Have your say on council spending plans
This year’s budget consultation is asking people to consider a longer-term vision for the county borough covering everything from council tax levels and parking charges to schools and regeneration projects. It also asks for the views of residents on how they think the council could best support local business, tourism and the economy. The consultation ends on 14 November and you can complete it at the council website. To request a hard copy, email [email protected], call 01656 643664 or write to Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB.
Raids net £287,000 in illicit tobacco
A major all-Wales trading standards crackdown on illegal and fake tobacco has seized more than a million cigarettes and over 3,000 pouches of tobacco with a street value of almost £287,000. In Bridgend County Borough, the raids netted more than 68,000 cigarettes and 27kg of rolling tobacco worth around £15,000. The seizures have been made as part of Operation CeCe, an ongoing initiative carried out in partnership with Her Majesties Revenue and Customs which aims to deter criminals, tackle the problem of illegal tobacco and prevent it from falling into the hands of children and young people.
Criminal gangs targeting poor communities
Criminals selling illegal tobacco are targeting poor communities and children across Wales. Research has found that eight per cent of 15 and 16-year-olds in Wales still smoke on a regular basis – a figure that has not fallen since 2013. Around 6,000 children in Wales take up smoking every year, and three out of four of those children will go on to be long-term smokers. Sold at pocket money prices without any age checks, the illegal tobacco trade is harming people’s health and turning teenagers into nicotine addicts. You can report it to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or by visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.
£580,000 for nature network project
A number of nature reserves, parks and outdoors spaces are set to benefit from a £580,000 Welsh Government grant as part of the Cwm Taf Nature Network Project. In partnership with local communities, various green spaces will be improved and regenerated. Among the selected areas are Bedford Park, Parc Tir Larll at Llangynwyd, Parc Calon Lan in Blaengarw, the Ogmore Washeries, Aberfields at Ogmore Vale, Frog Pond Wood in Pyle, Tremain’s Wood and Brackla Hill, Maesteg Welfare Park, Craig y Parcau in Bridgend and Wilderness Lake in Porthcawl. The project will take part under the three themes of Enable, Empower and Unite, and more details will be announced soon.
Take part in Porthcawl consultation
A consultation is underway on how the waters around Porthcawl Harbour should be used in future, and whether 1953 byelaws should be updated for modern use. The consultation covers activities such as berthing, navigation, fishing, swimming, diving, parking, use of the lock gates and slipway, shoreline restrictions, waste, safety, security, penalties and watersport activities like water-skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking and more. To take part in the consultation, which ends on 14 November, visit the council website – alternative formats are available upon request.
£450,000 for new vehicle charging points
Bridgend County Borough Council has received £450,000 from Welsh Government’s Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Transformation Fund to install charging infrastructure for electric vehicles on local streets, car parks and workplaces. While exact locations are being finalised, the first areas to benefit from the investment will include Brynmenyn Industrial Estate, Bridgend Life Centre, Ogmore Vale Life Centre, Porthcawl, Maesteg, Bridgend and Bryncethin. The project will help meet Welsh Government’s vision for establishing a national network of charging infrastructure throughout Wales by 2025.
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. Anyone who is interested in finding out more can visit the Pertemps Agency for further details.
City Deal funding for electric taxis
The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal will fund on-street charging points as part of an initiative to encourage more electric public transport vehicles. Bridgend County Borough has been allocated six electric taxis which operators can use on a ‘try before you buy’ basis with a charging point installed at Hillsboro Place Car Park in Porthcawl.
Wanted – more people to work in social care
The council, Welsh Government and Social Care Wales have launched a new video encouraging more people to work in the social care sector. The WeCare Wales website features jobs across Wales, and you can find out more on Twitter or Facebook. Local roles are available across areas such as home care, reablement, young people’s services and more. Visit the council website or the authority’s Facebook and Twitter pages to find out more.
Arrangements for learner transport
Bridgend County Borough Council has confirmed that it is waiting for the results of a national Welsh Government review of statutory distances before it decides whether any changes need to be made to its learner transport policy, which has been in place since 2016. In the 2021-22 financial year, the authority will spend £6.7m providing learner transport in support of almost 5,000 eligible primary, secondary and special school pupils. The ‘no pass, no travel’ scheme, which was temporarily suspended during the pandemic, was reinstated earlier this month to coincide with the start of the new school term. To find out more about learner travel, visit the school transport page at www.bridgend.gov.uk
Vaccination booster campaign underway
Welsh Government’s vaccination booster campaign is underway, with frontline NHS staff and people living and working in care homes as well as people aged over 50 and those with underlying health conditions first in line. Vaccinations for children aged 12 to 15 will soon begin, initially with one dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Welsh Government is 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.
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.
Support for local businesses
The National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses (FSB) will hold two events to support local businesses next month. The first, Digital Marketing Apprenticeships in Wales, takes place on 8 October and explains how fully-funded apprenticeships could support businesses looking to increase income through more effective marketing. The second, Becoming A Sustainable Small Business, will take place on 15 October – visit the FSB website to find out more.
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).
Could you be a foster carer?
Foster Wales have launched a new campaign in a bid to increase the number of foster parents needed to help keep children in their local area. To find out more about local authority fostering in Bridgend county borough, visit https://bridgend.fosterwales.gov.wales.
Sign up for ‘feel good’ sessions
‘Feel Good for Life’ sessions will begin at Ogmore Vale Life Centre on 4 October to support people experiencing dementia, loneliness and depression. Taking place every Monday except during school holidays between 2.15pm-3.15pm, participants are encouraged to stay on 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.