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Armed Forces

Council to take over running of all city war memorials

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Swansea Council say they will ensure the long-term future of all war memorials in the city by taking on their up-keep where required.

Some such as the Cenotaph on the promenade are already managed by the council but others have been looked after by volunteers and armed forces organisations.

But time is catching up with some of those who give up their time to keep the landmarks maintained.

Now Swansea Council will step-in to ensure their future is safe and that they continue to be a reminder for future generations of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The council’s Armed Forces Champion Wendy Lewis said: “There are numerous war memorials in Swansea and some have been maintained by volunteers and ex-service personnel who have given their time freely.

“Some are now reaching an age where they just can’t continue and they are concerned that if they aren’t able to look after them then who will?

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“I have raised these concerns with the council’s cabinet and I’m pleased that they have agreed that the council will commit to maintaining them in the future.

“I know this will be a weight off the mind of some of our veterans who I would like to thank publically for the work they have done over many years.

“Where they wish to continue then that is fine and we will always welcome their input.”

The council has already carried out some work at Loughor Memorial (Image: Google Maps)

The council has carried out work at the cenotaphs near the Guildhall and in Loughor.

Teams are also in the process of repairing the memorials on Carmarthen Road in Fforestfach and the Anti-Aircraft Gun off New Cut Road in SA1.

Alyson Pugh, Cabinet member for Supporting Communities, said: “Not only are these memorials important to the family and friends of those who lost their lives but they are an important part of Swansea’s history.

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“At times of national remembrance they are also places in our communities where people can come together to pay tribute to those who have given their lives and those who have served their country.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)


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Armed Forces

Swansea dignitaries mark Armed Forces Day

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The Lord Mayor of Swansea Cllr Mike Day and other local dignitaries honoured those who’ve served their country in the armed forces at a special ceremony at Swansea’s Guildhall Rotunda this morning.

Cllr Day along with the council’s Armed Forces Champion Cllr Wendy Lewis, HM the Lord Lieutenant Louise Fleet JP and the High Sheriff of West Glamorgan Stephen Rogers paid tribute to those who have served.

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Dignitaries at the Armed Forces Day event at Swansea’s Guildhall (Image: Swansea Council)

The tributes took place on the Guildhall Rotunda at 11am and also present were representatives from the armed forces, reservists, veterans and local cadet units.

The Lord Mayor said: “Armed Forces Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate our armed forces and give thanks for our serving personnel and those who have served in World Wars and other conflicts and to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to enjoy the freedom we have today.”

“Our Armed Forces deserve the respect and admiration of us all and we are immensely proud of them.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Armed Forces

Free swimming in Wales to continue for the Armed Forces

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On Armed Forces Day, the Welsh Government has announced the continuation of the Armed Forces Free Swimming scheme.

The scheme enables serving members of the Armed Forces and Veterans to swim for free at participating leisure centres and pools, using their Defence Privilege Card.

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The Armed Forces Free Swimming Scheme (AFFS) was first introduced in 2016 and represents the continued commitment to provide the Armed Forces community with access to services which meet their specific needs and recognise the service they have given to their country.

Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, said: “I’m very pleased that we are able to continue to support this scheme which is designed to ensure members of the Armed Forces past and present are able to benefit from the physical, and mental, health benefits swimming can offer.”

Deputy Minister for Social Partnerships, Hannah Blythyn, said: “We are committed to supporting our Armed Forces personnel and recognise how initiatives like this can boost their mental and physical wellbeing. I hope they can enjoy the benefits from this scheme over the next three years.”

Chris Llewelyn, WLGA Chief Executive said: “Local government is proud to deliver free swimming for our Armed Forces personnel and Veterans. We hope that even more people take part in the scheme in the coming year, taking advantage of the significant recuperative and social benefits physical activity offers. There are participating pools in each of Wales’ local authorities; to find out where your closet facility is, visit your local authority website.”

Throughout the 2021-22 financial year the scheme was taken up on average each quarter by 569 serving military personnel and veterans across Wales. The trend shows an increase in uptake as restrictions have been lifted, with the last quarter recording a peak of 879 people benefitting from 2641 visits to their local community swimming pools.

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To support the scheme, £45,000 to be issued every year over a three-year period; in 2022-23, 2023-24 and 2024-25.

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Armed Forces

Free breakfast for Armed Forces as Tesco recognise Armed Forces Day

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cooked food

Members of the Armed Forces will be able to get a free hot breakfast at Tesco cafés across Wales to mark the Armed Forces Day celebration in June.

As a thank you for their service, on Sunday June 26, all serving Armed Forces personnel, around 159,000 regulars and 32,000 reservists, can present their MOD90 identification card at any Tesco café and get a free full cooked breakfast, vegan cooked breakfast, sausage bap or a bacon bap.

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All 295 Tesco cafés across England, Scotland and Wales will be offering the promotion – limited to one free breakfast per cardholder.

Ashwin Prasad, Chief Product Officer at Tesco and Director Sponsor of the Armed Forces Network said: “We’re proud to be able to support National Armed Forces Day which celebrates the tremendous contribution that the armed forces make to our country. It’s an exciting opportunity for store colleagues across the country to celebrate. Everyone loves a free breakfast and we thought it was a gesture that showed how much we value members of the Armed Forces.”

Rhys Little, Chair of the Armed Forces Network at Tesco, said: “We’ve got a long history of getting behind those who have been in the forces. We’ve received the Gold award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme twice now (in 2016 and 2020), and we were also the first retailer to sign the Armed Forces Covenant in 2014. We also do our best to give anyone leaving the army, navy, or RAF a chance to forge a new career.”

Over the weekend of June 25 and 26, local events will be taking place in towns, cities, and villages up and down the country, and Tesco stores will be holding a nationwide collection for Help for Heroes.

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