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Pembrokeshire

First connections live in ground-breaking Council broadband project

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The first ultrafast fibre connections have now gone live in a pilot area of a ground-breaking Pembrokeshire broadband project.

Enfys Thomas and her father Alun of Wallis were delighted to be the first connected to gigabit-capable fibre and were looking forward to enjoying the benefits of a fast, reliable connection.

The connection was made as part of Pembrokeshire County Council’s ground-breaking gigabit capable (1,000Mbps) fibre broadband project.

Enfys said: “Everything is working fine. It’s a heck of a lot quicker than what we were getting. It’s fantastic really.

“We are looking forward to using it. I think it is going to make a big difference, not just to us, but to everyone in the area, especially those who have had a hard year working from home.”

She also praised Broadway Partners who carried out the installation: “They were brilliant, very tidy and professional.”

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The project is ensuring that rural villages such as Wallis in Pembrokeshire are able to receive ultra-fast broadband (Image: Google Maps)

Cllr Paul Miller, the Pembrokeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, said: “It was great to watch the first connection go live last week.

“It was the culmination of months of hard work by our Digital Pembrokeshire team and by suppliers Broadway Partners.

“Without our intervention programme, communities like these simply would not have been on the radar for a full fibre connection.

“It could have been a decade before real digital connectivity reached rural north Pembrokeshire and all the while our communities would have been falling further and further behind, excluded from the everyday digital services we all take for granted.

“With this new, gigabit-capable, connection Mr and Miss Thomas are now able to access among the fastest broadband speeds in the country and from here the roll-out starts at pace. 

“I’m committed to ensuring that every Pembrokeshire home and business is able to access gigabit capable broadband and to making sure our Pembrokeshire communities are among the very best digitally connected in all of the UK.”

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Mr and Miss Thomas’ home was connected by Broadway Partners, the company chosen by the community to provide the infrastructure and service.

Work on the network will now continue at a steady pace as connections are made across the project area, making ultrafast fibre available to every property, not matter how remote.

Connections will follow in coming months across the other pilot areas of Crymych, Dale and New Moat, where residents also chose Broadway Partners.

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Michael Armitage, Chief Executive of Broadway Partners, added: “Broadway was honoured to be entrusted by the Ambleston community to deliver their fibre upgrade. 

“During these difficult times, and in some of the most challenging locations we have faced, we are delighted to have now started connecting residents to our ultrafast fibre service and repaying that trust.

“Over the next few months, we will be connecting thousands more homes and businesses across Pembrokeshire – delivering speeds of 100Mpbs and beyond, and transforming communities for years to come.

“This is a momentous time for the community, which we believe heralds a new era of connectivity and opportunity for the County as a whole.”

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Pembrokeshire County Council’s flagship gigabit capable fibre broadband project continues to roll out and is designed to reach all properties, no matter how rural they may be, ensuring that no-one is left behind.

Using government voucher funding, this unique scheme will boost opportunities for residents and businesses, and aims to make Pembrokeshire one of the best digitally connected counties in the UK, with all properties having access to futureproof gigabit-capable broadband.

The project started by tackling some of the most rural areas of the county, which will benefit the most from an upgrade to reliable ultrafast fibre broadband speeds.

The council says that creating the new infrastructure as part of a complex engineering project in the pilot areas has revealed some unexpected challenges, but they insist that lessons learned can be applied to future areas, which are expected to be connected at a greater pace as work continues on site and behind the scenes.


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Transport for Wales

New trains for Wales and Borders services go on show

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Brand new trains that aim to transform services across Wales and the English borders have been on show today at Chester railway station.

Assembled by CAF at their factory in Newport, the first Class 197 train with its ‘Made in Wales’ tag was revealed to the public today (Friday 1 July), offering a taste of what’s to come for customers in the next few months.

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TfW are spending £800 million on new trains throughout their network and the Class 197 will be the first of the brand-new stock to enter service in North Wales before the end of this year.

Providing an increase in capacity, reduced emissions and enhanced comfort onboard, these trains will allow TfW to run faster and more frequent services to key routes including services in South West Wales – Manchester to Milford Haven, Cardiff to Fishguard and Swansea to Pembroke Dock.

Offering leather seats, modern air conditioning systems, wider doors and customer information screens, the new trains will transform the customer experience. They’ve also been fitted with electronic charging points and disability features for those with limited mobility.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters said: “I am pleased to welcome the new Class 197 trains to the rail network. These new vehicles represent a real transformational improvement on the trains that they will be replacing, providing comfortable and frequent services, encouraging people to leave their cars behind and move onto a more sustainable form of transport.”

Alexia Course, TfW’s Director of Transport Operations, said: “At Transport for Wales we’re continually moving forward with our transformational plans to improve public transport for the people of Wales and the borders.

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“The Class 197s on show at Chester railway station today will be an important part of the transformation of the Wales and Borders network, and when they enter service, they will enable us to run more services and carry more customers in comfort.

“The construction of our new trains has been four years in the making, and customers and colleagues are incredibly excited to welcome passengers onto them from later this year.

“It’s also important to recognise that these trains have been made in Wales at the CAF factory in Newport and the building of them has provided jobs and supported the local economy”.

Richard Garner, UK Director CAF said: “CAF is thrilled that the first of our Class 197 trains for the Wales and Borders network has been officially launched.

“We are immensely proud of our key role in delivering Transport for Wales’ vision to transform rail travel for passengers.

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“The manufacture of our trains is taking place at our state-of-the-art facility in Newport, South Wales. We see ourselves as a local manufacturer, supporting highly skilled jobs and bringing employment opportunities to the local area whilst focusing on sustainability issues and addressing the needs of the Welsh economy.

Our trains are being built in Wales to serve the Welsh communities”

(Lead image: Transport for Wales)

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Charity

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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RNLI

RNLI lifeguards return to their posts on Pembrokeshire beaches

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RNLI lifeguards are set to return to their posts this Saturday (18 June) on selected beaches on a number of Pembrokeshire’s busiest beaches as the charity’s lifeguards provide their annual safety service over the summer season.

From Saturday (18 June) RNLI lifeguards will be back offering their daily safety service between 10am-6pm for the summer season on the Pembrokeshire coast.

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RNLI lifeguards will be offering daily safety patrols until Sunday 4 September as the charity looks to ensure the safety of the public during the busy summer months. The RNLI lifeguards will be in daily attendance and welcome and encourage any questions you may have about water safety.

From 10am this Saturday, RNLI lifeguards will return to the following beaches: Saundersfoot, Tenby North, Tenby Castle, Fresh West, Broad Haven, Newgale South, Newgale Central, Newgale North, Newport Sands and Poppit.

RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor for Pembrokeshire, Peter Rooney reminds families of the importance of staying calm and to float if they get into difficulties on the coast: “If you get into trouble in the water, try not to panick and remember to Float to Live: lean back, using your arms and legs to stay afloat. Control your breathing, then call for help or swim to safety.

“RNLI lifeguards play a vital role in keeping beach visitors safe, but they can’t be everywhere. This is why we’re asking people to come prepared before you head to the beach; before the start of your day, take a few minutes to check local information such as tide times and the weather.”

Peter continues: “If possible, visit a lifeguarded beach and if entering the water always stay between the red and yellow flags – this is the area that’s carefully monitored by the RNLI lifeguards throughout the day. If you see someone else in trouble, as hard as it may be, never attempt the rescue yourself – alert a lifeguard or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

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(Lead image: RNLI / Eleri Roberts)

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