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New care boss pledges to fight for fair funding

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THE NEW boss of the body that represents care homes and homecare providers in Pembrokeshire has pledged to fight for a fair funding.

According to Mary Wimbury, the new chief executive of Care Forum Wales, which champions the interests of over 450 members, there’s never been a better time for care providers to speak with one voice to ensure the people of Wales can get the care they need.

She said: “Care Forum Wales is strongly making the case that social care is chronically underfunded and desperately needs extra money putting into it.

“The sector is struggling to provide the care that is needed with care homes closing in Pembrokeshire and local authorities are trying to get people to deliver home care packages which they are just unable to do.

“People are now living longer demand for social care is increasing all the time and the needs of those going into care are becoming greater.

“We all want to see care sector staff being properly rewarded but the increases we’ve seen in the minimum wage over the past few years haven’t been reflected in the fees paid by local authorities and health boards to the providers of care homes and domiciliary care.”

Care Forum Wales works closely with the Welsh Government, commissioners and regulators to shape policies that focus on making sure people receive the highest quality care.

It also works to raise the profile of the social care workforce and every year organises the prestigious Wales Care Awards, a celebration of the hard work and dedication of the social care workforce.

The influential not-for-profit organisation also runs training events, professional groups and conferences to promote best practice and share knowledge amongst its members.

Taking the helm as its first ever chief executive is 48-year-old Mary Wimbury who steps into the top job after six years as the forum’s senior policy advisor.

Ms Wimbury, who lives with her husband and three children in Rhos-on-Sea in Conwy County, said: “I’m looking forward to the new challenge, especially as it comes at a key time when our members in the social care sector are under a lot of pressure due to funding constraints and new regulations coming in from the Welsh Government.

“We already have Social Services and Wellbeing Act, which came into force last year and refocuses the way we deliver care in Wales.

“We also have Regulation and Inspection Act with regulations due to take effect from next April requiring every care home and domiciliary care agency in Wales to re-register with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate. Following on from that we will see all care workers required to be individually registered over the next four years.

“These are both significant challenges facing our members and Care Forum Wales is supporting them through it as much as possible.

“This means there’s never been a better time for care providers to be represented by an organisation such as ours which provides a high level of support and enables them to speak with one voice.”

Ms Wimbury grew up in Kent although her family originally hails from Manchester where both her parents were councillors, and her father, Harry Wimbury, chaired the Welfare Services committee, dealing with care provision.

She went to schools in Snodland near Maidstone, Rainham near Gillingham and Chatham and on to Oxford University where she obtained a degree in mathematics.

An early responsibility was as President of the Student Union in Oxford and as a member of the national executive of the National Union of Students.

After university she began her career as a parliamentary liaison officer with the Association of Metropolitan Authorities – now part of the Local Government Association – dealing with legislation involving local government.

Later she joined the BBC, first working in parliamentary liaison then becoming head of public relations in its news department and later a senior communications advisor working on the corporation’s high profile annual report.

She then became head of communications for the Local Government Information Unit and gained a master’s degree in public policy at University College London.

Before joining Care Forum Wales in 2011, she spent five years as director of the UK Mathematics Trust, a charity which runs maths enrichment projects for secondary school pupils across Britain.

Looking at other challenges she faces in her new role with the forum, Ms Wimbury added: “Apart from implementing two pieces of Welsh Government legislation, I’d say that the biggest issue for social care providers is funding, which is a particularly controversial topic at the moment across the UK.

“If we can secure adequate funding for the sector and get that right everything else should follow.

“In the forum we also need to work on newer methods of communications with our members, continue to build our membership and also look at other organisations we can work with as partners.

“Social care providers need to be members of an organisation in order to influence decisions being taken that affect them at a local, regional and national level and I hope that organisation can be Care Forum Wales.”

Care Forum Wales chairman Mario Kreft MBE said: “We were delighted to appoint somebody of Mary undoubted calibre as the new chief executive at such a crucial time in the social care sector.

“Mary has shown during her time as senior policy officer and more recently as the interim chief executive that she has a firm grasp of all the issues and a real determination to campaign for fairness for the providers to ensure we provide the best possible care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities across Wales.”

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Boost for town: Local celebrity Matt Baker to take on the Castle Hotel

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A WELL known local musician and radio DJ is to take on a landmark business in Haverfordwest. The nine bedroom Castle Hotel is probably one of Pembrokeshire’s best known venues – but Matt Baker says it is now under new management.

Matt Baker is not doing things slowly, with a planned opening of the premises on May 28 promising live music, good food and a relaxing atmosphere for all ages. For what is sure to be a positive piece of news for Haverfordwest’s ailing town centre, he is currently advertising for staff, thus creating jobs.

Matt, who previously ran The Tiddly, made his announcement on his Facebook page this morning (May 16), with hundreds of people liking the post and many more wishing him well with his new venture.

Matt Baker is a DJ for Pure West Radio based in Haverfordwest (Pic: M Baker/Facebook)

He wrote: “Well folks I got some exciting news.

“As most of you know cruise ships have been a big part of my life, 16 years on and off.

“In between that I did open my own pub here in Pembrokeshire call The Tiddly and worked me bottom off to provide a great place for people to come and switch off with live music every night.

“That unfortunately had to come to an end and I have missed it very much.
Well, seeing as I can’t go back to ships at the moment I’ve decided to take on an adventure I
“I’ve always dreamed one day I would own and that is a Hotel.

“It’s not just any Hotel, but one full of amazing history right here in the heart of Pembrokeshire and right in the Center of Haverfordwest.

“Everyone said when I was at The Tiddly “we love it here but we wish you were in town” as The Tiddly was 3 miles outside of Haverfordwest.

The Castle Hotel is steeped in history, and is a Grade II listed building. The Boxing Day Hunt, with riders, horses and hounds late 19th century. (Pic DA Images)

“I’m super excited to start a new chapter in my life and with the support of the people of Pembrokeshire and beyond and I’m hoping it will be life long.

“The Hotel has nine beautiful rooms on suite and a lovely restaurant area and a lounge/bar which I’m planning to have all up and running very soon, all been refurbished by the way.
We still are In uncertain times but I’m hoping we are at the back end and can enjoy each other’s company like before and socialise.

“I’m bringing back live music, good food and drink, and a place to come and switch off for all age groups with a comfortable and enjoyable environment.

“I’m planning for the 28th of May to be open, that’s in just under 2 weeks, but if you know me, you know I like a challenge.

“Please come support and follow all guidelines for now as we move forward in these new times.

“I will look forward to welcoming you to The Castle Hotel with open arms and let’s make more great memories together.

“See you soon Pembrokeshire and beyond!”

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‘Reach out to friends and family’ says Council Leader

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THIS week’s update from Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council:

‘Hello everyone, I hope you are all keeping well and safe.

‘I’d like to highlight that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

‘I’m very aware that the last 15 months has had a huge impact on our lives and, in some cases, our wellbeing.

‘Mental Health can be a hidden issue and we all need to be aware that some people may need some extra support.

‘On a personal level the lockdown restrictions have reminded me of the importance to talk to people and to ensure people are supported.

‘Supporting your friends and family can be as simple as a phone call to say hello. A quick hello can ensure people are ok and managing and can give someone a huge uplift.

“Our communities have done a fantastic job of supporting each other so please, Team Pembrokeshire, continue these efforts.

‘I urge you all to pick up the phone and say hello to your friends and family, as we all need to play our role in everyone’s wellbeing – talking about issues does make a difference.

‘If you are suffering from Mental Health or general wellbeing issues please reach out, do not struggle on your own, your friends and family can help and make a difference.

‘Please also take the opportunity to also view the website at https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week which has much more information and support.

‘I now want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in last week’s elections.

‘Elections take a phenomenal amount of organisation at the best of times but even more so in a pandemic situation.

‘To all those who ensured the smooth running of the elections process, thank you.

‘Congratulations to all the successful candidates and I look forward to working with them to further improve the lives of Pembrokeshire people.

‘We have now had further updates from Welsh Government and the next phase of the unlocking road map has been unveiled.

‘From Monday, 17th May, indoor hospitality can re-open.

‘Up to six people from six different households will be able to meet indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants.

‘We have so many fantastic hospitality venues in Pembrokeshire who we know will be giving their customers a big welcome after so long away.

‘The opening of indoor hospitality will be a major landmark in our emergence from the pandemic and towards recovery.

‘While out and about please remember social distancing rules are still in pace, consider your actions on others, remember your footprint has an impact on our communities, so please tread lightly.

‘When you go home, leave with a smile – enjoy your days out, enjoy seeing your families and most importantly enjoy our beautiful county and please support us in keeping Pembrokeshire special – play your part and please be responsible.

‘I want to wish you all a lovely weekend and I look forward to talking to you all again next week through my update.

‘Thank you everyone.’

You can keep up to date with all the Council’s press releases here: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/newsroom

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Plan to rescue rare butterfly from extinction in Pembrokeshire

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THE PEMBROKESHIRE Coast National Park Authority is stepping up efforts to save the marsh fritillary butterfly, which was once widespread in Wales but is now close to extinction in Pembrokeshire.

Funded by the Pembrokeshire Nature Partnership, the new landscape scale strategy aims to improve the fortunes of the rare species, which relies on networks of flower rich marshy grasslands across the landscape.

Much of this habitat, which is home to the favourite food of its larva – the devil’s bit scabious (succisa pratensis), has been lost due to drainage, inappropriate tree planting and the neglect of traditional management of grasslands through light grazing with heavy animals such as cattle.

National Park AuthorityBiodiversity Officer, Sarah Mellor said: “The marsh fritillary in Pembrokeshire is now in a very precarious position. We think it has already become extinct in a number of areas in its former range and it has not been seen on the St Davids Peninsula since 2013. The population around Keeston and Tiers Cross is also now thought to be extinct.

“We must find a way to make space for wildlife in our landscape to ensure that nature can thrive for future generations. It is quite sobering to think this species could disappear from Pembrokeshire in my lifetime. We have a responsibility not to let this happen on our watch.

“Even in those areas where it remains we have seen dramatic declines, for example around Mychanchlogddu it used to be recorded from 32 sites, but since 2015 it has only been seen at seven sites.”

The National Park Authority has already stepped up its action to rescue the rare butterfly by assisting landowners to bring sites into suitable management through grant aid and providing suitable grazing animals through the Pembrokeshire Grazing Network and the Conserving the Park Scheme.

The new strategy will include mobilising Park Authority staff and volunteers to undertake targeted surveys at sites across the county, as well as helping landowners to manage their land in a sensitive way to help ensure the future of this rare butterfly.

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