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Ceredigion MP signs Commons ‘Bereavement Standard’ motion

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UK GOVERNMENT urged to introduce new account closure standard to help grieving families.

Ben Lake MP has backed a House of Commons motion which calls for the introduction of a new ‘Bereavement Standard’.

The early day motion (EDM), tabled as parliament returned on September 1st, calls on ministers to “simplify and streamline” the “complex array of arrangements” which face grieving families who need to close accounts with service providers, following the death of a loved one.

The growing support in parliament comes as nearly 80,000 people have signed a public petition at change.org/bereavementstandard which demands similar action from the government to improve the process of account closures across the UK.

Ben Lake MP said: “Grieving families have enough to cope with without the added burden and unnecessary stress caused by having to close multiple accounts, which at the moment can take weeks or months to complete. A new Bereavement Standard would simplify and streamline the process.”

The campaign, launched recently by mother and daughter Julie and Vicky Wilson, from Easington, Co Durham, is backed by several charities including Cruse Bereavement Care, Sue Ryder, Marie Curie, and the Good Grief Trust. A ‘Bereavement Standard Working Group’ to help bring about the requested standard has also been established with leading service providers, parliamentarians, charities, and UK regulators.

Across the UK, more than 600,000 people die every year. Currently, there is no approved process for closing accounts when someone dies – some companies demand a death certificate before closing an account, others seek different proof and paperwork. It can take weeks, or months, of repeated calls, to close just one account. On average individuals have up to 20 utility, mobile, broadband, TV subscription, and other household service accounts which need to be closed.

The Bereavement Standard would set a time limit for account closures, standardise paperwork and documents required, and ensure service providers have dedicated bereavement channels with properly trained staff, available to customers.

Vicky Wilson, who founded the campaign with mum Julie, said: “We are hugely encouraged that there is such growing support from MPs and members of the public for a new set of agreed standards, and we call on ministers and all service providers across the UK to listen to those voices and back our campaign. Without an agreed Bereavement Standard, service providers can still add unnecessary stress at a time when grieving families have enough to deal with.”

It was following the death of her grandmother that Vicky Wilson experienced the protracted and unsatisfactory process that thousands of families have to endure when closing multiple accounts for loved ones who have died. As a result, she and her mum founded a new online account closure service, Settld, which launches to members of the public for free, later this year.

Steven Wibberly, CEO of Cruse Bereavement Care, said: “It is vital that companies show compassion towards bereaved people. They must simplify their processes to ensure they are fit for purpose and to make sure that they are not causing their bereaved customers further distress, at what is already a very difficult time.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has left thousands more people bereaved. Anything that can be done to simplify this process for bereaved people will have a huge impact.”

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“Significant” heroin dealer to pay back £40,500 in criminal gains

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A MAN jailed for possessing heroin with intent to supply and money laundering has been ordered to pay back £40,500 gained through criminal activity.

Grzegorz Kramp, of Commins Coch in Ceredigion, was sentenced in February to three years and nine months in prison following a Dyfed-Powys Police investigation.

A court heard how the 45-year-old was a “significant street dealer” in the area after police stopped his car and found heroin worth £10,000 inside.

Following sentencing, the force’s Economic Crime Team began Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings against Kramp to strip him of the funds earned through illegal activity.

Financial investigator Rob Thomas said: “Financial enquiries were carried out as part of the investigation, and it was revealed that a significant amount of money had gone through the defendant’s bank account in the period leading up to his arrest.

“This gave us grounds to pursue a Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation as it was clear Kramp had financially benefitted from his criminal activity.”

On Friday, June 18 a POCA hearing was held at Swansea Crown Court, where HHJ Huw Rees declared that Kramp had benefitted by £77,179.66.

He imposed a confiscation order requiring the defendant to pay £40,500. This will be split between £5,000 seized from Kramp, and equity from his home address, which is to be sold within three months.

Mr Thomas said: “To explain the difference in the amount gained by Kramp against the amount he has been ordered to pay back – proceeds of crime are split into two figures – the benefit figure, which is the amount gained, and the available amount, which is the amount of cash seized or assets which can be sold.

“In this instance, the benefit amount is over £77,000 that related to unexplained income in Kramp’s bank account over a number of months, but the available amount that could be recovered in cash or assets was calculated to be £40,500, which is what he will now pay back.

“This order is another success on top of the original sentence as by taking out the profits that fund crime, we can help disrupt the cycle and prevent further offences from taking place.”

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A group of Year 9 pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Penglais asked to self-isolate as COVID-19 case confirmed

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A GROUP of Year 9 pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Penglais, Aberystwyth have been asked to self-isolate for 10 days following the confirmation of a COVID-19 case at the school.

In addition, pupils travelling on the same bus as the confirmed positive case have also been contacted and asked to self-isolate for 10 days again. These pupils come from more than one Year Group from Ysgol Gyfun Penglais.

All confirmed contacts of the positive case must remain at home for 10 days to reduce the possible spread of the virus to family, friends and the wider community. The pupils will be taught remotely for this period.

The parents of all these pupils have been contacted by the School and will also be supported by Ceredigion Contact Tracing Team.

The Council urges all parents to refer their children for a test if they develop any of the following symptoms, which are:

·       a high temperature

·       a new continuous cough

·       a loss or change to sense of smell or taste

  • mild summer cold type symptoms – including sore throat, runny nose, headache
  • flu-like symptoms, including myalgia (muscle ache or pain); excessive tiredness; persistent headache; runny nose or blocked nose; persistent sneezing; sore throat and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing
  • any new or change in symptoms following a previous negative test.

In addition, parents should book a COVID-19 test if their children feel generally feeling unwell and have a history of being in contact with a known COVID-19 case.

You can apply for a test on https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test or by phoning 119.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Ceredigion has increased significantly over recent days and we are urging people to continue to maintain 2 metre social distancing, wear a face mask indoors, wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds and keep inside spaces well ventilated. Following these rules will stop the spread of COVID-19 in Ceredigion.

No further details will be provided regarding this matter.

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Three services in two days for New Quay RNLI

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NEW QUAY RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was called into action three times in two days last week, firstly to a surfer near New Quay while on a training exercise on Thursday evening (17 June), then to a windsurfer in Aberaeron on Friday (18 June) and, while returning to station, a passenger boat in New Quay with a fouled propeller. 

On Thursday evening Dylan Price, New Quay RNLI’s helm was taking crew on a training exercise when they were requested by HM Coastguard to assist a surfer in difficulty in Llanina, near New Quay. Dylan said, “On arrival we found them safe and well so a false alarm with good intent. We then continued with our training which included search patterns, a man overboard scenario and boat handling drills.” 

Next, on Friday afternoon, in a strong northerly wind, the inshore lifeboat was tasked on service once again. Pete Yates, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “We were requested by HM Coastguard to launch our inshore lifeboat at 1.40pm to a windsurfer in difficulty off Aberaeron. We made best speed up the coast in difficult conditions and arrived just as the casualty made it safely ashore, to be met by the New Quay Coastguard team. 

“On returning to New Quay we assisted a passenger boat with a fouled propeller. We were able to free the rope from the propeller and then returned to station. Good outcomes all round! Remember if you see if you see anyone in difficulty or you find yourself in trouble on the coast call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

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