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Families ‘distraught’ as council ends contract

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dorothy mcdonald

‘We have been treated unfairly’: Dorothy McDonald, founder and trustee of the home in Glanamman

A SMALL care home providing facilities for dementia sufferers has had its contract with Carmarthenshire County Council terminated at short notice, The Herald can reveal.
The families of Hafan Croeso Care Home’s clients have been informed of the decision, which will involve removing their relatives from the care home they have lived in for the last ten years.
Dennis King Chair of Amman Care told the Herald: “We had notice on Tuesday that social services were finishing their contracts with us from this Friday (Jun 26). Until then we had no idea that the council were planning to remove our clients on such short notice. There are no other facilities like ours. We are the only specialist providers for dementia care in Carmarthenshire.”
Mr King pointed out that the home was run by volunteers and that Welsh Minister Edwina Hart said it was a model she would like to see throughout Wales. He also told us: “We also had the older people’s commissioner come down and she said if she had to go into a care home it would be this one!”
Dorothy McDonald is a trustee at Amman Care and she told the Herald: “We run a small community home in Ammanford. We have had problems trying to keep managers over the years. The manger we have is leaving on Friday. We appointed a new manager last Thursday and informed CSSIW and Social services but they had already placed an embargo on us. We couldn’t admit any new residents.”
Dorothy explained the steps taken to resolve the situation: “We went to see Neil Edwards, the Adult Safeguarding and Commissioning Manager for the local authority. He told us there would be a meeting to decide what would happen. We called him but he only came to the phone when Cllr Tegwen Devichand said he had two choices, either see us or we would go to press. We didn’t hear anymore from Neil until noon on Tuesday, when a letter containing all sorts of legal jargon was delivered to the home. Then, at 5pm, one of the staff rang me to ask if I knew that social services were removing the seven residents this Friday.”
Ms McDonald went on to say: “The families are very distressed and fearful about the effect of the sudden move on their loved ones. There should have been consultation Where are their human rights? We have been forbidden from contacting the families but they have been in touch with us. They are distraught.”
Expressing further concerns about the way events had developed, Dorothy told us: “David Jenkins is our councillor and he didn’t even know what was happening. Surely he should know as deputy leader.”
The Herald contacted CSSIW, which is responsible for inspecting care and social services in Wales, who told us: “We’re aware that the provider has been without both a Responsible Individual since May 29 and as of Friday 26 June will also be without a Registered Manager. This presents a significant risk to the safety and wellbeing of the vulnerable people living in the home, and we are seeking assurances from the provider on the arrangements in place after the Registered Manager has left post, to ensure that existing residents continue to receive appropriate care. In the meantime, and until we are satisfied with the management arrangements, we have issued a condition that prevents the provider taking on new residents into Hafan Croeso Care Home. We have been advised that Carmarthenshire County Council intends to terminate its contract with the care home with effect from Friday June 26, and we are also seeking assurances from the council on the continuity of care for existing residents.”
Mrs McDonald was asked what her next steps would be and she said: “Our next step is to get legal advice and see how we can get our clients back. It seems the authority have been down on us for a while. They tell us not to get involved but when something goes wrong they blame us.”
She concluded: “Our local representatives were not told anything about this. David Jenkins has been supportive and we hope he will help us now. There is a shortage of care managers in Wales. We have been treated unfairly and what they are doing is denying help and care to people in need. It is an injustice. None of us claim travelling expenses and we are all over 80 ourselves.”
The Herald contacted the local authority for a response but had received none by the time this story went to press.
Local MP Jonathan Edwards told The Herald: “We know there is a shortage of dementia care services in Carmarthenshire. It is crucial such services – which have been established and operated by the good will of so many volunteers – are encouraged in our community.
“I am surprised at how quickly this process has moved and I urge the local authority and home to work together as closely as possible. The care provided to what are extremely vulnerable residents is paramount at this time.”
Jake Morgan, Director of Community Services, said: “Carmarthenshire County Council’s priority is to support vulnerable users and their families to receive safe and high quality care. We agree with the position of the CSSIW that this provider falls short of the standards we should all expect. As of today all but one resident has moved to more suitable providers.
“We will continue to work with Hafan Croeso to assist them in developing plans to deliver the quality of care that both the county council and the CSSIW require and we are sure they would wish to provide.”

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Health

Give someone “the best gift” this Christmas by giving blood in West Wales

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A MOTHER who needed in-the-womb blood transfusions during her pregnancy and a man who depends on regular, lifesaving blood donations are encouraging communities across Wales to give “the best gift” this Christmas by donating blood.

The Welsh Blood Service is preparing to face Winter pressures on its services and is hoping their new Christmas campaign, “the best gift” will raise awareness about the importance of donating blood and the lifesaving difference it makes.

Last December over 900 donations of blood and blood products were needed across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire to provide care to patients at Prince Philip, Withybush, Bronglais and Glangwili hospital. 

These donations play a vital role by supporting a range of treatments from helping recovering accident victims and patients with blood cancers to supporting mothers and new-born babies during childbirth.

Blood donations were needed during both pregnancies for mother of two, Shelley Parry. After her own life was saved during her first pregnancy, Shelley received several more blood transfusions directly into her womb to keep her youngest daughter alive.

Shelley explains: “Receiving blood is truly the best gift we have ever received. We’re forever indebted as a family to those who have taken the time to donate. Without the generosity of blood donors, quite simply, we wouldn’t be parents. Thanks to their selfless act, we can look forward to Christmas together as a family.

“It only takes one hour of your time to donate, if you can, please consider donating.”

Also supporting the campaign is blood recipient Giggs Kanias. Since birth, Giggs has received over 1,000 blood transfusions as part of his treatment for beta thalassaemia major, a severe blood disorder. Thanks to blood donors, Giggs is looking forward to celebrating Christmas with his family.

Giggs said: “I am so thankful to the incredible people who give blood. When I’m in hospital, I stare at the bags of blood being transfused into me and always wonder, who is the person that has helped me?

“I know the difference these people have made to my life and I’m so grateful to each and every one of them. Without their generosity, I wouldn’t be here today, I wouldn’t be a dad, or have had the opportunity to see my daughter grow up. Receiving blood is truly the best gift anyone could ever receive.”

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “For patients like Giggs, receiving blood will be the best gift they receive this Christmas. It truly is the best gift you can give.

“Blood products have a short shelf life and is needed by hospitals 365 days a year, including Christmas day, to help support patients in need, which is why we can’t stop collecting.”

The Welsh Blood Service provides lifesaving blood products to 20 hospitals across Wales and four Wales Air Ambulance aircraft for use in emergencies.

Giggs and his daughter

Alan continues: “It is critical the service prepares. We need to build up blood stocks ahead of a potentially challenging winter, where seasonal illnesses and Covid-19 may exacerbate the usual winter pressures faced by the NHS.

“We are reaching out to communities across Wales to ask them to make a lifesaving blood donation and give “the best gift” this festive season.”

Do something amazing this Christmas. Give someone the best gift. Give blood. If you are aged 17 or over, book to give blood at: www.wbs.wales/Xmas21 or call 0800 252 266 today.

Appointments are available in Pembrokeshire on 7 December and January 6 and 20 in Tenby, 16 December and 27 January in Crymych, 20 December and 17 January in Haverfordwest, 10 January in Letterston Village Hall and 21 January in Milford Haven. 

Appointments are available in Carmarthenshire on 10 December in Pontyberum, 29 December and 13 January in Carmarthen, 28 January in Kidwelly Community Hall, 23 and 24 December and 4, 12 and 25 January in Parc Y Scarlets and 31 January in Llandeilo.

Appointments are available in Ceredigion on 14 December in Newcastle Emlyn, 14 January in Aberaeron and 18 January in Lampeter.

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Scrub removal at Pembrey to improve dunes for biodiversity

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If scrub growth is not controlled, it will cause species like lizards, orchids and dune pansies to suffer and disappear from our sand dunes.

SCRUB provides a splash of greenery in our sandy spaces, but too much scrub smothers the sand dunes and has a devastating effect on the specialist plants and invertebrates which live there. 

This winter Natural Resources Wales will be removing non-native, invasive plant species from areas of dune at Pembrey to help wildlife thrive.

The coast around Pembrey is home to 20% of all the plants in Wales and features a large sand dune system. Sand dunes are listed as the habitat type most at risk of biodiversity loss in Europe.

The Dynamic Dunescapes project, funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered in Wales by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), is working at Pembrey with Carmarthenshire County Council’s Outdoor Recreation Service to improve the condition of these dunes for wildlife.

Some non-native plant species, like the dense scrub plant sea buckthorn, are invasive and they are growing quickly in this dune system – spreading further across large areas of dune each year. 

Many of the dunes’ rare and specialist wildlife needs bare sand or low grassland habitat to survive and gets lost under or outcompeted by scrub. 

If scrub growth is not controlled, it will cause species like lizards, orchids and dune pansies to suffer and disappear from our sand dunes.

Scrub removal in specifically chosen locations will help to restore the habitat types that these species need, and this work will play a part in ensuring the dunes at Pembrey have a healthy, biodiverse future. 

Improving the ecological condition here will increase this coastal landscape’s resilience to other threats, such as extreme weather events and changing conditions brought on by climate change in the future.

The first phase of this work is to take place in Pembrey Country Park around Car Park 8 and the second will take place on the foredunes in front of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate which is managed by NRW. 

It is scheduled to begin in the last week of November and will last for two weeks. There will be a temporary closure of Factory Road outside the Country Park for one week – reopening on 5th December.

Ruth Harding, Senior Environment Officer at Natural Resources Wales, said:

“Sea Buckthorn control is important to improve the dune grassland habitats at Pembrey. Carmarthenshire County Council and Natural Resources Wales have carried out this type of habitat management over a number of years which has resulted in restoring the area to a dune grassland rich with different species of plants. 

You can best enjoy this during the summer months within the Pembrey Burrows and Saltings Local Nature Reserve. As part of Dynamic Dunescapes, we are now continuing this work, which will result in an overall increase in dune grassland habitat.”

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for leisure, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said:

“Whilst scrub is a valuable habitat it does need management to maintain it in good condition for wildlife. Cutting back the scrub will ensure it does not spread into areas where it is not wanted and or where it can destroy other habitat.”

Dynamic Dunescapes is not the only project working to restore Pembrey’s important sand dunes. The EU LIFE-funded Sands of LIFE project, managed by (NRW), has also been undertaking sand dune management to improve conditions for wildlife in recent years. The two projects work closely to build on and support each other’s work.

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Community

Demolition of 4 Tys begins in Tyisha, Llanelli

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Four Tys

WORK to demolish the Four Tys housing blocks in Tyisha, Llanelli has started, marking the next exciting step in Carmarthenshire County Council’s plans to Transform the area. 

The demolition work is set to be completed by civil engineering contractor Walters over the next 20 weeks and will enable the build of modern, mixed-use housing which meets the needs of the community.

Improvements to existing homes and the creation of community facilities and green spaces will also form part of changes on the horizon for Tyisha. 

Cllr Linda Davies Evans, chair of the Transforming Tyisha steering group and cabinet member for housing said: “The demolition of the Four Tys marks an important step in the Transforming Tyisha project. Although this process will evoke powerful memories for many of the people who have lived and worked in Tyisha since the Four Tys were built in the 1960s, their demolition will enable us to provide the housing and facilities that the community needs.

Local residents and businesses who may be impacted by the demolition process will be contacted throughout to ensure minimum disruption.”

This forms a part of the council’s ambitious plans to regenerate the Tyisha ward and the wider Llanelli town centre area which is undergoing massive investment.

The council is also seeking a partner to develop new housing and create a vibrant community. An early market engagement exercise is currently live which gives potential partners the opportunity to express their interest in working with the council to transform the area.

Fresh and innovative ideas for this exciting project can be submitted to the council until December 7.

For more information on the early market engagement process or the council’s Transforming Tyisha regeneration project please visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/tyisha

The demolition of the ‘Four Tys’ forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.

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