PLANS for how the health service can contribute to a multi-million pound health and wellbeing village in Llanelli have been discussed by West Wales’ leading health bosses. Hywel Dda University Health Board hosted an event in Carmarthen to discuss the plans, which form part of the ambitious ARCH Programme. The £60 m Llanelli Wellness Village, led by Carmarthenshire Council, would be the first of its kind in Wales and unique to Llanelli. The scope that the health service and transformational ARCH Programme could play in the development was discussed by Hywel Dda chief executive Steve Moore and senior health staff at a workshop held in Carmarthen Leisure Centre workshop discuss the Board’s involvement in ARCH.
The proposed Llanelli Wellness Centre is just one element of the ARCH project and aims to see a new leisure centre built which will also a wellness education centre, a health and wellbeing academy, out of hours GP services, therapies centre, hotel and conferencing and business facilities. Swansea University senior lecturer and ARCH Project Manager Bjorn Rodde spoke to Hywel Dda staff members about the potential benefit, not only to Llanelli, but the entire region of South West Wales. He said: “All of these services help people live longer and enjoy a better quality of life while providing sustainable jobs for the future.” The Llanelli Wellness community in Delta Lakes, could also see the development of ILS@Hywel Dda.
The Institute of Life Science (ILS) is Wales’s premier purpose-built medical research facility and is based at Swansea University. It is hoped Carmarthenshire will benefit from the same innovation and research which benefits all our health with the creation of the Hywel Dda facility in Llanelli. Funding could come from the EU but also from private investment and match funding in various forms. Carmarthenshire Council has said it would supply the land for the project. Hywel Dda chief executive Steve Moore told the invited audience that the health board is committed to the ARCH Programme but urged his senior managers to make the most of what ARCH can offer. He said: “ARCH will be everything to everyone, but as a health board we must be clear about what we want to get out of the project for our communities “This programme really does offer us the chance to improve the services we deliver across the Hywel Dda area and to transform the way we operate as an organisation.
“We are committed to ARCH, but now is the time to work with our partners and be specific about what it can bring to us.” He emphasised that working effectively as a region is in the hands of the Hywel Dda team He added: “Collaboration is a choice.” Another of the guest speakers at the Carmarthenshire event was Dr Phil Kloer, Medical Director & Director of Clinical Strategy for Hywel Dda, also praised the ARCH Programme and encouraged his colleagues to support the scheme. He said: “This will break new ground. By linking ARCH’s ambitions with our local clinical strategy we can be a leader in rural health services and even possibly repatriate certain services to Hywel Dda. “We do have some fragile service models, we need to work together now and everyone needs to be a part of it.”
He added: “Now is the moment to connect to ARCH as an organisation.” An ARCH spokeswoman said: “Our emotional wellbeing is a key part to living a healthier and happier life. It is one of the key aims of the programme. ARCH will be a vehicle to help the partners deliver improved health services across the region. But in order for this innovative project to be completely effective we must all start to understand how taking care of our own wellbeing will create a healthier region. “We are working together to develop healthier values locally which focus on health and wellbeing for all our communities. Carmarthenshire Council’s plans for the Wellness and Wellbeing Village in Llanelli’s Delta Lakes are a key foundation stone in ARCH’s aims.”
Chair of the ARCH Wellness and Wellbeing group is Carmarthenshire councillor Meryl Gravell. Councillor Gravell said: “We want to help our communities be more active, feel supported and be curious to learn new skills and take on new challenges. This will all contribute to improving not only our wellbeing but our overall health.” Councillor Gravell added: “The ARCH Wellness and Wellbeing group is leading the way to find ways of helping the entire region stay well. “I am particularly excited about the proposed plans for the Wellness Village in Delta Lakes. This Carmarthenshire Council-led project will be a huge win for our community and is a great way to show what the ARCH Programme partners can deliver. We also want to improve the economic health of the area, so we are also looking to work with the private sector to create good quality, well-paid jobs.”
Llanelli High Street shortlisted for prize
LLANELLI HIGH STREET has been shortlisted in the Government’s Great British High Street Awards, in proud partnership with Visa, putting them in the running for up to £15,000.
After a rigorous selection process led by a panel of independent judges, the high street has been shortlisted for the Rising Star category, which celebrates high streets which are taking the lead to adapt and diversify.
The bid by Ymlaen Llanelli follows research commissioned by Visa in April 2019 demonstrating the positive impact that the local high street has on communities. The research found that nearly three quarters of consumers (71%) in Wales say that shopping locally makes them feel happy, with nearly half (45%) citing supporting local shops and knowing where their money is going as the main reason. Spending time with friends and family (25%) and offering a sense of community (18%) were other reasons cited for why high streets make people feel happier. The research also reveals that half of consumers (50%) feel that their high street gives them a sense of pride in their local community.
High Streets Minister Jake Berry MP said: “Congratulations to Llanelli for being shortlisted for the Rising Star Award for this year’s Great British High Street Awards.
“Llanelli high street is a hive of activity, with food festivals, childrens’ days and community get-togethers all part of the local calendar. A great example of how high streets can bring a renewed energy to communities.
“People are happier when they can see their hard-earned cash support local businesses. That is why we are celebrating those that go above and beyond to keep their high streets thriving for generations to come.”
Sundeep Kaur, Head of UK & Ireland Merchant Services at Visa, added: “We’ve seen some fantastic entries for this year’s Great British High Street Awards across both the Champion High Street and Rising Star categories. In particular, the desire to innovate stands out amongst this year’s entries, with high streets adapting to the challenges presented by a rapidly changing retail environment to find ways to thrive at a local level.
“As our research shows, high streets play a vital role at the heart of communities, so this is a great opportunity for those communities with shortlisted high streets to show their support by placing their votes on the Great British High Street website.”
Llanelli High Street is one of the 28 high streets that have been shortlisted for the Rising Star category, identifying high streets which are taking the lead to adapt and diversify. 12 high streets have been shortlisted in the Champion High Street category, which recognises the UK’s best high streets. All 40 high streets are now in the running to win a prize of up to £15,000 to be dedicated to a local high street initiative.
Head Teacher at Primary school in Llanelli suspended
THE HEAD TEACHER of a Welsh primary school has been suspended, it has been confirmed.
Catherine Lloyd-Jenkins, who is head at Ysgol Gymraeg Ffwrnes in Llanelli, has been suspended from her duties at the school with immediate effect.
Governors at the school have been unavailable for comment, but Carmarthenshire Council confirmed the news this morning.
It is understood that the chair of the governing body is currently out of the country, and the council would not comment further on the circumstances surrounding the suspension.
The council’s director of education, Gareth Morgans, said: “School staffing is a matter for the Governing Body, however, we can confirm the headteacher of Ysgol Ffwrnes has been suspended.
“It is not appropriate to comment further.”
Mrs Lloyd-Jenkins has worked at Ysgol Gymraeg Ffwrnes for 23 years, taking up a post at the school in 1996.
She has been the headteacher there for almost 20 years, taking over the role in 2000. She has also worked as a peer inspector at Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales confirmed.
According to one local councillor, ‘serious concerns’ have been raised about the school in recent months.
“Local residents and parents have approached us raising serious concerns about the school in question,” said Carmarthenshire councillor Rob James.
“We are in dialogue with senior council officers to assert whether the allegations are credible and what action the council and governors have taken in response to these allegations.”
Dyfed-Powys Police numbers at record low, say Labour
POLICE officers based across the Dyfed-Powys area are now at their lowest levels in the last decade, with over 300 officers being lost across the region, claim Carmarthenshire Labour.
According to a freedom of information request by Carmarthenshire Labour, police officers based across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion are down 42% and are at record lows in both Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
The figures published by Dyfed-Powys Police show that Carmarthenshire has lost 160 officers in the last ten years, Pembrokeshire is down 107 officers and Ceredigion has lost 56 bobbies on the beat.
These figures come off the back of a poor report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary that shows the force has gone backwards in the last year, with crime also on the increase.
HMIC’s recent PEEL (Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) report noted concerns about Dyfed-Powys Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime and specifically warned of failures to assess all incidents of domestic abuse.
Carmarthenshire Labour Leader Cllr Rob James claims that the figures show that the current Police and Crime Commissioner is now performing worse than their predecessor.
Rob James stated: “These figures that show a dramatic decrease in police numbers are extremely worrying and reinforce what communities are saying across Dyfed Powys – there are simply not enough police officers in our areas.
“The fact that we now have lower police numbers in the three counties compared to the end of the last Police and Crime Commissioner’s term with crime now on the rise illustrates that the Plaid Cymru Commissioner is failing in his duty to protect our communities.
“We need urgent action to make our communities safe once more, as there is a clear link between the loss of youth provision and cuts to officer numbers, and the rise of crime in our communities.
“There is little evidence that our Commissioner has grasped the nettle over the last three years in tackling this important issue.”
These claims however, have been slapped down by Police and Crime Comissioner, Dafydd Llewellyn. He said that said that Cllr James had misunderstood or misrepresented the information provided to him.
The Carmarthen data have a significant rider attached to them.
The explanatory note reads: ‘It should be noted that the figures for Carmarthenshire police division between 2008 and 2018 are not comparable as the structure of Carmarthenshire division in 2018 has altered to that of 2008 which has impacted upon the figures provided’.
That explanation is expanded upon concerning the Ceredigion data. Regarding them, an explanatory note warns that: ‘[T]he structures between 2008 and 2019 are not comparable as some sections that were recorded divisionally now come under the HQ remit, e.g. the Road Policing Unit, CID, etc.’.
Dafydd Llewelyn pointed out that note in his response to The Herald: “As outlined in the response to the Freedom of Information request, structures between 2008 and 2019 are not comparable as some sections that were recorded as divisionally based are now recorded under the HQ remit, for example, Roads Policing Unit, CID.”
Dafydd Llewelyn continued: “Since taking up my role as the elected person to represent the many communities across the four counties served by the force, I have increased the overall resource available by 4%. I have ploughed funding into dedicated teams to support front line officers and have invested in resources to support the most vulnerable in our communities.
“I have commissioned services specific to their needs – be that as victims of domestic abuse or young people choosing to leave their homes for reasons unknown to authorities. I will continue to do this. I will not be held to account by numbers on paper alone, but by the difference I can make to individuals’ quality of life.
“I will also use the opportunity I have to campaign for services appropriate to the very specific needs an area the size of Dyfed-Powys Police has and will work with the force to adapt according to those needs.”
He concluded by pointing out: “Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys remain the safest counties nationally and I’m proud to be driving a service that is willing and able to flex and respond, despite the financial challenges faced day-in-day-out.”
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