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Friday, December 31, 2021

Warning over scam email aimed at stealing your money

The North Wales Police Community Alerts network has just issued a warning about a fake supermarket chain email now doing the rounds.

It says: "Unfortunately scam messages are on the increase. 

"The latest one to come to our attention is a fake e-mail purporting to be from Asda claiming that you will get a £90 promo reward if you complete a survey. 

"The link leads to a website that is designed to steal your personal information and possibly your money.

"Please make sure that your friends, family and neighbours are aware that this is a scam.

"Also remember if you receive a suspicious email to forward it to the National Cyber Secirity Centre:

"As of the 30th November 2021 the number of reports to them stood at more than 8,700,000 which has resulted in the removal of more than 68,000 scams across 127,000 websites."

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Wales slashes Covid-19 self-isolation period

The Denbighshire Free Press is reporting this afternoon (Thursday) that the Welsh Government has announced that people who have tested positive for coronavirus will only have to self-isolate for seven days.

The self-isolation period will be reduced from 10 to seven days, on the basis of two negative lateral flow tests taken on days six and seven, from tomorrow (Friday, December 31).

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the coronavirus situation has deteriorated in the last week as the omicron wave has arrived.

* For the full story, see:

Sharper Suzuki S-Class comes out from the shadows

Suzuki S-Cross first drive by Steve Rogers

Living in the shadow of a sibling isn’t easy so spare a thought for the Suzuki S-Cross.

It burst on to the scene when the Japanese company had a model shake up in 2014 and was meant to take over from Vitara as top dog.

Trouble was it didn’t bark loud enough and was the sort of car you walked past to get to the Vitara. It was not an ugly car, not even a bad car, it just lacked pulling power.

Seven long years later Suzuki has put it right with a new model that will put a smile on faces. Let’s not get carried away, S-Cross does not have the catwalk appeal of a Peugeot 3008 or a Hyundai Tucson but bolder, sharper lines and bang up to date LED headlight design means it is worthy of a kerbside glance.

It has been a tough old year for Suzuki, not that they are alone, with a dip in market share, some of it down to something as small as a semi conductor chip. There weren’t enough to go round and cars will not go anywhere without them.

That has been resolved and there will be plenty of S-Cross models in the showrooms when they go on sale next week.

Can S-Cross do better this time round? Sharper styling will make a difference but the biggest selling point is value for money. Suzuki has made S-Cross difficult to ignore by packing the Motion model with more kit than its key rivals. Auto dipping LED headlamps, keyless entry, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, smartphone connectivity and a heap of safety technology are the stand out trimmings.

Move up to Ultra and you gain all wheel drive, panoramic sunroof, nine inch touchscreen with navigation, 360 degree view camera and leather seats.

S-Cross is no bigger than before but Suzuki say better packing has freed up more cabin space and while it is no class leader legroom is ample with a full complement of adults.

Engine choice is limited to the 1.4 litre Boosterjet which is Suzuki’s description for a turbo charger, but don’t be put off because it loves big revs and has plenty of punch helped by a 48V mild hybrid unit that masks turbo lag, improves economy and lowers emissions.

Economy is another big plus for the lightweight S-Cross with monthly fuel bill savings for the front wheel drive manual ranging from £12 to £33 against nine competitors according to Suzuki stats. It also wins on lowest engine emissions.

There has to be a disappointment and with S-Cross it is the cabin trim. There is too much hard plastic which brings down the tone but realistically costs have to be cut somewhere and may be this is the least offensive area. Better that than giving up heated seats?

Suzuki is on a mission with S-Cross and has been boosted at being named top car brand for trust by the Institute of Customer Services. The company was third out of 260 organisations with Dacia the next closest car manufacturer at 28.

It helps the cause but it will be no easy ride given the level of competition. This is a fresh start for S-Cross and with ruthless pricing is tremendous value for money. The new Nissan Qashqai, featured earlier this month, is a nicer car to drive and to be in, but it cost a whopping £38 grand and you would not get anywhere near the same level of kit in a Qashqai costing the same as the 25k S-Cross Motion.

My choice on S-Cross would be the Motion because it has just about all that is needed although I could be tempted by the excellent 360 degree camera in the Ultra. Tough decisions all round.

Fast facts

S-Cross Ultra All Grip

6-speed auto

£31,149 (£29,999 manual)

0-62mph 10.2secs; 121mph

46.3mpg combined

139g/km. 1st VED £210

Insurance group 22

Boot 430 litres

More help available to protect vulnerable women

* North Wales Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Wayne Jones at the North Wales Women’s Centre in Rhyl with, from left, Abby Lewis, office co-ordinator; Gemma Fox, Managing Director; and Yvonne Wild, Project Manager. Picture by Mandy Jones Photography.

A vital service protecting vulnerable women across North Wales is opening two new contact centres in Wrexham and Bangor to reach out to those in need..

The North Wales Women’s Centre, in Rhyl, was forced to close its doors during lockdown, preventing women using its drop-in service.

Now the centre has re-opened and is launching its new Pathfinder offices in Wrexham and Bangor.

The Pathfinder programme, which aims to help women at risk of offending, has been commissioned and paid for by North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin.

It provides early intervention and support to vulnerable women, often with issues such as alcohol and substance misuse, mental health problems and family relationships, to reduce the number in the criminal justice system while helping them live safer, healthier lives.

Centre managing director Gemma Fox said: “These are places which are welcoming, warm, friendly places where women who have been through trauma can be reassured and have confidential conversations in a safe environment.

“We know these centres can encourage women to rebuild their lives and without the help of the Commissioner we just wouldn’t have been able to go ahead with the plans

“The return to face to face work will encourage women to seek out support again as during the pandemic that personal contact couldn’t be there.

“We are beginning to see an increase in demand and are expecting this to grow with the developing economic fallout of the pandemic and drops in benefits.”

North Wales Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Wayne Jones said: “We are very keen to support the ongoing work of the Centre to divert women out of the criminal justice system whenever possible.

“We know the impact a sentence can have on a family and that’s why we want to continue our support and we welcome the fact that the Centre is opening new bases in Wrexham and Bangor to make its services more accessible to women across North Wales.

“I know from my own experience how very, very helpful these services are to women at risk including those who come to the Centre and want to change their lives.

“They have an excellent record of supporting women who are in difficult situations and in diverting them away from prison.

“Covid has brought extra challenges with the reduction in face to face meetings but they have continued to do excellent work and it’s great that they can now develop services across North Wales.”

Yvonne Wild, Project Manager at the Centre, said: “Women come to us through different routes, not just referrals from police or those who have committed offences, but those also at risk of offending.

“They’re often those who are homeless or with alcohol or drug problems, victims of domestic abuse and those in financial difficulty, particularly with the reduction in Universal Credit.

“There are also people who have lost jobs, especially in an area like Rhyl which is one of the most deprived in Wales, but also in Bangor and in Wrexham where we get the most referrals.

“There has been an increase in the numbers seeking support with domestic abuse and housing problems that we are dealing with and it hasn’t helped that women have not been able to call in during lockdown.

“However we were delighted to restart our Wednesday drop in service in Rhyl in September where women can call by without an appointment.”

* To contact the North Wales Women’s Centre and for support go to or call 01745-339331.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

People urged to protect themselves from Covid as case rates 'soar'

Wales' leading doctor has urged everyone to take steps to protect themselves from Covid-19 as case rates are surging to their highest levels in the pandemic.

Dr Chris Jones, Wales’ deputy chief medical officer, encouraged people across Wales to get their booster vaccine and follow measures to curb the spread of the virus.

The latest figures (dated up to yesterday, Tuesday) show case rates have risen sharply to more than 910 cases per 100,000 people – the highest levels since the start of the pandemic.

Some 6,000 new infections are being confirmed daily, the majority of which will be caused by the new omicron variant.

More than 54% of adults in Wales have had their booster vaccine.

Dr Jones said: "We are seeing a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases caused by omicron all over Wales. The majority of these are in younger people and we believe they would have been contracted before Christmas.

"This new variant is very transmissible – it spreads very quickly wherever people come together.

"Please take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. This means wearing a face covering in indoor public places; keeping your distance from other people wherever possible and, if you can, reducing the number of people you meet regularly.

"If you have symptoms, self-isolate and arrange to get a PCR test.

"Please also get your booster vaccine – it’s the best way of protecting ourselves.

"Wales is at alert level two and new protections are in place. This is a worrying time but if we all work together and look out for each other, we can keep Wales safe.

"New alert level 2 measures for businesses and updated and strengthened guidance to help people stay safe at home came into effect on Boxing Day in Wales in response to the predicted omicron wave.

"The key things everyone can do to lower their risk of contracting coronavirus:

  • Get fully vaccinated, including having your booster – the vaccine offers significant protections for you and for people you care about.
  • Self-isolate and get a PCR if you have Covid-19 symptoms. Avoid others when ill.
  • Take lateral flow tests twice a week if you don’t have any symptoms and flow before you go out or meet people. If it’s positive don’t go and arrange to have a PCR test.
  • Keep your distance from others wherever possible.
  • Limit the number of people you meet with, especially if you’re meeting different people in quick succession.
  • Meet outdoors if you can or in well-ventilated places.
  • Avoid crowded places where possible.
  • Wash your hands; sneeze into tissues and keep surfaces lots of people touch clean.
  • Wear a face covering, especially in crowded spaces.
  • Use the NHS COVID Pass or show a negative lateral flow test result to attend large events, venues, cinemas, theatres and concert halls."

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Update on campaign to set up Llangollen park run

* The new pocket park at Wenfrwdd, start point for the proposed park run.

Llangollen running enthusiast Mike Edwards has given an update on the ongoing campaign to set up a new route for a regular run linking the area's new pocket park at Wenfrwdd with the town centre.  

The park run is now a worldwide concept and there are 1,089 events around the UK.

There are currently nearly 50 park runs in Wales with established local events at Erddig in Wrexham, Bala and Dolgellau. 

The runs take place every Saturday at 9am and are free to enter. 

Mike Edwards said: "In 2019, working with the GP practice from Llangollen Health Centre represented by Dr Michael Clarke, we set up a core group to establish a park run for Llangollen. 

* Llangollen Health Centre where the regular park run would end.

"The GP practice have already registered as a Park Run Practice, which enables them to encourage their patients to become active at weekly runs to improve their health and wellbeing by volunteering, walking, jogging or running.  

"Those wishing to take part merely have to register on the Park Run UK website where they get a barcode they can print out which they produce at the end of an event and they then get a text or email giving them a time for the 5k event."

Mike added: "Locally, although matters have obviously been held back by the pandemic we have identified a route and had meetings with representatives from the Countryside Service of Denbighshire CC with a view to using the trackbed of the former railway line which runs from the health centre to the new pocket ark at Wenffrwd. 

"The funding recently made available will enable Denbighshire Countryside Services to convert the trackbed to a two-metre-wide, multi-use path and work on this will start shortly we understand.  

"The proposed route of our park run will circulate around the paths at Wenffrwd and then return to the health centre to give us a measured 5k course. Park Run Cymru have appointed a Park Run Ambassador to mentor and assist us establishing and launching our event. 

"We have a core group of some dozen individuals, some who are experienced at marshalling at local running events, but we would welcome all newcomers who wish to assist with setting up and operating the event once launched. 

"We do not have a definite date for launching the event at this time, but this is likely to be in the new year possibly in the spring."

Mike went on: "I have recently had discussions with Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes who is fully supportive of us setting up a park run for Llangollen and we are meeting with him in the new year to show him our route.

"I know from being involved with Erddig Park Run and Henley Wood, Oswestry, where I volunteer and run, that a park run once established rapidly develops a community of supportive individuals who help each other and enhance their physical and mental wellbeing. 

"Another feature of park runs is park run tourists, that is people who visit park runs aground the country to tick-off events that they have attended. This brings economic benefits to an area because people visit and often stay in the area using local hotels, B&Bs and cafes. 

"We are certain that a park run set in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty attract many such visitors."

* People can find out more by following the link:

Monday, December 27, 2021

Police boss warns parents about online perverts

* North Wales Police and Crime Andy Dunbbobin with Carl Taraborelli and Jon Russell. 

A police boss has issued a warning to mums and dads to put parental controls on their children’s smart phones and other devices to protect them from online perverts.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin spoke out after hearing that two nine year old girls from the region were filmed dancing naked in a “sexually provocative way” on a live streaming app.

During a visit to meet North Wales Police’s crack team of cybercrime experts, the tech savvy commissioner was also told that sexting by school children was on the increase.

According to Mr Dunbobbin, tackling the growing menace of cyber dangers was one of the key priorities in his new Police and Crime Plan which sets out the blueprint for policing North Wales.

The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners is already tapping into the commissioner’s expertise.

They have elected him as their deputy lead for police technology and digital and deputy lead for economic and cybercrime, including fraud.

Fellow commissioners decided he was the perfect person for the job because of his background working in the technology industry.

Back in 2012 he helped ensure the London Olympics was successfully beamed across the world to an audience measured in billions.

Mr Dunbobbin said: “Technology is playing an increasingly vital role in policing so this is a hugely important area.

“The increase in online crime is a massive challenge for the police, here in North Wales and across the UK.

“The criminal fraternity and online paedophiles are becoming ever more sophisticated in the way they operate and we need to respond accordingly so we can stay one step ahead.

“It is therefore imperative that we invest to ensure we have the most up-to-date technology at our disposal so we can crack down on these online dangers.

“At the same time, educating children incredibly important. It’s important to show all youngsters how to stay safe online and not to give out personal information-  and I’m glad to say that North Wales Police are very proactive in this regard.

“But parents also have a vitally important role to play in protecting their own children from the dangers lurking online and the risks of paedophiles targeting youngsters that they can groom.

“Mums and Dads can and should set parental controls that will prevent their children accessing sites with inappropriate sexual material.

“There is a lot of advice and information available one of the most useful sites parents can tap into is the website of the National Cybersecurity Centre,

It was a message echoed by Detective Sergeant Carl Taraborelli who said: “The chances are that many parents are blissfully unaware of what their children are using their phones and iPads for whilst they are connected to the internet.

“The sending of inappropriate pictures is a growing trend amongst children, compounded by the use of technology and social media.

“It’s mainly teenagers who do this but in some cases, it can be a lot younger as well.

“Parents need to ask and check what their children are doing online and if they were to visit the National Cybersecurity Centre’s website there is a lot of advice aimed towards parents/guardians to help them, help their children keep safe from online harm.

The police do not routinely criminalise children for this behaviour and our priority is to educate and steer those children from harm.

“I know from my previous role as a detective sergeant in Child Protection however, that we used to receive regular queries from partner agencies and other officers with mobile phones belonging to children who were sending images to one another, so it is sadly an area of concern.

“The children don’t always appreciate the dangers that presents to them and the subsequent loss of control of those images once that image is out. It can often result in elements of cyber bullying and public embarrassment.

“In the most serious of cases, it can really affect those children and there have been examples where children have really struggled to cope following the effects and outcome of this type of behavior - you have to treat that extremely seriously and make sure that all the relevant support is in place in those types of situations.

“We’ve got a strong cohort of school liaison officers and cyber safety is an important part of their remit. The ideal solution is to stop this problem at source.”

* For more information parents can go to the National Cybersecurity Centre’s website,

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Community Christmas lunch serves up festive cheer

* A group who had registered in advance enjoy their socially-distanced Christmas lunch in the community hall.

A team of volunteers led by Mike Connolly brought a real taste of the festive season to Llangollen by once again running the annual community Christmas lunch yesterday.

Closely observing all anti-Covid rules, they cooked from scratch and served up around 50 three-course meals plus tea, coffee or a little wine to anyone who had registered in advance.

About 20 of the meals was delivered to socially-distanced tables in St Collen's Community Hall yesterday lunchtime while the rest were taken out to people's homes by a volunteer driver starting on Christmas Eve.

Much of the food and wine, including turkey with all the trimmings, was donated by local companies.  

Rhug Estate owner makes gift of life-saving machine

* Tomos Hughes and Lord Newborough with the defibrillator unit in the Rhug Estate Farmshop car park. 

Lord Newborough’s gift to the local community this Christmas is a Public Access Defibrillator which has been installed at Rhug Estate.

Lord Newborough, Owner of the estate, said: “The greatest gift this year is life, after everything we have been through this past year with the pandemic. 

"With that in mind I have decided to purchase a defibrillator unit from the North Wales NHS charity, Awyr Las/Keep the Beats which is working in partnership with the Welsh Ambulance service as my Christmas gift to the local community, Rhug staff, visitors and anyone else who might be travelling along the A5 and in need.”

The defibrillator unit has been installed in the Farm Shop car park and is for everyone’s use if they should ever need it.

The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) is part of the Save a Life Cymru campaign. They work in partnership with Keep the Beats, a dedicated fund and project within the North Wales NHS charity, Awyr Las and other organisations including the Welsh Government, other emergency services and charitable organisations. 

All are committed to supporting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and public access defibrillation across Wales.

Defibrillation in under five minutes can produce survival rates as high as 50-70% (Resuscitation Council UK, 2019). 

The Welsh Ambulance Service staff can direct members of the public to the nearest location of a defibrillation unit in the event of an emergency.

Tomos Hughes, North Wales Public Access Defibrillators Support Officer for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We are always grateful to those that care for their local community in this way to consider purchasing and managing the safety and maintenance of defibrillation units across Wales. These machines save lives.”   

Every year Lord Newborough holds a Christmas carol service with food and drinks. He does this as a gift to the local community and his staff and as an opportunity to raise funds for charity. 

This didn’t go ahead last year and again this year due to the pandemic and so Lord Newborough is giving the defibrillator as his gift to the community instead.

Lord Newborough said: “Your support and encouragement has kept us going this last year once again and I can’t thank everyone enough.

"May the good times and treasures of the present become the golden memories of tomorrow and may your Christmas sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill. To our customers and your families, may the Christmas season bring only happiness and joy.”

* Rhug Estate is open between Christmas and the New Year. Visit the website for opening times.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas/Nadolig Llawen from llanblogger!


llanblogger wishes a very Merry Christmas/Nadolig Llawen to all readers

Mayor sends out a Christmas message to the town

* The Mayor, Cllr Austin Cheminais.

Town Mayor, Councillor Austin Cheminais, sends this special seasonal message to the people of Llangollen:

At this special time of the year I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the trials of 2021 and wish you and your loved ones a very special Christmas and happy 2022. 

We are still living in extraordinary times but we’re in a much better place than this time last year.  Hopefully we’re on the journey back to “how things used to be” and 2022 will see us at journeys end.


We are lucky to live where we do. Llangollen is a beautiful town in a beautiful place and I believe our community throughout the pandemic has demonstrated an inner beauty. 

Llangollen has some amazing volunteer organisations and individuals and they continue to offer help and support to others. Over the last, nearly, two years it has been so heart-warming to see people working together and helping each other, going the extra mile to ensure that those most in need are helped and supported and cared for.  These thousands of group and individual acts of kindness make me proud to be part of the Llangollen Community.


On behalf of Llangollen thank you to everyone who has worked hard to help others overcome the multiple hurdles that have come our way over recent times. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of the essential workers who have been there for us throughout the pandemic. We thank you for your dedication, help and support.


Tourism is the life blood of our community and plays a major role in boosting our local economy. It’s been great to see visitors returning during the second part of 2021. The resilience of our local businesses during what have been difficult times is to be applauded.  I wish them every success going forward.


We live in one of the best places you could possibly live, so naturally there are lots of people who want to visit, enjoy and share what Llangollen has to offer; and recently we’ve had to re-adjust to seeing our roads and town being busier than ever. I’m sure that the completion of the works currently taking in place in and around Castle Street will help make our Town Centre even better.


After nearly two years of not being able to host events it was wonderful to see Llangollen emerging from lockdown in recent months with Dot Cinema, The Fringe Festival, Twenty Club, Llangollen Food Festival and The Collen Players leading the way. 

It’s been great to see Llangollen’s Silver Band out and about again, as well as local bands and entertainers. Thank you to all the volunteers that work hard to promote Llangollen’s reputation as a cultural hub and festival town. Hopefully they pave the way for a return to full programme of events in 2022.


It’s likely that 2022 will continue to bring further challenges but, as Llangollen’s community has demonstrated, if we work together, support each other and show compassion and kindness towards others we can overcome anything.


Take care and stay safe!

Have a Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!


Cllr Austin Cheminais

Mayor of Llangollen  

Friday, December 24, 2021

Car that's the Genesis of an interesting idea

* The flagship Genesis GV80 SUV.

* The cockpit.

* The Genesis GV70 estate.

Genesis first drive by Steve Rogers

It’s the first book of the Bible and my favourite rock band, and now a spanking new car brand.

New to the UK that is, Genesis has been around the Far East and North America for five years and is the product of Hyundai which wants to break into the European premium car market.

So this is a posh Hyundai? Wrong. The Korean outfit, which also runs Kia, is bank rolling the operation and although the H word is rarely used the cars will use some common under the skin parts and the Kia Stinger platform.

The question you are asking is where are the grand motor mile showrooms? There aren’t any. Instead city centre Genesis studios will be set up but the buying operation will be online with the customer getting a virtual tour of the models, buys one and gets a personal assistant who looks after them in a cradle to grave operation.

The car is delivered on a covered transporter, has five years of warranty, roadside assist and servicing. Any problems call the buddy who will have the car collected and leaving a courtesy car while yours is sorted.

This sort of operation is gaining popularity in the second hand market and, perversely, could benefit from the effects of the pandemic with people reluctant to have too much face to face contact.

Since the beginning of the year the Genesis line-up has grown to five models, G70 saloon and shooting brake, GV70 SUV and the flagship G80 saloon and GV80 SUV.

If you need convincing that Genesis is a premium brand step inside the all wheel drive GV80. Apart from looking good it has lashings of luxury, with bang up to date technology, the 14.5 inch centre screen is particularly impressive, and the car will park itself remotely from the key fob outside the vehicle.

Engine choice is 2.5 litre petrol or three litre diesel mated to an eight speed automatic gearbox, with prices starting at £56,715 and £56,815 respectively.

This is a big car with a big road presence and enough room for an optional third row of seating. As expected it glides along motorways and smooth A roads but is too twitchy on twisting B roads. Select sport mode and the ride is more settled.

Safety features right across the range are about as good as it gets and the one that impressed most is the cameras in the speedometer and rev counter dials. It reacts when indicating changing either the left or right hand dial to a camera giving a clear view for overtaking and returning to a lane.

There is also a head up display for speed, speed limit and navigation directions.

Genesis 70 models are more mainstream competing with Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class, Jaguar XE and BMW 3 Series. Saloon and shooting brake have elegant lines and will be offered with a 197bhp 2.2 litre turbo diesel, again with a lot of standard equipment. The shooting brake is just over 46 grand.

The new brand is clearly designed to scare the pants off the opposition with high levels of trim, equipment and ground breaking technology. Will it succeed? It is going to be a slow burn but at least its masters have not set unattainable targets for the UK operation.

Nissan’s premium Infinity brand failed here and DS, part of the new Stellantis empire, is only ticking along, but considering how Hyundai and Kia have become dominant forces in a relatively short time you would not bet against Genesis succeeding.

Fast facts

GV80 Luxury Line

AWD 7 seat

59,600 71,300 tested

2.5 litre turbo petrol 300bhp

8-speed automatic

0-62mph 7.7secs; 147mph

31.4mpg combined

Boot 727-2144 litres

SG Estates helps Old Vicarage residents enjoy advent calendar

SG Estates recently made a donation to the Old Vicarage nursing home for an advent calendar which gives the residents a personalised gift on their day.  

The residents made the boxes with a picture of them on. 

Here, SG's sales and marketing manager Cate Jones hands over one of the boxes to one of the residents.

Welsh Ambulance Service gets extra £34m of funding

Health Minister Eluned Morgan has announced more than £34m of extra funding to support the Welsh Ambulance Service through the coming winter months.

It includes £11m to extend military support for ambulances until the end of March – the number of personnel will increase from 100 to 250 early next year.

£15m will fund the replacement of 111 emergency vehicles to improve fleet reliability and availability.

The new fleet will include 39 replacement emergency ambulances, 12 new emergency ambulances and 23 rapid response vehicles.

And more than £8m has been made available to support emergency ambulance services, and non-emergency patient transport services. This is made up of:

1. £5m for the Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust:

  • 36 additional frontline ambulance clinicians to enable a doubling of existing clinical support desk capacity to provide advice over the phone to 999 patients
  • Additional capacity to support winter response, including non-emergency patient transport services
  • Support to co-ordinate the response to pressures in the urgent and emergency care system
  • A ‘make ready depot’ at Singleton to increase ambulance vehicle availability in Swansea Bay

2. £2m for non-emergency patient transport services and the recruitment of mental health practitioners to support people with mental health issues over the phone.

3. Further funding to support mental health patients through a transport pilot delivered by St John Cymru Wales.

This funding complements £9.8m previously allocated to Regional Partnership Boards to support people to return to their local communities after admission to hospital. This will help improve hospital patient discharges and ease the pressure on hospital beds.

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said: "Ambulance services and staff in Wales are under great strain due to the impact of the pandemic and winter pressures.

"We are determined to support the NHS – and them – in every way we can. Investing in the ambulance service shows our commitment to ensuring people can access high-quality emergency care when they need it the most.

"Ambulance t clinicians and staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. I want to thank them for everything they have done to care for people."

Jason Killens, chief executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: "Winter is traditionally our busiest period, and when you factor in the pandemic and its record levels of demand and staff absence, we have to redouble our efforts to provide a safe service to the people of Wales.

"The trust and its partners are working hard to find long-term and sustainable solutions to the issues across the entire health and social care system, but in the meantime, we have to look at short-term measures to bolster our capacity as best we can."

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Santa picks winners of Christmas scarecrow competition

* Above and below: the six winners. 

Six winners have been chosen in this year's scarecrow competition run by the Llangollen Christmas Festival Committee. 

Santa was out on his rounds to do the final judging and to drop off £20 cash prizes to each of the winning creations.

He said: "Once again people have made some fantastic scarecrows which made judging as difficult as ever but I think we had some really worthy winners.

"I'd like to thank all those who put in the effort to take part."   

Tougher anti-Covid measures force railway to cancel Mince Pie Specials

Latest tougher measures to combat the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 announced yesterday by the Welsh Government have forced Llangollen Railway to cancel its popular Mince Pie Specials train services.

In a post on its Facebook page the heritage attraction currently fighting to get back on track from its financial crisis says: "Following the Welsh Government update advising of further restrictions in Wales from the 26th December 2021, we are unfortunately no longer in a position to be able to run the Mince Pie Specials.

"For customers who have pre booked tickets we would ask you to please bear with us.

"The timing of the Government announcement means we will be unable to issue any refunds before the New Year as the office will be closed from the 24th December until the 4th January.

"More information regarding refunds will be issued in due course."

The Mince Pie Specials were featured only yesterday on the BBC TV evening news.

Covid-19 update from Welsh Government

Latest update on the Covid-19 situation from the Welsh Government (dated December 22) is:


Coronavirus in numbers

  • The latest figures published by Public Health Wales show there were 4,662 newly-reported cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 566,995 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wales since the start of the pandemic.
  • The number of people who have received a Covid vaccine in Wales is published every weekday by Public Health Wales.

o   The latest figures show 2,484,739 people have received their first dose.

o   2,292,930 people have had two doses of the vaccine.

o   To date, 1,406,629 people have had their booster dose of the vaccine.


o   For more information about getting your Covid-19 vaccine:

o   Can you support the vaccination programme? More information for NHS staff and volunteers at:

What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus

  • The symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change in smell or taste.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, you must self-isolate at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started.
  • If you are fully vaccinated or aged five to 17 and live with someone who has Covid-19 or has symptoms you must self-isolate until you have a negative PCR test.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated and someone you live with has Covid-19 you should self-isolate for 10 days.
  • Guidance about self-isolating:

Where to find the latest information