Monmouthshire’s students are
today celebrating another set of fantastic examination results, which will put
them on the path to a brilliant future in universities, colleges and careers.
Across the county, the
percentage of students achieving the very highest grades has improved upon last
year’s results and across the key measures, all schools showed improvements in
many areas. All four secondary schools have achieved excellent results.
In all Monmouthshire secondary schools, staff are confident that students will
gain entry to their preferred higher education courses.
Councillor Richard John,
Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “I am so pleased to see how
much our learners have achieved – they really should be so pleased of what they
have achieved today. These results demonstrate how hard students have
worked with the support from their families and carers. The results are
also testament to the excellent work undertaken by our teachers and all of the
teams across all four of our secondary schools. Today is a day to
celebrate their achievements before they take their exciting next steps towards
a successful and rewarding career. Well done everyone.”
Will McLean, Chief Officer for
Children and Young People added: “All of our pupils, teachers and families
should be rightly proud of the achievements that have been recognised
today. We continue to see significant strengths across all four of our
schools in both A-levels and vocational qualifications. I am pleased that
in a year where Wales has performed well compared to the other parts of the
United Kingdom that Monmouthshire continues to achieve excellent results. Our young people can look to the future
Caldicot Castle to host Archery National Tour Finals
Caldicot Castle will host one of
the most prestigious archery competitions in the UK this September. The Archery
GB National Tour Finals will take place on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th
September – adding to the historic building’s repertoire of hosting impressive
and large scale events.
Caldicot Castle will be transformed
into a head-to-head archery arena with the event
running in the same format as the Olympic and Paralympic Games which is
extremely popular with spectators. The event is free and everyone is welcome to
attend. There will also be the opportunity for visitors to have a go at
archery along with many other family activities
throughout the day.
It is also
the perfect opportunity for visitors to explore the tranquil gardens and wooded
country park that surrounds the ancient castle – with the medieval towers offering breath-taking views of
the parklands and surrounding area from the battlements.
partnership between MonLife, a service group managed by Monmouthshire County
Council, Archery GB and Starling Bank was marked with a special preview event
in the castle grounds on Tuesday 6th of August.
Bryan Jones, Vice Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council, commented: “We are
really proud to welcome Archery GB to Monmouthshire. It’s wonderful to see
everyone here today in the gorgeous setting of Caldicot Castle. I would like to
wish everyone who is taking part in the prestigious Finals lots of luck
– have a wonderful time.”
Neil Armitage, Archery GB’s CEO commented: “Caldicot Castle is such a fantastic location and will provide a spectacular setting for our modern format. We expect a close race for the finals on the back of a hugely successful international campaign – with six Olympic and five Paralympic quota places already secured for Tokyo, along with numerous international titles from World and European events.
“We are looking forward to working with Starling Bank and MonLife, along with our existing partners to build this into a world-class event – without their support it simply wouldn’t be possible.”
The best of
British archery talent will be competing for the honour of becoming Archery
GB’s National Champions. There will be 32 senior competitors
taking part in four different archery competitions across the two-day event. In
addition, the Key Event Finals will allow Britain’s best junior archers to take
centre stage. Gates open at 10.30am and entry is free.
information about Caldicot Castle please see visitmonmouthshire.com
Call for Volunteers at the 2019 Abergavenny Food Festival
It’s just over a month (6
weeks) until the 2019 Abergavenny Food Festival rolls into town and plans and
preparations are already underway. This year promises to be a great year to get
involved and you could be part of it!
Visit Monmouthshire is partnering with Abergavenny Food
Festival to offer volunteers the opportunity to welcome visitors to the
festival and provide local visitor information at one of the biggest and most
celebrated events in the county.
The two-day event kicks off on the 21st of
September and will be held at key locations across Abergavenny. With a range of
tasty activities for the whole family including wine and cheese tasting
sessions and cookery classes for children – there’s plenty to get involved in.
Volunteer Town Ambassadors are needed to provide visitors
with a warm, local welcome and to signpost them to the wide range of things to
see and do during their visit, encouraging them to explore the beautiful town of Abergavenny
and venture further across the county.
interested in being part of this exciting opportunity will be required to
commit to at least one day (9.00am-5.00pm) over the festival weekend.
There’s a range
of benefits available to those who take part. They include;
Opportunity to participate in volunteer recognition
A chance to share skills and develop new ones.
A familiarisation trip around key attractions in the
area on Monday 2nd September 2019
A full day’s training on ‘customer care’, ‘welcome’ and
the ‘Abergavenny Food Festival’ on Thursday 5th September 2019
A Friday night event party ticket plus 2 x weekend
tickets to the Abergavenny Food Festival
Opportunities to undertake additional training and
Full insurance cover
Reimbursement of local bus travel expenses
Sandwich lunch and free car parking space on day of
Cllr Paul Jordan, Cabinet Member for Tourism in Monmouthshire
said “I would encourage people to volunteer for this wonderful event in
Monmouthshire – the food capital of Wales. What
better way to meet people and give visitors a warm, Monmouthshire welcome to
For further information and to apply please click on this
Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility outdoor theatre by The Pantaloons at Abergavenny Castle Wednesday 14 August 7pm
First up in Abergavenny Museum’s summer season of outdoor theatre in the fabulous setting of Abergavenny Castle grounds this August, is Sense and Sensibility on Wednesday 14th at 7pm. This funny, fast-paced and faithful new adaptation for outdoor theatre by The Pantaloons of Jane Austen’s much loved classic features live music, audience interaction, romance and heartbreak. Elinor Dashwood has a lot of good Sense. Her sister Marianne Dashwood has an excess of Sensibility. Together they make a snappy title for Jane Austen’s novel of scandals, scoundrels and severely sprained ankles. Eminently suitable for fans of all ages, it’s getting great reviews from audiences all over the country. The Pantaloons gave their first performance at Abergavenny Castle last summer with Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and went down a storm. Don’t miss them this year.
Tickets, Adult £14, Child £8, Family (2+2) £40, in advance from Abergavenny Museum tel 01873 854282
Bring seating – low backed chairs, rugs, etc, picnics and warm clothing for when the sun goes down. Gates open 6.15pm
Families encouraged to embrace the rain and make the most of Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire County Council begins a new four-year contract
with Monmouthshire Housing Association for the maintenance and support of over
250 sites across the county.
The council’s Grounds Maintenance Team will provide grass
cutting, shrub maintenance, weed clearance and related grounds maintenance for
an initial four-year period with options for two extensions of three years
each. The potential 10-year contract is valued at £2.5 million.
Monmouthshire County Council has been providing the service
to MHA since 2008 when the housing stock was transferred under a Service Level
Agreement. The new contract will be a continuation of the excellent service the
Grounds Team have carried out over the years and it brings with it a continued
commitment to help communities prosper.
Along with the maintenance work, the council is also
offering a wide range of support to help tenants develop community garden
schemes and access apprenticeships and work experience across Monmouthshire’s
Waste and Street services.
Following the tendering of a long term maintenance contract
in 2018, MHA carried out an extensive consultation with their tenants. The
valuable feedback from tenants was pivotal in Monmouthshire County Council’s
The contract reinforces the council’s commitment to its
corporate objectives and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act.
It also offers exciting digital transformation opportunities
for grounds maintenance and the provides the council with the ability to offer
transparent, real time service updates to customers as well as new performance
management metrics to excellent customer service.
Councillor Jane Pratt, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services
said: “I’m delighted that Monmouthshire County Council will continue its
excellent work in maintaining the grounds for MHA tenants. It’s fantastic that
we can continue to offer a high standard of service to the communities we serve
for years to come.”
Michele Morgan, Director of Housing and Communities said:
“MHA are pleased to continue working in partnership with MCC to provide a first
class grounds maintenance service to our tenants and residents. This new
contract and service standards have been developed in conjunction with our
tenants and will ensure that MHA’s communities continue to be fantastic places
Caldicot Castle and Country Park became the
backdrop for a weekend of celebrations and fun for Monmouthshire Youth Service
Diversity Festival. Over two days 2000 people visited the events and it was
hailed a fantastic weekend celebrating inclusion, diversity and equality in
The weekend was a legacy to the very successful
Youth Pride event which took place at Caldicot Castle in 2018. This year the
event expanded into a two-day festival of fun for all ages on Saturday 27th
July and Sunday 28th July.
The two-day event was the idea of the Equality
Street group made up of young people from Monmouthshire who felt there wasn’t a
local pride event that catered for families and young people. The group worked
with Monmouthshire Youth Service to raise the flag for LGBTQ+ young people and
to enable families to attend a day where everyone was treated equally.
Youth Pride brought together young people from
across the county on Saturday 27th July. The day aimed to provide
young people with a safe environment to be themselves and gain information from
a wide range of services and organisations who, from across Gwent, work with
LGBTQ+ young people.
Many inspirational speakers took to the stage
including co-founder of Stone Wall Lisa Power – the LGBT+ organisation fighting
for equality for lesbians, gay and bi people. Joining Lisa on stage was Marcus
DeVine, stand-up comedian and writer. Marcus entertained the crowds along with
local performers including Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist Emile Harris from
A family fun day took place the following day with
all families welcome to come along. Many organisations attended to provide
information and support to families. The aim of the day was to bring people
from all over Monmouthshire to celebrate diversity in a wider context than the
Youth Pride. The event aimed to raise awareness and break down barriers for
families including; opportunities for families who speak Welsh, BAME families,
provided activities and support for those with additional learning needs and
specific learning difficulties, disability and of course celebrated LGBTQ+
A wealth of activities were on offer from local
groups and organisations. A local boxing group provided boxercise and Caldicot
Castle hosted archery and mini golf. Arts and craft activities were a popular
choice and live music enhanced the party atmosphere. Youngsters enjoyed the
inflatables and took on the challenge of the climbing wall.
Councillor Richard John, Cabinet Member for Mon
“It was a fantastic weekend. I was very pleased to
be able to attend the Young People’s Pride day on Saturday. The coordination
and organisation of the event by our very own LGBTQ+ youth group Equality
Street was outstanding. I would like to thank the youth service and everyone
involved in making the whole weekend a truly memorable experience for all who
attended. I look forward to many more events at Caldicot Caste. It really is a
beautiful setting for a multitude of events.”
Equality Street is a youth group which originally
started as an LGBTQ+ group. It has evolved into supporting a wide range of
young people and provides a safe environment for people to relax, be themselves
and help their peers and the wider community. The group is based in Caldicot and
is supported by Monmouthshire Youth Service, for more information or to join
the group contact:
Monmouthshire County Council has made an exciting commitment
to a new venture to support the growth of the Med Tech sector by establishing
Monmouthshire Med Tech (MMT), following a meeting with Cabinet on Wednesday 31st
Monmouthshire Med Tech will develop an incubator facility in
the county, to encourage and support start-up businesses. The facility will
provide onsite business support and is aimed at attracting companies in the
diagnostic and devices sector of medical technology. It is hoped that this
exciting new venture will encourage more tech companies in the healthcare and
healthcare technology sector to relocate to Monmouthshire.
Monmouthshire is a great county to start, locate and grow
Med Tech businesses. It is important to support and nurture this sector, which
is becoming central to an emerging eco-system fuelled by a number of successful
companies already based in the county.
The Med Tech sector is a high growth market and it is
exciting to be able to offer opportunities for above average salaries and
encourage the creation of more successful businesses in Monmouthshire.
Councillor Bob Greenland, Cabinet Member for Enterprise said:
“We are pleased to announce our commitment to supporting the growth of business
and enterprise with the establishment of Monmouthshire Med Tech. MMT will
provide an array of opportunities while promoting Monmouthshire not only as an
excellent place to live, visit and work but also a great place to invest and
expand businesses. The initiative further proves the council’s innovative and
creative approach to building the sustainability and resilience of our county.”ENDS
We would like to thank residents and visitors for their continued cooperation and patience. We hope to reopen the road by the end of the day on Friday 2nd August. The road will be reopened once cabins and large machinery have been removed. Due to the nature of removing the large machinery we hope that this does not pose any issues and we will endeavour to reopen the road safely.
At Livox, a small number of outstanding works will take place including final clipping of mesh, cutting and treatment of bars and general clean-up duties will take place until early August. To ensure the safety of contractors two-way lights to be set up while these works are finished but this will only be for a short period. Tintern is open for buisness and has so much to offer. We hope more and more people travel to this beautiful part of Monmouthshire.
Pupils and staff at Raglan VC Primary School have been
praised for their new initiative aimed at tackling social isolation. The
school’s Ein Cegin Fach’ community kitchen was officially opened on Wednesday
17th of July to guests including parents, teachers, members from the
Raglan community and Monmouthshire County councillors.
The community kitchen project follows on from the success of
Raglan VC Primary’s Owls and Acorns – an intergenerational initiative which
aims to tackle loneliness and isolation by bringing together pupils and older
people to enjoy arts, crafts and exercises.
Following on from this the school wanted to do more to support the local
community and look at further ways to reduce social isolation, which led to the
kitchen project being born.
For the official opening, children in year four were set the
task of providing an afternoon tea event to approximately 50 guests with a
budget of £100. With this budget in mind the children had to prepare all the
food, decorations and invitations. Produce grown by the pupils over the course
of the year was used as part of the ingredients for the array of cakes and
pastries on offer.
Ein Cegin Fach – which is based in the grounds of the school
– will open to the community six times across the year. Each year group will
get the opportunity to run the kitchen and meet members of the community.
Following the official opening, Monmouthshire’s cabinet
member for Social Care and Health, Councillor Penny Jones said: “Social
isolation is an issue faced by many older people. It’s fantastic to see younger
generations going above and beyond to tackle this important issue and bring the
community together. It was an honour to be a part of the official opening of
Ein Cegin Fach and I look forward to trying more of the pupil’s delicious
homemade snacks in the future.”
Councillor Richard John, Cabinet Member for Children and
Young People added: “I’d like to congratulate the pupils of Raglan Primary, who
planned, prepared and cooked for a lovely afternoon tea for the local
community. I am delighted that the Council was able to invest in this new
community kitchen, which will enable pupils and staff at Raglan to continue
their excellent engagement with the local community and enhance pupils’
Raglan VC Primary Headteacher Eve Rowland said: “With the
support from the school PTFA and members of Monmouthshire County Council, a
space has been created which can be used all year round for curriculum learning
and community events. The launch event was extremely well attended and enjoyed
by all. We look forward to opening ‘Ein Cegin Fach’ to the local community for
future events throughout the year.”E
Monmouthshire’s Youth Service wins top award for promoting diversity and equality
Monmouthshire’s Youth Service is being celebrated after a
project promoting the equality and diversity of young people received a
Members from the ‘Equality Street’ project and representatives
from Monmouthshire County Council were handed the accolade at this year’s Youth
Work Excellence Awards held in North Wales on Friday 28th of June
The project, which originally started as an LGBTQ+ group,
has evolved into supporting a wide range of young people and provides a safe
environment for people to relax, be themselves and help their peers and the
The project has successfully helped its members develop
communication skills and gain confidence, resulting in the group working to
produce Gwent’s first young person’s Pride event – which was attended by more
than 750 people.
Upon receiving the award, group member Orlagh
Williams, 16, said: “I am mind-blown to have won the award. The work I do
with the group is fulfilling by itself and the idea that it’s worthy of this
praise is overwhelming! I’ve been involved with Equality Street for a few years
just because I see how important equality and diversity is. I am very proud of
our group and really happy that Monmouthshire Youth Service has had this
recognition. It is because of its dedicated staff that everything we’ve
achieved has been possible.”
Councillor Richard John, Cabinet Member for Children and
Young People said: “The accolade given to the Equality Street project just goes
to show the excellent work being carried out by Monmouthshire County Council to
ensure young people are given a voice and an environment to be themselves and
celebrate diversity. I’m sure their fantastic work will continue to make an
impact and be recognised across Wales.”
Following on from the success of the Youth Service’s Pride
event in 2018, a bigger and better Pride Day is taking place on Saturday 27th
July 12.00pm – 6.00pm at Caldicot Castle. The event hopes to be a hive of
activity with live music and special guests including Lisa Power Co-founder of
Stonewall and Emile Harris, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist. The free event
is part of the two day Monmouthshire Diversity Festival, a Family Fun Day is
taking place on Sunday 28th July 11.00am – 4.00pm as part of the
Diversity Weekend, the day will be full of fun and activities for all ages.
Tintern and surrounding areas are open for business
despite road works to the A466 to undertake stabilisation works of a 200m
section of unstable cliff face. Monmouthshire County Council’s priority is to
ensure that this road is safe. It will not be reopened
until it is a safe route to travel through.
to onsite engineering difficulties the road closure has been extended and is
expected to reopen on 2nd August. The council is continually looking at ways of
completing the programme sooner but the safety of everyone working on the road
is the priority. This highly complex engineering scheme involves ground anchors
being drilled into the rock face. The amount of contractors, plant and
machinery onsite has been increased and regular site visits are taking place to
currently in place between Chepstow and Tintern is along one of the prettiest
roads in Monmouthshire. So while it is not the quickest route to Tintern, the
views along the way are incredible. Diversions are in
place along the B4293 via Devauden and Trellech which can be found on the
council’s website. For more information visit: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/2019/07/a466-closure-st-arvans-to-tintern
itself includes a number of historic attractions, Old
Station Tintern offers visitors young and old an opportunity to travel back in
time to the age of traditional trains. The magnificent Tintern Abbey is
breathtaking and a great place to visit with friends and family. Visit
Monmouthshire offers a wide range of opportunities to explore the beautiful Wye
Valley for more information: www.visitmonmouthshire.com/tintern
Communication between the council and businesses
and residents will continue during the work. The nature of the work and closure
of the road has led to disruption and has had an impact on businesses.
Cllr Jane Pratt, Cabinet Member for Operations
understand the frustration of residents and businesses. We understand and
empathise with those affected.
Our priority is to ensure that this road is safe.
It will not be reopened until it is a safe route to travel through. We are
working with the contractor to ensure completion of this highly complex
engineering scheme as soon as possible.
Myself, fellow councillors and David Davies MP
recently visited the site, the visit brought home the complexity of the site
and the hard work being done by all involved to make the road safe for everyone
to travel on.”
Monmouthshire’s Summer Reading Challenge has lift off!
The ever popular Reading Agency, Summer
Reading Challenge 2019 has blasted off for its twentieth year! Youngsters
across Monmouthshire are being encouraged to grab their space suit and take a
giant leap into their local library or Community Hub this summer.
This year’s theme is ‘Space Chase’.
Give your children the Summer They Want by taking part in the challenge. To
take part in the free activity, children and young people are encouraged to
sign up at their local Community Hub or library and take on the quest to read
six library books (or more!) over the holidays to collect special stickers to
add to your ‘Space Chase’ folder.
Youngsters are encouraged to collect a
range of stickers to find the aliens, save the missing books and complete the
challenge. A wide range of free activities are taking place across
Monmouthshire to coincide with the lunar theme from Lego workshops and space
themed storytelling and craft sessions to colouring competitions all in a bid
to encourage more and more residents to visit this summer. Children from five
years old are welcome to take part and have fun.
At Caldicot Community Hub Lego Workshop
are taking place on the following Wednesdays, July 24th, 7th
August and 21st August, 10.00am – 11.00am. There is also a Space
Chase storytelling and craft activities session on Wednesday 14th
Chepstow Community Hub has a variety of
activities; Space Chase storytelling and crafts are taking place on the
following Thursdays, the 8th, 15th, 22nd and
29th of August from 11.00am – 12.00pm.
Monmouth Hub follows with space themed
activities on Tuesday July 23rd 1.00pm – 6.00pm
budding artists are welcome to come along to help build a huge Spaceship which
will be on display in the hub throughout the summer. Stories and craft are
taking place on August 7th 2.00 – 3.00pm.
Abergavenny Library hosts story and
craft sessions on the following dates: Tuesday 30th July, Tuesday 6th
August, Tuesday 13th August and Tuesday 20th August all at
2.30pm – 3.30pm and on Saturday September 14th 10.30am – 11.30am.
Fun activities are planned at Usk
Community Hub a space themed craft sessions will take place on Wednesday 21st
August at 10.30am. Intergalactic Story Time is taking place on Thursday 8th
August at 10.30am. Fun for all ages on Monday July 29th a
Planetarium will be on show from 10am – 4pm.
The brilliant storyteller Louby Lou
will be on hand to entertain little ones at Caldicot Community Hub on Saturday
27th July and Wednesday 14th August 10.00am – 11.00am, Chepstow
Community Hub on Saturday 10th August from 10.30am – 11.30am, Monmouth Hub
Saturday August 17th 2.00pm – 3.00pm, two sessions will take place
at Abergavenny Library on Friday 9th August 10.30am – 11.15am and
11.30am – 12.15pm.
Space Chase, Summer Reading Challenge
2019 themed colouring sheets will be available until 30th August in
all Community Hubs and Libraries.
Cllr Paul Jordan, Cabinet Member for
Community Hubs said:
“The Summer Reading Challenge is a fantastic initiative by the Reading Agency. I am sure many parents and schools welcome an incentive to pick up a book during the school holidays. It is pleasing to see so many free activities taking place in all of our Community Hubs to encourage children, young people and their families to visit. The school holidays can lead to boredom, but I am sure the vast range of activities will alleviate this for our youngsters.”
County Council is proud to announce that three of its attractions and open
spaces have retained their coveted Green Flag Award for the third year running
by leading environmental charity, Keep Wales Tidy. The Flags will be flying at
Tintern Old Station, Caldicot Castle Country Park and Castle Meadows
Abergavenny in recognition of their excellent facilities and commitment to
delivering great quality green space. The awards recognise the considerable
efforts made by volunteers and park managers to reach these standards.
parks are very popular with residents and visitors and have attracted a number
of awards in recent years. Tintern’s Old Station has developed an excellent
reputation as one of the area’s top visitor centres and was voted the UK’s
favourite park in the 2011 People’s Choice Green Flag Award public poll.
Situated in a scenic wooded area next to the River Wye the Old Station is a
hidden gem. In summer months a wide range of activities including a miniature
railway and recently hosted its first dog show.
magnificent medieval castle is set in fifty-five acres of beautiful country
park offering an ideal setting for picnics and walks against the background of
the castle walls, with picnic tables and barbeques. The castle is a fabulous
destination venue for tourism, special events and concerts, attracting people
from far and wide. It has recently hosted a conference for medical professions
from across the world, the magnificent grounds provided the backdrop for a
truly medieval experience with a trumpeter fanfare, knights and the opportunity
to have a go at archery. The Castle continues to be a beautiful setting for
many weddings creating everlasting memories for those involved.
tranquil Castle Meadows are set on the banks of the River Usk. This
peaceful setting is just a short stroll from the centre of the town and was the
location for the very successful 2016 Monmouthshire and District National
Eisteddfod. A popular location for residents and visitors to take in the beauty
As well as our
attractions two Caldicot Town Council managed locations have gained the
accolade: Dewstow Cemetery and King George V Playing Field (Caldicot). The
Awards also recognise the amazing commitment that Communities make to green
spaces in the county. The following locations have gained Green Flag Community
Awards: Crucorney Allotments, Bailey Park Sensory Garden, Laurie Jones
Community Orchard, Abergavenny, Goytre Community Garden, Crick Meadow, Crick
Woodland, The Cornfield, Portskewett
Councillor Paul Jordan, Cabinet member with responsibility for Attractions
to hear that our attractions have yet again been awarded the Green Flag Award.
The Old Station, Caldicot Castle with its Country Park and are among the venues
that people flock to visit. I am particularly pleased that the awards recognise
the outstanding dedication and role of the volunteers at each site. This summer
I urge residents to visit our brilliant attractions as there is so much to see
Councillor Richard John, Cabinet Member for Countryside said:
‘I am so
pleased that Abergavenny’s Castle Meadows has gained the recognition that it
deserves. So many residents and visitors flock to Abergavenny and use the
Meadows for dog walking, picnics and fun with their families. I hope that the
area continues to be a place close to many people’s hearts.’
221 parks and
green spaces have met the high standards needed to receive the coveted Green
Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award. They include a diverse range of
sites, from urban parks and housing estates, to university campuses and farms.
The Green Flag Award programme is judged by green space experts, who volunteer
their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict
criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, environmental
management and community involvement.
Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said:
“The Green Flag
Award programme continues to go from strength to strength in Wales, thanks to
the commitment and enthusiasm of staff and volunteers across the country.
underestimate how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our
communities, our health and wellbeing, nature and economy. We want to encourage
everyone to explore their local area and make the most of the award-winning
sites on their doorstep.”
The A466 is currently closed between St Arvans and Tintern to undertake stabilisation works of a 200m section of unstable cliff face.
Due to onsite engineering difficulties we have had to extend the completion date. We are hoping the road will be open on 2nd August.
Our priority is
to ensure that this road is safe. It will not be reopened until it is a safe
route to travel through. We are working with the contractor to ensure
completion of this highly complex engineering scheme as soon as possible.
We understand the
frustration of residents and businesses. We understand and empathise with those
Tintern is still open for business and people can access Tintern via other routes. Please do come and enjoy all that the beautiful Wye Valley and Tintern has to offer.
Thank you for
your continued patience and cooperation.
Signing is in place at Chepstow, Monmouth and along the route with the main diversion along the B4293 via Devauden and Trelleck.
Past and present staff celebrate 60 years of Abergavenny Museum
Museum has celebrated 60 years since it first opened to the public. On Tuesday
the 2nd July over 80 guests, which included former and current
staff, long-time supporters and local volunteers gathered in Castle House –
which itself celebrates its 200th anniversary this year – to mark the occasion.
Many attendees included people who
were involved with the museum in its early days. Among the guests was Barbara
Jackson who attended the opening in 1959. Her uncle Alfred and father Ernest
were also the driving force behind the setting up of the museum. Members of
Abergavenny Rotary Club were present at the celebration to represent those
members in the 1950s who had set up the first museum sub-committee. The
commemorative event was also attended by Ken Key, who was part of the working
party who transported one of the museum’s key artefacts – the Adoration of the
Magi wall painting – from the Gunter House in a wheelbarrow. Other guests
included Beryl Jones whose husband Gwyn was a founder of Abergavenny Local
History Society and worked with pupils from King Henry VIII School to curate
the Welsh Kitchen display in 1960.
Guests were treated to a speech
full of humour about the foundation of the museum by former curator Frank
Olding. Chair of Monmouthshire County Council, Councillor Sheila
Woodhouse, gave formal thanks to staff and volunteers who have made the museum
the success it is today.
Marking the celebration, Councillor
Paul Jordan, Cabinet Member for Governance and Law said: “Museums play a vital
role in learning about Monmouthshire’s rich history. It’s wonderful to see so
many people turn out to commemorate this establishment and remember the
significant part it’s played in Abergavenny and the wider community over the
last 60 years.”
Monmouthshire County Council is asking for feedback on the new Local Development Plan proposals
County Council’s new Local Development Plan will impact on how and where people
live, work, socialise, travel and enjoy Monmouthshire’s countryside – and
crucially this is about how much the County will grow and what parts of
Monmouthshire will grow (the ‘growth and spatial’ options). People are being
asked to share their thoughts on the proposals being made as this will impact
on Monmouthshire County Council’s planning decisions for the next 15 years.
A drop in session is being held on at County Hall Usk, on Tuesday 16th July at any time between 1 – 7 pm.
Greenland, Cabinet member for enterprise and land use planning said: “We welcome
feedback from residents on the new Local Development plan proposals. We have
options available so people can send us their thoughts online or come to speak
to us on Tuesday 16th July – looking forward to hearing everyone’s
Pupils set the agenda at Monmouthshire’s first Public Services Board Youth Forum
Young people from across the county attended the first Monmouthshire Youth Forum at County Hall, Usk on Friday, 5th July. The meeting, hosted by Monmouthshire’s youth forum Engage 2 Change provided pupils from the county’s four secondary schools with an opportunity to discuss and debate issues that are important to them. A range of officers from Gwent Police, Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and Monmouthshire County Council who along with other organisations form the Monmouthshire Public Services Board (PSB) will use the voices of our young people to inform future decision-making.
The meeting provided a platform for
young people to share their thoughts with representatives of the PSB. The voice
of young people is integral to the work of the PSB. The meeting aimed to provide both young
people and public bodies with an opportunity to become informed about
what the matters are and why they are important. The
forum is hoped to become a regular occurrence.
Young people were eager to ask the
various officers questions about the provision of mental health services for
children and young people. Mental health has recently been voted the most
important issue for young people, in addition to homelessness and knife crime.
In 2018, 2,787 young people from
across Monmouthshire participated in the ‘Make Your Mark’
campaign and voted on the issues that were most important to them. ‘Make your
Mark’ is led by the British Youth Council and aims to provide young people with
an opportunity to influence debates in the House of Commons by Members of Youth
Young people posed
thoughtful and informed questions. Those
who attended the event were able to ask face-to-face questions but also had the
opportunity to use an interactive online tool. The online tool allowed young
people not attending the event to get involved too. The meeting, which
took place in the Council Chamber, was also livestreamed which aided more
people to watch and listen during the session or at a later date.
The young people
heard from Richard Blakemore – Chief Inspector at Gwent
Police, Mike Richards – Superintendent at Gwent Police, Dr Luke Jones –
Regional Head of Children Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Transformation
Programme at ABUHB, Bronwyn John Head of Partnerships at ABUHB, Mark Hand Head
of Planning at Housing & Place-shaping at Monmouthshire County
Council, Ian Bakewell Housing & Communities Manager at Monmouthshire
County Council, and Rachel Lewis Planning Policy Manager at Monmouthshire
Cllr Richard John Cabinet Member
for Children and Young People said:
“I am so pleased to see young
people at County Hall and utilising our council chamber. The forum provided a
perfect opportunity to help our Public Services Board hear the views of our
young people and provide pupils with the chance to ask the people who make the
decisions about the things that really matter to them. I hope to see more
opportunities like this in the future. I would like to thank our partners at
Gwent Police and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board for coming along and
look forward to more partnership working in the future.”
Monmouthshire County Council is delighted to have welcomed
the debating team of Goytre Fawr Primary School to County Hall for their debate
on Wednesday 3rd July. 15 eager pupils took over the council chamber
to present arguments on whether the Welsh language should be taught as the
second dominant language in schools.
It’s the second time enthusiastic youngsters from the
school’s debating club have visited the chamber to demonstrate their public
speaking skills. The group is made up of 25 members ageing between 8 and
11-years-old. The pupils spent a number of weeks preparing and practicing key
debating skills before taking part in mini debates.
This year’s topic was decided following the school’s recent
focus on the Welsh language and the new Curriculum for Wales. Pupils were also
interested in the idea of learning Welsh alongside the modern foreign languages
the new Curriculum has a place.
The debating club was founded in 2016 by the school’s Chair
of Governors Kathryn Edwards, the club is aimed at giving children the
opportunity to have more experience of public speaking while helping to improve
their listening skills. The extra-curricular activity has proved successful in
developing the pupils’ confidence and ignited their interests in topical
John, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “It’s wonderful to see
young people engaging with Monmouthshire County Council and sharing their views
on topical matters. Monmouthshire’s children
have shared their enthusiasm for Welsh language and culture in today’s
discussion about the importance of the Welsh language to our children. Da iawn
pawb. We look forward to
welcoming the team back to the chamber in the future.”
Commenting on the success of the debate team, Kathryn
Edwards said: “I wanted the pupils to really think about debating skills – they
have enquiring minds, they are interested in what is going on around them and
it was putting that to good use. It’s also really easy to forget that listening
is just as important as speaking when debating. Taking time to consider other
viewpoints is vital.”
Kathryn has plans to build on this year’s event with the aim
of making it even bigger and better for their next visit.
Reflecting on her
experience in the chamber, 11-year-old Amelia, Chair of the debate team said:
“It was good fun. It’s given me confidence and will help me speak in front of
an audience in future.”
Fellow pupil Gabby added: “I enjoyed being able to say what I believe. We need to stand up for our own points of view. We need to have our own choices. It has improved my confidence.”
Views sought on proposed plans for Agincourt Square and Monnow Street
welcome to attend two engagement sessions to provide views on the proposed
plans to improve Agincourt Square and Monnow Street, Monmouth. The historic market
town has been the source of discussions with the local community for over 10
years with varied views on how to improve the area to enhance the town.
will help to shape the detail of the development aimed at creating a public
space where pedestrians are welcomed. Traffic will continue to flow but the
enhancements will make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
The work will bring high-quality surfaces and landscaping with an aim to better
manage the traffic in area to improve accessibility and safety. All
these design considerations will create the environment and sense of space to
transform the area into a historic, cultural destination. The council will
support local shops and businesses whilst the work takes place to ensure the
town continues to be a popular choice for residents and visitors to shop local.
County Council has been successful in acquiring £450,000 of Welsh Government
funding to enhance the scheme. This is in addition to £90,000 from the Monmouthshire
County Council Highways budget and £45,000 from Monmouth Town Council.
encouraged to attend public exhibition and engagement sessions at Shire Hall.
The plans will be available throughout the day to view.
A number of presentations are also
planned on the days of the engagement to look at the proposed design, street
layouts, timescales and more information about the funding streams.
sessions will take place at the Shire Hall, Monmouth:
16th July 2019 drop in from 9.00am – 7.00pm
presentations will take place at 10.00 am, 12.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm
20th July 2019 drop in from 9.00am – 1.00pm
presentations will take place at 10.00am and 12.00pm.
Cllr Jane Pratt
Cabinet Member for Highways said:
“This is an
exciting development for the town of Monmouth and will provide residents and
visitors with a safer space to walk through to socialise and shop. I encourage
residents to attend a drop-in session to
better understand what is proposed and what we and our partners hope to
welcome to drop in to an engagement session or share their
thoughts via an online survey:
Monmouthshire County Council is the first local authority in the
UK to manage, run and open a community Post Office. The new Post Office, which
is based in on Maryport Street, Usk started trading on 1st May and was
officially opened on 27th June. It will enable local people and
businesses to continue banking in the town after the town’s only bank and the
former Post Office both announced closure plans within a few weeks of each
other in 2018. Monmouthshire County Council, Usk Town Council and the Post
Office joined the event which celebrated the effective partnership working
which made this possible. Local fundraiser for leukaemia charities –
Georgina Hathaway – who was nominated by local people as a community hero cut
the official ribbon.
Guests were delighted to hear from John Rogers, a Postal Historian,
who travelled from West Berkshire as part of his research, and became the first
customer when the Post Office started trading last month. John highlighted how
important a social and economic influence the Post Office has had in Usk since
it first opened in 1730.
Cllr Sheila Woodhouse, Monmouthshire County Council Chair, a
former Postmistress herself, said: “I know just how important Post Offices are
and continue to be from many years working in community Post Offices – they
really are very special. The opening of a Post Office in Usk Community Hub
demonstrates the benefit of Usk Town Council and Monmouthshire County Council
working together to make a difference in the community. I would like to thank
the officers from Monmouthshire County Council, Usk Town Council and Neil
Jenkins from the Post Office who have all worked together to make this happen.”
Cllr Paul Jordan, cabinet member with responsibility for Community
Hubs expressed: “This evening has been a great example of how Monmouthshire’s
Community Hubs are continuing to evolve helping us maintain local accessible
services that people value. This Post Office in Usk is already very popular
with 4,559 transactions being made in the first month alone. There has already
been interest in this approach from other councils showing that this is an
example of how Monmouthshire leads and others follow.”
Post Office Change Manager, Neil Jenkins said: “We understand how
important having a Post Office is to residents in Usk and we are confident that
this new modern Post Office service will meet the needs of the local community
and secure services for the future. This really has been a wonderful project
that really proves the benefit of collaborative working to make things happen
I’d like to wish Monmouthshire County Council every success in this new
John Rogers, Postal Historian commented that: “The Post Office is
the true hub of any town or village so it’s fitting that the Post Office is
here in the Hub in Usk. You can’t see all the benefits of a Post Office to a
community on a balance sheet, but they are most definitely there. Post Offices
give a remarkable value- added asset to society by bringing people together in
an age when many of us are spending so much time on our screens, whilst still
providing everybody with important services. It’s vital in any community for
people to come together and meet face to face when taking advantage of the huge
range of different transactions available. Use it or lose it.”
Cllr Christine Wilkinson, Mayor of Usk added: “I am delighted to be here in Usk’s new Post Office, we were devastated when the last bank closed and feel incredibly proud that we worked with Monmouthshire County Council and the Post Office to stop the Post Office – that so many people rely on – closing too. I am so proud that the wonderful Georgina Hathaway was nominated by local people as the local hero to cut the official ribbon. Georgina and her husband Tom have fundraised continually for leukaemia charities raising over £170k in memory of their daughter Jane.”
Mon Life celebrates the outstanding contribution of volunteers
contribution of volunteers who support Mon Life – Monmouthshire County Councils
Tourism, Leisure, Culture and Youth services were celebrated at Caldicot Castle
on Wednesday 26th June. Mon Life delivers a wide range of
services which touch every resident in the county. It provides youth, sporting,
tourism and cultural services across the county and volunteers play an integral
part to delivering a high standard of services.
The service has
over two hundred volunteers ranging from enthusiastic teenagers to passionate
octogenarians who give their time, commitment, skills and life experience to
add value to the council’s wide variety of attractions run by the museum service, youth service, sports development team, countryside
service and Tintern’s Old Station visitor centre. Ninety Mon Life volunteers attended the
event and received certificates to recognise their hard work, dedication and
awards were presented on the evening:
Young Person Volunteer – Chloe Whatley
Adult Volunteer – Sue Hogan and Angela Bishop
Group Volunteers – Monmouthshire Sports Leadership Academies
Environmental Volunteer – Path care Walking group
Inspirational Volunteer – Harry and Eira Steggles
Outstanding Volunteer – Bill Duke
Above and Beyond Volunteer – Catherine Baker.
a vital asset for all MonLife’s services. The council offers a wide range of
opportunities to support volunteers including training, support and guidance to
ensure that volunteering is a valuable, enjoyable experience. Volunteering
can enable individuals to enhance existing skill, increase knowledge, meet new
friends and boost confidence which in turn benefits their health and wellbeing.
Richard John, Monmouthshire’s Cabinet Member MonLife said:
is a rewarding, fun and social way to help our community.
with our countryside service to ensure our rights of way are accessible for
walkers, while those assisting our museum staff catalogue and preserve history
for future generations, help maintain the historical grounds and guide people
around our collections and exhibitions.
examples are the willing helpers at Tintern’s Old Station who run the miniature
train and pass on their valuable knowledge of the local area as well as those
young volunteers supporting a range of activities to encourage their
counterparts to be active while enjoying sport and recreation.
appreciate the tireless energy, time and commitment given by volunteers from
across our county, all to improve people’s lives and the communities in which
Find out more
about volunteering with Mon Life a
service group managed by Monmouthshire County Council, contact Tracey Thomas,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07818 016924.
Time to start planning fun adventures for children and young people this summer
County Council launches the very successful ‘The Summer They Want’ campaign for the second year running from 1st July 2019. The Summer They
Want, aims to support parents and carers in planning engaging activities for
children and young people during the school holidays. The campaign focuses on
the wide variety of activities and events taking place in Leisure Centres,
Museums, Castles and Tourist Attractions across the county throughout July and
parents of primary aged children, July marks not just the start of summer but the beginning
of the six week break from school. The Monmouthshire Games (TMG) offers days
packed full of fun, friendship and physical activity for children aged 5-12
years of age at all four Mon Leisure Centres.
The Monmouthshire Games provides
a unique opportunity for both children and parents.
Participants can meet new friends, develop new skills and confidence whilst
parents are content knowing that their child is safe, happy and having
hours of sporting fun.
When booking a place at The Monmouthshire Games, there are two options
to choose from; option one
provides activities from 9.00am until 3.00pm and costs from £13.00 per day.
Option two, which runs from 8.00am until 5.00pm, includes breakfast and after
games club, and costs from £15.00 per day.
In addition to the twenty nine days of programmed activities under
The Monmouthshire Games, MonLife also offers a variety of specialist TMG camps
delivered by inspirational coaches from the Sports Development Team. The
TMG activity days provides children with the opportunity to try something new
or fine tune existing skills.
previous year’s football, rugby and Girls Can camps
have proved incredibly popular. New for 2019 are Mermaid School, Cricket Camps,
Dance & Gymnastics Camps, NRG Junior Gym Sessions and for those who love
the great outdoors, Adventure Camps.
Camps will run every Friday throughout the
summer holidays at Abergavenny Leisure Centre and every Tuesday at Caldicot Leisure
Centre. The days are a perfect opportunity to fine tune your little ones
skills, be provided with extra specialist training or try the game for the very
first time. It is a popular camp for children age 5-12 years old and
parents are advised to book in advance to secure a place.
Cllr Richard John, Cabinet Member for MonLife said:
‘The Monmouthshire Games is a fantastic addition to the
summer. Over 4,500 children have participated in the sessions since April 2018.
This is proves just how popular the sessions
holidays can be challenging for parents, but in Monmouthshire we’re offering
affordable and exciting opportunities to get involved in a wide range of fun
activities. I encourage all parents to take a look at the website for
Staff from Chepstow Leisure Centre have
been working in partnership with Chepstow South Wales Fire and Rescue Service
to offer valuable lifesaving advice to over 500 children during Drowning
Prevention Week, 14th – 21st June. The team have been
working to deliver The National Fire Chiefs Council, ‘Be Water Aware’ campaign,
which runs every June.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of
the danger water can pose and cut water-related deaths by 50 per cent by 2026.
With around 34% of accidental drownings happening in the summer it is important
to remind and educate people of the dangers water can pose.
Local primary schools including St Marys Primary, the Dell Primary, Pembroke primary, Thornwell Primary, and Shirnewton Primary have a taken part in water safety lessons. Children attending Mon Leisure swimming lessons have also benefited from CPR Demos and the opportunity to wear Virtual Reality goggles which highlight the dangers water can pose.
A number of community events and
activities will continue to take place to raise awareness of the ‘Be Water
Aware’ campaign and raise funds for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and
Royal Lifesaving Society. A car wash took place on Saturday 22nd
June and the leisure centre will continue to share the fun photos of the
community who pose in the campaign’s photo frame. In recent years a lifesaving
ring and rope have been installed outside The Riverside Wine Bar thanks to
funding supplied by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
Sadly over 700 people drown in the UK
and Ireland every year- equivalent to one every 10 hours and whilst lifeguarded
swimming pools are one of the safest places to take a dip it is important to
educate people on the dangers at the beach, rivers, lakes, quarries and even
water around the home; to find out more water safety tips visit www.rlss.org.uk
Cllr Richard John, Cabinet Member for
Mon Life, said:
‘I was fortunate to be invited by Duncan and the team to visit the leisure centre during Drowning Prevention Week. I am so impressed by the commitment of Duncan, fellow Mon Life colleagues and officers from South Wales Fire and Rescue to work hard to raise awareness of the dangers water can pose. I hope the partnership continues for many years to come. Swimming is an important life skill, Mon Life can offer many options for residents of all ages and abilities to improve confidence and skill. I urge everyone to also take some time to visit the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS UK) website to find out how to become more water aware.’ Learning to swim is so important, Mon Life offer a range of swimming lessons for children and young people of all abilities from parent and baby sessions to life saving lessons for more able swimmers. For more information visit: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/things-to-do/monleisure/swim/
Monmouth Comprehensive School hosts a sensational Gala Opening
County Council celebrated the official opening of the award winning Monmouth
Comprehensive School building on Friday 21st June. The Lord Lieutenant,
Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE along with the Head Boy and Head Girl of the school
unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. The event was attended by
Councillors, governors, staff, students and parents who all witnessed the
opening of the largest civic building to be built in Monmouthshire.
building was a collaboration between Monmouthshire County Council and Welsh
Government along with BDP Architects and Interserve who delivered the
building has already been recognised internationally and has won two awards
within the last month, Digital Innovation Award at the Constructing Excellence in
Wales Award and the prestigious ‘Project of the Year’ Award at the 2019 Wales
Education Building Awards.
judges said that this project; “Provides great value for money, is a very
well designed school with a variety of learning areas which supports many
different ways of working and it also creates a sense of community.”
awards recognise the state of the art building and design. A massive investment
in technology and creative use of light and space provides a mature learning
environment, more akin to a university campus or office environment in the
world of work. The building provides endless opportunities and teaching and
learning at the School has been enhanced immeasurably.
construction of the building saw a significant investment within the local
economy with 80% of the construction costs being spent on sub-contractors
within a 25-mile radius of the school site, while apprenticeships were also
offered and taken up.
new facilities provide pupils with an innovative and digitally rich teaching
and learning environment with the flexibility to meet the changing needs of the
Welsh education system now and into the future. It boasts state of the art AV
systems, activity studios, dance and performance spaces, a sports hall and
building enhances the school’s ability to achieve its vision of ‘Learning to
lead our lives’.
Richard John, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:
“Students and staff put on a sensational
gala opening, including several stunning musical performances.
This opening is such a proud moment for
the county of Monmouthshire – completion of a 21st century
school that is low carbon, packed with technology and ready for the new
Building this new school has been a long
journey and I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to its success
including council officers, governors, students, teachers and our
partners in Interserve, Welsh Government and BDP.
Between the new school and the new
leisure centre, we have invested £51.5million in the education, health and
wellbeing of people in Monmouth – the biggest single investment in the town in
generations. The introduction of an innovative learning and wellbeing campus is
a real community asset for the people of Monmouth and the surrounding area.
I have every confidence that with its
inclusive ethos, strong leadership and now a brand new home, Monmouth
Comprehensive School will continue to empower its pupils to achieve.
With two new secondary schools delivered
in Caldicot and Monmouth, we want every pupil in Monmouthshire to be able to
learn in a 21st century school and the challenge now is to
deliver that for pupils in Abergavenny and Chepstow.
I feel incredibly proud of what we have
delivered in Monmouth and feel excited about the generations of ambitious,
capable lifelong learners who will pass through this school.”
Williams, Minister for Education, said:
to Monmouth Comprehensive on their official opening under the 21st Century
Schools Programme; the most ambitious school building programme since the
1960’s. Earlier this month I officially launched ‘21st Century Schools and
Colleges’, the second phase of this programme, which will see a further
investment of £2.3 billion to provide our pupils with the learning environments
they deserve. I wish all the pupils and staff the best of luck in their new,
award winning school.”
Vaughan Davies, said:
the whole school, Deputy Headteacher, Tim Bird supported all in creating this
wonderful new building. For five years he held weekly meetings, sometimes
daily, where every aspect of the design and build were explored with students
and staff. His dedication and commitment ensured that everyone had an opportunity
to be part of creating an environment for learning in the 21st century. The
entire community owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Tim and everything he
has done to further education in Wales and beyond.
has been a tremendously exciting time for our school and we have hosted many
schools from the United Kingdom and Europe, who are at the start of their
building programmes. They have all been keen to learn how the school
approached its new build. Monmouth, Monmouthshire and Wales can be enormously
proud of what has been achieved.
would also like to take the opportunity to thank Mrs Jane Baker who has given
42 years of service to the school and 49 years to MCC. The opening
of the new school was the realisation of a dream for Mrs Baker after 42 years
making sure that the school environment was spectacular for students.”
Lieutenant, Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE said:
“It was a privilege to be invited to join the students at Monmouth Comprehensive School for the gala opening of their new school building. Amazing performances by the students and a thoroughly enjoyable evening – well done everyone Monmouthshire County Council.”
Council celebrates Gala opening of award winning 21st Century School
Monmouthshire County Council
celebrates the official opening of Monmouth Comprehensive its award winning 21st
Century School on Friday 21st June. The Lord Lieutenant, Brigadier
Robert Aitken CBE along with the Head Boy and Girl of the school will unveil a
commemorative plaque marking
The school has been built as
part of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century School Programme. In
conjunction with Monmouthshire County Council and Welsh Government, the school
was created and designed by students, staff and parents. Architects BDP and
Interserve, worked with the community to build a school for the future.
The school has recently been nominated for eight prestigious awards. It
was successful in winning the Digital Innovation Award at the Constructing
Excellence in Wales Awards. Last night the school and project team were
delighted to receive Project of the Year award at the Education Buildings Wales
Awards, which recognise and showcases fantastic design and build of schools,
colleges and universities across Wales, judges said:
project provides great value for money, is a very well designed school with a
variety of learning areas which supports many different ways of working and it
also creates a sense of community’.
The pioneering design of the
building reflects the vision of the school to provide every student with the
skills, knowledge and attitudes to ‘learn
to lead their lives’. Across the school there are a range of learning
spaces that allow for individual, group, class and Year group learning.
Cllr Richard John, Cabinet
Member for Children and Young said:
‘I am so proud of each and
every member of the teaching team, building team and local authority who have
gone over and above to make Monmouth Comprehensive a fantastic facility for our
learners. It is so pleasing to see the school and its ethos being recognised
for such esteemed awards, as an innovative forward thinking school. Monmouth,
Monmouthshire and Wales can be enormously proud of what has been achieved.’
Kirsty Williams, Minister for
“Congratulations to Monmouth
Comprehensive on their official opening under the 21st Century Schools
Programme; the most ambitious school building programme since the 1960’s.
Earlier this month I officially launched ‘21st Century Schools and Colleges’,
the second phase of this programme, which will see a further investment of £2.3
billion to provide our pupils with the learning environments they deserve. I
wish all the pupils and staff the best of luck in their new, award winning
Headteacher, Vaughan Davies, said:
“Leading the whole school, Deputy Headteacher, Tim Bird supported all
in creating this wonderful new building. For five years he held weekly
meetings, sometimes daily, where every aspect of the design and build were
explored with students and staff. His dedication and commitment ensured that
everyone had an opportunity to be part of creating an environment for learning
in the 21st century. The entire community owes an enormous debt of gratitude to
Tim and everything he has done to further education in Wales and beyond.”
The new school environment and the creative teaching and learning strategies that are being practiced are being recognised internationally and educational leaders are listening and want to learn from what’s happening. In recent months the school has been a beacon for good practice and has played host to many schools from the United Kingdom and Europe who are at the start of their building programmes. They have all been keen to learn how the school approached its new build. In September, the school will be part of an International Conference in Denmark, with the school delivering the Key Note Presentation about self-regulatory learners.
Monmouthshire County Council is urging residents to remain vigilant after receiving reports of unsolicited emails offering Council Tax refunds. The message reportedly tells householders they have an outstanding refund and encourages them to click on a link.
Monmouthshire’s Revenues team advise it’s not official council correspondence and residents should exercise caution before providing any details to a third party. The Council recently had to issue similar warnings when residents described receiving phone calls advising them they were entitled to a rebate on their council tax bill.
County Council Enterprise Team celebrates Employability Week with a roadshow
across the county.
team has regrettably cancelled the forthcoming Employability Day which was due to
take place on Friday 21st June at County Hall, Usk. The Enterprise
Team will continue to host a number of roadshows across the county in a bid to
increase awareness of the many projects available to encourage residents to
gain training or employment opportunities.
The employability roadshows are taking place:
Abergavenny Market, Tuesday 25th June 11.00am – 2.30pm
Caldicot Jobs Fayre, Choir Hall, Caldicot Tuesday 25th June 11.30am – 2.30pm
Usk Hub, Wednesday 26th June 11.30am – 2.30pm
Chepstow Hub, Thursday 27th June 11.30am – 2.30pm
Monmouth Hub, Friday 28th June 11.30am – 2.30pm
The team will hold a social media takeover day National Employability Day Friday 28th June, to highlight the good work being be delivered by Employability Providers in Monmouthshire. The Enterprise Team urges local businesses to join in on the day, tag @MonmouthshireYE and use the hashtag #empday2019.
Enterprise Team is made up of three projects that aim to engage and empower
residents aged 16 and over to gain qualifications, find employment or training.
The projects; Inspire to achieve, Inspire to work and Communities for Work Plus
are helping many residents benefit from the expertise of staff the unique partnership
they have with local organisations and businesses.
for Work Plus has made outstanding progress since it began in July 2018. The
team has worked with many residents of Monmouthshire to gain work or training
and exceed its outcomes set in 2018.
and surrounding areas are open for business despite road works to the A466.
Summer is here and marks the start of fetes and activities in the Wye Valley. A
time to visit Tintern Abbey and take stock of the beautiful Monmouthshire
Countryside. Monmouthshire County Council urges residents and visitors to take
care due to the essential stabilisation work to the Wye Valley, A466 Tintern to
St Arvans road. Work is expected to continue for five weeks, the contractor is
working to a completion date of Friday 19th July.
area has been the subject of extensive studies and consultation before allowing
the work to proceed. Monmouthshire County Council is working closely with the
contractor to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum and has been assured that
the contractor is working a pattern of 11 days in 14 and an eleven hour working
the work is complex and involves ground anchors being drilled into the rock
face. The council is working closely with the contractor to continually
investigate how the works might be amended to reduce the road closure.
between the council and businesses and residents will continue during the work.
The nature of the work and closure of the road has led to disruption and has
had an impact on businesses.
coming weeks a number of events are taking place, residents and visitors are
encouraged to use the diversions in place to visit Tintern Fete on Saturday
29th June, take a look around Tintern Old Station, walk around the Abby and pay
a visit to one of the many pubs in the area.
Jane Pratt, Cabinet Member for Operations said:
understand and empathise with those affected by the road closure. The work is
taking place to ensure this beautiful part of the county can be accessed safely
by many people now and in the future. I applaud the work of my fellow
councillor Ann Webb, her consistent positive communication with local residents
has ensured spirits are high and the village and its businesses flourish’
Nominations for the Monmouthshire Volunteer
Achievement Awards 2019 are now open. The awards celebrate the inspirational
volunteers who work hard and give up their time to help their community.
Monmouthshire County Council is delighted to work
in partnership with Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations, GAVO to
recognise the outstanding people that live in the county and provide an
opportunity to say huge ‘Thank You’ for
their contribution to Monmouthshire.
Monmouthshire residents are welcome to nominate
individuals who they feel provide invaluable contribution to the County. The
awards are a perfect opportunity to recognise the commitment of individuals and
groups that hundreds of individuals, community groups and showcase the impact
they make on life in Monmouthshire.
A number of local businesses and organisations
sponsor the awards and enable GAVO and the council host the 2019 Volunteer
Achievement Awards. A list of the awards:
Adult Volunteer – Kindly sponsored by Charter Housing Group
Kindly sponsored by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Young Volunteer – Sponsored by Gwent Office of Police & Crime Commissioner
Environmental Volunteer – Kindly sponsored by Chepstow Round Table
Trustee Volunteer – Kindly sponsored by Caldicot Town Council
Personal Journey – Kindly sponsored by Bethany Homes
MCC Chairman’s Award – Kindly sponsored by MCC
All nominations will be assessed by an independent
judging panel, winners and those awarded Highly Commended Volunteers will be
invited to the event.
Cllr Sara Jones, Cabinet Member
‘We are extremely grateful to the
thousands of volunteers that share their time to support others in our county,
the difference they make to people’s lives on a daily basis is
incredible. Taking the time to say thank you to our volunteers is so important
to us, our volunteers enable communities to exist and many don’t even
acknowledge the difference they have made. So if you know someone who makes a
difference, please – nominate them today!’
Clare Watkins, GAVO Volunteering Team
“It’s great that we are able to bring
everyone together at the Awards evening to honour the County’s unsung heroes
and it’s fantastic to see Local Authority and GAVO, along with a range of partners including
many Third Sector groups & charities and the local business community, all
working together to celebrate the impact of volunteering within Monmouthshire.
The evening always brings us many inspirational volunteering stories and if you
know someone who really deserves an award, continuing with this year’s Volunteers’
Week slogan – ‘It’s Time to Celebrate’, we encourage you to nominate them now.”
can be made online at: www.gavo.org.uk/recognition(Please read the
guidelines before submitting).Closing Date for nominations, Friday 19th
Monmouthshire County Council Trading Standards team have
many handy hints and tips to keep residents safe. The team is supporting the National
Scams Awareness campaign which aims to raise the profile of the variety of
scams and tricks that are currently taking place across the UK. Scams affect
all sections of society; collectively, individuals across the UK are losing an
estimated £10 billion a year due to fraud.
Trading Standards Team highlight that many residents don’t think they’ll be
duped; in particular those in the ‘life established’ group, primarily those
mid-40 to mid-60s, are least likely to think they will be a victim of a scam.
The team would like to stress that no-one is immune; scams are widespread and
can be sophisticated.
latest technology is being used, targeting people online, through emails and
social media platforms, or they can take the form of tried and tested methods
such as doorstop selling, unsolicited letters and cold calling.
there is an obvious financial detriment attached to scams – a recent National
Audit Office report revealed that the average financial loss to scam victims
aged between 75-79 years old is £4,500 – there can also be longer term and
equally detrimental impacts on people’s self-esteem. Those who fall victim to
scams often feel a sense of shame. That stigma can also lead to an
under-reporting of scams, with victims embarrassed to come forward.
Cllr Sara Jones, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards
“‘Stop, report, talk: be scam aware’ is my message to
people in Monmouthshire. Although many people have come into contact
with scammers, very few people are speaking up about this issue. People can
sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed talking about, or reporting their
experiences, but sadly this means scammers are getting away scot-free.
In reality, all of us can have the bad luck of being targeted
with a scam. We hope the Scams Awareness campaign, will encourage people to
share their stories and learn tips to stop scammers from running off with
Walters, Trading Standards Manager of Monmouthshire County Council has
important tips for consumers:
a deal sounds too good to be true it often is – err on the side of caution
and don’t make a snap decision when making a purchase
you haven’t heard of a company, do some research through customer review sites
and testimonials to check they’re legitimate before parting with your
you are at all unsure about the business you’re dealing with, do not
provide your bank account details
you’re worried that someone you know has become victim to a scam, look out for
the following. Are they:
more mail than usual?
unsolicited calls or spending more time on the phone?
with money or have they withdrawn large amounts of cash recently?
you think someone you know is being scammed, take the following steps:
you’re worried about telephone scams look into installing a call blocker
them to tell their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or
transactions from their account or credit cards
they’re struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts encourage them to
visit their local Citizens Advice
can also take the following steps to safeguard yourself and others:
suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name
send money to someone you’ve never met
give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person
be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away and if you
feel pressured say “no”
a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone
suffer in silence – speak out about scams
If people are in doubt about whether or not an offer is
genuine, they should contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 05 (Welsh language) or 03454 04 05 06
(English language) or their local Citizens Advice.
If people have been scammed they should report it to Action Fraud.
I would like to provide you with an update on home to school transport from September 2019. The following information is for new applications only and not those who are already attending school and on our transport as there should be no changes to existing ones.
Free home to school transport
By now you should have heard if you are eligible (or not) for free home to school transport from September 2019. Transport routes, pick up and drop times and bus / taxi driver details will not be confirmed until the end of the summer.
If you are not eligible but still require home to school transport this is what you need to do:
Traditionally this has always
continued into the autumn term while we work through who does/does not require
travel. This year we are aiming to allocate post 16 spaces on home to school
transport much earlier.
Please complete this form ASAP (by Friday 5th July) if you require post 16 travel? We then allocate places on a first come, first served basis. Don’t worry if young people aren’t 100% sure what they are looking to do from September (naturally depending on their GCSE results circumstances might change), but if young people have an idea about where they would like to study from September please get your applications in now so we can start planning (we can still make any changes required in August).
We have received some queries about transport from September 2020, but I’m afraid that we will be focusing on the next academic year before we look at options for September 2020.
County Council are joining the “Refill Revolution” this June for National
Refill Day on the 19th June!
As part of the council’s commitment to becoming a plastic-free county,
lots of council buildings have now registered as Refill Stations. This means that members of the public can
bring their own re-usable water bottle and get it refilled for free. If just one in ten Brits refilled once a week,
we’d have 340 million
less plastic bottles a year in circulation!
This will help
people to save money, stay hydrated and help prevent plastic pollution at
source. Residents can download the Refill app from www.refill.org.uk to find out where they can get their
bottle refilled. Places which are Refill
Stations also have a window sticker to show the public that they are welcome to
Abergavenny One Stop Shop, Gilwern Library, Chepstow Hub and Monmouth Leisure
Centre have all registered or are in the process of registering as Refill
Stations. Other sites will be following
suit when arrangements have been put in place.
These join a wide network of cafes and other venues which already offer
Pratt, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Decarbonisation and Plastic Free
“The council takes its plastic free Monmouthshire commitment very seriously. As well as taking steps like using glass milk bottles for all school milk and stopping our use of disposable cups in our buildings, joining the Refill scheme seems to be a great way of helping our residents and visitors to reduce single use plastic. A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and it’s predicted that figure will rise by another 20% by 2021. We need the UK and Welsh Governments to do their part in challenging this, but it is important that the council also plays their part.”
Consultants win contract to design innovative public space in Usk
County Council and Usk Town Council are delighted
to be working in partnership with ARUP Consultancy to create a forward-looking,
aspirational Master Plan for Usk and Woodside. The plan will focus on designing
an innovative street and public space in a bid to make Usk a pedestrian
The desire for
a safe, friendlier highway has been sought by residents of Usk for many years.
The quiet town has been subject to large vehicles passing through Bridge Street
and damage to Usk Bridge is a regular occurrence. Pedestrians walking through
Bridge Street report feeling unsafe and increased traffic has led to the street
becoming an air quality management area.
gained a taste of what a pedestrianised space could feel like whilst Bridge
Street and Castle parade were closed off for essential gas pipe upgrading in
2018. The work was initially feared by businesses and residents but fears were soon
alleviated. Residents reported feeling safe and were happy to be able to walk
freely through the street without the worry of busy through traffic. Increased
footfall resulted in a positive impact for local businesses.
Council and Monmouthshire County Council have been working to find a solution
via traditional traffic orders but there has been little progress. The
Masterplan focuses on work by the late Ben Hamilton-Baille and the Future Usk
community survey and consultation exercise will provide a baseline upon which
to build ongoing community engagement activities.
The Town Council’s
Future Usk community survey undertaken with Usk residents highlighted various
issues that are important. The sustainability and future of retail and
commerce, leisure, parking, as well as the traffic management were all issues
important to residents. In addition the town has a very proactive and
busy community sector with groups organising events, possibly the best known
being the flower displays, resulting in Usk earning the ‘Town of Flowers’
Pratt, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Neighbourhood Services said:
‘We are really
pleased to have an opportunity to partner Usk Town Council in this exciting
initiative. For many years we have recognised that Usk requires a
concentrated piece of work to identify the opportunities that will enable Usk
to be fit for the future through supporting local businesses and creating a
destination where visitors and residents can enjoy the town alike. We very much
look forward to seeing the results’.
Wilkinson, Mayor of Usk, said “We are excited, not only to have ARUP on
board for this next stage, but to have MCC joining with us, to drive this
forward. As well as creating a visionary, future-proof, Master Plan – very much
with the ‘shared space’ ethos at its heart – ARUP will explore, attract and
secure funding streams so that dreams can indeed become realities”.
Sadie Beer, Monmouthshire
County Council Town Centre Project Engagement Officer
gardening project Greenfingers, based at the Melville Theatre, Abergavenny is
helping to brighten up local communities and Monmouthshire County Council
offices with fantastic planters filled with beautiful blooms. The project
is part of the My Day My Life initiative led by Monmouthshire County
Council and aims to empower people with learning and physical disabilities to learn
new skills meet new friends.
The team have
been busy making beautiful wooden garden planters and filling them with
gorgeous plants. Individuals involved in the project recently provided the
councils Registry Office based at County Hall, Usk with two boomingly beautiful
very much a community based project and welcomes members of the public to come
in and have a look around and make a purchase. Planters are made to order and
delivered to households as well as offices.
A sister project
of Greenfingers helps to maintain several community green spaces in the local
area including Linda Vista Gardens and Bailey Park.
In 2018 the
project was delighted to receive an award from Abergavenny Town Council for
special contribution to the enhancement of the area in the Abergavenny in Bloom
competition. This coming year the project will be providing plants to a variety
of local organisations including Abergavenny Library and Our Lady and St
Michael’s Primary School to help brighten up the town in readiness of
Abergavenny in Bloom 2019.
Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health said:
offers so much to both individuals with disabilities and the wider community. I
am so pleased to see that the project is helping to brighten up County Hall in
Usk and I congratulate them for their special contribution award in 2018. The
impact of gardening on both mental and physical health and wellbeing is immense
and I love to see this project helping many people in the community to stay
well and active. I encourage residents to pop into the Melville Theatre and
take a look at what Greenfingers has to offer.’
The project is open to the public Monday to Thursday until 3.30pm and Friday till 3.00pm. Residents are welcome to visit the project and place orders for planters. For more information please contact: 01873 854489.
Flying Start staff hail Mon Leisure Physical Literacy training ‘Fantastic’
Monmouthshire Flying Start received expert advice and a hands on Physical
Literacy training session from Monmouthshire Sport Development Team on Monday 3rd
June at The Acorn Centre, Abergavenny.
Literacy (developing skills such as running, jumping, hopping, throwing and
essential for any sport or physical activity.
The team have provided the Physical Literacy Pre School programme with
over 33 childcare settings in Monmouthshire for the last four years, in
partnership with the Healthy Schools Network, this session was an extension to
the existing provision. Flying Start is a Welsh Government funded programme for
preschool children and families. The training complements the varied activity
sessions that take place in Flying Start settings.
Development Team provided valuable insight in to the importance of developing
fundamental skills from an early age to provide the confidence and competence
to take part in sport and physical activity for the rest of their lives.
engaged in a presentation on Anatomy and Physiology focusing on facts and
figures to highlight the impact that regular exercise and physical activity can
have to reduce the onset of preventable health conditions. A hands on
session followed which saw Flying Start Staff raise their own heart rates with
a series of fun games to highlight how exercise can be fun. Staff were
impressed with the sessions praising the day as fantastic.
John Cabinet Member for Leisure and Children and Young People said:
‘I am so
pleased to see the Sports Development Team working in partnership with Flying
Start to transfer skills to help our future generations. The development of
fundamental skills such as running, jumping, hopping, throwing and catching are
essential for any sport or physical activity is integral to happy and healthy
life. The work of the Flying Start and other childcare providers in essential
to provide rounded opportunities for our children and parents to embed positive
to be given lots of opportunities to develop skills from an early age to ensure
they are confident and competent to take part in physical activity for the rest
of their lives. The development of these skills is referred to as Physical
Literacy, the fundamental skills that form the building blocks for lifelong
engagement in regular physical activity. Monmouthshire Sports Development Team
have been outstanding in enabling children from 4- 18 to gain skill and
opportunities. I am so pleased to see the programme transferred to preschool
Sports Development Team provide a wealth of activities for children and young
people. The very popular Mon Games are a highlight of many young people’s
holidays. For more information about the team contact Paul Sullivan:
On 5th June
Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet is considering a report on the Council’s
financial performance for the financial year 2018/2019. The report highlights a
budget underspend of £49k on a net expenditure budget of £139.6 million
(excluding precepts and levies collected on others behalf).
The report flags a number of areas
of spend where significant pressure continues to show. These areas are mainly
the continuing growth in numbers of children being looked after by the Council,
funding additional learning needs for children in Monmouthshire schools and
increases in costs to provide free home to school transport for pupils. These
three areas alone saw cost increases of £2.436 million during the year which
have been managed by achieving savings across other areas of the Council.
Over and above this a small number
of schools are reporting significant year end deficit positions that Governing
Body’s will have to address this year.
Councillor Phil Murphy, Cabinet
Member for Resources said “everybody realises how difficult it is to manage
public finances in the U.K. right now and in England we are starting to see
Councils fall over. I am pleased that yet again we have managed to deliver our
agenda within budget but the public should be under no illusion that this is
hard to do. We are not making easy choices and the outlook for the next few
years is challenging unless Welsh Government decide that local government in
this country matters to them and that rural counties start to get a level of
financial support commensurate with delivering services in large sparsely
Councillor Peter Fox, Leader of
the Council added “it cannot be right that some Councils in Wales have in
excess of £100 million of unallocated reserves and continue to get
disproportionate levels of grants from Wales Government on top of an overly
generous annual settlement whilst we watch every single penny. It’s time to
sort this out and Assembly Members and the Welsh Local Government Association
need to rise to this challenge. In the meantime we will continue to run one of
the most efficient, effective, high performing Councils in Wales working with
and for all citizens of Monmouthshire.”
Click here to see the European Parliamentary Election results 2019
Following his sell-out show four years ago, Max Boyce returns to Caldicot Leisure Centre on Saturday, 5th October – it’s going to be an incredible night! Max’s 2018 tour has been extended into this autumn due to overwhelming public demand.
Max Boyce has entertained people worldwide for more than 40 years with his ability to paint pictures in word and song. An extensive youthful audience has recently discovered this exceptional entertainer, taking him into their hearts and making him a true modern day folk hero.
Max’s live performances need no introduction; the audience’s reactions and standing ovations speak for themselves. Don’t miss out on the unique experience of seeing Max Boyce live in concert, and being able to say, “I Was There!”
Tickets at a cost of £28 (subject to booking fee) are available from: httsp://boroughtheatreabergavenny.co.uk while doors open at 6.45pm on the night. Head to the website for further information or email email@example.com for any other queries.
Monmouthshire County Council has chosen a new Chairman to serve for the next twelve months. Councillor Sheila Woodhouse was elected at the council’s annual general meeting on May 14th following nomination by Council Leader Peter Fox. Councillor Fox said: “Sheila is an extremely hardworking and respected person and has been an excellent Vice-Chairman during the past year.”
Councillor Woodhouse was born and raised in Abergavenny, educated in St Albans RC School and Monmouth Comprehensive School and enjoyed a successful career with the Post Office, rising to become branch and area manager. She is an active volunteer in and around the town and has a long-standing connection with Abergavenny’s Gateway Club, is a member of the WRVS, is involved in Abergavenny’s twinning association and was the founder and secretary of Abergavenny Mind Association as well as participating in many other causes. Councillor Woodhouse serves as the member for the Grofield ward and has previous experience in her new role having served as Mayor of Abergavenny. Her consort for her year of office is her husband, Chris who served as Monmouthshire’s Chairman in 2007 while her chaplain is Canon Mark Soady.
Councillor Woodhouse said: “What an honour and privilege to be elected as this year’s Chairman. All councillors and parties represented here today are committed to the well-being of the people of Monmouthshire. Through difficult and trying times their co-operation has underpinned everything we stand for and I will do my best to ensure all opinions are heard and heard fairly.”
Councillor Woodhouse’s chosen charities for her year of office are the Alzheimer’s Society and Gwent Music – the local authority music service in collaboration with Monmouthshire, Blaenau Gwent, Newport and Torfaen councils.
The outgoing Chairman, Councillor Peter Clarke said: “This has been an amazing year and it has passed very quickly. Monmouthshire is a wonderful place where everyone is very courteous and keen to help. Highlights for me include witnessing the fly-past of the RAF’s last remaining Lancaster Bomber in Chepstow to remember a Dambusters squadron pilot who lived in the town, and hearing amazing performances by the children and young people of my chosen charity, Gwent Music.”
Councillor Bryan Jones who represents the Goetre Fawr ward was elected as Vice-Chairman of the council.
Preparations for Thursday’s European Parliamentary Elections
All Monmouthshire residents who are registered to vote in this week’s European Parliamentary election can do so at their polling station (with or without a polling card). Monmouthshire County Council residents can find their nearest polling station at maps.monmouthshire.gov.uk
Monmouthshire County Council has assured residents in the Magor and Undy area that they will be entitled to vote in Thursday’s European Parliamentary election even if they have not received their poll cards. The council has been made aware that that the Royal Mail has not delivered poll cards to some properties in Magor and Undy but Returning Officer Paul Matthews has stressed that residents will be able to participate in the election, provided they are registered to vote.
Paul Matthews said: “We apologise for a situation that is not of our making and outside our control. If anybody has any queries please would they contact our elections team by email: firstname.lastname@example.org”.
All aboard Tintern Old Station’s Booti-ful Boots event on 28th May
Tintern’s Old Station visitor centre will provide a warm welcome to volunteers willing to decorate and plant seeds and flowers in surplus boots and wellies donated to Monmouthshire’s recycling team. The planting session takes place on Tuesday 28th May between 11am and 2pm and the brightly coloured footwear will welcome visitors and hikers including those training for the Macmillan charity’s Mighty Hike fundraising walk scheduled for 7th September. The Old Station nestles beside the River Wye in the heart of the Wye Valley just north of Tintern.
Community groups, volunteers and school children from the nearby Llandogo Primary School will join in the fun and create their own works of art. Monmouthshire’s grounds maintenance team has donated some gorgeous bedding plants to brighten up the boots and encourage bees and other pollinators.
The creative footwear will be on display all summer and will feature in a treasure hunt to spot the ‘booti-ful boots’. Visitors to the station are encouraged to share pictures of their favourites on social media with the hashtag #bootifulboots.
The Old Station’s idyllic 10 acre area boasts the best of what Monmouthshire has to offer with its café providing a varied selection of food as well as family events, live music throughout the summer, a children’s play area and zip wire.
Councillor Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Innovation, Enterprise and Leisure said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the gorgeous boots appearing around Tintern Old Station. I would encourage hikers, day trippers and holiday makers alike to enjoy all the station has to offer in the spectacular setting of the Wye Valley. We’re looking forward to welcoming people training for Macmillan’s Mighty Hike – it’s definitely worth attempting the Devil’s Pulpit climb before the big day!”
Volunteers are invited to drop in to the booti-ful boots event any time between 11am and 2pm on 28th May at Tintern Old Station, Tintern, Chepstow NP16 7NX. In addition, any unwanted old boots or wellies and spare craft materials or paint will be gratefully accepted at the Old Station before 28th May.
Local businesses invited to National Employability Day 2019
Local business are invited to attend Monmouthshire County Council’s Employability Day on Friday 21st June from 9.30am at County Hall, Usk. The morning marks the start of Monmouthshire’s Employability Week, which aims to inspire and recognise the wonderful work of the council’s Youth Enterprise team and the Monmouthshire Employability Partnership.
The Employability Partnership is made up of Monmouthshire County Council – Youth Enterprise and Community Learning, Monmouthshire Housing Association, Melin Homes and PaCE (Parent Child Care and Employment) working together to improve employability opportunities for the citizens of Monmouthshire. Communities for Work Plus (CfW+) celebrates its first year of delivery in Monmouthshire with outstanding employment outcomes.
The day is an opportunity for local businesses to share their views to help the council understand more about the resource needs of local businesses so that apprenticeship schemes in Monmouthshire can be designed around the needs of local businesses and ensure that young people are prepared for the future of work.
A Monmouthshire County Council spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to supporting enterprise in Monmouthshire and encourage local young people to develop skills that will aid a brilliant career now and in the future. We welcome views from all local businesses to help us design our apprenticeship programmes based on their needs. I look forward to meeting a wide range of local businesses – all welcome.’
The morning will also provide an opportunity to celebrate achievements of citizens that have made outstanding progress to enter into education, employment or training.
The event will begin at 9.30am at County Hall in Usk, refreshments will be served until 10.00am a variety of guest speakers will be present and end at 12.00pm.
For more information and to book a space contact Steve Cooper StephenCooper@monmouthshire.gov.uk
Council wins Monmouthshire Housing Association maintenance contract
Monmouthshire County Council Waste and Street Services are pleased to announce that a contract with Monmouthshire Housing Association has been secured to provide maintenance and support to over 250 identified sites.
The council’s Grounds Maintenance team will provide grass cutting, shrub maintenance, hard standing clearance, weed clearance and related grounds maintenance for an initial period of 4 years, there is an option for 2 extensions of 3 years each. The total value of the contract is £2.5 million for the potential 10 year duration.
The contract brings with it a continued commitment to help communities prosper. Tenants will benefit from the support of Grounds teams helping tenants to develop Community Garden Schemes. MHA prides itself in working with communities to help tenants obtain employment and training opportunities.
The council will work with MHA to support the Passport to Work training scheme. Significant community benefits have been agreed, including a variety of opportunities across Waste and Street Services including apprenticeships, work experience and work placements.
Monmouthshire County Council have been providing the service to MHA since the housing stock was transferred under a Service Level Agreement. In 2018 MHA tendered a long term contract for the provision of Grounds Maintenance to their sites, properties and for day works following extensive consultation with their tenants. Monmouthshire County Council were identified as the preferred bidder for the Monmouthshire Housing Association Grounds Maintenance Contract.
Gaining the contract reflects the incredible work of Monmouthshire County Council in securing a high value contract in highly competitive market. The council strives to provide an excellent service providing first class grounds maintenance services to communities.
Councillor Bryan Jones Cabinet Member for Waste and Street Services
‘It is fantastic to hear that Waste and Street Services have won the contract. The team has worked incredibly hard to achieve it. Monmouthshire has provided the service for many years and we are pleased that MHA have awarded us the contract in such a competitive arena. The determination, professionalism and diligence of all staff has paid off. The high standard of service we provide will continue for many years to come and enable job security for our staff.
pilot project Nature Isn’t Neat will be launched during Monmouth Town’s Bee
Festival at The Nelson’s Garden on Sunday May 19th. The pollinator
project provides communities with information and ideas to encourage more and
more bees, butterflies and other insects to populate and pollinate gardens,
meadows, hedgerows and verges.
project has been funded via the Welsh Government Rural Communities under the
LEADER measure of the Rural Development Programme 2014 – 2020 aims to encourage
the public to think about how they can protect species that help provide a vast
amount of food.
project, based in Monmouth is led by Monmouth Town Council in partnership with
local experts from Bees for Development, Transition Monmouth, Bee Friendly
Monmouthshire and Monmouth Meadow Group. The project is supported by
Monmouthshire County Council and will run until June 2020.
project is looking for residents, local schools and community groups to get
involved and join the Twitter or Face book pages. It provides an opportunity
for communities to share what is already happening to boost pollination in
Bryan Jones Cabinet Member for Biodiversity said:
are so important to help our environment thrive, Nature Isn’t Neat is a great
example of how groups can work together to make a positive impact in the county.
We pride ourselves with our commitment to biodiversity in Monmouthshire we are
constantly looking at the ways we can positively manage our green spaces to
encourage bees, butterflies, flora and fauna to visit. I encourage residents of
all ages to think about what they plant, no matter how big or small your garden
the new project can help you make a difference.’
are many ways to find out how to make a positive impact or find out what
existing activities are taking place via the Nature Isn’t Neat social media
channels: Follow @natureisntneat on Twitter and Nature Isn’t Neat on Facebook.
are encouraged to take part in a short survey to find out how much communities
understand about pollinators and what the project can do to help increase
awareness and pollinators in Monmouthshire. The survey is available:
Monmouthshire County Council Foster Care Team
will be celebrating Fostering Fortnight from Monday May 13th until
Friday 26th May with a series of drop in sessions at locations in
the north and south of the county. Residents are encouraged to come along to
find out how fostering can change a child’s future.
Fostering Fortnight is a national campaign to
raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives.
Foster care offers a variety of opportunities,
and provides the ability to make a huge impact the lives of babies, children
and young people in Monmouthshire. Fostering can be a short term, long term or
respite care. In particular there is need for carers who can offer a placement
to vulnerable mothers or fathers and baby, to provide support and guidance in
assisting them to develop their parenting skills. The Monmouthshire Foster Care
team are happy to provide information on all options in a bid to encourage more
people to transform the lives of children
and young people who need extra care and support.
The drop in sessions are taking place at:
St Pierre Golf Club on Thursday 16th May 10.00am – 12.00pm and 5.30 – 7.30 pm
The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny on Thursday 23rd 10.00 am –12.00pm and 5.30pm – 7.30pm.
Cllr Penny Jones Cabinet Member for Social
Care, Safeguarding and Health said:
‘Fostering Fortnight is a fantastic opportunity
to raise awareness of Foster Carers. Whatever your situation, if you are
considering becoming a foster carer please come along and speak to our friendly
team who would like to meet you. Just one conversation could start your journey
to transform the lives of babies, children and young people in Monmouthshire.’
Foster care is an enriching experience as one
Monmouthshire Foster Carer explains:
‘My best experience of being a foster carer is
that each week I hear from all the children who have been in my care, they come
and tell me all about what’s happening in their lives. It’s so lovely when you
are that close to them all it’s the best feeling in the world.’
Avid listeners to Sunshine Radio can hear
friendly adverts promoting the drop in sessions.
For more information text FOSTER to 60060 with a contact name or call 01873 735950. Find out more about the fostering journey via the Monmouthshire County Council website, visit www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/fostering for more details.
Council introduces permits and part time closures at waste and recycling centres
Monmouthshire County Council is introducing changes to Household Waste
and Recycling Centres. From Saturday June 1st residents will be
required to provide proof of residency in the form of a permit to gain entry
into all sites. The date also marks the start of part time closures at all
Every household in Monmouthshire will receive one permit which will be
sent along with an information leaflet. The permits will be issued free of
charge and are expected to reach residents by June 1st. Residents who do not
receive a permit by June 1st are urged to contact 01633 644644 or email Contact@monmouthshire.gov.uk to
obtain a permit. A driving licence will be accepted in the interim period.
One permit will be issued per household, the permits are transferable
between vehicles where a household has more than one car. If a permit is lost
or forgotten a valid driving licence displaying a Monmouthshire address will be
accepted by staff.
Meet and greet staff will be present at all sites. Residents are asked
to display permits on their windscreen so they are visible to staff when
entering the site enabling staff to easily see them and reduce the time a visit
The permits have been introduced in a bid to prevent an influx of waste
from neighbouring authorities being placed in the four HWRC across the county
which has huge financial implications on the authority. Many neighbouring
authorities have introduced similar schemes.
Permits are already in place for Commercial type vehicles and trailers,
the new permit must be displayed along with these permits.
Part time closures of House Hold Waste and Recycling Centres will be
implemented from Saturday 1st June.
The following sites will be closed:
Llanfoist HWRC, closed every Wednesday
Five Lanes HWRC, closed every Thursday
Mitchel Troy, closed every Monday and Thursday
Usk, closed every Tuesdays and Friday
Councillor Bryan Jones Cabinet Member for Operations said:
‘The changes to Household Waste and Recycling Centres have been implemented
to make savings. Part time closures to HWRC’s have been shaped by resident’s
feedback during a recent engagement exercise. I hope that residents understand
that part time closures are positive and have led to savings being made without
any permanent closures. There have been considerable changes to waste and
recycling in recent months, I would like to thank residents for their continued
cooperation during this process.’
More information can be found on the Monmouthshire County Council
County Council, along with the other four Gwent local authorities, is
conducting a feasibility study on the need for more electric vehicle charging
points across the county. The council wants to hear the views of local
residents on the need for such a service and locations where they could be
placed. Findings from the feasibility study will help the council plan
future provision for the county.
Bryan Jones, the council’s cabinet member for county operations said: “To have
more electric vehicle charging points across Monmouthshire will help us work
towards a greener, cleaner environment”.
in Monmouthshire are asked to contact the council if they have a current need
for charging or would consider switching to an electric vehicle if on-street
charging was available.
Councillor Jones continued: “Would you consider swapping to an electric vehicle if there were more charging points across Monmouthshire? We are particularly keen to hear from residents who have or are considering an electric car but who cannot park or charge off-street near their property.”
County Council’s environmental health and waste & street cleaning teams
joined in partnership with other public bodies by holding an awareness day on
Thursday 11th April to draw attention to the anti-social nature of
dog fouling. Working with local town and community councils and the
police, efforts were centred on the north of the county, particularly Gilwern,
Clydach and Goetre, in line with the community-led Give Dog Fouling the Red
focussing on the anti-social nature of fouling were pupils from Gilwern Primary
School. As well as discussing the matter with residents and highlighting
affected areas with chalk-based sprays, they have designed new signs for
Llanelly Community Council aimed against dog fouling. As with previous
awareness days residents gave positive feedback, recognising the need to
continue drawing attention to dog fouling, which remains an environmental
cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health, Councillor Sara
Jones said: “Noticeable improvements have been made in recent years with a
reduction in fouling on our streets and sports grounds. We really
appreciate the efforts made by the vast majority of dog walkers who collect and
properly dispose of the waste. Incidents still occur though and hotspots
remain throughout the county. Awareness days such as this serve as a good
reminder, particularly when local children are involved in initiatives which is
always pleasing. The message is simple – please bag it and bin it.”
A local charity launched a dementia-friendly café in the Palmer Community Centre, located within the heart of historic Chepstow on Saturday 13th April. Co-funded by Monmouthshire County Council and the Welsh Government Integrated Care Fund administered by the Gwent Regional Partnership Board, the project run by Chepstow Senior Citizens Trust is set to considerably benefit people living with dementia in the area and their families.
Various methods for helping people living with dementia have been installed at the café, including sound baffling to reduce echoing, solid colour schemes to reduce the risk of visual confusion, variable and natural lighting modules to recreate daylight, and clear signposting to and from the café.
Margaret Gore, Operations Manager at the Centre said: “Popping into town for a coffee and a chat is something that many of us take for granted, but for someone living with dementia this can be a deeply frustrating and difficult experience. Café layouts and colour-schemes can be confusing to a person with dementia, poor lighting can cause illusions and noise deemed acceptable to café staff and customers may be distressing and disorientating.
Margaret continued: “We are so excited to have redeveloped the café into a dementia-friendly café, where people can feel safe and secure, enjoy refreshments, socialise and take part in activities. We hope to appeal to the general public too, with plenty of space for families to enjoy lovely home-cooked style food made by our team of staff and volunteers.”
Margaret’s team are working with charities and other organisations to hold regular and organised meetings, groups and classes at the new facility.
Peter Farley, Chair of Chepstow Senior Citizens Trust added: “We are very appreciative for the support received from Monmouthshire County Council and the Welsh Government to bring this project to fruition and we are particularly grateful to staff from the council’s building maintenance team, the council’s consultant Rhodri Dean and A.J. Quinn Building Contractors Ltd. We are also very thankful for the support given by Chepstow & Caldicot Lions who are providing new equipment for our kitchen.”
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Health, Councillor Penny Jones said: “With the number of dementia cases set to rise by 82% in the next 12 years, providing safe and secure environments is of vital importance to the community. Chepstow’s new dementia-friendly café is a very welcome facility and will offer much support and contribute to the well-being of people living with dementia and their families.”
Council urges residents to act quickly to register right to vote
Monmouthshire’s residents have been urged to ensure they are registered and eligible to vote in the European Parliamentary Election.
To vote in the election on Thursday 23rd May applications to be included on the electoral roll must be received no later than Tuesday 7th May. Electors already registered can expect to receive their poll cards by Thursday 18th April. This is later than normally expected due to the uncertainty surrounding this election. Additionally, with a number of bank holidays in the approach to the election, residents wishing to make alternative voting arrangements should do so as soon as possible taking into consideration the deadlines detailed below.
Registering is quick and simple. Just visit: www.gov.uk./registertovote and complete the online registration process. Alternatively, residents may apply for the appropriate forms or check their names are on the register by contacting Monmouthshire County Council’s Election Office on 01633 644212 or email email@example.com. Residents who have received a poll card for these elections at their address are already registered and eligible to vote.
Residents can vote even if they are away by applying for a postal vote by 5pm on Wednesday 8th May or by a proxy application form, when another person votes on their behalf (not postal or emergency proxies) by 5pm on Wednesday 15th May. Electors already registered to vote by post before 2nd April 2019 can expect to receive their postal vote around 10th May. Any applications for a postal vote received since 2nd April 2019 can expect to receive their postal vote around 17th May.
Monmouthshire’s 93 polling stations will be open on 23rd May from 7am to 10pm. Votes will be verified immediately after the polls close and counted on Sunday 26th May when the final votes have been cast across all 28 member countries of the European Union.
For further details visit: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/european-parliamentary-elections-23-may-2019/
High tides are due. 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:-
Friday 19th April Between 20.55 – 21.25 (approx.)
Saturday 20th April Between 09.15 – 09.45 (approx.)
Saturday 20th April Between 21.35 – 22.05 (approx.)
Sunday 21st April Between 09.55 – 10.25 (approx.)
Sunday 21st April Between 22.30 – 23.00 (approx.)
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. 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.
Usk Hub welcomes local author for discussion evening
Local author Godfrey Brangham will deliver a talk entitled Poisoners: the Sandwich, Cake and Cup of Tea in Usk’s community hub at 7pm on Thursday, 25th April. This free event is organised in conjunction with the Reading Agency charity and its World Book Night celebration of books and reading for pleasure. Tea, coffee and light refreshments will be available.
The talk will examine three murders; one with a sandwich, one with a cake and one with a cup of tea.
Godfrey Brangham was born in Pontnewydd, Cwmbran and was educated at West Monmouth Grammar School before qualifying at the Welsh School of Pharmacy. Later, he obtained an MSc in wound healing and tissue repair at the University Hospital Wales.
Godfrey Brangham’s previous works include the historical work Hangings and Hangmen at Usk Prison, The Day’s Portion, an Arthur Machen miscellany and Where Memory Slept, a biography of Arthur Machen’s wife, Purefoy Machen.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for community hubs, Councillor Paul Jordan said: “All are welcome to attend this event to enjoy a fascinating talk from Mr Brangham. Our community hubs across the county offer similar occasions throughout the year and they are all well worth attending.”
For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org – or telephone 01291 426888. Usk Community Hub is based at 35 Maryport Street, NP15 1AE where there are two free car parks nearby.
Artwork installed to remember Monmouth’s Cattle Market
to Monmouth will see a new addition to town in the form of artwork celebrating
the well -loved cattle market. Monmouth is one of 79 communities to be involved
in the Sustrans national social history project The Portrait Bench.
Portrait Bench project aims to recognise and remember inspirational individuals
in towns across the UK. In Monmouth, Jim Shankland,
the auctioneers assistant for agricultural estate agents/ auctioneers known
then, as Rennie Taylor and Till, today just known as Rennies along with Welsh
Mountain Sheep and a Hereford Bull have been commemorated in three life size
figures have been cut from sheet steel and installed by a simple bench which
encourages locals and visitors to sit or step up into the space and become a
part of the portrait. The bench is located at the southern end of
town on the old livestock market site.
features of each character have been simplified while retaining their essential
characteristics. The characters reflect those things that are important to the
community and celebrate the uniqueness of each location.
characters were chosen by the Monmouth Links Steering group from a list of
suggestions put forward by the public. Communities across the UK nominated
local people for the contribution they have made to local life, culture or
history to become the figures on their local Portrait Bench to be part of a
collection of over 250 portraits.
Member for Operations Cllr Bryan Jones said:
is a town rich with history, I am so pleased that the livestock market has been
commemorated in such a thoughtful and interactive way. I hope that locals and
visitors to the town take a minute to sit on the bench and think about what
once existed in the town. It is fantastic to see local people remembered and
even more pleasing to see nominations came from local residents.’
is a charity to promote and enable people to travel by foot, bike or public
transport for more of the journeys we make every day. Find out more
Abergavenny’s Borough Theatre is celebrating news that an Arts Council grant will enable welcome improvements to the structure of the building, making it a suitable setting for international performers, local community groups and school celebrations. Monmouthshire County Council, the owner of the theatre will also provide match-funding for the project which is expected to cost about £300,000.
Among the enhanced features will be new seating, improved access and lighting and a makeover for the foyer area.
This work will reduce day-to-day running costs and provide a safe working environment within a professionally equipped venue as well as offering a better service to theatre-goers.
Councillor Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for cultural services said: “The work to be carried out is in line with the theatre’s business plan so we can present a programme of events drawing from the local to the global – celebrating, entertaining, challenging and engaging our community and those who come to visit us. It will provide a boost to theatre and the performing arts in the region and means we can offer customers a premier quality experience in a professional setting.”
For further information on the Borough Theatre visit: https://boroughtheatreabergavenny.co.uk/
Monmouthshire offers Easter activities for busy youngsters
Monmouthshire County Council has organised a range of great activities for children over Easter holidays!
The county’s four leisure centres in Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow and Monmouth will once again run the very popular Monmouthshire Games for seven days packed full of fun, friendship and physical activity – there is something for everyone. To find out more visit: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/the-monmouthshire-games – or contact the nearest leisure centre to book.
The Monmouthshire Games also features specialist rugby, football and new outdoor adventure days at selected venues for all abilities.
Coaches from the local Newport-based Dragons team will deliver two rugby camps from 9am to 3pm on Thursday 18th April at Caldicot Leisure Centre and Thursday 25th April at Chepstow Leisure Centre. All sessions will be delivered by the Dragons community coaches and in partnership with Monmouthshire Sport Development. The cost per child is £18.50 and bookings can be made by telephoning Caldicot Leisure Centre (01291 426850) or Chepstow Leisure Centre (01291 635745).
Football camps will take place at Abergavenny Leisure Centre and Caldicot Leisure Centre from 9am to 3pm on Friday 26th April. The cost per child is £18.50 and bookings can be made by telephoning Caldicot Leisure Centre (01291 426850) or Abergavenny Leisure Centre (01873 735360).
A new venture – The Monmouthshire Games Outdoor Adventure Days – will give 12 to 15 year olds the opportunity to challenge themselves, learn new skills and have fun in the great outdoors.
Monday, 15th April features “High & Mighty”, an opportunity to climb and abseil while the following day sees “Wet & Wild” with canoeing on the River Wye. Both days run from 9am to 5pm and the cost is £35 per person per day. Places are limited so anyone interested is urged to book early by ringing Monmouth Leisure Centre (01600 775135). All equipment and transport from Monmouth Leisure Centre is provided and all activities are delivered by fully qualified and trained staff. Children are requested to bring a packed lunch.
The council’s community hubs and libraries have a packed Easter programme for youngsters. Chepstow Community Hub features Easter stories and crafts from 11am to 12noon on Tuesday 16th April and Thursday 25th April for five to eight year olds while baby rhyme time sessions take place from 2.15pm to 2.45pm on Thursday 18th April and Thursday 25th April. On Friday, 26 April, under-fives can enjoy story time from 10.15am to 10.45am.
Caldicot Community Hub will offer a baby rhyme time from 2pm to 2.30pm on Tuesday 16th April and a Lego workshop for five to nine years olds from 10am to 11am on Wednesday 24th April. In addition, under-fives will be treated to story time from 2pm to 2.30pm on Thursday 18th April and Thursday 25th April, while three to eight year olds can go on a bear hunt – We’re Going on a Bear Hunt takes place from 10am to 11am on Wednesday 17th April.
Gilwern Library hosts the ever popular Louby Lou who will entertain children aged four and under from 10am to 10.45am (cost £4) on Tuesday 16th April. The library also holds Easter colouring sessions on Wednesday 17th April (1.30pm to 4.30pm), Wednesday 24th April (1.30pm to 4.30pm) and Friday 26th April (10am to 1pm & 1.30pm to 5pm).
Abergavenny Library will offer Easter stories and crafts plus an Easter egg hunt for under-fives from 10.30am to 11.15am on Thursday 18th April with another Easter egg hunt for all ages on the morning of Saturday 20th April. Welsh language baby rhyme sessions take place on 2.15pm to 2.45pm on Thursday 18th April and 2.15pm to 2.45pm on Thursday 25th April. More Easter stories and crafts with a bunny dance will feature for the under-fives from 10.30am to 11.15am on Thursday 25th April while older children will look forward to Minecraft sessions. These run from 10am to 12noon on Wednesday 17th April and 10am to 12noon on Friday 26th April – there is a charge of £8 an hour for both Minecraft occasions.
Usk Community Hub will join in Monmouthshire’s Easter fun with Going on a Bear Hunt for three to eight year olds from 10.30am on Thursday 18th April and Easter stories and egg decorating for three to nine year olds from 10.30am on Thursday 25th April.
Easter stories and crafts will be offered at Monmouth Community Hub at 2pm on Wednesday 17th April. In addition, there will be a baby rhyme time at 10.30am on Monday 15th April and an under-fives’ story time at 2pm on Tuesday 16th April.
All Easter community hub and library events are free unless stated otherwise.
Monmouthshire’s museum service is hosting a fascinating intergenerational workshop at Abergavenny Castle from 10am to 12noon on Saturday 13th April with an aim to bring people together to find inspiration, have fun and enjoy writing. Led by local writer Lynn Clausen, children and adults will work in pairs to record their memories of the castle. Recommended for ages seven and over, the cost is £7 for two participants and includes a short tour of the castle and grounds followed by a creative writing workshop. For full details of this Abergavenny Writing Festival event, telephone the museum on 01873 854282.
Chepstow Museum is running an egg hunt and competition to design the ideal decorated egg starting at 11am to 4pm from Monday 8th April to Sunday 28th April with Easter puzzles to take home.
The museum also offers drop-in craft afternoons on Thursday 18th April and Thursday 25th April from 2pm to 4pm at the Drill Hall. These sessions are suitable for children of all ages but they must be accompanied by an adult. A donation of £2 for children over three years is suggested towards the cost of materials and refreshments.
Also at Chepstow Museum from 11am to 4pm on Tuesday, 16th April is a display presented by David Smith of the RSPB highlighting exciting projects making a positive difference to reverse trends in the significant declines of wildlife over the last 40 years. The display will also include a variety of fun, interactive activities for children to learn more about how they can help UK wildlife in their own gardens.
All three of Monmouthshire’s museums – at Abergavenny, Chepstow and Monmouth – have Easter activities for children, trails and quizzes, things to make and period clothes to try on. Special activities associated with current exhibitions include discovering the history of Abergavenny’s Castle House and grounds, fabulous artworks at Monmouth by former art teacher Otto Maciag and his pupils, and Chepstow Museum’s special display, “Stuffed, Pickled and Pinned”, showcasing 50 wonders of the natural world from museums across Wales and the importance of these collections to the study of natural sciences.
Council’s intergenerational initiative boosted by housing association funding
A project instigated by occupational therapists and physiotherapists at Monmouthshire’s integrated health and social care team based in Monmouth has benefitted to the tune of £2,150 thanks to the generosity of a local housing body. The Owls and Acorns intergenerational initiative, which tackles loneliness and isolation among older people, has received a cheque from the Monmouthshire Housing Association that will allow it to expand its activities.
Owls and Acorns currently meets once a week in Raglan Primary School bringing together older people and children from foundation phase classes to enjoy arts, crafts and exercises for one and a half hours. This shared activity benefits both parties.
The award from the Monmouthshire Housing Association was granted via its Pitch for your Project funding scheme – this offers the opportunity for local groups and charities with brilliant ideas for their community to bid for a cash donation. It means that Owls and Acorns can shortly introduce its services in Usk and Monmouth and staff involved in the scheme eventually hope to work across Monmouthshire.
Chief Executive of Monmouthshire Housing Association, John Keegan said: “We are delighted to support this fantastic project to allow it to expand beyond Raglan to other parts of the county. These initiatives don’t happen by accident; they need people dedicated to their community and willing to put in the hours to make those communities strong, active and vibrant. We have funded several intergenerational projects over the years and love seeing people coming together and finding they have so much in common and are so willing to share their stories and time. We wish Owls and Acorns continued success and would like to congratulate them on a really high quality bid for support”.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Social Care and Health, Councillor Penny Jones said: “This is a fabulous gesture by the Monmouthshire Housing Association and is much appreciated as it will improve the well-being of an increased number of older people across the county and it offers them an alternative to living with loneliness and isolation. I have seen for myself how successful this project is and would like to thank the staff involved for their work to develop it.”
Contact LucyHeath@monmouthshire.gov.uk for further information on Owls and Acorns.
Matt displays his talent for art with Usk exhibition
Talented young artist Matt Dixon (known in the art world as Matt Crossfield) recently exhibited his work in Usk’s Coleg Gwent campus, receiving favourable reactions from those attending. Matt (24) lives in Caldicot and graduated from the University of South Wales in 2017 with a BA Honours Degree in Animation.
The one day exhibition was sponsored by Arc Spectrum, an innovative community project which provides creative activities for children and adults with a variety of communication and sensory needs. Matt himself has high functioning autism and is a member of the project. Arc Spectrum works in partnership with Coleg Gwent, Monmouthshire County Council’s ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) Stakeholder Group and Action for Children.
Matt won the Young Cartoonist of the Year 2018 award presented by the British Cartoonist Association for his animated drawing featuring US President Donald Trump on the Mexican border. Matt also published a children’s book called “Rusty the Red Dragon” last October.
Currently, Matt has been commissioned to illustrate a book series called “The Forest Railway stories” for publisher Lightmoor Press. Based on the Dean Forest Railway, the first book in the series is called “Counting Sheep” and will be available this Easter.
County Councillor Penny Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Health said: “Matt’s exhibition displays work by an extraordinary young man and it was fascinating to see the wide range of his talents. We hope he will exhibit in County Hall soon for the benefit of members, staff and visitors.”
For more information on Matt and his work visit: www.mattcrossfield.com
Council approves change to school admission and catchment areas
Monmouthshire County Council has agreed two proposals that will guide school admissions and school catchment area strategies for the foreseeable future. Members of Monmouthshire’s cabinet meeting approved these changes on Wednesday 3rd April.
The revised school catchment areas policy will come into effect from the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year and will create the following amendments to the present arrangements:
• The catchment area for Monmouth Comprehensive School will be enlarged to align with the primary catchment areas for Usk Church in Wales, Trellech and Llandogo primary schools.
• The catchment area for Abergavenny’s King Henry VIII Comprehensive School will be enlarged to align with the primary catchment area for Goytre Fawr Primary School.
Councillor Richard John, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Children and Young People said: “I would like to thank the hundreds of people who came along to our 11 public meetings and drop-in sessions or submitted online responses for taking part in this detailed consultation on significant changes to secondary school catchment areas.
“There is clear evidence of public support for these changes, which align primary and secondary school catchment areas, better enable peer groups to remain together on the transition to secondary education and empower parents to make an informed choice about their preferred school.
“It is only right, that as we continue to invest millions of pounds in brand new schools, that families who live in Monmouthshire, pay council tax in Monmouthshire and elect councillors in Monmouthshire to make decisions about school funding, can access school places in Monmouthshire.
“For the areas of Goytre and Usk, which in future will form part of King Henry VIII Comprehensive School and Monmouth Comprehensive School’s catchment areas, we will continue to work with Newport City Council, the admissions authority for Caerleon Comprehensive School, to ensure that siblings of pupils already in Caerleon will continue to be prioritised in Newport’s admissions criteria. As the admissions authority for Caerleon Comprehensive School, Newport City Council will continue to consider applications from the Usk and Goytre areas as ‘in catchment’.
A review of the council’s home to school transport will be undertaken to take into account these changes. This policy review will not affect pupils attending Welsh-medium or faith schools.
Meanwhile, new school admission arrangements coming into effect from the beginning of the 2020/21 academic year will determine the criteria for which applicants are awarded places to their preferred school when demand exceeds capacity. These arrangements will mean that children in a school’s catchment area will be prioritised over those children who have a sibling at the school but live outside the catchment area. However, there will be a five year transition period to reduce the likelihood of splitting existing sibling links.
Councillor John added: “The changes to our schools admissions criteria will help keep peer groups together on the transition to secondary school and help ensure fairness in accessing primary school places for families within primary school catchment areas. These changes were supported by the vast majority of the hundreds of people who took part in the consultation and I feel reassured that there is such strong public support for our new school admissions policies.”
The council consulted widely over both proposals, holding eleven meetings in the schools affected, providing an online questionnaire and inviting interested parties to write with their views.
Council works with housing charity Llamau to launch project tackling homelessness
Monmouthshire County Council is working in partnership with housing charity Llamau to launch a project aimed at helping young people and vulnerable adults by providing additional support and becoming a protective factor in assisting individuals to steer clear of homelessness.
The Supported Lodgings project has been created to tackle growing homelessness and to find an affordable community-based solution. The scheme provides someone with a room of their own in a private home where they are a member of the household, but are not expected to become a member of the family. The householder, or host, provides a safe and supportive environment, working alongside professional services to help and support that individual in rebuilding their life.
Councillor Sara Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for housing and homelessness said: “The concept of supported lodging is well-tested with a number of authorities already helping young people but our new project will lead the way by including adults and older people. Anecdotal evidence suggests that placing some individuals within a better supported or family setting can have positive outcomes compared to other options.”
The council and Llamau are currently actively looking to identify prospective hosts across Monmouthshire. Hosts will not need special qualifications and may be married or single, working or unemployed. All that is required of them is a spare room with a willingness and ability to help individuals develop the skills and confidence needed to live independently and provide a safe and warm environment for adults. In exchange for providing a room, Llamau will provide the host with a weekly payment while the person receiving support will make a contribution towards costs and utilities.
Councillor Penny Jones, cabinet member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Health added: “Llamau and the council will provide ongoing training and guidance, as well as financial and practical support. Both organisations acknowledge that all persons are different so we’ll guide hosts and those accommodated to agree necessary support. This could include tasks like cooking, budgeting, bills, education or emotional support.”
Llamau already runs similar projects in the Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Newport, enabling the council to visualise the benefits of entering into a supportive co-working relationship with the county’s communities to combat homelessness. The authority recognises the good practices and positive outcomes applied elsewhere and will adapt these – with the additional element of working with adults and older people.
Funded by the council by means of the Welsh Government’s Supporting People Programme, the project has few overheads as it is community-based and operated in addition to currently available provision.
Contact Llamau on 01633 244134 during office hours for an informal chat, or email email@example.com – for further details log onto: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/supported-lodgings/
Monmouthshire attractions open their doors for summer
On Saturday April 6th The
Old Station, Tintern, Caldicot Castle and the Monnow Bridge open their doors
for summer. All three attractions offer free entry and provide both local
people and tourist’s an opportunity to visit a variety of buildings set in
The Old Station is set in the heart of
the Wye Valley next to the River Wye and is very near Tintern, the beautiful
backdrop for recent Netflix comedy drama series, Sex Education. The
Station’s café offers delicious treats and refreshments alongside a brand new
children’s play area and zip wire. The perfect free family day out, and also a
great base for walks along the Wye Valley.
In addition to free
entry, visitors to The Shire Hall, Monmouth can now book a two free tours of
The Shire Hall and Monnow Bridge. Visitors to The Shire Hall, Monmouth can
visit the historic courtroom, travel down to the cells and walk around the
beautiful Georgian building.
Visitors booking on
the Monnow Bridge tour are asked to meet at the Monnow Bridge, the only
remaining fortified river bridge in Great Britain. Tours are led by volunteers
and provide in depth information on all aspects of the bridge, its history and
the guard room.
The first tour of
the season begins on Saturday 20th April and will run every Saturday
from 1.30pm – 3.30pm until Saturday 26th October. Tours are limited
to a maximum of six people and need to be booked in advance.
Caldicot Castle offers a variety of
activities, the castle set in beautiful tranquil gardens and a wooded country
park is open from 11.00am to 4.00pm Tuesday to Sunday, entry is free.
Refreshments are available from the on-site café, the grounds are the perfect
place to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and delicious cake.
Families are welcome to participate in
an Easter Egg hunt on Friday 19th April. Children are welcome to
wear an Easter bonnet, a parade will take place at 12.00pm. A range of
activities will be on offer including face painting, games and plenty of Easter
activities for the children to enjoy.
The castle plays host to a free
Monmouthshire Games Sports day for children and families on Tuesday 23rd
April 11.00am – 4.00pm. The day will provide an opportunity for people of
all ages to try a new sport or simply have a look around the castle.
Cllr Bob Greenland Cabinet Member for
“It is great to see our
attractions growing in popularity year after year. We are so lucky to have such
unique, historical buildings brimming with character and intrigue. We are so
pleased to be able to offer days out for free of charge to be enjoyed by all.
All three attractions provide an insight into our unique heritage and provide
both indoor and outdoor experiences so can be visited in all weather. With the added
bonus that they are all free to enter. I urge as many people as possible to
make a Monmouthshire Bucket list and visit all of our attractions this summer.’
On Monday April
8th Cymraeg i Blant Monmouthshire is hosting a Parti Piws/Purple Party at
Monmouth Leisure Centre 1.30pm – 2.30pm. The event coincides with Dewin and
Doti’s tenth birthday, the loveable mascots of Mudiad Meithrin. The party is
open to children aged 0-3 years, along with their parents, carers, grandparents
who are all encouraged to wear an item of purple clothing. A wide range
of activities including access to the soft play area, baby and toddler rhyme
time, crafts plus many more will be on offer.
The event is
free for babies under 12 months, children aged 1-3 years a small charge of
£3.10 is required – which is the standard cost to use the soft play at the
Leisure Centre. The Parti Pwis/ Purple Party is also taking place across the
multitude of Welsh Medium childcare settings in Monmouthshire. For more
information about the Purple Party contact Michaela Carrington Michaela.firstname.lastname@example.org
At the party
parents and carers will have an opportunity to find out more about Cymraeg i
Blant. Cymraeg i Blant or Cymraeg for kids is managed by Mudiad Meithrin
and provides information, support and advice for to promote the advantages of
bilingualism from an early age. Cymraeg i Blant offers a wide range of fun
activities for children and their families, including baby massage and baby
yoga sessions, and story and song groups.
There are a
number of opportunities to attend a bilingual activity sessions in Monmouth.
Cymraeg i Blant are planning to hold free weekly sessions of Baby Yoga, for
babies aged from ten weeks old at Monmouth Leisure Centre from Monday 29th
April from 1.00pm -2.00pm. The ability to speak Welsh is not required to attend
– there is a warm welcome for everybody. The sessions will also help build
parents confidence to use Welsh with their child.
A new Cylch Ti
a Fi / Babies and Toddlers group has been established at Rockfield Community
Centre on Monday’s between 9.45am – 11.15am. The group provides a perfect
opportunity to meet up with other parents and carers to socialise and share
experiences in an informal Welsh atmosphere. Babies and toddler develop an
awareness of the Welsh language through range of activities, stories, rhymes
John Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:
provides children and young people with a valuable additional life skill — the
ability to communicate in two languages. In Monmouthshire, we are lucky to have
a range of Mudiad Meithrin groups that are fun, informal and provide the
foundations to begin a child’s bilingual journey. I hope that many parents attend
the Purple Party in our newly refurbished Monmouth Leisure Centre or pop along
one of the many Meithrin groups.’
information of Welsh medium
childcare activities or settings visit Monmouthshire
Family Information Service website: www.monfis.org.uk/
or follow @cymraegiblantmynwy Face book page.
Young people and councillors unite for democracy event
Young people from Caldicot School met with County Councillors from
across Monmouthshire County Council on Friday 15th March to find out
more about democracy and the role of the council. The event was organised by
Monmouthshire Youth Service and aimed to give young people a voice and more
knowledge about the role of the council and impact it has on communities.
The day provided an opportunity for young people to discuss and share
things that are important. Councillors happily answered questions from pupils.
Questions were interesting and varied, it provided an opportunity to really see
what is important and how young people feel about the issues that affect them
both nationally and locally.
Some of the most talked about issues on a national level were Brexit and
climate change. Pupils asked pertinent questions about local issues such as
waste and recycling, period poverty and hospital waiting times all of which
affect them and their families.
Youth Worker Jade Atkins, engaged pupils and councillors in an
interactive workshop informing pupils of the 54 articles as stated in the
United Nations Convention of the Child. The session was both fun and thought
Cllr Sara Jones, Cabinet member for Social Justice a passionate advocate
for young people’s rights, shared with pupils her thoughts on the importance of
Councillor Sara Jones said:
‘I was so pleased to see pupils engaging with councillors, the questions
that were posed were well thought out and relevant. It was clear that young
people are engaged in national politics and it was great to see pupils raising
local issues that are important to pupils and their families. I look forward to
more events to enable more young people to find out more about democracy and
politics and realise the importance of having their voices heard.’
The day was rounded off with a tour of County Hall where pupils met
officers from a wide range of departments, a perfect opportunity to capture a
behind the scenes look at the council.
Feedback from pupils was positive: “I’ve enjoyed the day it was
really interesting to hear everyone’s opinions. I really liked the Q&A
“This was a great experience. My favourite part was when we had a chance
to discuss relevant issues with councillors. I would like to do a debate on a
specific issue, I think it would be really fun.”
Monmouthshire Youth Service are looking for more young people to get
involved in the county youth forum Engage 2 Change. The forum brings together
young people aged 11-18 years and helps them to get involved in local issues
and meet new people. For more information contact: Jade Atkins
A team from
Monmouthshire County Council’s Social Care, Safeguarding and Health directorate
has earned a much sought-after recognition after being nominated for the BASW
(British Association of Social Workers) 2019 Cymru Awards. The council’s Adult
Disability service won an award for the best social work team in Wales at a
ceremony at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday, 20th March.
The team was nominated for an innovative housing project that took place
in partnership with the Monmouthshire Housing Association, the Monmouthshire
Reablement service and Pobl Care & Support, enabling five individuals with a learning disability to
take occupancy of individual flats in Abergavenny. Seven teams across
Wales were also shortlisted for this award and the Adult Disabilities Service
Team Manager, Julie Heal said: “We were absolutely delighted to win this
accolade, especially as the other teams in our category had submitted such
In attendance were Julie Boothroyd, Monmouthshire’s Director of Social
Care, Safeguarding and Health and Eve Parkinson, Head of Adult Services as well
as Julie Heal and her team and also Sarah Vaughan, Senior Occupational
Therapist representing the Abergavenny Integrated Team. Three of the
tenants at the Abergavenny complex also attended the awards ceremony and one of
them described it, “as the best night ever”.
Louise Dovey, social worker based in Monmouth’s Monnow Vale integrated
service was unable to attend the ceremony but was shortlisted for the award of
innovative social worker.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Health, Councillor Penny Jones said: “To win such an award at the BASW Cymru ceremony demonstrates the high standard of social care in the county and our Adult Disability team richly deserves this honour for its consistently impressive and inspiring performance.”
Council’s Community Partnership and Development Team listen to the Big Ideas
you have a good idea? If three other people were willing to help, what would
you love to do to make your community a better place?
Monmouthshire County Council’s Community
Partnership and Development Team are eager to help local individuals and groups
achieve their community ambitions. The team are engagement specialists and aim
to help develop and empower groups and individuals who want to make their town
or village a better place and are currently taking their expertise out to
communities via the Big Ideas roadshow.
The Big Ideas roadshow has had a successful start. Residents from
Monmouth have been sharing their ideas at a variety of locations across the
town. The community has come together and embraced the concept of sharing ideas
via little cardboard people. Ideas are on display in Monmouth Hub, this will be
replicated at community hubs across the county.
Pupils from Osbaston CIW Primary, Monmouth loved filling in dream
clouds to reveal their Big Ideas. More school visits are planned in coming weeks.
The team are eager to listen to
ideas and provide valuable information and support to make ideas become a
reality and are looking forward to meeting more people from Usk, Raglan,
Abergavenny, Caldicot and Chepstow in coming weeks.
A wealth of information is
available, including how to obtain funding, opportunities to link individuals
to groups who have similar goals and offer training opportunities to anyone who
gives their time to help others.
A series of drop in sessions will
take place along with visits to local community groups and meet and greet
opportunities in popular public spaces across Monmouthshire.
The Team will be visiting a range of locations across the county in the next four weeks, covering Usk, Abergavenny, Caldicot and Chepstow. The following dates are for the coming week with more dates for Caldicot and Chepstow to be publicised at a later date.
Usk Hub – Thursday 21st March 1.00pm – 4.00pm and 5.00pm – 7.00pm
ACE Centre, Abergavenny – Monday 25th March 9.00am – 11.00am
Abergavenny Leisure Centre – Monday 25th March 5.00pm – 7.00pm
Abergavenny Market – Tuesday 26th March 10.00am – 2.00pm
Cllr Sara Jones Cabinet Member for
Community Development and Social Justice said:
‘This is a fantastic opportunity for
communities to get the help and support they need from the Community and
Partnership Development Team. The team works in partnership with a range of
organisations and has a wealth of knowledge to unlock the potential of
individuals and groups in Monmouthshire to help communities help themselves. I
urge anyone who has an idea no matter how big or small to get in touch.’
Monmouthshire’s trading standards service is urging residents to remain vigilant after receiving further reports of fraudulent telephone calls from individuals purporting to be from the council tax team. Householders are told they are entitled to a rebate on their council tax bill and the caller then attempts to obtain bank card details.
Trading Standards Team Leader Gareth Walters warned: “Residents have reported that callers appear convincing and already know their full name and address. They may also claim that the council holds incorrect information about the number of bedrooms and the council tax band of the property in a bid to make the rebate seem more plausible.”
Residents should contact Monmouthshire’s council tax team on 01633 644640 or email: email@example.com if they wish to check any council tax information. Alternately, they can check their account on-line: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk – they are strongly advised not to respond to phone calls or text messages suggesting they may be eligible for a refund.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for public protection, Councillor Sara Jones added: “As we move into the months where Monmouthshire residents receive their new council tax bills we think it’s possible that scammers will use this opportunity to target people. Residents need to be very wary of anyone requesting bank card details over the telephone.”
Residents wishing to report such calls and get practical advice should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Services helpline on 03454 040506.
Staff develop skills to make a difference in Monmouthshire’s schools
Staff from eleven Monmouthshire schools who successfully attended five days of training across the spring term, received certificates of achievement from the Abergavenny mayor, Councillor Teslin Davies who attended as a guest at a ceremony in Magor this week (Monday, 18th March). Councillor Davies has a background in education and additional learning needs.
The fifteen staff had trained to become qualified Emotional Literacy Support Assistants (ELSAs) and the course enables them to develop skills to help pupils in the county’s schools with temporary or longer term emotional needs. The ELSAs will receive ongoing support from the Educational Psychology Service through regular supervision.
The ELSA programme forms part of the council’s commitment to work with schools to ensure the inclusion, achievement and well-being of all pupils, including those whose learning is affected by emotional difficulties. It was developed to build the capacity of schools to support the emotional needs of pupils from within their own resources.
ELSAs are trained to plan and deliver individual or group programmes of support. They might work with pupils who present as anxious, shy, sad, or angry as well as supporting them to develop social and friendship skills or improved self-esteem.
The course was carried out by Monmouthshire’s Educational Psychology Service (EPS). Dr Casey Stephens of the EPS said: “The ELSA programme has been running for four years in Monmouthshire and there are currently 29 ELSAs working in our schools. The programme continues to go from strength to strength and is becoming well embedded in many of our schools. Evaluations of the project have shown that ELSAs make a positive impact on the emotional development of children and young people. Specific outcomes have included academic success, increased school attendance and reduced referrals to outside agencies as well as positive changes in pupils with social emotional and behavioural difficulties.”
Councillor Richard John, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Children and Young People said: “Having completed their training, our latest members of staff to achieve the ELSA award will be able to help children with emotional difficulties and at an educational disadvantage to overcome their problems, improve their emotional wellbeing and to achieve in their schooling.”
Council to take on parking responsibility from Gwent Police
Monmouthshire County Council’s preparations to assume responsibility for parking enforcement from Gwent Police are well underway.
Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) will be introduced on Monday 8th April when the council takes on powers to enforce on-street parking restrictions in Monmouthshire – in addition to the off-street car parks that the council already manages. The police will continue to be responsible for dealing with dangerously parked vehicles, obstruction and moving traffic offences.
Councillor Bryan Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for county operations said: “Inconsiderate parking can often lead to congestion or issues with public transport and prevent emergency service vehicles from accessing areas as well as causing problems for local businesses when vehicles overstay their time outside shops.
“The council will create a dedicated civil enforcement team to manage parking traffic regulations within the county. This will lead to improved parking in areas with existing problems as well as an increased turnover of parking spaces and improved safety for pedestrians and road users. It will also discourage inappropriate and inconsiderate parking on restricted zones like double yellow lines or zig-zag markings and create a safer highway network for all road users.”
Under CPE, the council will be able to enforce:
• Double and single yellow lines
• Disabled bays
• Limited waiting bays
• Taxi ranks
• Coach bays
• Loading bays
• Zig-zag markings at schools (if restrictions apply) and pedestrian crossings
• Double parking or parking too far away from the kerb edge
• Parking in bus stops
A penalty charge notice (PCN) will be issued to a vehicle when a civil enforcement officer witnesses it parked in contravention of an order. Two levels of penalty charge are set by the Welsh Government and will depend on the severity of the contravention. The charge will be £70 for the most serious contraventions and £50 for lesser ones.
If the PCN is paid within 14 days of receipt of the notice, the charge will be reduced by 50%. If no payment is received or no representations are made within 28 days, the council may issue a charge certificate and the charges will be increased to £105 for the most serious of offences and £75 for lesser contraventions.
Motorists will be able to pay PCNs by post, using the envelope provided with the PCN, online by visiting the South Wales Parking Groups page www.swpg.co.uk (credit/debit card payment) or by telephone on 033 332 008 67. Additionally, motorists will be able to appeal the charge if they believe it has been wrongly issued. It should be noted that the registered keeper, or user of the vehicle if hired, is responsible for paying the PCN.
Income generated by the charges will contribute to the cost of the service and any surplus will go towards the county’s traffic initiatives and road improvements, in line with Welsh Government guidance.
High tides are due. 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:-
Thursday 21st March Between 7.50 – 8.20 (approx.)
Thursday 21st March Between 20.20 – 20.50 (approx.)
Friday 22nd March Between 8.35 – 09.05 (approx.)
Friday 22nd March Between 21.00 – 21.30 (approx.)
Saturday 23rd March Between 09.20 – 09.50 (approx.)
Saturday 23rd March Between 21.40 – 22.10 (approx.)
Sunday 24th March Between 09.55 – 10.25 (approx.)
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. 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
Event to offer support to Monmouth area volunteers and community groups
A community engagement event in Monmouth next week will aim to bring residents and local groups together to build new relationships and strengthen existing networks to benefit the town and local area. Organised on behalf of the local community it will take place from 4:30pm to 8pm on Wednesday, 27th March in Monmouth Comprehensive School and will include funding bodies, voluntary and third-sector organisations, communities and statutory bodies. It follows the success of similar occasions in Abergavenny and Chepstow.
The event will raise awareness of the excellent support – including advice, guidance, funding, and training opportunities – offered to volunteers and community groups while introducing organisations seeking funding to those providing it. It will also provide an opportunity to thank individuals for the area’s impressive volunteer-based activity.
In addition, the meeting will identify members of a core steering group to produce and deliver a Vision for Monmouth plan to support community initiatives.
Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for community development, Councillor Sara Jones said: “We’re aiming for an informal gathering and welcome the participation of anyone who lives or works in the area with its best interests at heart. We want to get as many together as possible, knowing that through talking to each other, great ideas can result.”
Anyone wishing to attend can reserve a place by visiting https://www.facebook.com/events/1188529647985996/ though organisers will also welcome those arriving on the evening.
For further information contact Monmouthshire County Council’s Communities and Partnership Development Officer, Joe Skidmore – JoeSkidmore@monmouthshire.gov.uk
New waste and recycling collections started in Monmouthshire on Monday 4th March to improve recycling services and minimise costs. These changes represent one of the biggest operational changes that Monmouthshire has undertaken for waste collections – with the introduction of a separate glass collection service, changes in collection times and new waste collection vehicles.
Monmouthshire collects from approximately 44,000 households which used to equate to 102,000 collections per week. From March 4th collections have been reduced to 80,000 per week. New collection times were promoted via a leaflet and the website has been updated to highlight new collection times.
Some residents have been impacted by collection issues. Crews are working well past their normal working hours with some out until 7pm to rectify problems. Monmouthshire’s contact centre and hubs have been extremely busy with enquiries on the recycling changes and garden waste permit renewals.
What to do if you are impacted by waste and recycling collection delays:
• Please report any issues through the ‘Recycling & Waste’ section of the My Monmouthshire app which is available to download from your app store or message Monty, Monmouthshire’s chatbot via the monmouthshire.gov.uk website or via Facebook messenger: @MonmouthshireCC.
• The contact centre is currently experiencing a large number of calls due to waste and recycling change queries and waiting times are longer than usual. If customers wish to hold on, their calls will be answered as soon as an operator becomes available.
• Any residents who still require a glass collection box can go to their local community hub to collect one.
• Residents looking to clarify their new collection dates can visit: monmouthshire.gov.uk/recycling-and-waste
Carl Touhig, Head of Waste & Street Services said: “I would like to apologise to any residents who have been impacted by delays in their waste collections and would like to thank them for their patience at this extremely busy time. Please bear with us and give positive support to the collection crews, contact centre and hub staff who are doing their very best to get the issues resolved. It’s not an easy job for the crews who are doing an amazing job, working long hours in rainy and windy conditions”.
Monmouthshire County Council joined other local authorities and civic dignitaries, community groups and charities throughout the United Kingdom to take part in local flag raising events and ceremonies of dedication to mark Commonwealth Day on Monday March 11th.
At 10am in the grounds of County Hall, the Chairman Councillor Peter Clarke led a ceremony to celebrate the union of 57 nations across the world and read a message from Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Secretary General. The Secretary General’s message highlighted that the occasion acknowledged publicly and collectively the continuing aspiration of the Commonwealth to build on common traditions and uphold shared values of democracy, inclusive development and respect for diversity.
Councillor Clarke then raised the flag. Councillor Paul Jordan, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for governance read the Commonwealth affirmation while the Rev. Malcolm Lane led prayers.
• Murray Kerr – Deputy Lord Lieutenant
• Nick Ramsay AM
• Mayors of Chepstow Town Council, Caldicot Town Council and Monmouth Town Council
• Mayor and Consort, Usk Town Council
• Chairs of St Arvans Community Council and Rogiet Community Council
• Helen Morgan, Head of School for Land-based Courses and Sport at Coleg Gwent’s Usk Campus with students representing Coleg Gwent
• Representatives from Gwent Police and GAVO
• Monmouthshire County Council councillors and staff
Further information can be found at the Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth website: http://www.flyaflagforthecommonwealth.co.uk/
Ideas welcomed by council’s Community Partnership and Development Team
Do you have a
good idea? If three other people were willing to help, what would you love to
do to make your community a better place?
Monmouthshire County Councils Community Partnership and Development Team are eager to help local individuals and groups achieve their community ambitions. The team specialises in helping to develop and empower groups aTnd individuals who want to make their town or village a better place, and are looking forward to meeting people in a variety of locations throughout March and April.
The team will
be on hand to listen to ideas and provide valuable information and support to
make ideas become a reality. A wealth of information is available, including
how to obtain funding, opportunities to link individuals to groups who have
similar goals and offer training opportunities to anyone who gives their time
to help others.
There will be a
series of drop in sessions, the team will also visit local community groups and
be present in public spaces across Monmouthshire. Children and young people
from local schools will be participating in the engagement process as the team
are eager to listen to the ideas of future generations.
The Team will
be visiting a range of locations across the county in the next five weeks,
covering Usk, Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow and Monmouth. Come and meet the
meet the team in Monmouth week commencing Monday 11th March.
Drop in to
Monmouth Hub on Tuesday 12th March 5.00pm – 7pm or Friday 15th March between
1.00pm – 4.00pm. Visit Usk Hub on Thursday 21st March 1.00pm – 4.00pm and
5.00pm – 7.00pm and share your ideas with the team at Abergavenny Market on
March 26th 10.00am – 2.00pm.
and dates are planned. Residents are welcome to contact the team via the
Monmouthshire Facebook page, twitter @MonmouthshireCC or email the team.
Cllr Sara Jones
Cabinet Member for Community Development and Social Justice said: ‘This is a
fantastic opportunity for communities to get the help and support they need
from the Community and Partnership Development Team. The team works in
partnership with a range of organisations and has a wealth of knowledge to
unlock the potential of individuals and groups in Monmouthshire to help
communities help themselves. I urge anyone who has an idea no matter how big or
small to get in touch.’
A competition to design new cards for Monmouthshire’s library service has attracted over 130 entries with impressive submissions from school classes and individuals resulting in difficult decisions for the judging panel. Four to seven year olds were invited to design a card for junior members while young people aged between 8 and 15 were asked to create one for teenagers.
Three entries from each category were shortlisted by the judging panel, which included local author and illustrator Shoo Rayner. Following the shortlisting a public poll via the council’s community hubs’ Facebook account drew over 600 votes and determined the winning designs. The winner of the junior competition was five year old Ariana McCarthy from Abergavenny while runners up were Gethin Griffiths (7) of Monmouth and Abigail Esbester (6) from Magor. Lucy Brady aged 13 from Caldicot won the teenage design section with Arwen Skinner ( 12) and Owen Hill, (15), both from Caldicot, runners up.
Prizes were donated by Friends of Abergavenny Library Service, Friends of Caldicot Library and Friends of Chepstow Library. Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for libraries and community hubs, Councillor Paul Jordan said: “It’s good to see such talented artists in the county and our grateful thanks are due to everyone who submitted a design. We are thrilled with our lovely new cards! I’d also like to thank the supporters of our library service who supplied prizes.”
For further information on the council’s community hubs and libraries log onto: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/community-hubs-libraries/
Chepstow community organisations gather to share networking opportunity
Community groups in the Chepstow area enjoyed a successful networking evening on Wednesday 6th March giving an opportunity to promote the positive work they carry out in the vicinity.
The event was organised by a steering group of local activists with support provided by Monmouthshire County Council’s Community and Partnership Development Team, the Bridges organisation and the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations (GAVO), and featured individuals, groups, clubs and organisations like Age Cymru Gwent, Bulwark Community Centre, Chepstow Action for Youth, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre, the local rotary club and the University of the Third Age (U3A).
Held in Chepstow’s Community Hub, the evening offered those attending the ability to meet and learn from people with similar interests, to discover what useful and complementary activities are arranged in the locality and to find out more about free support available to volunteers. Also included were a series of masterclasses on holding community events as well as learning and development for volunteers, safeguarding and fundraising – all were well attended.
Twenty five local groups set out stalls within the hub and contributed to the event over the evening. Bulwark Community Centre’s volunteer-run Top Stop Coffee Shop provided tea with Chepstow’s Tesco store generously donating cakes.
Councillor Sara Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for community development said: “People have been very complimentary about the evening with quite a few expressing how useful it was to connect with other groups working locally. The steering group is currently planning a similar event for communities around Chepstow in the early summer and we’ll look forward to another successful gathering.”
Celebrating Inspirational Monmouthshire Women on International Women’s Day
Events have been held across Monmouthshire to celebrate the achievements of the county’s women with Caldicot and Monmouth Comprehensive schools running special International Women’s Day occasions for girl students. A variety of speakers attended Caldicot School following a Facebook appeal asking local people to nominate women who inspire them – 101 comments were received with some amazing examples of the difference that women make in their communities every day.
Inspiring stories were shared and discussions held to help girls consider their future goals. Speakers included:
• Catherine Baker – local volunteer who makes a difference in her community as part of a Rogiet parkrun (Co-Event Director), Friends of Rogiet Countryside Park, Magor Rainbows, Magor and Undy Crime Prevention Panel and Magor CIW Primary PTFA. Catherine said: “My advice is to do the things that scare you. There will be so many hurdles in your life to overcome but you won’t succeed if you don’t try. I do something unpaid to benefit the community. No one can make you volunteer. If you embrace the idea of giving up time to help others I would recommend volunteering; you will learn new skills, increase confidence and expand your network. Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
• Chloe-Beth Morgan-James is a Welsh beauty queen who won the Miss Wales 2008 contest and competed in the Miss World 2008 competition held in South Africa. Chloe shared that: “People who achieve things that they never thought they never could inspire me. People make a snap judgement about me. It’s helped shaped me as a person. Other girls need to support each other e.g. around period poverty. Being judged by other women and putting them down for achieving something. Always be kind as you never know the struggle the girl next to you might be going through and you never know when that girl might need to help you. Filter out negative energy and have a genuine, real group around you – to be there for your friends, your mum or your sister. Be kinder to each other and be kind to yourself. Don’t judge, don’t make snap comments and be kind.”
Carol Bogue-Lloyd – VP of Europe Retail and Consumer Products who has been responsible for large Contact Centres and Customer Service Operations across the globe and brings over 30 years’ experience from the Utilities and IT Customer Contact Centres and Service Desks. Carol highlighted: “Nothing’s impossible – go for it. Learn and much as you can and enjoy what you’re doing with a smile. This has been a brilliant day and it’s been inspirational, we can take on the world.”
• Jayne Brown – who offers sports and fitness days to leisure centres and schools and works within the Health Care and Complementary Therapy sector. Jayne inspired everyone in the room explaining how: “You can do anything you like, you’re fabulous – we’re all equal. Work hard and ask questions. Push yourself and your friends and that’s how we can all succeed. If they are looking to set up their own business, link to Big Ideas Wales and register and we’ll send you the details. Any teacher or head teachers in schools, colleges and universities who’d like a role model to come in to speak to them should visit the Big Ideas Wales web pages.”
• Irene Cameron– who was awarded an MBE for Services to Education in 1995. Irene was appointed as a magistrate in 1981 and a Member of Young Offenders Tribunal. Irene was the chair of Newport Committee for Macmillan Cancer Support for many years and acted as a local councillor. Irene commented: “I like to get involved in things to make a difference, I have found today quite inspiring.”
• Eira Culverwell from Big Ideas Wales – runs a company called Resolveit who provides training and workshops in how to stay safe within the Defence and Security sector. Eira holds three black belts, a fourth Dan in Kyokushin Karate and runs a martial arts club in her spare time. Eira shared: “I was bullied in two schools and I wasn’t as confident as I am now. I hated going to school because every day was a complete nightmare. Your power is the only confidence you can have. Find something you’re passionate about and run it full pelt. Even when training as a black belt I refused to hit back in anger. I live, train and work. I study every day. If your idea is weird and you love it – run with it, it might make you money. Write down your goals, they’re really important; I write down my goals and I follow them”
• Maddison Davies – who holds four different black belts and was the youngest ever Team Wales Taekwondo member. Maddison’s career high so far was being a Commonwealth Games Bronze and an Olympic Qualifier Bronze. Within the next couple of years, Maddison hopes to make it to the Olympic Games and win gold. Maddison expressed: “I am inspired about being different to other girls like myself. I may be small, but the fight in me, the ability to dream, the desire, the passion and drive to push through adversity to push through hardship that doesn’t come with height or weight or gender – that comes with heart. As women, we survive and we may seem small but we are mighty.”
• Joanna Goodwin – ex-Caldicot School pupil and Head of Digital Practice at the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Joanna advised young people to: “Be a boat! You are a warship with all the guns and armour around you – don’t let any rubbish going around you make you sink. I’m inspired by people who challenge the norm and push to build things better and do things a bit differently.”
Helen Kings – Managing Director at Touchstone, a UK-wide property management firm which specialises in the private rented sector and build to rent. Helen said: “The more you take yourself get out of your comfort zone, get involved, ask questions and be enthusiastic, the quicker you will grow. Get out, talk to people and try lots of different things.”
• Andrea Rodley – County Commissioner for Girl Guiding Gwent while being a full-time mum. Andrea said: “I want to give girls the opportunity to get out and experience fun, friendship and travel. Don’t be self-conscious. Just be joyous in everything that you do.”
• Eleri Rosier – a reader in Marketing and strategy at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University, a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Eleri is a volunteer for Raglan Music Festival which takes place throughout the weekend of 7th/9th June. Eleri feels: “Inspired by people who push themselves completely out of their comfort zone and who achieve amazing things despite overcoming difficult obstacles. You can be whatever you want to be, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!”.
• Elaine Theaker – who runs her own law firm, Advantage Legal. Last year at the age of 54 Elaine rowed 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in a tiny rowing boat and achieved two Guinness World Records. Elaine described how: “try it – you can astonish yourself. I’m proud of starting my own business from scratch. I’m delighted that the opportunity was there so I took it. I didn’t know what I wanted to do – but by saying yes to opportunities that come along that opportunity might lead to something else. I finished my A levels not knowing that I wanted to do, I tried a job in law. Don’t ever turn something down as it might just be a life changing opportunity. There are no silly questions.”
At Monmouth Comprehensive seven inspirational guest speakers shared their career journey and success stories with girls from Years 9 and 10. Speakers ranged from a foreign diplomat to fire fighters.
Cllr Sara Jones, Monmouthshire’s Cabinet Member for Social Justice said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing from the amazing women in Monmouthshire today. I feel really proud to live in a county where people can achieve their goals whatever they might be – career, sport, volunteering – the list goes on. Some fantastic discussions were held today, with lots of advice for young people about how to plan for the future. Girls shared their views on how our communities can improve now and in the future. I hope that the young people who took part in the discussions today feel inspired to pursue their dreams – whatever they might be. I fully support this year’s International Women’s Day campaign which is committed to building a gender-balanced world. Everyone has a part to play.”
Monmouthshire County Council purchases Newport Leisure Park
County Council has purchased the freehold of the Newport Leisure Park on Spytty
Road in Newport for £21m. The 141,000 sq ft property includes a dominant
13-screen Cineworld cinema, xercise4less gym, Home Bargains superstore, Energi
Adventure park and a range of restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza
Hut and Harvester.
11-acre site includes 705 free car spaces and links through to the Newport
Retail Park and the Tesco Extra on the Eastern side of the city. Large
amounts of new housing are being developed in the surrounding area which is
also close to the potential new route for the planned M4 link road. The Park is
in a prime location in South Wales
has seen significant new investment in the past three years as well as many new
tenants so that it is now fully let.
acted for Monmouthshire, and KLM and Cooke Arkwright acted for Otium on the
Matthews, CEO of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “ We are pleased to
have secured a well-let, long income asset that will provide an excellent
annual return for the Council and help us to sustain our wider service delivery
portfolio in the years ahead. Newport Leisure Park serves a large
catchment area in South Wales and taps into the long-term demand for
experiential consumer spend and leisure activities. It is the latest addition
to our commercial investment portfolio following our recent acquisition of
Castle-gate Business and Science Park”
Blake, CEO of Otium Real Estate, said: “We have invested
heavily into Newport Leisure Park since acquiring it in 2015. Five
new tenants have joined the offer, the park has been refurbished and existing
tenants have enhanced their fit-outs. We are delighted that Monmouthshire
County Council has had the foresight to acquire this asset and that the South
Wales area will continue to benefit from this long-term, secure investment
following our work to regenerate the park. We have enjoyed the experience of
working with Monmouthshire County Council and wish them well for the future.”
Our contact centre is experiencing a large number of calls due to queries relating to waste and recycling changes so waiting times are longer than usual; this is purely due to the volume of calls we are receiving. If customers wish to hold on, their calls will be answered as soon as an operator becomes available – alternately, they can use My Monmouthshire to log queries or message Monty, Monmouthshire’s chat bot via the monmouthshire.gov.uk website or via Facebook messenger: @MonmouthshireCC. We are doing our best to answer the queries as quickly as possible but waiting times can be as long as 20 to 30 minutes. We thank you all for your patience at this extremely busy time.
Council works with local clubs to manage Abergavenny angling
Monmouthshire County Council has established a new partnership with three local game angling clubs to manage and control fishing on the Abergavenny Town Water. Merthyr Angling Alliance, Isca Anglers and the Gwent Angling Society have been successful in bidding to manage the stretch on the council’s behalf.
The clubs understand that management of the beat will focus on benefiting future generations and consequently all angling for youngsters under 17 holding a permit will be free of charge. They will also have to possess the relevant environmental fishing licence, currently free for children under 17 years.
New rules for the stretch have been agreed and the most significant is the fishery will work entirely on a catch and release basis for at least the next two years. This will establish and collate evidence of the existing wild trout and salmon populations.
The only methods of fishing permitted will be fly for trout and fly or lure fishing for salmon. Lure fishing for salmon will only be allowed with a single barbless hook to ensure the safe return of any fish caught.
Local and visiting anglers without membership of any of the three clubs can purchase permits to fish. Prices for annual, weekly and daily permits have been revised and reduced and are available at Keith Price Garage in Abergavenny. They will also be available shortly through the Wye and Usk Fishing Passport scheme www.fishingpassport.co.uk .
Development days for those interested in the sport will be arranged with coaching from licenced and qualified angling coaches and instructors.
Councillor Bryan Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for countryside services said: “I look forward to a long and successful partnership with the three clubs to benefit the management of this valuable stretch of one of the country’s finest waters.”
Abergavenny Library launches reading group for youngsters
A new weekly Chatterbooks group for eight and nine year olds is starting in Abergavenny Library on Friday 8th March from 4pm to 5pm. At Chatterbooks sessions children can meet new friends while discovering and sharing a passion for reading as they talk about books and take part in games, craft activities and competitions. The sessions are free and all are welcome.
Chatterbooks is the UK’s largest network of children’s reading groups and has been created by national charity, The Reading Agency.
Councillor Paul Jordan, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for community hubs and libraries said: “Reading for pleasure is a very important factor in helping children achieve academic success and it opens their eyes to a whole wide world, not only in childhood but throughout life.”
Contact Abergavenny Library on 01873 735980 for more information.
Council’s grounds teams provide boost for environment with mowing change
As spring approaches, Monmouthshire’s grounds maintenance service will work to support the environment and provide a boost for wildlife by modifying mowing practices. Teams will mark open spaces with blue or white topped stakes to highlight areas likely to be suitable habitats which have been identified by council staff, residents or through the council’s partnerships with local groups. These include Bee Friendly Monmouthshire, Bees for Development and Gwent Wildlife Trust as part of the Nature Isn’t Neat project funded by the Vale of Usk Rural Development Plan for Wales
The work supports the National Pollinator Strategy and the council’s long-term objectives to improve the health of Monmouthshire’s natural environment, and includes a reduction in mowing frequency and an increase in mowing height. This approach will allow plants in grassland greater opportunity to flower, providing more food for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. The longer grass also provides homes for many other exciting forms of wildlife. In addition to these benefits, less frequent mowing allows grasses and associated plants to put down deeper roots making them more resilient to drought. Through deeper roots, grass also helps to open up the soil, allowing better absorption of water to reduce localised flooding. Longer grass also slows water run-off on slopes.
Areas identified will be mown in the autumn with grass clippings removed to reduce soil fertility, consequently enabling more indigenous wild flowers to flourish.
Monmouthshire’s residents can expect to see this approach adopted in a range of locations around the county, particularly around the edges of open spaces and around trees – edges are often the least disturbed and most bio-diverse. Trees can also benefit from changes below ground in the soil, improving conditions for their roots.
Councillor Bryan Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for landscapes and bio-diversity said: “Our new approach to mowing will create new habitats for pollinating insects and help increase their numbers throughout the county, while adding to the area’s natural beauty and promoting a wider range of flora and fauna. Such practices are key to ensuring our long-term sustainability.”
For more information visit: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Say Shwmae to Monty, Monmouthshire County Council’s new chatbot this St David’s Day
Monty, Monmouthshire County Council’s chatbot is the first local authority bot in Wales and among the first of Welsh language bots. Since Monty’s launch on 25th January thousands of customers have benefitted from speaking to him for answers to many of their questions about all things Monmouthshire. Residents can access Monty via monmouthshire.gov.uk or on Facebook messenger: @MonmouthshireCC
Monty is constantly evolving and learning how to answer residents’ frequently-asked questions with customers able to access information faster at any time, day or night. Customer service staff have seen improvements as relatively simple questions like reporting a missed bin collection can be resolved immediately by Monty to free staff to help people with far more complex needs – such as homelessness or adoption. Since the launch, Monty has been posed a range of queries involving school meals, snow day updates and garden waste to more complex questions around benefits and council tax queries.
Council Leader, Peter Fox said: “We’re really proud of Monty, who replies to everyone in Welsh or English to give people in Wales the choice when engaging with us digitally. I would encourage everyone to speak to Monty this St. David’s Day as the more replies and answers he learns, the faster we’re going to be able to provide people with the information they want, when they want it.
“We are constantly innovating in Monmouthshire and it has been wonderful working with our South Wales tech company partners, We Build Bots to expand our digital capability into machine learning and artificial intelligence. I would like to thank our colleagues who are working with Monty to ensure that responsiveness improves all the time.”
Paul Shepherd, CEO at We Build Bots added: “Monmouthshire County Council has a reputation for innovation so it was a natural choice when we were looking at councils to approach to discuss our AI and automation tools. The fact that we could flex our bilingual capabilities on this project was a bonus. We’re committed to helping local authorities all across the UK save time and money while delivering improved citizen experiences, and our work with Monmouthshire has been a precursor to a number of other projects in the sector.”
across Monmouthshire took part in a competition to name the council’s new fleet
of recycling vehicles with imaginative waste related names. Pupils and parents
let their imagination run wild. The range of names were varied and the
competition was extremely strong. The competition created a stir on the council’s
social media channels, a number of residents stepped in with their favourite
winner ‘Sir Binwy’ was the idea Cameron Gilchrist a pupil from Cross Ash
Primary School, Abergavenny. An additional prize was awarded to Trellech
Primary School for submitting the most entries. Education and Awareness
Officers Sue Parkinson and Paul Qualye visited both schools along with one of
the new lorries on Friday 22nd February. Cameron and pupils from Trellech
Primary were presented with a bundle of new books for their school library in
recognition of their efforts.
Pupils at both
schools had the opportunity to explore the lorries, which can collect 2000 bags
of waste. It was a fascinating experience, pupils were eager to ask questions,
find out more and learned vital facts about the lorries. Some pupils even got
hands on and were keen to press the loading and compression buttons, and were
fascinated by the lorries ability to open up and tip out bags of waste and
vehicles will be on the road from Monday 4th March. Look out for the following names:
Sir Binwy, O
Bin-Wan-Kanobe, Rhys Seiclo, Binny McBin Face, Taclus Ted, Binnie The Pooh, Bin
Terfel, Rob Bin Hood, Binderella, Mission Bin Possible, Bin a Long Day, Bin
Around Town, Bin Diesel, Ter-Bin-Ator, Bindiana Jones, Gunge & Roses, Bin
and Dunnit, Dumpledore, Nick Binit and Jonny Trash.
for Operations Cllr Bryan Jones said:
“I was so
pleased to see how many suggestions came in from local schools and the public.
I am sure the names will make residents smile, they certainly made me chuckle.”
“I am so
pleased with the response to recycling in Monmouthshire. The new fleet of
lorries will enable more of our waste to be separated providing a better
quality of recyclable materials.”
will result in new collection days for our residents I hope that they will
continue to support our efforts and adapt to these changes.”
urged not to worry about collection day changes, a letter will be sent in the
post which will inform them of the changes.”
***We’re pleased to say that our earlier IT server issues and systems problems have been rectified and you can now log reports on My Monmouthshire or take payments for garden waste registration at our community hubs or the contact centre.***
We apologise but due to IT server issues and a problem with our systems we are currently unable to log reports on My Monmouthshire or take payments for the garden waste registration at our community hubs or the contact centre. Our IT providers hope this will be rectified by 12noon today. Could you please try later once the systems are up and running and we will be happy to assist you.
Country market and half-term story session with a twist for Usk Hub
Usk Community Hub will host a St David’s Day country market on Thursday 28th February as well as a story time session for children up to the age of eight. The market runs from 10am to 2pm and offers cakes, jam, preserves, flowers, bread, plants and knitted items. Tea, coffee and freshly-made Welsh cakes will also be on sale.
On the same day and starting at 10.30am, Dave the Balloon Guy will tell tales with a twist featuring unicorns and other subjects. Dave uses his skill to create animals from balloons to illustrate his stories, much to the delight of young children.
All are welcome to both free events.
For further information, email email@example.com – or telephone 01291 426888. Usk Community Hub is based at 35 Maryport Street, NP15 1AE where there are two free car parks nearby.
Monmouthshire’s communities combine to back Fairtrade Fortnight
Schools and community groups across Monmouthshire are joining with the council to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight between Monday, 25th February and Sunday, 10th March.
Events across the county will aim to encourage shoppers to buy more Fairtrade goods because farmers in developing countries deserve a fair deal – one that leads to them earning a living income. Local schools are holding special assemblies, bake sales and classwork with a Fairtrade theme and the public are invited to coffee mornings, sales and tasting sessions, all aimed at making people aware of the difference Fairtrade can make.
Fairtrade has done much to improve the lives of many, but it’s not enough or fast enough. Many farmers – both men and women – are underpaid and exploited. That means they can’t earn enough for the basics many of us take for granted, including food, education and housing.
A living income is a fundamental goal for Fairtrade, and nowhere is the need more clear than in the cocoa industry; hence cocoa is the theme for this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight. Europe is the world’s biggest importer of cocoa, yet a shocking 60% of all cocoa farmers live below the poverty line.
That’s why, starting this Fairtrade Fortnight, Monmouthshire’s communities can help.
Fairtrade is the only organisation to guarantee a safety net of a minimum price for farmers in times of global price decline plus a premium, an extra amount of money that goes directly to farmers to invest in business or projects of their choice in their own communities. Residents and visitors are invited to the county’s Fairtrade events organised over the fortnight and look for the Fairtrade Mark to enjoy a taste of chocolate indulgence and support a move towards a living income.
Councillor Sara Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Social Justice & Community Development said: “Farmers get a better deal when they sell their crops on Fairtrade terms. This leads to a higher and more stable income and can help them break the cycle of poverty in which they’re trapped. Through Fairtrade, farmers can invest in better farming and earn more money, ensuring their children are fed and can go to school. Communities can invest in clean water and clinics, improving everyone’s health.”
Many events will be held in Monmouthshire over Fairtrade Fortnight;
Chepstow Town Centre
Fairtrade window displays in the town arch, Toytastik and Oxfam.
Monmouth Community Hub
Tuesday 19th February – Pembroke Primary School, Chepstow
Fairtrade assemblies and Fairtrade-themed persuasive writing
Friday 22nd February – Mayor’s Parlour, Shire Hall, Monmouth
Launch of Fairtrade coaster design competition for the Mayor’s Parlour, for local primary schools
Saturday 23rd February (10am to 12noon) – The Priory, Monmouth
Chocolate-themed coffee morning
Wednesday 27th February – Chepstow Community Hub
Saturday 2nd March – Abergavenny Oxfam, Frogmore Street
Fairtrade Food tasting
Saturday 2nd March (9.30am to 12.30pm) – Memorial Hall, Usk
Fairtrade stall at Usk Farmers Market
Tuesday 5th March at 9.15am – Raglan Primary School
Fairtrade assembly and Year Three chocolate-themed lesson
Tuesday 5th March at 10am – Little Tots, Trinity Hall, Baker Street, Abergavenny
Fairtrade themed fun
Tuesday 5th March from 12noon – Methodist Hall, Castle Street, Abergavenny
Fairtrade Pancake lunch and Fairtrade stall
Wednesday 6th March (10.30 to 12noon) – Llangybi Village Hall
Thursday 7th March at 9.30am – Cross Ash Primary School
Thursday 7th March from 10.30am – Christ Church, North Street, Abergavenny
Fairtrade coffee morning
Thursday 7th March (12 – 2pm) – County Hall, Usk
Saturday 9th March from 10am – Methodist Hall, Castle Street, Abergavenny
Fairtrade event with speakers, music, stalls and refreshments
Sunday 10th March – Chepstow Market
Other school activities
• Goytre Fawr Primary School – Fairtrade baking competition
• Ysgol y Fenni – Fairtrade assembly
• Magor Church in Wales Primary School – Fairtrade assembly
• Thornwell Primary School – Fairtrade assembly
• Osbaston Primary School – Coffee morning
Thursday 21st February Between 8.55 – 9.25 (approx.)
Thursday 21st February Between 21.20 – 21.50 (approx.)
Friday 22nd February Between 9.40 – 10.10 (approx.)
Friday 22nd February Between 22.00 – 22.30 (approx.)
Saturday 23rd February Between 10.20 – 10.50 (approx.)
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. 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.
Council has listened to residents and is considering Council budget changes
Monmouthshire County Council will take a significant step towards
setting its budget for next year when Cabinet outlines a recommended budget at
its meeting on 20th February, which will then be considered by full
Council on 7th March. It has been a difficult process and we have
been listening to feedback from residents about our initial proposals since
19th December 2018. As a result, there are some changes that will be put
Cllr Phil Murphy, Cabinet Member for Resources said:
“I would like to thank all of the people who have shared their
feedback with us. We have listened to you. The proposed changes to the budget
that we are considering are based on what you’ve told us matters to you.
Monmouthshire receives the lowest funding per head of population of any local
authority in Wales – since 2013/14 the council’s revenue support grant, the
core funding received from central government, has reduced considerably. The
largest reduction of any local authority in Wales – with such significant
budget cuts listening to our residents is more important than ever. Our
approach continues to be to change, improve and adapt our services rather than
to close them down. We refuse to lose our ambition for the county although
financial realities are restraining our abilities somewhat.”
‘The Council will receive £600k less in
hard cash from Welsh Government next year than it received this year. Together
with some £6 million of spending pressures identified through the budget
process and £3.6 million of other pay and price increases we have had to find a
savings package totalling some £10.2 million. £3.6 million will be found from
cost reductions, £3.2 million from increases in income and £3.4 million from a
Council Tax increase of 5.95%.’
Councillor Murphy added that the Cabinet’s strategy has been straightforward and is directly linked to the Councils approved Corporate Plan. Some of the major investments proposed by Cabinet are:To protect schools by fully funding all pay and pension increases at a cost of £1.9 million.
To recognise social care pressures; primarily around our ageing population and an increasing number of looked after children at a cost of £1.2 million.
To honour all national pay awards and continue its position to set a Living wage in line with the Living Wage Foundation.
To make available an additional £300,000 for Disabled Facility Grants to enable more people to live independently for longer.
To spend an additional £1.2 million on highways maintenance schemes.
To continue work on a new 3-18 school in Abergavenny.
To commence the build of Abergavenny community hub and complete the town centre refurbishment programme.
To make necessary provision to bring forward a replacement for Severn View residential home.
To make provision to push on with feasibility works on new transport infrastructure in and around Chepstow.
To deliver a new post office in Usk community hub.
To continue on with plans to regenerate the centre of Caldicot.
To set aside £100k to support high street traders through a business rates discretion over and above national levels.
Councillor Murphy went on to say that a range of service changes /
cost reductions will go forward, albeit some key changes arising from listening
to residents views will be:
The proposal to introduce parking charges for Blue Badge holders will not go
ahead in Monmouthshire. Further, we will improve signage and enforcement for
disabled car parking spaces. We will not consider the introduction of charges
for the remainder of this Council term.
some residents felt that Sunday car parking charges would deter people who pop
to their local high street for a short visit on a Sunday. Consequently Cabinet
will be recommending that the first two hours will be free with a single charge
of one pound for the rest of the day.
Christmas parking – The council will continue to provide free car parking for
another year for residents and visitors to the county.
rate relief scheme – Cabinet will recommend that further support will be given to
businesses through a locally determined Business Rate Relief Scheme. The views
of the business community will be taken on board in designing the scheme. More
information about how businesses can apply for business rate relief will be
shared in due course. The Cabinet also intends to make an offer to Welsh
Government to work with them to examine options for the longer term reform of
local taxes and to make sure such a system is progressive, fair and transparent.
Specific Learning Difficulties Service – Concerns were raised about two roles which were potentially
going to be deleted within the specific learning difficulties service team
which supports schools – the council is committed to supporting all
learners and as a result of the feedback shared these roles will now not be
Residents urged to register for garden waste collection
Registration has begun for residents to sign up for
Monmouthshire County Council’s seasonal garden waste collection and those wishing
to use the service must purchase a permit.
One permit provides the weekly collection of the contents of
one brown garden waste bag which costs £18 per season with no restriction on
the number residents can purchase. Garden waste will only be collected if a
permit is visible on the bag.
Weekly garden waste collections begin on Monday 4th March
and end on Friday 29th November 2019 – no collections will take place from
Monday 2nd December 2019 to 28th February 2020. Residents are urged to register
now before March 4th to receive your permit in time for the first collection.
Purchasing a permit is simple and residents are able to
register in a variety of ways:
Phone: 01633 644705 (Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm and Friday from 9am to
Once registered, residents must allow up to 14 days to
receive a permit. Last year’s customers will receive a letter reminding them to
renew their registration soon.
Cllr Bryan Jones Cabinet member for Waste and Recycling
‘I urge residents who require garden waste collections to
apply for a permit today! Those who have purchased permits in the past need to
reapply using the many available ways to get in touch. I hope residents who are
new to the service will be satisfied with the high standard we provide in
Feedback on the service is important, residents are
encouraged to have their say via an online survey on the garden waste service
which aims to find out what residents would like from the service in the
future. To complete the survey visit:
Free start-up workshops, hosted by Business Wales, the Welsh Government’s flagship business support service, are taking place to help and support people in Monmouthshire who are considering starting or running their own business.
start-up workshops cover a variety of topics, including developing a business
idea, sourcing finance, business planning, pricing and marketing, and will take
place between 9.15am and 4pm on Wednesday, 27th February in
Abergavenny’s Youth Centre (Old Hereford Road) and in the Bridges Centre in
Monmouth on Thursday, 21st March.
courses aim to aid budding entrepreneurs to take the plunge and decide whether
self-employment is for them. All workshops are designed and delivered by
experienced Business Wales advisers and provide an opportunity to ask questions
and network with like-minded people.
Bob Greenland, Cabinet Member for Enterprise at Monmouthshire County Council
said: “The council is keen to support and encourage business growth and job
creation. We’re delighted to recommend these helpful workshops to anyone
aiming to start their own business in the county.”
Phipps, Business Adviser at Business Wales, said: “Our role as business
advisers is to share experience, provide practical advice, support and
knowledge to instil confidence among people at the start of their business
fully-funded workshops provide a great starting point for all attendees who
want to gain an understanding of the key principles and practical skills
required to start and run their own business, so I would encourage everyone in
Monmouthshire who is considering self-employment, to come along.”
Business Wales, which is funded by the
European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, supports the
sustainable growth of small and medium size enterprises across the country
by offering access to information, guidance and business support. To find out how Business Wales can help start or
develop your business, call 03000 6 03000, follow @_businesswales or
@_busnescymru or visit www.businesswales.gov.wales/ or www.busnescymru.llyw.cymru/ for further information.
Monmouth celebrates launch of top quality leisure provision with new pool and health spa
Monmouth celebrated a red letter day on Monday,
11th February with the launch of the local leisure centre’s eagerly-awaited
swimming pool and health spa. The new facilities set high standards for
leisure provision in the county and beyond, offering an ideal opportunity for
users of all ages to relax and have fun as well as achieve their fitness goals.
The leisure centre – now known as Monmouth’s
Premier Leisure Facility – closed for refurbishment in November 2017 but
re-opened last August to offer a large gym, spin studio, toning suite, spacious
changing rooms, a children’s play centre, open plan café and a multi-purpose
room for parties and meetings as well as relaxation areas, all featuring the
latest market-leading equipment.
Meanwhile, the council has worked tirelessly to
unveil the second phase of the £7.4m refurbishment with a brand new, state of
the art five lane 25 metres swimming pool, beauty treatment rooms and a health
The original pool was only 20 metres long so the
new facility will present improved options for bathers. The first to dip
his toe in the water was Jim Saunders of Coleford who was invited as the last
person to swim in the original pool. Jim is a very keen swimmer and looks
forward to visiting on a regular basis.
The health spa features a jacuzzi, sauna and steam
room while the treatment rooms offer the highest quality facials, manicures,
pedicures and massage provided by a team of three headed by beauty therapist
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility
for leisure, Councillor Bob Greenland said: “It’s a very great pleasure and
privilege to celebrate a successful project three years in the making. At
a time when other councils were closing leisure centres, we committed to this
new modern facility and we now see the fulfilment of our promise to the people
of Monmouth and the surrounding areas. Members of the leisure centre’s
staff have demonstrated faith in a time of uncertainty but
they can now look forward to a bright future. I’d also like to recognise
the contribution of development specialist Alliance Leisure which has supported
the council throughout the project and the ISG construction services company
for its wonderful work here in Monmouth.”
Councillor Greenland promised a formal opening of
the refurbished leisure centre later in the summer after work had been
completed in the adjacent comprehensive school.
Monmouth’s Premier Leisure Facility manager Nick Butler
added: “We’ve been delighted with the number of people visiting here today and
it’s great to hear such positive comments.”
Community Hub welcomes residents to join a new shared reading session called
‘Book Cwtch’ every Friday at 2.30pm.
Cwtch is a shared reading session that enables people to listen to stories and
poems being read aloud.
reading can improve mental health and wellbeing. The sessions are an
opportunity for people to make new friends and
listen to stories and poems read aloud by
the leader of the group. The stories and poems can ignite imaginations and
provide a space to reflect.
Paul Jordan Cabinet Member for Community Hubs said:
hubs have many things on offer and can provide residents with opportunities to
try something new. I encourage everyone to visit their local hub, go along to a
shared reading session or just pop in and see what it’s all about. The beauty
of our hubs is that they are at the centre of the community and are there to
Come along to Time to Talk day at Usk Hub on Thursday 7th February 9.00am – 12.00pm for a cup of tea and a chat. Time to Talk Day is a national initiative and aims to encourage people of all ages to take time to stop and talk to someone to maintain positive mental health.
Justine Jamieson and Lynn Green from the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Primary Care Mental Health Team will be at the Hub to offer help and advice. The team can help people can access services to help treat and manage mild to moderate mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, stress and other mental health issues.
This year the focus of the campaign raising awareness of the importance of sitting down with a cup of tea to and have a conversation. Residents are welcome to pop in to the hub and find out about the full range of support services on offer in Monmouthshire to help maintain positive mental health and wellbeing.
Contact with people is especially important in overcoming issues such as social isolation. Usk hub is a haven for residents who need a chat and a smile from a friendly face.
Cabinet Member for Social Justice Cllr Sara Jones said:
‘I encourage residents to take time out and visit the Primary Care Mental Health Team at Usk Hub. It is so important to make time in the day to stop and chat and at the same time get some help and advice.’
Usk Community Hub will feature a Meet the Author event on Thursday 7th February.
Local writer Cath Barton will read from her recently published work “The Plankton Collector” at 10.30am, explaining how she came to write the book and answering questions about her writing. Tea and coffee will be available as well as a book signing session.
The Plankton Collector, described as “haunting and atmospheric”, tells of a family flung apart from one another in grief. They are visited in turn by the mysterious plankton collector who appears in different guises – to one he is a gardener, to another he’s an old friend. This is a fable about loss, memory and, in the end, hope.
Cath Barton has lived in Abergavenny since 2005 and is now completing a collection of short stories inspired by Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch as well as working on a novel set in Kathmandu following a major earthquake.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for community hubs, Councillor Paul Jordan said: “We welcome all to Cath Barton’s talk which promises to be a fascinating occasion. Our community hubs offer similar occasions throughout the year and they are all well worth attending.”
For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org – or telephone 01291 426888. Usk Community Hub is based at 35 Maryport Street, NP15 1AE where there are two free car parks nearby.
Monmouthshire launches first Welsh council chatbot
Monmouthshire County Council welcomed residents to ‘Love Digital’ on Friday, 25th January – St Dwynwen’s Day, the Welsh equivalent of Valentine’s Day – with the launch of Monty, Monmouthshire’s brand new chatbot which is available 24/7 on Monmouthshire’s website – monmouthshire.gov.uk – and via its Facebook messenger service – @MonmouthshireCC. Monty is the first local authority chatbot in Wales and will enhance Monmouthshire County Council’s digital experience.
The bot, named Monty by local people following a competition at Usk Show and via social media – who thankfully avoided the now ubiquitous moniker Botty McBotface – uses artificial intelligence and learns about the questions people ask most often to develop quicker and better responses, releasing council staff to support vulnerable people and those with more complex queries.
The council’s community hubs welcomed residents to pop in and enjoy a St Dwynwen’s Day tea and technology chat. Sessions took place in Caldicot, Chepstow and Monmouth with support provided for people looking to get online for the first time and learn more about digital technology. There was also an opportunity to understand the range of different ways people can contact the council including Monty, the My Monmouthshire app, the Monmouthshire website and also how to access online library resources.
People looking to find out about Monmouthshire’s beautiful countryside and attractions can see www.visitmonmouthshire.com where various events across the county are featured. In addition, blue badge holders can find out more about the new online system introduced to cut blue badge application time. The new service means applicants can complete the entire process online – details can be found at gov.uk/apply-blue-badge
Council Leader, Peter Fox said: “We’re really proud to be the first county council in Wales to have launched a chatbot. This St Dwynwen’s Day we helped people learn more about digital technology and meet Monty. The more people who start to Love Digital, the more can get the answers they require more quickly and as easily as possible. And what better day to share the digital love than on St Dwynwen’s Day.”
Council to consult over proposed changes to school admission arrangements
Monmouthshire County Council is proposing changes to its schools admission arrangements and has launched a public consultation programme with a deadline for responses of Friday, 1st March. Feedback from the consultation will help to determine the criteria for which applicants are awarded places to their preferred school when demand exceeds capacity.
If agreed, the proposals will affect all the county’s schools and any changes will be effective from the start of the 2020/21 academic year.
Anyone wishing to respond to the council’s proposals may complete the council’s consultation questionnaire, which is available on its website – https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/admissionconsultation – or attend one of the consultation meetings the council has organised in February:
Thursday, 7th February at 6pm – Durand Primary School
Thursday, 14th February at 6pm – Chepstow School
Monday, 11th February at 6pm – Cantref Primary School
Thursday, 21st February at 6pm – Overmonnow Primary School
All areas daytime drop-in sessions
Wednesday, 6th February from 9.30am to 11.30am – Innovation House, Magor
Friday, 22nd February from 9.30am to 11.30am – County Hall, Usk
In accordance with the School Admissions Code Wales (July 2013), local authorities must consult annually on the admission arrangements for those schools for which it is the admissions authority. Where changes to existing arrangements are proposed, consultation must be undertaken with those likely to be affected by the proposals.
The consultation report will be published by Wednesday, 27th March and Monmouthshire’s cabinet will consider the results of consultation and agree how to proceed at its meeting on Wednesday, 3rd April.
Councillor Richard John, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Children and Young People said: “There are a number of schools in Monmouthshire which are often oversubscribed and places need to be allocated in a priority order. Through this consultation, we want to hear from residents about what that priority order should be and the weight given to siblings, applications from out of catchment and distance from home to school. We need to keep class sizes to strict limits and that means schools can’t always accommodate parents’ first preference. I would urge as many people as possible to tell us what they think about how we should prioritise the allocation of primary and secondary school places.”
Monmouthshire County Council is proposing changes to its secondary school catchment areas and has launched a public consultation programme with a deadline for responses of Friday, 1st March. If agreed, the proposals will affect primary school pupils living in four areas of the county – Goetre, Trelech, Usk and Llandogo – and any changes will be effective from the start of the 2020/21 academic year.
Anyone wishing to respond to the council’s proposals may complete the council’s consultation questionnaire, which is available on its website – www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/catchmentconsultation – or attend one of the consultation meetings the council has organised in February:
Goetre and surrounding areas
Tuesday, 5th February at 6pm – Goytre Fawr Primary School
Trelech and surrounding area
Tuesday, 12th February at 6pm – Trelech Primary School
Llandogo and surrounding area
Monday, 18th February at 6pm – Llandogo Primary School
Usk and surrounding area
Wednesday, 20th February at 6pm – Usk Church in Wales Primary School
All areas daytime drop-in session
Thursday, 14th February from 9.30am to 11.30am – County Hall, Usk
In accordance with The School Admissions Code Wales (July 2013), local authorities must consult on admission arrangements for those schools for which it is the admissions authority. Where changes to existing arrangements are proposed, including school catchment areas, consultation must be undertaken with those likely to be affected by the proposals.
Councillor Richard John, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Children and Young People said “Making a secondary school preference is a really important and emotive decision for parents. Secondary school catchment areas have been largely unchanged since 1996 and there are a number of anomalies. The changes we’re proposing mean that as far as possible, primary and secondary school catchment areas will align meaning peer groups formed in primary school may be less likely to be split up on transition to secondary school. I hope that as many residents as possible will contribute to this consultation by writing or emailing in or attending our public meetings, so we can make an informed decision so catchment areas are fit for the future.”
The consultation report will be published by Wednesday, 27th March and Monmouthshire’s cabinet will consider the results of consultation and agree how to proceed at its meeting on Wednesday, 3rd April.
Three of Monmouthshire’s community hubs raised money for a good cause while bringing the community together by supporting The Samaritans’ Brew Monday campaign with fundraising events on Monday 21st January.
Usk Community Hub’s activities included a pop-up shop offering tea, coffee and cake as well as a performance from the Usk Singing Group. In addition, the Usk-based Gwent Therapy Centre offered free ten minute Indian head massage sessions. Similar events held at Chepstow and Monmouth featured tea and cakes, shared reading board games, colouring and a Knit and Natter group.
Brew Monday is offered as an antidote to “Blue Monday” – the third Monday in January – which is claimed to be one of the most difficult days of the year in the northern hemisphere as post-Christmas financial pressures coincide with dark, gloomy days and low motivational levels. But The Samaritans say this doesn’t have to be the case and they invited communities to beat the January blues by gathering with friends, family or colleagues over a brew to raise vital funds.
Councillor Paul Jordan, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for the council’s community hubs said: “We’re delighted to support The Samaritans in carrying out such valuable work. Over the last 64 years, the charity’s volunteers have helped save countless lives, but as demand for services grows, they need support now more than ever. Money raised will help keep Samaritans phone lines open and volunteers supporting people in need.”
Community Hub Manager Richard Drinkwater added: “It’s Brew Monday, not Blue Monday here in Monmouthshire. We’re taking the time for a cuppa in our community hubs to support the Samaritans.”
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Welcome to Monmouthshire
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