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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Anti-bollards campaigner hits back with his own statement


* The controversial bollards along one side of Castle Street.

Town councillor Stuart Davies, who organised the 500-signature calling for the controversial Castle Street bollards to be removed, has replied to yesterday's statement from County Councillors Graham Timms and Melvyn Mile explaining that they were to be taken away in the next few weeks and replaced with specially-designed planters.

Cllr Davies says: "I am pleased to see that the two county cllrs finally accept the fact that the bollard scheme that has been causing concern, with reports of trips and falls coming in since its inception, is harming people and needs to removed.      

"The statement that the council is 'making the area as safe as possible' is an indication that the scheme is recognised as unsafe. 

"My report to Denbighshire County Council of my own personal experience of a near-miss on the bollards over a month ago was not replied to by the Head of Service for Public Protection who is in charge of this scheme. 

"The question has to be asked: Why it has taken so long for the reality to be addressed whilst in that time a person has been badly injured?   

"The proposed new measures of leaving the bollards in place for four weeks and painting white lines as a means of control are still putting people in harm's way and the councillors seem desperate to keep this scheme in place at any cost. 

"Cllr Timms advised Llanblogger in November 2020: 'Unfortunately there are strict rules about this - it’s about safety for pedestrians. Planters would be dangerous if a vehicle collides with them as they would slide, possibly causing injury,' and yet today he is saying: 'The first one is to use specially designed planters instead of the current lane defenders along Castle Street.'

"Research shows that the bollards are cycle lane defenders not pedestrian barriers and it is believed that this is why people have been tripping over the bases of them.

"We are fast approaching one of the busiest weekends of the year. There will be thousands of visitors arriving, the trip hazard will still be there.

"The public have been asking, and quite rightly too, how much has this cost and how much more is it going to cost us and how much is it going to cost in the next four weeks in the price of human misery when, not if, someone else trips over these bollards?"                                                                                                                                    

Latest vaccination update from health centre

In its latest Covid vaccination update posted on social media around 10am today Llangollen Health Centre says:

"We have appointments available this evening for anyone aged 50 and above who has not yet had their first dose Covid vaccination.
"Please ring us on 01978 860625 to book.
"Anyone who thinks they have been missed from Group 6, please check eligibility criteria using the link below. If, after reading this, you think that you qualify please email us at
Llangollen.Clinical@wales.nhs.uk.

Roadworks alert for Market Street

Latest roadworks alert from one.network is:

Market Street, Llangollen, Denbighshire


01 April — 09 April

 

Delays likely - Road closure

 

Works location: Market Street, Llangollen...

 

Works description: Pedestrian management on Market Street to install posts and ducting...

 

Responsibility for works: Denbighshire County Council

 

Current status: Advanced planning

 

Works reference: QR007S000000000472


Denbighshire recognised for affordable housing provision

Denbighshire County Council has been recognised as the top performing North Wales authority for affordable housing for 2019-2020.

Statistics released this month by the Welsh Government on affordable housing provision between April 2019 to March 2020 placed Denbighshire at the top for affordable housing provision in North Wales and 11th nationally in Wales.

The council has pledged in the Denbighshire Corporate Plan to support the development of 1000 new homes in Denbighshire between 2017 and 2022, with 260 of those designated as affordable homes and 170 as council houses.

Between 2019 and 2020 a total of 119 affordable homes were delivered in Denbighshire.

The council also delivered 33 local authority owned social rented homes.

Denbighshire also came out top in North Wales for the key indicator of affordable housing delivered per 10,000 households and sixth overall in Wales.

Emlyn Jones, the council’s Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Planning, said: “Housing is a priority in our Corporate Plan, we recognised there is an important need to make sure housing is available to suit the needs of Denbighshire residents.

“We are working hard with developers and in partnership with registered social landlords to continually deliver on our promise to provide a wide range of accommodation for our residents, of which affordable housing is an integral part.

“Providing more affordable homes in our communities is part of our ongoing work to ensure we can retain more young people in Denbighshire.”

Denbighshire says it is on course to deliver a minimum of 70 more affordable homes in 2020-21.

Other housing developments across the county involving the council include:

•       Awel Y Dyffryn Extra Care facility in Denbigh developed by Gr┼Áp Cynefin providing 74 dwellings for vulnerable and older people, due to be completed June 2021

•       Adra Affordable development site in Meliden providing 44 homes of mixed tenure due to be completed December 2021

•       Cartrefi Conwy development site in Rhyl providing 18 social housing apartments due to be completed January 2022

•       Clwyd Alyn development site in Ruthin providing 63 affordable homes of mixed tenure due to be completed May 2023

•       Denbighshire are developing sites at Caradoc Road in Prestatyn and Tan Y Sgybor in Denbigh which will bring forward 26 social rent homes in 2022.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Castle Street bollards to be replaced by planters, say councillors

llanblogger exclusive


* The Castle Street bollards will be replaced by special planters.

Llangollen's two county councillors have today issued a statement in which they reveal that the Castle Street's controversial bollards are to go and be replaced with specially designed planters.

The lane defenders have split local opinion since they were installed late last year as part of a package of measures to help promote social distancing during the pandemic.

Earlier this month a 500-signature petition organised by Stuart Davies - now a town councillor - was handed in to the county council calling for the bollards to be removed.

The Llangollen Advocate group has also been posting on Facebook details of a number of accidents they say have been caused by the presence of the bollards. 

The statement, issued by County Councillors Graham Timms and Melvyn Mile says: "We have been seriously concerned about the continuing reports of trips and falls on Castle Street and have been working with the county council to discuss ways of making the area as safe as possible for everyone. 

"It is clear that the extra space to social distance has been appreciated by large numbers of people, but serious concerns have been raised about the trip hazard caused by the bases of the lane defenders that have been used along the road.

"We cannot ignore these concerns or the very nasty falls that have been so visually reported on Facebook recently. 

"As a result we have now agreed a way forward with Denbighshire which involves two major changes. 

"The first one is to use specially designed planters instead of the current lane defenders along Castle Street. 

"This will remove the possibility of tripping on the bases of the current bollards.  

"The second measure will involve painting a white line on the road both inside and outside the planters to help everyone to see clearly where the pavement ends and the road begins.

"Work will begin as soon as possible, hopefully with the lines being painted by this weekend.  

"Removing the bollards will take a little longer as contractors will need to be appointed and traffic control arranged whilst the work is carried out. The planters will replace the lane defenders as soon as possible after that.

"The revised method will allow for some planting to brighten up the area whilst keeping the extra space for active travel and pedestrians in the town centre, particularly as the number of visitors coming to the town is expected to reach record levels over the coming weeks as the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

"Let's hope that over the next few weeks and months we will begin to see a much brighter future.

"Llangollen is a special town for all of us and we need to continue to work together over this difficult time for everyone’s sake."

Covid vaccination update local and regional



Up to last Sunday 59,797 people in Denbighshire had so far received their Covid-19 vaccinations, according to the latest update from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

And last weekend was another busy time for Llangollen Health Centre which gave jabs to 851 people.

In its update on the local situation the health centre posted on social media yesterday (Monday): “After the weekend we are now in the position where we have vaccinated the majority of our patients in groups 1-9.

“If you are aged 50 or above and have not yet had your first Covid vaccine please contact us on 01978 860625 to book an appointment.

“We strongly recommend that, if you do want to have the vaccine, you do this as soon as possible.

“We have tried to contact all the patients on our Group 6 list. If you think you have been missed, we are asking you please to double check the eligibility criteria (see link below). 

“If having done this, you genuinely feel you should be in this group, please send us an email (Llangollen.Clinical@wales.nhs.uk) and a GP will review your medical records. 

“We are contacting patients for their second doses on a weekly rolling basis. However, if you are concerned that you have been missed please email us at: June.Jones4@wales.nhs.uk. 

Giving the wider picture the health board update, also put out yesterday (Monday) said: “As of 15 February, we have begun vaccinating priority groups 5 and 6.  

“We have also begun administering second doses for some who received the Pfizer vaccine in order to manage supplies effectively as the programme continues.  

“We are currently validating data for groups 5 and 6 and also second doses and will include these data as soon as possible.” 

In an overview the board gave the following figures:

  • Number of vaccinations given yesterday: 3,847
  • Total number of vaccinations given to date: 418,983 (first and second doses of the vaccine combined) 
  • Total number of second doses of the vaccine given to date (cohorts 1-6): 102,027

Priority groups vaccinated to date:

Older adult, care home residents: 8,063, Care home workers: 18,830, Those aged 80 year of age and over: 50,584, Health care workers: 45,379, Social care workers: 16,745, All those 75 years of age and over: 41,596, All those 70 years of age and over: 63,730, High risk adults under 70 years of age: 20,142, All those 65 years of age and over: 39,497, Other: 114,416.

Vaccinations by Local Authority area to date:

Anglesey: 48,411, Gwynedd: 70,326, Conwy: 79,950, Denbighshire: 59,797, Flintshire: 80,380, Wrexham: 69,888, Other: 10,231.

New service to help parents abused by their children

 

* Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones with (from left) Sarah Wilkie and Siwan Lloyd-Williams. 

A pioneering service has been set up in North Wales to help parents who are abused by their children after a 70% increase in cases during the pandemic.

Break 4 Change is a new support project, backed by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, that’s been established with the help of cash confiscated from criminals.

The therapeutic support provided by the Domestic Abuse Safety Unit North Wales (DASU) aims  to break the cycle of violence and prevent young people from becoming abusers in adulthood.

The new programme offers support to abused parents – and to their young abusers - and has received a grant of £5,000 from a special fund distributed by the PCC.

The Your Community, Your Choice initiative is also supported by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) which is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year.

It is the eighth year of the awards scheme and much of over £280,000 handed out to deserving causes in that time has been recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act, using cash seized from offenders with the rest coming from the Police and Crime Commissioner.

The annual awards scheme supports organisations which aim to tackle antisocial behaviour and combat crime and disorder in line with the priorities laid out in the Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan. 

There are 21 grants being allocated to successful schemes in 2021, with the winners being decided via an online voting system that has attracted more than 22,000 votes.  

The £5,000 grant awarded to Break 4 Change after new research revealed a 70per cent rise in child to parent abuse during the pandemic, prompting the number of families seeking help to soar.

It will support the delivery of three programmes over the next 12 months across the counties of Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy. Together, these will support 15 adults and 15 children/young people.

Sessions will be run by experienced support workers who have received special training on ‘child to parent’ violence and will aim to help young people manage their frustration, increase parental wellbeing and reduce isolation.

DASU support worker Sarah Wilkie said: “Child to parent abuse has always been there but it remains underreported because parents often feel ashamed and blame themselves.

“They don’t always recognise their child’s behaviour is not acceptable, instead believing it’s part of adolescence.

“As an organisation, we are seeing an increase in referrals for support from parents as a result of child to parent abuse, particularly during the pandemic.

“One parent came to us via the criminal justice system. Her 14-year-old daughter had become self-destructive, was drinking alcohol, becoming abusive to her parents, and the situation was escalating.

“The parents didn’t know what else to do. They had been passed from agency to agency. They wanted to protect their child and were worried about the impact on her future – would she become a criminal, if they reported it would the situation escalate and lead to more violence?

“The fear of judgement is huge. That is a massive reason why parents will not seek help. They fear being labelled a bad parent or a troublesome family.

“Before this programme, our response was very much reactive. We provided emotional support, checked on the family concerned and liaised with other agencies.

“This programme will allow us to take a preventative approach and equip the child and their parent with the tools to understand what a healthy relationship is.”

DASU said a high volume of calls received by North Wales Police related to children or young people being abusive towards their parents. Until now, however, there were no specific services to support families in this situation.

“Young people’s behaviour is a way of communicating. There’s often some kind of trauma or bereavement or stuff going on at school and it’s getting to the bottom of it,” said Sarah, who missed a large part of her own education as a child through illness and felt drawn to help other young people overcome their problems.

“I and my colleagues have seen parents affected by physical violence, verbal, emotional and even financial abuse. We have seen parents frightened of their child.

“As a parent, you feel that you should be able to manage your child’s behaviour and don’t understand what is happening.

“If a child has been through a lot of trauma or lived with domestic abuse, how do they know what appropriate behaviour looks like?

“They might not have had any role models. How can you expect someone to change their behaviour without the tools to do it? This programme will allow that to happen.”

Siwan Lloyd Williams, Head of Services for DASU, said: “We expect this to have a great impact.

“It will help reduce abuse and violence in the home, help young people learn to manage their frustration and give parents the tools and confidence to deal with their child’s abusive behaviour. It will also help repair fractured relationships between children and parents.

“It should reduce the number of children who become homeless or have to be taken into care, help keep them out of the criminal justice system and prevent them from becoming adult perpetrators, so reducing the cost to the public purse.

“We would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for DASU. We would also like to thank the Commissioner for his continued support.

“This funding will help us meet the needs of victims of domestic abuse in North Wales.”

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said: “It has been an extraordinarily challenging year for us all but I am delighted that my Your Community Your Choice fund continues to support community projects across North Wales for an eighth year.

“Providing support for vulnerable people who are victims of abuse is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan.

“The problem of children abusing their parents is one that many people will not be aware of but it is very real and something that causes untold hurt and anguish.

“This pioneering project being run by DASU will help break the vicious circle of abuse and hopefully repair the damaged being caused to these families in North Wales so that everyone concerned can move on and enjoy a positive and more harmonious future.”

PACT chairman Ashley Rogers added: “Your community your choice is a really valuable way of supporting communities and putting the choice of which projects are supported in their hands.

“It’s a very democratic process which is why I think it’s been such a long running  and successful scheme.

“It’s lovely project to be involved with and you can directly see the benefits from the funding in strengthening our resilient communities.”

Assistant Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett said: “This money includes cash from assets seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act. This is a particularly vital message as through the professionalism of North Wales Police Officers and with the support of the Courts, we are able to hit the criminals where it hurts – in their pockets.

“Our operations target all types of serious criminality including cross border crime, armed robbery, criminal use of firearms as well as drug production, importation and supply.

“Our communities continue to play a part in this success with local intelligence information given to our officers that help us to bring these criminals to justice.

“It sends a really positive message that money taken from the pockets of criminals is being recycled. This is turning bad money into good that's being used for a constructive purpose.”

* Anybody needing support can contact DASU via their website www.dasunorthwales.co.uk/contact or by ringing 01244 830436 (Flintshire), 01745 814494 (Denbigh), 01492 534705 (Colwyn) or ​01978 310203 (Wrexham).

Monday, March 29, 2021

Railway trust chairman pays tribute to its volunteers

The chairman of the Llangollen Heritage Railway Trust has paid glowing tribute to the army of volunteers who have kept the heritage line running over many years.

Peter Edwards said: "Their commitment is amazing and what they have done here at Corwen Station is just jaw dropping. For many the railway has been their life's work."

His comments come in an article in the Shropshire Star newspaper a few weeks after the railway's public limited company - quite separate from the trust - went into receivership.  

* For the full story, see: https://www.shropshirestar.com/news/local-hubs/mid-wales/llangollen/2021/03/27/volunteers-determined-to-see-the-llangollen-railway-back-on-track/

Make memories with hospice's balloon appeal


* Val's Feet on the Beach balloon panel.

Making memories and commemorating loved ones is proving to be a popular theme for Nightingale House’s unique Build A Balloon campaign.

The hospice is building its very own hot air balloon to celebrate 25 years of caring for those with life-limiting illnesses.

After a year of lockdown one family can’t wait for their annual holiday gathering in North Wales - so much so it’s the image on their very own panel as a reminder of good times ahead. 

Feet on the beach depicts Val Gillet’s family’s feet on the sand at Tal-Y-Bont, as a timely reminder that it won’t be long until they can all holiday together again.

Val of Coedpoeth said: “I love this photograph of our feet on the beach, it reminds me of happy times when we could all be together and be a family post-lockdown. 

“I wanted to sponsor a panel on the balloon to support the excellent work the hospice does in our communities and for me the fond memories we have of us all together on holiday seemed the perfect image. Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can get together again.”

Val, is also part of a Ladies Wine Group - a group of 14 friends who’ve been meeting weekly via Zoom since March last year. 

The ladies also wanted to sponsor a panel and chose the words “Ladies Wine, Flying High Together in 2021” as a symbol of their friendship and optimism for when they meet again face to face. 

“As a group we often help fundraise for various charities. We all agreed that supporting Nightingale House’s Build A Balloon Campaign would be a great opportunity to celebrate us as a group. In normal times we’d meet every month in someone’s house but when lockdown happened we started doing our weekly Zoom Calls.”

Ladies Wine paid £25 for their exclusive panel but raised a total of £150, with the remainder being made as a donation to Nightingale House. 

Sarah Povey, Fundraiser for Nightingale House said: “The image and slogan Val and her friends have selected for their exclusive panels are great examples of hope and happy times to come. As so many of our face to face events have been cancelled we believe that our unique Build A Balloon campaign is a great way for supporters to celebrate or commemorate loved ones. We are grateful for the kind support given by Val and the Ladies Wine Group and excited to see their completed panels on our balloon in the summer.”

The Nightingale House Build A Balloon campaign closes on April 30 2021 and is due to go into production in late spring. 

* If you would like to sponsor a panel you can go online and complete the form at www.nightingalehouse.co.uk/event/build-a-balloon/ before the end of April.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Old-style load lugger probably deserves an ASBO






Mazda6 Tourer road test by Steve Rogers

This is a rare event, a car with a big petrol engine and not a hybrid motor or electric cable to recharge the battery pack in sight, and it's an estate.


Remember those, the  cars we turned to for carrying the big loads before becoming obsessed with SUVs. 


Volvo built some belters, renowned as load luggers, and as styling got sharper they got trendy names like sportwagon or sport tourer.


And you need look no further than this beauty for top notch styling. Mazda is going through a purple patch with the pen, or more likely a computer, and its 6 Tourer is the perfect example of how to fashion an estate car that turns heads.


The current model has been around for a few years yet still looks fresh, but the estate, sorry Tourer, is not all about looks. 


Okay, it is not top of the league when it comes to litres of space but will suit most families carrying needs. If space is that important buy a Skoda Superb estate.


With the seat backs dropped I managed to stow two adult bikes without removing the front wheels so that should give a good indication of the length of the boot floor.


Inside is a bit like stepping back in time.... the good times. 


You know where you are as soon as you take charge of the wheel. Comfortable. Confident. The dashboard is a traditional layout with a modern take, three large clear dials ahead of the driver for speedo, rev counter and fuel and temperature gauges with a neat info display in the middle.


There is no faffing around trying to master the touchscreen just to get the heating working, physical switches are clearly laid out across the centre console. Daft as it sounds this is just a friendly easy going car.


There is a 7 inch screen atop the dashboard (small by today's standards where 10in is the norm) for navigation, radio selections and Bluetooth etc, but that is controlled from a rotary switch between the seats. Mazda has used this same system for donkeys years and is still the easiest I have come across.


My car was the flagship with the 2.5 litre four cylinder petrol so it was a flyer, diesel has been dropped from this model, and I suppose this is where things are not so friendly. In an age where economy and low emissions are the buzz words this car would probably get an ASBO.


The delivery driver got 39mpg which is good going, my best was 37mpg, and over 450 or so miles the average was 35 which isn't great compared to the 58mpg from the hybrid BMW 3 Series featured a few weeks ago. 


Emissions are erm... 172g/km, probably best not to dwell on that.


The get out of jail card is a brace of 2-litre petrols, not quite as fast but cleaner and easier on the pocket at the fuel station. But if you want plenty of grunt from the fast pedal then it is here in spades and there is the benefit of Mazda's fine chassis for sharp handling.


With a £33k price tag the GT Sport comes packed with kit packaged in a plush cabin. Front seats are powered, heated and ventilated, outer back seats heated, auto dipping adaptive headlights and a camera with a 360 degree view are the highlights on a long spec sheet. All that is missing is a powered tailgate.


If the Touring proves anything it is that there is still life in the good old estate car.


Fast Facts

GT Sport Nav+ 6sp auto

£33,685

2.5 litre petrol; 190bhp

0-62mph 8.1secs; 139mph

37.2mpg combined

172g/km. First VED £870

Insurance group 29

Boot 522-1664 litres

 

 

Motor home pulled to safety after Panorama plunge


* Above and below: the motor home is pulled
 back onto the road by the heavy lifting vehicle.



* The motor home in the ravine where it landed.

Llanblogger reader Mike Edwards took these pictures on Friday after a motorhome went off the Panorama Road and landed in the ravine below.

It was recovered by a large military-style lifting vehicle believed to be from Richards in Fron.

It's understood there was no-one in the motorhome when it took the plunge.


Wales to benefit from extra UK government funding, says MP

Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes says Wales will benefit from £400 million of additional UK Government funding for health and social care services in Wales.

As a result of last week’s announcement by Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, a further £7 billion will be made available for NHS and social care services. 

This means that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from an additional £1.3 billion. 

This funding for devolved governments is determined by the Barnett formula and it is therefore ultimately the decision of the Welsh Government of how to spend the money in Wales.

Additionally, the UK Government has set out its vision for the future of clinical research, developed by all four nations of the United Kingdom. 

The vision is designed to improve the speed and efficiency with which the UK Government sets up studies, uses digital platforms to deliver clinical research, and makes research more diverse and relevant to the whole UK. 

As a result, demonstrating a continued shared commitment to work collaboratively, ensuring the UK remains a world-leader in innovative research for the benefit of all four nations.    

Simon Baynes said: “I very much welcome the news that Wales is set to receive more funding from the UK Government, which will be vital for our NHS services and social care services here in Wales. This is once again a clear example of how the UK Government is committed to ensuring all four nations are able to benefit, with no one left behind. And I would urge the Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff to use this money for the benefit of our Welsh NHS and its staff.”

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Work to ensure beauty spots' safety as stay local guidance lifted


* Horseshoe Falls in Llangollen.

Denbighshire County Council and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB have put plans in place to ensure countryside sites remain safe as travel restrictions ease.

The Welsh Government is removing the stay local guidance from today (Saturday) and work has taken place at sites across Denbighshire, including Moel Famau and Loggerheads country parks, to ensure measures are in place to keep visitors safe.

These include improvements to the car parks at Moel Famau and the upgrading of paths at Loggerheads and works at Horseshoe Falls to improve access.  

Huw Rees, Denbighshire County Council’s Countryside and Heritage Services Manager, said: “We know it has been a difficult period for residents not being able to enjoy the countryside here in Denbighshire and I would like to thank all those who have been following the exercise from home rules.

“The council and Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB have been preparing for the change in restrictions. However, it is vital visitors play their part when returning to our countryside sites.

“It is important visitors know what restrictions and guidelines are in place before travelling and to keep themselves and others safe they should avoid busy times, check ahead to see if facilities are open and where possible access quieter sites and walks during the initial period of re-opening. This will help avoid busy periods and parking issues.

“It is also important visitors respect the countryside and act responsibly during their visit and this means keeping dogs on leads and not to litter.

“We would like to reassure residents we will continue to work with North Wales Police and with partners to spread the message that cross-border travel is still restricted.”

* A list of alternative walks in the county can be found at www.clwydianrangeanddeevalleyaonb.org.uk/projects/community-miles/

"Great shame" not all hospitality will open, says industry leader

 

* Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism.

A tourism leader in North Wales says it’s a “great shame” that attractions and most of the hospitality industry won’t be open for Easter.

Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, said that their was a real sense of frustration in businesses that had been battered as a result of the pandemic.

He accused the Welsh Government of failing to listen to the sector’s pleas for a proper roadmap to navigate the return to something near normality.

First Minister Mark Drakeford has revealed the “stay-local" rules will lift in Wales from tomorrow (Saturday) and unrestricted travel within its borders will be allowed.

It means Wales will be the first UK nation to scrap travel restrictions within country boundaries since lockdowns were re-imposed in winter.

Self-contained tourist accommodation - including many hotels and cottages - will also be able to open then.

But non-essential travel to and from other UK nations will be banned for at least two weeks.

Mr Jones said: “It’s excellent news that slowly we are on the right track as we slowly start to open up the sector across Wales but it's a great shame that many of our attractions and hospitality won't be open for Easter. 

“There is still a real and palpable sense of frustration in the sector, as it feels that the Welsh Government haven't been listening to the mood on the ground. If they had, then we would have a plan to take us forward post April. 

“It is very difficult to understand why they won't map this out, especially as the other three home nations have now done so. 

“Maybe it's a matter of pride on the First Minister’s behalf that he wants to stick to his agenda of not budging on his opinion, even though the evidence and feedback tell him otherwise.  I really don't know.

“But he needs to realise that when running a business, people need time to plan. They now have very little resource, which makes things a lot harder. 

“We at North Wales Tourism, on behalf of the sector, have consistently offered advice and guidance to Welsh Government throughout this whole pandemic. But it appears to be of no avail. 

“However, we know dates will eventually be forthcoming, based on the success of the vaccine roll out and reduction in cases.

“In the meantime, more targeted financial support is still needed for the sector to help with recovery. Be under no illusion, this is still going to be a very tough and bumpy ride for many businesses going forward.”

Friday, March 26, 2021

Subscription service launched to end period poverty

The county council, through the Welsh Government 2020/21 Period Deprivation Grant, has secured a subscription service for young people in Denbighshire where period poverty could be a barrier to their education. 

The free service, in conjunction with social enterprise Hey Girls, will run until March 2022 providing either a package of re-usable period products or a monthly delivery of eco-friendly disposable products directly to subscribers’ homes.

Those eligible must be enrolled at either a primary or secondary school in Denbighshire and it is deemed a lack of period products could be a barrier to a young person accessing education. 

Geraint Davies, Denbighshire County Council’s Head of Education, said: “I welcome this collaboration with Hey Girls which will ensure period dignity isn’t a barrier to education in Denbighshire.

“This service will allow products to be delivered to young people’s homes or at an alternative location, if the learner wishes to receive them discreetly.

“Free menstrual products have always been available in schools and they continued to be provided for those attending during the lockdown.

“Schools themselves have been sending products home to those not in school during the lockdown and during the summer of 2020 there was an additional delivery service by the TRAC team.

“This new service continues and enhances the offer to leaners here in Denbighshire.”

Celia Hodson, CEO and founder of Hey Girls, said: "Hey Girls is delighted to be expanding our work within Wales to provide period dignity to students in Denbighshire. 

“The subscription service gives pupils the choice to find the correct period products to suit their individual needs, offering a range of products that they may not have tried before, including sustainable, reusable products.

“Hey Girls is supporting Denbighshire by providing educational resources for primary and secondary aged pupils, covering periods and menstrual health, and guides on how to use period products. By encouraging open conversations about menstruation in schools, pupils can address taboos, stigma and shame in a safe space and better understand how menstrual health affects themselves and others around them."

* To check if you are eligible for the service contact DCCHG@denbighshire.gov.uk

Tourism sector can start re-opening tomorrow, says First Minister

Wales' tourism sector will be able to start re-opening from tomorrow (Saturday) as the stay-local rule is lifted, First Minister Mark Drakeford (pictured) has announced.

The rules will also be changed to enable organised outdoor activities and sports for children and under-18s to take place and up to six people from two different households to meet and exercise outdoors.

The relaxations continue the Welsh Government’s planned, step-by-step approach to relaxing the coronavirus restrictions, taking account of the highly-infectious Kent variant, which is now the dominant form of the virus in Wales.

These are the final stages of the relaxations in this three-week review cycle and they follow the successful return of primary pupils and many older secondary school and college students to face-to-face learning and the start of the phased re-opening of non-essential retail, including the opening of hairdressers and barbers.

Wales is moving out of alert level four, and now starting to move into level three. Welsh Ministers will consider further alert level three measures in the next review of the regulations.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: "These further relaxations are part of our careful and phased approach to unlocking the restrictions and enabling people and businesses to resume their activities in the safest possible way.

"We’re only able to do this because of the sacrifices everyone across Wales has made over the last few months – everything you are doing to keep your loved ones safe is also keeping Wales safe.

"The public health position remains stable; our incredible vaccination programme goes from strength to strength – we have headroom to make these changes.

"Self-contained holiday accommodation, including hotels with en-suite facilities and room service, will be able to reopen to people from the same household or support bubble.

"The stay local rule will be replaced by an interim all-Wales travel area, which will remain in place until April 12, subject to the public health situation. For the next two weeks, only those with a reasonable excuse, such as work, will be able to travel into or out of Wales." 

The current restrictions on international travel for holidays will remain in place.
Other changes include:

  • Six people from two different households, excluding children under 11, will be able to meet and exercise outdoors and in private gardens;
  • Organised outdoor activities and sports for children and under 18s will be able to resume;
  • There will be a limited opening of outdoor areas of some historic places and gardens;
  • Libraries and archives will be able to re-open.

The First Minister added: "We are taking a step-by step approach to relaxing restrictions and want to carry on being able to open up Wales.

"To do that we need everyone’s help. That means staying vigilant for signs of infection; isolating if we have symptoms and arranging to get tested.

"It also means following the basic steps to keep us all safe while we’re out and about – keeping our distance from others; not mixing indoors; avoiding crowds; washing our hands regularly and wearing face coverings."

The next review of the regulations will take place next week. Welsh Ministers will consider the following relaxations, which will come into effect from April 12, subject to the public health situation:  

  • All pupils and students can return to schools, colleges and other education;
  • All shops and close contact services can open;
  • The interim all-Wales travel area can be lifted.