Care home visits to restart
Arrangements are being made by residential care homes across Bridgend County Borough to enable families and friends to see one other face-to-face. As many homes are run by independent care providers, those wishing to visit their loved ones should contact the home directly for information about the arrangements that are in place. Visits have been made possible on the condition that care homes first carry out a risk assessment in accordance with Welsh Government guidance, seek specialist advice and are not in a Public Health Wales 28-day lockdown. Earlier this week, Welsh Government announced it would be rolling out temporary ‘pods’ to care homes which can be used for visits over Christmas and throughout the winter months. It is hoped that one of the care homes in Bridgend County Borough will be among the first areas to receive a pod before Christmas.
Bridgend makes top five for house sales and happiness
With bustling towns, excellent commuter links and beautiful beaches and valleys, Bridgend County Borough has been named the second-fastest place in the UK for house sales. Analysis by Zoopla has revealed that properties have offers accepted within an average of 24 days, with three-bedroom semi-detached houses and those priced between £100,000 – £150,000 the most popular. The county borough has also been named the fifth happiest in Wales by Rightmove after scoring highly on the ‘Happy at Home’ index, which asks residents to rate where they live based on measures such as community spirit, a sense of belonging, friendly and polite people, sports and cultural activities, local services and amenities, nature, green spaces and more.
Joint enforcement teams launched
Bridgend County Borough Council is one of seven local authorities that have teamed up with South Wales Police to form Joint Enforcement Teams (JETs) and support efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19. Made up of police and council officers, the JETs will take action against individuals, businesses and licensed premises that blatantly fail to comply with the regulations or repeatedly breach them.
Mobile testing in the county borough
Until further notice, a drive-through mobile testing facility remains available seven days a week between 9am-5pm in the Bowls Hall car park of Bridgend Life Centre. To use this facility, you will need to book an appointment in advance by visiting the Welsh Government website. Residents should only attend a mobile testing centre if showing symptoms of coronavirus such as a high temperature, a new persistent cough, or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell. Visit the coronavirus page at the Welsh Government website or call 119 to find out more.
Apprenticeship vacancy service
Business Wales has developed a new Apprenticeship Vacancy Service that allows employers to advertise any future apprenticeship opportunities. Employers can add and manage their vacancies through the manage apprenticeships service, while anyone over 16 years old who is looking for an apprenticeship in Wales can do so using the find an apprenticeship webpage.
Support for taking on new workers
Welsh Government has launched a £40m skills and jobs package to help employers to take on and train new workers, including apprentices and young people. Apprenticeships continue to play a vital role in delivering the skills employers and the economy need, offering the opportunity to recruit cost effectively and build a skilled workforce. The apprenticeship incentives, which run until 28 February 2021, will help businesses to recruit apprentices, supporting the development of a workforce that is able to meet changing business needs. For more information, visit the Business Wales website.
Super-Agers in spotlight
The Bridgend County Borough Council-led Super-Agers project, which aims to get older people to be more active, will be highlighted at the Bevan Exemplar Showcase next week. The Super-Agers schemehas been developing a regional physical activity programme for adults aged 50+. In the early stages of the project, 239 older adults engaged in activities at 12 locations, supported by 70 social care students from Bridgend College. After the outbreak of Covid-19, Active@Home methods were developed including resource packs, activity books and telephone mentoring. The council has been backed by the Bevan Commission for the past year to test out the project, and will present it to the showcase on Wednesday 2 December between 9am-10.30am. You can find out more about Super-Agers or obtain conference tickets at the Bevan Commission website
Counterfeit bank note warning
South Wales Police have had reports of counterfeit £5 bank notes being circulated in Bridgend County Borough. Retailers are being asked to remain extra vigilant in the lead up to Christmas, while the Bank of England has produced a poster at their website to help businesses identify counterfeit notes. If you have any information about counterfeit bank notes or think you have received one, contact South Wales Police on 101 or email [email protected]
Supporting Good Mental Health
Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs has developed a Supporting Good Mental Health Policy to help providers support children’s mental health and well-being, as well as the mental health of staff. Member clubs can access the policy template at the Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids’ Clubs website.
Care Inspectorate Wales’ approach to assurance
Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) has published a statement about its approach to assurance during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The approach, which will be reviewed weekly in line with Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidance, states: “We recognise the significant pressure social care and child care services are experiencing and it is essential we continue to provide assurance about the safety and well-being of people receiving care during the pandemic. Across Wales, we have learned so much from our experience over the last six months, and we are using this to inform our approach during this second wave.” You can read the full statement at the CIW website.
Shop local on Black Friday
The Bridgend Digital Christmas Festival is encouraging residents to shop local in the county borough’s town centres this Black Friday and in the run up to the festive season. Businesses that haven’t yet registered for the Bridgend Digital Christmas Festival can do so at the EPM Creative website. To get involved with all of the festive fun online, visit the Bridgend Digital Christmas Festival website.
Christmas Elf Trail
Elf detectives are needed in Bridgend town centre as the Christmas Elf Trail is launched on Saturday November 28. Run by Bridgend Town Council, residents are being encouraged to spot 14 of Santa’s elves who are hidden in windows and shop fronts around the town centre until Christmas Eve. If you take part, you can post your selfies with the elves to the Bridgend Elf Trail Facebook page with the hash tag #bridgendelfieselfie for a chance to win a goodie bag. Children will need the permission of a parent or guardian before sharing their picture and in compliance with terms and conditions of use for Facebook. Visit the Facebook page for more information and a map to help you track them all down.
Positive inspection for care home
A number of improvements at the Maple Tree House residential care home have resulted in a positive inspection from Children’s Inspectorate Wales. Inspectors found the home had made significant progress to address concerns around issues such as staff training and support, record keeping, individual risk assessments and quality assurance. Maple Tree House supports children and young people aged between eight and 18, with trained professionals on hand 24-7 to offer practical and therapeutic support. Up to four children live in the assessment setting and there are facilities for up to two children to be cared for in an emergency, helping to keep looked-after children within the area instead of having to be placed further away.
Bridgend Writers’ Circle open competition 2020-21
The Bridgend Writers’ Circle is inviting entries to its open competition for 2020-21. Entrants must submit a story between 1,500 and 1,800 words by 1 March 2021. Entry is £5 for a single story and £2.50 for every entry thereafter. There is £100 for the winner, £50 for second place and £30 for third. For more information, visit the Bridgend Writers’ Circle website.
Family Lives helpline
Welsh Government has provided funding for Family Lives to extend the reach of their helpline for parents to include a Welsh language service during the Covid-19 pandemic. The helpline offers emotional support, information, advice and guidance on any aspect of parenting and family life. For more information, visit the Family Lives website.
Business Lockdown Fund
The Lockdown Non-Domestic Rate Grant has closed to applications, but Lockdown Discretionary Grants 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 designed to support businesses that have faced operational and financial challenges caused by Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. To find out more, visit the business support webpage. As applications are dealt with on a first-come-first-served basis, please note that it may not be possible to appraise any submitted after the fund has been fully committed.
Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
EU citizens 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.
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.