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Rain, dear, but no washout

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raindeer1REINDEER AND ELVES Day in Llanelli on Saturday (Dec 19) was hit badly by the constant rain and miserable winter conditions. However, there were plenty of events going on in the warmer areas of the town including the town library where Lisa Moore and her pop up prevents came to the rescue of those families with children who would have been soaked otherwise. Lisa’s events attract large numbers largely because she knows just what families want. The library was set out with large tables covered with great ideas for arts and crafts following a Christmas theme.

What Mum, Dad, boy or girl could refuse a table full of Lego, a table full of Play-doh and tables full of glue, paint, glitter and a plethora of arts and crafts materials? The added bonus was that it was safe, dry and warm. Everywhere one looked there were children painting, sticking, building and singing happily as they did so. It must be how Santa’s real grotto looks like with so many little helpers busily making beautiful creations to make people happy! The library appeared to be the main focal point for families with a cosy Santa’s grotto where children could see the old bloke himself and get a gift.

Even the main part of the library had gone that extra mile: Christmas displays and Christmas related books were prominent and the library jukebox may just have been playing Christmas songs. The action wasn’t limited to the library. The St Elli Centre was a festive symphony of light, decorations, another Santa’s grotto and of course jam packed with shoppers making the most of the sheltered areas to sit, eat and rest a while after their shopping extravaganza. Llanelli’s covered market was also the focus of some events including balloon artistry, face painting, buskers, stilt walkers and many other stalls who appeared to have gone bonkers over Christmas.

Even local politician Helen Mary Jones was handing out free Welsh cakes and mince pies, such was the Christmas spirit in the town. Literary genius Robert Lloyd read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to those hardened fans of the written word who had by now moved closer to the reindeer for heat and shelter or else heading in Jenkins cafe (Kerching! Rob) for some of their wonderful locally-sourced produce. Those brave souls who braved the rain were treated to a host of performances on the main stage in the town centre.

Market stalls lined the streets and two antlered reindeer were on display for all to see complete with their keepers bedecked in what looked like traditional Lapland costumes. Children young and old were in awe of these lovely creatures as they enjoyed their reindeer food in their enclosure. Music drifted from the stage, as Sherilyn form the X Factor staged a singing competition for local children. Those who had not bolted for the shelters were treated to a wonderful performance by Sherilyn herself but she was not allowed to enter for the star prize, which was a party package at the Playking in Dafen not a stone’s throw from where Sherilyn herself works. Throughout the day, elves and pixies some on roller skates performed their mischief and mayhem by descending on unsuspecting shoppers and taking their orders for Christmas.

Stilt walkers mingled with shoppers, balloon sellers and buskers who were joined in song at one point in by members of the public. The town, despite the rain, looked colourful and alive. As the shoppers headed for home some hardened spectators remained to catch outstanding musical performances by local musicians and another of the TV show successes, Ragsy from The Voice. There was something very magical about the town as darkness fell, illuminations twinkled and Ragsy belted out Local Boy In A Photograph. His whole set was not the most jolly in the world but there was something very real about the lyrics and his soulful guitar playing as it wafted along the streets of Llanelli, which were once so full at Christmas that people were walking twelve abreast. There was an element of longing but also hope as Llanelli closed down its shops and prepared for the evening’s revellers; an altogether different form of footfall. With high heels on.

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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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