New guidance on fire-break lockdown
Welsh Government has clarified guidance on what shops can and can’t sell during the fire-break lockdown. Scheduled to end on Monday 9 November, the lockdown is designed to stop a sudden rise in the number of people contracting coronavirus across Wales and prevent hospitals and critical care units from becoming overwhelmed in the weeks and months ahead. Items deemed essential include food and drink; products ancillary to the sale of food and drink such as kitchen foil, cling film and other items necessary to prepare and consume food and drink; products for washing clothes and for cleaning and maintaining the home, including batteries, light bulbs and fuel; toiletries and cosmetic products, including toilet rolls and sanitary products; pharmaceutical products; baby products including equipment, clothes and nappies; newspapers and magazines; stationery and greetings cards; pet food and other pet supplies; and products for the maintenance of bicycles and cars. Welsh Government has published frequently asked questions to support residents while the lockdown is in effect.
Look out for lost cargo containers
Residents of Bridgend County Borough are being asked to keep an eye out for storage containers which could wash up along the local coastline. Eleven 40-foot long containers were lost from a cargo ship in the Bristol Channel recently. One has washed up on a beach in Devon, another in the Vale of Glamorgan, and the Maritime Coastguard Agency has located three of the others at sea. While the majority of the containers were empty when they were lost, some contained non-hazardous absorbent tissue products. You can report sightings of the missing containers directly to Milford Haven Coastguard Operations Centre by emailing [email protected] or calling 01646 690909.
Halloween and Bonfire Night
As outdoor gatherings will not be able to take place during the fire-break lockdown, organised activities around Halloween and Bonfire Night will not be able to go ahead this year. Instead, residents are being asked to mark both occasions safely at home, and to observe all rules designed to keep people safe. This includes not meeting indoors with people who are not from the same household, not trick-or-treating, wearing face coverings, observing social distancing and hand hygiene, etc. South Wales Police have developed Halloween activity packs which can be enjoyed at home – find out more at their website.
Remembrance events in Bridgend County Borough
Remembrance events will be marked in different ways across Bridgend County Borough for 2020. Many of the traditional local events organised by town and community councils will not be taking place this year because of the need to limit potential exposure to the coronavirus, maintain social distancing and avoid people from gathering in large numbers. Instead, residents have been encouraged to stand upon their doorstep at 11am on Sunday 8 November to mark the two-minute silence from home, and to watch televised broadcasts of national remembrance services. On behalf of the people of Bridgend County Borough, the council is working alongside Great Western Railway to arrange for a wreath to be transported to London Paddington where it will be included as part of a national display.
Guidance offered on remembrance events
Town and community councils have confirmed that while no public remembrance events will be taking place this year, some smaller services have been arranged. To support this, Welsh Government has issued official guidance that while parades must be avoided, outdoor acts of remembrance can go ahead with up to 30 participants and associated pandemic requirements on hygiene and social distancing in place. Indoor services are not possible. While places of worship cannot open for acts of remembrance, faith leaders are able to access them (without a congregation) for the purpose of broadcasting an act of worship. Singing, chanting and shouting should be avoided unless e.g. screens have been put in place, and while a bugle or trumpet can play the Last Post, this should be at a reasonable distance and directed away from other attendees. Event organisers are encouraged to collect contact details for attendees in order to support Test, Trace, Protect efforts, and are also advised to maintain a record of participants such as those who are laying wreaths. To find out more on what remembrance events are being held this year, please contact your local town or community council for further details.
Mobile testing in Bridgend County Borough
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has confirmed that the mobile testing facility at the Richard Price Centre in Llangeinor remains available, and that a new appointment system has been added in addition to walk-in tests. Guided by data produced by Public Health Wales, the units offer a rapid response to emerging ‘hotspots’ and are directed to areas of concern for certain periods of time. The health board will shortly be announcing details of a new testing site in the county borough.
New interactive coronavirus map
A new interactive map has been added to the Public Health Wales website which shows the number of coronavirus cases in every community in Wales. As the map is based around areas with an average of 7,000 people – called Middle Super Output Areas (MSOA) – some communities will have been grouped alongside others. To view the map, visit the headline summary page at the Public Health Wales website, and select the option for ‘cases by MSOA’.
Fit for the future
Residents in Bridgend County Borough are being asked to help shape the local authority’s spending priorities over the coming year with the council’s annual budget consultation. This year’s consultation is focused on the longer-term vision for the county borough following the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey covers areas such as the pandemic response, businesses and the local economy, health and well-being, council tax levels, customer access to the civic offices and more. Responses will be used to inform the medium term financial strategy for 2021/22 – 2024/25, and residents have until 13 December to take part – you can do so by visiting the council website or requesting a hard copy by emailing [email protected], calling 01656 643664 or writing to the Consultation Team, Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend CF31 4WB. Easy-read, large print and youth versions are available.
Clarification on foodbanks
Welsh Government has reassured the Trussell Trust and representatives from Church in Wales that food banks can continue to operate from places of worship during the fire-break lockdown, and will be available to provide support to eligible households and individuals. For information on opening times and how local foodbanks can be accessed, visit the Bridgend Foodbank website or go to their Facebook page for details. The council is also ensuring that children entitled to free school meals are not going hungry during lockdown or the half-term holiday, and is delivering free food parcels to their homes.
Welsh Government grants open for applications
The Lockdown Business Fund is now open for applications and available to provide a wide range of financial support ranging from grants for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses to certain not-for-profit organisations and businesses in other sectors. The grants will be open until 5pm on 20 November or when the fund is fully committed. Specific criteria will apply – visit the business support webpage at the council website to find out more.
Landmark clock tower is restored
A landmark clock in the Ogmore Valley has been repaired and put back into working order 65 years after it was officially unveiled. The Price Town Memorial Clock Tower, which now forms part of a roundabout, was built in 1955 using funds from the dissolution of the Wyndham Medical Aid Society. Following discussions with Ogmore Valley Community Council and feedback from local residents, the council has restored the clock to its former glory after decades of wear and tear. Over time, the clock tower has become a roundabout with routes up to the Bwlch mountain road, Treorchy in Rhondda Cynon Taf and the Afan Valley in Neath Port Talbot.
Coronavirus help and advice
A helpline has been set up for anyone who has concerns relating to the Covid-19 outbreaks in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board area. Members of the public can call (01685) 726464 between 9am and 4.30pm (Mon – Fri) where a team will be ready to help. You can also visit the Public Health Wales and Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board websites for more information on the outbreak, or view a set of frequently asked questions.
Remain alert during track and trace
Residents are reminded that official callers from the free Test, Trace, Protect service will never ask you to make a payment or to disclose your personal banking details. Please remain alert for scammers, and report any suspicions to 101 or the Shared Regulatory Service on 0300 123 6696. You can find out more on preventing fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk, while info about track and trace is available at www.bridgend.gov.uk/coronavirus
Helping young people during the pandemic
A free service is enabling young people in Bridgend County Borough to chat online with the council’s youth support team during the pandemic. Children, teenagers and young adults aged 11–25 who live locally can use the service to access help with issues ranging from housing and advice on work-related training to one-to-one emotional wellbeing sessions or even if they are just feeling lonely and bored. You can access the service and find out more about how the council is supporting young people at the Bridgend Youth Support pages of the council’s website.
Helping the homeless
Support for homeless people continues to be available during the coronavirus outbreak. The council’s Jigsaw facility is assessing people’s needs to either prevent them from becoming homeless or help provide emergency accommodation. Advice regarding homelessness, the housing register and housing benefit is available online, and people can also contact the council via [email protected] or 01656 643643.