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Garden appoint new Chair of Trustees

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THE NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF WALES has announced that Gary Davies has taken over as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees.

A native of Carmarthenshire and first-language Welsh speaker, Mr Davies takes over from Rob Jolliffe, who stepped down in June after 10 years in the role.

Mr Davies said he was honoured to be appointed, commenting: “The ‘Garden of Wales’ is a magnificent attraction with the stunning Great Glasshouse and a centre of excellence for its collections of rare and beautiful plants from around the world – a key partner in Wales’ increasingly important visitor, scientific and botanical economy.

“My job is to continue to develop and build on the wonderful work that has gone on under Rob Jolliffe’s leadership and to ensure the organisation rises to the strategic challenges ahead.”

With more than 36 years of senior management roles in the public and private sector, including the National Trust and Welsh Government, Mr Davies knows the garden well having been its very first marketing director from 1997-2001. He was also Chief Executive Officer of the highly acclaimed and award-winning South West Wales Tourism Partnership for nearly 15 years, followed by a spell as the Gardens’ Interim Chief Executive in 2016.

Earlier this year, garden staff, volunteers and members were celebrating a 17-year high in visitor numbers. In the 12 months to March 31, the Garden welcomed 161,762 people, which was not only the highest figure since 2001 but which also represented a 20% increase on the previous year – and 41% up on 2015/16. So far this year, visitor numbers are ahead of what was achieved in 2017/18.

Welcoming Mr Davies’ appointment, Director Huw Francis said: “Our Garden is flourishing. With visitor numbers continuing to rise and having generated a small surplus in 2017, the organisation is moving forward with renewed energy.

“This June saw the opening of the British Bird of Prey Centre, which has proved hugely popular with visitors, and followed on from the launch of the Plas Pilipala tropical butterfly house, new children’s play area and a range of family activities.

“We also have big plans for new and exciting attractions for the future. With support from both the Japanese and Welsh Governments we are renovating the award winning Japanese Garden at the Botanic Garden of Wales, and work is well under way to restore the historic Regency parkland and lakes with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and others.”

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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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