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Health board calls on people with eye problems to visit Optometrist rather than GP

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A West Wales health board is calling for patients who have emergency problems with their eyes to visit their local Opticians and Optometrist.

Hywel Dda University Health Board says that skilled Optometrists are on-hand to offer advice and treatment rather than patients needing to contact their GP or attend an accident and emergency department.

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The health board, which covers Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion wants to highlight the value of community Optometrists and how they do so much more than help their patients choose the right pair of glasses.

It says that Optometrists can deal with emergency treatments including treating objects in the eye and other minor eye injuries. Your Optometrist can also detect and treat a number of eye conditions.

Scott Thomas from Llandyfaelog suffered discomfort from an alkaline chemical injury to one of his eyes while in work last year and on the advice of his wife, visited his local optician, Loveleen Browes Opticians in Burry Port. He was seen on the same day as the incident and his eye was treated straight away. He had a follow-up appointment 48 hours after the incident, there was an out-of-hours contact provided if he needed it and the treatment resulted in his vision being restored perfectly.

Loveleen Browes Opticians is one of ten practices within the Hywel Dda area that are able to treat patients under the Independent Prescribing Optometric Service, otherwise known as IPOS. This service allows Optometrists to prescribe medication to treat a range of eye conditions in primary care, which would have previously required a referral to the hospital eye service.

Scott said, “I would advise anyone who has an injury to their eyes to definitely contact their local Opticians as soon as possible. If it wasn’t for them and how they were able to see me as quick as they did, I don’t think I would have much of my eyesight left. I’m so grateful to Loveleen Browes Opticians in Burry Port for saving my eyesight.”

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Loveleen Browes Opticians in Burry Port

Rebecca, from Pembrey, another patient with Loveleen Browes Opticians, suffers from a condition called blepharitis which was affecting her quality of life as both her eyes were swelling, sore, itchy, red and over-watering, causing her vision to deteriorate during a flare up. Rebecca explained how the Optometrist got to know her eyes and offered treatment with medication and lid care products as well as reassuring support.

As part of the Help Us Help You campaign, the Welsh Government wants you to know that although the way you access NHS services has changed, it is still here for you. Get to know the different ways you can access the NHS by checking online through the NHS 111 Wales website, so you can get the right care at the right time, in the right place. Community eye care covers a spectrum of symptoms that many people may go to their GP for such as red eye, a painful eye, double vision and a foreign body in the eye.

Rachel Absalom, Head of Optometric Services, Hywel Dda University Health Board / Low Vision Wales, said: “Whether you are looking for a routine eye examination or you have eye related symptoms that require further and enhanced investigation, then your community Optometrist should be your first port of call. Your Optometrist has the knowledge, expertise, skills and equipment to help diagnose and manage eye conditions.

“If you have acute symptoms such as loss of vision, flashes and floaters, red eye, painful eye, foreign body in the eye to name but a few, then visit your optometrist who can potentially see you as an emergency under the Eye Health Examination Wales scheme.”

The 10 Opticians in Hywel Dda area able to treat patients under the Independent prescribing Optometric System

Evans and Hughes Opticians – Ammanford
Evans and Hughes Opticians – Llandeilo
Evans and Hughes Opticians – Lampeter
Evans and Hughes Opticians – Llandovery
Probert and Williams Opticians – Aberystwyth
Jones and Murphy Opticians – Carmarthen
Loveleen Browes Opticians – Burry Port
Specsavers Opticians – Haverfordwest
Specsavers Opticians – Llanelli
Specsavers Opticians – Ammanford

To find your nearest Optometrist, visit: http://www.eyecare.wales.nhs.uk/home

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Burry Port

Grandmother launches RNLI fundraising appeal almost a decade after Burry Port lifeboat crew’s attempts to rescue grandson

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An tragic incident at Llangennith almost a decade ago, where school boy Sam Capper tragically lost his life, has inspired a loving grandmother to put her best foot forward for the RNLI this Mayday, in tribute to the Burry Port RNLI volunteers who answered the call for help.

Leah Hunt, a police officer from Birkenhead, has officially launch this year’s Mayday Mile fundraiser by meeting her local RNLI crew at West Kirby for the first time, and revealing details of her own Mayday walking challenge on 22 May.

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The latest figures released today by the RNLI have revealed the number of lives saved by RNLI crews from Flint to Penarth has increased by 22 per cent in 2021. In Wales, volunteer lifeboat crews saved 45 lives in 2021 compared with 37 in 2020.

Leah says the figures released today serve a stark reminder of why the RNLI is such a vital charity.

She is calling on people to support Mayday and raise funds for crews, such as the Burry Port RNLI crew who helped to save her son Lewis, during an incident which tragically took the life of her youngest boy Sam.

Sam Capper, aged 15, from Rock Ferry died in hospital after falling into the sea when a wave hit him in Llangennith, Swansea, in 2012. His older brother Lewis, now 31, jumped in after Sam and held onto him before being rescued by an RAF rescue helicopter and Burry Port RNLI lifeboat.

To support Mayday, Leah will take part in the Wirral Coastal Walk on 22 May along with Lewis’ three children Archie, nine, Kael, seven and five year old Neala. All will be wearing yellow wellies as a tribute to RNLI crews across the UK and Ireland who are prepared to drop everything should the call for help comes.

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Leah says: “Before losing Sam, I now realise these people had never entered my mind, but were there for my family when I needed them most and to think that volunteers would risk their own safety for my family is just incredible and I am eternally grateful.

“This walk is certainly not about me, but about keeping Sam’s memory alive. On the 10th anniversary of his passing – it’s more important to me than ever to see his legacy live on in such a positive way. I would do anything for the RNLI and the walk is just one of the ways I want to say thank you. We regularly visit Burry Port and they have made us feel part of their family and I’m so grateful for that.

“Although the tragedy of losing Sam will never go away, they gave me back my son Lewis and I will be forever in their debt for that. I’m really looking forward to walking the Wirral Coastal Path for Mayday and will be chatting with my grandchildren about the uncle they never got to meet.”

WATCH: Leah Hunt talks about the death of her grandson, sam, the support that burry port lifeboat gave her at the time and why she’s supporting the rnli

The busiest station in Wales during 2021 was The Mumbles where lifeboats launched 95 times and assisted 143 people.

This is followed by Tenby where lifeboats launched 78 times and aided 36 people. It was the Porthcawl RNLI who saved the most lives during 2021, with 11 people still alive today thanks to the volunteer crew.

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Events are taking place across Wales to support the RNLI fundraiser whereby people are invited to walk, jog, hop or skip. The Mayday Mile which challenges you to cover at least one mile in any way you like between Saturday 1st and Tuesday 31st May, whilst raising vital funds for RNLI lifesavers so that they can continue to keep people safe at sea.

At Tenby, RNLI supporters are being invited to sign up to a virtual ramble and Penarth RNLI will also be hosting a sponsored walk on 1 May.

Crew and supporters of Porthcawl RNLI are calling on locals to join a walk on 1 May and chose either a five, 10 or 15KM challenges to raise funds.

Faye Maher, RNLI Engagement Lead for Wales says: “Last year was an exceptionally busy one for our crews across Wales, but our volunteers would not be able to continue saving lives without the generous support of the public.

“With the increased popularity of the Welsh coastline, we’re expecting a busy summer and are so grateful to all those who have answered our Mayday plea. It’s exciting to see details of all the events flowing in and I hope people enjoy taking part whilst raising much-needed funds to help us continue saving lives.”

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Lead image: Leah and her grandchildren with the West Kirby RNLI crew (Image: RNLI/David Edwards)

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Burry Port

Crisps cost one Burry Port worker a packet

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A packet of crisps proved costly for one Burry Port road worker after he was ordered to pay nearly £200.

Jack Howells was laying tarmac on a road when a resident caught him red handed on camera discarding the empty packet on the floor.

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The 24-year-old of Tyn Y Bryn Road, in Tonyrefail, was fined £100 by Llanelli magistrates and ordered to pay costs of £85 in a prosecution led by Carmarthenshire County Council.

The court heard that on Monday, November 8 last year, a resident heard noises outside their property and saw a road worker throwing a banana skin on the ground. The resident then decided to switch on her phone video and caught Howells who was laying tarmac emptying the remains of a bag of crisps into his mouth before throwing it on the floor.

The evidence was then passed onto Carmarthenshire County Council’s enforcement team who contacted Gwendraeth Valley Tarmac and were able to identify Howells.

Howells was contacted by the council and agreed to pay a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) within 14 days to avoid going to court.

Despite reminders and a verbal agreement, Howells failed to pay up and was taken to court last Friday where he admitted the offence.

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He was also ordered to pay £34 victim surcharge.

(Lead image: Allen Watkin / Creative Commons)

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Carmarthenshire schoolchildren unlock their super powers to tackle climate change

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AS our future generations, the children of Carmarthenshire are playing a vital role in supporting the fight against climate change.

Carmarthenshire County Council has engaged thousands of children in its Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr initiative – a targeted effort to bring people together to support the authority’s journey towards becoming net carbon zero by 2030.

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Primary school children across the county have been challenged to become ‘Prosiect Zero Super Heroes’, sharing their super powers and ideas to help Carmarthenshire tackle climate change. Their inspiration is being shared online using #ProsiectZeroSirGar.

This runs alongside a strong climate change theme that cuts throughout the curriculum where pupils are learning about the causes and negative impact of global warming, and what action needs to be taken to help protect their future.

Schools have many of their own projects and initiatives underway too, including recycling schemes, community gardens to grow and use their own produce, rainwater harvesting, tree planting, meat-free days and more.

Thousands of school children are also involved in the international ‘Walk the Global Walk’ programme, led in Wales by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with Dolen Cymru Lesotho.

The programme educates children about global issues related to migration, climate change and gender equality, as well as providing them with opportunities to learn about different cultures and develop understanding about global issues.

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Through this work, pupils have developed a ‘Carmarthenshire Global Goalkeepers

Climate Action Manifesto’, which called on the council to sign up to a series of pledges which include developing more green spaces on school grounds, encouraging sustainable school transport, reducing single-use plastic in schools and ensuring young people are supported to carry out relevant climate actions.

In terms of physical aspects, Carmarthenshire County Council is ensuring school buildings are fit for the future – new schools being built and buildings being redeveloped as part of the council’s Modernising Education Programme include eco-friendly features.

They include schools designed and built to Passivhaus standards offering the highest thermal efficiency, with others being built to include or retro-fitted with solar panels, ground and air source heat pumps, mechanical heat recovery systems and sustainably sourced construction materials.

Burry Port Community Primary School – the first Passivhaus school in Wales. (Image: Carmarthenshire Council)

Cllr Glynog Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, said: “Our children are our future and it’s quite right that they have an active role in supporting our fight against climate change.

“I am so impressed when I visit schools, not just to see the physical eco measures being included in our buildings, but the curricular and extra-curricular activity that is helping shape minds and futures, encouraging children to learn about climate change and the part they can play.”

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Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr, launched by Carmarthenshire County Council during the 2021 COP26 global conference on climate change, calls on people to make changes, share ideas, and start conversations to encourage everyone to work together to tackle the issue.

It focuses on every effort that is being made by the council as it works towards being net carbon zero by 2030.

Schools across Carmarthenshire are carrying out a timetable of activities throughout COP26, including assemblies and activities about climate change.

Cllr Ann Davies, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, added: “Our schoolchildren are up for the challenge of becoming Prosiect Zero Super Heroes and share our passion and commitment towards tackling climate change. I look forward to seeing what ideas they come up with and the inspiration they will share to encourage us to make small changes that will make a big difference.”

Play a part in reducing Carmarthenshire’s carbon footprint by getting involved with Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr – find out what the council is doing, and ideas for what you can do by visiting www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/ProsiectZeroSirGar. Start conversations and share ideas online using #ProsiectZeroSirGar

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The Carmarthenshire Global Goalkeepers Climate Action Manifesto

This manifesto for Sustainable Development Goal 13 Climate Action was created by Carmarthenshire’s Global Goalkeepers through the Walk the Global Walk project. Its recommendations were arrived at through discussions with Global Goalkeepers from partner countries, councillors and council officers from Carmarthenshire County Council, teachers, representatives from the Youth Council, Dolen Cymru Lesotho and Keep Wales Tidy.

We, representing the young people of Carmarthenshire, have become acutely aware of the dangers to our own generation and to future generations posed by inaction in the face of climate change. The climate emergency is already affecting millions around the world, hitting hardest those with the least resources to deal with it.

We are making lifestyle changes as individuals and leading actions in our schools and communities to adapt to and mitigate climate change. However, if there is to be a meaningful impact, we cannot do this alone. So we ask that Carmarthenshire County Council pledge its commitment to climate action by:

1. Promote development of green spaces and support native tree species planting of a minimum of 10 trees in each school, or school community if school grounds are unsuitable, and ensure their ongoing protection

2. Encourage and support safe, sustainable school transport including car-pooling, walking and cycling e.g. providing bike shelters

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3. Set up a climate action consultation body consisting of a representative group of young people, councillors, council officers, and local businesses which meets every 3 months to ensure progress on this manifesto

4. Provide support for developing countries to combat impact of climate change e.g. by supporting the Size of Wales initiative

5. Support the development of gardens in schools and local communities to provide food and encourage biodiversity e.g. provide seeds and peat-free compost

6. Double the council’s use of hybrid and electric vehicles and install electric charging points in appropriate primary and secondary schools by January 2022

7. Work together with schools and suppliers to reduce single use plastic in schools by January 2022

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8. Ensure young people have the support they need to carry out relevant climate actions

Lead image: Angharad Miles of Ysgol Llanddarog – a Prosiect Zero Sir Gâr super hero

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