There has been some worrying news coming out of Caerphilly this week. With a spike in Covid-19 cases, the county has become the first in Wales to be placed under a local lockdown. Residents are now no longer able to leave the county, unless there are exceptional circumstances, different households are not able to mix indoors, and everyone over the age of 11 able to wear a face covering must do so in shops and enclosed spaces. This really highlights the importance of continuing to follow the Welsh Government social distancing guidelines and maintaining that 2-metre distance and good personal hygiene. The pandemic is not over and we must all continue to do our best to protect ourselves and our families and support the NHS. A second wave and second lockdown would devastate our local economy, and everyone must take individual responsibility for their own actions in stopping the spread of this virus.
Applications are now open to apply for funding from Neath Port Talbot Council to voluntary groups, organisations, and social enterprises that are offering activities to build on the community action that has seen people pull together throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisations and groups that intend to offer activities that will connect people and provide services in their local community could share in the £175,000 fund. Applicants are asked to apply before 16th October, either online or on paper which can be downloaded from the Neath Port Talbot Council website here. We have seen such generosity of spirit shown during the pandemic and it’s wonderful to see so many of our community groups continuing to support the most vulnerable in our community.
This week we recognised the wonderful emergency service workers on #999Day. Our emergency workers do a fantastic job in the best of times, and the last few months have shown us have they have continued to protect us in these most challenging circumstances. I want to say thank you, not only to our police, ambulance, and fire emergency responders, but also to all the volunteers, the coastguard, and the St John Ambulance workers who are also active in supporting the public. I think this pandemic has reminded many of us of the vital role our emergency workers play in keeping us all safe, sometimes putting themselves at risk for others.
It was also Back British Farming Day this week. British farming to me means local, good quality, and freshly produced goods that we can trust and enjoy. This year, it’s particularly important that we show our support for British farming considering the UK Government’s Agriculture Bill could see imports of cheap, low standard produce entering our market and undercutting UK farmers. No one wants to see meat on our shelves that has been pumped full of goodness knows what or washed in chlorine. No one wants to see the standards in animal welfare being lowered in the pursuit of cheap meat. We are proud of the reputation of our Welsh lamb here and we do not want that reputation sullied by lower food standards. I stand with British farmers as they call for safeguards to our high food, environmental, and animal welfare standards.
Yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day. In 2018, there were more than 6,500 suicides, a rise of nearly 11% on the year before. These tragic deaths are not inevitable, they are preventable, but we need to remove the stigma around discussing mental health and suicide and improve access to mental health services. Men are three times as likely as women to die by suicide but the suicide rate for females under 25 has risen by nearly 100% since 2012. It’s heartbreaking to think that there are people considering suicide and I would urge anyone who needs support to get in contact with a support service – the Samaritans can be reached at any time of the day or night on 116 123 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will reply within 24 hours.
As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on email@example.com or call us on 01639 630152. My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain there should you need to get in contact with us.
I hope you stay well, enjoy the weekend, and remember – observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!