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Thousands of meals donated by Llanelli Tesco shoppers

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THOUSANDS of meals have been donated to food banks and groups feeding people in the local community thanks to the generosity of Tesco shoppers in Llanelli, figures released today reveal.

Shoppers in Llanelli donated 4,928 meals as part of the overall total of 2.5 million meals donated to charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare by shoppers during last month’s Tesco Food Collection, with Tesco topping up the value of all the donations by an additional 20%.

The donations to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network are being used to provide food parcels for people in crisis, while donations to FareShare go to charities and community groups such as homeless shelters and older people’s lunch clubs who also receive surplus food from Tesco stores.

One of the groups benefitting from the generous donations in Wales is Oasis Cardiff. Its manager Richard Eynon said the donations are essential to their work.

“We’re extremely grateful for the food donations we receive from Tesco through the Food Collection scheme. We operate a monthly supper club, incorporating a different dish from around the world inspired by the group’s diversity, allowing us to introduce new foods to our clients. All of this has been made possible thanks to the donations from Tesco.

“The centre is a lifeline for our clients, especially over Christmas, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to support them in their time of need. Some have just arrived in Cardiff, whereas others have been here for a few years, and visit Oasis to socialise with the many friends they have made here.”

One of the groups supplied by Trussell Trust in Wales is the Taff Ely Foodbank. It has eight distribution centres across Pontyclun, Pontypridd, Tonyrefail, Llanharan, Gilfach Goch and Talbot Green. Its team of 50 volunteers provided 3.3 tonnes of food to people across Rhondda Cynon Taff last year.

The donations help the foodbank team make nutritionally balanced food parcels which is supplied to people who have been referred by a local agency.

Adrian Curtis, Trustee at Taff-Ely Foodbank, said: “The donations from Tesco help members of the community across Rhondda Cynon Taff enormously. Having distributed over three tonnes of food in the last year, this was a 46% increase compared to the previous year, highlighting just how much need there is in the area.

“For those in crisis, and especially as finances pinch around Christmas time, the food bank is a lifeline. The emergency food takes the pressure away from families enabling agencies to address and remedy the issues that are causing the crisis.”

The donations from the three-day collection are in addition to items donated by customers throughout the year at a network of more than 500 permanent collection points at Tesco stores. In the year to October more than 7 million meals were donated to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network at those in-store collection points.

Tesco Director Christine Heffernan thanked customers for their donations. “On my visits to stores during the Collection I was taken aback by the generosity of our customers,” she said. “I would like to thank all those who donated and we will be doing our bit by topping up all the donations by 20%.”

The Trussell Trust’s Chief Executive Emma Revie also thanked customers. “Food banks up and down the country could not do what they do without the incredible support of the public and their loyal volunteers who work tirelessly to help people when they need support the most,” she said. “An emergency food parcel, listening ear and compassionate, practical advice at the food bank can make a real difference when someone is facing a crisis. Any donations help make that difference.”

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive at FareShare, added: “We are hugely grateful to every single person who volunteered and donated items during this year’s Tesco Food Collection – it was wonderful to see so many passionate people lending a hand to support us. All items donated by Tesco customers will be redistributed by FareShare to charities and community organisations and will help to ensure more people get a hot, nutritious meal.”

The Tesco Food Collection ran in all Tesco stores in the UK from November 21 to 23.

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First two cases of coronavirus in Carmarthenshire confirmed

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THE FIRST two cases of coronavirus have been found in Carmarthenshire, the Welsh Government announced today.

The two patients in the Carmarthenshire local authority area had recently returned together from northern Italy.

It comes as the Hywel Dda Health Board which serves the area opened two centres to test for coronavirus, one in Cardigan and one in Carmarthen.

The health board announced it had opened the testing centres to “help protect the health of our communities”, while also saying that centres could be opened in other areas across the health board.

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton, confirmed that a total of nine patients in Wales had tested positive for coronavirus (COVID -19) today, bringing the total to 15.

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Council unveils ambitious housing plan

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has unveiled major plans to build more council homes and further improve its existing housing stock, including an ambition to move towards ‘carbon neutral homes’.

Executive Board approved an impressive Carmarthenshire Homes Standard (CHS+) business plan this week (February 24, 2020) in a commitment to build on a £286million programme it has already delivered to bring council homes in the county above the Welsh standard for social housing.

Pending Full Council approval in March, the council has outlined its intentions to commit £49million to continue the CHS+ programme whilst developing a new standard to further improve the energy efficiency of their homes, aiming to cut and off-set carbon emissions to ensure homes are warm, cheap to run, and easily adapted to cater for people’s changing needs.

As part of this vision, the council is planning to improve the fabric of houses so that they become more energy efficient. It will also harness off-grid sustainable energy solutions, such as wind and water, and has committed to planting 1,000 trees to off-set carbon emissions.

The council has also made a new commitment to invest £52million building more homes over the next three years as it works towards returning its housing stock to levels last seen in the 1990s.

The new programme will link to the council’s wider strategic regeneration initiatives, including developments in the Tyisha area of Llanelli, town centres and key rural towns.

The administration’s previous promise to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes is just 15 homes short of the target it set itself for 2021, including the completion of its first major new-build development since the 1970s in Pembrey, and the phase-one completion of a second development in Bynea.

Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said the investment would not only improve living conditions for existing tenants and provide more quality affordable homes for local people, but will also contribute to providing employment and training opportunities in the local construction industry.

“The plan is very ambitious – we are building new homes and working with tenants and key partners to ensure Carmarthenshire is at the forefront of the decarbonisation agenda,” she said. “Carmarthenshire is one of three authorities working with Welsh Government to look at measures to decarbonise our homes, and this work will start in the next few months.

“The fact that we have been able to invest in our homes, we’ve been able to build suitable homes and adapt homes for people and their families is very impressive – there’s more to do, but we are ready to take the challenge. It’s a very exciting time.”

Delivery of the council’s ambitions depends on an average rent increase of 2.7 per cent, working out at roughly £87 a week for a two-bedroom home – the second lowest rent level for social housing in Wales and significantly lower than private rented accommodation.

The council will also seek £6.1million from the Welsh Government’s major repairs allowance fund.

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Llanelli: Notice of Motion follows school transport concerns

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A NOTICE OF MOTION will be discussed at Llanelli Town Council on Wednesday (Mar 4) following the concern of many parents over the loss of school transport for their children.

The motion will be proposed by Shahana Najmi, Town Council Leader and Councillor for the Lliedi Ward and seconded by Sean Rees, Llanelli Town Councillor for the Glanymor Ward.

The motion reads as follows: “Recent changes to UK legislation have led to the cancellation of many paid-for school transport with the consequence that many Llanelli school children are now expected to walk many miles often along unsuitable routes to get to School.

“This has only highlighted the need for change to how school transport is delivered. We believe that all children whether they pay or not should be able to access safe and effective school transport to enable them to get to and from school to a point safe and a reasonable distance from their home.

“We therefore write to the Ministers for Transport and Education at the Welsh Government to ask them to support a new School Transport Policy here in Wales that complies with UK legislation and ensure that children here in Llanelli are not expected to walk miles to school in often adverse weather conditions and often on unsafe and unsuitable walking routes.

“We also write to Carmarthenshire County Council to ask them to do all in their power to ensure that children in Carmarthenshire have access to appropriate school transport and consider all options available to them to ensure acceptable provision.”

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