Latest update on coronavirus
Tourist accommodation with shared facilities, such as camping sites and hotels, will be able to re-open from 25 July, while new rules will come into effect on 27 July which will make it compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport, including taxis. Beauty salons, nail parlours, tattoo shops, cinemas, amusement arcades, museums and galleries will also be able to open for business from 27July providing they can observe and maintain requirements for limiting potential exposure to the coronavirus. The next formal review of regulations will be carried out by 30 July when Welsh Government will consider options for the indoor opening of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants.
Concessionary rents for small businesses
Small and medium-sized businesses using council-owned premises have not had to pay rent for four months while the pandemic has been in effect. Now a phased series of concessionary rent rates is being introduced. Traders will receive a 75 per cent reduction in August, a 50 per cent reduction in September, and a 25 per cent reduction for October. Other support offered by the council has included the processing and awarding of more than £28m in financial support grants, free start-back training, certification and window stickers to reassure customers, free ‘sneeze-guard’ equipment and more.
Free car parking is extended
The free parking currently available at council-maintained town centre car parks is to be extended until the end of August as part of the council’s overall support for local businesses. In Bridgend town centre, it is available at Rhiw and Brackla Street as well as the car park behind Wilkinsons. In Porthcawl, it will be available at the Hilsboro and John Street car parks. The free car parking concession does not include Rest Bay or Salt Lake, while free parking continues to be available at Pencoed and Maesteg.
Help with school uniforms
Welsh Government grants are available to help families on low-incomes purchase school clothing and equipment. Learners receiving free school meals can receive a Welsh Government grant if they are entering reception class in primary school, are at the start of any of key stages, or are aged 4, 7, 11 or 14 and are in special schools, special needs resource bases or pupil referral units. Further details are available from the Gov.wales website.
£3m funding for new active travel routes
Welsh Government has confirmed funding of £3m to create new active travel routes. It includes almost £2.6m for improvements along the planned active travel route between Bridgend and Pencoed College, including new pedestrian and cycle routes and upgraded crossing points. More than £220,000 will be invested in safe routes, pedestrian improvements, new speed signage and crossing points at Coity Higher, and £450,000 for preliminary surveys and designs that will enable the council to develop future phases of the active travel network. Expected to be completed by the end of March 2021, the funding follows a recent £620,000 grant from Welsh Government for creating post Covid-19 temporary and permanent active travel routes which will improve more than 150 pedestrian and cycle crossing points across the county borough.
New mural to welcome back pupils
Staff and volunteers at St Mary’s Catholic Primary have unveiled a new mural which has been painted to welcome children back to school in September. Featuring the words ‘love, family, kindness, faith, courage and friendship, the mural is designed to encourage pupils to stay positive and help them adjust when traditional lessons start again. It has been produced alongside an inspirational video which can be viewed at the school’s Facebook page.
Council seeks 15 new apprentices
The council will be taking on 15 new apprenticeships over the next few months in departments such as social care, learning and development, building control, highways, civil engineering and business administration. The many benefits of an apprenticeship include earning a wage while learning and gaining practical experience, achieving a recognised qualification, and developing new skills. The apprentice positions will be publicised on 30 July and 16 August – you can find out more and make an application at the council website.
Mental health for the young
A new online mental health toolkit is supporting young people aged 11-25 during the coronavirus pandemic. Covering issues ranging from anxiety and keeping healthy to low mood and coping with loss, the toolkit features apps, helplines, links to specialist websites and more.
Electoral canvass underway
The annual electoral canvass is underway and teenagers aged 14 and 15 can now register to be able to vote at 16. Following national and local data-matching, more than 54,400 properties do not need to make any changes unless their circumstances have changed, but 10,684 properties need to clarify who is eligible to vote. If no response is forthcoming, canvassers will be dispatched to carry out personal visits. Households that do not respond to this will receive a form and a pre-paid envelope to return. Visit the elections page at the council website to find out more.
Looking out for children and adults
The Bridgend Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is continuing to provide safeguarding services for vulnerable children and adults. You can report concerns about a child to 01656 642320 or [email protected], while concerns about adults can be directed to 01656 642477 or [email protected]. For more information, visit the MASH page.
Stay strong at home
The Stronger, Together project is available to support the mental health and well-being of older people while lockdown is in place. It supports and encourages anyone who wants to take up a new activity or share an existing interest with others. Accompanying workbooks and videos are available as part of the service, and you can find out more by visiting the Stronger, Together website.
Changes at recycling centres
Residents are being reminded that up to two people can now get out of a vehicle once it has accessed a community recycling centre to dispose of waste and recycling. At the Tythegston site, the maximum number of vehicles allowed access at any one time has also increased to four. The changes have been introduced to help reduce waiting times, but please note that waste should still be pre-sorted before visiting a site, and that some queuing will still be necessary.