A NEW life-saving equipment has been installed at the riverside in Betws park after the previous one was stolen earlier this year.

Carmarthenshire Water Safety Partnership (CWSP) started working with Ammanford police in 2016, following multiple reports of vandalism to equipment throughout the Amman Valley.

One of the most targeted hotspots was the cabinet on Betws Park bridge.

Betws Community Council approached CWSP for support and its chair, Adam Whitehouse was only too happy to assist.

However, despite CWSP providing a new cabinet to replace the no longer fit for purpose cabinet at the site, it was clear that this was no longer a viable option due to throwlines constantly being removed and used as swings above the river, or just thrown into the river and lost.

In 2019 the council began discussion to come up with a solution and CWSP offered a more secure life buoy cabinet.

Betws community council began fundraising for the life-saving buoy.

Donations were received from Griffiths Bwtrimawr Funeral Directors, Betws, the chair of Betws community council, Loreen Lewis, donated her annual allowance, Betws community council and Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner donated towards the fund with CWSP paying the remainder.

With the support and engineering ingenuity of TRJ Engineering Ltd from Ammanford - the new vandal proof cabinet - only the third of its kind in Wales - was fitted with a special cage and fixings last month.

The cabinet - which is fully bilingual - works by signposting users in a life-threatening emergency to ring 999, provide the location code on the front of the cabinet, then the emergency call handler gives a code to access the throwline inside. This ensures there is always a lifebuoy available and emergency services are immediately alerted to the incident.

Chair of CWSP said: “I would like to thank all the councillors, staff and business owners who contributed towards the completion of this project which is very unique to our area and to TRJ for their expertise in fitting this sizeable cabinet. Ammanford Neighbourhood Policing Team have also been a big support in our work to reduce the instances of fatal drownings in Wales.”

Carmarthenshire Water Safety Partnership are working to reduce drowning and increase water safety resources in West Wales and can work with a range of partners to deliver water safety talks, interventions and meetings to deliver its services across Dyfed.