Libraries reopen in Bridgend County Borough
Libraries in Bridgend County Borough have reopened their doors after it was announced that Wales is moving out of Covid-19 alert level four.
Awen Cultural Trust, which runs libraries on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council, has begun to reopen facilities with browsing for a restricted number of users, ICT access and some bookable study spaces available.
The libraries in Aberkenfig, Betws, Maesteg, Pencoed, Pyle and Sarn have reopened with safety measures in place, including social distancing, hand hygiene measures, regular cleaning of surfaces and the quarantining of stock. Residents visiting libraries must wear face coverings unless they are exempt.
Porthcawl library remains closed as refurbishment works are being carried out to improve the layout and allow more visitors to safely use facilities.
The reopening of the library run by Awen at the Bridgend Life Centre, and the libraries at the Garw and Ogmore Life Centres, which are run by Halo, will be considered when the Covid-19 restrictions around leisure centres are lifted.
In the county borough’s larger libraries, self-service machines have been installed and new technology allows them to be used in conjunction with mobile phones to create a totally contact-free visit.
The Book and Collect and Books on Wheels services continue to operate for those who are not ready to browse or require books to be delivered to their homes.
For more information, including opening times, visit the Awen Libraries website.
Lockdown exercise scheme celebrates 100th participant
A free, online lockdown exercise programme run by Halo Leisure for anyone feeling low, lonely, or living with dementia in Bridgend county borough has welcomed its 100th participant.
Seventy-nine year old Carol Hopkin used to visit Ogmore Valley Life Centre weekly for exercise sessions but with the lockdown was left feeling isolated and at home doing very little.
Deciding to join Halo’s Feel Good for Life digital programme this month, she became the 100th participant, helping her stay active and connect with new and old friends online.
As part of the digital project, Halo provide all those joining the programme with a free iPad loan helping them to join in with exercise classes as well as quizzes, singalongs and more.
Halo’s Active Communities Manager Ryan Statton said: “We know how much local people have missed the social connection as well as the activities and exercise.
“And we know that connecting with others is vital for health, lowering anxiety, improving immunity and encouraging activity.
“It made absolute sense to take Feel Good for Life online and to find ways to deliver it to those who are on their own.
“Our ‘Feel Good for Life’ team had an iPad delivered to Carol’s door, and online Zoom and IT training lined up so she could use it to connect with family or play games online and join virtual exercise sessions with the Halo team. This is all about helping Carol and others like her to enjoy home based movement and mingling.”
Halo, a social enterprise and registered charity, launched the award-winning Feel Good for Life programme three years ago with funding from National Lottery and Bridgend County Borough Council.
Since its launch, the programme has welcomed scores of vulnerable people to the county borough’s leisure centres for sports and social activities.
Additional support from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and the local authority helped the programme to move online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Carol said the class and iPad had made a huge difference, adding: “It’s certainly motivating me to stay active with the online exercise classes, and I love seeing friends and family on the Zoom calls.”
Classes are available for free while centres are closed due to Covid restrictions on the Halo Leisure app or on the Halo website. You will need to set up a Halo online account to view the classes.
Once you’ve booked your space, you will receive an invite and instructions on how to attend. And if you’re not very confident with technology, the team will loan you an iPad, train you how to use it and be on-hand to help you through it. Family members or carers are also encouraged to contact Halo if they think it would help those they care for.
New enforcement team to help tackle fly-tipping
A new enforcement team will be in action this summer in Bridgend county borough to help tackle fly tipping and waste issues.
Bridgend County Borough Council has set aside funding to tackle these crimes following a rise in the number of incidents.
Fly-tipping is illegally dumping waste and anyone found guilty of fly-tipping can be fined up to £50,000 and face up to six months in prison. This can be increased to five years if hazardous waste is dumped, such as toxic waste or asbestos.
The council’s director of communities Janine Nightingale said: “While the local authority’s Cleaner Streets Team are proactive in identifying illegal fly-tipping and there is a collaboration in place with volunteers, community groups and the probation service to help clear waste, the dedicated new team will be able to focus entirely on the issue.
“The enforcement team will start this summer. In the meantime all fly-tipping incidents on council-maintained land should be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be investigated and cleared if appropriate.
“Environmental crime is a serious offence so please make sure you do the right thing with your waste.”
A smartphone application produced by Fly Tipping Action Wales which is sponsored by the Welsh Government and coordinated by Natural Resources Wales is being rolled out across Wales to enable people to record fly-tipping incidents and help provide an overview of hotspots.
It is hoped the app will help local authorities target problem areas and crack down on incidents of waste being illegally dumped on land.
Artists invited to display artwork at Porthcawl’s Grand Pavilion
New and emerging or established freelance artists are being invited to display their work at the Grand Pavilion in Porthcawl as part of an ongoing Promenade Poster Exhibition.
Awen Cultural Trust is opening up the opportunity to artists for exhibitions between May and August 2021. Artwork will be displayed in the building’s external poster boards and in the windows for periods of four to six weeks.
Awen’s chief executive Richard Hughes said: “As this Grade II listed theatre prepares to reopen for shows, this is an exciting opportunity for artists to showcase their artwork and make an impact in a high area of footfall in a popular seaside location.
“When we launched the Promenade Poster Exhibitions last summer, we received a lot of positive feedback and are now looking forward to seeing this year’s submissions.
“We welcome all queries and submissions from emerging or established freelance artists in Wales – we are interested in hearing about proposals in all mediums on projects that can be developed in collaboration with the creative team at the theatre.”
Fees and expenses will be covered. For more information email email@example.com
The deadline to submit artwork is Saturday 3 April.
The project is supported by Arts Council Wales.
Last chance to use community testing centre at Caerau
Residents of the Llynfi Valley have one more day to take advantage of free community testing facilities currently sited at Caerau Athletic Football Club.
With no appointments necessary, the walk-in centre is available between 9.30am-6.30pm until Wednesday 31 March.
The community testing, which is designed to identify people who may have coronavirus without knowing it, is aimed at people aged 11 and over who are not already exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
It is helping to prevent asymptomatic people them from unwittingly spreading the virus to their family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and more.
Because it is possible for people who have been vaccinated to still carry the virus, the testing includes residents who may have already undergone a test or who have received a dose of the vaccine. However, people who have been shielding should not take part.
At the centre, staff will show people to booths where they can carry out a swab test. Each swab is processed upon the premises, and participants will be contacted with the results within 30 minutes.
If a positive result is recorded, the participant will be asked to self-isolate while arrangements are made for them to receive a confirmatory test along with further advice and support.
Anyone taking part should not eat for 30 minutes beforehand. To speed up the registration process, you can also download a Covid-19 QR code app by visiting the Covid-19 webpage at the NHS website.