Caldicot’s Durand Primary School is the proud possessor of a state-of-the-art defibrillator thanks to generous donations from friends and families of the school’s pupils.  Over £500 was raised at the school’s Christmas concerts and a further substantial individual contribution enabled the purchase of a Zoll AED Plus defibrillator which includes on-going support, registration with the Welsh Ambulance Service and free training sessions for staff, the community and Year Six pupils.

The school received support for the project from Cariad, a registered charity set up to raise funding for defibrillators and life-saving training and the new facility will also be available for community use – the school’s opening hours and location of the defibrillator will be made available so members of the public can access it.  The school will work with Cariad to loan the defibrillator to other premises outside term time.

Headteacher Allison Waters said: “We decided to raise funds after staff attending First Aid at Work courses discovered that the swift application of a defibrillator provides a much higher chance of surviving cardiac arrest.  Defibrillators can play a vital role in saving the lives of pupils, staff and other members of the community so we’re extremely grateful to those who have helped the school provide a lifeline for people in need.”

Local Authorities in Wales are required to have in place a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP).  The plan sets out the council’s vision and actions plan for developing Welsh in Education within the County, working in partnership with other councils within the south east Wales region and the Education Achievement Service for South East Wales (EAS).

Monmouthshire County Council has produced a Draft Welsh in Education Strategic Plan for consultation that covers the period of 2017-2020.  We are now seeking the views of interested parties prior to its determination and submission to Welsh Government.

We would welcome comments on our proposals in either English or Welsh prior to our closing date of 16th December 2016.

Please email responses to matthewdjones@monmouthshire.gov.uk giving Welsh in Education Strategic Plan 2017-20 as a subject header.

View the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan here

Monmouthshire’s public service board – made up of organisations like the council, police, NHS, housing associations and voluntary sector – is seeking the views of the county’s communities to help shape the future of local public services.  The public service board engaged with members of the public in schools, community centres and shopping centres through the autumn and asked them what’s good about their community as well as what would make it better.  The challenges and opportunities identified will be used to shape future plans to benefit the community and, by incorporating academic research and statistics, will contribute towards a well-being assessment for the area.

Involving over a thousand people the engagement sessions identified key areas including:

  • Wage levels available locally are low, and coupled with high property prices make it difficult for young people and future generations to live and work locally
  • Limited public transport, particularly in rural areas, reduces opportunities for people to access jobs, services and facilities
  • Adverse childhood experiences have a negative impact on people’s long term health as well as economic prospects and can be perpetuated through future generations
  • There are growing levels of obesity.  These are likely to lead to an increase in associated long-term conditions such as type 2 diabetes
  • Monmouthshire has extensive green infrastructure and its potential needs to be maximised while conserving it for future generations

The public service board seeks the views of residents, businesses and organisations on whether this assessment is an accurate reflection of well-being in the county.  A copy of the assessment along with a questionnaire is available to download at http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/our-monmouthshire – residents can also share their thoughts on social media using the hashtag #OurMonmouthshire and talk to staff in the county’s community hubs on the following dates:

  • Monday 13th February – Chepstow Hub; 10am – 3pm
  • Tuesday 14th February – Caldicot Hub; 10am – 3pm
  • Wednesday 15th February – Abergavenny Hub (one stop shop); 10am – 12.30pm and Abergavenny Hub (library); 1 – 3pm
  • Thursday 16th February – Usk Hub; 10am – 3pm
  • Friday 17th February  – Monmouth Hub; 10am – 3pm

The consultation will run until Tuesday 28th February.

Paul Matthews, Chair of the Public Service Board said: “It’s been good to receive so much feedback from so many people across the county.  It has reinforced some things that we thought were really important and introduced others that were not getting attention.  I hope members of the public will read the assessment and provide us with feedback and comments on the findings.”

Monmouthshire County Council has a new online service called E Billing, to help residents and businesses manage their council tax accounts better. The service enables bill payers to receive bills via email, by simply registering for E billing. Customers can access their accounts online 24 hours a day via their laptops, phones or tablets.

The online service also enables customers to view their accounts, set up a direct debit, apply for a single person discount and notify us of any changes in circumstances. The service can be found via the Council website:  http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/home/counciltaxandbenefits residents are asked to have their account number and online key ready to input.

E Billing is just one of the many methods, including the My Monmouthshire App that Monmouthshire County Council has introduced to encourage residents to be more in control of their accounts and services and increase the ability to communicate quickly and easily with the council.

Cabinet Member for Resources Cllr Phil Murphy said:

‘We hope that many people will sign up and will be happy to receive their bills via their lap top or phone instead of by post. The reduction of paper sent out by the local authority will help the environment and reduce the cost of printed information being sent out to residents. It provides bill payers with the ability to choose how they would like to receive information, digital communication is now an everyday occurrence and we strive to listen and act on what our residents tell us and how they would like to communicate.’

 

 

Caldicot Community Hub will host a ceremony on Holocaust Memorial Day – Friday 27th January – when those attending will pause and reflect on the suffering of people under Nazi persecution and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia.  Starting at 7pm, the evening will open with a bilingual welcome from Monmouthshire County Council’s Equalities and Welsh Language Officer Alan Burkitt.

The theme of the 2017 Holocaust Memorial Day is “How can life go on?” when communities are asked to contemplate the aftermath of genocide and their responsibilities in the wake of such a crime.

A short film “Learning from the Past” by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust will also feature, followed by survivors’ stories read by library information officer Sarah Davies and a member of the Friends of the Library Service.  The evening will be drawn to a close at 8pm by Pastor David Miller.

County Councillor Phil Hobson, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for equalities said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is about promoting equality, respect and understanding and is a time for us to reflect, to remember the victims of persecution and murder and to learn from the past to build a better future.”

Caldicot’s community hub is based in the town on Woodstock Way, NP26 5DB.  Refreshments will be available at the event.

 

The world’s biggest girl group, Little Mix, will return to Wales this summer to headline an outdoor show at Caldicot Castle as part of the group’s series of Summer Shout Out shows.

 The band, made up of former X-Factor contestants Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Jade Thirlwall, will take the stage within the castle’s picturesque country park on Thursday 13th July.

 Pop acts like Little Mix don’t come along that often.  Growing better and bolder with each new album, they understand the brilliance of pop music and how it relates to their passionate and loyal fan base.

 2016 was an incredible year for the band with another massive No.1 single ‘Shout Out To My Ex’, and their album ‘Glory Days’, shooting straight to No.1 on the Official Albums Chart.  The record has spent a total of four weeks in the peak position and is the quickest selling album in the UK charts by a girl group since Destiny’s Child’s Survivor in 2001.  It is also the longest-reigning girl group No.1 album of the millennium.

 This summer, Little Mix will perform their signature hits, including ‘Shout Out to My Ex’, ‘Move’ and ‘Touch’ alongside tracks from their new album ‘Glory Days’ in the castle’s beautiful surroundings.

 Special guests are to be announced.

 Tickets at £38.50 each, including fees, are available from 9am on Thursday, January 19th at Monmouthshire’s leisure centres, online at www.caldicotcastle.co.uk or from the box office on 029 2022 4488.  Golden Circle pit tickets are also available at £60.50 each, including fees, from online or the box office.

 Councillor Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for innovation, enterprise and leisure, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that we will stage another brilliant concert with world-class artists in the beautiful country park of Caldicot Castle this summer.  We look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors, as well as residents, of all ages to Monmouthshire again.”

 Dan Davies, who has responsibility for Monmouthshire’s events, added: “This is hugely exciting and we look forward to putting on a brilliant concert.  We have incredible venues in the county to show off.”

 Full event information is available at www.caldicotcastle.co.uk.

 

Monmouthshire County Council offers an 80% business rates rebate to village halls and charities with premises in the county, but understands that despite this aid some of these vital community organisations still face financial pressures.

Councillor Phil Murphy, Cabinet Member for Finance commented: “Extending business rates relief to 100% would add a further notable cost to our budget – money that would have to be disinvested elsewhere.  The council is therefore asking village hall and charity managements to submit evidence of hardship so that we might give further consideration on how best to protect our valued community assets.”

Village hall and charity management bodies should contact: counciltax@monmouthshire.gov.uk for further advice.

Councillor Murphy added: “We are keen that village halls and local charities remain sustainable as the maintenance of locally accessible services is one of the council’s main four priorities.”

Monmouthshire’s Cabinet agreed new outline business plans yesterday not only to provide the promised replacement swimming pool but also to completely restyle facilities at Monmouth Leisure Centre.

As a result of the latest plans for the new comprehensive school at Monmouth which is under construction, proposals are to incorporate the sports hall into the footprint of the new school, while providing a new 25 metre pool in the former sports hall within the leisure centre.  This new configuration will give better access to the sports hall for the school during the day while at the same time releasing more areas of the leisure centre for use by the public.  In the evenings the sports hall will be available for public use.  Introducing new facilities such as soft play and more fitness stations will increase the attraction to more members of the public while the addition of a toning suite and spa will help finance this new approach to active leisure services.

Deputy Leader of the Council, Bob Greenland commented: “Active leisure pursuits have changed over recent years and we want to keep attracting individuals and families into the leisure centre.  Facing the prospects of increases in child obesity it is important that children find fun in using the leisure centre through soft play and other exciting activities.

“The cost pressures on the provision of a new school mean we can no longer expect the new pool to be funded as part of that project but I am very pleased that we can consider these new proposals which can be partly funded by better use of the leisure centre and through new facilities such as a toning suite and spa.  Having agreed the proposals we can move towards the final business case which will give us cost certainty of the project.  Once we have more clarity on what can be provided, we will be undertaking further consultation with existing users and other interested parties.  This is an exciting opportunity for residents in and around Monmouth.  A new £47m school plus a new £6.6m leisure complex is a huge commitment from this council and is a lasting investment for future generations.  As a package of measures this represents the most significant public service investment in the town in recent history and shows what can be achieved when we back our priorities to invest in education, promote enterprise and strengthen and sustain frontline local services.”

Local businessman David Blair who runs the No Eighteen sandwich shop in Church Street commented: “As a resident of Monmouth and the parent of a child in a local school, I very much support the rebuilding of the town’s swimming pool.  The pool has been much missed by the community and plans to develop this and also enhance the leisure provision would be a very positive step forward for the community.”

Finance Wales, set up by the Welsh Government in 2001 to enable small and medium-sized businesses to realise their potential for innovation and growth, is holding a ‘Grow your Business’ drop-in surgery in Monmouth on Tuesday 31st January.  It invites local businesses to sign up for 20 minute one-to-one sessions.

These will be delivered by locally-based investment executive Alyson Macnamara.  Alyson is dedicated to ensuring that businesses secure the funding necessary to grow and to unlock additional capital by working with banks or other advisers.

Finance Wales makes commercial investments in small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and can help those starting a business, at an early stage or seeking expansion.

Alyson Macnamara commented: “I joined Finance Wales last January and since then I’ve been impressed by the depth and ingenuity of businesses based in Monmouthshire and across south east Wales.  There’s a great business community here, supported by local chambers and county council who are great partners to work with.  I’m looking forward to meeting new businesses to see how we can support them with their ambitions this year.”

James Woodcock of Monmouthshire Business & Enterprise, the business support arm of Monmouthshire County Council, and representatives of Business Wales will be also be present to offer additional advice and support.

Councillor Bob Greenland, Deputy Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, noted: “This is a great opportunity for local businesses to access the finance and support available from Finance Wales, Monmouthshire Business & Enterprise and Business Wales.”

The event takes place between 9.30am and 5pm on 31st January 2017 at Singleton Court Business Park, Wonastow Road , Monmouth, NP25 5JA.

Businesses can book a 20 minute session by contacting Alyson via email: alyson.macnamara@financewales.co.uk or by calling 029 2033 8173.

Further information is available at:

http://www.financewales.co.uk/news-and-features/events/grow-your-business.aspx

Abergavenny Museum is hosting Coal Tree Salt Sea, an exhibition by Monmouthshire artist Sarah Rhys, from January 18th to March 1st.

The project started as an Arts Council Wales funded research and development artist residency in partnership with the Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru – as well as a significant body of Sarah’s own work, the exhibition includes works by Josef Herman.  The accompanying book, Coal Tree Salt Sea documents and expands on the project that took Sarah to Poland and the Czech Republic. It features rich images with contributions and poems from other authors.

Sarah Rhys is an inter-disciplinary artist.  She is interested in memory and place and uses a range of media from sculptural installations, projections, drawing, photography and artists’ books.  She originally studied architectural glass in Swansea before moving to Bath Spa University and more recently studying multi-disciplinary print making at the University of the West of England.

Councillor Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for museums said: “I’m pleased that we’re able to feature such a gifted artist’s intriguing work and bring it to the attention of the county’s communities as well as the many visitors who enjoy our museums’ varied and interesting exhibitions.”

Visit Sarah’s website for more information about her project:

www.rhysstudio.org.

Abergavenny Museum is open on Monday to Saturday from 11am to 1pm and 2 to 4pm.   Telephone 01873 854282 or email abergavennymuseum@monmouthshire.gov.uk for help with any enquiries.