Latest News from Bridgend County Borough – 7 Feb

Residents share coronavirus safety message

A fundraising superhero and members of local sports clubs, community organisations and the social care sector from across Bridgend County Borough have taken part in a short video to encourage people to keep following coronavirus guidance. Featuring Richard Durston, who has raised money for the NHS by dressing up as Spiderman, the video reiterates that residents should continue to stick to the rules. Residents are advised to keep washing their hands, social distancing, wear a face covering where required, and only leave home for essential purposes. To see the video, visit the council’s Facebook page.

Plans for returning to schools

Welsh Government has confirmed that plans are in place to support a ‘partial and phased return to face-to-face learning’ in schools from 22 February. The announcement follows latest advice from the Technical Advisory Group and chief medical officer based upon recent improvements in public health conditions. Pupils aged three to seven who are within the Foundation Phase from nursery to year two will be able to start returning after the half-term holiday, and the return of older pupils will be considered as part of Welsh Government’s next lockdown review, which is due on 19 February. As part of the planned return, an extra £5m is being provided to help schools make necessary preparations and provide safety arrangements, such as twice-weekly coronavirus tests for teachers. More details will be issued soon and you can read an open letter from Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, to headteachers at the Welsh Government website.

Support for young people during lockdown

Youth workers from Bridgend County Borough Council are available to provide expert advice and support for young people aged 11-25. The WhatsUpp Bridgend Youth Support Scheme can help you with school work, housing issues, well-being, family worries and more, and is also available if you are just feeling lonely or bored during lockdown – find out more at the council website.

Rest Bay car park closes

The car park at Rest Bay in Porthcawl has been closed following a rise in the number of people driving to the coast to go for a walk or undertake exercise. With alert level four restrictions still in place across Wales and spot checks underway by South Wales Police, the Rest Bay car park joins similar closures that have already been carried out at Bedford Park and the privately-owned Newton Beach car park. People are being reminded that all exercise should begin and end at the doorstep, and should not involve driving to another location. Other council-maintained car parks located throughout the county borough will remain open, but will be monitored for compliance.

Market reopens for essential trading

Bridgend Indoor Market will reopen on Wednesday 10 February with essential retailers being able to resume trading. The market will be open from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Saturday, and five food traders are preparing to reopen. They include a bakery, butcher and delicatessen, as well as fruit and veg, and health food stalls. A one-way system will be in place with two-metre markings on the floor to help ensure social distancing and hand sanitiser stations available.

Green spaces to explore from your doorstep

With Welsh Government regulations stating that outdoor exercise must be taken locally, residents are being reminded of the many green spaces that are available across the county borough, including nature reserves and heritage sites to lakes, ponds and walking routes. You can leave home as often as you like to exercise alone, with members of your household or support bubble and/or a carer, or with one person from another household. Unless you have a specific mobility issue, all exercise should start and finish from your home. To find out more, visit the council’s website.

Caerau heat scheme trial

Eligible households across Caerau can earn up to £150 by participating in a study which will monitor heat usage in homes over the winter period. If you would like to find out more about taking part, visit the council website.                                                                                    

New health and social care facilities

New facilities are planned in Bettws to support the work of the county borough’s integrated health and social care team. The plans involve adding a new level to the Trem y Mor building, which is home to the community resource team, and providing facilities to support the training of staff who work in areas such as reablement, physiotherapy, nursing, social work and occupational therapy. The £435,000 project, which is being funded by Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and Bridgend County Borough Council, will provide an appropriate environment for staff and demonstration space for telecare equipment, aids and adaptations for people with sensory and physical disabilities, and more.

Mobile coronavirus testing unit update

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has opened a new drive-through mobile testing facility at the Halo Swimming Pool on Marshfield Avenue in Pyle (CF33 6RP). It will be open daily from 9am until 4pm and booking is essential. A walk-through testing facility remains in place at the Bowls Hall car park off Bridgend Life Centre (Angel Street, Bridgend CF31 4AH). The facility is available 8am-8pm, seven days a week, and booking is also essential. To arrange an appointment, visit the Welsh Government website or call 119. People with hearing or speech difficulties can book an appointment by calling 18001119.

 Dispose of asbestos safely

Residents are being reminded that asbestos is only accepted at a specialised skip at the Tythegston community recycling centre with a tipping permit from the council’s waste partners Kier. A charge will apply based on the amount of asbestos due to it being hazardous waste. If asbestos is dropped into other skips at community recycling centres, it contaminates other waste and the skip has to be taken out of use until arrangements can be made to deal with it, inconveniencing other users. Kier can be contacted on 01656 643643 or by emailing [email protected]

Community garden work begins

Work has started on a community garden at the site of the former Berwyn Centre in Nantymoel. The garden will contain a seating area, native tree planting and ornamental plants with plans to feature artwork commemorating Lynn the Leap’s famous jump and a sculpture of a miner looking out towards the Wyndham Colliery. As part of the plans, Keep Wales Tidy have provided £25,000 of funding for the creation of a new Tiny Forest, and a grant of £6,800 from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust will go towards the creation of a Miner and Dram sculpture. £120,000 for the project has been made available via the Valleys Task Force Covid-19 recovery funding for town centres, providing an outdoor meeting place within Nantymoel. A further grant will be spent on the Ogmore Vale Washery site to improve infrastructure for walking, cycling, running and other forms of physical activity.

Strong feedback on Digital Christmas Festival

Businesses have responded strongly to the inaugural Digital Christmas Festival. The initiative, which offered alternative ways of celebrating Christmas during the coronavirus pandemic, saw a total of 127 businesses taking part. Three-quarters of respondents to a survey on the event rated it as excellent or good, and half agreed that the event had brought in new customers. The results will now be used to evaluate how we move forward with the digital high street.

Council marks Apprenticeship Week

Bridgend County Borough Council is celebrating the valuable contribution of its apprentices ahead of Apprenticeship Week Wales, which runs from 8-14 February 2021. The council has 16 apprentices who work across a variety of departments including finance, social care learning and development, highways, building control, business administration and social care. Apprenticeships allow individuals to develop professional skills and gain valuable experience while earning a wage and working towards an accredited qualification. The council has been increasing the recruitment of apprentices across service areas and this has been enhanced recently by the investment of a corporately-funded programme which meant a further 12 roles being created last year. Any future apprenticeship opportunities will be posted on the council’s job search webpage.

Council celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month

Bridgend County Borough Council is working alongside other local authorities under the ‘Proud Councils’ banner to promote equality and celebrate diversity within local communities. The scheme brings together local authorities across South Wales in a visible and unified way to demonstrate support, promote equality and reassure LGBTQ+ communities that we are committed towards equality, opportunity and inclusion. Visit the council’s website for a look at how LGBTQ+ History Month is being marked in Bridgend County Borough.

 Self-isolation payments extended

Residents who are asked to self-isolate via the NHS Covid-19 app, are on a low income and at risk of financial hardship, are now eligible to apply for the £500 self-isolation support payment. The payment is also available to residents who have been asked to self-isolate by Test, Trace, Protect or parents whose child has been asked to self-isolate by their education setting. Bridgend County Borough Council is able to accept and process applications for the new payments from Friday 5 February and applicants can apply up to three weeks from their last date of isolation if the period started on or after 1 February 2021. Residents who are eligible can apply through the council’s website.