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QR codes on prom guide young people to advice and support

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A modern way to guide young people to advice or support and to help keep them safe is being used along Swansea’s seafront and the Marina.

QR codes have been located there and by simply scanning them on their smart phones they can access mental health support, advice on safe sex, drugs or alcohol or assistance if they or someone they know is at risk of becoming homeless.

They can also report concerns anonymously if they are worried about their safety or wellbeing or that of a friend.

The QR codes have been created by Evolve, which is Swansea Council’s Youth Service, in response to ideas from young people. It is part of Swansea’s CMET team’s approach to tackling harm outside of the family home. 

CMET is a forum that brings together professional organisations from across Swansea and was established this time last year as part of National Safeguarding Week.

Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Elliott King, said: “Throughout the pandemic our youth services and partner agencies have been out and about meeting with young people where they tend to spend time in an effort to make these spaces safer.

“Some of this work has taken place along the seafront and marina area where our workers have been asking young people what matters to them.

“One of the ideas the young people came up with was a modern way to access advice and support.

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“The QR codes enable them to access the information using a smart phone camera by simply pointing the camera at the code, tapping the banner that appears and following the instructions on the screen.

“This is part of our continued efforts to ensure that all young people in Swansea have the right support at the right time.

“Safeguarding young people in Swansea is a top priority for the council and I’d like to thank all involved for coming up with and delivering this innovative scheme.”

(Lead image: Swansea Council)

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Killay

New figures show parts of Swansea have the highest unemployment rate in Wales

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Swansea West has the highest unemployment rate in Wales – over double the national average according to new figures.

Figures from the Senedd (Welsh Parliament) research department show that Swansea West had an unemployment rate of 8.3% compared to the Welsh national average of 3.8% and the UK average of 4.5%.

Swansea West covers areas more typically associated with an affluent part of the city including Sketty, Killay and Dunvant, however it also covers more deprived parts of the city including Townhill, and Castle ward – which covers large parts of the city centre.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats said the figures show that the Welsh Government are failing to create long-term jobs in the region and are calling for urgent investment to create new jobs. 

Commenting on the figures Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “These figures are absolutely shocking, there is no justification that allows for unemployment in Swansea West to be this high. The city has a strong history of entrepreneurship and innovation, but we need the Welsh Government to increase investment to provide more opportunities to people. 

“Swansea West already has a child poverty rate of 32 per cent, the best way to reduce this poverty remains to provide good quality employment opportunities to people living in the area. The Welsh Government must urgently increase job creation schemes in the city.”

Michael O’Carroll, the spokesperson for Swansea West Liberal Democrats added: “These figures are extremely disappointing to see and the people of Swansea West deserve better. Under a Welsh Labour government in Cardiff Bay and a Welsh Labour Council administration in Swansea Guildhall, there has been insufficient focus on creating good quality jobs, especially for young people and graduates. 

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“We have many excellent, home-grown businesses in the area but do not do enough to attract inward investment.  I am glad that the Welsh Liberal Democrats will continue to press both the Welsh Government and UK Government to promote investment in the whole of Wales, not just in Cardiff.”

Leader of Labour-run Swansea Council, Cllr Rob Stewart has hit back at the claims however, pointing to the huge amount of investment currently underway in the city.

Cllr Stewart said: “Investment of over £1bn is underway in Swansea at present including £135m in the new Copr Bay Arena development which is part funded by Welsh Government through the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal. The Lib Dems had opposed these job creation and investment plans and have criticised the council for borrowing to invest. 

“Three new local employment and innovation hubs are planned with 2 already under construction in the city, and we have a significant development pipeline over over £2bn which is a record for Swansea. Together these schemes will create and secure thousands of local jobs. Our local economy is expected to grow at around 8% this year and we are independently rated as one of the best places in the U.K. for investment.

“This is dramatically different to the situation under the Lib Dem administration that ran Swansea from 2004-2012. They crashed parts of the city economy with the disastrous Kingsway redevelopments, outsourced Swansea jobs to Scotland and left the council with record borrowing. We will take no lessons from the Lib Dems, who lets not forget were the co-architects of the failed austerity programme which brought misery to millions when they were in Government with the Tories.”

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(Lead image: iStockPhoto)

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Coronavirus

Covid measure-avoiding cinema threatens to disobey latest closure notice – branding First Minister a ‘grinch’

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The Welsh Government issued Swansea independent cinema and food outlet Cinema & Co with an order to close on public health grounds on Friday.

Swansea Council originally issued a closure notice for the business on Thursday 18 November saying the business had not completed a COVID risk assessment, staff had no training on how to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and there was no implementation of the COVID pass scheme.

It was also noted that there was no signage advising customers to wear face coverings and there was inadequate cleaning products to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Business owner, Anna Redfern described the Welsh Government COVID pass law as “nonsensical” and “unnecessary”.  She also refused to comply with the council’s closure notice saying

The Council took Redfern to court to enforce the closure. Ms Redfern failed to attend court, while the judge asked for an adjournment to proceedings to query the act of law that the council was using to bring the closure notice.

Prior to the new court date, the Welsh Government has decided to act itself using enforcement parts of the Coronavirus legislation for the first time.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Welsh Minsters have powers to take action against specific premises where they consider the premises to present a risk to public health.

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In a statement, the Welsh Government said: “To support Swansea Council and to protect public health, Welsh Ministers have issued a direction under the Act for the closure of Cinema & Co in Swansea.

“Recently the Local Authority identified a series of breaches of the Coronavirus Regulations at the premises.

“The premises was previously served with a notice requiring it to close due to the risk to public health.

“As the owner has chosen not to comply with this legal requirement, Welsh Ministers have taken further enforcement action.

“The Welsh Government will not be commenting further on ongoing legal proceedings.”

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Council officers attended the cinema on Friday evening to close the Castle Street business once again, with the order prohibiting anyone from entering the building unless given approval from the court, the council or the Welsh Government.

There was a strong police presence to enforce the closure, although media reports indicate a small number of protestors remained inside the building, with some of those reportedly wearing Voice of Wales branded clothing.

The controversial organisation has been supportive of Ms Redfern’s anti-COVID pass stance, but while describing itself as a media organisation it has been dogged by allegations of being a far right, racist group – something that it strongly denies.

Ms Redfern herself also denies any link to racism or extremism, saying that her “life had become totally surreal” and that she was “being acted on by so many forces out of [her] control. Some very dark.”

In a statement on social media she said: “I absolutely reject any claims that I am in any way connected to far-right groups, far-left groups or any form of racism”

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Following the most recent closure notice, signed by Welsh Government First Minister Mark Drakeford himself, Cinema & Co described the First Minister as a “grinch” and vowed to disobey the order, organising a showing of the film The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” at the cinema on Sunday 28 November at 4pm.

The sold-out event was promoted on Cinema and Co’s social media showing the face of Mark Drakeford photoshopped into the grinch, accompanied by further anti-COVID pass slogans.

It is unclear as to what, if any further action the Police, Council or Welsh Government will take should the cinema breach the latest closure notice and reopen as promised.

A crowd-funder set up by former Brexit Party & Abolish the Welsh Assembly candidate Richard Taylor, has raised over £60,000 so far.

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Books & Literature

Nurse turns to verse to express pandemic woes

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An emergency department nurse has combined his passion for nursing and writing by creating heartfelt poems inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michael Jenkins has always been enthusiastic about poetry but never focused on writing until the start of the pandemic.

He felt this was the perfect opportunity to capture the emotions of not only the nursing staff but everyone involved in the NHS.

Writing poetry also acted as a coping mechanism for Michael to get through what has been one of the toughest times in the history of the NHS.

His first poem, Give me a Break!, was shared on his Facebook page, as well as a Covid support group, where he received rave reviews and an unprecedented amount of appreciation which came as a surprise to him.

“The more poems I started to write, the more attention and shares on social media I was receiving,” Michael said.

Rebecca Price, Emergency Department matron at Morriston Hospital, in Swansea, added: “Michael really does know how to dig deep into NHS staff’s hearts and reveal their true emotions in such a pressurised environment in what has been the toughest couple of years in the history of the NHS.”

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After 18 months of concentrating on the pandemic, Michael turned his attention to other subjects within nursing, in particular by writing a poem about living with dementia.

He added: “We have so many patients coming through the ED doors with dementia but with other conditions to treat.

“It can be very difficult for trained nurses to deal with patients who unfortunately suffer with the terrible illness of dementia.”

Michael’s poem about living with dementia was shared so widely on social media that it even caught the attention of the national charity Dementia UK.

The charity was so impressed it asked Michael if it could rebrand and share the poem on its social media platforms. It has since received a huge amount of praise and shares.

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Dementia UK said: “Michael’s poem has really resonated with all people involved with dementia and has been enjoyed so much.

“We are very appreciative he has taken the time to write such a beautiful poem.”

Several of the poems have since been displayed in ED to be read and enjoyed by members of staff, as well as patients.

Michael hopes the poems can provide a boost where needed and spread some positivity.

Below are two of the poems for your enjoyment.

Give Me A Break!

Patients laugh and patients cry
Patients live, some patients die
Staff will help, Staff will care
Staff with yelp, Staff will ware

Taking its toll on every single person
Reliving the day that’s for certain
Locked down, feeling trapped with no location
Nowhere to go but work and save the population

I never signed up for this’ I read
But we can’t say that or else they’d be dead
But please just give me some space
I’m also a part of this human race

I’ll moan, I’ll cry, I’ll scream and shout
But I know I’ll carry on without a doubt
Do we want some gratitude?
Or do we need a better attitude?

I don’t know I just want some time
Is that to be such a crime?
I’ve paid my fee to work my vocation
What’s that all about?

I’ll still head off without any hesitation
But please I pray to God for goodness sake
All I’m asking for….is give me a break!

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Living with Dementia

I got told I had dementia today,
But that’s fine I’m still me!
The same old person that you sit with
To drink a hot cup of tea.

I may not remember every last detail,
Or recognise your face.
But I will sure try to imagine,
Taking me back to my favourite place.

I may get confused and anxious,
And wander round my house.
I know I shouldn’t dwell on the past,
But I really miss my spouse.

Sometimes my mind is somewhere else,
Like on holidays from years ago.
Or dreaming of better times I’ve had,
Now I must learn to go with the flow.

I am still the same human being,
With a brain inside my head
It just takes a while to think of things,
Like when should I go to bed?

Please don’t judge my shouting,
Or if I somehow make you scared
It’s just my mind playing tricks on me,
Maybe I just need to be fed!

Some company is all I need
To play my favourite game,
Then maybe next time I see you,
I will remember your lovely name.

Now I will always cherish the memories,
Of all the times we share,
Please don’t stop coming to visit,
As I know you will always care.

I am still the same old person,
Just get a little jumbled up,
Now go get me that hot cuppa,
So I can sip from my favourite cup.

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