Latest news from Bridgend County Borough – 20 March 2021

Covid-19 National Day of Reflection

A number of commemorative events have been arranged to mark the anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday 23 March. Bridgend County Borough residents are being encouraged to participate in a national one-minute silence at 12noon and then, at 8pm, they can stand at their doorsteps and shine phones, candles and torches into the night sky to join in a nationwide ‘beacon of remembrance’. As part of this event, the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl will be illuminated with yellow light – one of several iconic Welsh landmarks chosen to take part in the commemoration. First Minister Mark Drakeford has also confirmed plans are in place to plant two new commemorative woodlands, one in North Wales and one in South Wales. The National Day of Reflection is a chance to remember those who are sadly no longer with us and thank essential workers who have kept vital services running. Any residents who need mental health support can visit Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s Community Support Hub webpage, which offers links to organisations who can help as well as resources about well-being, bereavement and more.


Community testing in Tondu

Community testing remains at Tondu Cricket Club until Tuesday 23 March for residents of Tondu, Sarn, Aberkenfig, Coytrahen, Ynysawdre, Bryncethin and Bryncoch who are aged 11 and over, and who do not have symptoms of coronavirus. The testing is designed to identify asymptomatic people who are unknowingly carrying coronavirus, and to prevent them from spreading it to their family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and more. No booking is necessary for the walk-in centre, which 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. Residents are encouraged to download the NHS Covid-19 QR code app before their visit – on arrival, simply check in using the app, which is available on the NHS Covid-19 webpage. From Wednesday 24 March, community testing will move to Caerau Athletic Football Club – The Riverboat for residents in Caerau and Nantyffyllon.


Visiting pod opens at care home

As care homes prepare to restart visits, one Bridgend County Borough Council-run residential facility has been able to welcome families thanks to a temporary visiting pod. Last year, Welsh Government announced it would install 100 units across the country to better facilitate visits during the colder months. Now that alert level four coronavirus restrictions have started to ease, visits to the pod at Ty Cwm Ogwr in Pant-yr-awel, Ogmore Valley, began this week. Relatives are allocated a one-hour slot and are tested upon arrival with results returned within 20-30 minutes. If the result is negative, they enter the pod on one side and the care home resident on the other with a screen partition in between. The pod is sanitised thoroughly after each visit and several families have made use of the facility so far. Staff at other council-run residential care homes are carrying out checks and undertaking risk assessments to allow visits to restart as soon as possible. Residents are advised to contact the relevant home to find out what arrangements are in place before visiting.


Outdoor improvement grants support 58 businesses

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, scores of businesses and organisations across Bridgend County Borough have received funding to make outdoor adaptations to help keep their customers safe. Using money provided by Bridgend County Borough Council, the Valleys Task Force and Welsh Government’s Targeted Regeneration Investment initiative, the Outdoor Improvements Covid-19 Recovery Fund has targeted external areas where customers and members of the public can congregate, rest or enjoy food and drink. Commercial property and business owners have been able to apply for grants of up to £10,000 for adaptations ranging from outdoor canopies and furniture to planters, outdoor heating, screens and more. So far, 58 local businesses have benefitted from the scheme and further applications are currently being processed.


Census Day is nearly here

Census Day takes place on Sunday 21 March. Residents should have received a letter with a code explaining how they can complete their form online. All households must complete the census, which is run by the Office for National Statistics, by law. Operating in line with the Government’s latest Covid-19 guidance, field officers will be deployed to contact those who have not responded. They will offer help and advice to those who need it. The results of the census will inform where billions of pounds of public funding is spent on services like transport, education and health. For more information and advice, visit or call 0800 169 2021.


Mobile coronavirus testing

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s drive-through mobile testing facility for residents with coronavirus symptoms has moved to the Halo Swimming Pool on Marshfield Avenue in Pyle (CF33 6RP). It is open daily from 9am-5pm. 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. Booking is essential at both sites. 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.


NDR grant payments to be made

Due to further funding announced by Welsh Government, businesses who registered for and received the Non-Domestic Rate Grant for the period of December 2020 to 11 March 2021 will receive an automated one-off payment, which will be paid directly into their bank account. Businesses do not need to take any further action, and the grant is now closed to new applicants. For more details about support for businesses in Bridgend County Borough, visit the council’s website.


Enjoy the Six Nations safely

Rugby fans are being urged to make sure they cheer Wales on to a potential Grand Slam safely tonight. South Wales Police, Public Health Wales, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and Bridgend County Borough Council are reminding residents to enjoy the evening safely by staying at home to watch the match on Saturday, not meeting up with people who are not already in their support bubble, and not mixing other households while alert level four restrictions remain in place.


Survey to help shape future business support

Businesses are being asked to take part in a survey to help assess the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit on the local economy. The newly-established Bridgend County Economic Taskforce wants to understand the main issues companies are facing, their aspirations and what support they would like. The findings of the survey will be used to develop an economic plan. To take part, visit the Business Engagement Survey webpage.


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.


We’re good to go!

Businesses are being urged to join a scheme that will let customers know they are following Covid-19 guidance once they are allowed to reopen. Almost 90 businesses in the county borough, including accommodation, tourist attractions and places to eat, have been accredited by We’re Good to Go, created by Visit Wales in partnership with other national tourist organisations. It allows businesses to demonstrate they have processes in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social distancing. Tourism and hospitality operators who get in touch with the council to say they have achieved the standard will be highlighted on the Visit Bridgend website. Businesses can apply at the Visit Britain website and email [email protected] once they have had confirmation they have achieved the standard.


Unpaid carers can check 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 eligibility form, and if the criteria is met, they will be sent an appointment letter for 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 vaccinations only available at the centres, carers must complete the online form to receive an appointment. For more details, visit the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board website.


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.


Covid-19 testing and vaccination survey

Residents are being asked for their feedback about coronavirus testing and vaccine information. Public health messaging and communications have played a key role in informing people about managing risks and preventing transmission during the Covid-19 pandemic, including vaccinations. A survey has been developed by the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Local Public Health Team to explore perceptions of testing and vaccines to help shape how information is communicated to residents in the future. No personal or identifiable data is collected. The survey will close at midnight on Sunday 21 March. To take part, visit the Public perceptions study webpage.


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.


Blood donation sessions

The Welsh Blood Service is looking for new donors aged over 17 and under 66 years of age. Donation sessions are being held at the Heronston Hotel in Bridgend on Monday 12 to Wednesday 14 April. One blood donation can potentially save three lives but only 3% of the UK population currently donate. Book a lifesaving appointment today at the Welsh Blood Service website.


Contacting the council

The Customer Service Centre at the Civic Offices in Angel Street, Bridgend remains closed to the public. Residents are asked to use the online My Account and Oggie webchat facilities, or to email [email protected] or call 01656 643643.