A NEW support service will soon be launched to help kidney patients deal with their condition, as part of a South Wales kidney disease sufferer’s legacy.
Being set up in Swansea this month, organisers are eager to recruit people with first-hand experience of renal disease, whether through themselves, family members or friends, to help play a crucial role in the success of the support service.
The Paul Popham Fund Befriending Service sets out to not only give new renal patients support but also to offer them a shoulder to lean on as they come to terms with their diagnosis.
Chair of the Swansea-based charity Joanne Popham said: “Being diagnosed with kidney disease is life-changing and who better to understand that than someone who has either gone through it themselves or seen a loved one go through it.
“We need to hear from people who can listen to patients’ concerns, provide advice and guide them towards other services to help them learn to live with renal failure and to lead a better quality of life.
“They might be patients or just have cared for someone with kidney problems and need to be willing to share their knowledge.”
The charity has been working to develop the befriending service alongside staff from the regional renal team, who are based at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital.
The regional renal team deal with kidney patients living anywhere from Bridgend to Fishguard and even as far north as Towyn.
As well as its dialysis unit at Morriston which sees more than 220 patients, the service also has satellite haemodialysis units in Carmarthen, Haverfordwest and Aberystwyth.
Nell Brown, Regional Renal Service Manager, said: “Once you have been diagnosed with kidney disease, it may be a life sentence, but it is not all doom and gloom and patients need to understand that. That’s why having someone they can turn to is so important.
“We are delighted to have been able to work with the Paul Popham Fund to get this service off the ground. It is an important and much needed development.”
Swansea-based father-of-four Paul Popham, for who the fund was named, received two kidney transplants before sadly losing his battle with kidney cancer back in 2012.
The fund was set up in his memory by his loved ones to support renal patients across south Wales.
Besides holding fundraising events, and even establishing its own running club, the charity supports the work of NHS dialysis wards.
Paul’s daughter Joanne said that her father’s ethos was always based on believing in yourself and living the best possible life you could with the resources available to you. Allowing kidney patients to do just that is the main aim of the fund that bears his name.
Because Paul was such a longstanding supporter of the Welsh Kidney Patients’ Association, which runs its own befriending service in the country’s capital, the fund were eager to launch something similar.
Joanne added that anyone who signs up to become a befriender will be given specialist training by a clinical psychologist and receive support from the charity, as well as from the team at the renal unit.
The charity are looking for people who can understand and empathise, as well as offer a warm and friendly attitude when a kidney patient, or their carer, shares their worries or concerns.
Joanne said: “This is about giving a patient and their family knowledge and helping empower them – it’s about being a friend to someone when they need it most.”
The befriending service will be launched at 5.30pm on Thursday June 23 at Morriston Hospital’s Education Centre.
This special event will feature guest speaker Kevin Johns, who is a long-time supporter of the renal unit and patron of the Paul Popham Fund.
Kevin will be joined by kidney patients from across South West Wales as well as representatives of the Welsh Kidney Patients’ Association and Kidney Wales Foundation.
Cardigan charity represented at food poverty launch
THE CARDIGAN-BASED charity Jig-so was represented at the Wales launch by the National Federation of Institutes (NFWI) on the issue of food poverty.
The event hosted by Mid and West AM Simon Thomas in the National Assembly considered some of the key challenges in addressing the issue.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said: “I was very pleased to welcome Jigso to the National Assembly. I think it is important we showcase some of the tremendous work being down in west Wales in our national parliament. I know Jigso has done much over the years to help families understand good nutrition and to help give access to sadly-needed food banks.”
“The WI used the event to launch their food matters campaign around food poverty and access to good food and we need to hear from all parts of Wales.”
This work follows on from the Great Food Debates project, undertaken in 2013, which saw WIs and county federations organise over a hundred food discussion events to consider the issue of food security.
Linda Grace, Chair of Trustees of Jig-So added: “We appreciated Simon Thomas’ invitation to attend this important event which he sponsored on behalf of the Women’s Institute who have a strong and long standing reputation on leading campaigns on “what matters”. Simon is a long time supporter of Jig-So’s work and our work on alleviating food poverty. A strong advocate of supporting community groups and small third sector bodies with an awareness of the rural context.”
Police say safeguarding children is ‘everybody’s business’
DYFED-POWYS POLICE is urging people to speak out if they spot signs of adults developing inappropriate relationships with children in their community.
Sunday, March 18, is the national awareness day for Child Sexual Exploitation led by the charity National Working Group.
Safeguarding children is everybody’s business. Any child can be sexually exploited no matter what culture, ethnicity, religion, background or gender.
To support this day, all this week officers and staff from the force’s child sexual exploitation investigators team, Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), school officers and frontline officers have been targeting suspects and children identified as potential victims as well as visiting hotspot areas, schools and groups to encourage the public to think, spot and speak out about child sexual exploitation.
Dyfed-Powys police will be supporting the campaign through social media. Look out for the hashtags on Twitter: #CSE #CSEDay18 #HelpingHands.
Child Sexual Exploitation Coordinator for Dyfed-Powys Police, Linda Elias, said: “Child sexual exploitation is everybody’s business and is happening in our communities. This is not an issue isolated to more urban areas of the UK, we know it is happening locally and we are working hard to identify and protect those children who are vulnerable and also deal with the adults who are taking advantage of children.
“We have police officers trained to recognise the early signs of CSE that can identify children at risk, but we all have a role to play in ensuring our children are safe. Please, if you suspect someone in your family, social group of wider community is being exploited by any adult report it immediately to police by calling 101.
“Exploited children are almost always too frightened or ashamed to ask for help themselves, and members of the community including hoteliers, restaurant owners, community shops or youth facility leaders, are urged to speak out if they see when someone or something suspicious.
“By passing their concerns on to the police they could potentially save a child from the nightmare of CSE.”
Regional Dyfed-Powys SchoolBeat Programme Manager, Bethan James, said: “It is vital that we raise awareness of CSE with our children and the staff working in our schools. Designated school officers have been trained to deliver these sessions. School Community Police are delivering targeted age appropriate CSE sessions in schools as part of the wider SchoolBeat Cymru Programme.
They have the current, up to date knowledge and understanding in order to inform, prevent and protect our children.”
Detective Sergeant at the Police On-Line Investigation Team (POLIT), Mathew Davies, said: “Our team of specialist staff and officers, consisting of Detectives, Digital Media Investigators, Forensic Examiners and analytical staff, are targeting those who exploit children, carrying out warrants across the whole Dyfed-Powys force area. The work of POLIT is helping to speed up the investigation of offences and bring more offenders to justice.”
Nichola Rance, Coordinator for witness and victim service Goleudy, said: “Sadly, it is a fact that CSE is occurring in the counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys. I fully support the national CSE awareness day as it helps to raise awareness of abuse of children that should not be ignored. I would urge anyone who has witnessed CSE or is a victim of CSE to contact Goleudy for support. We are an independent service for victims and witnesses of crime and we have highly skilled advisors who can listen and support people through distressing times in their lives.”
Spot the signs of CSE:
- Being secretive
- He or she stops engaging with their usual friends
- Associating with older men or women
- Going missing
- Being defensive about where they are and what they are doing
- Receiving odd calls or messages
- Possessing new, expensive items that they may have received as gifts
To report CSE in your community call 101 today.
For more information on CSE Awareness Day visit: www.stop-cse.org.
Seven-week-old puppy dumped in garden
RSPCA CYMRU is appealing for information after a seven-week-old puppy was found dumped in a shoebox.
The young Staffordshire bull terrier type pup – who has now been named Molly – was found in a garden at Bro Llethi, Llanarth, on Monday (March 12).
RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “This small defenceless puppy has been callously abandoned on her own in a shoebox. The caller very kindly took care of the puppy until we arrived. It is believed she was dumped between the hours of 3pm and 6pm on Monday.
“She was taken to a vet for an assessment and has a fracture growth plate injury on her leg which must be uncomfortable for her so will require treatment. However, she’s doing okay despite her ordeal and is now safe in RSPCA care. We’re keeping a close eye on her.”
The animal welfare charity is now appealing for information to try and find out who abandoned this dog.
RSPCA inspector Hobgen added: “It is just so sad that someone felt that they had no option other than to leave this poor pup out in the cold on her own.
“If anyone has any information about this incident we urge them to contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence.”
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, you can donate online.
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