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Rail industry honours the armed forces

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THE RAIL industry in Wales and the Borders are honouring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom this month.

To honour our armed forces heroes past and present, Network Rail and Transport for Wales, with support from the Royal British Legion, are also inviting passengers to leave a message of remembrance on three giant poppies, which have been installed at Cardiff Central, Shrewsbury and Rhyl stations.

Royal British Legion collections will also be supported, with poppy boxes placed at many of Transport for Wales’ stations.

Bill Kelly, route managing director for Network Rail Wales and Borders, said: “Having served in the Armed Forces, I fully appreciate the dedication of these men and women, the sacrifice they and their families have made and debt of gratitude we owe to each and every single one of them. We must never forget.”

Colin Lea, Commercial and Customer Experience Director Transport for Wales Rail Services, said: “The sacrifices made by so many over the years for our freedom should never be forgotten so we feel it is very fitting to recognise that on the railway.

“We know there are strong ties between the railway and the military with many railway workers going off to defend their country in the wars, while many of our current colleagues have served in various branches of the armed forces. So it’s right that we honour them and allow our customers who are travelling this week the chance to leave their own messages of thanks.”

Jenny Robey, Community Fundraiser for Shropshire said: “Everyone has a connection to the First World War, and we all have a reason to say ‘Thank You’ for the legacy that extraordinary generation left for us.

“The First World War left countless legacies that positively impact our lives today, from ground breaking social change and timeless works of art to pioneering innovations. As we come to the end of the First World War Centenary now is the time to come together in our communities and say ‘Thank You.’

“This Poppy Appeal wear your poppy with pride to support the Armed Forces community past and present. Every donation received will make a real difference to the lives of Service men and women, veterans and their loved ones.”

Network Rail signed the British Armed Forces Military Covenant back in 2015, and since then has worked closely with the Ministry of Defence to transition skills into the rail industry and develop a forces-friendly environment with its workplace.

Transport for Wales fully encourages and welcomes applications by current or former armed forces personnel and has a strong track record for employing those who have served.

James Spooner, an off track technician for Network Rail, served for seven years with the Royal Marines Commando unit in Afghanistan and has been stationed all over the world. He joined Network Rail nearly three years ago and is based in Hereford.

He said: “With people’s hectic lives travelling through busy stations it’s easy to be caught up in what you’re doing and forget to remember. So having these poppies in stations and on the side of trains may just help them take a few minutes to remember and reflect on the sacrifices.”

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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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