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Sir Bryn Terfel to lead BBC Cymru Wales’ St David’s Day celebration

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Celebrate a St David’s Day like no other with the world renowned singer and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales on Monday 1 March  at 7pm on BBC Two Wales along with a host of other programmes on the BBC.

The Grammy Award-winning opera singer, Sir Bryn Terfel, has performed all over the world and this St David’s Day the Welsh bass-baritone will be celebrating in the Welsh capital. He’ll be joining the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff for a special concert packed-full of Welsh classics and favourites that will be broadcast on BBC Two Wales, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru.

Looking ahead to the concert Sir Bryn Terfel said: “Singing is in my people, as sight is in the eye” is a quote from “How Green Was My Valley”. It costs us nothing to sing along and even though there are only three million of us, we are certainly not afraid to use our voices. This concert has many of our cherished songs and folk tunes and to perform live again with our incredible BBC National Orchestra of Wales fills my heart with gladness”.

The special concert is just one part of BBC Wales’ extensive range of output on St David’s Day. A brand new series The Story of Welsh Art with Huw Stephens will take viewers on a breath-taking visual tour of the nation, from stunning bronze-age artefacts to award-winning cutting edge contemporary pieces.

Comedian and presenter Tudur Owen takes a look at how the people of Wales have celebrated the day over the years – from delicious dishes to questionable dancing – as he explores the BBC archives for a St David’s Day special of Tudur’s TV Flashback

St David’s Day at the BBC celebrates with classic performances drawn from the BBC’s music archives and includes performances from Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Feeder, Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir Tom Jones.

In addition to broadcasting the St David’s Day concert with Bryn Terfel, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru will be asking listeners what little things they’ll be doing that bring them joy this St David’s Day, as well as celebrating the day with a host of special guests and content.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director of BBC Cymru Wales said:

“Despite the challenging circumstances for everybody, St David’s Day is always worth celebrating and this year we’re pulling out all the stops.

“We’re thrilled that Sir Bryn Terfel is joining the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for what will be a rousing concert of Welsh music and song, and who better than Huw Stephens to share the Story of Welsh Art with audiences right across the UK. It promises to be a day – and a night – to remember and a timely reminder of the extraordinary talent Wales produces.”

BBC Four will be kicking off the celebrations early with a Friday night of Welsh music icons on Friday 26 February. Programmes include Katherine Jenkins at 40St David’s Day at the BBC, Tom Jones’s 1950s: The Decade That Made Me, Electric Proms featuring Shirley Bassey and Radio 2 in Concert featuring The Stereophonics.

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Health

Ambulance delays as heart attack victims left waiting one hour 57 minutes

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FREEDOM of Information requests reveal the worst ambulance delays out of 22 local authorities in Wales.

Postcode lottery revealed with patients in some areas waiting over double the amount of time for life-threatening calls

The average wait time for amber calls, which includes heart attack and stroke victims was 1 hour 57 minutes. In Swansea, it was 2 hours 33 minutes.

Shocking figures have unveiled the local areas in Wales with the longest ambulance delays, revealing a stark “postcode lottery” for response times to life-threatening calls.

Figures were provided by local authority giving a more local breakdown of the usual Health Board data.

Potential heart attack and stroke victims in the worst-hit areas are now waiting an average of one hour and 57 minutes for paramedics to arrive.

The figures, uncovered by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests, reveal how patients whose lives are in immediate danger are waiting twice as long in some rural areas than urban ones. In Anglesey, patients waited an average of 12 minutes and 22 seconds for category 1 calls compared to 6 minutes 31 seconds in Newport.

However, the figures for amber calls painted a much starker picture with an average arrival time of 1 hour 57 minutes in Wales, with the worst in Swansea, where the average wait was 2 hours 33 minutes.

Overall, 13 out of the 22 local authorities in Wales had an average wait of over 2 hours for amber calls.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling for action on the social care crisis in order to free up hospital beds and stop ambulances waiting outside hospitals.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:

“These figures are heart-breaking, but not necessarily shocking to anyone who has had to call on an ambulance in recent months.

“Far too many people are being left to wait too long in an emergency across every region of Wales. The length of amber calls, which includes stroke and heart attack victims in particularly concerning.

“None of this is the fault of our hardworking ambulance staff who are doing their utmost in extremely difficult conditions.

“We must see an end to the postcode lottery in emergency care, it shouldn’t matter where you live, you should be able to get timely medical attention when you need it most.

“Every day we hear more and more devastating stories of pensioners left stranded for hours, or families watching a loved one die before a paramedic could reach them.

“This cannot continue, the Welsh Labour Government must bring forward extra support to get ambulance services through winter as well as a long-term strategy to ensure people can get emergency care when they need it. That means addressing workforce shortages, fixing the social care crisis and ending the shortage of hospital beds, all of which are leaving patients in ambulances stuck outside A&E for hours.”

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Ceredigion MS’ back striking Uni staff

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LOCAL Plaid Cymru politicians stood in solidarity with striking university staff at the Senedd this week, as over 70,000 staff from over 150 universities across the UK undertook three days of striking action over attacks on pay, working conditions and pensions.

The strike, organised by the University and Colleges Union (UCU), was the biggest in the history of higher education, and saw protestors gather en masse in London and Cardiff, as well as picket lines on university campuses, including in Aberystwyth and Lampeter.

The strikes come after UCU members overwhelmingly voted ‘yes’ to industrial action in September in two historic national ballots over attacks on pay and working conditions as well as pension cuts.

In September, Aberystwyth University, along with other employers, offered a standard three per cent pay increase. UCU’s demands, however, include a pay uplift of 12 per cent or Retail Price Index (RPI) plus two per cent, an agreed framework to eliminate insecure work practices such as zero hours contracts, and action to address dangerously high workloads.

The protest at the Senedd on Wednesday 30th November brought together a range of university staff, students and supporters, as well as many politicians.

Elin Jones, Member of the Senedd for Ceredigion said:

“I welcomed the opportunity to stand in solidarity with striking university staff. As the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, it’s clear that the current pay offer to university staff does not go far enough, and many will struggle financially over coming months.

Whilst staff in Aberystwyth and Lampeter are working hard to deliver an exceptional experience for their students, more and more are struggling as a result of falling pay, pension uncertainty and insecure work.”

Cefin Campbell, Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales concluded:

“Universities’ roles as vital employers across Mid & West Wales cannot be understated. No-one – including the university staff – wants industrial action, however the fact that the strike took place indicates the strength of feeling and frustration within the sector. At this time of growing financial hardship, I stand with the UCU staff and hope their demands will be met by universities.”

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Children’s Commissioner for Wales helps deliver powerful messages from children

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ENCOURAGING safeguarding professionals and practitioners to engage with and listen to children and young people was at the heart of an event hosted by the Mid and West Wales Regional Safeguarding Board for children, as part of its National Safeguarding Week activities and program for 2022.

The event which took place on 18 November 18 at Parc-y–Scarlets stadium in Llanelli, was attended by professionals who play a key role in safeguarding children, including police officers, nurses, social care staff and education professionals, and by children and young people from across the region, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

A safeguarding training resource and animation developed and created by the Regional Safeguarding Board’s Junior Group CADW, was officially launched as part of the event, by the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Rocio Cifuentes.

The training resource designed to be used in all mandatory multi-agency safeguarding training across the region, gives powerful messages to professionals about what is important to children and young people when practitioners and professionals may need to intervene in their lives to support or protect them.

Jan Coles, Head of Children’s Services at Carmarthenshire Council, which led and facilitated the event of behalf of the Mid and West Wales Safeguarding Board, said: “It is empowering and extremely inspiring for the children and young people from across our region to see so many safeguarding professionals and practitioners to support the fantastic work they have done.

“The messages in the animation are very powerful and we will take this forward as a regional safeguarding board and ensure they are embedded into core safeguarding practice.”

The resource as well as supplementary information and materials can be viewed here: www.cysur.wales/training/animation-training-resource/

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