Connect with us


Family of five on housing wait list for three years while council builds no new homes



A FAMILY of five from Milford Haven say they’re forced to live in a two-bedroom council flat that is full of mould. 

Holly Elliott, 24, from Milford Haven claims her children have faced a number of health problems due to the mouldy conditions. 

Latest figures show she’s one of the 5,000 households on the social housing waiting list in Pembrokeshire.  The number waiting on this list has increased by more than 50 per cent since 2018.  

Pembrokeshire Council says it is struggling with a national shortage in council housing which is felt more acutely in this county.  And housing charities are calling for authorities to build more affordable housing to help those in need of a new home.

Holly’s family have been waiting for a new house from the council for almost three years. She began looking when she was two-months pregnant with her second child. He’s now two-years old. 

“My heart breaks for my son. He’s had problems with his chest ever since we bought him into this flat. He’s been back and forth to the doctors and still nothing helps,” Holly said.

“How they expect a family to live and fit in a tiny two-bedroom mouldy flat is beyond me.”

Since the family joined the council housing waiting list, they’ve had a third child – Ashley. Holly says he’s also suffered several health issues.

And while the family try and move out – they were given a glimmer of hope:

“A year ago I was moved up to the gold band. I was told my house was overcrowded and wasn’t an ideal place to have three small children,” added Holly.

The gold band is for families that need to move out of their current home.

Despite being put in that band – they are still living in the two bedroom flat.  

“It breaks me. I just want a nice home. This isn’t a home, it’s just a place we’re stuck in. 

“I’m just asking for a safe home where my kids can breathe and sleep properly,” explained Holly. 

This is the reality for a number of households across Pembrokeshire.  

Sasha Dalkin, her partner Boz Norris and their daughter were finally moved into a new house in May after almost three years of being on council waiting lists.  

They said their previous house also had mould problems which were causing issues for the couple as well as their infant daughter.  

“We were on the bronze band for so long. I can’t figure out why,” Sasha said. 

“I had sent the council and local MP’s pictures of the damp in our house. We even had letters from the doctors explaining why we needed to move.” 

The bronze band, according to the council, is based on want rather than needing to move home. 

Sasha continued: “We had inspectors out who said it was definitely rising damp. These conditions were not only unsafe for me and Boz but they were extremely unsafe for our 14 month old daughter.” 

Boz also had issues with mobility and their previous house did not have any adaptations, making living difficult for him, even in his own house.  

The family have since moved to a new house. 

It comes as latest figures show that in the year to March 2023, Pembrokeshire saw the smallest number of houses completed for more than a decade at only 164. One of the smallest numbers since 1996. 

Over the last 2 years, less than 10% of those completed homes were by registered social landlords or the local authority – the smallest proportion for a decade.  

In 2022, information obtained by a freedom of information request shows the average wait on a social housing waiting list was more than 700 days. The longest was 10,377 days – 28 years.  

Councillor Joshua Beynon, who represents Pembroke Dock, explained why the lists were getting bigger:  

“I think this has been made worse by coronavirus, the number of second homes in Pembrokeshire along with a national shortage which has seen people travel across the UK.” 

He added that Pembrokeshire County Council is looking to develop 350 new build housing units by 2027.  

“I think the council needs to continue to work with partners to increase the range of affordable housing projects including the development of Community Land Trusts and making available smaller plots of council land for those seeking self-build opportunities.” 

The council has 400 affordable housing units identified in their business plan with sites in Johnston, Tiers Cross, Milford Haven, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Newport and Neyland in the active work programme.  

“They are currently building homes on the sites in Johnston and Tiers Cross with completions later this year.” 

Other sites in the programme include the former Haycastle School Site, the former Hakin School Site, the former Hubberston School site and the former Riverside Hostel in Pembroke.  

According to council figures, the total estimated cost of delivering this programme is £115m with external funding of £57m. 

In response to the ever growing waiting list for homes, Pembrokeshire Council confirmed the area’s struggling with a shortage of housing.  

“An increase in second homes and short-term holiday lets, due to both its natural beauty and changes in the behaviour of the housing market, has led to an increase in house prices and a shrinking private rented sector  – a combination that has increased pressures on the social housing sector. 

“We have seen significant increases in the number of those in temporary accommodation year on year, with a 5.1% increase between 2019 and 2020, 87.8% between 2020 and 2021, and 171.4% between 2021 and 2022. 

“By 2030 Pembrokeshire County Council should hopefully have completed 350 new builds if not more – as long as there is sufficient social housing grant available.” 

Continue Reading


Milford Haven School warms hearts with over 200 gifts for local children



MILFORD HAVEN SCHOOL has once again led a successful Christmas charity initiative, bringing festive cheer to over 200 children in need.

For several years, the school has been supporting PATCH, the Defender House Charity, through its annual Toy Appeal. This November, a special tradition continued as a Christmas tree adorned with tags stood tall in the school, each tag representing a local child affected by deprivation.

Staff members at the school wholeheartedly participated by selecting a tag, purchasing a thoughtful gift, and placing it under the tree. These gifts were then collected by PATCH for distribution, ensuring a brighter Christmas for many children.

This year, responding to requests from the wider community, the initiative expanded beyond the school gates. Additional Christmas trees with tags were placed in prominent community locations including Milford Haven Library, Neyland Library, and Hubberston and Hakin Community Centre, allowing more community members to contribute to this noble cause.

The response was overwhelming. Over 200 presents were lovingly donated, highlighting the communal spirit of Milford Haven. Ms. Morris, the headteacher of Milford Haven School, expressed her immense pride in the staff’s involvement and extended heartfelt thanks to the libraries and community centres for their indispensable support.

“It’s more than just gifts; it’s about showing we care and understand the challenges some families face, especially during the festive season,” said Ms. Morris. She emphasized the school’s ongoing commitment to supporting local families and raising awareness of the community’s needs.

The initiative’s success not only brought joy to children but also reinforced the strong bonds within the Milford Haven community. The generosity and compassion shown by the school and its wider community stand as a testament to the power of collective effort in making a significant difference in the lives of those in need.

As the festive season approaches, the Milford Haven community can take pride in their substantial contribution to the PATCH Charity Toy Appeal, embodying the true spirit of Christmas and bringing the warmth of “Nadolig Llawen” – Merry Christmas – to many.

Continue Reading


Pembrokeshire siblings receive award for saving their father’s life



CAI and Celyn Llewellyn, a brother and sister from Pembrokeshire, have received prestigious recognition at an award ceremony in London.

The pair were awarded a British Heart Foundation Heart Hero Award on 6th December after their father, John, had suffered a cardiac arrest at their home in Fishguard in November last year. John’s life was saved by the quick thinking of his two children who carried out CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

The British Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Awards is an annual event to honour incredible people who’ve shown remarkable bravery and gone above and beyond to help others while coping with the devastating impact of heart disease. The event celebrates everyone from CPR lifesavers to innovative fundraisers, research champions and healthcare heroes working in the NHS. The ceremony was attended by a star-studded guest list including Pippa Middleton, Vernon Kay and David Seaman, amongst others.

“If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.”

Cai (19) and Celyn (22) were nominated for the award by their mother, Nicola.

Nicola said, “My husband John was just doing his usual morning workout in our home-made gym. It’s not very often the kids are home on the weekend, but on this particular Sunday morning, Cai and Celyn were making a cooked breakfast when John suddenly staggered into our kitchen. They immediately alerted me to call 999.”

Celyn had realised something was seriously wrong as John was unable to speak or catch his breath, while Cai put his arms around John to help him to the sofa. No sooner than Cai and Celyn had moved John to the sofa, he went limp. Despite no previous experience in CPR, the pair had to jump into action.

Cai said, “It was like a light switch. Dad suddenly was like a dead body next to me on the couch and was no longer in control of himself. Something just clicked inside me – I managed to put him on the floor and cut his t-shirt off to begin CPR.”

Meanwhile, Celyn was aware that the nearest defibrillator to them was at the village hall, situated around 300 yards from their house and sprinted to retrieve it while the family received support over the phone from the emergency operator.

Celyn added: “None of us had ever used a defib before. We didn’t even know we needed a code to access it, but the four-digit code is now etched in my brain. Once I got back with the defibrillator, the next 20 minutes were crucial. Cai was amazing – he was so calm taking on responsibility of using the defibrillator and finding the electrical rhythm with support over the phone from 999. We had to shock him three times in between 20 minutes of CPR, before the fire brigade arrived as first responders.”

It was a long wait for the family as emergency services took over, and he was eventually flown by air ambulance to Morriston hospital in Swansea – over 60 miles from their home on the west coast.

Doctors believe John’s cardiac arrest was caused by a ventricular arrhythmia, and he was fitted with an ICD (Implantable cardioverter defibrillator) a few weeks later. An ICD is a small device which can treat people with dangerously abnormal heart rhythms. The British Heart Foundation continues to fund research into ICD research, to save and improve more lives in Wales and across the UK. In Wales, just one in 20 people survive a cardiac arrest when it occurs outside of a hospital setting.

On receiving the award, the Llewellyn family said were proud to accept recognition while they adapt to what they call their ‘new normal’. John has now been diagnosed with heart failure, and while the incident has had a physical toll on John’s health, he continues to make incredible progress.

John said, “As a family unit, we’ve made so much progress in a year. At Christmas last year we were still so on edge and for months we were all quite scared to leave the house in case something happened. I am still here because Cai and Celyn acted with a maturity and a calmness that has left me just so proud of them.”

Celyn added, “You can sometimes feel alone in this bubble of being impacted by heart failure, but through the BHF we have found a community of people who understand or even share our experience. Information from BHF is available to help us every step of the way through dad’s recovery. We are now encouraging everyone we meet to get CPR training and to find their local defibrillator. If it can happen to us, it can happen to anyone.”

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “I’m blown away by the incredible stories of our winners who have shown such courage, resilience, and bravery in the face of heart and circulatory disease.

“These awards are truly heartwarming and make me so proud to be part of Team BHF. Thank you to our judges, hosts, celebrity guests and supporters for creating such a magical evening for the BHF and the heroes we celebrated. We hope the awards inspire others to take action against heart and circulatory diseases – by learning CPR, fundraising, or even donating unwanted goods to one of our stores.

“Our heart heroes are among the 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases. This Christmas, our research is a gift that keeps on living, helping to keep families together and hearts beating for Christmases to come.”

Support the BHF by giving a gift that keeps on living this Christmas:

Continue Reading


Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office wins prestigious national award for its custody visiting



The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys has won a prestigious national Gold award for the quality of its Independent Custody Visiting Scheme.

The Independent Custody Visiting Scheme is a volunteer scheme that is run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Arising after riots in the 80s centred around public distrust in policing, and in particular the policing of black communities, independent custody visitors (or ICVs) are volunteers who give their time to make unannounced visits to police custody across the UK, ensuring the rights, entitlements and wellbeing of detainees throughout the country.

In Dyfed-Powys, there are currently eighteen volunteers who act as Independent Custody Visitors, and make unannounced visits to police custodies in Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Powys. 

They report their findings to the Police and Crime Commissioner, who in turn holds the Chief Constable to account.

The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) Quality Assurance Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Old Library, Birmingham on 29 November.

ICVA is the national organisation which supports, leads and represents locally-run custody visiting schemes. Schemes manage teams of independent volunteers who visit those detained in police custody.

There were four graded levels of award, and the Dyfed-Powys Scheme was delighted to have received the Gold standard; meaning their Scheme provides an excellent standard of custody visiting and volunteer management. The Scheme was established in Dyfed-Powys in 2001, and since its roll out, thousands of visits have been made to custody suites across the force area.

Welcoming the award, Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys told The Herald: “I am thrilled to announce that our Independent Custody Visiting volunteer scheme in Dyfed-Powys has been honoured with a prestigious national Gold Award.  This recognition reflects the commitment and dedication of our volunteers and the high standards of custody visiting and volunteer management in our region.

“It is a testament to the collaborative efforts of our community, Dyfed-Powys Police and my Office, reinforcing our commitment to excellence in ensuring the welfare and rights of individuals in Custody.  I would like to congratulate and thank all of our volunteers for their hard work – we are proud of this achievement and will continue our efforts to maintain this gold standard in the service we provide to our community”.

On a blog, published following the awards ceremony to congratulate volunteers, ICVA Chief Executive Katie Kempen said; “I am so grateful for all of your incredibly hard work on the Quality Assurance Framework, in what for many have been quite challenging times.

“At the opening of the assessment window, many of your schemes were still in a period of Covid recovery and getting schemes back up to resilience, recruiting and training new volunteers all over the country.

“As we have moved through the process, many of you have come into post and as well as getting accustomed to your new role have taken on the Quality Assurance Framework too. I am so proud of each and every scheme and their award.

“It hasn’t happened without a commitment to the scheme, to the amazing volunteers and ultimately to the fair and effective treatment of those deprived of their liberty by the state. Thank you all so much.

Continue Reading

Business11 hours ago

Celebration event marks 65 years of progress at Wales’ largest port

OVER 200 guests, including the First Minister, the Welsh Secretary, and the Chair of the Welsh Select Committee, came together...

Business12 hours ago

Shocking report reveals toxic infighting at S4C

THE FORMER Chief Executive of Welsh language broadcaster S4C created an atmosphere of fear at the channel, bullied staff and...

News23 hours ago

Pembrokeshire care home worker scoops national award ceremony

A PEMBROKESHIRE service manager has been recognised for their outstanding contribution during the past year at the annual Shaw Star...

News1 day ago

Police probe after outboard motor stolen in Neyland

POLICE in Pembrokeshire have confirmed that they are appealing for witnesses or CCTV footage following the theft of an outboard...

News5 days ago

Deep Space Radar base to be built in Brawdy, creating 100 jobs

IN A MAJOR announcement today (Dec 2) the Defence Secretaries of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have...

News6 days ago

Decades-old naval shell in front garden prompts bomb squad alert

AN UNASSUMING naval shell, a longstanding fixture in the front garden of a Milford Haven home for 74 years, unexpectedly...

News6 days ago

Concerns raised as council social worker charged with child sex offences

A WOMAN, whose grandson is being helped by social services and is classed as a vulnerable child, is one of...

Crime7 days ago

Burglar admits to string of thefts across county

JOHN SMITH, 45, of Stover Avenue in Sageston, pleaded guilty to a series of calculated burglaries spanning across Pembrokeshire this...

News7 days ago

Tenby holiday park solar panels plans get thumbs-up

PLANS for nearly 600 solar panels at a Pembrokeshire holiday park have been approved by council officers. Kiln Park Estates...

News7 days ago

At least’ 150% second homes tax premium on cards in Pembrokeshire

A CALL for the second homes and empty property council tax premiums in cash-strapped Pembrokeshire to rise to at least...

Popular This Week