The people of Bridgend County Borough have come together to mark the first anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic.
One year to the day since the Prime Minister first informed the people of the United Kingdom to stay at home, Tuesday 23 March 2021 has been designated as a National Day of Reflection and a number of commemorative events have taken place.
With many houses displaying yellow hearts on their doors or in their windows, a national one-minute silence was held at 12 noon.
This was followed at 8pm by a nationwide ‘beacon of remembrance’ when communities throughout the county borough took to their doorsteps and shone phones, candles and torches into the night sky.
As part of this, the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl was also illuminated with yellow light – one of 100 iconic Welsh landmarks such as the Senedd, Britannia Bridge, Principality Stadium and numerous castles specially chosen to take part in the commemoration.
The local events joined a national remembrance ceremony held in Cardiff and followed plans announced by Welsh Government for the creation of two new woodlands, one in North Wales and one in South Wales, to offer a symbol of Wales’ resilience and to represent regeneration and renewal.
The Leader, Cllr Huw David said: “Of the 125,000 people across the UK who have died as a result of coronavirus, more than 7,600 of those deaths have been in Wales.
“Today, the people of Bridgend County Borough came together to show their deep respect, contemplate all that has taken place, and to remember those who are sadly no longer with us.
“This has also been an opportunity to thank the essential workers who have helped to keep vital services running throughout this crisis, and who have made huge efforts to keep the most vulnerable members of our community safe and well.
“It is entirely fitting that the anniversary should coincide with news that as a result of these efforts, our council-run care homes for elderly and vulnerable people have been confirmed as being coronavirus-free.
“This anniversary will be an extremely difficult milestone for some, but no one should feel that they have to face it alone. A wide range of support is always available, and anyone who may be struggling can make use of services designed to look after your well-being and mental health.
“To date, more than 65,000 local residents have been vaccinated. With the programme making excellent progress, our eyes are turning towards the future and how we and the rest of the country can recover from the impact of the pandemic.
“Coronavirus has not gone away, and we will be living with its effects for quite some time. That is why it remains absolutely crucial for communities throughout Bridgend County Borough to keep their guard up, ensure that we keep following the rules, and make every effort to prevent the coronavirus from making a resurgence.”
A range of local organisations are available to support local residents with their mental health and well-being. Assisting Recovery in the Community (ARC) provides practical advice, guidance and structured support. Advice is available between 9am – 4.30pm, Monday to Friday – call 01656 763176 or email [email protected] for more details.
The Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations can point residents towards further support and information – visit www.bavo.org.uk/get-help/covid-19/ to find out more.
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board also has a website which offers links to mental health organisations as well as resources about well-being, bereavement and much more – you can find further details at the Community Support Hub webpage.