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Public urged to do their bit amid ‘new’ challenges for animal welfare

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The RSPCA is set to mark its 200th birthday amid its busiest week of the year – with the charity using its landmark anniversary to issue a rallying call to the people of Wales to join a million-strong movement for animals.

Last year, across England and Wales, the charity took an astonishing 31,947 calls to its emergency line during its birthday week (12-18 June) – more than any other week of the entire year.

The charity’s rescuers also dealt with 5,573 incidents in that week alone – 352 of these in Wales – with its dedicated frontline teams responding to countless pets, wild and other animals subjected to cruelty, neglect and mistreatment. Officers throughout the year dealt with a mighty 19,679 incidents in Wales alone.

Animal rescuers are now braced for another busy period this year – as they prepare to celebrate 200 years of the RSPCA working with the public to change animals’ lives for the better.

It has already been incredibly busy for RSPCA officers throughout their 200th year – with 330,415 calls from across England and Wales received by the charity’s emergency line (up to 27 May) even before the busiest summer months begin; and rescuers dealing with a whopping 116,512 incidents of concern.

Earlier this year, a young badger cub who had fallen onto rocks at Porthlysgi Beach, St Davids, was released back into the wild after a period of RSPCA specialist care.

RSPCA Inspector and Wildlife Officer Keith Hogben attended the location – a rural cove off the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – to collect the badger and take him to a place of safety.

A video taken by Keith spotted he was hidden amongst the rocks. On this occasion a specialist bag designed for wildlife was used instead of a cage due to the difficulties accessing the location safely.

“The cub was found directly below a larger badger sett so we knew where he came from,” said Keith.

“Luckily he was spotted and we were able to find him amongst the rocks and able to get to him before anything happened to him. He would have been very vulnerable out in the open and in the daylight.”

The badger cub was then assessed by Keith and RSPCA Wildlife Officer Ellie West who provided specialist care for the cub. Once the badger was fully recovered from his ordeal they were able to return him to his sett.

Elsewhere, a goose was found with a can stuck on its mouth in Aberdare earlier this year. The Canadian cross greylag goose was spotted in a small pond behind the Lakeside area, near the Dare River, with the can wedged at the top of the beak and in its mouth, so the goose was unable to eat or drink.

RSPCA Animal Rescue Officer Paula Milton was able to track down the goose and using her net she managed to catch him successfully so she could release him from the can.

“I took him away from the water and put a blanket over him to keep him calm,” she said. “I then got to work by carefully cutting the can off his mouth. Luckily it was aluminium so was easy to cut off.

“I checked him over and thankfully the can had only been on him for a maximum of 48 hours so hadn’t done too much damage and I was able to let him go straight away. He swam off and started to drink straight away.”

Thankfully, there was a happy ending in this case, however, the RSPCA say the incident is another reminder as to the dangers everyday objects can pose to animals – and the importance of ensuring waste and litter is always disposed of correctly.

Now – the charity is urging people to join its million-strong movement with animals facing “some of the biggest threats in our history” – including the cost of living crisis, the growth of intensive farming and climate change.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “Our dedicated rescue teams are so busy on the frontline for animals, and – as we celebrate our landmark 200th anniversary this week – we’re expecting to be as busy as ever.

“Our birthday week was the busiest week of the whole year last year – and we’re proud that, working with the public, we’re continuing to help animals across Wales.

“But we know we can’t do this alone – and the support of our friends in the animal welfare sector, and the public, is set to be more important than ever as we all look to work together to create a kinder, better world for all animals.

“To keep creating a better world for every animal, we need more people to take action. That’s why, in our 200th year, we want one million people to join our movement – and to share in our vision for every kind.”

Sunday (16 June) marks two centuries since the animal welfare organisation – then the SPCA – was founded at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in London, by a London vicar, Arthur Broome, and 22 founding members, including the MPs William Wilberforce and Richard Martin.

By 1840, Queen Victoria had given permission for the Society to add ‘Royal’ to its name – and this Royal link was recently maintained with HRH King Charles III confirmed as the charity’s new patron.

In the 200 years since its formation, the RSPCA has worked to change industries, laws, minds, and animals’ lives – and believes working with the public, and education, will be key with animals now facing a raft of new challenges.

The charity has launched a new tool on its website to help people understand how they can help an animal in need as quickly as possible.

Chris added: “We’re so proud that – in so many ways – animals’ lives have changed beyond recognition over the last two centuries.

“But we know animals are now facing some of the biggest threats in our history, from climate change to intensive farming, the cost of living and the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

“And the fact that we expect our birthday week to again be one of our busiest of the year for our officers highlights how the RSPCA cannot do this alone – animal welfare is for everyone.

“That’s why we’ve launched a new tool on our website, to help the public understand the best and quickest way of helping an animal they think needs help – like those which may be sick, injured, lost, or abandoned.

“Whether it’s transferring animals to the vet, sharing advice online, or contacting our rescuers to respond to cruelty and neglect, we can all do our bit for animals. Because a world that is better for animals, is better for us all.”

To find out more about how you can join the RSPCA’s million-strong movement for animals visit: www.rspca.org.uk/200.

Charity

NSPCC launches Voice of Online Youth to give young people in Wales 

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A TEENAGER from Wales is among a group of 15 young people from across the UK who will make up a new forum of young people to advise the NSPCC, politicians, regulators, parents and professionals about the best way to protect children online.

The ‘Voice of Online Youth’ is a group aged 13-16 from across the UK who are passionate about helping children to have safe and happy experiences online.

They aim to get young people’s voices heard and ensure decisions about online safety are informed by their unique experiences. They will do this by meeting with decision makers across all nations of the UK, attending events, and engaging in workshops.

The Voice of Online Youth is formed of ten people from England, two from Scotland, two from Northern Ireland, and one from Wales, Maelon, 13 from South Wales, leading to a diversity of perspectives and life experiences within the group.

The group, which officially launched today (June 28th), forms as Ofcom consults on its initial plans to regulate social media under the Online Safety Act.

Maelon, 13, from Maesteg says, “I joined the Voice of Online Youth because I wanted to help more people who have been negatively affected online and I thought the role would suit me well.”

Shalom, 14, from Bolton, says, “I wanted to join the group because I think the online world is such a wonderful place and I want to contribute to making it so young people can navigate the online world and discover new opportunities while also being a safe space for us to be in.”

Rayhaan, 17, from Leicester, says,’ “I want to spread awareness about the many issues facing young people on the internet today. Together, I hope we can work towards a future where everyone is safe online.”

Young people’s voices were central in the NSPCC’s Wild West Web campaign which called for the Online Safety Act. The charity made sure key decision makers heard about young people’s experiences and what they thought needed to change. The Voice of Online Youth will build on this through giving children a vital voice in the implementation of the act.

Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive: “The Voice of Online Youth will offer valuable insight and a unique perspective to the NSPCC, bolstering our efforts to ensure children’s online safety is prioritised.

“This group can also help shape the thinking of policymakers and regulators, who desperately need to be considering the views of those impacted by online challenges to truly understand the issues they face.

“It’s crucial Ofcom engage with young people when implementing the new online safety regulation to ensure it is effective and results in a truly safer online world which children can enjoy.”

The NSPCC also want the next Government to ensure children and young people’s voices and experiences are meaningfully considered in the development and implementation of online safety regulation through introducing statutory mechanisms to ensure their voices are consistently heard.

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Paul Sartori receives donation to continue support to Dementia patients

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PAUL SARTORI Hospice at Home, a local charity, supporting end of life and palliative patients, their families and carers have recently been awarded a grant from Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust. The grant of £10,000 has been given to extend its previous support given to patients living at home with dementia in Pembrokeshire.

“This funding has come at a crucial time for us. We had funding for a few trails where we recognised a need for support. We know the difference this care makes to local families supporting a relative with dementia at home. It can be exhausting. Quite often they cannot leave their loved one unattended and they get very little time to themselves, which can have a great impact on the family carer. This project will increase the resilience of the family carer and support the patient in a familiar environment where they feel comfortable and secure,” said Laura Hugman, Clinical Team Manager at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

The award will fund up to 232 hours of hands-on home nursing care, allowing day and night-time respite for those families who are struggling. Families can access support during the day – so they can address their own care needs, attend appointments, catch up with friends, enjoy their hobbies or just rest. Families who need respite can also access support during the night. They will have peace of mind knowing that their loved one is looked after by Paul Sartori staff who are experienced and trained in many complex medical conditions.

“We were delighted to hear that the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust have agreed to support this much-needed provision in Pembrokeshire,” said Judith Williams, Grant Development Officer at Paul Sartori Hospice at Home.

“The Elise Pilkington Trust were delighted to be able to support this important work at Paul Sartori in supporting end of life patients with advanced dementia. This fits very well with our aims of supporting projects dedicated to addressing the needs of older people with advanced dementia (and their carers) in domestic, community and formal care settings,” said Ruth Tarry, Chairman from the Elise Pilkington Charitable Trust.

This follows on from support provided by NFU Mutual’s Agency Giving Fund and the Hywel Dda University Health Board, where both trials proved invaluable for local families. Although Dementia was not recognised until recently as something you can die of. According to the Office for National Statistics, Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease was recorded as one of the leading causes of death in Wales in April 2023. The Paul Sartori Hospice at Home Clinical Staff Team are aware of the difference supporting those living with Dementia and the impact on families and will work with the Admiral and Marie Curie Dementia Nurses to enhance the support locally.

The Paul Sartori Team play an important part in supporting end of life patients and their families, which also enhances the provision of other local services. With the team’s flexible and rapid approach, they support the patient’s wish to be cared for in their own home. They offer a patient-centred approach to care – assessing patients, referring to other internal services, work closely with other healthcare providers and are available as advisors. They provide a wide range of other services, including home nursing care, 24-hour support, standby service, complementary therapy, bereavement and counselling support, physiotherapy, future care planning and training. These services enable people in the later stages of any life limiting illness to be cared for and to die at home with dignity, independence, pain free and surrounded by those they hold most dear if that is their wish. Further information on the charity and its services can be obtained by visiting their website www.paulsartori.org, or by phoning 01437 763223.

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Fishguard RNLI volunteers on exercise tasked to real casualty

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A VOLUNTEER crew out on training exercise were diverted to a real casualty within minutes of launching.

Three volunteer crew members from Fishguard RNLI had just launched the charity’s D class inshore lifeboat Edward Arthur Richardson for a planned routine training exercise, and were attempting to notify HM Coastguard of their intentions when they were tasked to a genuine shout.

The request was to attend to a 5m rigid inflatable boat (RIB) with 2 persons onboard which was located approximately 1.5 miles east of Pen Anglas and had lost all means of propulsion.

With rain moving into the area the two casualties onboard were also open to the elements. On rounding Pen Anglas the casualty vessel was spotted in the distance and the lifeboat made best speed into the conditions.

Once on scene an assessment was carried out and due to the worsening weather conditions and with the boat at risk of drifting towards cliffs due to having no means of propulsion, it was determined the safest course of action would be to establish an astern tow and return the casualty vessel to the nearest safe harbour at Goodwick.

Following a slow tow at 3-4 knots the casualty was brought inside the breakwater at Goodwick where a lifeboat crew member was transferred across to assist in taking the vessel from an astern tow to an alongside tow, giving the volunteer helm more control to bring the casualty vessel alongside the slip at Goodwick.

Once alongside the slip the casualty vessel was made fast and casualties transferred safely ashore to recover their vessel. The lifeboat then returned to station where it was washed down, refuelled and made ready again for service.

Fishguard RNLI volunteer inshore lifeboat Helm, Ian Davies, said: ‘We had launched to carry out routine training for crew working towards their upcoming assessments, this included setting up and establishing astern and alongside tows when we were called upon to assist the casualty, as a result we ended up putting that training into practice to safely return the casualty vessel to shore.

‘The owner did the correct thing and contacted the Coastguard using their radio on channel 16 to report their situation. We would like to remind any water users to ensure they always carry a means of calling for help, most commonly a personal VHF radio or mobile phone kept in a waterproof pouch and should be within reach at all times.’

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