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Town Teams ‘important to the future’

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Town Teams: Is this the future?

Town Teams: Is this the future?

A RECENT campaign was launched to breathe new life and vitality into Britain’s local shopping high streets. ‘Support Your High Street’ took place at the end of September with the aim of encouraging businesses and organisations, including local government, to support the idea of shopping ‘locally’ in town, village and city high streets, rather than just using out-of-town retail parks.

On September 18, Pembrokeshire’s County Council released a Town Centre Regeneration annual report, via its Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The report focussed heavily on ‘Town Teams’ as part of this regeneration programme. As the report states, Town Teams are partnerships comprising the local business community, town councils and local interest groups along with the County Council, and have been established in six of our county towns: Haverfordwest, Fishguard and Goodwick, Milford Haven, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and Tenby. Each Town Team is to produce their own action plan. On the subject of Town Team funding the report states, ‘Match funding has been generated via Town Councils and Chambers of Trade with a number of the Town Councils setting funding aside within their own precepts.

Match funding in 2013/14 was generated in three of the six towns (Fishguard, Haverfordwest and Pembroke). Match funding in kind/cash contributions is requested on a project by project basis.’ It further states where the responsibility for Town Team management lies, defining the County Council’s role as one which is to facilitate and enable the Town Teams to work under their own direction and progress with implementing their action plans, with appropriate support from the County Council. Local Pembrokeshire politicians were keen to have their say on this continued initiative to regenerate our County’s struggling towns.

Simon Hart, MP for South Pembrokeshire said: “These schemes are good news for the towns in question, and I am glad that progress is being made. I hope the council will look carefully at areas that are under occupied, such as Pembroke Dock, and provide additional assistance wherever possible. As ever with these schemes, it is action, rather than words, that really matter.” Speaking to The Herald Delyth Evans, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for South Pembrokeshire, stated: “The idea of Town Teams is a very good one. I particularly welcome the involvement of local businesses because they are so important to the future of our towns and they usually know what kind of improvements are necessary to help to attract visitors and customers.

I hope the trend towards out of town shopping has stopped. We should be encouraging people to shop in their local high street and spend their money on local produce and goods. My main concern is that there must be proper financial control and scrutiny of all money spent on improvement schemes, so that the recent misuse of a regeneration grant in Pembroke Dock doesn’t happen again. Complete transparency and rigorous auditing is therefore essential to ensure taxpayers’ money is well spent. Overall the Town Teams have made a good start and I would like to thank those involved for giving up their time and energy to improve their local community.”

Local Councillor for Wiston, and leader of the Conservative group on PCC, David Howlett commented: “Talking to business owners, business rates are a huge expense and although the Welsh Government have introduced some initiatives, I believe they should be going much further in taking far more businesses out of business rates altogether. We should be encouraging entrepreneurs that in turn would help our High Streets. Reduced amounts paid in Business Rates would greatly help this. Another policy I would like to see adopted is that some of the proceeds of council tax are retained by the Local Authority to spend in a way that they think will help regenerate town centres, rather than at present all the proceeds going to the Welsh Government. This would allow local initiatives that would hopefully help local high streets. This policy is already taking place in England, and I would like to see the Welsh Government follow suit.”

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New Information Centre opens at Withybush Hospital for those affected by Cancer

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A NEW Macmillan Information and Support Centre has opened at the entrance to Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest to help those looking for advice and support about cancer.

The Centre has been officially opened by 10-year-old Ethan Llewelyn-Dimon, from Whitland. He recently raised a staggering £3,600 for Macmillan Cancer Support Wales by growing his hair to make a wig for the Little Princess Trust. Ethan’s family has been affected by cancer twice. His aunty Jo and mamgu had cancer. Sadly he never got to meet his aunty, as she passed away before he was born. Thankfully his Mamgu survived although she had three operations and lost her hair during the treatment. Ethan decided to grow his hair long enough to be made into a wig for children going through cancer and wanted to raise money as well to give something back to those who helped his family.

The new Information and Support Centre is open 9am – 5pm, from Monday to Friday. Helen Wood and Rachel Kersey, Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Coordinators, will be in the Centre to offer information and support.

Helen Wood said, “Being told that you have cancer is one of the hardest things that you hear, and it can be a scary time where sometimes you just need someone who you can ask for support and information about what is out there that might help. This is why we developed the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service and have been supporting people in Pembrokeshire for the past six years. We are there for anyone affected by cancer in many different ways from emotional support and someone to talk to, help to access psychological support from specialist Cancer Counsellors or a referral to the Macmillan Benefits Advice Team. We can provide both electronic and hard copies of the various Macmillan resources or signpost to other local and national organisations or support networks.” 

The pandemic meant support was only available over the phone but the opening of the Centre means face to face meetings are once again possible, but for the time being it must be a booked appointment to help keep everyone as safe as possible. 

Official opening of new cancer information and support centre in Withybush hospital

Rachel Kersey said, “It is always a privilege to be able to help, no question is too small and if you are unsure of what you need, just give us a call on 01437 773859.”

Anna Tee, Partnership Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said, “Macmillan is delighted to have designed and funded this fantastic new space for people who need cancer information in collaboration with Hywel Dda.”  

Gina Beard, Lead Cancer Nurse for Hywel Dda University Health Board said, “This is a service that is provided throughout Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire and when circumstances allow, we will reach out to local businesses and attend events. The support service is here for people with concerns around a cancer diagnosis whether that’s the individual, friends or family. We are urging patients to come forward for diagnostic tests as we are concerned that many are still not seeking the care they need due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We want people who suspect they have cancer to know we are very much open for business.”

The way the public access NHS services has changed and the Welsh Government is encouraging people to get to know the breadth of NHS services and options available to them as part of its Help Us, Help You campaign. The Macmillan support service can help with support and advice. The Health Board are also urging people to phone their local GP surgery if they think they might have symptoms of cancer, such as a new lump, pain, bleeding or sudden weight loss.

The Macmillan Information and Support Centre can be contacted by telephoning: 01437 773 859 or email: MacmillanCISSPembrokeshire.HDD@wales.nhs.uk

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine in west Wales

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to various locations in west Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody.

They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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Fishguard RNLI rescues drifting pleasure boat and crew

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ON SATURDAY evening  (Jul 24) a member of the public walking the coastal path near Carregwastad Point saw, in the fading light, a pleasure boat with people aboard apparently in difficulty. The member of the public then called 999.

This resulted in Fishguard RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat launching at 8.50pm with a full volunteer crew and speeding to the scene in calm sea conditions. Upon arrival at the location the lifeboat found a 7 foot pleasure boat drifting with four young men onboard.

Location of incident at Carregwastad Point, North Pembrokeshire (Image ONS)

The boat’s outboard engine had broken down and they had no auxiliary engine or any safety equipment, no lights, and no form of communication.

A tow line was attached to the boat and the men were transferred to the lifeboat.

One of the lifeboat crew went aboard the pleasure boat for the return journey to Goodwick public slipway where UK Coastguard personnel were waiting to speak with the four men.

The lifeboat returned to its station, arriving at 9.50pm.

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