Latest news from Bridgend County Borough, 11 March

Community testing moves to Pencoed

Community testing has now moved to Pencoed Social Club for residents in Pencoed, Hendre, Felindre and Heol-Y-Cyw who do not have symptoms of coronavirus. Community testing is designed to identify those who are unknowingly carrying coronavirus but have no symptoms, and to prevent them from spreading it to their family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and more. The testing centre is open until Tuesday 16 March for people aged 11 and over. No booking is necessary and the walk-in centre is available between 9.30am-6.30pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, visit the community testing webpage.


Download app before visiting testing centres

Residents visiting a community testing centre are being encouraged to download the NHS Covid-19 QR code app. When arriving at the testing centre, you can check in using the app, which is available on the NHS Covid-19 webpage. Using your phone, you can scan the QR code displayed on posters at the venue and you will then be alerted if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. The app is the fastest way to see if you’re at risk from coronavirus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community, helping to stop the spread of coronavirus.


Unpaid carers can now check their vaccine eligibility

Unpaid carers can check if they are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination, as part of priority group six, through an online form. Unpaid carers should fill in the vaccine eligibility form, and if the criteria is met, they will be sent an appointment letter, with the date and time of when they will have their first dose. The appointment will direct carers to a local vaccination centre – GP surgeries are not providing the vaccine to carers, so please avoid contacting them with enquiries. With the vaccinations only available at the centres, carers must complete the online form in order to receive an appointment. For more details or to fill in the form visit the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board website.


Update on mobile coronavirus testing

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has confirmed the latest arrangements for mobile testing facilities for residents who have coronavirus symptoms. A drive-through mobile testing facility is available at Bettws playing fields on Heol Richard Price (CF32 8SF). It is open daily from 9am until 5pm and booking is essential. A walk-through testing facility remains at the Bowls Hall car park off Bridgend Life Centre (Angel Street, Bridgend CF31 4AH) from 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.


Council applies for Cosy Corner funding

Plans for investing in new community facilities at Cosy Corner in Porthcawl have moved a step closer after the Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council agreed to match Welsh Government funding of £1m with an additional investment of almost £385,000. The commitment follows the submission of a bid to Visit Wales and the Welsh European Funding Office under the Tourist Attractor Destination programme. The council has also agreed to undertake a procurement exercise for the appointment of architects and to provide greater certainty around issues such as costs. Members of the public will have a chance to comment on the plans for the site later in the year. These include a high-quality children’s play area, a new outdoor performance space, facilities for use by community organisations such as the Sea Cadets, new premises suitable for small retail and start-up enterprises, and storage and changing facilities for users of the nearby marina.


Free PPE offer for drivers is extended

The deadline for drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles to apply for a free pack of PPE equipment has been extended until 26 March 2021. The scheme provides licensed drivers with six months’ worth of cleaning and hygiene products to help keep them and their customers safe. To find out more and apply, visit the We Are Lyreco website.


Survey on food parcels

Parents, carers and children are being asked for their feedback on the food parcels the council has been delivering to pupils who are eligible for free school meals during the pandemic. The council has been working with the Real Wrap Company to provide around 5,000 children with a weekly parcel with enough nutritious breakfast and lunch items to cover five days. Schools are now sending a survey to parents, carers, children and young people to ask for their views about the parcels. For further information about the food parcels, visit the council’s webpage.


Funding could open up site for redevelopment

The former Budelpack COSi and Cooper Standard site on Ewenny Road Industrial Estate in Maesteg could soon undergo major regneeration works if a £3.5m Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal grant is secured. The 20-acre site has been vacant for more than a decade despite ongoing efforts at regeneration. Major infrastructure works are needed to make the site viable, including diverting a historic mining drain and backfilling several mineshafts. Bridgend County Borough Council has now submitted a bid for a CCR City Deal grant which could fund the works, with a decision due on March 15. If approved, council officers will work with the City Deal team to ensure key criteria is met to secure the full grant. Any proceeds from the sale of the land which is part-owned by the council will be reinvested back into the Llynfi Valley, with plans including a park and ride facility and an enterprise hub.


Council clarifies plans for Brackla Hill

Bridgend County Borough Council has clarified how it intends to protect open space at Brackla Hill following a request from the Save Our Fields community group to use a deed of dedication. The site was recently discounted as a potential location for a new primary school following a feasibility study, and the council instead made a commitment to preserve Brackla Hill as a green open space thorough the Bridgend Local Development Plan (LDP). The draft replacement LDP, including allocated accessible open space provision, is due to be published later this year and will be open for public consultation with a view to eventual adoption in 2022. To protect future use, and also to enhance and invest in the provision of amenities at Brackla Hill, the area could be possibly handed over via a community asset transfer to Brackla Community Council.


Heat network plans move forward

Plans to establish a heat network in Bridgend town centre have taken a step forward after the council approved the formation of a subsidiary company and agreed to include a budget of £3.4m in the capital programme. Phase one of the Bridgend Town Heat Network plans to use excess heat from a combined plant and thermal storage facility at the Bridgend Life Centre to heat the centre, as well as the Bowls Hall and Civic Centre offices. It will also provide electricity to those buildings. The scheme is a key part of the council’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions. To access funding from UK Government for the scheme, the council is required to set up a subsidiary company which will be 100% owned by the local authority to deliver the project. The council will provide a loan to the company which will be called Bridgend Heat & Power Ltd for £1.8m. This forms part of the £3.4m capital budget, with the remaining balance of funding being provided by a UK Government grant, as well as connection charges and share capital.


Agreement on adoption services

The Cabinet of Bridgend County Borough Council has agreed to sign a revised National Adoption Service In Wales partnership agreement (NAS). Established by Welsh Government in 2014 to improve services for all those affected by adoption in Wales, NAS brings national and regional services together. The agreement has been drawn up with the aim of streamlining services to increase recruitment of prospective adoptive families and boost post-adoption support. In Bridgend County Borough, services are overseen by Western Bay Adoption Service. Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in the number of approved adopters, including within the region, which has meant more children have been able to remain local. There has also been a rise in the number of enquiries from potential adopters. For more information, visit the Western Bay Adoption Service website.


New provider for dementia training

Bridgend County Borough Council has entered into an agreement with Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board (UHB) to provide care staff with dementia training. A report presented to Cabinet said an informal agreement has been in place with the health board since the transition from Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB in 2019-20 to ensure a continuity of support for care service providers and allow for a period of review. The report concluded that the current arrangement provides value-for-money training, including ongoing support to care providers. While the delivery of training has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, workshops and e-learning courses have been made available. It is hoped face-to-face sessions, including within care homes, can resume alongside online learning when it is safe for them to do so. The agreement will run from 1 April 2021 for three years.


Retreat offers community support

A new service offering a safe, non-clinical environment for those experiencing mental health problems and distress has been piloted in the centre of Bridgend. Since opening just before Christmas, the out-of-hours service has received more than 100 referrals from across the area. The service is provided by Mental Health Matters Wales and is delivered as part of a collaboration with Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Bridgend County Borough Council, South Wales Police and other third sector service providers. The retreat is a service for adults who are experiencing problems such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, isolation, domestic, family, relationship issues, carer’s responsibilities, stress and other issues. Access is by appointment only through a referral process via professional health, social services or social care staff from statutory services.


Active travel consultation

Residents are invited to have their say on proposed new active travel routes for pedestrians and cyclists. The consultation is available until Sunday 4 April. You can view the draft map and have your say at our active travel routes consultation webpage, and find out more about active travel at the council’s webpage.


Census letters on their way

Census day is on 21 March and residents will soon receive a letter with a code explaining how they can complete their form online. Paper questionnaires will also be available if needed. Where it is safe to do so, local census support centres will be open to offer assistance for people who are not confident online, who don’t have a computer or who need help completing the paper form. The census, run by the Office for National Statistics, is a once-in-a-decade survey that gives the most accurate estimate of all the people and households in England and Wales. The results help to inform where billions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health. The census will include questions about your sex, age, work, health, education, household size and ethnicity. If your letter doesn’t arrive in the next couple of weeks, get in touch with the census contact centre on 0800 169 2021. For more information and advice about how to answer the questions and to find your nearest census support centre, visit


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.