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Food premises fined and director banned from running a food business

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A PEMBROKESHIRE restaurant and its two directors have been ordered to pay more than £15,200 for food safety offences, with one of them prohibited from operating a food business.

Both directors of JT3 Restaurant in Fishguard, Daniel Wynne Jones and Lois Thomas, along with their company Me‘n’u1 Ltd, pleaded guilty to all offences at Haverfordwest Magistrates on Friday (Jul 3).

They were fined a total of £10,700 with more than £4,500 costs, and Daniel Wynne Jones was also banned from operating a food business.

In a prosecution brought by Pembrokeshire County Council, the court heard that the premises was issued a Food Hygiene Rating of 0 following an inspection in March 2019 by an officer from the Authority’s Public Protection Division.

During the inspection the officer found the basement kitchen to be in a poor state of cleanliness and repair, with no disinfecting cleaning products or soap available, an inadequate water supply and flies present. There was no evidence of any food safety management system in use and the business scored a 0 food hygiene rating.

Two revisits were made to check for improvements, which were made, but the business failed to display their food hygiene rating sticker and had to be supplied with a new one, along with a warning.

Subsequent visits saw the sticker being hidden behind doors and then behind an umbrella hanging from a hook above it. A fixed penalty fine for the offence of failing to display the sticker went unpaid.

On 13th December 2019 another inspection was carried out at the restaurant. On arrival officers were told that the business was closed, but once in the kitchen, they found that a substantial amount of food preparation was going on and were dismayed to find that conditions had deteriorated again, including the ongoing poor structural condition and complete lack of any implemented food safety controls in relation to the safe production of food. Again, the business scored a 0 Food Hygiene rating.

By December 19 the situation had worsened to the point that two visits had to be made that day and a Remedial Action Notice served to prevent the manufacture of chicken liver parfait and duck. Improvement notices were also served to try to address the level of training and ensure that food safety procedures were introduced and sustained.

Unfortunately these improvement notices were not complied with and the food hygiene rating sticker remained deliberately hidden.

As well as the fine, costs of £4571.11 were awarded to the County Council, with victim surcharges of £240.

After the case, a Council spokesman said: “This is unprecedented in the history of the Food Hygiene Rating scheme in Pembrokeshire where a business has scored 0 twice and conditions have deteriorated rather than improved across the two inspections.

“Despite the best efforts of our officers to move this business towards compliance, the food business operator continued to flout food safety regulations and mislead customers about his food hygiene rating.

“The decision of the court to prohibit him from running a food business and the level of fine reflect the seriousness of this case.”

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Hywel Dda encourages vaccination as flu expected to be a major public health issue this winter

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HYWEL DDA University Health Board is urging anyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccine to take up the offer.

It comes as Public Health experts have warned that they are expecting a significant flu season this winter for the first time since the pandemic.

There are concerns that it may start earlier this year and affect more people.

In addition, the Covid-19 autumn booster programme is now live and many people including everyone over 50 years old, and those at risk of severe disease are among those being offered a Covid-19 booster to reduce their chances of getting seriously ill with Covid-19.

If you are eligible for an autumn COVID-19 booster, please wait to be invited by either your GP or the health board. Everyone eligible will be offered an appointment by November.

GP practices are also preparing to invite eligible patients for their seasonal flu vaccine and aim to offer an appointment to everyone eligible by December. Again, please do not contact your GP practice at this time, you will be invited when it is your turn.

Cases of flu (also known as influenza) are already being detected in Wales. Public health scientists say that the flu season could be as severe as the 2017/18 flu outbreak, where 16.5 thousand people in Wales were diagnosed with flu by their GP, and 2,500 people were hospitalised. There was also a high level of seasonal excess deaths that year – the worst for around 20 years.

Since March 2020, the Covid-19 lockdowns and international travel restrictions have disrupted the amount of respiratory viruses in circulation, but as our lives are going back to normal, viruses are returning in higher numbers. This year, Australia experienced a flu season which was earlier than usual and saw the highest case levels in five years. It is possible that the UK – and Wales – will experience similar flu activity.

With Covid-19 also in circulation, and added winter pressures on the NHS, it is more important than ever that those who are eligible for a free flu or Covid-19 vaccine get vaccinated to help prevent them becoming seriously unwell and protect the NHS this winter.

Dr Joanne McCarthy, Deputy Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “Flu is caused by the influenza virus. It can be a very unpleasant illness and also lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

“The pandemic has made us much more aware that vaccination saves lives and reduces hospitalisations. Vaccination may not stop you from catching flu or COVID-19, but it makes it far less likely that you will be severely ill or need hospitalisation.”

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “We are encouraging everyone to get both their jabs this winter, when flu and COVID will be at their peak, to protect themselves, those around them and the NHS during what will be a busy time for healthcare in Wales.”

To promote the vaccinations, Public Health Wales has launched a campaign encouraging those eligible to ‘power up’ their protection against serious illness this winter by getting the flu and Covid-19 vaccines. The campaign launches on 27 September with digital and social content as well as stakeholder outreach and radio adverts.

Vaccination is particularly important for those who are older, pregnant, or have a health condition and are more vulnerable to complications as a result of the infections. It is also very important that frontline healthcare workers and those who work in care homes or providing care in peoples own homes get their vaccines to help reduce spread.

To help stop flu and other viruses spreading, remember to ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it.’

For more information about how to get the vaccines, please visit https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/immunisation-and-vaccines/flu-vaccine-and-covid-19-autumn-booster/.

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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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