeboat Station, where they will meet crew, volunteers and some people who have been supported by their local unit.

Holyhead is one of the three oldest lifeboat stations on the Welsh coast and has a remarkable history of bravery, having received 70 awards for gallantry. 

Their Royal Highnesses will then take a short walk to the Holyhead Marine and Cafe Bar, where they will meet local people, including representatives of small businesses and organisations, including the Coastguard and Sea Cadets. 

In their second engagement, the Prince and Princess of Wales are expected to visit Swansea. 

Their Royal Highnesses will visit St Thomas Church, a re-developed church in Swansea which supports people in the local area and across the City and County of Swansea. 

Over the last two years the church has been transformed into a thriving community hub and is home to a vast array of services, including:

  • A foodbank which supports over 200 people per week
  • Swansea Baby Basics which distributes essential items for vulnerable mothers across the city, such as toiletries and clothes
  • Facilities for the homeless including food, showers and toilets
  • A not-for-profit cafe and community training kitchen
  • A surplus food distribution network which collects food from supermarkets at the end of each day and distributes it from the church to prevent food waste and to help end food poverty

As part of their visit, Their Royal Highnesses will meet those volunteering at the church across different initiatives including Baby Basics and the foodbank. Their Royal Highnesses will also spend some time meeting members of the public gathered outside the church. 

The Princess of Wales has previously worked with Baby Banks and the in summer of 2020 brought together 19 British brands and retailers to donate over 10,000 new items to more than 40 baby banks nationwide, operated by Baby Basics, Little Village and AberNecessities. 

Her Royal Highness has visited a number of baby banks across the UK, including in London, Sheffield and West Norfolk where she has spent time speaking with families about their experiences of using their local baby bank services, as well as helping unload donations. 

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