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Council unveils ambitious housing plan

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has unveiled major plans to build more council homes and further improve its existing housing stock, including an ambition to move towards ‘carbon neutral homes’.

Executive Board approved an impressive Carmarthenshire Homes Standard (CHS+) business plan this week (February 24, 2020) in a commitment to build on a £286million programme it has already delivered to bring council homes in the county above the Welsh standard for social housing.

Pending Full Council approval in March, the council has outlined its intentions to commit £49million to continue the CHS+ programme whilst developing a new standard to further improve the energy efficiency of their homes, aiming to cut and off-set carbon emissions to ensure homes are warm, cheap to run, and easily adapted to cater for people’s changing needs.

As part of this vision, the council is planning to improve the fabric of houses so that they become more energy efficient. It will also harness off-grid sustainable energy solutions, such as wind and water, and has committed to planting 1,000 trees to off-set carbon emissions.

The council has also made a new commitment to invest £52million building more homes over the next three years as it works towards returning its housing stock to levels last seen in the 1990s.

The new programme will link to the council’s wider strategic regeneration initiatives, including developments in the Tyisha area of Llanelli, town centres and key rural towns.

The administration’s previous promise to deliver 1,000 more affordable homes is just 15 homes short of the target it set itself for 2021, including the completion of its first major new-build development since the 1970s in Pembrey, and the phase-one completion of a second development in Bynea.

Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said the investment would not only improve living conditions for existing tenants and provide more quality affordable homes for local people, but will also contribute to providing employment and training opportunities in the local construction industry.

“The plan is very ambitious – we are building new homes and working with tenants and key partners to ensure Carmarthenshire is at the forefront of the decarbonisation agenda,” she said. “Carmarthenshire is one of three authorities working with Welsh Government to look at measures to decarbonise our homes, and this work will start in the next few months.

“The fact that we have been able to invest in our homes, we’ve been able to build suitable homes and adapt homes for people and their families is very impressive – there’s more to do, but we are ready to take the challenge. It’s a very exciting time.”

Delivery of the council’s ambitions depends on an average rent increase of 2.7 per cent, working out at roughly £87 a week for a two-bedroom home – the second lowest rent level for social housing in Wales and significantly lower than private rented accommodation.

The council will also seek £6.1million from the Welsh Government’s major repairs allowance fund.

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Four children hospitalised after being hit by school bus, three flown by helicopter

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THE POLICE investigation into the road traffic collision in Llanfair Caereinion yesterday (May 23), is continuing today police have said.

A school bus and a number of young pedestrians were involved in the collision which occurred at about 3.25pm on School Lane, just off Neuadd Lane, Llanfair Caereinion, Powys.

Four children and a bus driver remain in hospital after a school bus crashed into a group of young pedestrians yesterday, May 23, in Powys.

They are described as being in a stable condition at this time.

One child was discharged from medical care yesterday.

The children are primary school aged.

There were no passengers in the bus.

Three children were air lifted to hospital, while the male driver and a fourth child were driven to hospital by ambulance.

Pictures from the scene yesterday showed the bus mounting the kerb and crashing into a metal fence.

The bus has been removed for forensic examination and the road has now reopened.

Police Community Support Officers and School Community Police Officers will be attending the school this morning to provide support.

A spokesman for Powys County Council told Herald.Wales on Monday: “The council can confirm that a school bus has been involved in an incident this afternoon in Llanfair Caereinion. Emergency services have been in attendance. Officers from the council’s school service are currently in the town providing support to both the high school and primary school.”

A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called to the incident shortly before 3.30pm.
“Three of the five children were flown to hospital for treatment while another child and an adult were taken to hospital by land ambulance. The remaining child was discharged at the scene.”

(Photo of bus by Phil Blagg)

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Health

Welsh residents unaware of the early signs of dehydration according to new resarch

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PEOPLE living in Wales are unaware of the five most common signs of dehydration, according to research from Aqua Pura.

Even though more than half (55%) of residents believe they know the symptoms of dehydration, the new research reveals many don’t know the early warning signs.

More than two thirds (65%) don’t think having bad breath/a dry mouth is a symptom of dehydration, while half (50%) don’t think dark coloured urine is a tell tail sign. In reality, both are early warning signs which shouldn’t be ignored.

Early signs which residents in Wales don’t think are signs of dehydration (but actually are) include (% of survey sample):

·       Bad breath/dry mouth (65%)

·       Feeling dizzy (53%)

·       Dark coloured urine (50%)

·       Fatigue (48%)

·       Headache (42%)

“Dehydration can lead to a number of health problems such as constipation, muscle tiredness, urinary tract infections and headaches, so it’s concerning to see that so many people are unaware of the early signs. It’s known that having a good level of hydration can help to maintain higher energy levels, better weight control and faster thinking.

“As we approach the summer months and temperatures across the country rise, it’s important that people take the time to drink more to keep their fluid levels topped up and avoid any unwanted health issues. This fluid can in fact come from a variety of drinks and foods, but plain water is a great calorie and sugar free option to ensure you stay hydrated,” comments hydration expert, Dr Stuart Galloway of the University of Stirling.

From fizzy drinks and fresh orange juice, to tea and coffee the research reveals residents of Wales are unaware that drinks other than plain water can contribute to hydration levels.

In fact, almost two fifths (17%) of those surveyed don’t think that sparkling water contributes, let alone fizzy drinks.

Top 10 drinks residents of the Wales don’t think help with hydration

1.     Wine (68%)

2.     Beer/larger (66%)

3.     Cider (64%)

4.     Coffee (53%)  

5.     Hot chocolate (47%)

6.     Fizzy drinks (44%)

7.     Fresh juice (21%)

8.     Tea (25%)

9.     Sparkling water (17%)

10.  Dilutable juice (13%)

“Many will be surprised to see drinks like wine and coffee on the list, as they’re often thought to dehydrate you. Alcoholic drinks will lead to dehydration, but only if you drink more than one or two servings. A similar situation occurs with caffeinated drinks, for example, a black coffee is mostly boiling water so this makes up part of your daily water intake. The dehydration effect of caffeine starts to kick in after around a litre of regular coffee, up until then it can be classed as part of your daily intake of water. However, often the best and healthiest way to ensure you’re getting your daily intake of water is by drinking plain still or sparkling water,” adds Dr Stuart.

Even though drinking water is the easiest, and healthiest, way to get to the recommended daily amount of water, the nationwide survey reveals almost one in 10 (7%) admit they don’t drink any water at all. Those in the baby boomer generation, aged between 55 – 73, are the most likely to not drink any water at all, with one in seven (14%) saying this is the case.

Dr Stuart’s top tips of staying hydrated this summer:

·       Be aware of the signs of dehydration such as dry mouth and dark coloured urine

·       Alongside the fluids you drink, choose foods such as fruits and vegetables which have a high-water content as this all helps to keep you hydrated throughout the day without you even thinking about it

·       The hotter you get, the quicker you’ll get dehydrated so make sure you’re dressing for the weather and don’t spend too much time out in the sun

·       If you’re going out for the day, or even just spending an afternoon at the shops, make sure you take some water with you to stay hydrated on the go

“It’s our mission here at Aqua Pura to keep the nation hydrated – especially over the summer when more people are out and about, exploring their local area. The good news is that it’s easy to keep hydrated simply by drinking water – something that is plentiful here in the UK thanks to our climate. It means we’re all able to enjoy fresh water from the hills – in our case from the Lake District – to help keep us healthy.

“In a bid to help people stay hydrated, we’ve created a hydration calculator so Brits can work out how much water they should be drinking this summer. We hope this will help people to truly understand how much water they should be drinking,” adds Kelly Hall, Aqua Pura.

To calculate how much you should be drinking, visit www.aqua-pura.com.

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Community

Llanelli’s good causes urged to apply for Co-op Local Community Fund

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THERE is one week left for local causes in Llanelli to apply for the Co-op’s Local Community Fund.

Over the past six years Co-op has supported 94 local causes in Llanelli and local groups have until May 29 to apply for funding via coop.co.uk/causes.

The fund is continuing to support local organisations that are involved in providing access to food, helping to improve mental wellbeing or provide opportunities for young people and, for the first time, causes that are working to protect local biodiversity or tackle climate change.

Groups looking to deliver projects in any of these areas are being encouraged to apply online for the fund, which, through the help of Co-op members, has raised over £85m for nearly 30,000 projects since it began in 2016.

When Co-op Members buy selected Co-op products and services from Co-op, 2p for every £1 spent goes into their Co-op Membership account. The same amount is then given to support national community organisations through the Community Partnership Fund and local causes via the Local Community Fund.

Members can choose the causes they wish to support and, with the help of Co-op’s Community Wellbeing Index, go online to compare their community with 28,000 others across the UK. By entering a postcode the Index will reveal a community’s overall wellbeing score and indicate its performance across nine specific areas, including education, health and open spaces, helping members prioritise where to send their support.

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Membership at the Co-op said: “Since the Local Community Fund began, we have raised an amazing £85m for grassroots causes, as a direct result from the support of our members.

“Also, by applying for the Local Community Fund, groups will join our online community centre, Co-operate, which can help them find additional resources, as well as further donations, making this not just a fund, but a partnership.

“Even if a funding application is not successful, the group will still be a part of a network of over 12,000 groups on Co-operate.

“And for the first time I’m so pleased to announce that we have extended the criteria to include causes that are particularly dedicated to helping tackle biodiversity and carbon reduction, from local community gardens to small scale renewable energy schemes.”

Causes wanting more information about applying for the next round of the Co-op’s Local Community Fund should visit coop.co.uk/causes. Applications close on 29th May 2022.

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