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New project launched to help Milford Haven families for ‘when the going gets tough’

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Pictured from the MCA project are Fiona Griffiths from Milford Haven School, Scott Powell from Team around the Family, and Chris Davies from Milford Haven Rotary.

A NEW pilot project has been launched to support some of the most vulnerable families in the Milford Haven area, helping them to get through what is perhaps the most difficult part of the pandemic so far.

The ‘Milford Community Action’ project is aiming to help up to 100 local families who are experiencing financial hardship, require additional support from local services, or whose children care for other family members.

There will be a variety of practical support given in an attempt to help families both in the short term, and also guidance to help them build for a brighter future.

Resources will include food packs, the provision of slow cookers, cook books and live cookery sessions, educational activity packs for children, IT resources for pupils without access to digital devices, budgeting tools, and signposting to helpful organisations.

The 12-week project has been designed and developed in a partnership between Milford Haven School, Milford Youth Matters and Pembrokeshire County Council.

“There will be widespread engagement across Milford Haven, with local businesses and groups already pledging their support,” said Gemma Baker from Milford Haven School, who is co-ordinating the project with Dayle Gibby from Milford Youth Matters.

“Milford Haven Rotary Club were the first local group to contribute to the project, assisting with the delivery of meal packs as well as generously donating 30 slow cookers to be given to families in need.

“This collaborative approach is vital to enrich the experience of those families taking part, as well as strengthening community links and making the project sustainable for the future.”

Cllr Tessa Hodgson, Cabinet Member for Social Services, said it was a very welcome and timely initiative.

“This prolonged period of lockdown is difficult for everyone, but for those for whom life is already tough, it’s even harder,” she said.

“Hopefully this project will provide ongoing support for families, and hope where it is needed most.”

One aspect of the project is tackling food poverty, and so families will receive guidance on life skills such as meal-planning and household budgeting, as well as weekly food packs.

Another aspect is family wellbeing and welfare, and so the TAF (Teams around the Family) and Sport Pembrokeshire teams in the Council will put together activity and play packs, baking kits and craft kits, as well as increasing access to books and traditional games to encourage family participation.

Home-schooling will be supported by providing IT resources for digitally disadvantaged pupils, and period poverty is being addressed through the supply of feminine hygiene packs.

And alongside this, families are being signposted to useful advice and support from CAB (Citizen’s Advice Bureau) and other local organisations which can help with employment skills or training.

Pictured is Emma Kedward (Futures Leader for Numeracy at Milford Haven School) who has generously donated a selection of games that support numeracy skills in young people, such as telling the time. 

Darren Mutter, the Council’s Head of Children’s Services, said the aim is to create a range of positive outcomes.

“We hope that beyond their engagement with the project, families will feel more positive about their ability to improve their own circumstances; more confident in knowing where to seek support and more connected to their community,” he said.

“This isn’t just about dealing with the issues of food poverty or financial hardship but more about providing ongoing community support for the children and young people and their parents who need us.”

Headteacher of Milford Haven School, Ms Ceri-Ann Morris, said:

“We are immensely proud to support this project and utilise the school facilities to help our community. Schools are at the heart of every community, they are the common link that ties everyone in the community together.

“Everyone knows someone connected to the school, and the work of Miss Baker (Milford Haven School) together with Dayle Gibby will be the driving force in getting resources out to the people most in need within our catchment area.”

Cllr Guy Woodham, Cabinet Member for Education & Lifelong Learning, said: “Once again Milford Haven School and Milford Youth Matters are demonstrating the fantastic things that can be achieved when you work with others for the benefit of the local community. Gemma Baker and Dayle Gibby continue to find ways to seize opportunities as they arise and make great things happen in Milford – they are excellent ambassadors and role models for not just young people but everyone in our community.”

The pilot project is funded by Pembrokeshire County Council with numerous contributions, both financial and time, from local groups and businesses which will further develop the positive reach of the project.

If successful, the County Council will be looking to roll it out with local partners in the Fishguard area.

● If you have any questions about the project, or would like information on how you can get involved, please contact Gemma or Dayle at gbaker@milfordhavenschool.co.uk or dayle.mym@outlook.com

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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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