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Neath Port Talbot

Mayor recognises community’s Covid contributions in awards ceremony

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The Mayor of Neath Port Talbot’s Covid Response Awards took place on Thursday (24 March) in the beautiful surroundings of Margam Country Park’s Orangery.

The awards were designed to recognise and reward the outstanding contributions of individuals, groups and organisations in our community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The Winners

  • Health & Wellbeing Award – Run4All Neath for organising a running club to help the physical and mental wellbeing of residents throughout COVID-19. Presented by Louise Fleet, Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan
  • Supporting Education Award – Gemma Ness and Vicky Hibben for running the ‘Learning Hub’ for vulnerable children and the children of keyworkers throughout lockdown.
  • Business in the Community Award – Bleddyn Howells Family Butcher for continuing to support local food banks, nursing homes and sports groups during the pandemic. Presented by the Mayoress of Neath Port Talbot, Mrs Lesley Warman.
  • Young Volunteer Award – Dewi Rhys Morgan for collecting and delivering prescriptions to those who were shielding and unable to leave their home during the pandemic (Collected by Rhiannon Powell on behalf of Dewi). Presented by Bethan Nicholas-Thomas, Deputy Youth Mayor of Neath Port Talbot.
  • Good Neighbour Award – Jo Barness for supporting people to get essential shopping supplies during the pandemic. Presented by John Pye Auctions.
  • Good Neighbour Award – Cheryl Rees for helping elderly residents during lockdown and arranging numerous street parties to keep people’s spirits up. Presented by John Pye Auctions.
  • Individual Community Champion Award – Yvonne Davies for running a food bank for over ten years and distributing food parcels to those in need during the pandemic (collected by Vicky Rawlinson on behalf of Yvonne). Presented by Leanne Jones, Deputy Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council.
  • Community Champion Group Award – Canolfan Maerdy for playing a key role in NPT’s Safe and Well Scheme by helping with childcare for key workers and vulnerable children, and providing food boxes for those in need. Presented by Karen Jones, Chief Executive Neath Port Talbot Council.
  • Special Recognition Award – F.A.N Community Alliance for establishing a team of street champions and helping people with shopping, medication pick-ups and being a safety net for people. Presented by the Mayor of Neath Port Talbot, Cllr John Warman.

At the awards ceremony, compered by Sean Holley, the Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr John Warman and Mrs Lesley Warman were joined by special guests including: Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Mrs Louise Fleet; The High Sheriff of West Glamorgan, Joanna Jenkins; Deputy Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Cllr Leanne Jones; Youth Mayor Bethan Nicholas-Thomas, Stephen Kinnock MP; Senedd Member for South Wales West, Sioned Williams and Jonathan Beasley from event sponsors John Pye Auctions.

Mayor Cllr Warman said as the awards ceremony began: “These awards were set up to give residents here in Neath Port Talbot the opportunity to nominate people or groups who really made a difference in our communities during the toughest of times we have ever lived through.

“I have to say, the response was incredible and we were knocked out by the sheer number of nominations that came in. The judging panel, of which I was a part, had the most difficult time deciding on who to invite here today. It really was a humbling experience reading through the submissions.

“I’m sure those nominated for these awards are the kind of people who would normally shy away from being singled out for special recognition. That said, these awards aim to thank, recognise and reward their hard work and commitment over the past 2 years …whether they like it or not!”

The awards were sponsored by John Pye Auctions.

(Lead image: NPT Council)

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Aberavon Beach wins 2022 Seaside Award

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Aberavon Beach has been named as one of country’s best beaches by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy which has awarded it the prestigious Seaside Award for 2022.

The annual Seaside Awards play a vital role in protecting our precious marine environment and are recognised around the world as a symbol of quality and good beach management.

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From popular resorts to hidden gems, all award-winning beaches must meet and maintain the highest environmental and safety standards and achieve tough international bathing water quality targets.

Announcing the awards, Keep Wales Tidy’s Chief Executive Lesley Jones said: “We are lucky to have some of the world’s best beaches and marinas on our doorstep. The success is a testament to everyone who has worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches and keep our coast clean and safe.

“We hope that everyone visiting our stunning coastline will enjoy and cherish our beaches responsibly. Please make sure you make memories, not mess and take your litter home with you.”

A Neath Port Talbot Council spokesperson said: “We can once again proudly fly the Seaside Award flag which assures good standards of water quality, safety and cleanliness for visitors to Aberavon Beach.

“The popularity of Aberavon Beach and its promenade as a place to visit by both local people and visitors continues to grow year on year.”

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(Lead image: NPT Council)

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Coronavirus

New COVID vaccination centre opens at Aberavon Shopping Centre

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A new COVID vaccination centre for Port Talbot is opening at Aberavon Shopping Centre.

Situated next door to B&M, near the river bridge entrance, Swansea Bay Health Board say it will provide vaccinations to adults and children alike.

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The first clinic will be held at the Local Vaccination Centre (LVC) on Thursday, May 26th. Slots will be available by appointment only for the time being.

The health board are asking people not to telephone the shopping centre if they want to make an appointment or if they have a general query. The health board’s booking centre can be contacted on 01792 200492 or 01639 862323.

The opening comes as the health board winds down its vaccination operation at the Bay Field Hospital near Amazon, off Fabian Way, which has been open since the first Covid vaccine was rolled out to health and social care staff in December 2020.

The final Covid vaccination clinic will be held at the Bay Mass Vaccination Centre on Wednesday, June 1st.

Blood tests will continue on that site for the time being.

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Covid vaccination clinics will also continue to be scheduled at Canolfan Gorseinon Centre, in the health board’s container in the car park of Morrisons supermarket on Baglan Industrial Park and on the Immbulance mobile vaccination clinic, which stops at various venues across the Swansea Bay area.

Interim Head of Transformation, James Ruggiero, said the move to the shopping centre signals a wider change in the Covid vaccination programme.

“The Bay has been absolutely brilliant for us but thankfully, we no longer need a permanent venue of that size.

“While no one can predict exactly what will happen in the future, we do know that some people, particularly those who are vulnerable, will need Covid boosters to help maintain a level of protection against the coronavirus, which is still out there.

“This new venue is perfect for that and a bonus is that being smaller and less intimidating, it can also be used to host clinics for children aged five to 11.”

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Vaccination staff Owain Williams, Samantha Minards, Rebecca Maus, Mathew Davies and Geraint Hammond, inside the new vaccination centre at Aberafan Shopping Centre (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Mr Ruggiero added: “Our teams have worked hard to set up this new convenient unit and to make it as comfortable and efficient as possible.

“We hope the public welcome it and enjoy popping to the other shops to pick up a bargain once they’ve come in for their vaccination.”

The Aberafan Shopping Centre LVC will be open between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Vaccinations are on an appointment-only basis for now.

The first vaccinations will be for the spring booster which, in line with JCVI guidance, is being given to those aged 75 and over, older care home residents and those aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed.

The health board will shortly be announcing clinic dates for those aged five to 11 in June.

A Covid booster programme is due to run in the autumn, with interim JCVI advice saying that Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults; Frontline health and social care workers; All those 65 years of age and over; and adults aged 16 to 65 years in a clinical risk group should each receive one dose.

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(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Swansea Bay NHS

Water babies make a splash at hospital hydro pools

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Opening up the hydrotherapy pool at Neath Port Talbot Hospital has led to lifesaving skills being taught in dedicated swimming classes to help safeguard babies and toddlers from drowning, Swansea Bay University Health Board have said.

The health board say changes in the way their hydrotherapy pools are managed mean that when they are not being used for clinical sessions with patients, they can now be offered for community use out of hours.

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Water Babies, a group who deliver swimming programmes to pre-school aged children, is now using the pool at Neath Port Talbot Hospital. 

The sessions in the hydrotherapy pool are fun but have an extremely serious benefit.

In the UK, drowning is the third highest cause of accidental death among babies and children. 

In most cases, the shock of sudden submersion causes children to panic, but introducing infants to water from very early on can make a real difference. 

By the age of two, toddlers can be taught to fall in, surface, swim to the side and hold on.

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An affordable hire fee from the health board and a grant from Neath Port Talbot council has already helped the group teach lifesaving skills to over 100 babies and parents. They hope to double that amount by the end of May.

“We’re delighted to be able to hold our classes at Neath Port Talbot Hospital’s hydrotherapy pool – it’s an excellent facility,” said Aletia Griffiths, director of Water Babies, who also hold classes at Singleton Hospital’s hydrotherapy pool. 

“In the last few years, at least 10 tiny Water Babies pupils in the UK have saved their own lives, five of whom were just two years old at the time.

“It’s fantastic what vital skills children can learn, and it’s so important that they do so as soon as possible.

“As well as water safety skills and enjoying the water, another key focus is to help strengthen the bond between carer and child.” 

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Water Babies runs a pre-school swimming programs at Neath Port Talbot Hospital’s pool (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

 Water Babies are among the groups who have hired the facility following changes made to the way hydrotherapy pools are run within the health board. 

The health board’s engagement programme Changing for the Future proposed a series of changes to the way urgent and planned care services are delivered following Covid. 

Following public consultation, Neath Port Talbot hospital will become a centre of excellence for rehabilitation. 

The hydrotherapy pool at the hospital, along with another at Singleton Hospital, are now the focus for hydrotherapy resources and sessions for Swansea Bay patients. The older pool at Morriston Hospital has since closed. 

The pools at Neath Port Talbot and Singleton have already seen an increase in numbers benefiting from them, with a wide range of people from babies to elderly patients using the pools to manage debilitating short and long-term conditions. 

Daniel Clarke, Musculoskeletal physio assistant; physiotherapists Holly Speare and Kristen Bucknall along with Jordanna Roberts, physio clinical lead (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

The health board hopes to encourage more community groups and voluntary sector organisations to hire the pool in Neath Port Talbot outside of NHS operational hours to aid their health and wellbeing. 

Jordanna Roberts, physio clinical lead across Neath Port Talbot and Singleton hospitals, highlighted further advantages from the group’s use of the pool, along with general benefits.

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She said: “There is a social element which has been missing for many during Covid, so the lessons are a chance for mums to network and build up supportive parenting relationships. 

“Physically any exercise and movement has a multitude of health benefits, including improving mood, sleep, physical strength and mobility, alongside preventing against chronic health conditions. 

“The warm and buoyant water within the pool reduces joint load and can make stretching and movement more effective and comfortable. 

“Following the success of the Water Babies class, we are keen to work with other partners to increase overall population access. 

“We’d be keen to hear from any groups interested in hiring out the pool pools at both Neath Port Talbot and Singleton.” 

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To hire the hydrotherapy pools at Neath Port Talbot Hospital and Singleton Hospital, contact 01792 285383 or email Jordanna.Roberts@wales.nhs.uk

(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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