New facilities at Bryncethin are pitch perfect
Members of community groups in Bryncethin and pupils at Ysgol Bryn Castell and The Bridge Alternative Provision have been enjoying a state-of-the-art 3G floodlit training pitch at the Bryncethin campus. Created following a £246,000 investment from the council and support from Welsh Government’s play sufficiency programme, the pitch also features new fencing, upgraded LED floodlights, new goal posts and more. Improvements have also been made to the campus’ sports hall and activity studio, which are now available for increased community use.
Latest pandemic changes confirmed
From 11 October, people will need to display a NHS Covid-19 pass and demonstrate they are fully vaccinated against coronavirus in order to enter a nightclub or attend an indoor or outdoor organised event. With the Welsh infection rate increasing to 500 cases per 100,000 people and admissions to hospital rising every week, the move is one of several that has been announced to help control the spread of coronavirus. The requirement to show an NHS Covid-19 pass will apply to anyone who is aged 18 and over who wishes to enter a nightclub or attend an indoor non-seated event for more than 500 people, outdoor non-seated events with more than 4,000 in attendance, or any setting or event featuring more than 10,000 people. People who are fully vaccinated can download the NHS Covid-19 pass for free to securely prove or share their vaccine status, or to demonstrate that they have received a negative lateral flow test result within the last 72 hours.
Next steps in fight against Covid-19
Welsh Government has confirmed that its vaccination booster campaign has started, and that it will begin by targeting frontline NHS staff and people living and working in care homes as well as people aged over 50 and those with underlying health conditions. Children aged 12 to 15 will soon receive letters inviting them to receive a dose of the coronavirus vaccine. They will initially be offered one dose of the Pfizer vaccine and the programme will be rolled out in early October. Welsh Government will also be stepping up awareness and enforcement around existing measures intended to keep people safe, such as the wearing of face coverings on public transport and in shops and other indoor public places.
Top of the class
Pencoed Primary has become the third school in South Wales to receive Reference School status from the online technology company, Google. The accolade, which is awarded to individual schools and colleges as well as specific regions, recognises the outstanding use of technology within the classroom to drive forward and deliver positive learning outcomes. It follows the Google Reference College status that was presented to Bridgend College in 2020.
Schools embrace blended learning
Local schools are using Google Classroom which can be accessed through Hwb, the Welsh Government digital learning platform, to support remote and blended learning. Primary schools such as Ysgol Cynwyd Sant, Oldcastle and Litchard have all taken part in professional learning linked to Google Education which has been provided by the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service, and Litchard Primary is now delivering professional learning which is supporting new IT co-ordinators to develop digital learning within other schools. Porthcawl Comprehensive is supporting schools across the region with online safety and qualifications linked to the new digital technology GCSE, and staff at Ysgol Cynwyd Sant are acting as enhanced lead practitioners to support the development of Welsh medium digital learning networks.
How the council will operate in future
Post-pandemic plans are in development for how Bridgend County Borough Council will operate in future. More council services were delivered remotely or digitally during lockdown as staff worked from home. The council is now developing a new blended model of working which will see staff dividing their time between both home and office. In line with Welsh Government targets of enabling at least 30 per cent of the workforce to operate from home by 2024, the new model is intended to offer greater choice and flexibility, increase the efficiency of services for customers and continue to effectively target those who are most in need. Among the predicted benefits are financial savings, improved retention and recruitment in key areas, greater alignment with the council’s ongoing digitalisation strategy, improved staff well-being and reductions in traffic, pollution and sickness absence levels.
New ‘Feel good for life’ sessions at Ogmore Vale Life Centre
New ‘Feel Good for Life’ sessions will begin at Ogmore Vale Life Centre next month to support people experiencing dementia, loneliness and depression. Taking place every Monday starting from 4 October except during school holidays, the exercise sessions begin at 2.15pm and last for up to an hour. Participants are encouraged to stay on, socialise with a cup of tea and make new friends while undertaking other activities until 4pm, and carers are also welcome to attend. All participants must register before taking part – visit the Halo website for more details.
School bus driver shortage
Due to a national shortage of qualified drivers, Bridgend County Borough Council has warned it could experience some difficulties with home-to-school transport. The impact of the shortage is currently minimal and the council is making every effort to ensure services continue as normal. In the event of any changes, the authority and schools will contact parents as a matter of urgency.
No pass, no travel
Secondary school-age pupils and their families are being reminded that the ‘no-pass, no-travel’ arrangements are back in place from Monday 20 September. Any secondary school pupil travelling on a local authority-provided school bus will be required to show a valid school travel pass. The new style passes, which include a hologram, have been issued to pupils via secondary schools over the last two weeks and the old style passes are no longer valid.
Successful run for regeneration fund
An influential fund which has delivered more than £2.7m investment into Bridgend County Borough has come to an end. The Targeted Regeneration Investment programme ran from 2018-2021 and was used by the council to deliver funding support for 17 properties under the Covid Outdoor Improvements grant. It also supported the construction of new commercial premises as part of the Coastal Housing Group’s Nolton Street development, numerous property enhancement projects and new businesses such as Racoon Hair, La Cocina, Adventure Rooms and Rye and Cane. Its most recent use was for the acquisition and planned demolition of the police station site at Cheapside as part of the Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan, for which it also provided further associated development funding. The fund has been replaced by a new programme, Transforming Towns, which will run until March 2022.
A number of projects are taking place as part of the new Transforming Towns funding programme. Property enhancement and living grants are helping to refurbish bring the former Family Value and Natwest buildings in Maesteg back into use, and also the Coity Castle pub in Bridgend. Further funding is targeting Commercial Street in Maesteg town centre and Linc Cymru’s re-development of Sunnyside – look out for further announcements soon.
Join the cleaner streets team
Vacancies are available to join the council’s Cleaner Streets team with roles ranging from general cleansing operatives to sweeper drivers. Successful applicants will join the team in undertaking routine cleansing at a range of locations and ensuring that high standards are maintained across the county borough. Anyone who is interested in finding out more can visit the Pertemps Agency for further details.
Socially responsible procurement
The council has agreed a new strategy for delivering socially responsible procurement and dealing with human trafficking and modern slavery. The local authority spends more than £186m a year procuring a diverse range of goods, services and works with over 4,000 suppliers and contractors. The procurement strategy, which will take effect from 1 October 2021, sets out the local authority’s commitment to responsibly managing public money, ensuring value for money and managing it in a way that supports council objectives. In place until 2024, the strategy will focus on making procurement spending more accessible to local small businesses, increasing community benefits and contributing to the council’s aim to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
Council agrees anti-slavery strategy
A new modern slavery strategy has been agreed to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking have no place in the council’s business and supply chains. The authority is working in partnership with Welsh Government, the wider public sector, suppliers, service providers, trade unions and others to address modern slavery challenges and drive collaborative action with a view to reducing risks and incidence of modern slavery. In the UK, the Modern Slavery Act 2015 defines criminal offences of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour and of human trafficking, and includes measures for the protection of potential victims.
Careers in care
A new video is encouraging more people to work in the social care sector as part of a recruitment drive from the council, Welsh Government and Social Care Wales. For jobs across Wales, visit the WeCare Wales website or find out more via @WeCareWales on Twitter or Facebook. Within Bridgend County Borough, there are roles available in a variety of areas, from home care and reablement teams to young people’s services. For more details or to apply, just visit the Bridgend County Borough Council website or visit the council’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Resurfacing works continue along Ewenny Road
Resurfacing works in the latest round of investment into the local highways network are continuing along Ewenny Road between the Five Bells pub and Heronston School. With the first round of work completed on Sunday 12 September, the second and final phase will take place on Sunday 19 September. While every effort will be made to minimise inconvenience, drivers are being advised that there may be temporary delays along the A473 Cowbridge Road and Ewenny Road while the work is underway.
Changes to lateral flow test collection
The health board has announced that lateral flow testing kits are no longer available for collection from mobile testing sites, and will now need to be either ordered online for home delivery or picked up from a participating pharmacy. Further information, including details of how you can arrange to receive a free testing kit, are available at the Welsh Government website.
Anyone aged 16 and over who has not yet received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine and adults who had their first shot more than eight weeks ago but are overdue for their second vaccine can now walk in to any community vaccination centre without an appointment. This includes Ravens Court in Bridgend town centre (CF31 4AP) where the walk-in appointments are available between 9.15am and 4.30pm. You will need to bring along a form of ID such as a passport, drivers licence or a utility bill for proof of address. Details of other vaccination centres in the region are available on the health board website.
Mobile testing arrangements
Free mobile testing for anyone who is experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 remains available in Bridgend County Borough. Testing is available at the former Revlon site in Maesteg (CF34 9TS) from 9am to 5pm all week, including Saturday and Sunday. This site incorporates both a drive-through testing facility, which must be booked in advance, and a walk-in option where no booking is required. Drive-through testing is also available at Coity and Litchard Community Centre (CF31 1PA) from 9am-5pm, and at the walk-through facility based at the Bowls Hall car park in Angel Street, Bridgend (CF31 4AH) which is available between 8am-8pm – booking for both of these sites is essential. You can arrange appointments by visiting the Welsh Government website or by calling 119 (18001119 for people with hearing or speech difficulties).