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Wales Air Ambulance welcomes £5K donation from Swansea Building Society



The Wales Air Ambulance Charitable Trust has welcomed a £5,000 donation from Swansea Building Society – funds it said are much-needed due to the way in which the coronavirus pandemic has limited many forms of fundraising.

The Wales Air Ambulance is Swansea Building Society’s official charity for 2020, having been voted for by its staff. With UK charitable donations falling during lockdown, a donation such as this has been greatly appreciated by this valuable medical rescue service.

Swansea Building Society, with branch offices in Swansea, Mumbles, Carmarthen and Cowbridge, has seen the fund-raising activities staff had planned for 2020 either cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.

However, the team at Swansea Building Society recognised the importance of being able to help the Wales Air Ambulance with running costs during this period; unusually, therefore, the Society has made this sizable donation earlier than originally planned.

Richard Miles, Swansea Building Society’s head of savings, said:

“Usually we would have given the full amount raised at the end of the year, but – due to the circumstances – we have made this donation earlier in order to help Wales Air Ambulance with their ongoing running costs.

“We had lots of group fundraising activities planned for the year, but COVID has, unfortunately, meant that they haven’t been able to go ahead. However, I’m sure that the staff will come up with some safe fundraising ideas to continue raising money over the next few months.”

Wales Air Ambulance is funded entirely by the people of Wales. The charity does not receive direct funding from the government, and it does not qualify for National Lottery funding. Instead, it relies on the support of the Welsh public to help keep the helicopters flying. Its helicopters are kept in the air solely through charitable donations, fundraising events and membership of its in‐house Lifesaving Lottery.

With four airbase operations in Caernarfon, Llanelli, Welshpool and Cardiff, Wales Air Ambulance can be there for anyone in Wales within 20 minutes. As well as flying patients to hospital, they bring A&E directly to patients.

The on‐board critical care consultants and practitioners have some of the most pioneering equipment and skills in the world. They deliver emergency treatments usually not available outside of a hospital environment, including the ability to conduct blood transfusions, administer anaesthetics, offer strong painkillers, and conduct a range of medical procedures. This means that patients receive advanced care before they even reach the hospital.

The helicopters currently operate 12‐hours a day, 8am to 8pm, but the Charity would like to run a helicopter 24/7 by the end of 2020. To achieve this, Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £8 million every year.

Alun Williams, chief executive of Swansea Building Society, said:

“It’s a great privilege to be able to support Wales Air Ambulance this year – particularly in light of the pandemic and the drop in donations to the charitable sector. I am very proud of the generosity and ingenuity of the staff in raising the funds, despite difficult circumstances. Wales Air Ambulance needs to raise £8 million every year to operate the service and we hope the society’s efforts will go some way to helping them achieve this.

“Our charitable activities help to bring Swansea Building Society together as a team and allow us to give something back to the areas in which we operate. I’m sure that the remainder of the year will see us raise even more money for this vital service.”

Steffan Anderson-Thomas, corporate & events lead for Wales Air Ambulance Charitable Trust, said:

“We very much appreciate the donation from Swansea Building Society. We are all working hard to achieve our aim of becoming a 24/7 service, and support like this will help to ensure we will be available for the people of Wales, around the clock. The staff at Swansea Building Society have done an amazing job raising these funds, particularly when you consider the events of the past few months, so we give heartfelt thanks to everyone who has contributed.”


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



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



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



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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