The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Following the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, Cllr Kenneth Watts issued the following statement. He said: “It is with great sadness to hear of the death of Prince Philip this morning. On behalf of the people of Bridgend county borough, we send our heartfelt sympathies to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family. Throughout his life, the Duke of Edinburgh served the crown with selfless devotion and a true generosity of spirit, and he has left a lasting legacy in the many organisations that he supported as Patron and President.” The flags at the civic offices are flying at half-mast as a mark of respect and further announcements will follow. To send an online message of condolence, visit the Royal Family website. For further information visit the Welsh Government website and/or the UK Government website.


Relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions

Welsh Government has announced that some Covid-19 restrictions will be relaxed sooner as cases of new infections continue to fall across Wales. People will be able to form an extended household, visit the gym or take part in organised outdoor activities a week earlier than planned as the public health situation and vaccination rates continue to improve. Cases have fallen markedly from 37 cases per 100,000 people to fewer than 21 per 100,000 this week. Confirmed cases in hospital beds are at the lowest position since 22 September 2020. The planned opening date for organised outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions will be moved forward to Monday 26 April from 3 May. And, from Monday 3 May, gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will be able to reopen for individual or one-to-one training. Extended households will also be allowed, enabling two households to meet and have contact indoors. To read the announcement, visit the Welsh Government website. Further easements to restrictions in the coming weeks will be subject to the public health situation remaining favourable. These will be confirmed at the next three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations on 22 April.


Community testing available

Community testing is available at the Ogmore Valley Life Centre until Tuesday 13 April for people over the age of 11 who do not have coronavirus symptoms. Anyone who lives, works or studies in the county borough can have a test, as well as anyone who is visiting. One in three people with coronavirus show no symptoms and community testing helps to isolate these cases to prevent them from unwittingly spreading it. Testing will be available at the Evergreen Hall, Angel Street, Bridgend CF31 4AD from Wednesday 14 April to Tuesday 20 April before moving to the Awel-Y-Mor Community Centre, Hutchwns Terrace, Porthcawl CF36 5TP from Wednesday 21 April to Wednesday 28 April. The walk-in centres are available between 9.30am-6.30pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. For more details, visit the community testing page.


Maesteg Town Hall update

Work on the multi-million pound restoration and extension of Maesteg Town Hall continues to make good progress. The latest developments include the laying of concrete for the new backstage platform lift, which will ensure better access for bigger sets and stage equipment. Previously, equipment had to be hauled up the main steps of the building and through the hall. On the roof, the cupolas, which form part of a traditional ventilation system, have been restored and weatherproofed. The iconic clock has been taken apart and its mechanism removed to provide unhindered access for the structural works needed to the tower, and to keep it safe during the process. Bridgend County Borough Council is working in partnership with Awen Cultural Trust and a number of key funders on the £7.9m project. The Grade II-listed building will be returned to its former glory and enhanced with a new glass atrium, studio theatre and cinema space, café and mezzanine bar, heritage centre and modern library.


Vaccine reserve list

Residents aged 40 to 49 who are available to attend a Covid-19 vaccination appointment within one hour can now sign up for Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s reserve list. Overwhelming demand saw the form crash when it was first launched but it is now back up and running. A number of people submitted their details before the form crashed but are invited to resubmit them as a precaution. The list has been set up due to a slight increase in the number of no-shows at vaccination centres and will allow the health board to fill cancelled appointments and continue to ensure no vaccine goes to waste. It will not affect vaccines for residents in priority groups 1 to 9. More than 285,000 vaccines have been given across the Cwm Taf Morgannwg area, including more than 85,000 in Bridgend County Borough. To join the reserve list if you’re eligible, fill out the form at the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board website.


Education support for looked-after children

The council’s Corporate Parenting Committee has received an update on the education support offered to looked-after children. As of 19 March 2021, there were 271 pupils being looked after by the local authority. Schools offer a range of support to looked-after children to promote attendance. During the pandemic, the pupil development grant has been used to offer additional tuition to 33 looked-after children in the county borough. On-site provision was also offered, with priority given to those in foster placements that were at risk of breakdown. Since January 2021, an average of 50 of these learners were accessing on-site provision each week. Digital equipment was also supplied where required. Estyn has highlighted the work of local schools in its recent review of education for looked-after children. The local authority has also been central to the development of work experience and apprenticeship opportunities for looked-after children to help them secure employment.


Changes to bus services

From Sunday 11 April 2021, First Cymru Buses Ltd are increasing their bus network across the county borough. For full details of service frequency and timetables visit the First Cymru Bridgend, Maesteg and Porthcawl Services webpage.


Mobile coronavirus testing

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s mobile testing facility for residents with coronavirus symptoms is available at the Halo Swimming Pool on Marshfield Avenue in Pyle (CF33 6RP) for drive-through appointments between 9am-5pm. Booking is essential and can be arranged by visiting the Welsh Government website or calling 119. People with hearing or speech difficulties can call 18001119. A walk-through testing facility remains in place between 8am-8pm at the Bowls Hall car park off Bridgend Life Centre (CF31 4AH). Booking for this facility is also essential.


Social services review

Residents who have requested social services advice or assistance from Bridgend County Borough Council are being encouraged to take part in a survey to share their experiences. Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) is carrying out an assurance check to review how well the service continues to help adults, carers, children and families, and its plans for the future. It will focus on how well the council delivers services and supports people to keep themselves safe and promote their own well-being. Inspectors are not checking up on residents and participants do not have to share any personal information. The findings will be shared with the council to help shape any improvements that are needed. Visit CIW’s assurance survey to take part before the 30 April deadline.


Online courses available

Bridgend Adult Community Learning is offering a range of accredited online courses including child psychology, drawing for beginners, managing anxiety, improving your writing and spelling, and staying healthy, managing stress. Residents who want to access an online course but don’t have a suitable device or Wi-fi connection are encouraged to get in touch as support may be available. The deadline for enrolling is Wednesday 14 April. For more information, visit the council’s website.