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

One of the most well-known stand ups to grace the comedy stage is to perform at Chepstow Leisure Centre.

Jethro will be appearing at the venue, which will be transformed for the occasion, on Friday 11th September starting at 7.30pm.

Although rarely seen on TV, he sells more than 250,000 theatre seats a year and does a roaring trade on video.

In 1993 Jethro released his first video A Portion of Jethro, which sold nearly 150,000 copies, a success he has followed up with another nine titles.

As he paces the stage from side to side armed with nothing more than a microphone, Jethro has the rare ability to paint hilarious pictures delivered in a warm Cornish accent.

Over 4 million DVD sales pay testimony to the size and dedication of his army of followers, and their love of the unpredictable, irreverent twaddle that reduces his audience to tears of laughter night after unforgettable night!

Tickets, costing £23, are available from Caldicot and Chepstow Leisure Centres, Caldicot and Chepstow Libraries, by calling 01291 426850 and from www.visitmonmouthshire.co.uk/Jethro. Tickets are on sale now.

Powys and Monmouthshire County Councils have jointly welcomed the National Eisteddfod to their respective areas.  The two councils held a joint event at this week’s Royal Welsh Show with representatives from the National Eisteddfod. The Eisteddfod will be held in Meifod in North Powys from 1st to 8th August 2015, and will visit Monmouthshire in August 2016 when it is hosted in Abergavenny’s Castle Meadows.

Leader of Monmouthshire County Council Peter Fox said: “I’m very excited about celebrating Wales, its language and culture when the National Eisteddfod comes to our beautiful county next year. We very much enjoyed the Proclamation Ceremony in the magical setting of Caldicot Castle at the end of June when over 800 people joined the celebrations and we now look forward to the National Eisteddfod itself in just over a year.”

The Eisteddfod last visited Monmouthshire in 1913.

An initiative designed to turn Monmouthshire into a friendlier place for bees and other pollinating insects is being expanded this summer.

 Working with Bee Friendly Monmouthshire and local community councils, Monmouthshire County Council has planted 37.3 hectares of seeds, including annuals and perennials, with yellow rattle, throughout the county. Last year the council planted 28.8 hectares.

 Many of the areas that were established in spring 2014 are flowering again this year because they are perennials.

 Work to prepare the ground for planting in new locations began in March, with the first flowers expected in the next few weeks.

 The cabinet member for community development, Councillor Phil Hobson, said: “This is an invaluable initiative that will create waves of beautiful, vibrant flowers throughout Monmouthshire.

 “Pollinators, including bees, wasps, butterflies, hoverflies and moths, are an essential part of our habitat. Without them we would not be able to grow food. They play a pivotal role in food production and have an estimated value of about £430million per year to the UK crop market. In fact, the value of honey produced in Wales alone is thought to be about £2million per year.

 “This initiative will help safeguard this, by increasing the population of pollinating insects and improving the wider environment. We are creating sustainable environments in which insects can survive.”

 Declining populations of pollinators have become a growing concern across the world and Welsh Government sees increasing their numbers in Wales as a priority.

 To help achieve this, local community councils have bought flower seeds for the county council to plant. Additional areas of flowers will soon be blooming at sites across the borough, including Dixton roundabout, the Hardwick verges, Raglan roundabout and Raglan village.

 In addition to planting seeds, Monmouthshire council has reduced the frequency with which it cuts certain areas of grassland that are not already being used for sport or other activities, to encourage flowering species to grow. This in addition to creating a more biodiverse county will help the council save £30,000 a year.

 The total hectare of areas of open space and highway verge that had reduced cutting frequencies applied to them equate to 341.5 hectares or (341,509 mtr2). The total achieved in 2014 was 219 hectares.

 David Staker, from Bee Friendly Monmouthshire, said: “Not only will this project create beautiful stretches of colour throughout the county, it will help create new habitats for pollinating insects. This in turn will help increase their numbers throughout the county, while adding to the area’s natural beauty.

 “It’s a brilliant project, an essential project, and I’m delighted that the community councils and Monmouthshire County Council have come on board to help.”

 Councillor Hobson added: “Development doesn’t need to be at the expensive of nature and projects such as this are key in ensuring our long-term sustainability. We were bowled over with the positive feedback that we received regarding the flowers last year, with hundreds of residents writing to us or sending us pictures.

 “This year, we want to get everyone involved, whether they are residents, workers or visitors to the borough. Capture your own scenes of beautiful Monmouthshire this summer and tweet them using #beefriendlyMon, upload them to the council’s Facebook account and post them on Instragram.”

 

 

 Roads around Abergavenny will be temporarily closed on the weekend of August 7/9th as cyclists compete in the town’s Festival of Cycling which brings the televised Grand Prix of Wales to the county.  The Abergavenny Festival of Cycling, which attracted 35,000 spectators last year, will include riders such as Olympic gold-medallist Ed Clancy.

 Chepstow will host the penultimate round of the televised British Cycling Elite Town Centre Series on Wednesday, August 5th where roads around High Street, Bridge Street, Lower Church Street, Upper Church Street and Nelson Street will be closed. Closures will take place from 4pm to midnight.

 Bill Owen, route organiser, said: “Obviously, in events like this there will be the need to close roads, but we hope the Monmouthshire public will understand and come out to enjoy the incredible racing that we will have on show.”

 Monmouthshire County Council has sent leaflets to households and business directly affected by the road closures and is continuing conversations with communities to keep all disruption to a minimum.

 On Sunday August 9th, the stars will be competing as part of the British Cycling National Grand Prix Series, which will start and finish in Abergavenny.  Frogmore Street and Cross Street will be closed from 5am to 8pm on Sunday, with Hereford Road shut between 10am and 5pm on the same day. Park Avenue, Lion Street, King Street, Market Street and a section of the A40 through Abergavenny will also be closed on the Sunday from 10am until 5pm.

    Councillor Bob Greenland, Cabinet Member for Enterprise and Leisure, said: “We have seen great success in delivering cycling events over the past couple of years and Monmouthshire is committed to working to improve cycling opportunities across the region.  I look forward to another great weekend of cycling in our county.  This year road closures will be at an absolute minimum to accommodate residents and businesses.  We thank everyone for their cooperation in bringing these magnificent events to the county.”

 For more information on the road closures, please visit www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/eventinformation.  To take part in the event, please visit www.abergavennyfestivalofcycling.co.uk.

 

Visitors to this week’s Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells have enjoyed an introduction to the delights of Gwent as four local authorities have joined forces to promote the region.

The ancient county of Gwent is hosting this year’s show and Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen councils have combined to provide a stand offering information on the area’s major attractions.

Drawing visitors from all over Wales and far beyond, the show presents an ideal chance to showcase historic buildings like Tintern Abbey, Caerphilly Castle and Caerleon’s Roman remains, industrial archaeology within the Blaenafon World Heritage site, walking and cycling opportunities among the hills and valleys and the stunning landscapes of the Wye Valley, Black Mountains and the Vale of Usk as well as vibrant market towns.

In addition to providing information the councils’ stand organised a children’s colouring competition and provided a mix of seeds to grow wild flowers to attract bees.

The exhibition also drew attention to the 2016 Monmouthshire & District National Eisteddfod as many who attend the Royal Welsh Show are likely to visit this unique cultural event when it is held in Abergavenny.  Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for tourism and culture, Councillor Bob Greenland commented: “The Royal Welsh Show is one of the country’s major events and it is the perfect arena to demonstrate what’s on offer in our scenic corner of Wales.  Members of the Welsh farming community are often keen supporters of the National Eisteddfod so we’re working to welcome as many as possible to celebrate this festival of Welsh language and culture in Abergavenny next year.”

  •  Visitors to this week’s Royal Welsh Show will discover the four counties’ stand at pitch D291.  For further information about Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Newport councils log onto their websites.

Businesses in Abergavenny have voted against plans for a Business Improvement District (BID) in the town centre.

60% per cent of businesses voted No in the ballot, with the No vote representing 42 per cent of the aggregate rateable value of votes cast.

For the BID to be approved more than 50 per cent of votes cast needed to be in favour and a Yes vote needed to represent more than 50 per cent of the aggregate rateable value of votes cast.

There was a 58 per cent turnout for the ballot, with 237 votes cast. 143 were against the proposals, with 94 in favour. Eight ballot papers were spoiled. The aggregate rateable value (ARV) of the businesses that voted was £4,278,625, with the ARV of those in favour amounting to £2,489,725.

It was hoped that the BID would raise £1.25 million to invest in Abergavenny town centre over a period of five years. The BID funding would have come from a levy and be controlled by an independent company run by Abergavenny businesses.

The initiative aimed to ensure that Abergavenny gives a great first impression, maximise the benefit that events bring to the town, provide marketing and promotion and deliver lower business costs in the town centre.

The ballot which ran from 16th June to 14th July was conducted by Electoral Reform Services and the result was announced by Mo Aswat of BID consultants, The Mosaic Partnership, at a public meeting at The Kings Arms Hotel in the town on Wednesday 15th July.

   Colin J Berwick (Chepstow Walker)

Colin Berwick - Chepstow Walker

 I joined the “Fit for Life” walking group some 18 months ago  after the passing on of my wife of fifty years. I had never walked very much in my life, though did exercise at     other activities and my emotions were to say the least rather fragile.

The simple joy at feeling my body work again,  giving my mind something constructive to concentrate on and  being amidst all the wonders of nature, made me quickly realise that I had found a new and extremely pleasant and fulfilling new activity.

Thus I continued attending regularly every Monday morning.  Eighteen months on I am fitter, my emotions have returned to normal (how sympathetic the lady companion walkers were and I am now able to attempt modest walks over longer distances than I was ever able to at the beginning.

I would without any hesitation recommend  that you try it too! Who knows you might even enjoy it as much as I do!

Chepstow Walkers meet every Monday morning at 10am at Chepstow Leisure Centre car park.

16.06.21015 “

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Monmouthshire’s libraries will join forces with their counterparts across the UK to launch the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge this week – with an attempt on a new Guinness World Records™ title.  In addition, library staff will participate in a sponsored walk and will welcome poet Paul Henry to the county.

Organised by The Reading Agency charity and the public library network and aimed at 4 to 11 year olds and their families, the annual Summer Reading Challenge is simple and fun.  Children are encouraged to read six or more library books of their choice during the summer holidays with collectable incentives and rewards, plus a certificate or medal for all who complete the Challenge.  Children can sign up at their local library at the start of the summer holidays and it’s absolutely free.

Parents and carers love the Challenge.  Not only is it free, but they can see the difference it makes to their children’s reading.  Last year, over 800,000 children took part – nearly half of them boys.  Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for libraries, Councillor Bob Greenland commented: “The Summer Reading Challenge is a highlight of the holiday for many children and it can only be beneficial if it encourages them to get stuck into a good book.“

Every year sees a new theme and as part of this year’s Challenge, children, parents, carers, young volunteers, teachers, much-loved children’s authors and important figures in communities around the UK will be asked to make a pledge.  The aim is to set a new world record for the most pledges received for a reading campaign.

Library staff and friends are to undertake a sponsored ascent of the Sugar Loaf on Monday 20th July to raise money for the Challenge prizes while two days later poet Paul Henry will feature in two events for children and adults at Abergavenny and Monmouth.

More information is available from local libraries, or contacting Vivienne Thomas – viviennethomas@monmouthshire.gov.uk – telephone 01873 735980.

 

HELPFUL HINTS

Here are some ideas to help children complete the Challenge.

  • Visit the library as often as you can.  There are all kinds of events going on, and children soon get caught up in the fun
  • Read yourself!  Don’t feel guilty about sitting down with a book, newspaper or magazine. It sets a good example to young people – and they will copy you!
  • Let children choose their own books.  If they don’t like a book, just move on to the next one, or ask one of the library staff to recommend a read
  • Children don’t just have to read stories or novels.  Fact books, audio books, poetry – they all count!
  • Find the challenge  on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SummerReadingChallengeUK

Chepstow Library is to launch regular coding sessions for 11 to 17 year olds in September.  Young people will be able to create games, apps, interactive animations and much more.

A taster session held on 8th July was a huge success with a full house of nine students.  A further session on Monday 13th July from 5 to 6pm will teach basic functions of the Raspberry Pi.

For more information call in at the library, email Claire Lewis – clairelewis@monmouthshire.gov.uk – or telephone 01291 635649.

  •  Equipment for the coding club was provided by grant funding from The Carnegie Trust’s Library Lab programme and CyMAL.

Monmouthshire County Council has announced the establishment of a £1.25m loan scheme to help bring back to life underutilised and redundant sites and buildings in Abergavenny town centre.

Funded under the Welsh Government’s ‘Vibrant and Viable Places’ initiative, the scheme will provide interest-free loans to owners to refurbish, convert or develop redundant, vacant and underutilised sites and premises in the town centre.

Loans are available for eligible projects over a term of five years.  Once repaid the money can be recycled into new loans.

Initial funding is available until September 30th 2016. A one-off 5% administration fee will apply.

County Councillor Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for enterprise and innovation commented: “I’m delighted that the council’s bid for a share of the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places programme has been successful.  Funding will now be invested into Abergavenny’s redundant town centre sites and buildings making it an even more attractive place to live and visit while helping to boost the local economy.”

Contact Strategy & Policy Officer Stephen Griffiths – stephengriffiths@monmouthshire.gov.uk – or telephone 01633 644455 for more details of how to apply.