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Health projects support from National Lottery

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fundPEOPLE across Wales with disability and health-related difficulties will be benefitting from the latest funding announced by the Big Lottery Fund.

As part of the latest announcements from the Awards for All small grants programme, a total of £284,694 will be shared across 70 projects in Wales.

Hands Up for Downs, based in Swansea will receive £5,000 to provide speech and language courses to children under 5 years old with Down’s syndrome as well as for their parents and carers.

Secretary for the Hands Up For Downs project, Laura Stewart, said in receipt of the grant: “This grant will be used to fund Speech & Language Therapy for children who have Down’s syndrome in the Swansea area. It will also help pay for members of Hands Up For Downs to attend a Makaton Sign Language Course. People with Down’s syndrome often struggle with speech so early intervention is vital for developing their communication skills. It will further their ability to interact with the people in their lives so that they can express their needs, gain confidence and independence, develop other skills and become fully participating, valued members of society.”

Narcolepsy UK based in Ceredigion will benefit from £4,962 to improve their services by recruiting a new sessional worker to deliver networking events in five new locations across Wales for people with narcolepsy and their family and carers. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder which affects the brains’ ability to regulate the normal sleep-wake cycle leading to symptoms such as disturbed night-time sleep and excessive sleepiness throughout the day, and affects approximately 31,000 people in the UK.

In the Vale of Glamorgan, Marie Cure Cancer Care will be able to improve the services offered to their patients and carers by using £4,482 to provide additional training for staff and volunteers in complimentary therapy.

Carolyn Turner, Interim Day Therapy Unit Manager at Marie Curie’s Cardiff and Vale Hospice said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this money from the Awards for All Wales funding programme and welcome the benefits it will bring for our service users. The funds will enable us to train volunteers and staff in the hospice’s day therapy unit, helping them to deliver a wide range of therapies, services and support to those people living with a terminal illness.”

Merthyr People First will receive £4,340 to run a weekly cookery class and tutorial sessions in jewellery-making for members with learning disabilities with the aim of increasing skills and knowledge and improving diets and lifestyles. Furthermore Rhyl’s Raptors Wheelchair Basketball Club will use £4,500 to fund new equipment, refreshments and venue hire towards additional activities to the main club that will increase participation numbers in the group.

Other projects being funded include Ysgol Penllwyn After-School Club in Aberystwyth will use £1,850 to teach children how to stay safe when using the internet, learn about social media platforms and etiquette, and to enhance their IT skills.

Catheryn Sharon Morgan, After- School Club Coordinator said: “With this grant we can broaden the activities that we can offer, and it also ties in with work on educating children and helping to protect them online and on the internet.”

Elsewhere, Project Seagrass, based in Swansea will receive £4,900 to pilot a marine biodiversity education scheme for 60 children. The programme will raise awareness and allow young people to learn from marine biology experts on conserving these environments.

Gareth Williams, Awards for All Programme Manager for the Big Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Awards for All is having a positive impact throughout Wales. Money is helping to establish groups, societies and clubs, promoting learning, increasing volunteering opportunities and helping to build stronger communities.”

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Domestic abuse victims in Wales to be given more time to report assaults

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DOMESTIC abuse victims in Wales and England to be given more time to report assaults.

New measures targeted directly at keeping women and girls safer will be added to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last week (Jan 4) the UK Government has announced.

Under the changes, victims of domestic abuse will be allowed more time to report incidents of common assault or battery against them. Currently, prosecutions must commence within six months of the offence.

Instead, this requirement will be moved to six months from the date the incident is formally reported to the police – with an overall time limit of two years from the offence to bring a prosecution.Domestic abuse is often reported late relative to other crimes; so this will ensure victims have enough time to seek justice and that perpetrators answer for their actions.

The UK Government says that today’s announcement builds on measures already in the Bill to better protect women such as ending the halfway release of offenders sentenced between four and seven years in prison for serious sexual offences – forcing them to spend two-thirds of their time in prison.

In December, the legislation was amended to make clear that a new legal duty requiring public bodies to work together to tackle serious violence can also include domestic abuse and sexual offences.

It means that these crimes should be taken as seriously as knife crime and homicide, with police, government, and health bodies required to collaborate locally, so that they can develop more holistic strategies to protect people from harm, including through early intervention.

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “My commitment to making our homes, streets and communities safer for women and girls is clear.”

“Every department in government is working to address and tackle all issues relating to violence against women and girls.”

“The Government has a focussed strategy, dedicated to providing essential support for survivors, the prevention of crimes against women and girls and bringing perpetrators to justice with the full force of the law.”

“Our actions include the new Domestic Abuse Act, with important changes to our laws; a newly created national police lead responsible solely on violence against women and girls, and millions of pounds have been invested in direct safety measures through the Safer Streets Fund.”

“These are all important public confidence measures and changes to ensure the safety of women and girls in public spaces.”

The UK Government has also said that taking non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers will be made a specific offence punishable by up to two years in prison.

It covers situations where the motive is to obtain sexual gratification, or to cause humiliation, distress or alarm.

Similar legislation introduced by the UK Government in 2019 that criminalised “up skirting” has led to more than 30 prosecutions since it became law.

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Vandalised church passes fundraising target

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The inside of the Church was also subjected to vandalism

A FUNDRAISER to rebuild a vandalised church met its goal of £20k within three days. 

Eglwys y Grog, which is situated near the cliffs at Mwnt. It is a well known landmark, and is a favourite among photographers.

Clive Davies, a local County Councillor, claims he is “totally blown away” with the donations. 

He said the church was targeted on 2 December, and again on 20 December, in “a pointless saddening act.”

“There was nothing of value in the church and it was a senseless act. There was no money there, just a small little church,” he added.

“The church members were getting a lot of requests to donate money and they contacted me to do something coordinated online so I set up a JustGiving page for them.

“It’s been a global response really, three thousand pounds came in overnight. There were messages of support from America, and there was a couple from Australia as well,

“There are a lot of good people out there and it is an amazing start to 2022 for us.”

When the campaign was launched on January 1st, a £20,000 goal was set.

The leaded windows of the church were smashed in with rocks

The inside of the church, as well as the leaded church windows and gated entrance, were all damaged.

Mr Davies, who is also a local councillor, claims to have long-standing family ties to the church, which includes plaques honouring his great-grandparents on either side of the altar.

“The local community has been amazing, supporting it and the power of social media made in tenfold,” he said.

“It was like a snowball effect really, local businesses have offered not only financial support but will be part of the restoration work needed now.”

“I’ll be meeting with the church members and the vicar and we’ll start discussing what needs doing, but also we’re going to have to look at safety for the future and what could we do in terms of security,” he added.

He stated that it was critical for the church to remain open while staying safe.

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£250 boost to all Ceredigion food banks

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PLAID CYMRU Councillors from Ceredigion will donate £250 to each food bank in the county to alleviate pressures over the Christmas period.

The issue of food banks continues on a daily basis in most towns in Wales due to lack of funds and benefits being cut. 

Individuals and families are forced to use food banks to make sure they have food for their children and families.

A spokesperson for the Councillors said: “Ceredigion County Council’s Plaid Cymru Group of Councilors is delighted to announce their decision again this year to donate £250.00 each to every food bank in Ceredigion.

“Food banks in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Aberaeron, Llandysul, Lampeter will benefit from this over Christmas.

“Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

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