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Claims Ceredigion Council is clearing Bodlondeb before consultation closes

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MEMBERS of the Save Bodlondeb Steering Group have been contacted by relatives of some of the Home’s residents, who have claimed the Council is taking steps to empty the home of residents before the end of the consultation period.

The relatives have reported that Ceredigion Social Services has contacted a number of residents’ families, inviting them to attend assessments of their loved one’s care needs at less than twenty four hours’ notice.

Late afternoon on Thursday, 14 September, a Save Bodlondeb campaigner received a text message from an upset relative.

The relative said a Council official, involved in co-ordinating the consultation process, told them that Bodlondeb would close at the end of September.  The relative further said that the official could not tell her where her Mother would be placed.

A representative of the Save Bodlondeb Steering Group contacted a member of the Home’s management team, who declined to comment, saying “I can’t tell you, I’m not even having this conversation with you.”

A spokesperson for the campaign told The Herald: “A more senior Council official would only commit to the Home operating until the end of the consultation period, refusing to comment on any other timescale for its operation and blaming press coverage of the proposed closure for causing residents distress”

The Save Bodlondeb Campaign understands that four residents have been relocated in the past twenty four hours, two are due to be relocated today (Friday) and that assessments are planned and ongoing for the remaining residents.

This unconfirmed information was corroborated by upset relatives who spoke to the picket, formed in response to these revelations, outside Bodlondeb. Relatives spoke of staff and residents alike being in tears by this sudden turn of events.

Commenting on this, Save Bodlondeb campaigner Dinah Mulholland said:

“If this is the case, it is further proof of Ceredigion Council’s arrogant expediency.

“The families are naturally extremely upset and the rumour that the home is to close before the consultation period is over, if proved true, shows once and for all what a sham this consultation is. I have advised the Steering Group to seek legal advice on whether Ceredigion Council’s actions compromise the legality of their consultation process.

“And I say to the Council – do not underestimate the strength of feeling about Bodlondeb and our other publicly owned residential care homes in Ceredigion. We will fight for them all.”

The small Picket, mounted outside Bodlondeb at extremely short notice by Ceredigion People’s Alliance, as part of the Save Bodlondeb Campaign, intends to return each day, to peacefully display ‘Save Bodlondeb’ placards, until this matter is resolved

A spokesperson for Ceredigion County Council responded: ‘We wish to reassure residents, their families and the wider community, that Bodlondeb Residential Care Home is operating as normal.

‘Residents’ needs can and do change and this has been the case in recent weeks for a small number of residents. As part of the on-going care and assessment process any changes in residents’ care needs are regularly reviewed and monitored.

‘As a result there has been a requirement for significant increased staffing support to ensure that residents’ needs are being safely met. This has put extra pressure on the staff group in Bodlondeb. Staffing levels are continuously being reviewed and the appropriate levels of support that residents require is monitored and responded to on a daily basis.

‘We are aware that some residents are considering other registered homes due to their own personal choice and other residents require alternative care provision due to their assessed need. Clearly we will support and ensure that the relevant professionals from within the Council and across partner organisations are available to support the residents and their families on an individual basis.

‘All options are considered and decisions taken in consultation with residents and their families. Where necessary and appropriate Independent Advocates and Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCA) have been commissioned to independently support residents during the assessment and decision making process.

‘Where alternative care options are being actively considered for residents at this time, we have fully engaged and communicated with the families and the IMCA service.

‘Our priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residing at Bodlondeb and that our staff are supported to deliver the care required in a safe environment. We are extremely grateful to the staff for the dedication they continue to show in delivering care to our residents.

‘The consultation process continues and we encourage all members of the community to engage in this very important activity. As soon as the consultation process ends – on Monday, September 25, 2017 – the responses will need to be evaluated and a report prepared and presented to Cabinet to consider the options and come to a decision’.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Councillor Catherine Hughes, Portfolio Cabinet Member emphasised and reminded everyone that Bodlondeb Residential Care home will remain open as present until such time as the matter is considered and decided upon by the Council’s Cabinet. The Consultation period ends on 25 September 2017. There will follow an evaluation of the consultation responses and thereafter a report will be presented to the Cabinet who will consider the options and only then a decision will be made as to the future of Bodlondeb Residential Care home.”

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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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