Stark warning over positive cases
Bridgend County Borough Council and Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board have warned that pandemic rules designed to fight the spread of Covid-19 must be strictly followed if another local lockdown is to be avoided. The warning follows news that Bridgend County Borough is currently the sixth highest area in Wales for new infections, and has recently been described as ‘an area of concern’ by Public Health Director Dr Kelechi Nnoaham. The council has called for a single, one-community approach and for all residents to follow the rules on social distancing, hand hygiene, wearing face coverings and more. For the latest advice and support on the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, visit the Gov Wales website.
Temporary restrictions on care home visits
Following advice from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and an increase in the number of positive Covid-19 cases across South Wales, changes are being introduced at all local authority and privately-run care homes as a precautionary measure to protect the health and wellbeing of vulnerable residents and staff. Until further notice, friends and family members will not be able to make either indoor or outdoor visits. The decision will be regularly reviewed, and virtual and online visits will be encouraged instead. Special allowances will be made in circumstances where residents are nearing the end of their lives and with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements in place.
Sign up to new Covid-19 app
Businesses and residents within Bridgend County Borough are being urged to sign up for a new national NHS Covid-19 mobile phone app. Designed as part of the Track, Trace, Protect programme, the app will be launched on 24 September. It works by providing businesses with a free QR code which can be used to quickly and discretely enable customers to ‘check in’ and record their details in one easy, confidential move. Both the business and the customers can then be contacted in the event that they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. For residents, the app enables them to receive alerts, check symptoms, order tests and more. For more information, visit www.gov.wales
Festival warning over crowd concerns
Bridgend County Borough Council and South Wales Police are urging people not to travel to Porthcawl over the weekend of 25-27 September for the cancelled Elvis festival, and to avoid gathering in large numbers in the town. It follows a rise in cases of Covid-19 across the South Wales area that have already seen local lockdowns declared in Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf. While organisers cancelled the popular privately-run festival last month as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus, authorities remain concerned that people may still travel into Porthcawl in large numbers and are telling people to think twice, stay safe, and stay home.
Following the lockdown in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Welsh Government has published a Frequently Asked Questions document at the www.gov.wales website, part of which supports residents living along the border in local communities such as Evanstown. The council is urging residents to read the FAQs and to familiarise themselves with details covering areas such as travelling through RCT, using nearby shops and health centres, going to work and school, seeing family and friends and more.
Regional action plan agreed for Covid-19
Bridgend County Borough Council has endorsed a regional action plan outlining what measures are being taken to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and how the council and its partners will respond to any incidents or outbreaks. The Covid-19 Prevention and Response Plan covers the Cwm Taf Morgannwg region and has been developed by local authorities and the health board. The plan sets out what arrangements are in place to prevent the spread of infection among the most vulnerable, to help mitigate and control the impact of the infection, and to monitor the infection in communities as well as what actions will be taken to escalate any problems requiring potential restrictions.
Porthcawl regeneration moves closer
With Salt Lake in Porthcawl marked for residential, leisure, retail and commercial development as well as open space, car parking and active travel routes, marketing is set to begin to attract a developer for a new food store which will be built on the two-acre area known locally as the Green. The marketing of the food store site is expected to be completed by the end of the year so that Cabinet can make a final decision early in 2021 on which store will be developed there. The development will unlock funds that will be reinvested into infrastructure improvements and further stages of the town’s regeneration plans, including work to upgrade and improve the nearby John Street car park. Planning guidelines will support the marketing of the food store and ensure that it remains a high-quality development which complements other regeneration efforts in the town. To ensure that the store fits in seamlessly with existing businesses in John Street, a Section 106 agreement will provide clear links, sightlines and pedestrian access between the two sites.
Reminder on masks and face coverings
Face coverings are now required in all indoor public places, for both customers and staff. This includes locations such as stores, shopping centres, places of worship, hairdressers, cinemas, gyms and more. Full details are available at the Welsh Government website.
Local supermarkets praised for Covid-19 measures
Enforcement officers have praised local supermarkets for complying with Covid-19 safety measures. A recent survey by the Shared Regulatory Services found a high level of compliance, with no warnings, improvement notices or closure notices issued as part of the work. As part of the inspection, supermarkets were visited at various times of day, including multiple outlets from each chain to ensure fair representation across the range of store sizes. In Bridgend County Borough, 16 supermarkets were visited during the first two weeks of September, including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Filco, Lidl, Sainsburys and Tesco.
Love2walk Festival returns this weekend
The Love2Walk Festival will return between Saturday 19 – Sunday 27 September with pandemic measures in place to keep people safe. With routes planned through Locks Common, Bryngarw Country Park, Parc Slip Nature Reserve and Kenfig National Nature Reserve, you can find out more and book a place at www.plantlife.org website.
Improving air quality in Park Street
Proposals for improving air quality in Park Street, Bridgend are to be explored following tests which showed nitrogen dioxide levels were above national air quality objectives. With an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) Order in place and following public engagement sessions and the work of a steering group, three mitigation measures have been developed – to stop access onto St. Leonard’s Road, introduce a four-phase junction at the Heol-y-Nant turning (three traffic, one pedestrian), and to improve the road junction between Park Street, Angel Street and Tondu Road. Public consultation over the proposals will now be organised, and further transport and air quality modelling will now be carried out to demonstrate the benefits of the work.
Help for carers
Anyone acting as a carer for a relative, neighbour or friend can access support during the pandemic. The Carers Wellbeing Service is operating a 24/7 helpline advising people where they can access community resources, while the council’s website offers information and links on support and keeping yourself safe. For more information, visit the council’s carers page or the Carers Trust South East Wales website. You can also call the Bridgend Carers Wellbeing Service 24/7 helpline on 01656 336969.
New £10.2m primary school planned
Plans to provide Mynydd Cynffig Primary School with brand new premises and a 75-place nursery have moved to the next phase. If approved, the £10.2m initiative will be developed using funding from Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools Programme and the council’s own capital programme. Formed when the junior and infant schools merged in 2015, the primary school is currently based across two adjacent sites which make use of the existing buildings. The infant school building was previously forced to close after work to repair a burst pipe revealed further damage. While the council and school work towards providing new premises as a long-term solution, the children are being educated within high-quality modular classrooms as a temporary measure. Now, following the outcome of a new education and sites evaluation process, a proposal for building a brand new £10.2m primary school and incorporated nursery on the Mynydd Cynffig Juniors site is being taken forward – look out for more details soon.
Watch out for rogue traders
The council is reminding local residents to always check that they are using a licensed waste carrier before paying for any services. If a business is not properly licensed, your waste could end up being fly-tipped and lead to potential prosecution. You can find out more at the Natural Resources Wales website.
New proposals for school transport
New arrangements have been proposed to replace proposed policy changes for home-to-school transport. Following arrangements introduced in 2015 which remain in use today, additional changes were put together before the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic caused widespread disruption to schools, and ahead of an announcement Welsh Government made in August 2020 which confirmed that learner transport across Wales is set to benefit from a review of existing mileage thresholds. As a result, the council will now explore a series of alternative proposals, including a direct payments system to give parents and carers of pupils with additional learning needs greater flexibility, a travel pass system for learners aged 16 and over, alternatives to avoid having to stop free transport for nursery children and more. The new proposals will be considered at a future meeting of Cabinet.
Careers in social care
Interest in careers within social care have soared as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. People from a wide range of different backgrounds have found new work supporting the county borough’s most vulnerable residents, while others who have previously worked in this area have also come forward to offer their skills and experience. With a fast-tracked application process and rapid refresher training course available, the council is keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in finding out more. Further details are available at the job pages on the council’s website.
Mental health for the young
A new online mental health toolkit is supporting young people aged 11-25 during the coronavirus pandemic. Covering issues ranging from anxiety and keeping healthy to low mood and coping with loss, the toolkit features apps, helplines, links to specialist websites and more.
Help a young person step into adulthood
The Bridgend Foster Care team are looking for local households that can offer short-term placements to young people aged 16 or over as part of the supported lodgings scheme, and provide emotional support as they learn the practical skills needed for adult life. To take part, all you need is a spare room and a safe, supportive family environment along with the patience to teach them simple life skills such as budgeting, learning to cook and do housework, attending appointments, building confidence and finding a home. The council will provide a placement worker to match a young person to you, weekly payments to cover the costs of hosting them, and ongoing training and support for the duration of the placement. If you think you can help a young person get to grips with the adult world, call 01656 642674 or email [email protected]