Loteri Cymru earmarks ‘unprecedented’ £40,000 for pandemic-hit Welsh charities

By Raspberry Jim,

Struggling charities across Wales are set to benefit from an “unprecedented” donation of £40,000 thanks to the all-Wales lottery, Loteri Cymru.

The lottery, which was established to support Welsh charities, has earmarked the sum to offer vital financial assistance to local causes affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes after it was reported by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) that charities expected to see their voluntary income plummet by 48% due to lockdown measures, while demand for their services continued to increase rapidly.

In a bid to offer a lifeline, Loteri Cymru has earmarked £40,000 to support charities across Wales this year, of which £10,000 has already been donated to Carers Trust Wales.

The funds will be split between the most vulnerable organisations which have been significantly affected during the pandemic, according to Phil Gerrish, marketing manager for Loteri Cymru. Mr Gerrish said:

“Lockdown has been an extremely challenging time for many of us, and for charities which provide invaluable services to millions of people, this concern has been even greater.

“Despite facing hugely concerning funding challenges due to social restrictions, they have continued to provide a vital lifeline to people in need.

“We wanted to show our gratitude to these dedicated charities with a donation of £40,000, which we hope will enable them to continue the life-changing work they undertake.

“We’re grateful to our lottery players who have made this donation possible and to the charities in Wales for their endless dedication.”

Loteri Cymru supports numerous Welsh charities annually, including LATCH – the Welsh Children’s Cancer Charity, Welsh Hearts, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, Youth Cymru, and North Clwyd Animal Rescue (NCAR).

For just £1 a week, players can help raise vital funds for charities in Wales, as well as try their luck at scooping the £25,000 weekly jackpot cash prize.

Play today at www.loteri.cymru

COVID-19: Top tips on communicating with people with learning disabilities

By Raspberry Jim,

With updates on the Covid-19 pandemic provided daily, the sheer volume of information has been challenging for most people to digest, but more so for those with learning disabilities.

However, as communication is a basic human need and right, despite the many challenges of communicating this complex information, it’s important that people invest the time to make sure everyone has the opportunity to fully understand what is happening around us.

Communicating the changes effectively with those who have learning disabilities is essential to maintaining their mental health during this worrying time.

Dr Hayley Thomas, a Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Pinetree Hospital, a specialist care provider for those with learning disabilities, behaviours that challenge and complex mental health needs, explained that the changes in routine and the sheer amount of information to process can prove traumatic for those with learning disabilities.

In a bid to support families, carers and professionals, Hayley has offered her expert advice during Learning Disability Awareness Week on the challenges being faced and how to effectively communicate complex information and support those living with learning disabilities during the pandemic.

What are the communication challenges people with learning disabilities face and how has COVID-19 exacerbated these?

The challenges largely depend on the level of learning disability the person has. We have people at Pinetree Hospital who have mild disabilities and are able to use and understand verbal language and written communication methods pretty well. But, we also have service users who have significant communication impairments and struggle to process information and understand new situations.

One of the biggest challenges people with learning disabilities have faced is the change to their routine and predictable, familiar day. In particular, people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC) find it hard to adapt to, and understand new situations; so being told overnight that they couldn’t go out or follow their normal routine was difficult for them to comprehend.

Another challenge of COVID-19 has been the complexity of the information being distributed. A lot of what is coming from the Government is very technical, so we’ve had to simplify it quite significantly. The challenge has been in explaining information in the simplest terms without losing its meaning or undermining the significance of the situation.

PPE and face masks have also had an impact on communication, particularly non-verbal communication. Some individuals rely heavily on being able to see someone’s facial expression to interpret emotions; whilst others might rely upon lip reading due to hearing impairments. All of which is made more difficult when those supporting them are wearing a face mask.

During the pandemic there has been some complex information to communicate, how have you gone about this? What tools, tactics, programmes have you used?

We have been using easy read guides provided by Public Health Wales and Public Health England, along with developing material specific to our service users.

We’ve created a lot of our own bespoke material that specifically meets the individual’s particular needs and circumstances. For some of our service users, we use packages such as Photosymbols, which uses pictures to supplement simple text. For others, we use augmented communication systems which are picture-based communications rather than speech or text to support their understanding. In order to ensure everyone is supported to be able to access the same consistent messages, we’ve needed to have the same information in a number of different formats.

We have also used a lot of Social Stories which are short stories created to illustrate certain situations and problems and how people deal with them in order to help our service users understand the changes to their particular routines. We’ve also put together a set of frequently asked questions, which we keep adding to, to ensure that we maintain a consistent message.

As restrictions start to lift, we’re still in a state of flux, what are your top tips for communicating with someone with a learning disability during this time?

The first thing would be to check the information that you are giving out.  While this may sound simple, there’s so much misinformation out there it’s important to check your sources to ensure what you’re communicating is accurate, up-to-date, and relevant to where you live. Also, it is important that it is communicated in a timely manner to avoid individuals seeing or hearing it elsewhere and misinterpreting it. Any confusion or misinterpretation could add to anxieties. 

The second tip would be tailoring your communication method to suit the individual and making sure the information is really clear and concise. For a parent or family member, use whatever method works best for the person you’re communicating with. For professionals, it’s about having the same information in multiple formats so that it’s accessible for all.

Thirdly, be open-minded in the way you share information. From videos to symbols, there are lots of different communication methods out there. Think creatively about how you can share the information in a way that is understandable to the individual.

Finally, whether you are a carer, family member or part of a professional team, have joint discussions about what information you actually need to share. It’s about knowing what’s important to the individual and what may cause them distress. People with learning disabilities have the same rights as everyone else to have information. So always share information, unless you have a really good reason not to.

Despite the complexity and uncertainty of the situation, we find ourselves in don’t shy away from communicating with people with learning disabilities and making sure they’re up-to-date with what’s going on. Like everyone else, it’s crucial for their mental and physical health to understand the new world around them.

Dr Hayley Thomas works at Pinetree Hospital in Cardiff, which is part of the Ludlow Street Healthcare Group.

Sony UK Technology Centre ‘proud’ to support key industries during pandemic

By Raspberry Jim,

Wales’s leading manufacturer Sony UK Technology Centre (UK TEC) is “proud” to have continued supporting key medical markets by operating at a reduced level through the coronavirus lockdown.

The Pencoed-based facility, which produces high-specification broadcast and professional camera systems, scaled-down its operation during the pandemic to ensure it could continue to supply technology linked to the medical and broadcast industries, as well to the food manufacturing, power and utilities, and education sectors.

The facility continued the production of a range of the Raspberry Pi computer models which have been in high demand around the world due to their application in the development of medical technology.

In addition, the professional service centre continued providing support for critical high-end products, including medical printers and cameras, as well as a full range of professional broadcasting equipment. The service has kept hospitals, clinics, medical centres, medical equipment providers, large broadcasting stations and freelance professionals across Europe up and running during this challenging time.

During that period, the factory introduced a raft of health and safety measures to safeguard its staff and ensure Government social distancing guidelines were adhered to.

This included the introduction of thermal and temperature testing on-site, separate work zones with designated exits and entrances, and a new one-way system.

With these in place, the facility will continue its steady operation,  now also delivering the new highly anticipated Raspberry Pi4 8GB computer which was launched on the market last week.

This comes following increased demand for the technology, with more people using it for home working and learning during lockdown.

The Raspberry Pi has also been utilised in the manufacturing of medical ventilators treating COVID-19 patients, and virus tracking technology worldwide.

On the stepped increase in manufacturing and the Raspberry Pi news,  Steve Dalton OBE managing director at Sony UK TEC said: 

“With all sectors worldwide facing unprecedented challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, we are proud to have been able to continue manufacturing to support essential services at this time.

“While our operation ran at a far reduced level for a few weeks, we were still able to assist key markets including medical, broadcast and education, providing the high level of quality and service that Sony UK TEC is renowned for.

 “A reduced number of our dedicated team has continued to work at the factory during the outbreak, with all precautionary measures in line with Government advice taken to ensure their safety.

“We’d like to thank them for their selfless dedication, and for adapting seamlessly to the measures we have introduced factory-wide.

“While manufacturing has continued, we have seen a stepped increase in our production volumes overtime to meet growing demand for the new Raspberry Pi4.

“We have always been proud to be a part of the manufacturing process behind the Raspberry Pi, and we are delighted to have been selected as manufacturing partner once again.

“Now more than ever, with Raspberry Pi being utilised in ventilator and testing technology for Covid-19, we are incredibly humbled to support its production.

“It has been a privilege to manufacture this life-changing technology and for our Welsh manufacturing facility to support people fighting this virus on the frontline worldwide.”

In order to maintain production, the Pencoed facility has introduced wide-ranging safety measures to ensure the health of its 300 staff working across the site.

These include face masks for staff, thermal and temperature testing on-site, mandatory handwashing, a one-way system, seven separate work zones with designated exits and entrances, virtual meetings, separate lockers, and spaced car parking areas. Mr Dalton said:

“The safety of all our staff at this time is paramount, as such we’ve overhauled our methods of working within the factory to ensure social distancing can be observed.

“We are currently running at just under 60% of our staffing capacity onsite, with numerous others working from home and supporting our vital day to day operation.

 “We hope that our steady move towards increased production underlines our commitment to supporting the growth of the Welsh and UK economy following the pandemic, but more importantly our commitment to supporting key industries fighting coronavirus worldwide.”

Warrior Women Collective shortlisted for Womenspire Award

By Raspberry Jim,

Founders of Warrior Women Collective, Charlie Morgan and Amy Holland, have been recognised for their ‘remarkable accomplishments’ by gender equality charity Chwarae Teg.

Charlie and Amy have been shortlisted for a Womenspire Award in the Rising Star category.

The Womenspire Awards, run by Chwarae Teg, aim to celebrate the achievements of Welsh women in every aspect of life.

Since launching in 2017, more than 1,000 women from across Wales have been united through the events held by Warrior Women Collective. Bringing together like-minded women – in a relaxed, friendly and welcoming environment – the monthly events feature a range of inspiring female speakers – allowing their voices to be heard, their experiences to be shared and their stories to be told.

The events have not only helped to showcase and celebrate the diverse talents of strong Welsh women but have also helped to create meaningful, supportive connections which encourage women to thrive.

Charlie said: “We are so happy to have been shortlisted for this award. We initially launched Warrior Women Collective as we recognised there was a gap in the market for empowering, inspiring, and thought-provoking events tailored to women.

“So far over 60 inspirational women have been given a platform tell their stories at our events and over 40 local female-led businesses have had pop-up shops to showcase their products. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve and I’m excited about growing our offering further in the coming year.”

Amy added: “Our events have been created by women and for women, with the aim of elevating their achievements, celebrating their successes, and helping women grow. What we have set out to do is very much aligned with the work of Chwarae Teg so we’re honoured to have been recognised.”

“As a response to COVID-19, we are adapting our events and content so that we can continue to engage with our tribe. We will be holding monthly panel events on an array of subjects as well as generating lots of feed good, inspiring content.”

Warrior Women Collective recently rebranded from Warrior Women Events to reflect its growing offering and to allow for future business plans. Already the duo have launched a new podcast and monthly newsletter to continue to profile inspiring Welsh women and they have more plans in the pipeline.

Local cameras for local derby – Sony UK TEC make history with Bridgend’s first televised football match

By Raspberry Jim,

Pencoed-based Sony UK Technology Centre (TEC) helped make history recently when it manufactured professional broadcasting equipment for Bridgend’s first live broadcast football match.

The much-anticipated derby match between Penybont FC and Barry Town Utd took place last weekend and was attended by a group of seven Sony UK TEC team players who were able to see the state-of-the-art cameras in action.

The game coverage was provided by Sony UK TEC customers, NEP Cymru, and was shown live on S4C via satellite link on Friday night.

The game marked the first time that Penybont FC has played in the Welsh Premier League following an undefeated league campaign season.

The team unfortunately suffered a 2-1 defeat, but nevertheless the match was historic for both the club, the town, and Sony UK TEC.

The manufacturing giant is an avid supporter and sponsor of the club, with the Managing Director of the facility, Steve Dalton OBE, having previously sat on the board. As such, manufacturing the camera equipment for this broadcast milestone was a significant moment in their partnership.

Rob Wilson, Director of Sony UK TEC, said:

“We are extremely proud that the top-quality cameras produced in our facility here in Pencoed were used for the first broadcast of a Bridgend local derby.

“We are committed to producing quality products that place us at the forefront of manufacturing innovation and excellence globally. We are proud of our team and how they have evolved to deliver high end professional cameras, therefore being a part of this historical moment for the local community was a fantastic accolade for Sony UK TEC.”

Alan Whitely, Member of the Board at Penybont FC, said:

“Although we are disappointed that we lost the fixture, it was a huge moment for us to have a match televised live. We are incredibly proud of all our players and staff who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point.”

Anthony Davies, also Member of the Board at Penybont FC, added:

“We would also like to thank Sony UK TEC for its continued support. Along with Steve Dalton’s role on the board in the past, the business has made a real difference to the club with their sponsorship over the years. Being a part of this history has created a special memory for the club that will stay with both the players and staff for a lifetime.”

Sony UK TEC is a socially aware business that seeks to minimise its impact on the environment, supports its local community through charity work and sponsorship, and has the welfare of its staff at the heart of its operation.

Its sponsorship of Penybont FC is one of several ways it supports the local community through supporting local community projects, NHS and healthcare charities, children’s charities, educational projects, sports clubs, local schools and local cultural projects.

Garrison Barclay welcome new tenants WRU and Bay Shipping to Cardiff Edge Business Park

By Raspberry Jim,

Expanding property development and investment company Garrison Barclay Estates has welcomed the Welsh Rugby Union and Bay Shipping into its newly refurbished offices at Cardiff Edge Business Park.

The Cardiff-based firm, founded by Andrew McCarthy, purchased the 27-acre site in March 2018.

Previous owners GE Healthcare retain 111,000 sq. ft under a 10-year lease agreement, with Garrison Barclay Estates bringing to market the remaining 70,000 sq. ft of vacant buildings.

Over the last year, Garrison Barclay Estates has invested in creating modern, high-specification office suites and top of the range laboratory space.

The Welsh Rugby Union has relocated from its previous base at the Principality Stadium to a brand new 1,000 sq. ft office. Similarly, Bay Shipping has moved from Cardiff Bay to a new 1,550 sq. ft office on a new five-year lease.

Both tenants will benefit from newly refurbished offices that have been completely re-decorated with new flooring, wiring, air conditioning, toilet and shower facilities.

Chris Terry, Associate Director of Office Agency at Cushman & Wakefield, who represented the landlord commented:

“Following the recent acquisition of Cardiff Edge Business Park, Garrison Barclay Estates has speculatively completed comprehensive refurbishment works to provide tenants high quality office accommodation set within a secure landscaped environment with generous car parking less than a minutes’ drive from Coryton roundabout, J32 of the M4 Motorway.  

“Upon viewing the refurbished offices, Bay Shipping and the WRU were keen to immediately agree terms to secure the office suites. The lettings clearly demonstrate the continued demand from office occupiers seeking high specification office accommodation in close proximity to the M4 motorway and only 10 minutes’ drive from Cardiff city centre.

“As a further sign of confidence in the product at Cardiff Edge, Cushman & Wakefield has terms agreed with two other occupiers totalling some 11,500 sq. ft which is due to sign imminently. In addition, there is firm interest from a number of other prospective tenants, and we anticipate full occupation of the remaining refurbished offices within the next few months.”

Kevin Parker, Finance Manager at Bay Shipping, said:

“Since its incorporation in 1992, Bay Shipping has always been located in Cardiff Bay.  Over the years the business has grown and is now part of the John Good Group, offering port agency and chartering services. With a specific emphasis on ports in the Bristol Channel including Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Bristol, it made sense to position ourselves closer to the M4 Motorway to improve accessibility to these ports.

“Having looked at several other premises, we were delighted to stumble across a Cushman & Wakefield advert for the GE Healthcare site, recently purchased by Garrison Barclay Estates.  It was clear the office complex had been refurbished to a high standard with ample parking, good security and other amenities. The office space itself provides a very modern, bright environment with a high-quality finish. The decision to move, therefore, was an easy one and our team is benefiting greatly from a prime location and the overall surroundings.”

With plans to make Cardiff Edge Business Park a hub for life science businesses, current availability at Cardiff Edge Business Park sees 46,000 sq. ft of lab space available, along with 6,500 sq. ft at The Innovation Village and 3,060 sq. ft within the Cromlin East building.

Andrew McCarthy, founder of Garrison Barclay Estates, said:

“We are pleased to welcome our new tenants to Cardiff Edge Business Park. The interest we have had from prospective tenants thus far has been extremely promising. The site is in the perfect location and offers businesses quality office and laboratory space. We are happy to have two large Welsh corporations join us as tenants and look forward to welcoming future tenants.”