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Llanelli causes urged to apply for Co-op’s local community fund

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THE CHALLENGES of the pandemic are far from over for grassroot local community groups, according to a new survey from the Co-op. It found more than three quarters (76%) of surveyed community causes expected demand for their services to increase over the next six months, including a huge 94% of groups working to support mental wellbeing, 96% of groups supporting young people and 83% of those tackling food poverty.

Over 3,000 local causes from across the UK shared how the pandemic has affected their groups and communities, making the survey one of the largest of its kind, and highlighting that support for local community groups is needed now more than ever before.

To address this and help create fairer communities, Co-op is inviting grassroots projects in Llanelli that support access to food, help improve mental wellbeing or provide opportunities for young people, to apply for the Local Community Fund.

Applications are open from 4 – 30 May (coop.co.uk/causes). The Local Community Fund has supported 94 local causes in Llanelli, raising £211,000 since it began in 2016.

Despite 53% of causes saying that funding has decreased, the survey evidenced the resilience and ingenuity of local community groups in responding to the pandemic, with 76% delivering their services in new ways, 75% finding new sources of funding and 70% developing and improving their digital skills.

Co-op’s current Local Community Fund causes are already playing a key role in helping communities rebuild, with 95% of causes stating that their project was helping their community’s response to the pandemic.

Rebecca Birkbeck, Director of Community and Shared Value at the Co-op said: “Our Co-op vision is ‘co-operating for a fairer world’ and it’s heartening to see this come to life in these grass roots projects. Our Local Community Fund and support from our members has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic, and we want even more local groups to take advantage of this opportunity.

“Findings from the survey, our own Community Wellbeing Index, members and colleagues has shown us that we can all come together to make the world a fairer place. Even with the easing of lockdown, the communities across the UK will still need our help.

“Members are encouraged to select a cause each round, allowing them to support grassroots causes in Llanelli that they really care about.

“This year, when a group applies for the Local Community Fund, we will also connect them to  Co-operate (coop.co.uk/co-operate), our online community centre, where they can come together and benefit from help and support from like-minded people and causes. This is an exciting development which shows the power of co-operation beyond funding.”

Applications close on 30 May and local groups can find out more at coop.co.uk/causes.

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Food help available for projects in Llanelli and Carmarthen

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A great opportunity is opening up for food projects in Llanelli and Carmarthen. Food distribution charity FareShare Cymru is expanding further into West Wales and is looking for charities and community groups that provide food as part of their project. 

FareShare Cymru currently redistributes quality surplus food and drink from the food industry to over 170 community groups and charities based between Newport and Swansea. The surplus food benefits services such as homeless hostels, community centres, refugee centres, primary schools etc.

FareShare Cymru turns the environmental problem of food waste into a social solution. They aim to maximise the social impact of food that would otherwise go to waste; encouraging members to provide a service that is more than just food handouts and that tackles the causes of food poverty rather than just the symptoms.

FareShare Cymru offers a competitively priced membership scheme to provide a weekly provision of a variety of meat, dairy, fruit, veg and ambient produce.

It’s vital for a lot of the older diners who perhaps wouldn’t come out otherwise. But without Fareshare, that might not be able to happen. We couldn’t necessarily go out and buy all the produce you provide us. We couldn’t afford to. – Liam Turner, volunteer chef at Cornelly Luncheon Club 

This growth is happening thanks to a grant from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Fund, which aims to divert waste from landfill.

Expanding into West Wales has been on our agenda for some time and we are grateful to the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme for supporting us to be able to do this. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant it is more important now than ever to get good, nutritious food to those who need it and to support community resilience. – Katie Padfield, Head of Development at FareShare Cymru

If groups are interested in finding out more about becoming a FareShare Cymru member, please contact members@fareshare.cymru. For more information about our service, visit www.fareshare.cymru

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Applications open for emergency financial support from Economic Resilience Fund

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Eligible businesses can apply for grants of between £2,500 to £25,000

BUSINESSES in Wales impacted by the rapid spread of the Omicron virus can now apply for emergency financial support from the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF).

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething previously said £120 million would be available for retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism business and their supply chains affected by the move to alert level 2 announced by the First Minister on Wednesday 22 December.

Eligible businesses can apply for grants of between £2,500 to £25,000, with grants dependent on their size and number of employees.

The application window will be open for two weeks, with payments starting to reach businesses within days.

Vaughan Gething

Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“Following positive engagement with businesses, trades unions and other partners, we recently changed the eligibility criteria for the ERF support. The ERF grant is a Wales-only top up payment that currently supports eligible businesses who have seen a 60% drop in their income between December and February compared with the same period two years ago. The new criteria means that businesses in these sectors who have seen a 50% reduction in their turnover will now also be able to access the ERF.

“This means more businesses will receive more support from the Welsh Government.”

Non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses in Wales can also receive support from the Non Domestic Rates (NDR) linked grant which is being administered by local authorities. Businesses will be entitled to a payment of £2,000, £4,000 or £6,000 depending on their rateable value.

Local authorities are also administrating a discretionary fund for sole traders, freelancers and taxi drivers and businesses that employ people but do not pay business rates. Last week this was doubled to £1,000.

The Welsh Government has provided in excess of £2.5bn funding to Welsh businesses since the start of the pandemic. Focused particularly on backing small businesses and Welsh communities, it’s targeted approach has helped protect in excess of 160,000 Welsh jobs which might otherwise have been lost.

Apply for Economic Resilience Fund support here:

COVID-19 Support for Business | Business Wales (gov.wales)

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Plans for Cross Hands Health Centre to go before Welsh Government

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AN OUTLINE Business Case for the development of a Wellbeing Centre to be based in Cross Hands is to be resubmitted to Welsh Government, Hywel Dda University Health Board is pleased to announce.

The business case outlines our intention to develop an integrated health and social care network of services for the Amman Gwendraeth area and the construction of a Wellbeing Centre. If approved, the centre will provide a base for health and care services which will accommodate two local GP practices (Tumble and Penygroes), a library, family centre, community pharmacy and also community police support officers and voluntary sector groups.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we deliver some health and care services. Hywel Dda University Health Board has been working with partners and stakeholders to refresh the business case for the development to ensure that these continue to be fit for our population’s health and care needs both now and in the future.  It is anticipated that the Business Case will be resubmitted to Welsh Government in Spring 2022.

Rhian Dawson, Integrated System Director for Hywel Dda University Health Board and Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “I am delighted that we are now able to refocus on the development of the Wellbeing Centre in Cross Hands. This will not only be an asset for Cross Hands but will benefit Carmarthenshire as a whole. While it is unfortunate that the pandemic has delayed our progress, it has also demonstrated the importance of delivering services as close to home as possible.”

It is anticipated that the Centre could potentially be complete in 36 months from the approval of the Outline Business case. 

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