Community testing set to begin
Welsh Government has confirmed that community testing will take place in the county borough next month. It aims identify individuals who may be infected, but might not know it. The testing will take place over a four week period. Using data provided by Public Health Wales and Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, it will focus specifically upon Caerau, Nantyffyllon, Pyle, Kenfig Hill, Cornelly, Cefn Cribwr, Sarn, Aberkenfig, Coytrahen, Ynysawdre, Bryncethin, Bryncoch, Pencoed, Hendre, Felindre and Heol-Y-Cyw. All residents aged 11 and over who are not displaying symptoms of coronavirus will be encouraged to attend a testing centre for a swab test. This will be processed upon the premises, and participants will be contacted within 30 minutes with the results. If a positive result is recorded, the participant will be asked to self-isolate while arrangements are made for them to receive a confirmatory test along with further advice and support – look out for more details soon.
Unpaid carers and disabled people
Welsh Government has confirmed that people who have disabilities or who act as unpaid carers have been added to priority vaccination group six. The priority groupings for the vaccination programme have been determined on a UK-wide basis by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation. People with disabilities will be contacted with details of how they can arrange to receive a vaccination, while Welsh Government will make an online form available for unpaid carers next week which can be completed and submitted. For more information about vaccination eligibility, please visit the Public Health Wales website.
Vaccinations for 40,000 residents
Almost 40,000 residents of Bridgend County Borough have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Priority groups one to four are now complete, and the vaccination programme is focusing on priority group five to nine. With around 120,000 residents with these groups, the health board anticipates that it will have delivered one or more doses to each person by mid-April.
Advice for people in priority vaccination groups
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board is asking care home residents and staff, people aged 70 and over, frontline health and social care workers, and the clinically extremely vulnerable who have not yet been invited for their vaccine to fill out a form at the Cwm Taf website. This asks people to identify which priority group they are in and to submit contact information so they can receive details of how to arrange an appointment. If you are unable to fill in the online form, please call 01443 562264 (local call rate). This phone number is only for people in the top four priority groups who are yet to receive their first dose.
Mobile coronavirus testing unit
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s drive-through mobile testing facility remains available at the Halo Swimming Pool on Marshfield Avenue in Pyle (CF33 6RP). It is open daily from 9am-4pm. A walk-through testing facility also remains at the Bowls Hall car park of Bridgend Life Centre in Angel Street, Bridgend (CF31 4AH). The facility is available 8am-8pm, seven days a week. Booking for both sites is 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.
Food waste in the spotlight
The council is marking Food Waste Action Week (1-7 March) by highlighting how residents can reduce the amount of food they throw away. With ‘Wasting Food Feeds Climate Change’ as the theme of this year’s event, it aims to link organisations across the supply chain. In UK homes, 4.5m tonnes of edible food is wasted every year – enough to make 10m meals. Organisers Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW), estimate that an average family could save £720 a year if they stopped throwing food away. For lots of ways to make sure less of the food we buy is wasted, visit the LFHW website.
Recycling local food waste
If food waste ends up buried, it rots and produces methane, a damaging greenhouse gas. But as evidenced by the increase of 869 tonnes between April 2020 and January 2021 when compared to the same period in 2019-20, the vast majority of local residents in Bridgend County Borough already recycle their food waste. To avoid it going to landfill, the council arranges for local food waste to be treated at the Severn Trent Anaerobic Digestion Facility at Stormy Down, where it is transformed into electricity to power homes. It also produces agricultural fertiliser. Residents can find out more about recycling or request a food waste container or compostable bags by visiting the council website.
Free garden waste scheme subscription
Residents who sign up to the garden waste collection scheme before 1 March can win one of 100 free subscriptions. The 2021 scheme takes place between 15 March – 12 November. Once 100 winners from all those who sign up online before 1 March have been randomly selected, they will be contacted and offered a refund. Participants receive two robust sacks for typical garden waste such as grass, hedge clippings, plants, flowers, weeds and leaves. The sacks are then picked up and emptied from the kerbside every two weeks. Subscriptions are £38.30, or £34.30 for pensioners. To sign up, visit the Recycle for Bridgend website. Garden waste can also be recycled free of charge at your nearest community recycling centre.
Last chance for views on town centre plans
There’s just a few days left for residents to share their views on ambitious plans for Bridgend town centre. The council’s Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan aims to deliver a series of major improvements over the next 10 years and includes proposals such as a new town square, moving Bridgend College into the heart of the town centre, transforming derelict and empty buildings into new shops and housing, improving vehicle access, and more. Residents are urged to have their say in the consultation, which closes on Monday 1 March – visit the Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan webpage.
Welsh Government explores remote working options
With more people working from home during the pandemic, Welsh Government is exploring options for a network of remote working hubs in towns and communities across Wales. It wants to work with organisations to support a long-term shift to more people working remotely and would like to see a model where staff can choose to work in the office, at home or at a hub location. As part of its research, an interactive map has been launched to ask people if they would like to work remotely and allows them to drop a pin on the map where they would like to see a hub established. For more information, visit the Welsh Government’s website. The survey closes on Friday 26 March.
Free Instagram workshop for retailers
Town centre businesses in Bridgend County Borough can take part in a free Instagram webinar to help them market and showcase their products and services. The live online workshop, provided by the council and Bridgend Business Forum, will be held on Tuesday 30 March at 12.30pm and lasts two hours. The webinar follows the successful Digital Christmas Festival and feedback from retailers who said they would like social media channels used more to support their businesses and town centre. Booking is essential – email [email protected] for more details.
Call for fresh investment
Following news that a bottle plant expected to create 600 jobs will no longer be developed locally, the Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council has called upon the UK Government to work alongside Welsh Government to make renewed efforts to attract fresh investment into the area. The Ciner Group recently wrote to the authority to confirm that it is seeking to develop the bottle plant at an alternative location, with media coverage suggesting that this is likely to be at the Rassau Industrial Estate near Ebbw Vale in Blaenau Gwent. Commenting upon the announcement, council Leader Huw David said: “Bridgend County Borough is still dealing with the loss of the Engine Plant at Bridgend Ford, which employed almost 1,700 people and added about £3.3 billion to the local economy over the last 10 years alone. Subsequent hopes that Ineos would invest into the area were dashed when the company decided to relocate into Europe instead. As I previously told the Welsh Affairs Select Committee at the House of Commons, urgent investment and rapid action remains vital to protect the county borough’s communities and local economy. Welsh Government are already making efforts to support us, and I call upon the UK Government to join them and not to forget about Bridgend County Borough. We need them both to work with us to bring in new investment, businesses and jobs, to support existing employers, and to ensure that opportunities remain available for our future generations.”
More electric vehicle charging sites
The council is exploring options for providing more charging points for electric vehicles as part of the Cardiff Capital Region Ultra Low Emission Vehicle strategy. With several potential locations identified at publicly-accessible and workplace locations across the county borough, work is due to begin this year on a taxi charging point at Hillsboro Place Car Park in Porthcawl. Funding is also being sought for charging points at Brynmenyn Industrial Estate, Bridgend Life Centre, Porthcawl, Maesteg Car Park, Bridgend town centre, Bryncethin Depot and the Civic Offices car park. In addition, a ‘try before you buy’ scheme is being put in place to encourage taxi drivers to transition to wheelchair-accessible electric vehicles. This is expected to be in operation by early July, and information webinars are being organised to for drivers and operators. Hydrogen, renewable energy and digital technology are also among some of the options that are being explored to help achieve emissions targets.
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.
Preparing for Census 2021
Households across Bridgend County Borough will soon be asked to take part in Census 2021. The census is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. Based on the information you give, it ensures millions of pounds are invested in emergency services, mental health care, school places, hospital beds, houses, roads, GP’s and dentist’s services. Census 2021 will be the first run predominantly online, with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing you to complete the questionnaire on your computers, phones or tablets. Find out more at the Census 2021 website.
Coronavirus testing within schools
In line with Welsh Government guidance and following the return of three to seven-year-olds to school, lateral flow tests will soon be offered to all staff in schools and registered childcare settings. The tests, which are for those who do not have coronavirus symptoms, can be undertaken at home twice a week, and provide a result within 30 minutes. From 22 March, tests will also be offered to secondary school-age pupils in Years 11 to 13. While testing is voluntary, participants are encouraged to take up the offer as recent pilot schemes in Wales and the wider UK have shown how routine, rapid testing can be used effectively and have positive impacts in schools and other settings.