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Social worker wins national award

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A SOCIAL worker in Pembrokeshire has received a prestigious national accolade thanks to her inspirational leadership of a new family support Team.

Amy Slater, who is based at the Flying Start centre in Pennar, won the ‘Innovative Social Work’ category in the BASW Cymru Social Work Awards 2019, held last week.

The small team – set up less than 12 months ago – is ground-breaking in its work on early intervention, says Amy’s supervisor Trish Mellor, who nominated her for the award.

“Amy has been influential in moving this service area forward, being creative and innovative in her approach,” she said. “She has a very modest, yet sensitive and ethical approach to building purposeful relationships with families and other professionals.

“Her particular skills lie in her ability to be non-oppressive with parents and carers who are vulnerable and are also very often anxious and totally overwhelmed in their role as parents.”

A range of parents supported Amy’s nomination. One said: “The support we had has been a massive help. I have been put at ease with everything from my mental health after pregnancy to dealing with a previous landlord and getting a new home. Literally couldn’t have done it without Amy over the past year.”

Another parent said: “Flying Start have helped me to make a completely new start. I couldn’t have done it without Amy. I feel brilliant.”

Originally from Abergavenny, Amy qualified as a social worker 18 years ago and worked for many years in the voluntary sector in London, including with Action for Children, Barnado’s and organisations combating child sexual exploitation.

For the last five years she has worked in Pembrokeshire County Council’s social care service based in the county’s Flying Start centres.

Her team takes a holistic approach towards early intervention, working with families on anything from mental health support and relationship problems to ensuring they have access to community resources and tackling hardship issues.

Amy said she was glad the work of preventative services had been recognised.

“Some people think it’s a fairly straightforward area of social work but it can be quite challenging,” she said. “It’s all about helping families to build up resilience so that their child can reach their potential in their early years and participate fully when they go to school.

“It’s a crucial period for children and families. This is the time we should be investing in; it sets the scene for their whole lives.”

A social care colleague said: “It is an inspiration and a joy to work alongside Amy. She is professional at all times without losing her empathic approach with families.”

Amy’s health colleagues in other areas of the Flying Start programme were also generous in their praise. “Her preventative approach to working has been invaluable in supporting Health Visitors and Community Nursery Nurses to safely manage families on their caseloads who are not quite meeting the threshold for statutory social care,” said one.

Another colleague said: “The Health team would love to see an “Amy” available to every community team in the County.”

Amy said an important feature of the Family Support Team are that they are flexible, responsive and compassionate in their delivery.

“We’re quite a new team and have had a busy year of trying to get things done but it makes my job really enjoyable working alongside people who are committed and enthusiastic and believe in what they’re doing.”

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Milford Haven: Concerns over council refuse collection staff using drugs on duty

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL have confirmed that they are conducting an ongoing internal investigation.

The probe is relating to “illegal drug use by on-duty refuge collection crews” operating from the Thornton Refuge Depot in Milford Haven.

The Herald understands that following suspicions being raised, drug testing was carried out on refuse crews on Monday (May 10) – all before they left their depot.

This newspaper has been told that a number staff, which includes bin lorry drivers, tested positive for drug use, and that the council called in the police.

That information was passed to The Herald by someone who we have confirmed to be a member of staff working at Pembrokeshire County Council, who did not want to be named.

After a request for a statement, a spokesperson for the council has stressed that none of their vehicles were involved, suggesting that, on the day in question, positive tests were arrived at before any bin lorries had left the depot.

As part of the multi-agency operation the police were called and attended Thornton Refuse Depot, but did not make any arrests, and said they had little involvement in the operation.

Pembrokeshire County Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that there is an ongoing internal workplace investigation and can clarify that there was no police involvement on the day in question – no Pembrokeshire County Council vehicles were involved.

“We are not in a position to comment any further at this time.”

Dyfed Powys Police told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “At the request of Pembrokeshire County Council, officers attended Thornton Refuse Depot to provide [them with] support on the morning of Monday, May 10.

“Officers attended; however they were not utilised.”

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Council’s Planning Committee approves ambitious dockyard plans

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’s Planning Committee this morning (Tuesday, May 18) approved an application for the construction of a new marine engineering project at Pembroke Dock’s Royal Dockyard.
The plans, vociferously opposed by local heritage groups, passed unanimously.

The matter will now go to the Welsh Government, which has reserved its position on the scheme’s approval.
Committee members expressed the view that the balance between heritage and economic development were balanced, with strong views expressed on either side. They decided the balance of the application favoured economic development subject to conditions regarding aspects of the site’s preservation and its ability to be restored in the future.

The Committee members who attended a site visit on Wednesday, May 12, said it was the most informative and best site visit they had this council term. Visiting the site gave them a clearer idea about what was planned and the scale of the project, which would not have been gained from a paper exercise.

While the approval of the scheme was unanimous, one element of the reserved matters caused some members concern: the height and size of the proposed massive new sheds which would be built at a later phase of the project.
Cllr David Pugh, seconded by Cllr Steve Alderman, moved an amendment which would approve the project and delegate reserved matters to officers apart from the sheds’ construction, which would return to the Committee for detailed approval.

Cllr Tony Wilcox and Cllr Mark Carter emphasised the need for certainty regarding the project’s development, a position supported by Cllr David Howlett, Cllrs Pugh, Alderman and Cllr Stephen Joseph said that little delay would be caused to the scheme by bringing the sheds’ development back to the Committee. They noted the significant intrusion of the sheds into the landscape for miles around.

Planning Officer Mike Simmons advised that the project would proceed in five phases and that the applicant, Milford Haven Port Authority, was keen to proceed with the first phase as soon as possible. The first phase would be the infilling of the docks and pool, removing a caisson gate and preserving it, before the building of new slipways.
The Port Authority already accepted the sheds would only be built if there was commercial demand for them.
The amendment proposed by Cllr Pugh passed by six votes to five with two abstentions.

It means before the sheds are built, the Committee will decide the detailed application relating to them.

All other aspects of the development will be decided by officers.

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Business

Further Covid-19 business support packages to become available soon

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PEMBROKESHIRE businesses that remain affected by Covid-19 restrictions can check their eligibility for a new package of support from the Welsh Government.

This latest support package will help those businesses eligible to meet ongoing costs through to the end of June as they prepare for re-opening and more normal trading conditions.

Businesses that stand to benefit include:

  • nightclubs and late entertainment venues
  • events and conference venues not covered by the Welsh Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF)
  • hospitality and leisure businesses, including restaurants, pubs and cafes
  • supply chain business, which have been materially impacted by restrictions

An eligibility checker has opened on the Business Wales website so businesses can find out how much support they are likely to be entitled to and how to apply.

See more information and check your business’ eligibility at: https://businesswales.gov.wales/coronavirus-advice/

Funding will be calculated based on the size of the business and the type of restrictions they are under.

Businesses will be able submit applications to the Welsh Government from 24th May 2021 for grants of up to £25,000 and by the end of the month to Pembrokeshire County Council for smaller fixed Discretionary Grants.

To keep up to date and see the future application process for the Discretionary Grants please see: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

The above link will be be updated with the latest information.  

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