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New Carmarthenshire custody suite and policing base opens its door for first time



DYFED-POWYS POLICE will open its new Carmarthenshire Custody Suite and Policing base in Dafen, Llanelli today (May 26).

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn and Chief Constable Dr Richard Lewis will open the building in the company of local community representatives in Llanelli who will be given an opportunity to walk around the new modern, sustainable development, which has taken over 18 months to construct.

Planning permission was granted to the Dyfed-Powys Office of Police and Crime Commissioner by Carmarthenshire County Council back in April 2021 for the £18.6 million development, which Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn describes as a significant investment that has delivered a fit for purpose, modern facility for Dyfed-Powys Police.

As well as housing a new custody suite with 18 cells, some specialist departments and facilities will be based at the new policing hub as well as local response officers.  PCC Dafydd Llywelyn confirmed that the Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue to work out of their base at Llanelli town centre.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “It is a privilege for me to be here today opening this brand-new facility and to finally see what was originally considered to be an ambitious vision, now becoming a reality.

“This has been a significant investment for us which has provided us with a modern, sustainable fit for purpose policing hub and custody suite that will meet the needs and expectations of modern policing.

“During the planning application process between 2020 and 2021, we engaged widely with the local community, and It is a pleasure to invite community representatives here today to mark this occasion.

“I’ve worked extremely hard with partners for several years to ensure that we get to this position and I would like to thank everyone who has worked with us during its development”.

The construction has been given a BREEAM excellence rating, for its sustainable credentials which include a photovoltaic solar power installation to minimise the carbon footprint of the building; a rainwater harvesting facility for toilets and non-potable water, and electric car charging facilities.

PCC Llywelyn added: “We are going to have to make difficult decisions over the coming years about the future of some of our estates within Dyfed-Powys Police. 

“The current Llanelli Police Station has served the town and surrounding area well for decades but does not reflect the high standard and working environment required by a police force in the 21st Century.

“This new policing base is part of our commitment to work with key partners to deliver long-term sustainable improvements to our estates and ensure that Dyfed-Powys Police retains a visible and accessible presence in the heart of the communities it serves.

Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Constable, Dr. Richard Lewis said:“We are delighted to have this state of the art policing hub and custody suite opening in Llanelli. The building was designed and built for the future with the wellbeing of our staff and the community in mind.

“It is an energy efficient and sustainable construction, and will become a base for a number of Policing functions across Llanelli and Carmarthenshire, complementing the Neighbourhood Policing Team that will remain at the town centre.

“I am grateful to PCC Mr Dafydd Llywelyn and the project team as a whole for delivering the facility, which will serve local communities for years to come.”

Chief Inspector Richard Hopkin, Dyfed-Powys Police’s operational lead on the new build said:  “Our new Policing Base in Dafen will allow a number of specialist departments and facilities to be co-located under one roof at Llanelli which will ensure less travelling to various sites which will lend itself to a more efficient and effective operating model.

“The custody suite is also a state of the art facility which will significantly raise the standard of care being provided to detainees at the suite which includes a dedicated vulnerability wing which will ensure the safeguarding of the most vulnerable detainees that are housed at the facility.”

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Ten Afghan refugee families could soon be homed in Pembrokeshire



SENIOR Pembrokeshire councillors are expected to back an MoD scheme which will see up to 10 Afghan refugee families homed in the county.

The MOD will be leasing 10 properties in Pembrokeshire to Afghan families who have a military connection, Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting on October 2, will hear.

In November 2021 Cabinet backed a call for support from the Home Office following the launch of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), launched in addition to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

This offers eligible current or former locally employed staff (who worked for or with the UK Government) and who are assessed to be under serious threat to life, priority relocation to the UK.

At that time Cabinet agreed to support the scheme by offering to accommodate two families in the private rented sector.

Due to pressures in the private housing market, no Afghan families have yet been placed in Pembrokeshire.

A report for Cabinet members says: “Due to the strong military linkages that many resettled Afghans have due to the historic conflicts in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has put forward 10 houses (mix of three and some four-bed houses) based in Pembrokeshire for use by people arriving from Pakistan and their families.

“This is part of their nation-wide support for the ARAP scheme.

“Only families with a military connection will be able to access these properties, in line with the ARAP policy. These houses are currently being renovated by contractors commissioned by the MoD, to ensure they meet housing standards and should be available by November 30.”

It is proposed the properties are leased directly to the families; The MoD responsible for furnishing and maintaining the properties, and setting and collecting rent.

The report for members says concerns have been raised around community cohesion, mainly due to the 10 properties being located in one – unnamed – town, based on experiences in other counties.

“We would mitigate against this through robust communications and community events,” the report says, adding: “The police have not raised any concerns relating to this matter.”

In order to support the families, the council is able to access Home Office grant funding, available for three years at a total of £20,520 per person. If all 10 households were occupied the Authority would receive an estimated £620,000 to £820,000.

It is recommended that Cabinet support the MoD using the houses, with the Pembrokeshire Migration Partnership Board and delivery team managing the Afghan resettlement scheme using the infrastructure currently in place.

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Choirs to sing for local charity, Paul Sartori Hospice at Home



TWO local choirs, the Paul Sartori Community Choir and Neyland Ladies Choir are collaborating to deliver an Evening Concert on Saturday 30th September 2023 at the Merlin Theatre, Pembrokeshire College in aid of Paul Sartori Hospice at Home. The concert will also feature solos from talented young musicians, including local singer Mared Phillips.

The Paul Sartori Community Choir has come a long way since it was founded in April 2022. It began as a way to unite the community and to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the local charity, known as Paul Sartori Hospice at Home. The choir, now a permanent fixture, has helped many find the joy of singing in an inclusive fun choir. It is led by Mark Heron, Musical Director, who has a special association with the charity, as he was christened by Father Paul Sartori himself (the inspiration for the charity). They delivered a successful performance recently at St Marys Church, Haverfordwest to a packed audience.

“It was a fantastic experience to perform to such a large, warm and welcoming audience at St Mary’s Church. The commitment and enthusiasm of choir members has blown me away, and I am sure the concert at Merlin Theatre will be another proud moment for me, as the choir stand in front of the audience and sing their hearts out once more,” said Mark.

The Neyland Ladies Choir was formed by the late Ivor Thomas in 1977, his intention being to restart a mixed choral society in Neyland, however only one gentleman turned up to rehearsal! They have recently celebrated their 45th anniversary with a celebration concert, which also commemorated the coronation of King Charles III. The choir enjoys a wide repertoire, performing at services and concerts locally and further afield, supporting many charities across Pembrokeshire. They have had a long association with the Paul Sartori Hospice at Home over many years and have regularly led the singing at the ‘Light up a Life’ ceremonies. The choir’s Musical Director is Lynne Kelleher and Accompanist is Miranda Davies.

“We have great pleasure in joining the Paul Sartori Community Choir to share music and once again raise vital funds for this fantastic cause,” said Lynne.

Tickets for the Evening Concert are available on the charity’s website or by phoning 01437 763223.

The Paul Sartori Community Choir is a relatively young choir, which was set up following a successful grant award from the Community Changemakers Fund delivered by South West Wales Connected (SWWCo); Great Western Railway (GWR); Transport for Wales (TFW) and 4theRegion. More recently they benefitted from a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund. The group have also been supported by local companies including Sigma Display who sponsored their a-frame promotional board.

Paul Sartori Hospice at Home provide a range of services to Pembrokeshire people living in the final stages of a life-limiting illness and the Paul Sartori Community Choir extends the support to the wider community. For further information on the charity and its services visit their website or phone 01437 763223.

Photo: (press release picture) Picture of the Paul Sartori Community Choir (at St Marys Church) and Neyland Ladies Choir

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Pembrokeshire Coast projects receive recognition at National Park Protector Awards



TWO projects that help people volunteer and enjoy a range of activities in Pembrokeshire’s great outdoors were recently recognised in the 2023 National Park Protector Awards, which recognise the individuals and groups who go above and beyond in and for National Parks.

Roots to Recovery, which is run in partnership between Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Mind Pembrokeshire, was named runner up in the New Perspectives Category of the awards, which celebrates the people, projects or initiatives that champion and inspire diversity and inclusion in National Parks.

Roots to Recovery is a people-led project about the restorative powers of Pembrokeshire’s amazing outdoors. People of all abilities learn new skills and enjoy a range of activities such as wildlife walks, arts and crafts, conservation work, well-being sessions and gardening activities.

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Next Generation, made up of the Authority’s Youth Rangers and Youth Committee was also shortlisted in the New Perspectives category.

Maisie Sherratt, National Park Authority Roots to Recovery Officer/Inclusion and Youth Engagement Officer, said: “I’m so proud of the hard work and commitment that everyone involved with these projects put in. Thank you to everyone for your constant support and words of encouragement.”

National Park Authority Chief Executive, Tegryn Jones, added: “I was extremely proud that two projects from the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park had been shortlisted, continuing the strong tradition of previous winners and finalists we’ve had in the last few years.

“These two projects highlight some of the different ways the Park Authority is working to engage people from a range of ages, backgrounds and abilities to explore how the National Park can benefit them and how they can help make the Park a better place for others.”

As the participants in both projects were unable to attend the awards ceremony in the Houses of Parliament in London, a special evening was held at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids to celebrate their achievements, alongside the organisations and individuals that have supported them.

Also in attendance were representatives from the Eco Dewi group, who were runners up in 2022.

The National Park Protector Awards are organised by the Campaign for National Parks each year to recognise individuals and groups who go above and beyond in and for National Parks. From large-scale projects that help nature recover to grass-roots groups improving community access to National Parks and volunteers helping people to visit responsibly.

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