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Princess Royal supports Listeners Scheme

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SAMARITANS volunteers and Prison Listeners at Swansea prison got the chance to meet the Princess Royal last week as part of the 25th anniversary of the Listener scheme, which was founded in the prison 1991.

A plaque in the prison’s visitor centre was unveiled by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne who said the Listener scheme should be celebrated and praised as it helps prisoners develop vital skills, as well as providing support for each other.

The Princess Royal met two Listeners, who support their fellow prisoners at Swansea prison, and were trained by local Samaritans volunteers. The Princess also met six Samaritan volunteers from the Swansea branch.

One of the founding members of the Listener scheme, Joyce Cole, who is a volunteer and former director of Samaritans’ branch at Swansea.

“We are delighted that the Princess was able to meet Listeners and Samaritans volunteers in the 25th anniversary year of the Prison Listener scheme,” said Executive Director for Wales, Sarah Stone. “Prisoners in the UK and the Republic of Ireland are at between five and ten times greater risk of risk of suicide, and the scheme was set up to train them to provide support for each other.

“Samaritans volunteers in our branches are committed to making sure the Listener scheme is able to provide its life-saving work in prisons.”

HMP Swansea’s Acting Governing Governor, Mitch Albutt, said: “We were honoured to welcome the Princess Royal to help us celebrate 25 years of the Listener Scheme.

This was developed at Swansea Prison and has undoubtedly saved lives, which has proved so successful, that it now operates in most establishments.  It was also ground breaking that for the first time, the men were trained as peer supporters.”

The Samaritans Prisoner Listener scheme operates in almost all prisons throughout the UK and the Republic of Ireland and follows the same principles and practices as Samaritans volunteers. It was set up after there was a rise in prison suicides, and after the death of a 15 year-old prisoner at Swansea.

The Listeners follow the same principles and practices as Samaritans volunteers and are supported by the 201 Samaritans branches across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Prisoners are between five and ten times more likely to die by suicide than the general population so the Listeners provide somewhere to go for prisoners who have problems.

In 2014, 1,500 trained Listeners answered more than 86,000 requests for support from the prison population, which totalled just under 85,000 in 2015.

You don’t have to be suicidal to call the Samaritans. Whatever you’re going through, call them free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.

Read this and more in this week’s edition of The Llanelli Herald.

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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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Nearly 7,000 in Wales sign up for UK’s biggest ever plastics investigation

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THE BIG PLASTIC COUNT, the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste, kicks off today.

Over 140,000 are planning to take part across the country, including schools, Westminster MPs, community groups, businesses, families and individuals. 6,804 people in Wales have signed up, including nine MPs and 80 teachers who will be taking part with their classes.

The Big Plastic Count is a collaboration between Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK.

Celebrities including Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley and Bonnie Wright are also taking part.

94 cross-party Westminster MPs, including 9 from Wales, 3,500 school classes from all over the UK and People’s Postcode Lottery have also signed up.

The UK produces more plastic waste per person than any other country except the USA.

In 2018, the country generated 5.2 million tonnes of plastic waste, enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over.

The UK also exports vast quantities of plastic waste abroad, as highlighted last year by Greenpeace’s Wasteminster viral animation.

The Big Plastic Count will reveal how much plastic packaging waste is leaving UK homes and what happens to it after we throw it away.

This will provide a national snapshot of our plastic waste problem, filling a crucial evidence gap and showing the UK government and supermarkets that they must act to tackle the problem.

Chris Packham said: “The UK is one of the worst plastic polluters in the world. Our broken recycling system doesn’t work so instead of dealing with our plastic waste ourselves, we send vast quantities of it overseas where it’s out of sight and out of mind for us, but destroying nature and harming people elsewhere.”

“The Big Plastic Count is such an exciting project. It will, for the first time, tell ordinary people what happens to their plastic waste after we throw it away, and we hope it will force the government to take action and address the plastic waste crisis.”

Chris Thorne, plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The biggest ever investigation into the UK’s plastic waste is officially underway.”

“We’re delighted that so many people across Wales have signed up, making clear once again that the public is concerned about their plastic waste, and want to see genuine action from the government to turn the tide on our plastics crisis.”

“That means an immediate end to us dumping our waste on other countries like Turkey, and legally binding targets that actually tackle the plastic problem at source.”

Daniel Webb of Everyday Plastic said: “I decided to count all of my plastic waste for a whole year back in 2017. Doing so helped me to understand my personal plastic footprint, which completely shocked me and drove me to begin campaigning for change. ”

The results from The Big Plastic Count will show us what’s really happening to our plastic waste, at a national scale, and inspire thousands of participants to demand real action to stem the tide of plastic packaging.

“This really is a crucial moment in the struggle against the plastic problem.”

“We hope the results of The Big Plastic Count will persuade the government, supermarkets and big brands to take bold steps to tackle the plastic crisis once and for all, which is extremely exciting, perhaps even revolutionary.”

Every participant will record the different types of plastic packaging waste they throw away, and submit their results. This will generate a national picture of our plastic waste, demonstrating the scale of the problem and putting even more pressure on the government to act.

The unique methodology behind the Big Plastic Count was developed by Everyday Plastic’s founder, Daniel Webb.

He collected every piece of his plastic waste for a year, and worked with a scientific researcher to turn this into a robust methodology which the public can now use to discover what happens to their plastic waste when they throw it away.

Surveying by YouGov for Greenpeace UK found that while over three-quarters (77%) of people in the UK recycle plastic products to reduce their waste, almost as many (75%) don’t know what happens to their plastic recycling after they throw it away.

Greenpeace UK and Everyday Plastic will release the results of the survey as soon as they have been processed. Campaigners hope these results will push the UK government to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by 2025, ban all plastic waste exports and implement a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for recycling and reuse.

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Community

Extension of shuttle bus from Llanelli to vaccination centre

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HYWEL DDA University Health Board (HDUHB) has extended the free shuttle bus service between Llanelli town centre and the mass vaccination centre in Dafen to help people access their COVID-19 vaccination as easily as possible.

The shuttle bus, provided by Dolen Teifi , will continue to run between 10.30am to 4.40pm, seven days a week. Please note there will be no service at 12pm from town or at 12.15pm from the mass vaccination centre to allow the drivers a lunch break.

People can board the shuttle bus on the hour and at half-past the hour at Church Street, outside Llanelli Magistrates Court SA15 3AW. The shuttle bus will leave the mass vaccination centre quarter past and quarter to the hour, returning to the town centre and dropping passengers off opposite Llanelli library.

Bethan Lewis, Interim Assistant Director of Public Health for Hywel Dda UHB, said: “We need as many people as possible attending their COVID-19 vaccine appointments, or dropping in if eligible.

“This shuttle bus service is one of many additional resources and services being put in place across the Hywel Dda region to help support more people to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. I am pleased the shuttle bus service has been extended to help people reliant on public transport to access their COVID-19 vaccine.”

On February 21, 2022, the JCVI published a statement, recommending an additional spring booster.

Strict COVID-19 safety measures will be in place to ensure the safety of drivers and passengers on this service:

  • All passengers and drivers must wear a face covering, unless medically exempt
  • A maximum of 14 passengers will allowed per journey
  • A screen will be in place between driver and passengers
  • Passengers should only use this service if they are fit and well on the day

Before travelling without an appointment to Dafen mass vaccination centre, we advise checking the health board’s website for up-to-date information such as vaccine eligibility and drop-in opening times  https://hduhb.nhs.wales/covid19-vaccination

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