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Prospective AM for Llanelli s teps forward

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Lee Waters: Latest candidate for Llanelli AM

Lee Waters: Latest candidate for
Llanelli AM

39 YEAR-OLD Lee Waters from Ammanford has put his name forward as a candidate to become the Assembly Member for Llanelli following the retirement of former AM Keith Davies earlier this year.

Lee is the Director of the Institute for Welsh Affairs, (IWA) and a former Chief Political Correspondent for ITV Wales and BBC Wales producer. He was a leading figure in the 2011 referendum ‘Yes for Wales’ campaign and before joining the Institute was Director of the influential green transport organisation, Sustrans Cymru, where he led the campaign for the world’s first Active Travel Bill, and oversaw a £20m portfolio of practical projects.

Born and brought up in the Amman Valley and educated at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth where he received a first class degree in politics, he has worked for politicians in the House of Commons, National Assembly for Wales and US House of Representatives in Washington DC where he was an English Speaking Union Capitol Hill Scholar.

After graduating he served as a speechwriter to the Secretary of State for Wales before joining BBC Wales as a producer of the flagship breakfast radio programme, Good Morning Wales. In 2001 he joined the ITV Wales political unit, presenting the weekly politics programme Waterfront and reporting as a lobby correspondent.

In 2011 he was asked by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, to be his representative on the cross-party Yes campaign ahead of the referendum, and led on communications as campaign Vice Chair. For the past decade he has also been Chair of Governors of the highly regarded Barry Island Primary School.

The Herald unexpectedly bumped into Lee at Parc Howard on Saturday (Jul 25) along with Nia Griffith and a group of volunteers campaigning to keep the park in public ownership. The Herald took the opportunity of asking this newest of political candidates some questions about his views on Parc Howard and the political landscape in general. We began by asking him why he was standing for Assembly Member. He told the Herald: “I am frustrated with the way things are and rather than complaining and criticising I have decided to stand up and be counted and do something about it. That is why I have put my name forward as the Labour candidate for the Llanelli AM.”

We asked Lee why he was campaigning at the park and he told the Herald: “I’ve signed the petition and the good thing that has come out of this is it has forced the people of Llanelli to realise that Parc Howard’s future cannot be taken for granted. There is a threat and we can either sit back or allow private developers to carve this up for their interests or the town can come together in a conversation to decide what future they want for the park. Lots of people have grown up here and have happy memories of the park. We regard it as ours and it is very important to the town.”

Given the widespread reporting of the activities of the Parc Howard Association chairman Ken Rees we asked Lee if the park association needed a change of culture. Looking at the bigger political picture in the UK before turning to the issue of the PHA chairman Ken Rees, Lee told the Herald: “There is a big storm coming. We have only had half of the cuts. Places like this are under threat. We can’t just leave this to councillors and people who sit on committees. It needs to have a broader conversation about what we want for our community and how that is going to be paid for. We need to take some responsibility ourselves for our town. That is the positive coming out of this revolt against what Ken Rees and others have been doing behind people’s backs. It is important that the park belongs to the public but it is not reaching its full potential. We may not want it handed over to private interests but we want something better than we have got.”

With the announcements that community services in Carmarthenshire are going to face savage cuts the Herald asked Lee if the community cuts were unjust as opposed to the huge salaries and pay increases of county council executives. He gave a very definite answer, which we have not been used to from politicians in general for some time. He said: “It goes beyond that and it is a debate about what we want councils and governments to do. Quite clearly the Conservatives want to strip back the state to a bear minimum, give people tax cuts and let them fund what they see fit. There isn’t a place in that debate for the good of the community. What we can do here is forge a different future where we ask what do we want the community together to own and run to be there for everybody to have no mater what they are worth or what advantages in life they have grown up with. We can quarrel about the crumbs on the table or we can look at the bigger picture and ask what we want our community to have to help each other. Parc Howard can play a big part in that but it can’t be as it is now because we are not making the most of an asset. We need a debate about what the future should be for Parc Howard.”

If Lee is elected he will become one of a number of increasingly younger politicians to grace the Senedd senior by only six years to Plaid’s Bethan Jenkins who is still the youngest Assembly Member at age 33. Bethan took office in 2007 at the age of 29.

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Llanelli fundraiser boycotts her bed for Action for Children

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A LLANELLI woman is boycotting her bed for 24 hours this month in order to raise funds for Action for Children, the charity that runs the Carmarthenshire REFLECT project, based in the town.  REFLECT offers support to women whose children are in foster care or have been adopted. 

Helen Antoniazzi felt that this year it was particularly important to raise money to help Action for Children mitigate the impact of the pandemic.  Over the course of 24 days, Helen has committed to giving up an hour of sleep and to swap it for some physical activity.  She is asking her supporters to support her in this by donating money.  Helen’s efforts will culminate on the 9th July which is the official #BoycottYourBed night, Action for Children’s flagship annual fundraising event. 

Speaking about why she decided to take on this fundraising challenge, Helen said:

“I’ve long supported the crucial work that Action for Children do to support children, young people and families, but this year it felt even more important than ever to do what I could to raise money.  That’s why I decided to give up an hour’s sleep a night for 24 days as part of Action for Children’s Boycott your Bed campaign.  For each of these hours I’ll be swapping my sleep for physical activity.

“Life was difficult for vulnerable children and their families before the pandemic. Now things are even harder. Action for Children’s frontline, key workers have kept 99% of services open throughout the pandemic, continuing to support vulnerable children, young people and families who were already in desperate need.

“The number of families relying on Universal Credit has doubled. Households with children are twice as likely to have suffered financial hardship – like falling behind on bills or borrowing to pay for basics – because of coronavirus. At the start of the pandemic, Action for Children launched a Coronavirus Emergency appeal which has provided essentials, like food and warm clothes, to around 20,000 children and young people. But more needs to be done. 4.3 million children in the UK are living in poverty. That’s 9 children in every school class of 30.”

Action for Children supported more than 27,000 children, young people, parents and carers in Wales last year with Nina Rice, the charity’s fundraising Regional Manager for Bristol, Bath and South Wales, adding: “Helen is showing tremendous commitment by swapping her bed for an hour’s exercise every day for 24 days.  It is great to see such passion for an event that will improve the lives of the children, young people and families we proudly support in our communities and that have been stretched to the limit during the pandemic.

“We love Helen’s unique take on Boycott your Bed, which is all about sleeping somewhere extraordinary on 9 July (Action for Children’s birthday) whilst raising awareness and funds for our charity.  I hope she inspires others to do something equally challenging as we approach the big night as this is a remote event, where anyone can take part, wherever they are based. Helen will join everyone and come together virtually on the night, to enjoy an evening of virtual entertainment.”

Anyone wishing to support Helen in her bid to raise money can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-antoniazzi

 If you want to spend the night in the most unusual place you can think of while enjoying a star-studded evening of virtual entertainment you can register here: https://boycottyourbed.actionforchildren.org.uk/community-registration/

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NHS Wales announce first and second dose vaccination walk-in clinics

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Hywel Dda UHB is running walk-in vaccination clinics this week. There is no need to contact the health board to book an appointment and if you have already registered using the health board’s online form, you are still welcome to attend the walk-in clinic.

If you have a scheduled appointment, please keep your appointment time. 

With the rise in cases across the UK it is important that as many people come forward for their first and second vaccines.

First vaccine walk-in clinics for anyone aged 18 and over who hasn’t had their first COVID-19 vaccine yet:

  • Aberystwyth (Thomas Parry Library, SY23 3FL): Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm.
  • Cardigan (Teifi Leisure Centre SA43 1HG): Friday 25 June, 9.30am to 5pm.
  • Carmarthen (Halliwell Conference Centre, UWTSD, SA31 3EP): Monday 21, Tuesday 22, Wednesday 23, Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. 
  • Llanelli (Ffwrnes Theatre SA15 3YE): Thursday 24 and Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. 
  • Tenby (Tenby Leisure Centre, SA70 8EJ): Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 June, 10am to 8pm

Second vaccine walk-in clinics (please only attend if the centre is giving the same vaccine that you had for your first dose. This information can be found on your vaccine card.)

  • Aberystwyth (Thomas Parry Library, SY23 3FL): Monday 21, Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Moderna vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 11 April.
  • Llanelli (Ffwrnes Theatre SA15 3YE): Monday 21, Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Moderna vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 11 April.
  • Tenby (Tenby Leisure Centre, SA70 8EJ): Friday 25 June, 10am to 8pm. Second dose Oxford Astrazeneca vaccine only if you had your first dose on or before 25 April.

If you are unable to attend a walk-in clinic, you can still request your first vaccine by completing this form

To request your second dose please use this request form.

If you or someone you know is unable to use an online form, please contact our booking team on 0300 303 8322.

Important: By travelling to a centre, you accept there is a risk that all vaccines will be allocated before you arrive. If you arrive after all the vaccines are allocated, we will take your contact details and add you to our reserve list.

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Chairman Announces her chosen charities for her year in office

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CHAIRMAN, Cllr Tegwen Devichand has chosen the following four charities to support during her term of office.

Alzheimer’s Society is a care and research charity within the UK for people with dementia and their carers. They provide information and support, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.

Links Llanelli is a unique Llanelli Mental Health Charity, providing support and learning opportunities to those within our community who have or are experiencing mental ill-health. 

Links aims to support people experiencing mental health issues to build confidence, self-esteem and skills.

Links also provides support for veterans and blue light teams living in Carmarthenshire. Veterans are able to access all the activities available at Links. Additionally, for those who live in rural areas or are socially isolated, can be provided with befriending buddy telephone calls and outreach NAAFI mornings which are held in various locations throughout Carmarthenshire on a monthly basis.

Ty Bryngwyn Llanelli Hospice is a Designated Centre of Excellence providing specialist palliative care for the community of Carmarthenshire. It is the only Hospice in the area with inpatient facilities.

Llanelli Hospice provides specialist palliative care both in the community and in its seven inpatient beds.

Wales Air Ambulance is an all Wales charity providing emergency air cover 365 days a year for those who face life-threatening illness or injury. The Dafen airbase, which covers South Wales, is one of four airbases in Wales and this coverage means that an air ambulance is  only 20 minutes away. 

Chairman, Cllr Tegwen Devichand said, “As a Council we like to financially assist worthwhile causes and I am delighted to be supporting such worthy charities. I believe that these charities touch us all in one way or another. I will be as supportive as I possibly can be under the current difficult times when charities need that ‘little bit extra’ financial support. The people in the area are always very generous in their support of such worthy causes. I was chairman in 2012 and I have been a councillor both on County and Community level for over 17 years and know how important lending our support can be.”

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