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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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Community

New healthy heart project to help patients in North Ceredigion

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PATIENTS in North Ceredigion will now benefit from a new project which will offer psychological support to those at risk of heart problems.

Hywel Dda University Health Board has funded this project which offers advice and support for patients with cardiovascular risk factors.

This new Clinical Health Psychology pathway will run the in North Ceredigion Cluster which covers seven surgeries. The scheme aims to prevent the escalation of cardiovascular disease and cardiac events including heart attack and stroke.

Support will be provided in a primary care setting for patients with two or more of the following modifiable risk factors:

Elevated blood pressure

Elevated Cholesterol

Elevated HbA1c

Clinically overweight or obese

Chronic stress

The pathway offers emotional support to help make changes to patients’ lifestyles, including managing stress or improving their health and fitness, ultimately helping to reduce cardiovascular risks.

Rachel Herrick, Clinical Lead Psychologist for the pathway, said: “Anxiety, depression and stress are risk factors for the onset, development and prognosis of cardiac problems. Lifestyle factors including diet, sleep, and activity levels also play a major role in the onset of cardiovascular diseases.

“By providing psychological techniques and therapy, we can prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. Learning to manage stress, anxiety and depression and following a healthy lifestyle will significantly reduce risk, as well as improve overall quality of life and general health outcomes for our patients in North Ceredigion.”

If you would like to self-refer to this pathway, please telephone and leave a message on 01267 246917 or email clinicalhealth.psychology.hdd@wales.nhs.uk

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Construction work due to begin on transforming Lampeter Leisure Centre next month

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AS PART of Ceredigion County Council’s wider Through-age and Wellbeing Strategy, Lampeter Leisure Centre will transform into a Wellbeing Centre. 

The Wellbeing Centre will provide a wide range of services that consider and improve the physical, mental and social aspects of an individual’s wellbeing. These Through-age services will include skills and employment advice, hardship and housing support, services for young people, support for carers and early support for Mental Health.

The Wellbeing Centre will also provide increased access to information, advice and assistance for residents on all council services. Providing opportunities for people to be physically active will remain a core component of the Wellbeing Centre. The proposed redevelopment will see a new fitness suite created on the ground floor, a spin studio and a multi-purpose room that can accommodate exercise classes on the first floor. 

To aid the transformation, Lampeter Leisure Centre will have to close to ensure that the essential building work can begin. The work is due to begin mid-July 2022.

An agreement has been put in place with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s to use their leisure facilities on their Lampeter campus while the work is being undertaken, meaning that all current users of the Leisure Centre will be accommodated.

The Council and the University are committed to continuing to work together even after the construction of the Wellbeing Centre, to ensure that there is provision within Lampeter for all sports and activities currently being played at the Leisure Centre to continue and develop.

Catrin M.S. Davies, Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Customer Services, said: “This significant capital investment in Lampeter Leisure Centre will ensure the future of the Centre for years and will meet the growing needs of children, young people, individuals and families in Lampeter and the surrounding area.” 

Use of the facilities at the Lampeter Campus will start week commencing Monday 11 July 2022 and will continue until the building work is complete which will be early in 2023.

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New grants scheme launched to break barriers to accessing nature

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A £2MILLION funding pot designed to bolster community resilience by harnessing the power of nature is set to be launched by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) this summer.  

The launch of the Resilient Communities Grant Programme stems from calls for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic – a recovery which places a stronger focus on action for nature and a recovery that spreads to every part of society.

 The Welsh Government’s declaration of a Climate and Nature Emergency has also galvanised communities, businesses and public bodies in Wales to work together to mitigate against and adapt to the impacts of climate change, now and in the future.

The Resilient Communities Grant will provide communities with the opportunities to restore and enhance nature in their local areas, particularly in Wales’ most disadvantaged communities, and those with little access to nature. Supporting the provision of more green space will also support the changes needed to make to society to respond to the challenges of the climate emergency and reverse the decline in biodiversity.

 With applications set to open in July, NRW is urging projects from across Wales to develop and submit proposals that have at their heart:

  • Opportunities to promote diversity and inclusion, particularly amongst communities that have less access to quality green spaces.
  • Creative ways to reconnect people with nature and their local environment to improve physical and mental health, confidence, self-esteem and encourage ‘green behaviours’.
  • Promoting health and wellbeing through therapy and nature, particularly interventions that tackle health inequalities.
  • Nature-based solutions that help communities feel safer and secure, for example improving greenspaces blighted by criminal activity.
  • Creating more opportunities to access nature, especially where this need is reflected in future development planning.
  • Opportunities to improving community awareness and understanding of climate risks, empowering communities to be involved in decision-making and taking action to tackle climate change impacts.
  • Ensuring communities feel a sense of connection and empowerment with their natural environment and have an active role over how it is managed and improved.
  • Creating opportunities for education and involvement in citizen science so communities have a better connection and greater understanding of their local environment and the benefits that a healthy environment can bring.

Gareth O’Shea, Director of Operations for NRW, said: “We have seen people connecting with nature during the Covid-19 pandemic and a greater appreciation of the way in which it underpins our health, our economy and our wider wellbeing.

“There has also been increasing recognition that the climate and nature emergencies are upon us, and its impacts are being felt amongst the parts of society that have contributed least to its acceleration. More needs to be done to mitigate and adapt now.

“Our Resilient Communities Grant Programme seeks to support that effort – providing communities with the opportunities to meet these challenges in a number of ways.

“From promoting the benefits of greater access to nature, tackling loneliness and exclusion and empowering people to influence the decisions made in their local areas, we’re encouraging people to submit proposals that can make a significant difference to the health, wellbeing and resilience of current and future generations.”

The Resilient Communities Grant Programme can provide 100% funding and applications are welcomed for amounts from £10,000 to £250,000. Applications can be made across different places and address multiple themes. Applicants who collaborate with other partners to submit joint applications are also warmly welcomed.

For further information on NRW’s Resilient Communities Grant Programme and the upcoming webinar, please visit: Natural Resources Wales / Current grant funding opportunities or contact grants.enquiries@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

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