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Big Welsh Walk aims to tackle loneliness and isolation

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THE BIG WELSH WALK takes place in June to promote the benefits of walking groups; reducing loneliness and isolation, as well as improving fitness and general wellbeing.

Starting in Devil’s Bridge, Ceredigion on Saturday (Jun 2) there are four walks to choose from, ranging from 6 to 20 miles. Participants can challenge themselves through the stunning landscapes, highlighting breath taking scenery along the way.

Most of us will experience loneliness at some point in our lives. For many people, especially the older generation, this isn’t a fleeting experience, but one that can define and shatter your life. The need for action is increasingly understood and Ramblers Cymru is working hard to combat this through leading local walking groups.

Within in the UK, research shows that more than 9 million people always or often feel lonely, that around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month and up to 85% of young disabled adults – 18-34 year olds – feel lonely.

With around 20 million adults also failing to meet UK government recommendations for physical activity, walking is the obvious answer to help combat loneliness and isolation whilst also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ramblers Cymru is working to change this by encouraging people to join their local walking group.

Local resident of Ceredigion, Dwynwen Belsey, walks with Aberystwyth Ramblers each week. She said: “It’s well-established that walking is good for you, but it also helps people develop social skills, and build confidence too.

“Life has its ups and downs and walking helps because it has a therapeutic effect,” explains Dwynwen. “The difference walking with the group has made to me, is fantastic. I have the confidence to volunteer through leading walks and helping maintain the public footpaths so that more people can enjoy the benefits of walking”.

Director of Ramblers Cymru, Angela Charlton, said: “It’s inspiring to hear about groups like Aberystwyth Ramblers and the fantastic work they are doing locally to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Ceredigion. Loneliness and isolation is becoming a real issue people from all walks of life in Wales are faced with. Our vision in Ramblers Cymru is to work towards combatting this and ensuring we encourage people to use group walking as a way to a healthier lifestyles, mentally and physically”.

You can find out more about the local walks led by Ramblers Cymru by visiting www.ramblers.org.uk/wales and to join the Big Welsh Walk www.ramblers.org.uk/bigwelshwalk

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Force decision to challenge inappropriate behaviour of officer the right one

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A DYFED-POWYS POLICE officer has been dismissed from his post with immediate effect, after the force challenged the previous finding of a conduct panel which would have enabled him to return to front line duties.

PC Simon England first appeared before an independent panel in April 2019, following reports of inappropriate sexual behaviour and comments towards colleagues and (indirectly) members of the public.

Following a judicial review into the 2019 hearing, this week PC England was brought before another panel, overseen by Legally Qualified Chair, Mrs Sally Olsen.

PC England fully admitted the alleged conduct in its entirety and accepted that it amounted to gross misconduct. However,  he did not believe that his conduct justified his dismissal from the force.

The Panel found that the behaviour in question amounted to serious breaches of the standards of professional behaviour relating to authority, respect and courtesy, equality and diversity and discreditable conduct, and was therefore dismissed with immediate effect. 

Following this second panel, Temporary Chief Constable Claire Parmenter said:

“Dyfed-Powys Police quite rightly expects the highest standards of professional behaviour from its officers and staff, as do the communities we serve and protect.

“The force cannot and will not tolerate behaviour of this kind. We will always take action to protect our officers, staff, and without question, the public.

“It is vital that we maintain public confidence in the force, and public confidence cannot be upheld by allowing individuals who behave in such a way to remain in the organisation.

“I am pleased to see that the seriousness of this matter has now been recognised and that the panel have judged this behaviour to amount to gross misconduct. This confirms that the decision to challenge the original conclusion via judicial review was absolutely the right one”.

Examples of the conduct in question include inappropriate touching of colleagues with sexual intent, inappropriate comments to colleagues about masturbation, and talk of specific sexual acts that he would wish to engage in with members of the public he had seen.

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New Quay RNLI search for unoccupied grey dinghy

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On Sunday night (25 July) New Quay RNLI’s inshore lifeboat was tasked by Milford Haven Coastguard to search for an unoccupied grey dinghy last seen near Cwmtydu, south of New Quay. 

The Audrey LJ lifeboat launched at 8.40pm with three volunteer crew members on board and made good speed down the coast.  

Dylan Price, New Quay RNLI’s helm said, “On arrival the crew commenced searching and soon found a large blue and black inflatable. We were then tasked to carry out further searches for a grey boat between Cwmtydu and New Quay but on finding nothing else we were stood down and returned to station by 10pm. 

“Remember if you see anyone in trouble or find yourself in difficulty on the coast do not hesitate to call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.” 

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Stand up for slowing down speed campaign launched

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INAPPROPRIATE speed contributes to around 11% of all injury collisions reported to the police, with 15% of collisions resulting in a serious injury and 24% of collisions resulting in fatalities.

Starting on the 26th July, the National Police Chief Council (NPCC) Speed Campaign will kick off across the UK, with GoSafe and the four Welsh Police Forces participating in both engaging with the public about the risks of speeding and enforcing the speed limits on the roads of Wales.

In 2019, 60,073 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) were issued in Wales to drivers/riders for speeding.

Speeding is a major contributing factor to collisions on the roads of Wales. This includes both ‘excessive speed’, where the speed limit is exceeded, as well as driving or riding within the speed limit when this is too fast for the conditions at the time; for example, in poor weather, poor visibility or high pedestrian activity.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, we saw less traffic but higher speeds.  Now our restrictions are lifting, traffic volumes are up and as we are holidaying in the UK more, we are seeing more people speeding on the roads in Wales.  We want to change this, but can only do that with your help.

 Over the next few weeks you will see an increased presence on the road network of Wales as we aim to keep all road users safe and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.

 We know that the majority of road users comply with the speed limit; but the minority of those who do not increases the risk to the safety of all road users and need to be educated on the risks to their own safety as well as to the safety of those around them. Throughout this campaign, GoSafe and our partners in the Police and Local Authorities will encourage and educate more people to reduce their speed to save lives.

Teresa Ciano, GoSafe Partnership Manager said: “GoSafe enforce at sites across Wales in order to encourage motorists to comply with the speed limits and in turn make our roads and communities safer for everyone. If we all play our part and stand up for slowing down we can make a difference, and we can save lives on the roads of Wales.”

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change said: “I am very pleased to support this campaign. Driving at high speeds costs lives and a greater police presence on our roads will mean motorists will be more likely to drive within the speed limits, protecting lives and avoiding a speeding fine.”

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