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Neath Port Talbot

Flood-hit homes to receive funding following “devastating” scenes across Wales

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Homes in Wales hit by recent flooding will receive between £500 and £1000 in support following “devastating” scenes of damage across the country.

Homes in Wales hit by recent flooding will receive between £500 and £1000 in support following “devastating” scenes of damage across the country.

More than 150 properties across Wales were flooded earlier this week after the arrival of Storm Christoph – with some areas seeing more than 200mm of rain in 72 hours; more than an average months’ worth of rain in most parts of Wales

More than 40 separate flood warnings and flood alerts were issued by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), including two severe flood warnings, with homes evacuated following severe incidents in Bangor on Dee and Rossett, Wrexham, and Skewen in Neath Port Talbot.

People continue to be advised to only travel if absolutely necessary, and to avoid travelling to flood-hit areas.

As well as the impact on homes and properties, local authorities have also reported impacts to highway networks, resulting in significant traffic disruption.

The support payments will be made by local authorities, paid for by Welsh Government.

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This is the same level of support provided to households following flooding caused by storms Dennis and Ciara last year.

The support payments will also be available to households which have suffered significant internal flooding while coronavirus restrictions have been in place through the autumn.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Major flooding incidents can be devastating for the communities affected and the devastating scenes we have seen across Wales merit a strong and quick response for those householders affected.

“This is all the more harrowing when we consider those who have had to temporarily leave their homes, or who have seen their homes and belongings damaged by floodwater, have done so during the difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will support people who have suffered flooding in their homes with support payments of £500 and £1,000, similar to the support provided to households during storms Ciara and Dennis last year.”

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Further details on how affected households can apply for funding will be available shortly.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, thanked local authorities, agencies, volunteers and emergency services which responded to Storm Christoph over the last few days.

She said: “We know major flooding incidents such as these can be devastating for communities, and I offer my sympathy and support to all those communities hit by flooding – especially where residents had to leave their homes due to flooding overnight.

“The collaborative efforts of organisations and services across the country, many of whom worked overnight to ensure members of the public were safe, have truly been remarkable.

The Minister also urged the public not to put extra pressure on emergency services and agencies during the response to flooding caused by Storm Christoph.

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 “I urge members of the public to please heed the advice being issued by the emergency services, and to not travel unless absolutely necessary, to avoid putting extra pressure on our response agencies,” she said

The Minister added:  “The sad reality is as we face the ongoing threat posed by drastic climate change, major flood and damaging weather events such as these are going to be more likely, not less.

“The Welsh Government will continue to pro-actively manage and respond to flood risk across Wales – in the autumn, we launched our new National Strategy for Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management, which outlined how we intend to work alongside partners to manage long-term flood risks across the country.

“We will work with risk management authorities to ensure defences across Wales remain robust.”

Lead image: Flooding at Skewen (South Wales Police)

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Dance

Doctors prescribe dance classes to keep patients on their feet

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Over 65s in Swansea Bay are being encouraged to attend dance classes in a bid to keep them on their feet.

Five of the health board’s clusters – groups of GP surgeries working together within a geographical area – are backing the scheme as the exercise to music is proven to aid falls prevention.

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Each class is led by a trained dance teacher with participants encouraged to follow a range of routines, designed to develop their strength and balance, with the option of using a chair for support if their mobility is limited.

The Dance for Health programme is a collaboration between the health board, clusters, local authorities, and Aesop, an arts focused charity.

Alyson Pugh, Programme Manager at Aesop, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners in the health sector to improve the health and wellbeing of people aged over 65 through the medium of dance.

“During each class participants will move to a variety of music from all around the world. The classes are fun and vibrant, increasing fitness, mobility and strength.

“Afterwards, participants will have a good chance to get to know one another over a cup of tea or coffee. No previous experience is needed, everybody is welcome.”

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So far classes are held in Pontardawe, Morriston, Seven Sisters, Cwmavon and Briton Ferry, Upper Killay, Reynoldston, Mumbles and the Waterfront Museum.

Alyson said: “The health board asked for 12 classes across Swansea Bay and funded the management side while the GP clusters are funding the delivery of the classes. They wanted it to be grass roots up.

“Anyone can walk in but they wanted the main referrals to come from the virtual wards and local area coordinators and social prescribers, a whole community approach.”

Lizzie MacMillan (Image: Swansea Bay HNS)

Dance artist Lizzie MacMillan (left), a development officer for Dance for Health, said: “It’s for older people and people who are struggling a little bit with perhaps balance issues, mobility issues as well, so we are not expecting them to foxtrot along the floor on the first class or anything like that. It builds up over the weeks.

“We start off quite gently, just seeing where everyone is in the class – I like to gauge the class first of all to see if people are having problems with balance or perhaps giddiness or joint problems. I like to get to know each person in the class so that I can look after them and know their capacity for movement.

“We use the chairs quite a lot if someone is unsteady on their feet. They can still do a variation using the chair for support. We also do a standing variation if people are a little fitter or a little bit more able to push themselves further in the class.”

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Over 65s in Swansea Bay are being encouraged to attend dance classes in a bid to keep them on their feet. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Mike Garner, Cwmtawe Cluster lead, said: “We are delighted to be participating in this programme as it fits in perfectly with our goal of improving well-being and helping people remain fit and healthy.”

One participant, Pauline Anderson, said: “I’ve been to four or five classes. I thought I would try it to see what it’s like and it’s been very good.

“As you get older you become more immobile. I’ve been struggling with my knees and joints, so I have found it helpful.

“I would advise anyone thinking about it to just come along.”

Another participant, Betty Didcock, said: “I try to keep active as much as I can. I used to enjoy dancing when I was younger. I’ve made friends here. If you’re a bit shy, it’s a wonderful place to come to get used to talking to people. I’m a quiet one. I don’t always do it right but I have a go.”

While Amber Davies said: “I thought I’d come along to see what it was like. It’s important to keep busy and remain active. It’s also a good way of meeting new people.”

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(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Construction

Housebuilder reports “exceptional demand” as Aberavon development launched

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“Exceptional demand” has been reported as the first homes at a new development on Aberavon seafront were released for sale.

All appointments were fully booked on Saturday as Persimmon Homes West Wales opened the doors to the sales office.

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Two homes were purchased at the Awel Afan development and a further 10 reserved on the Early Bird scheme over a busy weekend.

A total of 137 homes are being built on the former Afan Lido Leisure Centre site on Princess Margaret Way.

Sharon Bouhali, Sales Director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We’re pleased to have launched our Awel Afan site.

“The demand has been exceptional. Right from the moment we acquired the site and announced the plans, we have seen a phenomenal amount of interest from a wide range of people wanting to live in his amazing location.

“The housing market remains buoyant in West Wales but, even so, the buzz around Awel Afan is almost unprecedented.”

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Opened by the Queen in the 1970s, the Afan Lido was destroyed in a fire in 2009 and the site has been unused since.

Persimmon say the development will bring a massive boost to the local economy through the construction industry and its multiplier effect. According to figures from the House Builders Federation, for every £1 spent on housing, £3 goes back into the economy.

The national house builder says that each home built also creates 1.5 full-time direct jobs – and at least twice that number in the supply chain.

The development will be made up of two, three and four-bedroom houses, as well as a range of two-bedroom flats.

Homes currently on sale include the popular two-bedroom terraced Alnwick with its modern open plan kitchen/diner and the four-bedroom detached Hornsea with ensuite and integral garage.

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Persimmon Homes recently supported Afan Lido Girls FC with a game-changing grant of £20,000 through its Building Futures campaign.

(Lead image: Persimmon Homes)

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Port Talbot

Police launch appeal to find missing disabled woman

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South Wales Police have launched an appeal to find missing Waunarlwydd woman, Kelly Randell.

45 year-old Kelly was last seen in Port Talbot on Tuesday 3 May.

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A wheelchair user with one leg, Kelly is described as being around 5ft of medium build with brown hair which is tied up – possibly in a bun.

She was last seen wearing black jeans and a black coat.

She has links to both Swansea and Port Talbot.

South Wales Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen Kelly, or who has information which will help them to find her, to contact them online or by calling 101 quoting occurrence number 2200149152.

(Lead image: Family photo / South Wales Police)

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