Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

The Digital Community Support team – here to help

Published

on

DO YOU, or a friend or family member, need support with digital technology?

Would you like to know how to use a smartphone, tablet, an Alexa, or another digital device?

Pembrokeshire County Council’s digital community support team are urging you to contact them if you’d like some help, as Get Online Week approaches (16-22 October).

Matthew Wall from the team said: “We’re here to help anyone who wants to get to grips with digital technology, and is unsure about where to start.”

The team also gives advice on how digital technology can support you in your home – and provides devices on loan.

The following support is provided:

  • One to one support to build up your skills and confidence
  • Help to access digital equipment and connectivity
  • Information on what online activities and training are available
  • Face to face training sessions locally
  • Help for groups who want to access digital equipment

Matthew said they recently helped David, an older man in Pembroke, who wanted to stay in contact with his wife while she was unable to move about their home due to illness.

“First we loaned him an Echo Dot to communicate with his wife while he was pottering around the house and in the garden,” he said

“After using the device he decided to purchase a video doorbell to allow him to talk to visitors and explain that he may be a bit longer answering the door.

“To support that we loaned him an Echo Show which would allow him to view the video doorbell from the kitchen on a bigger screen than his phone.

“It also allowed him to communicate with whoever was at the door.

“This is just one example of the many ways we can help people in Pembrokeshire. Please get in touch if you’d like any advice or support.”

The digital community support team will be holding a drop-in information session with PAVS at the Riverside Library in Haverfordwest on Monday (16th October) from 10am to 3pm.

“Drop in, ask questions, and get support to get online,” said Matthew. “There’s also free data via a databank for those that meet the criteria.”

The digital community support team is funded by Welsh Government.

  • If you have any questions or would like support, please phone 01437 764551 and ask for Digital Community Support or email [email protected]

Charity

Oxfam shop in faces closure over asbestos removal costs

Published

on

HAVERFORDWEST’S popular Oxfam shop, a feature on the high street since 1987, is threatened with closure due to the prohibitive costs of asbestos removal. The shop, known for its extensive range of quality donated items and as the largest second-hand bookshop in Pembrokeshire, may no longer be able to serve the local community.

Rosamund Aubrey, an Oxfam volunteer explained that the asbestos, found in the upper floors of the building, requires removal, estimated to cost over £60,000.

She added: “This expense, to be charged to the shop’s account within a single year, could render the operation unprofitable. Oxfam GB’s policy mandates each of its shops to generate a minimum profit of £25,000 annually, a target that the Haverfordwest shop, despite its success, will struggle to meet under these circumstances.”

It is well known in Haverfordwest that Derrick and Mark, the managers of the Haverfordwest shop, along with their dedicated team of volunteers, have been instrumental in creating an inviting atmosphere that extends beyond retail.

The shop offers valuable work experience and training opportunities, making it a vital community resource, especially for those on low incomes.

Rosamund Aubrey says that the decision to potentially close the shop has sparked criticism of Oxfam GB’s management, especially in light of comments made by Sarah Rees, Head of Oxfam Cymru, who has described Wales’ child poverty rate as a “national disgrace”.

Ms Aubrey said: “The juxtaposition of the charity’s mission to alleviate poverty and its willingness to close a shop that contributes significantly to this cause has raised questions about its priorities.”

Oxfam GB has been accused of neglecting a critical community asset in favour of financial metrics, without considering the broader impact of the shop’s closure on Haverfordwest and beyond. The shop not only raises funds for Oxfam’s global initiatives but also plays a key role in the local community by providing affordable goods, social networking opportunities, and support for those seeking to move into paid work.

As the deadline approaches for Derrick and Mark to submit a business plan demonstrating the shop’s viability, the community awaits a decision with bated breath. The potential closure of the Haverfordwest Oxfam shop underscores a critical debate on the balance between financial viability and social responsibility, challenging the charity to reassess its values and commitment to fighting poverty in Wales.

Oxfam GB has been contact by The Herald for a comment.

Continue Reading

News

More trouble for Vaughan Gething in Labour leadership race

Published

on

PRESSURE continues to build on Labour leadership contender Vaughan Gething as more revelations emerge about his campaign’s funding.

As The Herald reported on Friday, Mr Gething’s campaign got £200,000 of funding from a company linked to the Withyhedge landfill site.

In addition, Mr Gething received £3,000 in a non-cash donation from Cardiff-based Tramshed Tech.

While the £200,000 donation has raised eyebrows, the timing of the £3,000 donation from Tramshed Tech has done the same.

Mr Gething, Mark Drakeford’s Economy Minister, announced Welsh Government funding for Tramshed Tech to host their Soft Landing Programme.

No wrongdoing by either Tramshed Tech or Mr Gething is suggested. However, a cynic might regard the donation as an example of how the Welsh Government’s plans to create a circular economy will work in practice.

Spending limit is £44k

The unusual feature of Mr Gething’s funding is just how much there is.

Each candidate’s leadership campaign has a spending limit of £44,000. That sum is based on the number of Labour members in Wales multiplied by £2.50.

Mr Gething’s leadership campaign has received over £290,000 in donations.

The £44,000 cap covers leafleting and campaign costs, including social media advertisements.

Unprecedented donations

Mr Gething’s well-funded campaign will not break the rules provided his campaign’s expenditure remains at £44,000 or less. The question arises about the purposes for which all the other money will be put.

The £200,000 from the Dauson group of companies has caused anger among Mr Gething’s Senedd colleagues.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, commented on Twitter: “I’m sorry, but £200k on an internal election in a cost of living crisis is completely unjustifiable.

“I don’t want this to become a negative campaign, but I am genuinely shocked and angry by this. It’s wrong.”

Mr Waters supports Mr Gething’s rival, Jeremy Miles – along with well over half of Labour MSs.

Mr Gething’s lack of support among those who work with him closest is striking.

Equally striking is the number of unions who have hustled in behind the Penarth MSs campaign.

While Labour has around 20,000 actual party members, the Trade Union bloc vote controls 100,000 possible votes. The largest unions have not bothered balloting their members before coming out to support Mr Gething.

Where hustings took place, the Unite union seemed likely to back Jeremy Miles. However, an intervention from that union’s “regional secretary” fortuitously unearthed a rule that meant Mr Miles could not get the union’s backing after Mr Gething – equally fortuitously – joined Unite shortly before Mark Drakeford announced his retirement.

Speaking to Wales Online’s Will Hayward, the Director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, Professor Richard Wyn Jones, said: “The sum involved is eye-wateringly large.
“There’s simply no precedent for it in the context of Welsh devolved politics.
“Indeed, I can’t think of a Welsh politicians who’s been able to access such large sums since the days of David Lloyd George – which isn’t a comparison that I can imagine anyone being comfortable with.”

Writing for Nation Cymru, the doyen of Welsh political journalists -Martin Shipton – reported a Labour councillor as saying: “This is so bad that in my view Vaughan Gething is not fit to be a Member of the Senedd, let alone First Minister. The only honourable thing for him to do is to withdraw from the contest, but he won’t do that.

“If he wins the election, I will not be able to accept him as the leader of Welsh Labour, and I think many others in the party may take the same view.”

For comparison, when Mark Drakeford defeated Vaughan Gething in the race to replace former First Minister Carwyn Jones, he got £25,000 in campaign donations. Jeremy Miles’s declared level of donations is £32,000.

As bad as the current situation looks, the final level of each candidate’s donations is yet to be declared – and things could get far more embarrassing for Mr Gething and the Labour Party before they get better.

The worst-case scenario is that the result of a tainted campaign overshadows the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay and places a politically damaged First Minister in place during a General Election year.

The consequences of a negatively perceived Labour leader in Wales cannot be underestimated during a UK election.

The Conservatives are knocking lumps off the Labour Government on the NHS, transport, and rural policy.

Mr Gething’s fundraising efforts could give the Conservatives another target and Plaid Cymru a pretext for dumping the Cooperation Agreement.

Continue Reading

Health

Extra funding to upgrade NHS Wales digital services and equipment

Published

on

THE NHS will benefit from £10m in additional capital funding to upgrade scanning equipment and digital infrastructure.

The funding package includes:

  • £5m for digital services to modernise elements of the IT infrastructure and support the provision of modernised and efficient patient care.
  • £1m to upgrade MRI scanners.
  • £1.3m for ultrasound scanning equipment.

The extra funding is being made available today as the Welsh Government publishes its second supplementary budget – an annual, end-of-year budget, which formalises changes made during 2023-24.

This year, the second supplementary budget includes changes the Finance Minister announced in October 2023 to provide additional support to the NHS and Transport for Wales.

The Welsh Government provided additional in-year support of £425m to the NHS and £125m to Transport for Wales to help meet increased cost pressures and, in the case of health boards, rising demand.

The second supplementary budget also details some of the additional funding made available to Wales as a result of decisions made by the UK Government to increase spending in devolved areas.

But notification of the additional consequential funding has come too late to be spent in this financial year. The additional revenue and capital funding will be put into the Wales Reserve for use in 2024-25 and 2025-26.

As the figures were published, Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government said:

“The UK Government confirmed the final sums last week, leaving us only one week to allocate additional funds.
“I’m pleased that we have been able to direct much-needed funding to maintain the fabric of our NHS.

“But at a time when public sector budgets have been squeezed so tightly, this is another example of why we need greater borrowing powers to be able to respond quickly to emerging needs.

“Unlike the UK Government, we cannot borrow to fund day-to-day spending so we are dependent on Barnett consequentials which often come late in the year and with little or no notice.

“As it is, we have been forced to plan based on best guesses about what we will receive from the UK Treasury – this is simply not acceptable.”

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services added:

“This additional capital funding, together with the in-year revenue funding is welcome.

“But the NHS is facing the toughest financial pressures in recent history due to inflation and increased demand in both planned and emergency care. Health boards have had to make some very difficult decisions despite the additional injection of funding over and above their allocated budgets.”

The supplementary budget is due to be debated on Tuesday 12 March, after the Welsh Government’s Final Budget 2024-25 on Tuesday 27 February

Continue Reading

Charity11 hours ago

Oxfam shop in faces closure over asbestos removal costs

HAVERFORDWEST’S popular Oxfam shop, a feature on the high street since 1987, is threatened with closure due to the prohibitive...

News2 days ago

Pembrokeshire couple win fight to stay in their home of 38 years

A CALL to allow a couple to keep living at a south Pembrokeshire dwelling, put in potential jeopardy as they...

News3 days ago

Sanctuary which saved 53 pigs from ‘horror farm’ to lose buildings

RETROSPETIVE plans for buildings at a Ceredigion animal sanctuary, which housed more than 50 pigs rescued from harrowing conditions at...

News3 days ago

County Council opposition group grows as Milford councillor joins

THE OFFICIAL opposition to Pembrokeshire County Council’s ruling group has seen yet another councillor cross the floor to join, the...

Farming4 days ago

Farmers protest as Drakeford arrives to open engineering centre

PROTESTS erupted as First Minister Mark Drakeford arrived at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhyl, to inaugurate a new engineering centre. Approximately 200...

News4 days ago

Pembrokeshire man’s tragic end following partner’s death

A MAN from Pembrokeshire took his own life three weeks after the passing of his partner, an inquest was informed...

News4 days ago

Pembrokeshire council tax rise ‘could lead to failed budget’

A PROPOSED 16.3 per cent council tax increase in Pembrokeshire could see the council failing to set a budget for...

Community5 days ago

Heavy rain leads to flood alerts and closed roads in Pembrokeshire

FOLLOWING a night of heavy rain, Natural Resources Wales has issued a series of flood alerts for multiple areas across...

Crime5 days ago

20-year-old accused of making indecent images of children

A HAVERFORDWEST man has appeared before a district judge charged with making 74 indecent category A images of a child....

News5 days ago

Calls for sea defences for flood-hit village turned down

A COUNCILLOR’S call to be able to speak on a potentially much-cheaper alternative to a bypass for the flood-hit village...

Popular This Week