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Scarlets in the red

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Scarlets accounts reveal debt crisis

Scarlets accounts reveal debt crisis

THE ANNUAL accounts of the regional rugby company show that it incurred a loss of over £1.7m in the year to June 2014 and that Scarlets Regional Ltd now has a cumulative deficit of over £14m.

In addition, the report shows that the Scarlets are barely half-filling their stadium for home games. Parc y Scarlets capacity is 14,870. Average attendance at home games is recorded as being ‘over 7,000 per game’.

In light of the appalling figures, the accounts go on to set out that the region’s continued operation is possible only with the support of the WRU (through payments made to the region) and the continued willingness of shareholders to plough money into it. The region recently made what amounted to a debt for equity swap, by which larger shareholders increased their own holdings at the expense of small shareholders. The rights issue conditions also provided that first preference in any other offering would be given to those larger shareholders and not to supporters. While the Directors’ report is upbeat on the prospect of the future of the Scarlets region, much of that confidence stems from the agreement with the WRU continuing and the Scarlets providing sufficient international players who qualify to receive dual contracts from the Welsh governing body. The accounts reveal that the region spent £200,000 on battles with the WRU over the level of support offered to regional rugby and the dual contract issue.

More worrying, however, is the conclusion reached by the auditor – James & Uzzell Ltd. The auditor’s comments on the accounts point out ‘the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern’. The stadium, construction of which was largely bankrolled by the local authority, is given a ‘carrying value’ (the original cost of an asset, less the accumulated amount of any depreciation) of around £9.9m.

A particular thorny matter for the local authority is the fate of the Scarlets involvement in the Eastgate Centre, into which further considerable resources were ploughed by the authority.

Way back in December 2013, The Pembrokeshire Herald published details of the sale of a car park to the Marston’s chain of pubs. Carmarthenshire Council were the freeholders of the property while the Scarlets held a 150 years’ leasehold on it granted by the Council. The car park was originally ear-marked for a retail development, but instead was transferred to Marston’s for £850,000.

Controversy then arose in relation to the division of the sale proceeds between the Council and the Scarlets. The council received £200,000 for its interests and the Scarlets £200,000. Questions have been raised, however, about approximately £280,000 being given to the Scarlets for what are described as ‘allowable expenses’. The ‘expenses’ were allegedly used for paying off a commercial loan the Scarlets had taken out to fit out its shop and restaurant within Carmarthenshire County Council’s Eastgate development and were a further example of the council’s willingness to bankroll the rugby region with public money.

The Scarlets’ accounts disclose that the £280,000 ‘investment’ by the council in the Scarlets’ project at Eastgate has been written off as a complete loss by the region, who have also sublet the shop units. The region’s accounts imply that without the free rent period, which is coming to an end, the lease is not commercially viable.

Eastgate has never been fully let since opening.

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How Wales created 19 new field hospitals in less than 8 weeks…

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Across Wales the Welsh Government is supporting the NHS to create new field hospitals and rapidly increase bed capacity.
Health boards have repurposed existing buildings, including the Principality Stadium, a holiday park and even a television studio to provide an additional 6,000 beds.Field hospitals are designed to support the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic by providing extra bed capacity but they will also help normal hospital services be restarted and support social care services.Last month, the first patients were admitted to Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig at the Principality Stadium, in Cardiff.

Four to six weeks

Here is how Wales almost doubled its bed capacity in less than eight weeks…The time it has taken to nearly double hospital bed capacity in Wales, creating field hospitals across the nation.

19 field hospitals in Wales
This includes the repurposing of Bluestone Holiday Park and Parc y Scarlets in west Wales and Venue Cymru in north Wales.

1,500 beds at the Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig
Making it one of the largest field hospitals in the UK.

Five days
The length of time it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig, which overlapped with the build phase.

3,000
The number of planning hours, involving more than 20 different disciplines, it took to plan Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig.

£166m
Welsh Government funding for the set up, construction and equipment for field hospitals in Wales.

138,000
The number of pieces of equipment have been provided to help support field hospitals, including beds, imaging equipment, syringe drivers and medicines.

Three North Wales field hospitals have the name Enfys
Meaning rainbow – the symbol of hope and thank you to the NHS during the pandemic.
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7-year-old Mattie from Pembrey takes on home Pen y Fan-tastic challenge for Action for Children

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Plucky Mattie Denman will climb the equivalent of Pen y Fan in the drive at her family home in Pembrey on Friday 22nd May to raise funds for Action for Children.

Mattie (7), has always wanted to climb the highest mountain in South Wales and is unable to currently because of the coronavirus pandemic.  As the family exercise at home every day, she decided she wanted to do the 6-mile equivalent journey there while she waits for the chance to do it for real.  Mattie chose Action for Children as her mother, Sian, works for the charity in Carmarthenshire.

Mattie said: ‘My Mammy works for Action for Children and I want to help as well because lots of families need help.  My older brother and sister help Action for Children, so I asked Mammy if I could do something. We exercise everyday walking up and down the drive and I have always wanted to climb Pen y Fan, but we have never done it.

‘Mammy said I could pretend I am walking it and people will give money to the charity. I said brilliant, that is what I am going to do and I am super excited to do it. I will use mammy’s step counter and I hope I can help children that need support especially because it is so hard for some families because of coronavirus.’

Proud mum and family support practitioner for Action for Children, Sian, added: ‘Mattie has a lovely heart and really wanted to do something and I’m very proud she chose Pen y Fan as her home challenge.  Action for Children has been going the extra mile during the coronavirus pandemic continuing to support vulnerable families through phone and video sessions as well as food and help with the basics from our Emergency Appeal Fund. 

‘It is a tremendously challenging time for our families and every bit of money will directly help those in our communities who need it most.  I hope as many people as possible will donate to Mattie’s brilliant fundraising effort, it’ll make it even more special when we finally get to climb Pen y Fan for real.’

If you want to support Mattie’s Pen y Fan challenge please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattiesclimb

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Housebuilder launches Coronavirus move in package

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A South Wales housebuilder has launched new incentives which mean homes are ‘ready to move into’ during the Covid-19 crisis – without the need for tradespeople or delivery people.

People in Wales are allowed to move into new build houses during the lockdown – and many people have successfully done so.

However, the limitations of social distancing can add extra stress when it comes to having things like dishwashers, washing machines and turf installed in the new property.

That’s why Persimmon Homes West Wales has launched a new incentive package which gives purchasers the chance to buy a house with white goods and flooring already in place.

Sharon Bouhali, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “Our sales advisors have done a terrific job in talking with customers and guiding them through the buying process remotely, without the need of face-to-face meetings.

“It’s been a huge challenge, but we’ve risen to it – and Persimmon has sold more than 120 properties in South Wales during the lockdown period. We have customers moving into their new homes every week.

“But, understandably, some people are cautious about having too many tradespeople and contractors enter their home, even if they are doing their utmost to abide by social distancing rules.

“That’s why we have launched these new packages which mean people can turn the key, unpack and get on with enjoying their new home.”

The package includes carpets and vinyl throughout, turf in the back garden, sliding wardrobes, integrated fridge freezer, integrated washer/dryer, integrated dishwasher and £500 discount towards removal fees.

The deal is on offer at Glas Y Felin in Bridgend, Parc Yr Onnen in Carmarthen, The Bridles in Llanelli, Peterson Park in Pontyclun, Parc Brynderi in Llanelli and Allt Y Celyn in Rhos.

Persimmon’s marketing suites in Wales remain closed for the time being. Visit www.persimmonhomes.com or call 01792 229800 for details of homes available.

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