THREE Llanelli residents who have had to face life changing health shocks are using their experiences to help others.
Fiona Evans, Stephen Ricketts and Derek Hermann have not only turned their own lives around but are active in their local communities.
They are currently taking a community development qualification under the auspices of Communities First to develop their skills further.
Tutor Becca Rosenthal, who is teaching the course at Felinfoel Community Resource Centre, said:
“This is a Level 2 community development qualification and many of our learners started with informal workshops and completed Level 1 before starting this course.
“It is for people who are interested in developing their own communities. They are working with professionals and want to be on the same page as them. This course is based on the National Occupational Standards for Community Development Practitioners.
“The course has three themes, understanding the purpose and processes of Community Development, social inequalities, and development of community groups. Everyone is working around developing a set of skills.”
Fiona, who lives in Felinfoel, became active with two local charities as a result of having her lower right leg amputated following a blood clot in 2007.
She said: “The occupational therapist founded a Dyfed Amputees Self Help Group in Glangwili Hospital. I then did a course in web design and they became the subject as I did their website. We opened a new Dynamic Amputees Self Help Group in Llanelli which is doing very well.
“I’m chairwoman of the DASH group and a trustee of the Limbless Association. I try to keep busy doing voluntary work. I’ve come on this course because I would just like to extend my knowledge about community development.”
Steve has seen his life alter dramatically since his eyesight suddenly deteriorated around the time of his 50th birthday last March. He had to give up his job as a commercial tyre fitter working on commercial and agricultural vehicles and became involved in the community after his wife asked him what he wanted out of life. He decided he wanted to help others and became involved with Communities First taking various courses.
“What I’m looking for from this course is to become more confident mixing with people in a classroom environment. I definitely feel these groups are giving me confidence. Everything I do day by day is a challenge.
“I’ve actually started a bowls club for the visually impaired in the Selwyn Samuel Bowls Centre in Llanelli. I’ve been given so much support by organisations in the town such as the Blind Association and I want to give something back.
“I want to be an ambassador for the blind and tell people who have started losing their sight that there’s no need to sit in the house.”
Proving his point, Steve, of Trinity Road, Llanelli, will be doing a 13 mile sponsored walk from Bynea Cycle Club to the Lifeboat House in Burry Port in July to raise funds for the Blind Association and Deaf Club and to raise issues of visual impairment.
Derek’s life changed suddenly when he broke his back while representing Wales in a javelin competition.
He said: “I was working before I broke my back but cannot do that sort of work now. I did not know where to go or what to do.
“With the help of Becca, Communities First and Spice I’ve been able to reignite my spark. I originally did Community Development level 1 with Beca and the Carmarthenshire Street Buddy training, and quite a lot with Time Credits which has got me interested in helping my own community.”
Derek, known as Del, is very active in his own community of 55 houses, Maengwynne, campaigning for community facilities such as a park, and involved in the tenants and residents association Maengwynne For Change.
He said: “We will be holding our third annual Family Fun Day this year. Hopefully we will also be putting on our second fireworks display paid for by the people of Maengwynne for the people of Maengwynne.
“Along with my wife Michelle and children Holly, aged 13, and Chloe, aged 11, we’ve been out earning a lot of Time Credits together as a family. It’s been a way of bringing our family together thanks to Communities First. They have improved my education and knowledge but also our family life. I can’t thank Communities First enough.”
Carmarthenshire County Council was awarded funding from the Welsh Government to be the Lead Delivery Body to manage the new Carmarthenshire Communities First Cluster.
The Communities First programme works towards Tackling Poverty through a focus on Healthy, Prosperous and Learning Communities, creating opportunities for residents to gain skills, access employment and become healthier. Carmarthenshire Communities First works across 14 areas in Carmarthenshire with a population of approximately 22,000. The areas include Pantyffynnon, Bigyn, Felinfoel, Glanymor/Tyisha, Hengoed, Lliedi, Llwynhendy and Trimsaran.
Business offer Welsh Government help in ‘non-essential’ shopping row
THIS morning (Tuesday, October 27), the Wales Retail Consortium, CBI Wales and Association of Convenience stores presented the Welsh Government joint recommendation to resolve the confusion over non-essential items.
The three industry bodies’ statement expresses the hope that the Welsh Government, ‘will agree to these recommendations and the people of Wales can refocus all their energies on respecting the Fire Break’.
The recommendations come in response to confused and confusing messaging from the Welsh Government, which allowed its public health message to be drowned out over the weekend by rows over whether toasters, Lee Childs novels, and size 16 jeans were essential items for customers. The confusion was not helped by a mistaken tweet by supermarket giant Tesco which claimed women’s period products were not essential items when they are and always have been.
The WRC, CBI Wales and ACS believe their recommendations will fulfil retail’s role in tackling the spread of the virus while allowing for discretion to be used on an individual basis – as recommended by Health Minister Vaughan Gething in a tense press conference yesterday, http://pembrokeshire-herald.com/61929/welsh-health-minister-defends-retail-restrictions/.
The business bodies recommend:
- To limit the spread of the virus and allow for individual discretion, retailers will prominently display Welsh Government approved signage in front of known non-essential items and in communal areas. The signage will make clear the government’s regulation and the need to abide by it.
- This message will be reinforced through in-store announcements and social media messaging. Advising customers to put off non-essential purchases
- We recommend the individual customer is trusted to make their own decision as to whether a product is non-essential or not, taking into account the notices displayed throughout the store and their immediate needs
- If the customer goes ahead with the purchase of the item the final liability ought to rest with the customer
- Retailers will remove special in-store promotional displays of non-essential items in order to minimise browsing and avoid triggering a non-essential purchase.
- These recommendations would mean non-essential items are not removed from shelves – or cordoned off in stores – but large notices are placed in front of the products and in communal spaces informing customers of the Welsh Government’s regulations and the Welsh public are trusted to make the right decision.
They also say they ‘look forward to engaging with Welsh Government again this morning and we hope consensus can be reached’.
Llanelli Christmas Carnival goes online
Preparations are underway to host the first ever virtual Llanelli Christmas Carnival.
The carnival will go digital for the first time in its 42-year history due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in line with current Welsh Government guidance and increasing concerns about the spread of coronavirus linked to large gatherings.
Whilst there won’t be the usual street parade, people will be able to get into the festive spirit from the comfort of their own home.
The online celebration will be hosted as an event on Discover Carmarthenshire’s Facebook page on Friday, November 13.
Over the years, thousands of people have been involved in the Llanelli Christmas Carnival – either dressing up to enter a float in the parade, volunteering, or simply enjoying the atmosphere with generations of their families.
They can still get involved this year by sharing photos and video to help people celebrate good memories and help others reminisce about carnivals gone by.
There will be a broadcast of music from talented local performers who would usually sing from the main stage, and people will still be able to countdown to the switch-on of the town’s Christmas lights.
The largest Christmas carnival in Wales, Llanelli’s festive celebrations are a joint effort by Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council, Llanelli Rural Council and Llanelli Round Table.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “It’s very unfortunate that we can’t hold Llanelli Christmas Carnival this year, but we’re determined to keep the spirit of the carnival alive. Let’s come together and celebrate one of the biggest events in Wales from the comfort of our homes – celebrate with generations of memories and look forward to a bigger and better carnival next year.”
Free Community Crime Prevention Kits to be distributed in Llanelli area
OVER the coming weeks, residents from both the Ty Isha and Glanymor areas in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, will receive free crime prevention kits that will aim to deter offenders and make both communities safer.
The prevention kits have been purchased through funding that was secured from the Home Office’s Safer Street Fund by Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.
The funding of £195,673 that was secured by Mr Llywelyn will go towards measures proven to cut crime, and will include employing two Community Wardens; purchase of SelectaDNA kits, Community crime prevention activity support, Environmental improvements and Community Crime Prevention kits.
SelectaDNA kits and Bike register kits are two of the Community Prevention kits that will be distributed to residents within the local communities over coming weeks.
The SelectaDNA kits are property marking kits that include a unique formula of DNA, UV tracer and microdots, which people can use to mark their valuable household items, so that if stolen, police are able to trace them.
Similarly, the bike register kits include stickers, frame markings and microdots to uniquely identify a bike. Users can add descriptions and photos to ensure that in the event of a theft, their bicycle can be easily identified and returned by Police through the BikeRegister Scheme.
Dafydd Llywelyn, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys said, “I am delighted that both these crime prevention kits have been purchased through the Safer Streets funding that I secured earlier this year. Hopefully, as they are distributed over the coming weeks, we will see that they will have a positive impact within the area. Criminals know that DNA is the police’s most powerful weapon in convicting criminals therefore the DNA fear-factor is highly understood and acts as a huge deterrent.
“I have invested significantly in the area over recent years with community grants I made available in addition to the new CCTV system that is in place across the town. These new crime prevention kits that have been purchased through the new additional Safer Streets funding will further build upon my work over recent years and I hope the residents will feel a positive difference in their communities.
Both Ty Isha and Glanymor areas are considered to be two of the most deprived areas in Carmarthenshire according to the Welsh Government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation. The funding secured will focus on tackling all acquisitive crime such as burglary, vehicle theft and robbery within the identified areas.
PCC Llywelyn added, “Ensuring the security and safety of residents is a priority of mine – everyone deserves to live safely, and free from harm. Acquisitive offences are the crimes that the public are most likely to encounter, and they are estimated to cost society billions of pounds every year. There is strong evidence that these crimes can be prevented by tactics that either remove opportunities to commit crime or act as a deterrent by increasing the chances of an offender being caught. I now look forward to continue working closely with all partners that have supported us with our bid, to tackle these crimes in both areas and to ensure that they become safer environments for community residents.”
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