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Time for Wales’ most deaf friendly organisations to be heard

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PEOPLE who are deaf or have hearing loss in Wales are being called to nominate the organisations that provide outstanding service to them.

Action on Hearing Loss Cymru’s Excellence Wales Awards recognise businesses that take steps to ensure the 575,500 people in Wales who are deaf or have hearing loss can use their services or are supported in the workplace.

The charity launched the Excellence Wales Awards four years ago, in an effort to celebrate success and raise standards across Wales. Winning organisations are praised for their great communication and support of customers and employees.

This year, Action on Hearing Loss Cymru is again asking deaf and hard of hearing people to get directly involved by nominating the organisations that have provided outstanding assistance.

The charity’s statistics show that deafness and hearing loss is on the rise and that by 2035, one-fifth of people in Wales will be affected. Research shows that hearing loss can lead to loneliness, isolation, mental health issues and is directly linked to the onset of dementia.

The 2018 Excellence Wales Awards are open to public services, private companies and voluntary organisations of all sizes in Wales. The awards will be decided by an independent panel of judges, all of whom are deaf or have hearing loss.

Rebecca Woolley, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Cymru, said, “Deafness and hearing loss can make the lives of over half a million people across Wales a daily struggle. It can be hard to comprehend just how difficult it can be to do simple things the rest of us take for granted. Querying a bill or organising a meeting has the potential to lead to confusion, frustration and upset if the right access isn’t in place.

“The tragedy of this is that the solutions are often so simple, particularly now with the technology available to support good communication. The good news is many companies are getting it right, and the benefits are there for both sides; three quarters of our members said they would be more likely to use a service if their staff were deaf aware.

“Our research has also shown that a third of deaf employees feel they cannot disclose their hearing loss because they’re worried about being treated unfairly. To change this workplace culture we need to recognise those who are leading the way so we’re urging people who have had a positive experience to get in touch.”

Previous winners include the Welsh Ambulance Service, National Assembly for Wales and Western Power Distribution, who this year will sponsor the People’s Choice award, voted for by the public.

Karen Welch, from Western Power Distribution, said, “We believe that there is a responsibility on organisations like ours to make themselves accessible to people with hearing loss, so it is very rewarding to see our efforts recognised and we are really proud to have won an Excellence Wales Award.

“With the number of people who are deaf or who have hearing loss increasing, it also makes business sense to ensure that we’re accessible. We’re looking forward to continuing to set the standards for deaf and hard of hearing people.

“This year, we’re pleased to further our involvement with the Excellence Wales Awards by sponsoring the People’s Choice category. We’re excited to see which organisations people who are deaf themselves say are the most accessible.”

This year, the Excellent Employer category has been introduced to recognise employers who have made positive steps to ensure that workers with hearing loss are treated fairly in the workplace. Other categories include; Service Excellence, Excellence in Health and Excellence in Arts and Entertainment.

To nominate an organisation, or for more information visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/excellencewales

Entries must be submitted by 21 March 2018.

All winners will be announced at a ceremony at the St David’s Hotel Cardiff on 4 May 2018, presented by ITV journalist Megan Boot.

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Business

The Range’s Swansea Store Shortlisted for ‘Best Christmas Display’

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Christmas has arrived early for The Range stores in Wales, boasting gigantic displays of all-things festive! The Range is well known for going all out during the Christmas season to create a fun and magical experience full of trees, lights, decorations and much more for their customers to enjoy and this year is no exception. The Range in Swansea surpassed expectations with a display so great, it’s left them shortlisted for ‘Best Christmas Display’ out of all The Range’s 182 stores.

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Local coronavirus restrictions imposed to control outbreaks in South Wales

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Coronavirus laws are being tightened in four more Welsh authorities – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport – following a sharp rise in cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething today announced.

The new measures will come into force at 6pm on Tuesday 22 September 2020, to protect people’s health and control the spread of the virus in the four local authority areas.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport:

People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;
All licensed premises will have to close at 11pm;
Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales.
From 6pm on Tuesday 22 September, the requirement for all licensed premises to close at 11pm will also be extended to Caerphilly borough.

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“Following the decision to place additional coronavirus restrictions in place in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf, we have seen a worrying and rapid rise in cases in four other south Wales council areas – Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport.

“In many cases, this is linked to people socialising indoors without social distancing. We are seeing evidence of coronavirus spreading. We need to take action to control and, ultimately, reduce its spread and protect people’s health.

“It’s always a difficult decision to introduce restrictions but coronavirus has not gone away – it is still circulating in communities across Wales and, as we are seeing in parts of South Wales, small clusters can quickly cause real issues in local communities.

“We need everyone’s help to bring coronavirus under control. We need everyone to pull together and to follow the measures which are there to protect you and your loved ones.”

The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.

The Welsh Government will call an urgent meeting of all local authority, health board and police forces from Bridgend to the English border tomorrow to discuss the wider situation in South Wales and whether further measures are needed across the region to protect people’s health.

The new local restrictions measures will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.

Keep Wales safe by:

Always keeping your distance
Washing your hands regularly
Working from home wherever you can
Following any local restrictions
Following the rules about meeting people
Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.

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Welsh legislation will restrict those travelling from hotspot areas

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MARK Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, has today announced legislation which will restrict those coming from coronavirus hotspot’s from travelling to Wales.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has refused to impose rules which prohibit those from areas where the infection rate is high from entering low virus rate areas’s.

Mr Drakeford has made two requests to the Prime Minister requesting to impose rules which will mean those from high virus areas in England be prohibited from travelling to Wales, a request which has been denied by Mr Johnson.

The powers set by Mr Drakeford will come into force by the end of the week, unless Boris Johnson takes action sooner.

Speaking at the Plenary today, Mr Drakeford made the announcement, stating if Mr Johnson does not reply to his request by Friday then The Welsh Government will bring in legislation to restrict travel from those in English lockdown areas travelling to Wales.

Mr Drakeford said this was not a case of all those from England being restricted travel to Wales, just hotspot areas.

He said: “Evidence from public health professionals suggests coronavirus is moving from east to west across the UK and across Wales. As a general rule, it is concentrating in urban areas and then spreading to more sparsely populated areas as a result of people travelling.

“Much of Wales in now subject to local restriction measures because levels of the virus have risen and people living in those areas are not able to travel beyond their county boundary without a reasonable excuse. This is designed to prevent the spread of infection within Wales and to other areas of the UK.

“We are preparing to take this action to prevent people who live in areas where there are higher Covid infection rates across the UK from travelling to Wales and bringing the virus with them.

“I am determined to keep Wales safe.”

The legislation, which is understood to come into force Friday, October 16 at 6pm, will mean those travelling to Wales from areas of England which are classed as virus hotspot’s will be restricted.

The new legislation also restricts those travelling into Wales from high virus prevalence areas from Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament – Paul Davies MS – has rounded on the First Minister over a ban on people entering Wales from England, and the Labour Party’s inability or unwillingness to publish comprehensive data proving that transmission rates are accelerating due to travel.

Mr Davies took the First Minister to task during Plenary today (October 14), and referred to a statement made by the leader of the Labour Party on September 23 when he said that the Welsh Government was not seeing any spikes at all in infection due to travel and tourism.

Mr Davies said that the people of Wales deserve to have sight of the data that underpins the Welsh Labour-led Government’s position on this matter, so that they can be confident that the Government’s actions are proportionate to the threat of the virus in their area.

Mr Davies also referred to a paper that accompanied the First Minister’s letter to the Prime Minister yesterday, a paper – that was not peer-reviewed – that confirms the data “…does not constitute definitive proof” in favour of a travel ban.

Mr Davies said: “The First Minister and his Government have acted rashly and without examining a range of other factors before a conclusion on whether to impose a travel ban or not is reached, while at the same time seemingly ignoring the fact that transmission rates in relation to travel had already peaked in August and September.

“It is incumbent on the First Minister to explain just why he has chosen to act in this way, and what supporting evidence he and his Ministers have seen to justify a ban and then publish it so it can be properly scrutinised.

“If he cannot or will not, then he must review and rescind this ban immediately.”

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