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Community Development course boost

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Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 14.46.46THREE Llanelli residents who have had to face life changing health shocks are using their experiences to help others.

Fiona Evans, Stephen Ricketts and Derek Hermann have not only turned their own lives around but are active in their local communities.

They are currently taking a community development qualification under the auspices of Communities First to develop their skills further.

Tutor Becca Rosenthal, who is teaching the course at Felinfoel Community Resource Centre, said:

“This is a Level 2 community development qualification and many of our learners started with informal workshops and completed Level 1 before starting this course.

“It is for people who are interested in developing their own communities. They are working with professionals and want to be on the same page as them. This course is based on the National Occupational Standards for Community Development Practitioners.

“The course has three themes, understanding the purpose and processes of Community Development, social inequalities, and development of community groups. Everyone is working around developing a set of skills.”

Fiona, who lives in Felinfoel, became active with two local charities as a result of having her lower right leg amputated following a blood clot in 2007.

She said: “The occupational therapist founded a Dyfed Amputees Self Help Group in Glangwili Hospital. I then did a course in web design and they became the subject as I did their website. We opened a new Dynamic Amputees Self Help Group in Llanelli which is doing very well.

“I’m chairwoman of the DASH group and a trustee of the Limbless Association. I try to keep busy doing voluntary work. I’ve come on this course because I would just like to extend my knowledge about community development.”

Steve has seen his life alter dramatically since his eyesight suddenly deteriorated around the time of his 50th birthday last March. He had to give up his job as a commercial tyre fitter working on commercial and agricultural vehicles and became involved in the community after his wife asked him what he wanted out of life. He decided he wanted to help others and became involved with Communities First taking various courses.

“What I’m looking for from this course is to become more confident mixing with people in a classroom environment. I definitely feel these groups are giving me confidence. Everything I do day by day is a challenge.

“I’ve actually started a bowls club for the visually impaired in the Selwyn Samuel Bowls Centre in Llanelli. I’ve been given so much support by organisations in the town such as the Blind Association and I want to give something back.

“I want to be an ambassador for the blind and tell people who have started losing their sight that there’s no need to sit in the house.”

Proving his point, Steve, of Trinity Road, Llanelli, will be doing a 13 mile sponsored walk from Bynea Cycle Club to the Lifeboat House in Burry Port in July to raise funds for the Blind Association and Deaf Club and to raise issues of visual impairment.

Derek’s life changed suddenly when he broke his back while representing Wales in a javelin competition.

He said: “I was working before I broke my back but cannot do that sort of work now. I did not know where to go or what to do.

“With the help of Becca, Communities First and Spice I’ve been able to reignite my spark. I originally did Community Development level 1 with Beca and the Carmarthenshire Street Buddy training, and quite a lot with Time Credits which has got me interested in helping my own community.”

Derek, known as Del, is very active in his own community of 55 houses, Maengwynne, campaigning for community facilities such as a park, and involved in the tenants and residents association Maengwynne For Change.

He said: “We will be holding our third annual Family Fun Day this year. Hopefully we will also be putting on our second fireworks display paid for by the people of Maengwynne for the people of Maengwynne.

“Along with my wife Michelle and children Holly, aged 13, and Chloe, aged 11, we’ve been out earning a lot of Time Credits together as a family. It’s been a way of bringing our family together thanks to Communities First. They have improved my education and knowledge but also our family life. I can’t thank Communities First enough.”

Carmarthenshire County Council was awarded funding from the Welsh Government to be the Lead Delivery Body to manage the new Carmarthenshire Communities First Cluster.

The Communities First programme works towards Tackling Poverty through a focus on Healthy, Prosperous and Learning Communities, creating opportunities for residents to gain skills, access employment and become healthier. Carmarthenshire Communities First works across 14 areas in Carmarthenshire with a population of approximately 22,000. The areas include Pantyffynnon, Bigyn, Felinfoel, Glanymor/Tyisha, Hengoed, Lliedi, Llwynhendy and Trimsaran.

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Man ‘fit for work’ collapses and dies at job centre

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A 65-YEAR-OLD man has collapsed while waiting for an appointment in a job centre in south Wales. He was found slumped in his chair at 9.30am on Friday in Llanelli.

The DWP said: “Our thoughts and those of the staff at Llanelli Jobcentre are with the family and friends at this time.”

The Llanelli Herald understands that he was waiting for an appointment to discuss Jobseeker’s Allowance after being declared fit for work earlier this year.

Staff and customers rushed to help, but they were unable to get a response so lay him on the floor.

They started CPR and an ambulance was called while the job centre was evacuated, but paramedics declared him dead at the scene. A witness told The Metro newspaper: “I didn’t know him myself, but the man who was sat next to me told me that he had grown up with the guy.

“The man next to me told me that the poor guy had diabetes and had been declared fit for work by the job centre earlier in the year but he was obviously ill.

“The ambulance came but he sadly died and they had to take his body out of the job centre, it was awful.

“We were all very shook up; it was a horrible situation that should have never happened. The job centre is all shut down now.’

The Welsh Ambulance Service confirmed to The Herald: “We were called on Friday November 15 at approximately 9.33am to reports of a person needing urgent medical attention on Stepney Street in central Llanelli. ‘We responded with one rapid response vehicle, one specialised medical vehicle and one emergency ambulance.’

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£100k funding boosts local food production

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LOCAL AM, Lee Waters has announced £100,000 of funding for a project to transform local food production and boost the economy across Carmarthenshire.

The project by Carmarthenshire Public Service Board will provide business opportunities for locally or regionally-based companies and bring environmental benefits by lowering food miles and associated carbon costs. It has been funded as part of a £4.6m package to boost the foundational economy.

The foundational economy approach is being adopted by cities and regions across the world, but Wales is the first country in the world to embrace it on a national scale. The foundational economy is made up of the everyday goods and services we all need and use with estimates suggesting it accounts for four out of every 10 jobs and £1 in every three we spend.

Lee Waters, who is also the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport in the Welsh Government, said,

“I came into politics and Government with the aim of helping the communities where I grew up and those like them.

“Supporting the Foundational Economy is a key way to do this. This is a vitally important part of the economy which makes a big difference to the livelihoods of many people as well as our cities, towns and villages.”

The announcement was made alongside the First Minister Mark Drakeford at an event at University of Wales Trinity St David.

Another project to be awarded funding is being led by Cyfle Building Skills Ltd. It will receive £86,500 to work with construction employers and provide opportunities for apprentices to receive valuable work experience placements throughout the industry in Carmarthenshire.

Lee Waters added “It’s been great to join the First Minister in Carmarthen to learn more about what it potentially a very exciting project and one which will change the way food is procured locally for the benefit of area’s communities.

“The Foundational Economy Challenge Fund is a clear demonstration of our commitment to supporting people in all parts of Wales today, tomorrow and into the future.”

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15 charges following clamp-down on quad bike thefts

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A MAN has admitted 15 offences including Burglaries and thefts of quad bikes following a police clamp-down.

Jeffrey Wayne Bevan, aged 50 of Swansea, appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, November 15, where he pleaded guilty to all the offences including five counts of burglary, four counts of theft of vehicles, one count of criminal damage, and one theft from a vehicle.

Bevan was arrested following a number of enquiries by Dyfed-Powys Police, which culminated in a substantial quantity of stolen property being recovered during searches carried out in the South Wales Police area.

Detective Inspector Andrew Cotterell said: “The Carmarthenshire division was hit by a spate of thefts overnight on October 28, with farms being targeted.

“Tools and a horse box were reported as stolen from four properties, and suspicious activity was reported at two others during the night.

“Because of the number of reports, we started looking for connections between the offences, and Rural Crime Team PCSO Helen Fender was instrumental in identifying linked offences. This resulted in a targeted operation being expedited, and suspects from the South Wales Police area being considered.”

Bevan and one other male was arrested and a number of properties searched in the Swansea area. They were arrested on November 13 and Bevan charged to appear at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court. He will next appear at Swansea Crown Court on November 29.

A second man was released on bail pending further enquiries.

DI Cotterell said: “The theft of quad bikes and other equipment has a huge impact on the farming community, and we are doing all we can to bring those responsible to justice.

“We are actively targeting these offenders, while also working with the farming community to disrupt criminal activity of this kind.”

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