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Scheme will generate ‘£1.7m annual savings’

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Finance and Government Minister Jane Hutt: Announced new scheme

Finance and Government
Minister Jane Hutt: Announced
new scheme

PULBIC service organisations across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire are to benefit from £2,485,000 through the Invest to Save scheme starting in 2015-16, Finance and Government Minister Jane Hutt has announced.

The funding will save a total of £1,765,000 a year at six organisations, which are among ten across Wales which will benefit from a total of £5m through the Invest to Save scheme during 2015-16 leading to annual estimated savings of £3m for public sector organisations.

The schemes are:

  • Hywel Dda University Health Board will receive £281,000 that will produce £228,000 annual savings fie a scheme to replace all medical infusion pumps across all of their sites. The pumps control the supply of fluids and drugs to patients and after their introduction the machines will be universal to the health board. This will not only generate savings from the Board negotiating cheaper consumables but will also reduce the clinical risk presented by staff having to deal with different types of equipment.
  • Powys Teaching Health Board will receive £277,000 for Children’s Continuing Care that will save £309,000 a year. The funding will allow the health board to become less reliant on private nursing agencies to deliver the clinical element of many of their Children’s Continuing Care packages. The project involves delivering care through investment in the local Welsh NHS service and the use of third sector service providers.
  • Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Services will receive £280,000 for its Safe as Houses Project that will generate annual savings of £765,000. The scheme aims to reduce hospital admissions, crime and ambulance service costs. Home safety will concentrate on reducing the risk of falls, heating and the general condition of properties to ensure that they are not detrimental to the health of the occupants. The crime reduction element comes in via security assessments of properties and the provision of advice.
  • Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Services will also receive £165,000 to convert 57 stations in Mid and West Wales to LED lighting, generating annual savings of £55,000
  • Carmarthenshire County Council is to receive £1,407,000 to contribute to the Council’s aim of replacing 12,000 traditional sodium street lights. The project will reduce C02 emissions by approximately 1,000 tonnes per annum. The cash releasing benefits of the project are £400,000 a year which includes reduced energy consumption costs and maintenance.
  • The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth will receive £75,000 for the installation of 200 Photovoltaic Cells on the roof of the Library. The estimated generating capacity of these panels is 37,000 kWh which will significantly reduce the Library’s reliance on grid electricity and produce annual savings of £8,000 per annum.

The successful Invest to Save fund helps public sector organisations deliver improvements to frontline services across Wales and generate cash efficiency savings.

Jane Hutt said: “I am delighted to be able to announce today that ten new projects across Wales will benefit from a total investment of £5m through our innovative Invest to Save scheme.

“At a time of increasing budgetary pressures, these projects are expected to generate £3m of vital savings per annum for public sector organisations and improve efficiencies.

“This round of funding, as well as including a range of energy efficiency projects, will also see a number of preventative investment projects which have the potential to make a significant impact on public spending and the lives and well being of communities the length and breadth of the country. I look forward to hearing their progress over the coming months.”

The Minister also encouraged the Welsh public service to make proposals for the next round of Invest to Save, worth approximately £20 million in 2016-17.

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Alerts issued ahead of Storm Brian

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NATURAL RESOURCE WALES (NRW) is warning people that parts of the Welsh coast could see localised flooding as Storm Brian combines with high tides this evening and tomorrow.

The conditions could cause a storm surge, which in some areas could lead to overtopping of sea defences. Current predictions show that the worst affected areas are likely to be along exposed sections of the west coast of Wales from Southern Gwynedd to Llantwit Major.

High tides in these locations are expected to peak between 6am and 11am tomorrow (Oct 21).

NRW has already issued a number of flood alerts for the west coast, and is likely to issue flood warnings for Aberystwyth and Newgale later today. Further alerts or warnings for other areas will be issued as necessary.

24/7 Emergency response workers from NRW will be out at key areas of the coast over the next couple of day to monitor the high tides and condition of its sea flood defences.

NRW has also contacted its partner agencies such as local councils and the emergency services to ensure that appropriate responses are in place should the need arise.

Richard Hancox, from Natural Resources Wales said: “Conditions across the coastline are likely to be extremely dangerous this weekend and we urge people to stay clear, and avoid visiting the coast during this time.

“We know people are tempted to try and take photos of these storms, but it really isn’t worth putting your life at risk. Sea spray and flood water can knock you off your feet easier than you might think, and the large waves can send debris flying onto shore.

“If anyone is concerned about the risk of flooding to their home, please check to see if flood warnings are available in your area, and visit our website for advice on how best to prepare.”

Flood alerts and flood warnings are updated on the Natural Resources Wales website every 15 minutes.

Information and updates are also available by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188. People can also register for free flood warnings either by calling the Floodline number or at NRW’s website.

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​Major bequests for Aber research ​

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TWO major legacies to support postgraduate research have been announced at Aberystwyth University’s Founders’ Day held in the Old College on October 13.

The University revealed that Eleanor and David James had donated £2m to the institution where they both worked for 35 years, while former student Margaret Wooloff has bequeathed £400,000.

Both bequests will be used to fund postgraduate research at the University, in line with the wishes of the benefactors.

The legacies were announced as part of the University’s now annual Founders’ event, which echoes the celebrations held in the town back in October 1872 when the first students arrived at Old College.

The Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor Elizabeth Treasure, said: “It is extremely fitting that these very special bequests have been the focal point of this year’s Founders’ Day event. They remind us how the University has been supported since its early beginnings by the generosity of the people of Wales and the wider world.

“Eleanor and David James, and Margaret Wooloff all dedicated their lives to the furtherance of knowledge and their valuable contributions to education in Wales will live on in their legacies. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth University, Louise Jagger, said: “There is a very strong bond between the University and our family of alumni across the world. Eleanor and David James and Margaret Wooloff were all active members of the Old Students’ Association during their lives and we are immensely grateful to them for their support over the years. Their generous legacies will now enable the scholars of the future to pursue their particular fields of expertise and undertake research with impact, which is integral to our mission as a leading University.”

Members of the local community joined staff and students at the Old College to mark Founders’ Day.

The guest speaker at the event was Ceredigion MP Ben Lake who said: “The story of how Aberystwyth University – or the University College of Wales as it was originally called – is one in which we can all take pride as a nation. Driven by the vision of its founders, the dream of establishing a college with University status in Wales was made possible thanks to the generosity of ordinary people. The roots and foundations of the University reflect our values in Wales and it is vitally important that we commemorate and celebrate this very special heritage.

“May I take this opportunity to congratulate Aberystwyth on being named recently as the University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Good University Guide – a well deserved accolade which is testament to the dedication of all its staff.”

In July 2017, the Heritage Lottery Fund announced that it had earmarked £10.5m for ambitious plans to redevelop Old College in time for the University’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

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Driving Wales to international skills success

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AS SKILLS CHAMPION for Wales, Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion principal Barry Liles is at the forefront of aspiring young people to develop high quality, world-class skills.

The vehicle used to drive this ambition are skills competitions, which are held on a Welsh, UK and international level.

Competitions in Wales begin with regional Welsh Government supported competitions which are events that culminate to find Wales’ top competitors who progress to take part in UKSkills national and WorldSkills international events.

This year, 36 competitors from the UK are competing at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi, four of which are from Wales, two of which represent Coleg Sir Gâr, which is an impressive percentage of UK representation. These competitors have undergone a rigorous training process by WorldSkills UK, supported by training providers and employers.

Coleg Sir Gâr students have been selected for Team UK since 2009 when carpentry student Cliff Williams made the team in 2009 competing in WorldSkills Calgary. He was followed by web designer David Bowen who competed for in WorldSkills London, 2011. Carpenter Gareth Jones won gold in EuroSkills in 2012 followed by Simon McCall and Eleni Constantinou who won two silvers at EuroSkills in 2014 for hairdressing and carpentry with Eleni progressing to represent the UK and Coleg Sir Gâr in hairdressing at WorldSkills, Sao Paulo in 2015.

Last year, the college was ranked joint third place in the UK for its medal success in the Skills Show – the UK final, for achieving three golds, one silver and one bronze award. The show, held at Birmingham’s NEC every year, brings together medal winners from all nations to compete and showcase their skills and to hopefully continue their journey to the international arena, representing the UK in Worldskills which brings over 50 competing countries together and is likened to the Olympic games.

Barry Liles, Skills Champion for Wales said: “To have an impact on the economy and raise Wales and UK’s GVA, we must raise the skills of the UK population and we’re trying to do this from a young age and we’re significantly targeting industries that are important to Wales’ economy.

“The anticipated result is hoped to impact on young people and help them raise their ambitions and to find highly skilled work.”

In Wales, to help achieve this ambition, is a Welsh-Government funded project called Inspiring Skills Excellence (ISE), which is providing a supportive infrastructure to enable competitors from Wales to achieve success at national and international level.

“Much of our work is supporting competitors across Wales in their participation, training and mentoring to help them achieve excellence in skills relevant to economic growth and delivering medal winning success at national and international competitions,” said Paul Evans, ISE pan-coordinator for Wales.

“Using state of the art equipment we also engage with schools, providing hands-on and exciting experiences for young people to raise awareness of careers and the pathways available to them.”

Barry Liles added: “Being Skills Champion for Wales is a long-held ambition perhaps because I came from a vocational engineering background, I am very passionate about it.

“Industry skills are vital in our economy and I don’t want Wales to be left behind, in fact in the last seven years we have helped drive the nation forward to being one of the leading and successful nations in UK skills competitions.”

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