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Pembrokeshire Libraries scoop Silver award for commitment to unpaid carers

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S Libraries have been recognised for their commitment to and support for unpaid carers and their families.

All of the libraries and associated services have achieved their Investors in Carers Silver Level award; a scheme which is delivered by Hywel Dda University Health Board and supported by its local authority and third sector partners in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

The Investors in Carers scheme was originally designed to help health facilities such as GP practices, areas within hospitals and other organisations focus on and improve their carer awareness and enhance the help and support they give unpaid carers of all ages.

Pembrokeshire Library’s submission was assessed against the six themes within the scheme: Carer Lead, Staff training, Identification, Information and Support for carers and Evaluation.

The assessor said that the content of the submission included some excellent work across all sites and was easy to follow.

Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, Cllr Rhys Sinnett, said: “This Award process has involved a lot of hard work and effort from Library Service staff and it is fantastic to see those efforts being rewarded.  

It could not be more apt that this award is presented at a time when the role of carers is even more important than ever, given the pressures we currently see on our health services.  

“Our libraries are always warm and welcoming spaces and we hope that this award underlines our commitment to identify, engage with and support carers in Pembrokeshire. I would also like to thank the carers themselves who work so hard, often behind the scenes, to care for loved ones. Please know that you are valued and we recognise your amazing work every day.”

Libraries Manager Anita Thomas, said “Pembrokeshire Libraries are very proud to have achieved the Silver award. The library staff have worked very hard and shown great enthusiasm in identifying unpaid carers within all of our libraries.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to all involved. It has raised awareness of the value and importance of unpaid carers within the community. We all have a responsibility in identifying and supporting them. We often don’t realise how just taking time to listen, offering a kind word or the smallest action can have the greatest impact.

The libraries also collected certificates from the Dementia Supportive Communities Development Officer of the Alzheimer’s Society Cymru working to become Dementia Friendly.

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Milford Haven: Police investigating sexual assault

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POLICE are investigating an incident of sexual assault which occurred in Hakin, Milford Haven.

Milford Haven Police say that the alleged incident took place in Croft Avenue on February 7, 2023 at around 19:50hrs.

If anyone is able to give any information regarding this incident please ring 101 quoting reference DPP/0956/07/02/2023/02/C.

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Pembrokeshire County Council faces less bleak finances than previously expected

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL faces a less bleak financial position than had previously been expected, to the tune of nearly £10m, members of a schools committee have heard.

At the February 6 meeting of the Schools and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance Cllr Alec Cormack, presented outline draft 2023-’24 budget proposals to members.

He told members an updated draft budget was to be reported to the February meeting of the council’s Cabinet after a previously feared funding gap of £28m was now smaller, at £18.6m, due to a higher settlement from Welsh Government.

An expected 3.5 per cent settlement ended up being 7.9 per cent, which meant some expected cuts were now unlikely to happen, he told committee members.

“A large number of the most severe cuts are now very, very unlikely; we’re now looking at a deficit of £18.6m, it’s not as severe as it was.

“The officer team is looking at how that funding gap could be closed with budget savings and with different levels of council tax.”

Members heard the budget is expected to be addressed through an increase in council tax – potentially in the area of 7.5 per cent – along with significant cost reductions.

Director of Resources John Haswell said: “It was a better settlement, but still an £18.6m gap; this isn’t a one-year issue, this is an issue over the medium-term plan, over £50m over the four-year period.”

He said that Pembrokeshire, having the lowest council tax rates in Wales, meant that each potential percentage increase returned less than other local authorities.

Members heard papers listing the latest budget proposals for Cabinet discussion are expected to be released soon, in advance of the February 13 meeting.

Members agreed to defer making any recommendations to Cabinet, pending the release of the revised papers.

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Welsh Freeport competition heats up with Senedd vote

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ON WEDNESDAY, the Senedd will hold a debate regarding freeports as the competition for UK and Welsh Government funding nears its conclusion.

Currently, three bids are in from across Wales for a chance to benefit from £26 million of direct UK Government funding, as well as reduced taxes for businesses in the freeport area. A Welsh freeport could see up to 16,000 jobs created and further investment or the local area into the billions.

Speaking ahead of the debate, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for the Economy, Paul Davies MS said:

“Benefits of a freeport cannot be understated, bringing much needed jobs and investment into some of the most deprived areas of Wales.

“The UK Government put the challenge to Wales to submit exceptional bids, and Wales has delivered.

“All three bids would help to transform their local communities in different ways. It’s essential that the UK and Welsh Governments work together to deliver that second freeport for Wales, maximising the opportunities that these bids have to offer.”

The three Welsh Freeport bids are:

  • The Celtic Freeport (covering Pembrokeshire to Neath) which has estimated that it would create over 16,000 new jobs and up to £5.5 billion in new investment.
  • The Anglesey Freeport would support up to a £1 billion contribution to UK GDP by 2030, while also creating up to 13,000 new, high salary jobs in Ynys Môn.
  • The Newport Freeport (including Cardiff Airport) is aiming to increase non-passenger revenues to 50%, ending their reliance of passenger generated income.

The UK Government stated that “if a truly exceptional proposal were presented at the bidding stage” than a second freeport would be funded.

The Welsh Conservative debate reads:

To propose that the Senedd:

1. Recognises the opportunities for freeports to energise the Welsh economy, create high quality jobs, promote regeneration and investment.

2. Notes that three bids from Wales have been submitted for consideration by the UK and Welsh Governments.

3. Calls on the Welsh Government to work with the UK Government to deliver two freeports in Wales, recognising the truly exceptional proposals submitted and the transformational benefits they can deliver for the Welsh economy.

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