RUMOURS about the closure of a council-run care home in Llanelli must stop to protect vulnerable residents, according to a council officer, who gave a categorical denial that this was on the cards.
Councillor Siân Caiach has previously raised concerns about the future of Caemaen Care Home, and has campaigned with others for Llanelli care homes to stay open in the past.
At Tuesday’s Full Council meeting (Feb 23), Cllr Caiach asked for clarification of the plans, following the executive Board revealing that they had ‘no definite plans’ for the new £12.5m care home planned for Llanelli as part of the five year Capital Programme:
“I’ve asked before, and will ask again, about the future of our own care home for the frail elderly in Caemaen, and whether or not this is going to be replaced by the extra care home, which is of course a different matter,” she said.
“I really feel this extra care home is part of a privatisation agenda.”
Council Chair Peter Hughes- Griffiths wondered whether the question had been answered before in a council meeting:
“If we haven’t done it before, can we do it today?” he suggested.
Responding, Councillor Jane Tremlett, who holds the health and social care portfolio, said that the new home was in a very early stage, and no allocation had been made for the site or number of users.
“I am very keen that we actually look at the needs of the people of Llanelli,” Cllr Tremlett added.
“The detail has to be worked out based on the need – not just now, but future, planning 15, 20, 25 years ahead, so we actually get it right.
“I think that’s the important thing we must never forget; however grandiose these schemes might be, we are looking at providing care for people that is what they need, and where they need it.”
Cllr Tremlett also suggested that, along with other parties, including Labour, she believed that a mixed economy of private and public sector was the ‘way to go.’
Director of Community Services Jake Morgan gave full assurance that Caemaen would remain open: “I think it’s important to be absolutely clear: the development of new provision isn’t related to the closure of other provision,” he stated.
“I have said that many times – I couldn’t have been more definitive about that, and nor could Cllr Tremlett.”
Mr Morgan also suggested that unfounded speculation concerning the closure of Caemaen was unhelpful to residents.
“I think that it is probably important, given the vulnerability of people in the various provisions, and how easy it is to start anxieties, that maybe we put a stop to that narrative – that one is related to the other,” he added.
“We have expanding demand in that area, and we have a capital commitment to meet some of that demand to maintain a balance of in-house and external provision.
Mr Morgan also pointed out that, rather than being a privately-run facility, the new care home would be run by the Housing Association, and domicillary care would be in-house, leading to ‘an element of growth’ in this provision.
Former Chair of Save Our Homes Jan Wiliams said that people needed to know more detail as soon as possible: “There has been a lot of scaremongering, and people are nervous,” she said.
“I do feel that extra care is the way forward – in addition to the external provision we need care homes for the elderly, care homes that are run by the council, because believe it or not, the public trust us when it comes to running a care home.”
Llanelli MP & AM call for school transport solutions
Llanelli’s MP and AM joined Tumble residents on Friday (15.01.20) to walk along the unlit path that children have been forced to take since a bus service to Maes y Gwendraeth school was scrapped.
A number of school bus routes in Carmarthenshire have been cancelled in response to UK Government legislation which has restricted the types of vehicles that bus companies can use. This has left many children who relied on these services with no safe way to get to school.
Nia Griffith MP and Lee Waters AM are working with local residents and councillors, like Dot Jones in Tumble, to find solutions that can be implemented by the County Council or UK Government.
Lee Waters AM said, “After carrying the bags and instruments of a Tumble pupil three miles to school on Friday morning it’s clear we need to get these services running again. I’ve been working with the Council and Welsh Government to try and find a common sense resolution to the problem of cancelled school buses right across Llanelli.
“It’s a complicated situation, and unfortunately the Welsh Government’s powers are limited, but we may have found a way forward if the UK Government are willing to be flexible. The Welsh Government has written to ask them to exempt school transport in Carmarthenshire from the new regulations which would allow the local services to resume.”
In addition to commercial school bus routes, there is also a scheme for pupils to access spare places on the coaches that pick up children who live further away from school for a small fare. However, local parents have raised concerns about the availability of this scheme and the process by which places are allocated.
Nia Griffith MP said, “We must work together to find ways to restore bus transport as soon as possible, even if the situation is complex.
“I understand the County Council will now review the scheme which lets pupils use spare places on existing school buses, but this needs to be done as quickly and effectively as possible to ensure the maximum number of pupils benefit.
“It is crazy to have buses with spare capacity passing the bus stop and leaving pupils to walk. But we need transport back for all pupils who have lost it.”
Cllr Rob James, who joined the walk to Ysgol Maes y Gwendraeth on Friday, said: “The bus services that have been withdrawn are vital services to many of our communities and must be retained.
“The local ward Councillors and I are thrilled with the support we are getting from the local MP and AM to solve these issues and we hope that there can be a resolution shortly.”
‘Seaside Kicks’ off to great start in Glanymor Ward!
A new project has been launched which is completely free for young people from across the Llanelli area.
‘Premier League Kicks’ run by Swansea City Community Trust started last Tuesday (14th January) and is already proving to be a success with both children and their parents.
Boys and Girls of all abilities are welcome to take part with sessions taking place on the brand new 3G pitch at Ysgol PenRhos.
Ages 8-12 take place on every Tuesday evening between 5.00pm and 6.00pm with ages 13-16 on every Wednesday between 8.00 and 9.00pm.
As well as the football sessions, activities will also include informative, educational workshops covering a wide range of issues including knife crime, county lines and online safety.
Craig Richards from the Swans Community Trust said:
“Nationally, ‘Premier League Kicks’ is one of the Premier League’s flagship community programmes. It has a long history of using the power of football and the value of sports participation to help youngsters in some of the most-high need areas.
“By engaging young people in constructive activities including football, coaching, educational and personal development sessions, communities up and down the country have been transformed with impressive football and sports participation rates, and authorities reporting significant reductions in anti-social behaviour in the areas in which it is delivered.”
Sean Rees, Llanelli Town Councillor for the Glanymor Ward added:
“It is a pleasure to link up with the Swans Community Trust, Police and Crime Commissioner, our PCSO’s, Llanelli Town Council and the Community Safety Partnership in bringing forward such an exciting project.
“Engagement has taken place with both local schools at Ysgol PenRhos and Ysgol Maes Y Morfa as well as strong partnership work with our existing sports clubs in the area at Seaside AFC and Bwlch Rangers too all of whom have been very supportive.
“It is fantastic to see so many youngsters turning out in great numbers with more expected next week. It gives them somewhere to go in the area and have fun with others within a safe environment.
“I now look forward to seeing this project go from strength to strength.”
Body of a man found in camper van near lifeboat station
THE BODY of a male has been found in a camper van parked near Loughor lifeboat station, according to the police.
Officers said they were called at 1.41pm on Sunday afternoon (Jan 12).
Locals said that the van had been parked there since December 22.
Police said they were called to the scene after concern was raised about an abandoned vehicle.
A statement from a police spokesperson said: “The body of a man was located inside.”
It added that his death was not being treated as suspicious and the coroner had been informed.
Hayden Jones, who walks in the area regularly, said he spotted police and the ambulance service were in the area at 3.20pm yesterday.
He said: “We came from the direction of the bridge and police were stopping cars coming in. There was an ambulance there too.
“We didn’t see what was going on. We turned around.”
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