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First Minister refuses to back independent inquiry into children’s services in Wales

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THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has been accused of ‘ducking from scrutiny’ after First Minister Mark Drakeford has once again refused to back in independent inquiry into children’s services in Wales.

His decision has prompted an angry response from Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and former child protection social worker Jane Dodds.

In a statement the Lib Dems in Wales released a statement as follows: ‘This week, First Minister Mark Drakeford once again reiterated his opposition to an independent inquiry into children’s services in Wales.

Drakeford’s rejection of the proposal came in response to a question asked by Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds in the Senedd chamber.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats Leader, who worked for over 25 years as a child protection social worker has called for an independent inquiry come in response to the tragic death of Logan Mwangi and similar inquiries taking place in Scotland and England.’

Commenting Jane Dodds MS told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “The Welsh Liberal Democrats are very clear, following a number of alarming incidents, the Welsh Government should announce a review of child protection across Wales.

“Social workers, their managers, family support workers and colleagues in the health and education systems are working hard to protect children. But, more is needed to help social workers to do their job and a Chief Social Worker for Children is needed – as they have in England.

“Both Scotland and England are carrying out independent inquiries into the state of children’s social services in their jurisdiction. There is no reason for Wales not do the same.

“There are more children in care in Wales than in England or Scotland and children in Wales are more likely to enter care than their counterparts in England or Scotland.

“Since 2012 there has been a 78% increase in the number of children who are looked after and the last available figures show that 2,820 children were subject to a child protection plan – and we know that the pandemic has made working with those children and families all the more difficult.

“It is extremely disappointing to hear from the First Minister that the Welsh Labour Government will once again be ducking from scrutiny and refusing to hold an independent inquiry.”

Logan Mwangi’s mother and partner found guilty of murdering five-year-old

After being requested to carry out an independent review following the tragic death of Logan Mwangi, Mr Drakeford said, “It’s never right to rush into something very general from what is a very specific state of circumstances.”

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New mobile visitor centre ready to help visitors gear up for the Pembrokeshire Coast

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Park Authority Ranger Richard Vaughan and Summer Ranger Megan Holt with the new information van at Poppit Sands.

PEOPLE visiting some of Pembrokeshire’s top beaches and events may soon encounter a new mobile information centre, with a specially converted van ready to hit the road and help people enjoy their visit.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s new information van will be set up at seaside locations and popular local events, with Rangers on hand to give advice to those who need help and suggest free activities for those looking to discover the area’s wildlife.

National Park Authority Ranger Service Manager, Libby Taylor said: “This new vehicle will help our staff provide a range of information at locations where we know many people head to enjoy the National Park.

“As well as helping people learn more about the area and the different ways they can make the most of their visit, people can also find out how they can make the least impact on the Park during their stay.

“As well as having an awning to provide shelter, the van also includes space for magnetic panels that can be changed so the information that’s most relevant to the location or event can be provided.”

The vehicle, which has been converted by local company Poppit Campers, also includes a solar panel, which will help to power two iPads, which will give members of the public a chance to find further information on subjects such as nearby walks and wildlife identification.

The purchase and conversion of the vehicle was made possible through the support of the Welsh Government.

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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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Crime

Lola James: Two people have denied charges in connection of the death of 2-year-old

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TWO people who have been charged in connection with the death of a Haverfordwest toddler have denied charges.

30-year-old Kyle Bevan of Aberystwyth, denied a charge of murder at Swansea Crown Court.

Lola’s mum Sinead James, 29, denied a charge of causing or allowing the death of a child.

Lola died in Hospital on July 21, 2020, four days after sustaining a severe head injury at her home address in Princess Royal Way, Haverfordwest.

Bevan was remanded into custody.

James was released on conditional bail.

The trial will take place in 2023 and Judge Thomas said it is expected to last four weeks.

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