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Thousands of meals donated by Llanelli Tesco shoppers

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THOUSANDS of meals have been donated to food banks and groups feeding people in the local community thanks to the generosity of Tesco shoppers in Llanelli, figures released today reveal.

Shoppers in Llanelli donated 4,928 meals as part of the overall total of 2.5 million meals donated to charities the Trussell Trust and FareShare by shoppers during last month’s Tesco Food Collection, with Tesco topping up the value of all the donations by an additional 20%.

The donations to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network are being used to provide food parcels for people in crisis, while donations to FareShare go to charities and community groups such as homeless shelters and older people’s lunch clubs who also receive surplus food from Tesco stores.

One of the groups benefitting from the generous donations in Wales is Oasis Cardiff. Its manager Richard Eynon said the donations are essential to their work.

“We’re extremely grateful for the food donations we receive from Tesco through the Food Collection scheme. We operate a monthly supper club, incorporating a different dish from around the world inspired by the group’s diversity, allowing us to introduce new foods to our clients. All of this has been made possible thanks to the donations from Tesco.

“The centre is a lifeline for our clients, especially over Christmas, and we’re proud to have the opportunity to support them in their time of need. Some have just arrived in Cardiff, whereas others have been here for a few years, and visit Oasis to socialise with the many friends they have made here.”

One of the groups supplied by Trussell Trust in Wales is the Taff Ely Foodbank. It has eight distribution centres across Pontyclun, Pontypridd, Tonyrefail, Llanharan, Gilfach Goch and Talbot Green. Its team of 50 volunteers provided 3.3 tonnes of food to people across Rhondda Cynon Taff last year.

The donations help the foodbank team make nutritionally balanced food parcels which is supplied to people who have been referred by a local agency.

Adrian Curtis, Trustee at Taff-Ely Foodbank, said: “The donations from Tesco help members of the community across Rhondda Cynon Taff enormously. Having distributed over three tonnes of food in the last year, this was a 46% increase compared to the previous year, highlighting just how much need there is in the area.

“For those in crisis, and especially as finances pinch around Christmas time, the food bank is a lifeline. The emergency food takes the pressure away from families enabling agencies to address and remedy the issues that are causing the crisis.”

The donations from the three-day collection are in addition to items donated by customers throughout the year at a network of more than 500 permanent collection points at Tesco stores. In the year to October more than 7 million meals were donated to food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network at those in-store collection points.

Tesco Director Christine Heffernan thanked customers for their donations. “On my visits to stores during the Collection I was taken aback by the generosity of our customers,” she said. “I would like to thank all those who donated and we will be doing our bit by topping up all the donations by 20%.”

The Trussell Trust’s Chief Executive Emma Revie also thanked customers. “Food banks up and down the country could not do what they do without the incredible support of the public and their loyal volunteers who work tirelessly to help people when they need support the most,” she said. “An emergency food parcel, listening ear and compassionate, practical advice at the food bank can make a real difference when someone is facing a crisis. Any donations help make that difference.”

Lindsay Boswell, Chief Executive at FareShare, added: “We are hugely grateful to every single person who volunteered and donated items during this year’s Tesco Food Collection – it was wonderful to see so many passionate people lending a hand to support us. All items donated by Tesco customers will be redistributed by FareShare to charities and community organisations and will help to ensure more people get a hot, nutritious meal.”

The Tesco Food Collection ran in all Tesco stores in the UK from November 21 to 23.

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Business offer Welsh Government help in ‘non-essential’ shopping row

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THIS morning (Tuesday, October 27), the Wales Retail Consortium, CBI Wales and Association of Convenience stores presented the Welsh Government joint recommendation to resolve the confusion over non-essential items.

The three industry bodies’ statement expresses the hope that the Welsh Government, ‘will agree to these recommendations and the people of Wales can refocus all their energies on respecting the Fire Break’.

The recommendations come in response to confused and confusing messaging from the Welsh Government, which allowed its public health message to be drowned out over the weekend by rows over whether toasters, Lee Childs novels, and size 16 jeans were essential items for customers. The confusion was not helped by a mistaken tweet by supermarket giant Tesco which claimed women’s period products were not essential items when they are and always have been.

The WRC, CBI Wales and ACS believe their recommendations will fulfil retail’s role in tackling the spread of the virus while allowing for discretion to be used on an individual basis – as recommended by Health Minister Vaughan Gething in a tense press conference yesterday, http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/61929/welsh-health-minister-defends-retail-restrictions/.

The business bodies recommend:

  • To limit the spread of the virus and allow for individual discretion, retailers will prominently display Welsh Government approved signage in front of known non-essential items and in communal areas. The signage will make clear the government’s regulation and the need to abide by it.
  • This message will be reinforced through in-store announcements and social media messaging. Advising customers to put off non-essential purchases
  • We recommend the individual customer is trusted to make their own decision as to whether a product is non-essential or not, taking into account the notices displayed throughout the store and their immediate needs
  • If the customer goes ahead with the purchase of the item the final liability ought to rest with the customer
  • Retailers will remove special in-store promotional displays of non-essential items in order to minimise browsing and avoid triggering a non-essential purchase.
  • These recommendations would mean non-essential items are not removed from shelves – or cordoned off in stores – but large notices are placed in front of the products and in communal spaces informing customers of the Welsh Government’s regulations and the Welsh public are trusted to make the right decision.

They also say they ‘look forward to engaging with Welsh Government again this morning and we hope consensus can be reached’.

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Llanelli Christmas Carnival goes online

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Preparations are underway to host the first ever virtual Llanelli Christmas Carnival. 

The carnival will go digital for the first time in its 42-year history due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in line with current Welsh Government guidance and increasing concerns about the spread of coronavirus linked to large gatherings. 

Whilst there won’t be the usual street parade, people will be able to get into the festive spirit from the comfort of their own home. 

The online celebration will be hosted as an event on Discover Carmarthenshire’s Facebook page on Friday, November 13. 

Over the years, thousands of people have been involved in the Llanelli Christmas Carnival – either dressing up to enter a float in the parade, volunteering, or simply enjoying the atmosphere with generations of their families. 

They can still get involved this year by sharing photos and video to help people celebrate good memories and help others reminisce about carnivals gone by. 

There will be a broadcast of music from talented local performers who would usually sing from the main stage, and people will still be able to countdown to the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights. 

The largest Christmas carnival in Wales, Llanelli’s festive celebrations are a joint effort by Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council, Llanelli Rural Council and Llanelli Round Table. 

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “It’s very unfortunate that we can’t hold Llanelli Christmas Carnival this year, but we’re determined to keep the spirit of the carnival alive. Let’s come together and celebrate one of the biggest events in Wales from the comfort of our homes – celebrate with generations of memories and look forward to a bigger and better carnival next year.” 

Sign up to attend Llanelli’s first virtual Christmas carnival – visit facebook.com/discovercarmarthenshire 

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Free Community Crime Prevention Kits to be distributed in Llanelli area

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OVER the coming weeks, residents from both the Ty Isha and Glanymor areas in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, will receive free crime prevention kits that will aim to deter offenders and make both communities safer.

The prevention kits have been purchased through funding that was secured from the Home Office’s Safer Street Fund by Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.

The funding of £195,673 that was secured by Mr Llywelyn will go towards measures proven to cut crime, and will include employing two Community Wardens; purchase of SelectaDNA kits, Community crime prevention activity support, Environmental improvements and Community Crime Prevention kits.

SelectaDNA kits and Bike register kits are two of the Community Prevention kits that will be distributed to residents within the local communities over coming weeks.

The SelectaDNA kits are property marking kits that include a unique formula of DNA, UV tracer and microdots, which people can use to mark their valuable household items, so that if stolen, police are able to trace them. 

Similarly, the bike register kits include stickers, frame markings and microdots to uniquely identify a bike.  Users can add descriptions and photos to ensure that in the event of a theft, their bicycle can be easily identified and returned by Police through the BikeRegister Scheme.

Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys said, “I am delighted that both these crime prevention kits have been purchased through the Safer Streets funding that I secured earlier this year.  Hopefully, as they are distributed over the coming weeks, we will see that they will have a positive impact within the area.  Criminals know that DNA is the police’s most powerful weapon in convicting criminals therefore the DNA fear-factor is highly understood and acts as a huge deterrent.

“I have invested significantly in the area over recent years with community grants I made available in addition to the new CCTV system that is in place across the town. These new crime prevention kits that have been purchased through the new additional Safer Streets funding will further build upon my work over recent years and I hope the residents will feel a positive difference in their communities.

Both Ty Isha and Glanymor areas are considered to be two of the most deprived areas in Carmarthenshire according to the Welsh Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation. The funding secured will focus on tackling all acquisitive crime such as burglary, vehicle theft and robbery within the identified areas.

PCC Llywelyn added, “Ensuring the security and safety of residents is a priority of mine – everyone deserves to live safely, and free from harm. Acquisitive offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year. There is strong evidence that these crimes can be prevented by tactics that either remove opportunities to commit crime or act as a deterrent by increasing the chances of an offender being caught. I now look forward to continue working closely with all partners that have supported us with our bid, to tackle these crimes in both areas and to ensure that they become safer environments for community residents.”

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