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New befriending service

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Offering a shoulder to lean on: The Paul Popham Fund Befriending Service is being set up in Swansea on Thursday June 23.

Offering a shoulder to lean on: The Paul Popham Fund Befriending Service is being set up in Swansea on Thursday June 23.

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.

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Police say ‘stop protecting’ murder suspect Steve Baxter

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JUST over two weeks ago Simon Clark, aged 54, was found dead at Grove Caravan Park in Pendine, Carmarthenshire.

Dyfed-Powys Police is continuing its manhunt for Steve Baxter, who is wanted on suspicion of Simon’s murder.

Baxter also known as Steve Tidy, Steve Rowley, Wayne Tidy or William Tidy, is aged 52, 5’5” (1.65cm) tall and has tattoos on his forearms – the name Chez and entwined circles on his left arm and a serpent on his right arm.

He has connections in the West Wales, South Wales, South West and North England areas of the UK.

Officers and staff are working round the clock to follow all possible lines of enquiry.

The independent charity Crimestoppers is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to the arrest of Steve Baxter and he has been added to the Most Wanted section of their website. Information would be taken by the charity anonymously.

Detective Superintendent Huw Davies said: “It’s over two weeks since Simon Clark was murdered at Grove Caravan Park, Pendine.

“The manhunt for Steve Baxter is ongoing and I must stress to the public that officers and staff are working round the clock to investigate all possible lines of enquiry that could lead us to him.

“I urge anyone with information of Baxter’s whereabouts to come forward. If you do not want to speak to police directly, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, which is also offering a reward of up to £5,000 for information leading to his arrest.

“Someone knows where he is or has been in the last two weeks. Please stop protecting him. Simon Clark’s family deserve to see all those involved in his death brought to justice.”

Four people have been charged in connection with the murder: Jeffrey Stephen Ward, aged 40, from Pendine, has been charged with murder; Linda Mary Rowley, aged 52, from Pendine, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder); Kirston Macklin, aged 52, from Newport, Gwent, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder) and Julie Louise Harris, aged 46, from Tonypandy, has been charged with assisting an offender (murder).

If you see Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 999. Do not approach him.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Steve Baxter call Dyfed-Powys Police on 101 immediately.

To pass on information anonymously, contact Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through the non-traceable anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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National Adoption Week – Can you give a child a home?

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HAVING a caring family and a place they call home is what a lot of children take for granted; however, there are children in Ceredigion who are still looking for a home of their own. As part of National Adoption Week, which is happening between 15 and 21 October, people are being asked to consider opening their homes and their hearts to those waiting for a family.

An information evening is being held in The Atom, 18 King Street, Carmarthen, on Friday, October 19 from 6pm-7.30pm. The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Services and Lifelong Learning and Champion for Children and Young People Councillor Catrin Miles said, “This is a great opportunity for prospective adopters to find out more about the process of adopting children in the county who are waiting for loving, permanent and stable homes. It will also be a chance to meet other prospective adopters.”

Adoption Mid and West Wales has adoption teams covering the four local authorities of Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys. Their aim is to make sure that children grow up as part of a permanent, loving family from childhood through to adulthood.

Sara*, from Ceredigion has spoken of her experiences of going through the adoption process and welcoming two children into her loving home, “Just two years after submitting our application to adopt, two little hurricanes arrived at our house and turning it into a noisy, happy home full of fun. The first stage of the application was to attend three days of training, over a period of 6 weeks. The training was important and an eye-opener for all kinds of reasons but it was perfect for focusing the mind to make sure we really wanted to adopt. We had excellent support from our social worker, but the process itself was long and challenging and we had to wait and wait while legal processes were going on. Although it was so difficult at that time, looking back it was worth every minute. The hardest thing for us was that there were months between seeing the children for the first time and receiving confirmation that they would come to us to live. This was an exception, the process is usually quicker.”

“In our experience creating and maintaining a good relationship with the foster family is crucial. They are a source of information and support. Before the children came to live with us, we needed over a week of presentations in the foster family’s home – this time is key but full of weight, pleasure, tiredness and emotion. That was months ago and now the children are happy and bubbly with us in their new home and enjoy being part of a loving group of family, friends and relatives. They enjoy going to the local school and Welsh learning was not a problem for them, they even dream in Welsh now!”

“Adoption is a great journey that is sometimes easy and sometimes difficult and it is important to understand and accept that before venturing on the journey. It is also important to take advantage of all support, training and advice on offer. There are many challenges ahead, a lot of disappointment and tears but more importantly, much laughter, love and happiness fills our lives now and in the future. Go for it.”

In the last year (2017-18), 29 adopters were approved through Adoption Mid and West Wales. These include married couples, unmarried couples, single people and same-sex couples. There is always the need for more adopters to come forward as demand for adoption placements has increased this year.

For more information, visit www.adoptionmwwales.org.uk. You can also follow Adoption Mid & West Wales on their Twitter page, @adoptmw_wales.

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Residents sought for involvement into Pen Dinas project

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RESIDENTS are being sought for involvement in the Pen Dinas Hillfort project.

Grant funding for improvements to Pendinas Hillfort has been successfully secured by Ceredigion County Council and as part of the project, the Council is seeking for local residents to express their interest if they would like to be involved in the work. One of the Council’s Community Access Officers will be on hand to talk further about the project on Saturday, 20 October at the Hub, Penparcau Community Centre between 10:30am and 1pm.

The project will provide greater access to a site of historical importance namely Pen Dinas Hillfort, Local Nature Reserve and Scheduled Ancient Monument. It will also improve links to the Ystwyth/Rheidol Cycle Trails, the Ceredigion and All Wales Coast Path and other local amenities and attractions. Improving the path width and surface will increase access to a wider cross-section of residents and visitors and target current barriers to the countryside.

Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economy and Regeneration said, “The news that we’ve been successful in securing this bid is fantastic and on behalf of the Council, I thank all the residents who submitted feedback to the application. We are looking for anyone who has an interest in the site and would like to be involved with how this project progresses. This is the perfect opportunity for residents to be part of something that will make a big difference to both residents and tourists alike.”

To express an interest to be involved in the project or to receive further information, email Eifion.Jones@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01545 570881.

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