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Charity

Appeal for volunteers to join vital children’s counselling service

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AN APPEAL has been issued for volunteers to join NSPCC Cymru’s Childline base in Cardiff to help support the service’s vital work.

NSPCC Cymru is making the call during Volunteers’ Week, which runs from June 3-9, in the hope that more people will sign up to the children’s counselling service, which is available online and on the phone, anytime for children and young people up to 19-years-old to seek advice and support.

Childline can be life-changing for children, giving them a chance to speak out safely about whatever might be happening to them or worrying them.

The NSPCC is looking for more people of all ages, and from all walks of life to become volunteers and provides comprehensive training backed up by a supportive team of volunteers and supervisors.

Among the Cardiff Childline volunteer counsellors are Afiah Radzi and Chey Gerrard.

Afiah, from Cardiff, started as a volunteer counsellor in March.

She said: “I decided to volunteer because I wanted to make a positive difference in children’s lives and provide support to those in need.

“The rewards of volunteering at Childline include the satisfaction and fulfilment of knowing someone in crisis has had opportunity to express their thoughts and emotions in a safe space, personal growth and self-development, acquiring new knowledge and soft skills, as well as the opportunity to be part of an extremely friendly and supportive team.”

Chey, also from Cardiff, started volunteering in July 2021.

She said: “Counselling was something completely new to me, and I had no idea what to expect.

“What I found was Childline offers a comprehensive training programme for volunteer counsellors that includes theory and practice, and live observation and mentored shifts.

“I found this really helped me understand what it meant to be a Childline counsellor, and afforded me the opportunity to witness the incredible support available to counsellors on shift – you’re not just thrown into the deep end, there is support every step of the way.

“I’ve developed several skills that have helped me in both my personal and professional life. I’ve learned how to remain calm under pressure, how to effectively communicate with a range of people from different backgrounds, and the value of allowing someone to feel heard.”

Louise Israel, Childline Team Manager at the base in Cardiff, urged anyone interested in volunteering to get in touch.

She said: “As we recognise the dedication of volunteers who give up their time to help others, we would also like to appeal to anyone else who may be interested in volunteering.

“Our volunteers tell me that they get so much out of volunteering, especially the sense that they have really made a difference to the lives of those they speak with. They also say how much they value the support they receive and the opportunities for ongoing learning and development.

“Childline relies heavily on the dedication of volunteers, so I would really encourage anyone who is interested in making a positive difference to the lives of children and young people to join us.”

For more information about volunteering visit nspcc.org.uk/volunteer

Children and young people can contact Childline for free on 0800 1111 or by visiting childline.org.uk.

Anyone with any concerns about the welfare of a child can call the NSPCC Helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, email [email protected] or visit www.nspcc.org.uk for advice.

Charity

Calls for help over VHF radio may have been a hoax, say RNLI

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THE ANGLE All-Weather Lifeboat was requested to launch on service at 10:23am this morning, Monday (July 22).

Following a call to the Coastguard from Milford Haven VTS, the crew were tasked after the VTS operators overheard a female voice calling for help on VHF channel 12.

After narrowing down the transmission to having been received on the Pembroke aerial site, the crew were requested to conduct a search.

Launching at 10:30am, the lifeboat made best speed to the moorings at Hazelbeach, and a hasty search was requested by the Coastguard of any moored vessels. The crew began making their way amongst the moorings, heading up to the moorings off Neyland. With nothing untoward sighted, the crew proceeded to search the moorings off Hobbs Point, Barnlake Point, Burton, Llanion and Rudders Boat Yard.

With nothing found, the Coastguard requested that the crew continue their search up river to Picton Point. The lifeboat continued searching up the western shore encompassing Llangwm before altering course just past Landshipping and searching the eastern shore back down the river, calling in to Lawrenny on the way to check any vessels moored there.

The RNLI said that the search continued back down as far as the Cleddau Bridge.

On Facebook the organisation posted :”Following a thorough visual, communications and radar search the crew were subsequently stood down when no further information or calls had been received.

“The tasking was therefore deemed to be a hoax call.

“The lifeboat was back alongside and readied for further service by 1pm.”

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Charity

More than 19k animal lovers call to end greyhound racing in Wales

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IN RSPCA open letter signed by an astonishing 19,715 people which calls for the end of greyhound racing in Wales has been delivered to the First Minister’s office.

The open letter, addressed to Vaughan Gething MS, the First Minister of Wales, stated that the thousands of signatories wish to see a phased end to the “outdated practice” in Wales in order to protect the welfare of countless dogs at risk of injury – or worse.

The RSPCA is part of the Cut the Chase coalition – which includes the Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales – who have long expressed concern about the negative welfare consequences that racing and the greyhound industry has on the dogs involved. The regulated sector’s own figures show that between 2018 and 2023, 2,751 greyhounds died or were put to sleep for reasons other than natural causes or illness. (data covering England and Wales).

Meanwhile, more than 26,500 injuries were recorded from greyhound racing over the same time period*. The latest statistics from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) – which regulates Wales’ only track – show that the number of dogs involved in racing who died increased by 47% in 2023, further adding to the coalition’s concerns.

Wales could be the first nation in the UK to phase out the activity. Earlier this year, the Welsh Government carried out a 12-week consultation which is considering the future of greyhound racing. The consultation closed in March.

The Welsh Government has yet to publish the outcome of the consultation – and in the meantime dogs at the Valley Greyhounds Stadium in Ystrad Mynach continue to risk death or serious injury due to being knocked over or falling at speeds often in excess of 40mph.

Published results from races and trials at the Valley track, analysed by Greyhound Rescue Wales, shows that, between 3 March and 29 May this year, nine dogs were recorded as “fell” and 15 more were recorded as “knocked over”.

But these stats don’t show the full picture. Injury data from individual tracks and veterinary reports aren’t released publicly, so the exact welfare impact of the dogs who have fallen in races remains unknown.

Billie-Jade Thomas, RSPCA Senior Public Affairs Manager in Wales said: “Greyhound racing is inherently dangerous for the dogs involved. Running at speed around oval tracks causes significant injury to many dogs, and in some cases, the injuries are so severe that it is necessary for dogs to be put to sleep.

“There are only 10 countries in the world – including all UK nations – where commercial greyhound racing still goes on in 2024. But the Welsh Government now has a golden opportunity to commit to phasing out greyhound racing in Wales once and for all, sending an important message to the rest of the UK that they need to act to deliver a better life for greyhounds.

“We’d like to thank everyone who signed our open letter – we were delighted to have such a strong response and have more than 19,000 people support this cause. It really does show the strength of feeling there is about ending greyhound racing, and what we can achieve together for animal welfare.”

At its peak, there were 250 licensed tracks in the UK. Today, only 20* remain, with only one that is unlicensed in Great Britain.

The Cut the Chase coalition has called for greyhound racing to be phased out over the next five years, and remains committed to the welfare of the dogs involved in the industry during this time.

Phasing out greyhound racing in Wales is a major campaign priority for the RSPCA, as the charity marks its landmark 200th anniversary this year. Since its formation in 1824, the RSPCA has changed more than 400 laws for animals.

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Premium outdoor gear band to provide hydration products to lifeguards

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YETI says it is honoured to announce its new partnership with the RNLI, providing its premium Rambler bottles and cups to the charity’s lifeguards at beaches across the UK. 

In addition to providing lifeguards with its premium drinkware, YETI will also be offering RNLI Tundra coolers and Silo Water Coolers to ensure their drinking water remains icy cold throughout the warm summer days. This not only ensures lifeguards’ will have adequate hydration as they patrol the beaches, but it also helps reduce their use of single-use plastic while on duty.

YETI will also be providing support for the RNLI’s fundraising activities throughout the year.

At peak season RNLI lifeguards operate on 240 beaches across the UK and Channel Islands, in 2023 lifeguards saved 86 lives, responded to 14,213 incidents and aided 20,000 people. Some of their duties include carrying out water rescues to those in difficulty, administering first aid and reuniting lost children with their families. 

One of the lifeguard’s key roles is preventing incidents from happening in the first place – lifeguards spend their patrols speaking to the public about how to enjoy a safe day at the beach and what to do if they find themselves in trouble. They will also designate an area of the beach each day using their red and yellow flags which is deemed as the safest place to swim.

Peter Dawes, RNLI Lifeguard Operations Manager, said: ‘We are excited to announce our new partnership with YETI, which will ensure our lifeguards are kept hydrated, and able to carry out their vital lifesaving role on beaches across the UK. As a charity we rely on the support of others, so we are grateful for YETI providing products for our lifeguards but also sharing our water safety messages to their audience. 

“For anyone planning a trip to the coast this summer we would advise staying safe in the sun by using sun protection and staying hydrated, visiting one of our lifeguarded beaches and speaking to our lifeguards about how to enjoy a safe day at the coast.”

“Beaches are where we create some of our best outdoor memories with family and friends, and lifeguards make that possible,” said Bill Neff, Head of Marketing at YETI. “We want to support those who keep us safe with products that will help them do their jobs.”

YETI’s premium products are built for the wild and designed for any adventure. Their drinkware comes in a variety of styles and sizes, perfect for any hydration need – from your morning coffee, afternoon water break or evening cocktail.

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