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Family lose everything in house fire

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housefireA HOUSE fire in Haverfordwest this week has left a family homeless and devastated, and with nothing.
Popular residents Damian and Hannah Wilkinson, were not in their living room in the South Court property when the fire started.
Damian explained: “I was in the kitchen when the fire happened and it caught within seconds. I tried to put some water on it but it was quickly out of control and the fire brigade arrived about five minutes later, by which time the whole front room had been gutted.”
When asked what had started the fire he said he was not completely sure.
He described the aftermath: “We are currently staying at a friend’s house and waiting for the Council to provide us with temporary accommodation. The house will need an inspection and a structural check before we are able to begin to fix it. Everything in the house is black from the smoke, the walls inside and outside. You can see the the smoke has even melted some of the light fittings, such was the heat coming from the fire”.
Though the family all got out of the property safely, Damian described what had been lost: “We have lost everything. What we have tried to salvage is charred and black. Our first consideration is to make sure the children have everything they need, particularly clothes.”
His wife Hannah said: “One of my children had asked last night if they could go home to their own bed. What do you say to that?”
Fenton School has offered assistance to the family through their family liaison officer.
Damian continued: “We have friends rallying round and have been offered lots of help, but we are still in shock. Right now I don’t really know exactly what we need. We lost a brand new 50-inch Panasonic television as well as a Play Station 3 and a computer. The computer had everything on it, including all our photos of our children as babies, and our wedding photos. Sadly, we had no home insurance, we couldn’t afford it.”
Whilst the community, including the local school, rallies around the family it seems the staff at the Job Centre in Haverfordwest have taken a different approach.
Damian explained his experience the day after the fire when he went to the benefits office to resume his claim for Job Seekers Allowance.
“I explained about the fire. Obviously, I was still in shock and not capable of thinking about work when I am trying to get our lives back together. However, the person that saw me insisted on me bringing in my login details to carry on looking for work.
‘’I explained the situation and that my login details were burnt in the fire. I also said that I had lost my PC that I use to look for work, which actually melted in the fire, and was told I could use the computers in the Job Centre.”
The Herald contacted Job Centre to find out how their staff thought Damien might be able to look for work when his priority and only concern was to re-establish housing for his family and they deferred the case to the Press Office.
A DWP spokesperson said: “It’s clearly a difficult time for Mr Wilkinson, and we appreciate his ability to look for work will be limited in the coming weeks as a result of the fire at his home.
“We hope the situation improves soon. In the meantime we’ll be giving him all the support we can.”

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Further coronavirus restriction relaxations brought forward

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FURTHER changes to the coronavirus restrictions have been announced by the First Minister Mark Drakeford today.

The Welsh Government has confirmed further relaxations will be brought forward from 17 May to 3 May – including the resumption of indoor supervised activities for children, indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults, such as exercise classes, and the re-opening of community centres.

This means Wales will have completed the move to Alert Level 3 by Monday 3 May.

From Saturday 24 April, the rule of 6 will allow for up to six people from six households to meet outdoors, not including children under 11 years of age or carers from those households.

The Welsh Government has also confirmed the relaxations that will take place on Monday 26 April. Outdoor attractions, including outdoor swimming pools, funfairs and theme parks, will be allowed to reopen, while outdoor hospitality can also resume, including at cafes, pubs and restaurants.

Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place and weddings receptions can begin again outdoors for up to 30 people.

Wales has the lowest coronavirus rates of the UK nations.  The successful vaccine programme continues with a higher proportion of people vaccinated in Wales than other nations of the UK for both first and second doses.

Changes from Monday 3 May:

  • Gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities being able to reopen;
  • People will also again be able to form extended households with one other household.

Relaxations planned for 17 May will be brought forward to the 3 May, including:

  • The resumption of indoor supervised activities for children;
  • Indoor organised activities for up to 15 adults (such as exercise classes and swimming lessons);
  • And the re-opening of community centres.

The First Minister said:

“The sacrifices we have made continue to show results. By us all working together and sticking to the rules, combined with our vaccination programme, mean we continue to make progress. Rates of the virus continue to fall and the public health situation is improving. 

“Due to these efforts we are able confirm more easing of the restrictions from 26 April and for early May we are again able to bring forward some of our plans. However, this progress is dependent on all of us continuing to work together to keep Wales safe.

“At the last three-week review, I set out a forward-look of how the restrictions could continue to be lifted in the weeks ahead, if the public health situation remains stable.

“It will be for the incoming Welsh Government to confirm these arrangements at the next three-week review, which will be held on May 13 – a week after the election. It is my assessment that the hospitality sector – bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes – will be able to open indoors from May 17, together with all other tourist accommodation, indoor entertainment and attractions.”

Further possible easements are subject to the public health situation remaining favourable.

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Tragedy above Milford Haven takeaway

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DYFED POWYS POLICE has confirmed that a 20-year-old male passed away in Milford Haven last Saturday, April 17.

Police were called to the USA Fried Chicken store on Charles Street at around 1:30pm but have said there are no suspicious circumstances.

A Herald reporter was at the scene and witnessed a number of police cars and an ambulance while plain-clothed officers were also seen.

HM Coroner has been informed.

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson added: “We were called to Charles Street in Milford Haven on Saturday 17 April at approximately 1.34pm to reports of a medical emergency. We attended the scene with one emergency ambulance where we assisted colleagues from the police.”

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Health

Tavernspite School the ‘healthiest of schools despite the pandemic’

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THE STAFF, governors, parents, and of course, the children of Tavernspite Community Primary School are delighted to gain the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award for an incredible 5th time after a recent and very rigorous assessment.

The school is already well known and highly regarded for its outstanding work in developing the health and wellbeing of all members of its school community. To achieve this prestigious recognition in the midst of a pandemic is all the more impressive. 

Health and Wellbeing at the school is led by teacher, Lauren Arthur, who has done an incredible job preparing for this re-assessment and raising the profile of the Healthy Schools scheme.

The assessor Mrs Lynne Perry, enjoyed a virtual tour and presentation by Year 3 pupils who took great pleasure in proudly showing Mrs Perry all the wonderful work the school has done to ensure its children are safe, happy with high levels of emotional and physical wellbeing.

In her report, Mrs Perry wrote, ‘Tavernspite School continues to be an outstanding health promoting school. The health promoting school ethos is evident across the whole school population and it runs seamlessly throughout everything that the school does. Tavernspite School continues to give high priority to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the whole school community.’

The school received fantastic support from Mrs Liz Western, Senior Public Health Officer and Lead for Healthy Schools and Pre-schools, Pembrokeshire, to whom they are very grateful.

Head teacher Kevin Phelps said, ‘We were delighted to receive this award for the fifth time, particularly considering the experiences we have all been through these past twelve months. Health and wellbeing has never been so important and we are proud to be leading the way like this.’

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