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Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre celebrates the building of the iconic Star Wars starship

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A MILLENNIUM FALCON exhibition is opening to the public in the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre in West Wales on Monday, May 23, thanks to £8,000 funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The permanent installation tells the story of the building of a life-sized model of the iconic Star Wars starship in the town in 1979 for the Oscar-winning film The Empire Strikes Back.

“The worst kept secret in Pembroke Dock.” 

Craftsmen from a local engineering firm built the model – the first of its type ever constructed, in the Western Hangar – a former RAF aircraft hangar in the town’s dockyard.

“It was the worst kept secret in Pembroke Dock – everybody in the town knew they were building a UFO in the hangar and that period of time and that story is an important part of the town’s living memory” remembers Gareth Mills, a trustee of the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are now able to tell the story of the building of the Millennium Falcon in Pembroke Dock – an iconic event to fans across the globe, in a new and permanent exhibition. The exhibition will provide a significant boost for Pembroke Dock with increased visitor numbers helping with the economic regeneration of our town and will also have major benefits for Pembrokeshire.”

“One of the most iconic starships in science fiction history”

Work on the Millennium Falcon exhibition at the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre has been going on for some time under the watchful eye of local Star Wars expert and enthusiast Mark Williams.

“George Lucas set a new standard in both storytelling and film making with Star Wars and the story of the Millennium Falcon being built in Pembroke Dock was big news at the time. The whole world knew about it, then the story faded into legend.”

“The idea of a town in West Wales making a significant contribution to this incredible story by being the place where one of the most iconic starships in science fiction history was built, creates a mixture of disbelief, awe and pride.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded towards creating a permanent display in the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre about the building of the Millennium Falcon model.

A walk-through display will tell the story with photographs, film, models and costumes.

“Pembroke Dock – the birthplace of the first-ever life-sized model of the Millennium Falcon – now has a permanent exhibition for an often overlooked and largely unknown but major Welsh contribution to film and cinema history and popular culture,” said Andrew White, Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales.

“The funding for the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust has been made possible by National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million every week for good causes in the UK. It is just one of the more than 635,000 good causes in the UK that has received a share of over £41 billion raised by National Lottery players since 1994.”

The Millennium Falcon isn’t Pembrokeshire’s only connection to Star Wars. Lynwen Brennan, Lucasfilm EVP and General Manager, is a Pembrokeshire native. “I am so delighted that this wonderful moment and place in Star Wars history will be preserved,” said Lynwen Brennan. 

“I love that such an iconic, beloved ship was built in the town where my Mum was born and in the county where I grew up, and I’m hopeful this exhibit will become a new destination for fans around the world.”

Andrew White,Director of the National Lottery heritage Fund in Wales said “Wales has a proud tradition of myths and legends to which we can now add the little-know story of Wales’ contribution to the Star Wars films.This new exhibition showcases Pembroke Dock as the birthplace of the first life-sized model of the Millenium Falcon. It’s a great example of one of our small grants going a long way , in this case to a galaxy, far away and back again”.

The funding for the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust has been made possible by National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million every week for good causes in the UK. It is just one of the more 635,000 good causes in the UK that has received a share of over £41 billion raised by National Lottery players since 1984.

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Community

Deadline approaching for £500 payment to unpaid carers

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THE DEADLINE to apply for a one-off £500 payment to eligible unpaid carers in Wales is rapidly approaching.

The Welsh Government scheme, administered by Pembrokeshire County Council, is open to all unpaid carers in Wales who were in receipt of Carers Allowance on 31 March 2022.

The deadline to apply is 5pm on 15th July 2022 and those who believe they are eligible are urged not to miss out.

The Council is also sending out 400 letters this week to those they believe may be eligible and who have not yet applied.

The payment is in recognition of the increased financial pressures many unpaid carers experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic and to help with some of the additional costs they have incurred. 

The payment is targeted towards those individuals who care for someone for at least 35 hours a week and have low incomes.

You will not be eligible for the payment if:

  • You have an underlying entitlement to Carers Allowance but do not receive a payment because you are in receipt of another benefit at the same or higher rate; or
  • You only receive the carer premium  

If you have already applied please be assured the Council is working its way through the applications as quickly as possible.

How to apply

Applicants (this should be the person in receipt of carer’s allowance)

are required to complete the online form at: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/grants/unpaid-carers-500-pound-payment

Required information is:

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Date of Birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • Post code
  • A bank statement showing your name, address, account number and sort code

If you are having problems completing the on-line application form please email: UnpaidCarers@pembrokeshire.gov.uk alternatively call 01437 764551 for assistance.

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Pembrokeshire Homeshare launches to tackle loneliness and the cost-of-living crisis

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THIS Summer, the second Homeshare service in Wales is starting, bringing cheer by matching older people living alone with those seeking affordable accommodation in and around Pembrokeshire, Wales.

The news comes as the true scale of loneliness in the UK is becoming understood. Older people in Wales want to stay living at home for longer. In Wales, 54% of people aged 60-74 and 49% of people 75+ years, said they felt lonely sometimes (ONS). In Pembrokeshire 26.17% of the population are over the age of 65 (Welsh Government Stats 2020).

The service, called Homeshare, works by matching people together for mutual support; a person who has a spare room and is looking for company and a bit of practical support, shares their home with someone looking for affordable accommodation. Both people benefit from the companionship and having a friendly face at home. The householder typically receives 10 hours per week of practical support provided by the Homesharer such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, gardening or even enjoying social activities together, but no personal care is involved.

Younger people are being priced out of the villages, towns, and cities they want to live in, for work or study. Latest figures again show that the average age at which people can leave home even to rent is rising along with the proportion of income spent on housing. Many people in mid and later life are also finding themselves without affordable housing options after the impact of the pandemic.

In Pembrokeshire, the programme will be called ‘Pembrokeshire Homeshare’. Homeshare UK and Pembrokeshire Homeshare, part of Pembrokeshire Care Society are launching the second Welsh pilot programme to offer more people the opportunity to live sociably and affordably whatever their age, with the right support structures in place to make it safe and enjoyable.

Pembrokeshire Homeshare was set up by the Pembrokeshire Care Society who have been supporting the people of Pembrokeshire with homelessness and tenancy issues since 1979.

Dean Flood from the Pembrokeshire Care Society will act as the Homeshare lead in Pembrokeshire. Dean has lived and worked in Pembrokeshire most of his life. He has led three primary schools as Headteacher and has been supporting adults and their families with tenancy support over the past year. Dean says:

“Throughout my working life I’ve engaged with older people who have so much to give and who provide great service to their communities. They are independent, sociable and non-reliant on social care services. Sadly, many struggle because they’re on their own. Their lives however could improve so much, just by having that bit of support and companionship that everyone needs and deserves.

“I’ve also been fortunate to work with many young people and adults – moving on into the working world with ambition and hopes to play a positive role in society. We know of the huge challenges they encounter in finding suitable, comfortable accommodation that is affordable. Increasing rental costs provide a barrier for them to move on or indeed leave their family home.

“Homeshare is a way of bringing the two groups together to solve each other’s needs by using their respective strengths and providing mutual support. It breaks down the financial barriers but most importantly it is about investing in people, to enhance their lives and promote community cohesion”.

The Homeshare match is facilitated, supported and closely monitored by Pembrokeshire Care Society (Pembrokeshire Homeshare), who have a long history of working with individuals and the community. As a member of Homeshare UK, they will draw on established national good practice guidance from Homeshare UK to ensure safety and quality.

Pembrokeshire Homeshare along with support from Homeshare UK aim to support 20 matches in the first 2 years.

If you’re interested in Homeshare and live within Pembrokeshire, contact Dean Flood, dean.flood@pembrokeshirecaresociety.org.uk 07483 917951 or visit https://homeshare.pembrokeshirecaresociety.co.uk/ to find out more.

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New grants scheme launched to break barriers to accessing nature

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A £2MILLION funding pot designed to bolster community resilience by harnessing the power of nature is set to be launched by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) this summer.  

The launch of the Resilient Communities Grant Programme stems from calls for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a recovery which places a stronger focus on action for nature and a recovery that spreads to every part of society.

 The Welsh Government’s declaration of a Climate and Nature Emergency has also galvanised communities, businesses and public bodies in Wales to work together to mitigate against and adapt to the impacts of climate change, now and in the future.

The Resilient Communities Grant will provide communities with the opportunities to restore and enhance nature in their local areas, particularly in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities, and those with little access to nature. Supporting the provision of more green space will also support the changes needed to make to society to respond to the challenges of the climate emergency and reverse the decline in biodiversity.

 With applications set to open in July, NRW is urging projects from across Wales to develop and submit proposals that have at their heart:

  • Opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion, particularly amongst communities that have less access to quality green spaces.
  • Creative ways to reconnect people with nature and their local environment to improve physical and mental health, confidence, self-esteem and encourage ‘green behaviours’.
  • Promoting health and wellbeing through therapy and nature, particularly interventions that tackle health inequalities.
  • Nature-based solutions that help communities feel safer and secure, for example improving greenspaces blighted by criminal activity.
  • Creating more opportunities to access nature, especially where this need is reflected in future development planning.
  • Opportunities to improving community awareness and understanding of climate risks, empowering communities to be involved in decision-making and taking action to tackle climate change impacts.
  • Ensuring communities feel a sense of connection and empowerment with their natural environment and have an active role over how it is managed and improved.
  • Creating opportunities for education and involvement in citizen science so communities have a better connection and greater understanding of their local environment and the benefits that a healthy environment can bring.

Gareth O’Shea, Director of Operations for NRW, said: “We have seen people connecting with nature during the Covid-19 pandemic and a greater appreciation of the way in which it underpins our health, our economy and our wider wellbeing.

“There has also been increasing recognition that the climate and nature emergencies are upon us, and its impacts are being felt amongst the parts of society that have contributed least to its acceleration. More needs to be done to mitigate and adapt now.

“Our Resilient Communities Grant Programme seeks to support that effort – providing communities with the opportunities to meet these challenges in a number of ways.

“From promoting the benefits of greater access to nature, tackling loneliness and exclusion and empowering people to influence the decisions made in their local areas, we’re encouraging people to submit proposals that can make a significant difference to the health, wellbeing and resilience of current and future generations.”

The Resilient Communities Grant Programme can provide 100% funding and applications are welcomed for amounts from £10,000 to £250,000. Applications can be made across different places and address multiple themes. Applicants who collaborate with other partners to submit joint applications are also warmly welcomed.

For further information on NRW’s Resilient Communities Grant Programme and the upcoming webinar, please visit: Natural Resources Wales / Current grant funding opportunities or contact grants.enquiries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

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