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Neighbourhood Food Collection launch

Thomas Sinclair

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L to R: Jordan Lucas, Amber Carpenter, Nia Griffith MP, Claire Childs, Miriam Evans, James Cannings, Jan Lang, Matthew Price, Keith Davies AM and Lee Waters

LLANELLI politicians lent their support to the seventh Neighbourhood Food Collection, which launched in Tesco stores across the country last weekend (Dec 5-6) . The Neighbourhood Food Collection, run by Tesco with partner charities, The Trussell Trust and FareShare, is aiming to provide at least five million meals to people in need this winter as both charities see increased use by families struggling to put food on the table, making it the biggest collection yet. Nia Griffith MP and Keith Davies AM visited the Llanelli Tesco Store to lend their support during the collection of food for one of Llanelli’s food banks.

Nia Griffith said: “It’s a crying shame that in 2015 we need food banks but they have become a lifeline to many people. I would like to thank the hard working volunteers who work tirelessly for the Trussell Trust. “We helped highlight the need for donations on this occasion in Tesco’s, but without the year-long dedication of people like Amber Carpenter, Claire Childs and Miriam Evans (to name but a few) who run the food bank at Myrtle House in Llanelli, organisations like the Trussell Trust would simply not be able to operate successfully and do the good work that they do.”

Keith Davies said: “I have supported the work of all local foodbanks in Llanelli as they support so many people in the Llanelli area who are struggling to make ends meet. I would like to encourage anyone who can afford to, to consider buying some extra items as part of the regular shop to donate to the cause this Christmas. We shouldn’t need to have foodbanks but as times continue to be tough for some , it is up to all of us to come together to support people in need” Since the Neighbourhood Food Collections were launched in 2012, over 27.5 million meals – including a 30% top-up from Tesco – have been donated to people in need by generous Tesco customers.

Tesco is hoping that the latest collection will take the total number of meals donated since the collection began beyond 30 million. As with previous collections, Tesco will add an extra 30% to all customer donations in the form of financial support to the two charities, helping them expand their network and reach more people in need. Examples of how the charities have previously used the Tesco top-up funding include paying for a foodbank warehouse manager, buying essential items in short supply or funding petrol and vehicle costs.

Since 2012 the topup has resulted in combined funding of over £3.6 million to FareShare and The Trussell Trust. Rebecca Shelley, Group Communications Director for Tesco said: “It’s wonderful to see the generosity of our customers every time we run the Neighbourhood Food Collection. “Every little help can make a big difference, and it’s even more important to donate during the winter because our charity partners often see increased demand for their services during the colder months. This is now our seventh collection and we want to keep up the momentum we’ve built throughout the Neighbourhood Food Collections so far.”

Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, said: “It doesn’t need to take much, sadly, for an individual or a family to start struggling and experience hard times. The Neighbourhood Food Collection really helps us in our work to provide good food to 2,135 amazing frontline organisations which support people who are struggling to feed themselves. Part of that support comes in the way of good nutritious meals, often the first step in helping those vulnerable people back on their feet.” The Neighbourhood Food Collection relies on, and is bolstered by volunteers. During last winter’s collection in November 2014, approximately 20,000 volunteers across the UK were involved.”

David McAuley, CEO of The Trussell Trust said: “The Trussell Trust has seen huge rises in referrals to foodbanks in recent years, and it’s surprising how fast a crisis can strike. We’ve seen professionals like nurses and teachers referred to foodbanks – people who you might not expect to need help. Many households are managing their finances perfectly well on a day-to-day basis, but as soon as an unexpected bill or cost comes in, such as a broken boiler or funeral costs, the impact on finances can be devastating. Often, a referral to the foodbank helps people to bridge the gap when the unexpected hits and gives them the breathing room to break out of crisis. Winter is often the hardest time of year for people in poverty, with many having to choose between heating and eating. That’s why we’re so grateful for the food donations from Tesco shoppers which will help stop hunger this Christmas.”

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Four charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs

Carli Newell

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FOUR people have been arrested and charged as part of an investigation into an organised crime gang supplying class A drugs from London to Aberystwyth, Llanelli and Swansea.

Dyfed-Powys Police, with support from The Met Police, carried out warrants at four addresses on July 21, resulting in four arrests.

Mohammed Osman, aged 23, Yonis Mohammed, aged 20, Salman Mohamoud, aged 23 – all from Islington – and Amy Simmons, aged 21, from Dulwich were charged with a total of 12 offences:

  • Mohammed Osman: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine,
  • Yonis Mohammed: Two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and two counts of conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.
  • Salman Mohamoud: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine
  • Amy Simmons: Conspiring to supply class A drug heroin, and conspiring to supply class A drug crack cocaine.

All four appeared at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 23, where they were remanded in custody. They are due to appear at Swansea Crown Court for their next hearing on August 20.

The investigation is being carried out by the Ceredigion Serious and Organised Crime Team, Aberystwyth CID and the Operation Orochi command of the Met Police.

Detective Sergeant Steve Jones said: “These four arrests and charges are the result of a coordinated approach to target an organised crime gang we believe is running a county lines operation into the Dyfed-Powys Police force area.

“We will continue to work diligently to disrupt gangs of this kind, to prevent the supply of illegal substances into our community.

“I would like to thank all officers involved, as well as the Met Police for their part in the operation.”

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New children’s play area in Bryn as part of new council housing development

Carli Newell

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A NEW children’s play area has opened in time for the summer holidays in Bryn, Llanelli as part of a new £5.9million council housing development.

Carmarthenshire County Council is building 32 new homes on land close to the Dylan housing estate in Bryn.

The scheme will be made up of 22 two-bedroom homes, four two-bedroom bungalows and six four-bedroom homes and is part of the council’s ongoing drive to deliver more affordable homes across the county. It has been part funded through the Welsh Government’s Affordable Housing Grant.

The development also includes a new children’s play area, funded by the council in partnership with Llanelli Rural Council, which will take over the running and maintenance of the play area on completion.

Executive Board Member for Housing Cllr Linda Evans said: “I am delighted the park has been completed in time for the summer holidays for the local children to enjoy.

“We are committed to delivering more affordable housing across Carmarthenshire and this development will benefit dozens of families in Llanelli, as well as proving much needed facilities for the local community.

“I would like to thank the rural council for collaborating with this us on this and I hope the children are thrilled with it.”

Before designing the play area, the rural council liaised with local schoolchildren to find out what play equipment they wanted at their new park.

Llanelli Rural Council Chairman Cllr Tegwen Devichand said: “The council is delighted to be working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council to provide this wonderful new play area for the community.

“The opening of the play area couldn’t have been better timed to coincide with the school holidays. I hope the local children will enjoy the range of challenging play equipment on offer and that they have lots of fun using it over the summer.”

The housing development is due to be completed by the beginning of 2022.

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Burry Port Harbour lighthouse overhaul tops council’s £2million investment

Carli Newell

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A £2MILLION investment in Burry Port Harbour is nearing completion, topped off with the iconic lighthouse getting a fresh lick of paint.

Carmarthenshire County Council is behind a range of improvements to maintain and restore the historic harbour which is one of the county’s most loved and well visited beauty spots.

Restoration of the Grade II listed harbour walls, undertaken under the guidance of CADW, will conclude within the next few weeks.

The council has also been working alongside The Marine Group, which operates the harbour, to improve mooring facilities. They are working closely with fishermen to bid for funding for new commercial pontoon infrastructure.

It will add to investment made over previous years which saw the council spend almost £1.5million on new pontoons, and over £300,000 in maintaining the harbour railings and bridge.

A local operator has agreed a lease for a cafe and public toilets on east side of Harbour, and the refurbishment of the old RNLI harbour office has recently started by The Marine Group (TMG) to create a harbour-side coffee house.

TMG has also invested in a state-of-the-art dredger which arrived at the harbour last autumn. Dredging is well underway and will continue until targeted depths are reached.

Boat lifting equipment and new fuelling points are also planned.

The council has introduced community safety officers to patrol the harbour assisting tourists and local people during the summer months, especially to advise around Covid regulations, as part of a tourism hotspot plan to take care of issues such as parking, litter, street cleansing, enforcement and signage.

Temporary car parking surfacing has also been laid on the east side along with new pay and display facilities ahead of a wider multi-million regeneration plan that will transform the harbour with a mix of housing, commercial and leisure space covering around 13 acres of prime development site.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We are proud of our continued investment in Burry Port Harbour. We are spending millions restoring and maintaining historic features that are much-loved by local people and visitors who come from far and wide to enjoy what the harbour has to offer.

“We continue to work closely alongside The Marine Group and Pembrey and Burry Port Town Council to plan and prioritise works and ongoing maintenance. We are as keen as everyone else to ensure it is well-maintained and continues to be a place people can enjoy.

“We appreciate that there has been some upheaval during these improvement works but we ask people to understand that our investment will make Burry Port Harbour an even better place for the future.”

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