Latest news from Bridgend County Borough 17 January 2021

Vaccine is rolling out

Surgeries across Bridgend County Borough are helping to vaccinate vulnerable people against coronavirus. With all GPs taking part, among the first to participate are Ashfield Surgery, Newcastle Surgery, Riversdale House and Oak Tree Surgery in Bridgend, Bron Y Garn Surgery and Woodlands Surgery in Maesteg, Pencoed Medical Centre and The New Surgery, and Nantymoel Surgery. With further surgeries set to be announced, priority groups are being targeted first and residents will be contacted when it is their turn to attend. Please do not contact your surgery, pharmacy or local hospital to ask when you will be vaccinated or attend without an appointment. Residents are advised to keep following the rules – don’t mix with people who aren’t in your household, keep a two-metre distance from others, wash your hands regularly, and wear a face covering where required.


Tighter regulations for businesses

Welsh Government has confirmed tighter regulations for shops and businesses, who will be required to carry out a new risk assessment covering issues such as hygiene, the use of PPE and face coverings, ventilation, physical distancing, how they can maximise the number of staff who can work from home, and more. It has also met with key retailers to discuss their role during the pandemic and heard the actions they are taking from providing sanitisers for hands and trolleys, limiting the numbers in store at any one time, and making regular announcements reminding people to keep their distance from others. Residents should shop alone if they can and observe rules on social distancing, hand hygiene and face coverings unless exempt. Any abuse directed at store employees will not be tolerated.


Vaccination scam warning

Residents are asked to be alert to scams that are circulating about the Covid-19 vaccine. The NHS will never ask for your bank details or for payment and vaccines are not being delivered door-to-door. If you’ve been targeted by text, forward to 7726 and by email, send to [email protected]. If you’re contacted by phone, hang up and block the number. Tell others if you think you’ve been targeted.


Street light problem resolved

A software issue which saw more than 7,000 street lights switching themselves on and off across Bridgend County Borough has been resolved. The UK-wide problem, which was also reported in areas such as Manchester and Bristol, began on 13 January and went on until dawn on 14 January. It is believed to have only affected lights which use global positioning technology to calculate what time the sun rises and sets. The problem was resolved after Bridgend County Borough Council’s Street Lighting team contacted the manufacturers of the affected street lights, which was able to reset them.


Update on mobile testing arrangements

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has confirmed the latest arrangements for mobile coronavirus testing facilities. A drive-through facility will remain at Ynysawdre Swimming Pool (CF32 9ET) until 21 January. This is open daily at 9am-4pm and booking is essential. A walk-through testing facility is at the Bowls Hall car park off Bridgend Life Centre (CF31 4AH) daily at 8am-8pm, and booking is also essential. To make an appointment, visit the Welsh Government website or call 119. People with hearing or speech difficulties can book an appointment by calling 18001119. A new walk-in site is open at Awel y Mor community centre (CF36 5TN) from Friday 15 January until 21 January at 9am-4pm. Booking is not necessary at this site.


Work starts on community recycling centre

Groundworks have begun for a new community recycling centre (CRC) at a council-owned site on Village Farm Industrial Estate in Pyle. The centre is expected to open this summer and there are plans to establish a re-use shop, similar to the one at Maesteg CRC. As part of the development, works to improve the junction with the A48 are due to be carried out in the spring. The new CRC will be easier to access and have more vehicle capacity and bypass lanes to allow better movement on site. CRCs are currently open daily from 9am to 4pm for essential use only. Safety measures are in place and you should observe all rules on social distancing. There are likely to be queues due to limits on the number of people allowed in. You must separate your waste before you arrive and staff are unable to help carry items from vehicles. For more information, visit the council’s webpage.


Blood donation clinics

Travelling to donate blood is classed as essential travel. Welsh Blood Service has appointments at the Heronston Hotel, Bridgend on Monday 18 January and Tuesday 19 January. Just one donation can save up to three lives. You can donate if you are over 17 or under 66 years of age and are generally fit and well. Book an appointment at the Welsh Blood Service portal.


Plans for English and Welsh medium schools

Cabinet will meet next week to discuss a report outlining proposals for replacing the ageing Corneli and Afon Y Felin primary schools with an all-new, state of the art modern English-medium school with a two-form entry system, a 60-place nursery and a 15-place resource centre for pupils with additional learning needs. The proposals outline how the new school could be established at Plas Morlais. The proposals also outline how Welsh-medium primary school Ysgol Y Ferch O’r Sgêr could gain all-new buildings and expand onto the current site occupied by Corneli Primary to become a two-form entry school with a 60-place Welsh-medium nursery. Under the plans, the Integrated Children’s Centre on the Corneli Primary site would remain in place, and new community facilities would become available. Cabinet members will be asked to consider the proposals, and to agree for extensive consultation to be carried out at the meeting at 2.30pm on Tuesday 19 January.


Improvements at Bryngarw Country Park

Cabinet is due to discuss additional Welsh Government funding that has been secured for Bryngarw Country Park. In September 2019, the local authority, in partnership with Awen Cutural Trust, the registered charity which operates the park on behalf of the council, was awarded a £500,000 Valleys Regional Park Discovery Sites Capital Grant by Welsh Government for projects at the country park, including the development of a new education centre. A further £147,000 has now been secured with Awen Cultural Trust, planning to create a sculpture heritage trail, extend the renewal of boardwalks, install solar panels on buildings, improve toilet facilities, and make improvements to the car park. Welsh Government has agreed the proposed actions, and Cabinet is recommended to accept the additional funding at its meeting at 2.30pm on Tuesday 19 January.


Garden waste registrations open

Registration is open for the council’s garden waste collection service which is returning this spring. The council’s waste partner Kier is offering the chance for 100 Bridgend county borough residents to win a free subscription for this year. The 100 winners will be randomly selected from those who sign up online for collections before 1 March 2021. Winners will be contacted by Kier to offer them a refund on their payment. Garden waste is picked up every two weeks and collections will run from 15 March 2021 until 12 November 2021. Your garden waste collection day will be advised with the delivery of your sacks. Those who sign up will be provided with two bags and can recycle green waste such as plants, flowers, weeds, grass, leaves and hedge clippings. Subscriptions are £38.30, or £34.30 for pensioners. Additional bags cost £5 each. To sign up, visit the Recycle for Bridgend website.


Bus timetables amended

First Cymru Buses Ltd will be running an amended timetable across the county borough from Sunday, 24 January 2021. It will maintain services for essential journeys and key workers. Residents are reminded that under the current alert level four lockdown restrictions, you must stay at home and only travel for essential purposes. This includes travelling to and from work if you’re unable to work from home, for caregiving purposes or for essential medical or food needs. For full details of service frequency and timetables visit the First Cymru Bridgend, Maesteg and Porthcawl Services webpage.


Fit for the Future consultation results to be discussed

Cabinet is set to discuss the outcome of the Fit for the Future consultation, which asked residents to share views on how council services should be shaped. The consultation was carried out over eight weeks and covered issues such as the pandemic response, business and the economy, health and wellbeing, customer access to the Civic Offices, digitalisation and council tax levels. Overall, respondents said the council had performed well during the pandemic. Due to the impact of coronavirus restrictions, the response was lower than in previous years, with engagement focussed online.


Young carer support services

The council has adapted the way it is supporting young carers during the pandemic by working with a range of partners. Young carers can now receive their statutory assessment, which helps to identify any support that is required, virtually. Some have taken part in virtual cinema gatherings, cookery sessions and book clubs, as well as exercise and mindfulness sessions. Work was carried out at the start of the pandemic to support retailers to understand the role of a young carer, and help them to recognise the BCBC Young Carers ID card should one be presented to them. The council was also able to secure 20 Chromebooks and 12 months of internet usage by working with the Wales Co-operative Centre for eligible young carers throughout the county borough. Any youngsters who have recently become a carer as a result of the pandemic or who are not known to the council can call Young Carers Co-ordinator Lisa Pritchard on 01656 642413 or email [email protected].


Period dignity

School-aged pupils in Bridgend County Borough who are self-isolating or shielding can contact Bridgend Youth Support for free single-use or reusable eco-friendly menstrual products delivered to their homes while schools are closed. They have single-use eco-friendly disposables, and reusable menstrual pads, cups or pants in sizes 4 to 18. Send an email with your name, school, home address (for delivery) and a list of which products you would like to [email protected]


Club bids to run Cae Gof sports facilities

Cabinet will discuss a business case next week from Cefn Cribwr Athletic Club (CCAC) to take on responsibility for sports facilities at Cae Gof Playing Fields as part of the community asset transfer programme. If approved, CCAC will take over management of the bowls pavilion and green, two rugby pitches and tennis courts. The club has requested funding of nearly £160,000 to extend the bowls pavilion and create rugby changing facilities; improve drainage on the pitches; and purchase maintenance equipment. Cefn Cribwr FC has expressed an interest in completing a separate lease for the main pavilion and two football pitches and discussions are ongoing. Cabinet is recommended to approve the business case and funding request from CCAC at its meeting, which will take place at 2.30pm on Tuesday 19 January.


Discretionary Grant available

A Discretionary Grant of £2,000 is available to businesses that have been forced to close or have been significantly impacted by the additional restrictions introduced in December. Businesses cannot apply for this grant if they are eligible for, or have received, the Restrictions Business Fund NDR Grant, are eligible for/have applied to the ERF Sector Specific Support Grant, or if the business is not the main source of income. Businesses need to confirm the viability of the enterprise is under threat, and outline why. For more information or to apply, visit the council website. Applications will be dealt with on a first-come-first-served basis, so some may not be appraised once the fund is fully committed.


Appeal for carers

The council is calling on residents who have experience of working within social care to help support those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. A number of paid roles are currently available within the council’s social care services department, which is under enormous pressure at the moment. If you are interested in working in in social care or want to find out more, contact the recruitment team on 01656 643205 or via email at [email protected]. You can also visit our social care vacancies page to browse and apply for jobs and see video clips of staff talking about their roles.


Active travel consultation

More than 660 people have shared their views on walking and cycling routes across Bridgend County Borough. The consultation remains open until 22 January and residents, particularly those from who use routes in Pyle, Pencoed and Pontycymer, are urged to give their feedback. Your views will be used to improve walking and cycling infrastructure and to help shape the active travel routes of the future. Having your say is made easy through our online mapping portal.


Make 2021 the year you start your fostering journey

With almost 400 children and young people in foster care across Bridgend county borough, the council is encouraging residents to consider fostering. A range of foster carer options is available, including short-term placements. Virtual information sessions are being held on Wednesday, 27 January, at 6pm and Sunday, 31 January, at 10am with a chance to meet some of the Bridgend Foster Care team and hear the experiences of a foster carer. If these dates are not suitable or to join one of the sessions, email [email protected] or call 01656 642674. Foster carers are offered full training, a financial allowance, extensive support and access to other foster carers, including support groups.