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Track gets £25k stand

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C A R M A R T H E N S H I R E ATHLETICS TRACK has a new refurbished stand that cost in the region of £25,000.

Carmarthenshire Council, Carmarthen Harriers Athletics Club, Queen Elizabeth High School and local businessman Ron Mounsey joined together to fund the stands.

Two years ago there were fears that youngsters would leave the county to seek better training facilities as the old stand deteriorated.

The new stand features a new roof canopy, floorboards, signage, new seating and a disabled spectator area.

Carmarthen Harriers Club Chairman, Hedydd Davies said the facility would benefit community clubs, schools and attract international events.

He said: “We’re thrilled to be able to have this facility and everyone who makes use of the track whether for training or spectator purposes will benefit.”

The ground hosts 20 international athletic events annually and schools from Ceredigionshire and Pembrokeshire also use the area for events. Thousands of athletes use the facility.

The council’s senior sports and leisure manager said: “We are delighted to have worked in partnership to reinstate the spectator stand at Carmarthen Leisure Centre. The day it was condemned was a sad day for us and the club, and we are so pleased to have overcome a host of barriers to create a significantly upgraded venue.”

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Drug deaths at their highest ever levels in Wales

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WELSH drug deaths are at their highest ever levels according to a new report by Public Health Wales, with deaths from drug poisoning having increased by 78 per cent over the last 10 years.

The report also highlights that drug deaths may be increasingly occurring in people using drugs on a recreational basis, with a rise in deaths involving cocaine, amphetamine and MDMA collectively accounting for 14 per cent of drug misuse deaths. These deaths tended to occur amongst younger people in their 20’s.

In a third of all drug deaths reviewed, ‘no known contact’ was reported between the deceased and any local health, social care or criminal justice services in the 12 months prior to death.

The report recommends action to influence the current legislative approach to drugs policy in the UK, as well as a medical amnesty policy to protect people seeking medical attention relating to drug poisonings.

Drug misuse deaths, a subset of drug poisoning deaths, have increased by 52 per cent over the last decade and by 12 per cent in the last year up from 185 deaths in 2017 to 208 in 2018 – with a current rate of 72 deaths per million population. Wales has the second highest rates of drug misuse deaths in England and Wales regions.

Josie Smith, Head of Substance Misuse in Public Health Wales, said:
“Drug markets have changed and expanded over the last few years, both in terms of availability, and range of drugs, and this trend is set to continue. One of the most distressing impacts of these changes is the rise in premature deaths.

“Across Wales there are effective interventions in place to reduce premature drug deaths including specialist substance misuse services and, for opioid deaths, the provision of Take-Home Naloxone. However, expansion of the Naloxone programme will be required to ensure widespread access to this life-saving intervention. In addition it is vital that the range of people using drugs are able to make better use of services that can support them, and reduce their risk of harm and premature death.

“Given the scale of problem drug use in Wales, it is likely that every member of the population will know someone affected by, or experiencing difficulties with drugs be they illegal or prescribed, but may be unaware. Evidence is clear that seeking support early on can prevent escalation of problem use and dependency, however, fear of stigmatisation and social exclusion may be barriers to this. Consideration needs to be given to how this can be overcome in Wales to prevent future tragic deaths.”

As in previous years, opioids including heroin were involved in the just over half of drug misuse deaths reported in 2018. Poly-drug use, the use of other drugs including benzodiazepines and cocaine, was reported in 49 per cent.

In addition, there has been a more than four-fold increase in the number of deaths involving cocaine over the last five years. In 2018, cocaine was recorded in 31 of deaths, representing 15 per cent of all drug misuse deaths.

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Four RNLI lifeboats respond to mayday call in Cardigan Bay

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Four RNLI lifeboats from four lifeboat stations launched overnight to respond to a mayday call 30 miles off Cardigan Bay.

The mayday call was very weak and as the location of the vessel was unclear so Abersoch, Barmouth, New Quay and Aberystwyth RNLI volunteers were all launched over the course of the night to respond to the mayday call.

HM Coastguard received a mayday call on the evening of Sunday 8 September from a 30-foot yacht suffering from mechanical failure in Cardigan Bay but communications were lost with the vessel before a location was provided. Abersoch Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat and Barmouth all-weather lifeboat were both tasked at 11:10pm to search an area south of Enlli (Bardsey Island) for the vessel. New Quay RNLI volunteers were also requested to prepare the all-weather lifeboat in case the search area was extended.

As the search took place a fishing trawler located the yacht 30 miles off Cardigan Bay and was able to provide clearer information to the Coastguard. New Quay all-weather lifeboat launched at 12:35am and Barmouth and Abersoch lifeboats were both stood down.

New Quay RNLI volunteers arrived on scene and established a tow. As New Quay all-weather lifeboat made their way back to the coast, Aberystwyth RNLI volunteers were paged at 8:30am and were requested to take over the tow – over nine hours after the service call first began.

Aberystwyth Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat launched at 8:45am and took over the tow from New Quay all-weather lifeboat. The yacht was safely towed into Aberystwyth Marina.

New Quay RNLI volunteers were finally able to return to station and recovered the lifeboat at 10:30am – ten hours after the all-weather lifeboat was first paged.

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Farmers affected by mental health issues are encouraged to look for help

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THOSE farmers going through a tough time have been encouraged to seek help as World Suicide Prevention Day gets underway on Tuesday (Sept 10).
The worldwide initiative, which takes place on 10 September ever year, aims to shine a spotlight on action to prevent suicide.

One person takes their own life every 40 seconds and more people die by suicide every year than in war, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) is using this day to urge farmers and farm workers battling with mental health difficulties to seek help.
Levels of depression within the industry are thought to be increasing in the UK and suicide rates, particularly for males under 40, are among the highest in any occupational group.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has identified stress, depression and anxiety as some the main causes of work-related ill health for farmers.

FUW President, Glyn Roberts, said: “Poor mental health is an issue that affects the farming community greatly and it is well known that loneliness and social isolation can lead to mental health problems.
The FUW understands that failing to deal with poor mental wellbeing could have serious consequences and lead to the farm running inefficiently, a serious injury, relationship breakdowns, poor physical health and even worse, it could lead to suicide.”

He added that everyone can make a contribution in preventing suicide and believes that it is by joining together, those suffering can be better supported.

“Suicidal behaviour is universal and it knows no boundaries. It can affect anyone and therefore we all have a role to play to collectively address the challenges. Of course, preventing suicide often requires the efforts of many, like family, friends, co-workers, community members, educators, healthcare professionals, and governments.
We must remember that every life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide there are countless other people who suffer intense grief,” Mr Roberts said.

The overall illness rate for agricultural workers, which includes stress, depression and anxiety, is 46 percent higher than the industry average.
There is help available with rural-based charities such as the Farming Community Network, the DPJ Foundation and Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) helping farmers who are suffering from mental health difficulties.

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