Ironworks targeted by vandals
The historic Cefn Cribwr Ironworks site has been targeted by vandals twice in one month. Both incidents were reported to police as heritage crimes and officers are adding the scheduled ancient monument to their patrols. Last month, the lock on the gate of the ironworks was cut off and a wall inside the charging house was damaged. The same wall was damaged again last week. Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity at the site is urged to report it to police by calling 101. The works, which are one of the most complete examples of their kind in Britain, were built by John Bedford in the 1780s.
Regional self-isolation helpline
A regional helpline has been launched in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board area who are self-isolating. Bridgend county borough residents can call the helpline, which is open all week, with their concerns if they are asked to self-isolate by NHS Wales’ Test, Trace and Protect team. The number will be given out to those who are contact traced or test positive for Covid-19. The helpline team will find out what support they need, which could include advice around the latest Covid-19 guidance; links to relevant information or signposting to Bridgend County Borough Council who will seek local support for them. There are many other support services available across Bridgend for people who need local support during the pandemic. Residents are can contact Bridgend County Borough Council on 01656 643643 for more information during normal working hours Monday to Friday and between 10am-4pm on weekends.
School applications to open
Admissions for the September 2021 intake of reception pupils to infant/primary schools and Year 3 in junior school in Bridgend county borough will open at 10am on Monday, November 23. To apply, you can sign up or log into My Account at Bridgend County Borough Council’s website, select and complete the relevant online form from 10am on Monday, and submit it before the deadline of 4pm on February 12, 2021. For more details about school admissions, including catchment maps, visit www.bridgend.gov.uk/schooladmissions.
Sport sector Covid-19 funding
A new Covid-19 support package opens at 12pm on Thursday 26 November, for self-employed and freelance workers within the sport sector whose work directly delivers activities to participants, such as sports coaches, personal trainers, fitness instructors and dance instructors. Funding of £1,500 is on offer through the Sport Freelancers Fund. Applicants will need to demonstrate how they’ve lost at least that amount in income since the crisis began due to contracts being cancelled or restrictions halting their work. Applications will open via the Sport Wales website on Thursday and will close at 5pm on Wednesday 9 December. Applicants should carefully read the guidance, which will be available on the Sport Wales website early next week ahead of the fund opening.
Cultural freelance fund to reopen
The third phase of funding to support freelancers in the cultural and creative sectors will open for applications open from 10am on Monday 23 November. A total of £230,000 has been paid out to 92 residents in Bridgend county borough during the first two phases of the fund. Individuals in the sub sectors of arts, creative industries, arts and heritage events, culture and heritage, whose work has direct creative and cultural outcomes, can apply for a £2,500 grant. Those who wish to apply should check their eligibility using the Business Wales Cultural Recovery Fund Grant checker. For more information about the scheme, visit the council’s freelance fund webpage. Those who are eligible and wish to apply should complete the application form which will be available on the council’s website from Monday.
Childcare offer opening to new applicants
Working parents who have a child born between 1 September 2017 and 31 December 2017 could be able to claim 30 hours of funded childcare. To be eligible for the scheme, which opens to new applicants on Monday, November 23, parents must earn on average a weekly minimum equivalent to, or more than, 16 hours at national minimum wage or national living wage but less than £100,000 per year. To check your eligibility and apply, visit the council’s childcare offer information webpage.
New digital strategy
Bridgend County Borough Council’s cabinet has adopted a new digital strategy to develop the way residents, businesses and visitors engage with the council. The four-year strategy, which runs until 2024, aims to integrate systems and reduce duplication, procure emerging technology and services, and provide value for money by making smarter use of resources. The council will also explore using technology such as Alexa, to see if it can improve residents’ wellbeing and safety in their homes.
Pub Improvement Notices lifted
Two pubs in Pencoed which were served with Improvement Notices by enforcement officers after failing to ensure social distancing could be maintained on the premises, have had the notices lifted. The Britannia and the Chatterton Arms, both on Hendre Road, have made improvements since Shared Regulatory Services officers visited on Saturday, November 14, and the notices have now been terminated.
Making it easier to vote
Bridgend County Borough Council has welcomed news that a range of local government reforms are to be introduced over the next 18 months after the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill was passed by the Senedd. As well as providing councils with greater operational flexibility, one of the areas where the new bill will have the biggest impact is on lowering the voting age and encouraging more democratic participation. Teenagers who are 16 and 17 will be able to vote in local government and Senedd elections for the first time, while councillors will benefit from more flexible meeting arrangements, family absence support, job-sharing opportunities and more in order to deliver greater diversity in democratic representation. Qualifying foreign citizens who are legally resident in Wales will also be able to vote and have a greater say in how their communities are run.
Business Lockdown Fund
The Lockdown Non Domestic Rate Grant has now closed to applications from businesses. However, the Lockdown Discretionary Grants will remain open until further notice. Hundreds of businesses across Bridgend county borough have had applications for funding approved over the last few weeks as part of the Welsh Government’s Lockdown Business Fund. The grants are for businesses which have faced operational and financial challenges caused by the local and national firebreak Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. To apply or for more details about the grants available as part of the fund, visit the business support webpage. Applications are dealt with on a first come first served basis. This may lead to applications not being appraised after they have been submitted if the fund is fully committed.
Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
EU citizens living within Bridgend County Borough are being reminded that they must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 if they want to continue to live, work, study and access services. Find out more at the council website.
Help make the council fit for the future
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the council has focused resources on providing essential services and protecting vulnerable residents. This has included the provision of food parcels during school holidays for pupils eligible for free school meals, ensuring that those who are homeless are kept safe as lockdown restrictions ease, offering council tax support for residents finding it difficult to pay council tax as a direct result of the pandemic, online and blended school learning and more. Which services do you think are most important for us to focus on as we recover from the pandemic? You can help make Bridgend County Borough fit for the future by completing an online survey.
Appeal for pandemic blood donations
Did you know that only three per cent of the UK population donate blood? The Welsh Blood Service is visiting the Heronston Hotel in Bridgend on 1-2 December and is appealing for new donors. If you are fit and well why not make a real difference and give blood? Do something incredible this Christmas. Help save lives. Book a lifesaving appointment today.
Work begins on new visitor centre
The visitor centre at Bryngarw Country Park will temporarily close its doors on 23 November to enable work to start on the development of an all-new replacement facility. Using funding from the Valleys Regional Park initiative, the new centre will seek to maximise the visitor experience. The café will remain available while work is underway, and temporary toilets will be located nearby.
Care in Wales
The Care Inspectorate Wales has published its Chief Inspector’s Annual Report for 2019-20. In addition to highlighting work to improve care in Wales, the report acknowledges the impact of Covid-19 on people who use and work in social care and across childcare services in Wales, and features a new interactive data tool to enable access to additional information.
Industrial estate bank to close
The Bridgend Industrial Estate branch of Barclays Bank has confirmed that it is to close on 26 February 2021. With counter transactions decreasing, 82 per cent of branch customers are now meeting their banking needs by telephone and online, while the number of customers using the branch exclusively for their banking has fallen to 37. Barclays has confirmed that its branch located within Bridgend town centre at Dunraven Place will not be affected by the closure.
Dealing with winter weather
The council has published its annual Winter Maintenance Plan which outlines how the authority will keep roads open and traffic moving. With more than 790km of highway within the county borough, the plan identifies priority routes for emergency services, public transport, isolated villages, streets on steep inclines, industrial and shopping areas, schools and approaches to cemeteries, GP surgeries, care homes and much more. It also outlines secondary roads which are dealt with once the main highways network has been treated. The council stores up to 4,500 tonnes of salt and plans ahead using remote weather stations, ice sensors and specific weather forecasts from MeteoGroup UK covering inland high ground, inland low ground and coastal areas. The road network is pretreated with granulated rock salt to prevent frost and ice from forming, and specially designed vehicles such as gritters help keep roads clear. For pedestrian areas, crews spray brine to melt ice, and clear snow by hand and using snow blowers. Find out more by visiting the winter weather page at www.bridgend.gov.uk