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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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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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