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‘Britain’s Got Talent’ star shines a light on Ceredigion’s foster carers

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ON THURSDAY evening 20 May, Aberystwyth town library at Canolfan Alun R Edwards will light up in orange to mark Foster Care Fortnight. Also shining a light on the work of Ceredigion’s foster carers is Welsh artist Nathan Wyburn. Nathan, who is known for his unique methods of creating art, has produced a piece using LED lights to illustrate how any house can become a safe and loving home.

Foster Care Fortnight, a national awareness-raising and recruitment campaign run by The Fostering Network is between 10 and 23 May this year. With this year’s theme being ‘#WhyWeCare’, we’re calling on more people to consider fostering.

While many of us have had family and friends there to support us during difficult times faced over the last year, many children and young people across Wales need that support more than ever before.

Finding inspiration from a poem on foster carers, Nathan Wyburn reflected on his art piece: “I wanted to create something that champions foster carers in the way they open the doors to their homes – and their hearts. I chose to turn those words into art with a piece that signifies a home being the literal light at the end of the tunnel for children and young people. I think one of the biggest myths around fostering is that you have to have a big house with a big garden to be a foster carer – and that’s just not true.”

A video showing a time-lapse of the piece coming together and overlaid with said poem can be viewed from the following link: https://fb.watch/5sRdfgnRP3/

You too can show your support for Foster Care Fortnight by placing a lamp in your front window on Thursday evening, 20 May to ‘shine a light’ on the work being done by Ceredigion County Council’s foster carers, and celebrate their efforts in transforming children and young people’s lives.

Art by Nathan Wyburn for Fostering Care Fortnight

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Porth Gofal, Early Intervention, Wellbeing Hubs and Culture said: “Foster carers provide day-to-day support, love and stability to children and young people who can’t live with their birth families. While many of us may have been unhappy about spending the best part of the last year cooped up at home, for some young people they can only dream of having the sense of safety, security and comfort that home has provided us with. It’s quite simply something that can seem out of reach to some children and young people.”

Hundreds of new foster families are needed every year in Wales to care for children of all ages, and in particular for sibling groups, older children and young people, children with additional needs, and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

Councillor Hughes added: “There are many misconceptions surrounding fostering. For example, some people think you have to be in a relationship or married – or own your own home – and that’s simply not true. One of the things about fostering is that it’s not about changing a child, it’s about letting them be themselves and helping them discover who they are so they can flourish. So, we welcome applications from people who can bring a wide range of life and work experiences with them to the role.”

If you think you could make a difference by becoming a foster carer, visit our website for further information, www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/social-care-wellbeing/interested-in-adoption-fostering-short-breaks/fostering/

Follow Ceredigion County Council social media pages during Foster Care Fortnight for more myth-busting and pictures from the ‘Shine a Light’ evening on 20 May.

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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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