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Parc Howard Masterplan unveiled



ANOTHER Parc Howard ‘masterplan’ will be put before the Executive Board next week, after the last one failed to attract Heritage Lottery funding three years ago. Executive Board members at the meeting on Monday will be invited to ‘note and comment on the masterplan’, which includes new play areas, ‘sensitive commercial use’ of the ground floor and walled garden area, and improved car parking facilities.

It is thought that ‘long -term investment into the car park could help increase income through commercial activities such as weddings and events in the park ‘. As The Herald has noted before, the Executive M ember for Regeneration , Cllr Meryl Gravell, has blamed Llanelli residents for scuppering the previous bid because ‘they’ve always been against having a car park there, which in itself would bring in a lot of money in order to help support and keep the park open ‘. Hopefully no such problems will arise this time.

The key decisions required include endorsing the allocation of £150,000 from departmental reserves for the installation of two new playgrounds. These playgrounds, work on which has already commenced, were the subject of some heated discussion at a council meeting last week, with Cllr Kevin Madge among those who questioned why the council should be spending money on new play facilities at the same time that other community councils were being asked to take over the management of their parks. Certain ‘outdated bylaws’ dating back to 1912 will have to be reviewed, and possibly revoked, to allow the park to be operated ‘effectively ‘. ” Whilst elements of the masterplan may be longer term aspirations, possibly delivered through, or in partnership with, the Parc Howard Association (PHA) or the Friends of Park Howard Group, five priority areas are identified for immediate progress ,” the report states.

In addition to the playgrounds, car parking and ‘sensitive commercial use’ mentioned above, these include refurbishing the bandstand and ‘revamping’ the museum display, to include a community room and the realisation of something called the ‘ Heritage 6 Project ‘ . This is ‘a collaboration between Archives, Museums and Libraries developing a website to digitise the heritage of Carmarthenshire through a community -driven website based on six themes: People; Places; Events; Periods; Industry; and Sport ‘.

While £150,000 has been identified from reserves for the improvements to the playground, the car park works are estimated at around £100,000. The bandstand will cost around £50,000 to repair, with the money for this possibly coming from grants or external fundraising with the Parc Howard Association. While no commercial activity beyond possible use as a wedding venue (something Cllr Gravell has previously favoured, and which featured in the last HLF bid) has been suggested, the reports states that ‘the aim is to try and operate the park and Museum at zero cost to the authority. To do this, commercial income is needed to sustain the park into the future ‘.

Other longer-term possibilities include providing a new facility, which would house a cafe, toilet facilities and a training and education centre. It is suggested that this could be linked with Coleg Sir Gâr. At this stage , the plans appear to be at an early stage, with additional costing and detail required for every aspect of the five priorities, let alone the full Masterplan. There is also a shortage of detail concerning the ‘commercial activity’ and the bylaws which will need to be amended or removed. Hopefully , the Executive Board meeting on Tuesday (Jul 26) will shed some light on these matters.

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



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



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



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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