Council issues stark warning on services
Bridgend County Borough Council has warned essential services could be at risk if local cases of coronavirus continue to rise. Amid concerns health services could also become overwhelmed, the county borough recently became the third highest area in Wales for positive cases of Covid-19 with an infection rate of 698.4 cases per 100,000. The high numbers of school staff who are self-isolating or ill with coronavirus have forced eight schools to close earlier than planned. Now the council is warning further services could be affected if staff fall ill or have to self-isolate as a result of coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Residents are being urged to consider the possible consequences of their actions, and to follow rules on wearing a mask, socially distancing and washing hands. For more information about getting a Covid-19 test, call 119 or visit the coronavirus page at the Welsh Government website.
New coronavirus restrictions announced
Welsh Government has confirmed that Wales is moving to alert level four, and that a series of new national changes are to be implemented. All non-essential retail, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres, will close at the end of trading on Christmas Eve, and all hospitality premises will close from 6pm on Christmas Day. This will be followed on 28 December by tighter restrictions for household mixing, staying-at-home, holiday accommodation and travel. £340m will be made available to support businesses affected by restrictions into the New Year along with further support for businesses affected by the new restrictions. You can read the full announcement at the Welsh Government website, and additional details are set to be announced soon.
Applying for a Blue Badge
Residents are warned that there are websites offering assistance with Blue Badge applications for a substantial fee, but Bridgend County Borough Council provides the same service free of charge. For more information about applying for a Blue Badge, visit the council’s webpage.
Cabinet agrees to explore new plans for Cosy Corner
Bridgend County Borough Council is in talks with Visit Wales over plans that could restore Cosy Corner in Porthcawl and deliver a range of community facilities at the site. Following a meeting of Cabinet on Tuesday 15 December, proposals have been approved which will seek to introduce the changes using council funding and by applying for additional support under the Welsh Government’s Tourist Attractor Destination programme. Cosy Corner was recently vacated by contractors after the voluntary liquidation of a community organisation that was seeking to establish a maritime centre at the site. The proposals also seek to address the current state of the site. Work will now take place on developing an application for funding to Visit Wales, and a further update will be delivered to Cabinet.
Changes to waste collections over Christmas
Waste and recycling collections will be as normal on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve but not on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day. Waste due for collection on Christmas Day (Friday) will be picked up on Sunday 27 December, and collections due on New Year’s Day (Friday) will be picked up on Saturday 2 January. Collections will be as normal on Bank Holiday Monday 28 December. Residents can put out one extra waste bag for their first collection after Christmas Day. Recycling centres are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day but open on all other days as normal from 9am-4pm. Real Christmas trees can be recycled at the community recycling centres in Tythegston, Brynmenyn and Maesteg. They can also be taken to the Waterton Depot in Bridgend from Tuesday 5 January onwards. For more information, visit the council’s waste and recycling webpage.
Top marks for local school
Coleg Cymunedol y Dderwen (CCYD) has received an early Christmas present with news that the school has achieved Investors in Families Diamond Accreditation. Inspectors judged the work of the school in attaining the new status ‘exemplary’ and found evidence of high-quality family and community commitment. They praised communication within the school as being excellent, and highlighted how the schools works to ensure vulnerable groups are not disadvantaged and values well-being and emotional support. The transition of pupils into the school was deemed to be excellent, as were partnerships between the school and organisations which enhance career opportunities for the pupils. Inspectors also found that CCYD has worked very hard to fully engage with the school community during the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and that it is also very successful in developing well-being strategies for staff.
Foodbank opening times
Foodbank opening times over the Christmas and New Year period have been confirmed. Bridgend Foodbank will be available between 11am-1pm on 22 and 29 December. Porthcawl Foodbank will be available between 10am-12pm on 22, 24, 29 and 31 December. Pencoed Foodbank will be available between 1pm-3pm on 21 December and 4 January. Caerau Foodbank will be available between 10am-12pm on 22 and 29 December. Cornelly Foodbank will be available between 1pm-3pm on 23 and 31 December. Pontycymmer Foodbank will be available between 1.30pm-3.30pm on 23 and 30 December, and 1 January. Aberkenfig Foodbank will be available between 10am-12pm on 24 and 31 December. Find out more and how they can be accessed by visiting the foodbank page on Facebook.
Food parcels for pupils
Bridgend County Borough Council is in the process of delivering two-week food parcels for children eligible for free school meals in readiness for the Christmas holidays. Pupils at secondary schools who are eligible will also receive an additional parcel in the week commencing 21 December as they are at home for online learning this week. This will allow pupils to use one of the parcels being delivered this week for this week’s breakfast and lunch. Anyone who has previously opted out of the provision will not receive a parcel unless they email [email protected] to reinstate holiday provision.
Homelessness services in Bridgend County Borough
A homelessness application can be made to the Housing Solutions team 24/7, 365 days a year. Residents are advised to get in touch if they think they are at risk of homelessness. The council will assess housing and support needs and advise about available options. Call 01656 643643 or visit www.bridgend.gov.uk for more details.
Mobile testing facilities
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s mobile coronavirus testing facility will remain in Maesteg after a large rise in the number of positive cases in the Llynfi Valley. The facility, based at the former Revlon/Cosi factory site off Oakwood Drive (CF34 8TS), will continue to be available between 9am-4pm for seven days a week until further notice, but appointments must be booked in advance by visiting the Welsh Government website or by calling 191. A new, long-term local testing facility has also been established in the Bowls Hall car park of Bridgend Recreation Centre. It will initially be subject to phased opening times before moving to a regular schedule of 8am-8pm, seven days a week – more details soon.
Consultation on marina waters
Members of the public will be consulted on how the waters around Porthcawl Marina, the Eastern Breakwater and the nearby RNLI lifeguard station should be used in future. Bridgend County Borough Council has agreed to ask people for their views on how local bylaws which date back to 1953 should be updated for modern use. The bylaws will focus upon the area around the Eastern Breakwater which includes Porthcawl Marina, the inshore lifeguard station and both the ramp and steps which provide access to the water. The waters around this area host activities such as fishing, sailing, powerboating, water skiing, stand-up paddle boarding, open water swimming, kayaking and more. Details of the public consultation will be publicised in the New Year.
Safety warning to swimmers
Swimmers thinking of enjoying a December dip along the Bridgend County Borough coastline are warned to make sure they do so safely. Due to Covid-19, the traditional Porthcawl Christmas Day Swim can’t go ahead as usual this year, with the event going virtual in the lead up to the festive season instead. Those who choose to take part with a dip in the sea are advised to follow RNLI advice to avoid serious injury from cold water shock, which can be a precursor to drowning. Water temperatures can be as low as 10°C on our coasts in December, with anything below 15°C defined as cold water, which can seriously affect your breathing and movement. For more information about staying safe in the sea, visit the RNLI website. You can also check tide times at the Visit Bridgend website.
Cabinet backs homeless accommodation bid
Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet has backed further measures to increase temporary accommodation units and assistance for homeless people. At a meeting on 15 December, cabinet members discussed a report which highlighted bids that have been submitted with registered social landlord partners and third sector support providers to Welsh Government for funding for both capital and revenue projects. Once complete, there will be up to 34 temporary accommodation units created in addition to increased support packages for those who are homeless. In addition to funding bids, the council has been working with registered social landlords to develop a Rapid Rehousing Protocol (RRP) to move people out of temporary accommodation. To date, 70 households have been rehoused, with a further 21 pending a move-in date. Cabinet members agreed to support the collaborative working arrangement to increase the number of temporary units available and also the RRP.
Sports volunteers recognised
Maesteg Canoe Club has been highlighted by the National Lottery’s ‘Dedicated To…’ campaign, which aims to give thanks to sports clubs, coaches and volunteers for their commitment and kindness during the pandemic. The club welcomes children and adults and has won a number of accolades including 2018 Canoe Wales Club of the Year, as well as securing Disability Sport Wales’ Insport gold status – the highest standard a club can achieve in terms of creating and developing inclusivity. Like all clubs, it was forced to cancel sessions when the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown was announced. Keen to remind juniors the club was still there, thought packages were sent out. National Lottery funding from the Sport Wales Be Active Wales Fund has helped the club restart after it lost revenue in lockdown.
Campaign aims to beat loneliness this winter
Bridgend County Borough residents are being asked to safely take part in the fourth Great Winter Get Together campaign as it kicks off this week. The campaign, which was inspired by the late MP Jo Cox, marks a month-long celebration aimed at bringing communities together. With a different theme each week, the campaign suggests safe ways to connect, including sending ‘thank you’ postcards which you can download from The Great Get Together website. Residents have shown a huge sense of community spirit throughout the Covid-19 pandemic by looking out for neighbours. The ‘Community Companions’ scheme offers one-to-one online and telephone befriending and welfare calls and visits. There are also a number of groups offering befriending projects, such as Mental Health Matters and Bridgend Carers Centre. These services run throughout the year thanks to the hard work of volunteers.
Pharmacy improvement notice lifted
A pharmacy in Bridgend has made improvements after being issued with a notice for the failure of staff to wear face coverings. MW Phillips, on Nolton Street, was given a Premises Improvement Notice after a visit by Shared Regulatory Services officers on Wednesday 9 December. The notices was terminated on Friday 11 December after officers re-visited and found the necessary improvements had been made. Enforcement officers are also due to re-visit Marmaris Kebab on Wyndham Street, Bridgend, and The Greedy Pig on New Road, Porthcawl, after Premises Improvement Notices were issued on Saturday 12 December due to staff failing to wear face coverings.
Digital Christmas is underway
Between now and the New Year, the Digital Christmas Festival website and special app is featuring promotional offers, vouchers, a loyalty card scheme and more – for further details, visit the Digital Christmas website.
Free car parking this Christmas
Shoppers, visitors and traders across Bridgend County Borough can take advantage of free car parking this Christmas. In Bridgend, parking is free after 10am at the council-run Rhiw and Cheapside multi-storeys, the car park behind Wilkinsons, at Tremains Road and at Tondu Road. In Porthcawl, it is free after 10am at John Street and at Hillsboro Place. Provided by Bridgend County Borough Council as part of its ongoing support for traders during the pandemic, the free parking will be available until Thursday 31 December and joins the free facilities already available at Maesteg and Pencoed.
Have your say on Bridgend town centre
Public consultation is underway on ambitious plans for Bridgend town centre. Featuring proposals such as a new square, moving Bridgend College into the town centre, transforming derelict and empty buildings into new shops and housing, improving vehicle access, relocating the police station, constructing an enhanced new railway station entrance and more, the Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan aims to deliver major improvements over the next 10 years. The consultation is live until 1 March 2021 – for more information, visit the councils’ consultations webpage.
Drive-in panto and festive films
A drive-in pantomime is on its way to Porthcawl to spread some festive cheer. The pre-recorded performance of Peter Pan, featuring Owen Money, will be shown on a big screen at the Hi-Tide car park in Porthcawl in the run up to Christmas. There will also be a chance to watch some festive films on the big screen with drive-in viewings of classics like Home Alone, A Muppets Christmas Carol and Polar Express. The events, which are being run by the Firefly Cinema Club, will have Covid-19 safety rules in place. For more information, visit the Firefly Cinema Club website.