£700,000 upgrade for play areas

More than 30 children’s play areas are set to receive a boost thanks to a £700,000 refurbishment programme. The first phase of the initiative will carry out work ranging from the installation of new equipment to the re-laying of safe play surfaces. Some of the first sites to benefit include Caedu Park in Ogmore Vale, the Evanstown Welfare Park, Park Terrace at Tondu, Pwll-y-Garth Street in Kenfig Hill, the Precinct at Wildmill, and Woodlands Terrace in Caerau. A further 28 sites have been proposed across the county borough in areas including Pencoed, Bettws, Blackmill, Caerau, Brackla, Cornelly, Porthcawl, Tondu and Bridgend as well as Braich-y-Cymmer, Nantymoel, Blaengarw, Pen-y-Fai, Nottage, Coytrahen, Aberkenfig, Llangeinor, Lewistown, Cefn Cribwr and Cefn Glas. These will be finalised at a later date, and future phases of the scheme will target more of the county borough’s 107 play areas.


Increased demand for support grants

Following a recent increase in applications for self-isolation support grants from people who have been told to isolate by the NHS Wales Test, Trace and Protect team, the council has stressed the importance of providing all of the information required and not submitting multiple applications. Designed to overcome financial barriers faced by people who are self-isolating after either testing positive, displaying symptoms of coronavirus or having been identified as close contacts who are not yet fully vaccinated, council staff are giving up weekends and annual leave to process the applications as quickly and as efficiently as possible. More information is available at the council website.


New road train is first class

Porthcawl’s all-new road train attraction has been launched. The seasonal service, which runs between Sandy Bay and Rest Bay, takes in key stops such as Coney Pleasure Beach, Porthcawl marina, the town centre, the Grand Pavilion and the Rest Bay Watersports Centre. Operators Emmaus South Wales have revealed that the new train is called Lucie in honour of their co-founder, a Second World War resistance fighter who dedicated her life to helping others. The road train features three carriages, one of which is suitable for wheelchairs, and the service is available Monday to Saturday between 10am-4.30pm, and 11am-3.30pm on Sundays.


Meet the new Youth Mayor

Bridgend Youth Council has elected Xander Payne from Archbishop McGrath Catholic High School as the county borough’s new Youth Mayor, and G Williams from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama as Deputy Youth Mayor. Designed to give young people a voice and help them to have their say on local issues, the Youth Council is set up and run by young residents with support from the local authority. To find out more about their work and how you can get involved, visit the council website.


Valleys pub has licence revoked

The alcohol licence for the Station Hotel in Caerau has been removed after South Wales Police requested its review under the Licensing Act 2003. It follows a raid carried out on 16 July which found weapons, ammunition and drugs on the premises. A closure order was also made by the Magistrates’ Court in relation to part of the premises prohibiting access.  Officers had reasonable grounds for believing that the use of the premises was resulting in nuisance to members of the public, and that there had been associated disorder which it was necessary to prevent from reoccurring. The police investigation is continuing.


Warning over fraud scam

Businesses are being urged to look out for a scam that is targeting existing and potential suppliers of equipment to organisations such as Bridgend County Borough Council, and which has already defrauded one trader by more than £40,000. The scam involves imitating an employee of the council by phone or via email, ordering goods and providing a purchase order which resembles those used by the authority. The goods are requested to be delivered to an address that may or may not be within the county borough. After shipping the goods, the supplier never receives payment, and is unable to retrieve the products. Bridgend County Borough Council is reminding businesses that all authentic emails from the authority will originate from an ‘@bridgend.gov.uk’ email address. Any trader who suspects that a quotation request sent by email or a subsequent purchase order may not be genuine can check by contacting procurementteam@bridgend.gov.uk. For more details visit the council website.


Latest changes for mobile testing

Walk-in mobile testing facilities are available between 9am-3pm at Ogmore Vale Primary (CF32 7AJ) and Porthcawl Comprehensive (CF36 3ES). Booking appointments to use either of these sites is recommended, but not necessary. The walk-through testing centre at the Bowls Hall car park in Angel Street, Bridgend (CF31 4AH) also remains available between 2pm-8pm, and booking remains essential for this site. You can arrange appointments by visiting the Welsh Government website or calling 119. If you have hearing or speech difficulties, you can call 18001119 as an alternative. Please note that the testing units in Nantymoel and at the site of the former Revlon (Cosi) factory in Maesteg have now closed.


Visit a walk-in vaccine clinic

Adults who have not yet had their first coronavirus vaccine dose can walk into a community vaccination centre and receive it with no prior booking required. In Bridgend County Borough, the walk-in appointments are available at Ravens Court (CF31 4AP) between 9.15am-4.30pm. Anyone wishing to take advantage will need to bring along a form of ID such as a passport, driver’s licence or utility bill for proof of address. Bookings for second-dose appointments are continuing, and will run alongside the walk-in vaccinations as normal.


Support for residents

Residents affected by recent events involving the death of young children in the Sarn and Broadlands areas are being advised that a range of help and support is available. Cruse Bereavement Care (0808 808 1677) and the Bereavement Advice Centre (0800 634 9494) both offer advice on all aspects of coping with bereavement, Samaritans (116 123) support people in extreme distress, and The Silver Line (0800 470 8090) provides support for older people, especially those who are experiencing loneliness and isolation. Child Bereavement UK (0800 028 8840) supports families dealing with the death of a baby or child, Winstons Wish (08088 020 021) offers support for grieving children and young people through an online chat facility or a freephone national helpline, and the Good Grief Trust offers links to further bereavement support across the country.


Summer fun for children

Artist Francine Davies is bringing her funny characters The Ogs to libraries at Pyle (25 August, 2pm-4pm) and Maesteg (1 September, 2pm-4pm) for some special story and craft events. On 2 September, Party Animals will also be visiting Bridgend and Pyle libraries to entertain children with an interactive display which will teach them about the animal kingdom. You can book a place by contacting either Pyle Library (01656 754850), Maesteg Library (01656 754835) or Bridgend Library (01656 754830). Meanwhile, more than 30 community groups are working in partnership to provide summer activities for children, ranging from day trips, camping, canoeing, cooking and art to sports, surfing, cycling and climbing. For more details, visit the news pages of the council website.


Council to support Afghan scheme

Bridgend County Borough Council has confirmed that it will participate in the UK Government’s planned expansion of the Afghan relocation and assistance programme. Designed to provide safe, secure accommodation for interpreters and other personnel who have worked with the UK in Afghanistan, the programme recognises the service of those who have supported the British Forces, and reflects both their work and the risks they and their families now face following recent events within the country. The council is awaiting further details on how the wider scheme will work, which authorities will take part, the level of support central government will provide, and what the longer-term arrangements are likely to be.


Final well-being walk for August

The last in a series of summer walks designed to help improve people’s well-being will take place at Bryngarw Country Park between 10am–11.30am on 25 August. Organised by Groundwork Wales, you can book your place by calling 07824 473086 or emailing jpayne@groundwork.org.uk


A&E patients asked for feedback

Cwm Taf Morgannwg Community Health Council is asking people who have used A&E departments at the Princess of Wales, Prince Charles and Royal Glamorgan hospitals for their thoughts and experiences on accessing emergency care and treatment. Details provided will remain confidential and will be used to improve services. You can take part by completing an online survey or ask a member of staff to complete it on your behalf by calling 01443 405830. Alternatively, you can text 62277 and start your message with CTMCHC followed by your feedback – the deadline for responses is 17 September.


Deadline approaches for chandelier offer

Local organisations are being offered six chandeliers which were previously used at Maesteg Town Hall. Believed to date back to the 1970s, the brass and glass chandeliers are surplus to requirements and will require modern fixings for their electrical connections before they can be used. To find out more, email regeneration@bridgend.gov.uk by Tuesday 31 August.


Free car parking until 31 August

Don’t forget that until 31 August, drivers can park for up to three hours at the Rhiw in Bridgend town centre and between noon to 3pm at John Street in Porthcawl completely free.


Give blood this August

Blood donation sessions will take place at the Heronston Hotel on 24 August. You can find out how to take part at the Welsh Blood Service website.