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New traffic-free route in Pembrey to boost local economy

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261340009_hols_sw_CefnSidan_16x9AN IMPORTANT new walking and cycling route linking the villages of Pembrey and Kidwelly with Pembrey Country Park, Burry Port and the Millennium Coastal Path will be officially opened this Friday (Aug 5). The new route will provide enhanced, traffic-free access to popular tourism destinations along the Carmarthenshire coast and also link to two existing walking and cycling routes that are already a hit with tourists and local users.

The path will enhance the experience of visitors and increase the numbers using local services and facilities, rather than bypassing them.  It has been estimated that the route will attract an additional 9,250 tourist trips each year and increased annual spending of up to £287,000 in the town. It will also encourage people to travel actively, improve connectivity and enhance the quality of life of the community and visitors.

The £300,000 project has been delivered by Sustrans Cymru, Carmarthenshire County Council and the Coastal Communities Fund. The new route is a 1.6km path along a disused railway line that runs through the heart of Pembrey. It will provide access to the popular tourist attractions Pembrey Country Park and to the Millennium Coastal Path. The project has also upgraded and installed new signage along the 10km route between Burry Port and Kidwelly.

The original route consisted of a narrow, worn and muddy track with overgrown vegetation. The new path has been constructed along a disused railway line and includes safe road crossings. Users will benefit from an improved surface making it accessible all year round. It also provides an alternative alignment for the Celtic Trail, part of the National Cycle Network, avoiding sections in Pembrey Forest which have been severely affected by flooding in recent years.

A bicycle ride will be held to celebrate the opening of the new path. Invitees to the event include the local MP, AM, Councillors, and representatives of local businesses.

Jane Lorimer, National Director at Sustrans Cymru said: “I am delighted that Sustrans in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council has been able to provide this new route, thanks to funding from the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF).  We know where routes have been built in coastal areas in Wales they have resulted in people walking and cycling for more of their everyday journeys, helping them to lead healthier lifestyles, save money and enjoy the beautiful scenery around us.  This new route offers great potential to boost tourism and have an impact on how local people choose to get about every day.”

Executive Board Member for the Environment Cllr Hazel Evans said: “The new path will link up the communities of Burry Port, Pembrey and Kidwelly to the very popular coastal path creating a safe, traffic-free route for people to use for commuting and for pleasure.”

Council Leader Emlyn Dole said: “Carmarthenshire is set to become the cycling capital of Wales; the county already has a reputation for being a great place for mountain biking and future plans include a new velodrome in Carmarthen and a £5million expansion to the Tywi Valley cycleway.

“We welcome this latest investment in Pembrey which will complete the route that links Burry Port Harbour, the MCP, and Pembrey Country Park with Kidwelly and the Gwendraeth Valley cycle route.

“As well as being a healthy and environmentally friendly way of getting around, cycling is a growing sport and a major contribution to Carmarthenshire’s thriving tourism industry.”

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Health

Those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster should get jabbed by end of June

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ALL those eligible for the Spring Covid-19 booster are being urged to take up their offer of the vaccine before the end of next month.

A deadline of 30 June has been introduced to ensure all those eligible for the spring booster will have a long-enough interval between this and the autumn 2022 booster, if they are also eligible.

An announcement by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) about which groups will be eligible for the autumn booster is due to be published shortly.

The JCVI has advised that people over-75, older care home residents and all those aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are eligible for the spring booster.

Those who are 75 on or before 30 June, can get their booster at any point up to the deadline.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: “It is important we continue our very high take up levels of the vaccine to help protect us against the risk of serious illness from Covid-19. I would urge everyone who is offered a spring booster vaccination takes up the invitation.”

If someone eligible for a spring booster has had a Covid infection recently, they will need to wait 28 days from the date they tested positive before they can be vaccinated. They will still be able to get vaccinated after 30 June as part of this campaign if they have to postpone their appointment.

All those eligible for spring boosters will be invited by their health board or GP.

It is not too late for anyone who needs a primary dose (first, second or third) to be vaccinated.

Please check for local arrangements.

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Health

Young people in Wales being failed when moving from child to adult mental health services

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MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES are failing young people when they move from child to adult services, says a mental health charity.

Mind Cymru is calling for Welsh Government to make urgent changes to improve the system.

Nia Evans, Children and Young People Manager at Mind Cymru, said: “Young people have told us that their needs, thoughts, and feelings about moving to adult services are often unheard, or ignored.

“Welsh Government must support Local Health Boards to make sure this doesn’t happen, change the way services are run and make sure our young people are being heard and properly cared for.”

Mind Cymru has published a report, in ate the result of interviews with young people about their experiences of moving from Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – (SCAMHS) to AMHS.

They highlighted five key areas where services are failing young people:
– Poor information offered to young people, particularly on their rights
– Inconsistent use and follow through of care and treatment plans
– High thresholds for SCAMHS and AMHS referrals to be accepted
– Feeling abandoned / cut off from SCAMHS
– Age still dominates decision making process for moving from SCAMHS to AMHS

Nia Evans said: “Any one of these issues could make the process of moving from children’s services to adult services difficult for our young people. But often, more than one is happening at any one time.”

“Our young people have a right to care and support from a mental health system that has been put in place to help them recover. Action must be taken immediately to make sure support systems are robust and doing the job they were designed to do.”

Mind Cymru is asking people to email their Member of the Senedd (MS) and amplify the voices of these young people whose experiences are often unheard, and use the #SortTheSwitch hashtag on social media.

The full report is available here, including what a good move from SCAMHS to AMHS would look like for young people, and where the current system could improve.

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Business

Average UK price of diesel hits record of more than £1.80 a litre

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LESS than two months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a 5p a litre cut on the average price of fuel – diesel prices have reached a record high price of 180.29p a litre.
The previous high of 179.90p was recorded on March 23rd 2022 – the day of the Spring Statement from Sunak.

In recent weeks, the UK government has tried to move away from its reliance on importing Russian oil, following President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Worryingly for drivers of petrol cars, the price per litre is fast approaching the record levels of 167.3p per litre set on March 22nd.

This latest price rise adds another challenge to UK households, as the cost of living crisis continues to impact families across the country.

RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Sadly, despite the Chancellor’s 5p a litre duty cut the average price of a litre of diesel has hit a new record high at 180.29p.”

“Efforts to move away from importing Russian diesel have led to a tightening of supply and pushed up the price retailers pay for diesel.”

“While the wholesale price has eased in the last few days this is likely to be temporary, especially if the EU agrees to ban imports of Russian oil.”

“Unfortunately, drivers with diesel vehicles need to brace themselves for yet more pain at the pumps. Had Mr Sunak reduced VAT to 15% as we call on him to do instead of cutting duty by 5p, drivers of diesel vehicles would be around 2p a litre better off, or £1 for every full tank.”

“As it is, drivers are still paying 27p VAT on petrol and 29p on diesel, which is just the same as before the Spring Statement.”

“The average price of petrol is also on the rise having gone up nearly 3p a litre since the start of the month to 166.65p which means it’s less than a penny away from the all-time high of 167.30p set on 22 March.”

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