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No sell off ‘on my watch’ says Dole

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‘Read my lips’: Emlyn Dole echoes fateful words

A TUMULTUOUS week of claim and counter claim about the Council’s plans on asset transfers reached its frenzied peak in the Chamber of County Hall on Wednesday, January 13.

First out of the blocks on Saturday, January 9 was Council Leader Emlyn Dole. Cllr Dole was plainly enraged and frustrated by press statements issued by Labour, whose members were in partnership with the Independents when – as The Herald revealed – secret negotiations were taking place to pass the balance of the lease to property speculators Loca Ventures. Claiming that plans to sell off Parc Howard were ‘an urban myth’, Cllr Dole continued: “Discussions about its future role should be held in a sensible climate and not be distorted by those seeking political gain by jumping on the nearest passing bandwagon. Labour’s Nia Griffiths MP and candidate Lee Waters really should know better. It shows how frustrated and desperate they’ve become. They’ve concocted an urban myth around an imagined threat to Parc Howard and even launched a petition on the basis of that myth. This is a very cheap shot even by their standards.”

The Council Leader did not address the tawdry saga involving his now fellow Executive Board Member, senior officers, ‘introducers’ and ‘investors’ that took place before he ascended to his current position. That was certainly not ‘an urban myth’ but cold, hard fact. The omission appears to suggest that Cllr Dole will not countenance any backdoor deals, as seemed to be made clear by his following words. Cllr Dole said that he was looking forward to meeting the Friends of Parc Howard, the Parc Howard Association and the Llanelli Community Heritage Group. “I won’t be asking them to run anything on our behalf, as this is a public park owned by the people – all the people. But as they are interested parties I’m keen to listen to, and share ideas about, how we can create an income that will allow us to sustain and safeguard Parc Howard for the benefit of ourselves and future generations.”

His press statement concluded: “Turning Parc Howard into a political football demeans an asset which is hugely precious to the people of Llanelli. Once again, I invite local Labour politicians to watch my lips: it will remain safely in the hands of the people to whom it was bequeathed.” After his combative statement, slating his political rivals for seeking to score political points, on Tuesday (Jan 12), Emlyn Dole met with members of the Llanelli Heritage Trust, the Parc Howard Association, and Llanelli Town Council. While Llanelli Town Council were happy for the press to attend the meeting, Councillor Dole’s office told us that his personal view was that it was a private meeting between organisations he had invited to attend. Accordingly, despite the Town Council’s welcome, press would not be allowed into the meeting. We waited outside the Town Hall for Councillor Dole. Upon his arrival we asked the leader if he had a few minutes to answer some questions. Mr Dole answered, “I Doubt it.” He did however return and requested that our camera was turned off before speaking to us. We began by asking the leader if Parc Howard would be taken off the asset transfer list. He replied “It’s a meeting for interested people around Parc Howard.

He continued by saying that communication with the public would, “be done through the due process. I have already made that clear in the press. I said in my second week of my leadership that Parc Howard stays in public ownership. We are asking local communities to invest in those assets. They can be run a lot better and more efficiently. Parc Howard is on that list for Llanelli Town Council to consider. Up until April they have an option on that. I am still waiting to hear if they want it or not. “If they are not then it comes back to me. I don’t quite understand what Lee Waters or the press doesn’t get about that sentence. I don’t quite get what anyone does not understand in that sentence. It stays on the asset transfer list until April. If it comes back I have to look at how we maintain it. It does not appear to be clear in mind of Lee Waters or Nia Griffith.” On the issue of local ownership of assets Councillor Dole said, “I agree that local ownership is always better. We put the precept up in Llannon in preparation for asset transfer.

As a community council we did our own lunch club, it is a lot better, it is better run by us as a community council than it was by the County Council. Whether they (Llanelli Town Council) take it on and I don’t think they will, it will remain in public ownership.” We asked if the people of Llanelli would be asked to pay twice for their parks, once through their council taxes and once through a rise in their precept. Councillor Dole replied, “No.” and continued, “It is up to Llanelli Town Council. I am told they are sitting on a pile of money. Use the money for the people of Llanelli. “Back in the reorganisation in the 90’s the West was paying their way on sports pitches Llanelli wasn’t. For some reason that hasn’t been addressed. People in Carmarthen West has been saying, hang on we are paying to support our own pitches and parks but we’re also paying to support Llanelli’s pitches and parks. It doesn’t matter how many there are it is the principle. If you are paying your way then we should all be paying our way or we should all be subsidised.” We asked if he was aware of the Loca Ventures episode and if he was worried that that episode may be repeated if the park was open for investors to take over. He replied: “Not on my watch.” Following the meeting the leader said it had been a positive meeting in the best interests of Parc Howard.

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Further childcare hub opening in Llanelli

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AN additional childcare hub has opened in Llanelli this week (w/c Monday, May 25) due to increasing demand to provide care for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

It will be located at Ysgol Ffwrnes in Llanelli and follows the opening of an extra three hubs at Bryn Primary School in Llanelli, Model Primary School in Carmarthen and Ysgol Tycroes.

It is important that numbers are kept low at the hubs to ensure the health and safety of both the children and staff.

Parents are being reminded to keep their children at home where possible to help contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19). However, if you are a critical worker, and your child cannot stay at home, then your childcare will be prioritised.

Parents should only apply for childcare to cover their working hours; and are also being reminded to please cancel as soon as possible if they no longer need the provision.

Please note the timetable for applications to the childcare hubs has also changed, and that applications now close at 5pm on the Wednesday of the week before.

Unfortunately, we will no longer be able to consider any applications made after deadline. Due to the significant increase in demand for places at our hubs we must make sure they are staffed sufficiently. The health and safety of both staff and pupils is vital and has to be our main priority.

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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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