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Paul Popham Running Club raise £1K for vital kidney charity

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Three members of the Swansea-based Paul Popham Running Club have gone the extra mile – 26.2 miles to be precise – to raise just over £1,000 for the Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales.

The money raised from the run will go towards the kidney charity’s aim to raise £132,000 for the Children’s Kidney Centre, based at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.

The three runners took on the marathon challenge specifically to ensure the charity’s fundraising activities could continue during this period when all large, organised race events – a vital source of fundraising income for the charity – continue to be prohibited due to the restrictions which remain in place because of COVID-19.

Fiona Jones, Mike Jones, and Anna Powell completed the 26.2-mile course which started in Llanrhidian, North Gower, and proceeded through Penclawdd, Gowerton, Walter Road, Alexander Road, Wind Street, the Liberty Stadium, Fabian Way and SA1, before finishing at Verdi’s in Mumbles.

The hardy trio were overwhelmed by the support and encouragement they received on route, despite less than perfect weather conditions.

Fiona Jones, fundraiser, and member of the Paul Popham Running Club, said: “With continuing lockdowns and events being cancelled, my husband, who runs Boss It Fitness, convinced me that I could run my first marathon around the streets of Swansea, and raise money for charities that have lost out massively on the much-needed support.

“As a member of Paul Popham Running Club, I knew the Paul Popham Fund would be one of my chosen charities, I am happy to say that all the pain and hard work really paid off and between myself and my husband we managed to raise £359.00 towards this fantastic charity. I want to say a special thanks to Joanne Popham for setting up the running club which got me back into the love of running, a massive shout out to all the support runners and crew that made the experience one that I will never forget and of course Anna Powell and Mike Jones who also undertook the challenge.”

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Mike Jones, fundraiser, Paul Popham Club member and MD at Boss It Fitness, said: “As a fitness professional and a keen runner, I understand the benefits of ‘having a goal’ to aim for when training. The void left by the current lack of races has not only impacted on my personal goals, it has also had an impact on charities ability to raise money. Both myself and my wife Fiona have been a member of the Paul Popham Running Club for a number of years, and I wanted to combine my passion for fitness and run a Virtual Marathon around Swansea to support a charity close to my heart.

“I am over the moon with the results! Not only did Anna smash a personal best and my wife Fiona complete her first ever marathon, but we also managed to collectively raise over £1000 for the Paul Popham fund along the way!”

Anna Powell, fundraising runner and Children and Youth Community Engagement Officer at the Paul Popham Fund, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to my fellow runners, Mike and Fiona Jones, for involving me in this fantastic opportunity to fundraise for a charity very close to my heart. It was a decision that took me 10 seconds to make because I have been a member of the Paul Popham Running Club for over two and a half years, and I have recently joined the charity as a Children and Youth Community Engagement Officer.

“I was truly overwhelmed by the support we received from the charity, sponsors, family and friends in the lead up, during and at the end of the marathon in particularly difficult times. The charity is close to my heart for a variety of reasons it provides all kidney patients a better quality of life and helps them believe in themselves. Furthermore, I wanted to raise vital funds towards the refurbishment of the Children’s Kidney Centre because it will make such a difference to the lives of children in Wales with kidney disease. I am looking forward to supporting the charity with other fundraising activities throughout the year, but the marathons may be on hold for a couple of months!”

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The Paul Popham Running Club was founded in February 2016, with the aim of helping all people in Swansea to learn to run to improve their health and wellbeing. The club recruited people who wanted to run, but felt it was beyond them, then taught them to run from zero to a 5K over an 8-week period.

Since the very first 8-week program, most athletes have stayed with the club, and it now has six groups to cater for all abilities.

For more information on the Paul Popham Running Club visit www.paulpophamrunningclub.co.uk, or to inquire about fundraising for the charity, visit www.paulpophamfund.co.uk or call 0333 2001 285.


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Pembrokeshire charity recruits community fuel champions

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Pembrokeshire FRAME has received funding to recruit a community fuel co-ordinator and five volunteer champions as they look to raise awareness about energy efficiency, whilst tackling fuel poverty across the county.

The funding from gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, will allow the charity to act as a community point of contact for those facing fuel poverty issues and will help to make a positive difference to local communities most in need.

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The employed advisor and five volunteer champions will help individuals claim benefits, provide debt management advice and make referrals through to Wales & West Utilities existing network of partnerships. They will also be able sign people up to the Priority Services Register (PSR), make referrals for specialist support with fitting Locking Cooker Valves and distribute free carbon monoxide alarms.

Gas emergency and pipeline service, Wales & West Utilities, has provided the funding as part of its Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA).

Paul Hughes, Chief Officer at Pembrokeshire FRAME, said: “This funding will allow us to deliver far-reaching benefits. Not only will it allow us to get into the heart of Pembrokeshire communities to help those most in need to gain specific advice on energy efficiency and gas safety, but it will allow us to provide employment and volunteering opportunities to local people.

“We are all feeling the impacts of the rising costs of living, and this funding will allow us to run a 5 day a week hotline for fuel poverty and carbon monoxide enquiries, whilst having face to face contact across communities.

“It’s great that Wales & West Utilities is supporting our efforts by providing this funding and we are hopeful that many people will benefit.”

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Pembrokeshire FRAME is a supported employment and life changing charity that transforms hundreds of lives in Pembrokeshire each year, by providing access to learning, supported and meaningful occupation, voluntary and employment opportunities and help and support to enable individuals to reach their potential. The community fuel champion will be based at the charity’s Merlin Bridge site, however, will also work in Pembroke Dock.

Tom Robinson, Social Obligations Specialist at Wales & West Utilities, said: “We’re delighted that this funding will allow Pembrokeshire FRAME to support the most vulnerable by providing vital energy efficiency advice and safety information.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to support those most in need in our communities. Working with trusted partners like Pembrokeshire FRAME means we can help more people stay safe in their own homes.”

Between April 2021 to March 2026, Wales & West Utilities has £7m to spend on projects which support consumers in vulnerable situations and raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and keep people safe from the ‘silent killer’.

Carbon monoxide (CO), known as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, kills 50 people a year in England and Wales and hospitalises many more. In the UK, there are more than 4,000 visits to Accident & Emergency for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning – which can often lead to lasting neurological damage. Even low levels of exposure over an extended period can cause serious health issues, including brain injuries.

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Funding is made from the Vulnerability and Carbon Monoxide Allowance (VCMA), and 75% of the money will be spent on projects relevant to Wales and south west England only, while 25% will be spent on collaborative projects with the other gas networks across the whole of the UK.

(Lead image: Wales & West Utilities)

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Mayor of Llandovery raises over £2k for air ambulance after surviving freak cycling accident

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The Mayor of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire has raised over £2,000 for Wales Air Ambulance after surviving a freak cycling accident that left him unconscious at the side of the road and saw TWO air ambulances sent to his aid.

Mayor Handel Davies and his wife Margaret raised £2,280 during the annual Mayors Charity Ball.

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The successful ball, which included an auction of rugby related paraphernalia and a raffle, also raised funds for Llandovery Hospital League of Friends.

Over 110 guests enjoyed an evening of entertainment, which included ‘an excellent address’ from Wales Air Ambulance chair of trustees David Gilbert. Over £4,500 was raised during the evening for the two good causes.

The Mayor and Mayoress presented the cheque to David Gilbert at a recent base visit at the Wales Air Ambulance’s headquarters in Llanelli.

The mayor has had personal experience of the essential service the Wales Air Ambulance provides after the Charity’s medics were called out to him during the pandemic.

Handel was involved in a freak accident when a dog ran out in front of him whilst out cycling. He was knocked unconscious for 15 minutes and despite two air ambulances being called out to him, luckily for Handel he didn’t need to be airlifted to hospital.

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Mr Davies said: “A sheepdog literally appeared from nowhere at full speed in the blink of an eye hitting the front wheel of my bike at right angles causing me to fall immediately. It happened so quickly I do not remember hitting the road, but the eyewitness commented that had I not been wearing a helmet I would not have survived. The shattered interior of the helmet is evidence of this.

“It took 6-9 months to really recover and get over the impact, which following another serious cycling accident when I was 18, has led me to decide to ‘hang up’ my bicycle and instead attend ‘spin classes’ at the local leisure centre.”

A cheque for £2,280 was presented to Wales Air Ambulance by Mayor of Llandovery, Cllr Handel Davies

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity needs to raise £8 million every year to keep its emergency helicopters in the air and its rapid response vehicles on the road.

The 24/7 emergency service offers advanced critical care and is often described as a ‘Flying ED’. The on-board consultants and critical care practitioners are highly skilled and carry some of the most pioneering medical equipment in the world. They can deliver blood transfusions, administer anaesthesia, and undertake emergency operations at the scene of the incident, before flying the patient directly to specialist care. 

Reflecting on why the 24/7 Charity was chosen to benefit from the Mayor’s charity Ball, he added: “I have the utmost respect for the incredible and invaluable work the Wales Air Ambulance undertake and as we live in a beautiful part of north Carmarthenshire next to road which is very popular with both cyclists and motor bikers, over the last 25 years we have seen many accidents along this stretch of the A4069 particularly at weekends.

“It seems that almost every weekend during the summer months a Wales Air Ambulance flies overhead to attend to an incident.”

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Jane Griffiths Wales Air Ambulance’s Community Fundraising Manager said: “It was lovely to meet the Mayor and Mayoress of Llandovery during their recent base visit. They’ve raised a fantastic amount for two important causes and we’re extremely grateful for them choosing the Wales Air Ambulance as one of the charities to benefit from the Mayors Charity Ball.

“It’s lovely to hear that the mayor has recovered from his freak accident, and we wish him well for the future. Your support of our lifesaving Charity is much appreciated and will help us to continue to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most.”

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Action for Children and Swansea Council unveil new caravans for supported families

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Action for Children and Swansea Council have unveiled three brand new caravans for supported families at Llanrhidian Holiday Park, Gower on Thursday 23rd June.

Swansea Council has provided the funding for the caravans for Action for Children to help support families with children with disabilities who use their short breaks service in the Swansea area. 

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The caravans were officially opened by Cllr Louise Gibbard, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Care services.  She said: “Everyone loves a short break on Gower with its opportunities to enjoy brilliant scenery and fresh air.

“Now disabled young children and their families will be able to get a wonderful change of scene together rather than having to go on holiday separately, which has often been the case in the past.

“Working together with Action for Children, we’ve purchased the caravans near each other on a holiday site in Llanrhidian. They are fully kitted-out to make sure the children and their families get the best possible short break experience.

“Action for Children, who already do a lot of great work supporting children with disabilities and their families, will operate the caravans and assist the families while they’re there.

“It’s a really good, new initiative and it’s great to see this kind of partnership between the council and Action for Children delivering the best for our community’s disabled children and their families.”

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Cllr Gibbard (top right) with the Action for Children and Swansea Council teams who made it happen (Image: Action for Children)
Shaun and Natalie with their son, Leo at the caravan launch (Image: Action for Children)

Caroline Lewis, Action for Children’s short breaks practice manager, said: “Our families face very difficult challenges every day and we are delighted Swansea Council has worked with us to provide these wonderful facilities.  The caravans will provide a much-needed break in beautiful surroundings with fully accessible amenities for children with disabilities. 

Caroline added: “The value of a break from your everyday routine is priceless and I’m sure our families will relish all the Gower has to offer and make lovely new memories.  We are very grateful to Swansea Council for their incredible support and generosity in making this happen.”

(Lead image: Action for Children)

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