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  1. Alun Jones

Older People's Commissioner Hosts Live Online Chat

The older People's Commissioner for Wales has hosted a live online chat through Wales This Week's Facebook page.

The questions and answers session followed on from the release of her report into the wellbeing of elderly people in care in Wales, which was released yesterday. The report was also the subject of last night's episode of Wales this Week which can be found here.

The report promotes openness within the care sector - an attitude which the commissioner was happy to display in her willingness to answer some difficult questions from some of Wales this Week's online followers.

A preview of the session with the Commissioner is shown below:

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  1. Alun Jones

Wales This Week, Age Old Problems

Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

Today sees the release of the Older People's Commissioner for Wales' review into the wellbeing of older people in care in Wales. The review is the first of its kind, involving home visits, over 2,000 questionnaires and evidence taken from 98 organisations across Wales.

Wales This Week followed the Commissioner as she undertook her review, which found huge variations to the quality of life of older people across the country.

"We have such significant variations across Wales from some truly outstandingly good homes to individuals with a quality of life that shouldn’t be acceptable" - Sarah Rochira

Tonight Wales This Week speaks to those at the heart of the care sector in Wales, including those who have felt let down by the standard of care which is offered by homes in their area.

Wales This Week: Age Old Problems, is on Tonight at 8 on ITV Cymru Wales

If you have a question about elderly care in Wales, you can join in the debate at 12.45 tomorrow when commissioner will be hosting a live Facebook chat via the Wales this Week Facebook page.

Catch Up: Wales This Week, The War that Changed My Life

Just a week ago, the last UK troops in Afghanistan handed over Camp Bastion to the local army, marking the end of British combat operations in the country. As the last Welsh troops begin their journey home and we prepare to remember all those who have lost their lives in conflict, we hear the very personal stories of people in Wales whose lives have been forever changed by the war in Afghanistan.

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  1. Catherine Peel

Afghanistan: Shahnaz Hakim's Story

Just a week ago, the last UK troops in Afghanistan handed over Camp Bastion to the local army, marking the end of British combat operations in the country. As the last Welsh troops begin their journey home and we prepare to remember all those who have lost their lives in conflict, we hear the very personal stories of people in Wales whose lives have been forever changed by the war in Afghanistan.

Wales This Week: The War That Changed My Life tonight at 8pm

Shahnaz Hakim, fled Afghanistan in 2011 with her husband and son. Credit: Shahnaz Hakim

Shahnaz Hakim fled to the UK from Afghanistan in 2011 after she started to receive death threats from the Taliban. She left everything behind and arrived in London with nothing. She is now building a home in Cardiff with her husband and 16 year-old son, who is currently studying in college. She still misses home terribly but, she says, she cannot go back as the threat for her life is still there.

Before the Taliban regime, Shahnaz led a very successful life. She worked as an English Language teacher and supported women in their plight to receive education, something which, was banned under Taliban rule.

Shahnaz Hakim received death threats from the Taliban Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Once the Afghanistan War started, Shahnaz helped the war effort and found work helping the US Embassy. She dedicated her time to many aid projects particularly those in female education. She worked for Unicef, the British Red Cross in Afghanistan, the International Rescue Committee (IRC), UNHCR as a coordinator for the monitoring of Unicef projects. With the IRC she worked as a female team leader focussing on female education and building the capacity of women. In more recent years she worked for US Aid, under the US Embassy. Here she was a project manager for education, working directly with the ministries, contractors, and travelling into the field.

I had to leave, and leave everything behind and come here. The type of work which I was doing was for female education, and supporting female. And I was receiving several threats. One time I was speaking with uhh my neighbour from my balcony. And usually I’m not putting a scarf when I’m at home as you see me now. I didn’t know that.. I didn’t realise that I should have put my scarf and I was peeping like this with my neighbour that a bullet shot hit the balcony wall. And I didn’t know that someone shot on me. I didn’t know this. The kids, the children from the ground from downstairs, they called on me and they told me ‘Aunty go inside, that person with the machine gun is shooting on you’, and he had the machine gun like this to hit another one....I think someone did not like me to work with foreigners. In the supporting women’s education. Because I have challenged myself several times, and when I thought that the last minute I, I decided to give up. I didn’t give up at the very beginning but, one time I arrived and I couldn’t continue.

– Shahnaz Hakim

To hear more from Shahnaz and others as they tell their stories of the Afghanistan war, tune in to Wales This Week: The War That Changed My Life tonight at 8pm

Afghanistan: Sgt (Rtd) Rachel Pompa

Just a week ago, the last UK troops in Afghanistan handed over Camp Bastion to the local army, marking the end of British combat operations in the country. As the last Welsh troops begin their journey home and we prepare to remember all those who have lost their lives in conflict, we hear the very personal stories of people in Wales whose lives have been forever changed by the war in Afghanistan.

Rachel Pompa, nee McDonald, was an RAF paramedic on the frontline.

RAF Paramedic Deployed to Afghanistan 2006 and 2007 Credit: Rachel Pompa

Rachel would work as part of the Medical Emergency Repsonse Team (MERT). She had a rota of 1 in 3 for the MERT duties, the other shifts would cover A+E in the hospital.

As soon as the call came in we would get our kit straight on. Straight into the ambulance. The Medical Emergency Response Team was a small team. We would drive straight down to the helicopter pad onto the Chinook. Make sure all the kit was strapped on. Get ourselves ready and literally wait for the air crew to take off, which was always immediately...We came back from a few missions where there would be bullet holes in the side of the aircraft so I am extremely grateful for the chinook and it’s capabilities.

– Rachel Pompa

In 2007 Rachel won an award for Paramedic of The Year after she coordinated a mass casualty incident.

We were faced with 24 casualties at one time. There was a mass incident we were called to...we were required to go out into Helmand onto the ground and assess the situation and see what had happened. So we went as per routine onto the back of the helicopter, flew out and landed on, in quite a hostile area. As the paramedic on that day, it was my responsibility to go off the helicopter and fully assess. I went off the back of the helicopter, there were casualties everywhere so it was quite hard to organise it really...I think at the time I had 7 casualties to look after ranging from a priority one, which is life threatening and to a priority 3 then. So it was non stop you know, running to and from the helicopter making sure I was doing the best for everyone.

– Rachel Pompa

For more on Rachel's story and to hear other stories from the Afghanistan War, tune into Wales This Week: The War That Changed My Life tonight at 8pm.

Afghanistan: Thea Davies' story

Just a week ago, the last UK troops in Afghanistan handed over Camp Bastion to the local army, marking the end of British combat operations in the country.

As the last Welsh troops begin their journey home and we prepare to remember all those who have lost their lives in conflict, tonight we hear the very personal stories of people in Wales whose lives have been forever changed by the war in Afghanistan.

Wales This Week: The War That Changed My Life tonight at 8pm

For Thea Davies, Afghanistan was the war that killed her partner, Captain Stephen James Healey.

Captain Stephen James Healey, of 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh. Credit: Thea Davies

Captain Stephen James Healey, 29, from Cardiff, was the commander of the Combined Force Burma reconnaissance platoon.

He was killed two years ago when his vehicle struck an IED during a vehicle patrol in the North of the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand Province.

During his first tour of Afghanistan, he and his men drove over an IED whilst conducting a vehicle patrol. Luckily everyone was okay and looking forward to the next tour in 2012.

On May 26th 2012, whilst conducting a vehicle patrol in the North of the Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand Province, Captain Stephen James Healey’s vehicle struck an IED.

His parents turned up at the door and I actually saw them pull up and looked at their faces, I knew that something was up. I just, in that split second of walking to the door, hoped that they were going to say that he was injured.

But his dad looked at me and I knew he wasn’t injured and he said he was dead... and that was it.

My life has not been the same since that moment. It was my other half, it was someone I was planning a future with. We had just bought a house, we were going to get married and have children in our 30s and you know I am coming up to 32 now and that is not happening and he is not here and I have not seen him in over two-and-a-half years.

– Thea Davies
Captain Stephen James Healey was the 415th soldier to die in Afghanistan. Thea decided to run 415 miles to raise money in his memory for those affected by war. Credit: Thea Davies

Hear Thea's story along with others in Wales This Week: The War That Changed My Life tonight at 8pm.

  1. Catherine Peel

Afghanistan: Fusilier Shaun Stocker's story

Just a week ago, the last UK troops in Afghanistan handed over Camp Bastion to the local army, marking the end of British combat operations in the country. As the last Welsh troops begin their journey home and we prepare to remember all those who have lost their lives in conflict, we hear the very personal stories of people in Wales whose lives have been forever changed by the war in Afghanistan.

Wales This Week: The War That Changed My Life tonight at 8pm

1st Battalion The Royal Welsh, Deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Many say 2009 marked the start of particularly harsh tour. They say it suffered more casualties and deaths than any other of any 6 month tour in Afghanistan.

Fusilier Shaun Stocker (24), 1st Batallion The Royal Welsh, deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. He was part of Operation MOSHTARAK, an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) pacification offensive in the town of Marja), Helmand Province, Afghanistan. It involved 15,000 American, Afghan, Canadian, Estonian, Danish and British troops and constituted the largest joint operation of the War in Afghanistan) up to that point and aimed to remove the Taliban from Marja and eliminate the last Taliban stronghold in central Helmand Province.

We found IEDs daily and getting contacted pretty much every other time we’re going out on the ground.

– Fusilier Shaun Stocker

On April 4th 2010, just six days before Shaun was due to end his tour and head home, he was assigned to go out on one last op. The troop were in two minds about heading out that morning as pooor visibility from a sandstorm could make them an easy Taliban ambush target. But, the storm cleared and they set off with Shaun taking the lead as frontman.

Shaun lost both legs above the knee and lost his left eye after being blown up by an IED. Credit: Shaun Stocker

I had a vallon, I was front man of my multiple. And it picks up these metal traces, you know, but there are IEDs with no metal content in so they don’t pick them all up...It must have 100, 200 metres from the PB [patrol base] that I stood on the IED. I didn’t know what went on for a few minutes, felt like I was in a dream...From that point I was in and out of consciousness. I just remember little bits you know, little bits of that. the last I remembered was getting put onto a stretcher and getting carried into the chopper. And then I was an induced coma for the next 6 weeks.

– Fusilier Shaun Stocker

Shaun lost both legs above the knee, lost his left eye. He was blind in his right eye for about a year and a half, until he could have an operation to get 30% of that sight back. He lost his little finger, suffered shrapnel wounds and dislocated his left shoulder after the blast pulled the vallon he was holding and his arm out of it’s socket. Out of all of his injuries he says that his arm was the worse pain he felt.

Four years later Shaun is still in the army until he finishes his rehabilitation. He currently wears prosthetics limbs above the knee on both sides. In December he is heading to Australia for an operation which, will hopefully mean that he will be able to walk on prosthetic limbs without the sockets which, currently cause him a lot of pain through rubbing. Titanium rods will be put into what he has left of his legs so he can then, in the future, connect his prosthetic limbs to his actual legs. He hopes that this will help him achieve a more active lifestyle.

For more on Shaun's story and to hear from others who's lives have been changed by the war in Afghanistan tune in to Wales This Week: The War That Changed My Life tonight at 8pm.

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