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Neath Port Talbot

Neath Port Talbot tourist attractions prepare for dramatic campaign

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A new tourism campaign fronted by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council (NPTCBC) is being launched this month. The Dramatic Heart of Wales campaign is hoping to attract tourists to the area for overnight stays towards the end of 2021 and into 2022.

The campaign will highlight the rich natural beauty, world-class adventure activities and unique heritage that can be found within Neath Port Talbot – ‘The Dramatic Heart of Wales’. Tourism providers were invited to join together to offer tailored experiences that will appeal to a range of travellers from individuals, families, thrill-seekers and those looking for a slower-paced break.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the last 18 months has been incredibly challenging for tourism providers. However, the tourism sector in Neath Port Talbot has risen to the immense challenges they have faced by adapting their services and carefully re-opening to the public this summer. The Council’s aim is that the new Dramatic Heart of Wales campaign will showcase all that Neath Port Talbot offers to potential visitors

More than 20 tourism businesses in Neath Port Talbot are involved in the campaign and have brought together experiences which provide inspiration to travellers considering a break in the area. The operators range from hotels and holiday cottages through to adventure sport providers and historical properties.

WATCH: Neath Port Talbot’s new tourism campaign launch video

Cllr Leanne Jones, Deputy Leader of Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council comments: “This ambitious project has been two years in the planning process and we’re excited to launch the new campaign. When looking at a map of the south coast of Wales, Neath Port Talbot is the central point and the beating heart of the region. We’re well known for our heavy industry, but this contrasts dramatically with our epic coastline and our wealth of forests and parks. Some of the world’s most well-respected actors also hail from this area and we felt that the ‘Dramatic Heart’ was an apt way to describe everything that we can offer tourists to the area.

“Through this campaign we want to attract people who may not have previously considered a short break in Neath Port Talbot. Rather than passing us by on their way to West Wales, we want to encourage all types of tourists to explore the area and take in its natural beauty.

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“I have been immensely proud of the resilience shown by the tourism sector locally when faced with the pandemic, we want to support tourism businesses in the area in a responsible way and we feel that with our wealth of outdoor spaces, visitors can feel confident and safe when enjoying a mini-break in Neath Port Talbot.”

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In line with current trends, the experiences have been tailored to give travellers mini-break options that include accommodation and activity options. To encourage overnight stays and to appeal to a broad audience, the experiences are themed around mountain biking, walking, heritage and adventure.

As part of the campaign, visitors are also being encouraged to get behind the Visit Wales Addo campaign which is encouraging a safe return to tourism and hospitality for both visitors and businesses. Addo means ‘to promise’ in Welsh, and visitors are being asked to make a collective promise to care for each other, for the epic landscape and for the communities they visit.

Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council secured funding for this project via the Visit Wales Regional Tourism Engagement Fund (RTEF). RTEF is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and Welsh Government.

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The campaign website can be found at www.dramaticheart.wales

Lead image: Cllr Leanne Jones and the ‘dramatic heart’ sand art (Image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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Neath Port Talbot

Police name 18 year-old who died in Swansea Valley crash

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The 18 year-old woman who died in a road traffic collision in the early hours of Sunday morning has been named as Chantelle Thomas from Godre’r Graig.

Chantelle died when the car she was travelling in left the road while travelling along the A4067 from Swansea towards Godre’r Graig.

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Her family has paid tribute to her, saying: “As a family we are devastated to lose our princess Chantelle, she was a much-loved daughter, sister and granddaughter and loved by everyone she met.

“Sleep tight my princess.”

South Wales Police are continuing to appeal for witnesses to the collision which occurred shortly before 1.30am on Sunday January 23rd.

The single vehicle collision involved a white Citroen C1 which left the road while travelling along the A4067 from Swansea towards Godre’r Graig.

Another 18 year-old woman remains at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff where she is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

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Officers are continuing to appeal to anyone who may have witnessed or has dash-cam footage of the incident or the manner in which the white Citroen C1 was being driven prior to the collision to contact South Wales Police.

(Lead image: Family photo / South Wales Police)

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Neath Port Talbot

Wales’ first Milk Bank for newborn babies opens in Swansea Bay

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A milk bank has been set up for the first time in Wales to help ill or premature babies and, over time, mothers facing feeding difficulties.

The new milk bank hub, based in Singleton Hospital, Swansea, is supplying human milk to babies being cared for in hospital, with much of the milk being donated by Welsh mothers.

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Donor milk can help ill or premature babies in supporting their feeding, growth and development and in preventing complications, while also supporting mothers who need time to establish their own milk supply.

Until now, hospitals in Wales had received donor milk directly from milk banks in England.

As the milk hub begins operating to its full capacity, babies across south Wales will be able to receive milk from the hub in Singleton Hospital, as it will supply donor milk to the other health boards in south Wales.

Having a milk hub based locally will also allow more women from Wales to donate their milk to help support mothers and babies who need it.

Taylor Pearson was the first mother to put herself forward as a donor after giving birth to her daughter at the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff, in January 2021.

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The 29-year-old, from Cardiff, decided to donate her excess breast milk to help other mothers who may be experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding.

“After my daughter was born last year I found that I had an excessive supply of breastmilk which was more than she needed,” she said.

“I asked staff at the hospital if they had any milk bank facilities after reading about it online and I was told there wasn’t anything in Wales.

“I contacted Hearts Milk Bank, just north of London, who told me that a hub would be opening in Wales. Closer to the time they contacted me and asked if I still wanted to donate and I said yes.

“I didn’t want to waste my breast milk. I know quite a few people who have had babies in NICU (neonatal intensive care units) and I know it can be quite difficult to get your supply to breastfeed, especially when you’re separated from your baby.

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“If people really want to breastfeed but are struggling then this can help.”

Each donor goes through a screening process, which includes questionnaires and blood tests to rule out any infections.

They then provide at least two litres of milk over 10 weeks, which is then pasteurised, before being frozen and stored ready to be given to babies.

Taylor added: “It’s giving families who have their heart set on breastmilk more options to feed their baby when not having access to milk is the only reason they can’t do so.”

Helen James, matron for neonatal services, said: “Exclusive breast milk feeding can improve long-term development outcomes and donor milk is often used as a bridging gap while lactation is being established.

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“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Swansea Bay and a privilege to host this hub to support neonatal units across Wales.”

Blood Bikes Wales, a charity that provides a free courier service to the NHS, had previously been transporting donor milk from England to Singleton Hospital for babies in need.

The charity will continue to deliver the supplies to Swansea and to each of the health board regions in Wales to make it easier for mothers and babies to receive the donor milk.

Dr Sujoy Banerjee, consultant neonatologist and clinical director for children and young people services, said: “The first human milk bank hub in Wales will offer an invaluable resource for the care of premature and sick newborn babies, preventing complications, and improving outcomes. 

“It will provide equity and easy access of human milk for clinical services in south Wales and will make it easier for lactating mothers to donate their excess milk for the benefit of many babies. 

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“The project is a great example of a social, healthcare and research collaboration and will raise awareness and promote breastfeeding in our communities. 

“We are very proud to be given the opportunity to host this project.”

The hub has been launched thanks to research and funding from Swansea University, which will study the impact it has on supporting families.

Professor Amy Brown, director for the centre of Lactation, Infant Feeding and Translation at Swansea University, said: “We were delighted to have been awarded research funding from Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) to develop our infant feeding research.

“Part of this funding enabled the set up and delivery of the hub alongside a programme of research to examine its impact within the hospital and community.

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“Going forward we will be conducting a number of research studies to better understand how donor milk can support families including when babies are born prematurely but also where breastfeeding might not be possible, such as when a mother is undergoing cancer treatment.

“We are particularly interested in how donor milk may support parental mental health, both through receiving it for a baby or from the experiences of breastfeeding mothers being able to donate their milk to support other families.”

 The university was helped to launch the first hub in Wales by the Human Milk Foundation, a charity that supports parents to feed their babies with human milk.

As part of her work at Imperial College to research the impacts of human milk banks, Dr Natalie Shenker co-founded the UK’s first independent, non-profit human milk bank, Hearts Milk Bank, which will manage the hub in Swansea.

“The aim of the charity is to make sure there’s national equity for families to both receive and donate milk,” she said.

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“Wales hasn’t had a milk bank service of its own for many years, and that has really affected how many mums are able to donate, and how hospitals can use donor milk, if there are challenges in accessing sufficient supplies when needed.

“We know it can be a wonderful thing for mums to be able to donate their milk to help other families.

“It can be utterly heartbreaking for women to have to throw away their milk, particularly for mothers with babies in hospital, and those whose babies sadly do not survive.”

Gareth Howells, executive director of nursing, said: “Everyone at Swansea Bay is committed to building a truly equitable service where families can donate and access donor human milk.

“We are very proud to be opening our milk hub at Singleton Hospital.

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“We are also looking forward to helping more families to receive and donate human milk and to growing the hub in the coming years.”

To find out more about the work of the Human Milk Foundation and Hearts Milk Bank and find out more about donating your milk visit their website here https://heartsmilkbank.org/donating 

Lead image: Dr Natalie Shenker (left), who co-founded Hearts Milk Bank with Gillian Weaver (right), with Professor Amy Brown of Swansea University (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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18 year-old woman dies and another in hospital after late night Swansea Valley crash

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Police are appealing for witnesses after a fatal road traffic accident on the A4067 travelling from Swansea to Godre’r Graig

South Wales Police are reporting that a white Citroen C1 left the road shortly before 1.30am on Sunday 23 January.

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An 18 year-old woman was tragically declared to have died at the scene. A second 18 year-old woman was taken to University Hospital Wales with non-life-threatening injuries.

No other vehicle is thought to have been involved in the accident.

The A4067 was closed between the Pontardawe Tesco store and the B4603 Ynysmeudwy Road for a number of hours while police carried out investigations.

A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: “We are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed or has dash-cam footage of the incident or the manner in which the white Citroen C1 was being driven prior to the collision to contact us.”

Police can be contacted online, by calling 101 or by emailing SWP101@south-wales.police.uk quoting occurrence number 2200024693.

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(Lead image: Google Maps)

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