Closes: 17:00 hrs. Wednesday 24th December 2014

NB Our four one stop shops will close at 15:00 hrs on Christmas Eve
Re-opens: 09:00 hrs. Tuesday 30th December 2014

Closes: 17:00 hrs. Wednesday 31st December 2014
Re-opens: 09:00 hrs. Friday 2nd January 2015

Monmouthshire County Council has continued to demonstrate its commitment towards an increasing demand for Welsh-medium education in the county through the introduction of catchment areas for two primary schools – Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni in Abergavenny and Caldicot’s Ysgol Gymraeg Y Ffin.  This decision made by Cabinet on 18th March is a step toward securing places for children whose parents wish them to be educated through the medium of Welsh.

 The catchment area for Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni will now form part of the catchment area for the Welsh-medium secondary school Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw in Pontypool.  Meanwhile, Ysgol Gymraeg Y Ffin’s catchment area will coincide with part of the catchment area for the proposed Welsh-medium secondary school in Duffryn, Newport.

 Maps showing the new areas can be found by visiting the council’s website: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk

 Welsh-medium catchment areas formed a vital part of the council’s recent consultation on its school admission policy, which also incorporated a review of general catchment areas within the county.  The confirmed school admission policy including the outcome of the consultation process can be found by visiting: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/Schoolconsultation

 

Monmouthshire’s Chairman, Councillor John Prosser has acknowledged the contribution made towards community activities by the county’s young people.

At an event in Monmouth’s Shire Hall on 15th April he awarded recognition certificates to representatives and individuals from the area’s youth organisations.

Among these were members of the Engage to Change Youth Council – young people instrumental in ensuring participation and engagement with their counterparts across the county, participants in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, members of inclusive volunteers running provision for young people with learning and physical difficulties, youth club volunteers assisting the running of youth clubs, and three performers from the Gwent Music Support Service.  Councillor Prosser also welcomed and recognised members of the Air Training Corps, Young Firefighters, Police Cadets, Sea Cadets, St John’s Ambulance and Army Cadets who have assisted him at council meetings and commemoration events during his year of office.

Cllr Prosser said: “I would like to thank all who engage in youth activities and give of their time freely. I have issued recognition certificates to a few who have done a little more than normally expected.  I am sure there are many others who deserve such accolades and it is fitting to give a pat on the back when possible and say well done!”

A FORMER chapel in Abergavenny is to be given a new lease of life as it opens as an art shop and gallery on Saturday 25th April thanks to help from Monmouthshire County Council and the Welsh Government.  Six full-time equivalent jobs will be created.

The Grade II-listed Bethany Baptist Chapel in Market Street has had a number of uses since it ceased to be a place of worship twenty five years ago, most recently as a site office for the county council’s Brewery Yard redevelopment.  Since then, the building has received funding of over £50,000 towards its restoration from Monmouthshire County Council through its Brewery Yard Property Enhancement Grant as well as a similar amount from a Welsh Government Historic Buildings grant.

The completion of the restoration will be marked with a private event on the evening of Friday 24th April before it is launched as an art shop and gallery the following day, opening at 10am.

Owner Pauline Griffiths who also owns The Art Shop in Cross Street said: “The grants from the Welsh Government’s historic environment service Cadw and Monmouthshire County Council helped us immensely to renovate the chapel and we look forward to opening the doors on April 25th.  The renovated chapel will enable us to expand considerably all that we do at The Art Shop premises.”

Monmouthshire County Council’s Chief Executive Paul Matthews added: “In addition to bringing to life a well-loved building we’re very pleased to see these premises opening in Abergavenny with the creation of employment for residents and opportunities for local artists.”

Monmouthshire County Council will join forces during Real Nappy Week with the Recycle for Wales campaign and encourage parents to make the switch from disposable to real cloth nappies.

Real Nappy Week is an annual event taking place from April 20th to April 26th and Monmouthshire’s recycling team will visit the county’s baby groups to spread the message that modern real nappies are fun, fashionable and come in a range of styles, designs and colours, from denim and spots to ruffles.  Using them not only saves money but also reduces waste.

The average baby wears disposable nappies for two and a half years at a cost of £650 to £1,300.  Meanwhile, real nappies cost just £200 for the same period.  The savings start to escalate when they are reused on subsequent children.

Real nappies also benefit the environment as disposable nappies can take up to 500 years to breakdown in landfill.  Simply switching to cloth nappies can prevent over 4,000 disposables per baby from going to landfill.

Local mum Lynsey from Caerwent saved hundreds of pounds using real nappies.  She said: “I’ve used my collection of nappies on three boys so far and have saved a small fortune!  Gone are the days of boil washing, soaking, folding and pins…..hello easy to use, easy to care for nappies!”

Monmouth mum, Irene Cicognini added: “Using real nappies is easier than you’d think and saves money as well as the planet!”

It can seem a bit confusing to start, but it needn’t be – find an independent retailer and get free impartial advice before buying.  It’s also worth visiting the www.greatbritishnappyhunt.co.uk for more information.

A limited number of free nappy samples are available from Monmouthshire County Council by contacting recyclingandwaste@monmouthshire.gov.uk and a discount of £30 is also available to Monmouthshire parents when they purchase a birth to potty nappy set from the council’s two local nappy stockists: www.littletreasuresuk.com and www.babybots.co.uk

For more information visit www.realnappies-wales.org.uk  or www.recycleforwales.org.uk

Formal approval this week by the Welsh Government of funding for two new secondary schools at Caldicot and Monmouth has been widely welcomed as Monmouthshire’s £80m educational investment programme – funded 50% by Welsh Government and 50% by the county council – provides the green light to deliver the two new schools for 2017.

Sarah McGuinness, Chief Officer for Children and Young People commented: “This really is an exciting time for the whole of Monmouthshire; this programme delivers not only modern teaching and learning environments for our students but provides a civic asset that can benefit the whole community it serves in many ways”.

This is the first of two stages in Monmouthshire’s 21st Century Schools strategy, with the development of two other secondary schools in Chepstow and Abergavenny pivotal to the next round of government funding for 21st Century Schools programmed for 2018.  As part of the first round of approved 21st Century Schools funding, a new primary school for Raglan will be opened in the 2015-16 academic year and the council has made a financial commitment to the new Welsh-medium secondary provision located at Newport’s Duffryn High School.  Designs for the new secondary schools can be viewed in County Hall in Usk and it is planned to establish further exhibitions and digital media links throughout the county in the near future.

Headteacher of Caldicot, Susan Gwyer-Roberts is delighted with the confirmation of this investment in the school by the Welsh Government.  She said: “This will allow us to develop even further enhanced learning opportunities for our pupils while promoting the vision and national priorities for education in Wales.”

Tim Bird, Deputy Headteacher at Monmouth Comprehensive also commented: “We are delighted that the Welsh Government is investing in the future of young people in Monmouth and its surrounding area for generations to come.  As a community we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to design learning environments that match the aspirations and abilities of our inspiring young people.”

 

Saturday 18th April 2015 to Sunday 19th April 2015

Forecasted High Tides are due again this weekend.  We will be monitoring the situation and if necessary, will arrange for the A466 through Tintern to be closed for short periods on the following dates and times:-

  • Saturday April 18th:    20:30 to 21:05 (8:30pm to 9:05pm)
  • Sunday April 19th:       8:50am to 9:30am
  • Sunday April 19th:      21:10 to 21:50 (9:10pm to 9:50pm)

The closure points will be as follows:

  • North End closure: Trelleck Road junction.
  • South End closure: Royal George junction.

Closure times are estimated based on the forecasted tide times.  Natural Resources Wales will be monitoring the situation and issuing Flood Warnings as necessary.

Again, please note road closures will only be temporary and only when tidal water actually overflows onto the highway.  The road will reopen as soon as the water has receded from the highway.

Two charities are set to benefit from a challenging sponsored walk taking in part of Monmouthshire’s rugged countryside.

The council’s Chairman, Councillor John Prosser, has chosen Macmillan Cancer Support and Welsh Warrior – The Richard Hunt Foundation as his chosen charities during his year of office and hopes that a 19 mile trek to be undertaken by his consort, Ms Heather Dash will help boost funds.

Heather has opted to tackle Monmouthshire’s Three Castles Walk, a way-marked long distance path linking Skenfrith, Grosmont and White Castle.  This popular trail is usually accomplished over two or three days but Heather is aiming to complete the distance on Monday, April 27th – and be home in time for supper!

NHS employee Heather is a keen walker and is looking forward to the challenge. Councillor Prosser will greet her at White Castle as she finishes the walk which takes in part of the scenic Monnow Valley and the rolling hills in the north east of the county. He said: “I’m very proud as Heather continues to support my chosen charities and we will be grateful if as many people as possible offer to sponsor her to raise funds for two very worthy causes.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed for fine weather.”

To sponsor Heather, please contact the Chairman’s Secretary Linda Greer via email – lindagreer@monmouthshire.gov.uk – or telephone 01633 644020.

 

  • The Three Castles Walk connects the three Norman fortresses of Skenfrith, White Castle and Grosmont that formed a defensive line and regulated trade routes.  The Walk passes through undulating countryside with hidden valleys and secluded and historic farmhouses in a landscape of mixed farming where hedgerows and small woods have survived to keep the area rich in wildlife.

A new shared reading group organised by Monmouthshire Libraries and the Macmillan in Monmouthshire Service starts in Usk Library on Monday 20th April at 10am.  This is the latest of a number established in the county allowing participants to unwind while listening to a great story read by library staff.

Originating in Liverpool, shared reading groups were spearheaded by the Reader Organisation whose aims are to make great stories accessible to all and to help promote wellbeing.  The new sessions in Usk Library are free and aim to be fun, relaxing and a little bit different while allowing an opportunity to discuss the story.  Lasting for about an hour, they will be held on a regular basis.

Contact Erica Sheppard on 07826 876772 or Claire Cross on 01873 735980 for more information or email macmillan@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Monmouth Library is to offer a lively day of information and activities to support wellbeing on Tuesday 21st April from 10.30am to 3pm.  The aim is to highlight the health and wellbeing information and support available in libraries from the Macmillan in Monmouthshire Service and other local partners.

 A shared reading session at 12noon will feature a story and poem in addition to talks, short films information, quizzes and taster sessions from other organisations taking part.  These include the Health Promotion Library, the NHS screening team and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s Families Association) which offers lifelong support for the armed forces and their families.

 Age Cymru working in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK will feature two taster sessions of Nordic walking at 11am and 2pm.  The two organisations are delivering an exercise programme across Wales for men living with prostate cancer and their partners and families to increase physical activity and support treatment recovery.  Nordic Walking uses specially designed lightweight poles which provide great support and maximise the effects of the exercise.

 Also attending will be The Alzheimer’s Society, The Education Programme for Patients, Christians against Poverty and the befrienders team from Monmouth’s Bridges Community Centre offering practical help or volunteering opportunities.  Information will be available about wellbeing activities at Monmouth Leisure Centre, learning to knit with the Caldicot Library Knit and Natter group and the fun groups based in libraries.

 For more information contact Monmouthshire’s Macmillan Information and Support Coordinator Erica Sheppard – EricaSheppard@monmouthshire.gov.uk – or telephone 07826 876772.

 

Chepstow Library will usher in World Book Night on Thursday 23rd April with an appearance at 2pm by renowned international crime writer RJ Ellory.  All are welcome to attend this free event.

RJ Ellory will discuss his work and invite questions from the audience.  Later, the author will sign copies of his books.

Contact Sally Anne Powell – SallyAnnePowell@monmouthshire.gov.uk – or telephone 01291 635730 for further details.

 

  • World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books that takes place on 23 April.  It sees passionate volunteers give out hundreds of thousands of books in their communities to share their love of reading with people who don’t read regularly or own books.  World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers to help give them an equal chance in life.