Monmouthshire County Council’s community meals initiative, Monmouthshire Meals, has been praised by staff and people in the community for helping to build friendships and tackle loneliness across the county. It follows a week of special celebrations by the community meals team to mark National Meals on Wheels Week. (4th-8th November)

A week-long campaign took place to promote and celebrate the brilliant service provided by the community meals staff. The celebrations saw council staff rallying together to donate personalised gifts and cards which were taken out with meals to help send a positive message to residents. Boxes of chocolates, flowers and toiletries sets were delivered to meals on wheels residents – many of which often experience isolation or feel lonely.

Children from Deri View Primary School, Abergavenny also played their part in Meals On Wheels Week by designing and creating personalised placemats, each featuring a positive and warm message which were delivered to residents alongside their daily meal.  

Monmouthshire Meals has been providing midday meals and welfare support to some of the most vulnerable members of our community every single day for more than 15 years – that`s over 5,500 days of continuous, consistent and vital service. For many people living in isolation the service provides someone to chat and build friendships with.

Janet Brown has been delivering community meals for over 12 years and says the service is more than just a meal. She has seen first-hand the difference a chat can have on many people who feel lonely and isolated. She said: “It’s great seeing the pleasure on faces when I go in. They know me and I know them really well. We go in and make sure all our residents are well. Sometimes we are the only people they will see on a daily basis so a friendly chat or even offering to fix their television really does go a long way.

Chief Executive, Paul Matthews said: “Our community meals go much further than just providing food to our residents. This is a befriending service supporting some of our most vulnerable and it’s great to see the excellent work of the staff helping to improve the health and wellbeing of people across the county.”

A range of drop in sessions and open evenings are taking place throughout November for European Nationals affected by the European Settlement Status.

The sessions will provide an opportunity to gain an understanding of the Settlement Scheme, how to apply and how it will impact on individuals, families and businesses.   

Two open evenings are taking place King Henry VIII on Wednesday 13th November at 6.00pm and at Chepstow School, Welsh St, Chepstow NP16 5LR on Wednesday 11th December at Chepstow School and at

Additional drop in sessions are taking place on the following dates:

Monday 18th November at Chepstow Hub 10am – 1pm, Room 1 ground floor

Tuesday 19th November at Abergavenny Citizens Advice Bureau – 1pm – 4pm

Monday 25th November at Monmouth Hub 10am – 1pm, Room 3

Advice and support will be provided by organisations such as Citizen Advice Bureau, Mind Newport and many more.

Shaz Miah, Community Cohesion Officer at Monmouthshire County Council and Newport County Council is working with communities to help alleviate anxiety and stress by offering one-to-one support to help complete applications. 

All European Nationals who wish to remain in the United Kingdom need to apply by 30 June 2021.  By applying for Settlement Status it will enable individuals and families to continue to be entitled to access services similar to those that are currently available to them. Full details of the services available can be found using the link below.

Frances O Brien, Chief Officer for Enterprise and Communities said:

“I urge anyone who needs more advice and support to attend the drop in sessions. The Settlement Scheme affects the lives of many people who have been living in Monmouthshire for many years. Help is available, please do get in touch with Shaz Miah our Community Cohesion Officer.”

Details of more drop in sessions will be available in coming weeks.  

For more information on the application process visit: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families  or contact Shaz Miah, Community Cohesion Officer 07811981352 or email: ShajanMiah@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Monmouthshire County Council Planning Department are consulting on their Draft Archaeology in Planning Advisory Note. To view and comment on the proposed document head to our Planning Policy Consultation Page.

Monmouthshire is county rich in volunteers, individuals who give their heart and soul to help other and their communities. On Wednesday 30th October some of the county’s outstanding volunteers were celebrated at the annual Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisation, Volunteer Achievement Awards at Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel.

The awards generated a wealth of nominations and judges had a tough decision deciding the winners. GAVO is pleased to announce the following individuals gained recognition for their outstanding dedication, commitment and passion for helping others.

Winner of the Adult Volunteer, sponsored by Pobl Group – Ceri Carlyon.

Ceri gained the award for heroutstandingcontribution to well-being in the community. Ceri is a shining example, as an inspiring and creative Group Scout Leader to 1st Gilwern Scout Group. Ceri has not let her deteriorating disability affect her volunteering or family commitments and has launched two business in the past four years. Ceri has also become involved in other community based projects facilitated by Monmouthshire County Council, for example the Monmouthshire showcase stand at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny.

Highly Commended – Robert Hilary Wade, an inspirational individual who has introduced many young people to the magic of the theatre, via his work as a Musical Director in Youth Theatre, and also through sport, as a volunteer referee for the Gwent Central League from 2001 to the present day.

Environmental Volunteer, sponsored by Chepstow Round Table – Stuart Davies

Stuart is an amazing individual, his commitment to improving the environment is unique. Stuart volunteers at community recycling charity in Homemakers, Abergavenny for the past six years for six days a week. Stuart goes over and above to help individuals recycle household items and is a well-loved member of the Homemakers team.

Highly Commended – Pathcare Walking Group work with Monmouthshire County Council to carry out fortnightly checks of routes that form part of the Countryside Service’s Guided Walk Programme. They ensure that the routes remain safe and accessible, a benefit to residents and visitors alike.

Group award – Sponsored by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board – Active8

Activ8 is a peer led project with ‘Activ8 Champions’ who empower young people to develop skills, confidence and knowledge to help them progress into volunteering, education, employment or training.

Highly Commended – Food Sense, Monmouth work with local supermarkets to ensure that food doesn’t go to waste, providing free food collection points for those who need it and provide healthy meals for children and young people taking part in summer play schemes.

Personal journey- Sponsored by Bethany Home – Thea Babb

Thea is a volunteer on the Mind Matters project, the project works with young people to raise awareness of mental health issues. Thea selflessly pushes herself to help others, using her own experiences to educate young people.

Highly Commended – Katie Newbury has overcome adversity and personal challenges and is now an active volunteer with the Monmouthshire Citizens Advice in Caldicot helping others in the community. 

Trustee Volunteer, Sponsored by Caldicot Town Council – Emlyn Lunn

Emlyn overcame a stroke and accompanying medical challenges to volunteer with Monmouthshire Housing Association. He now holds the position of Vice Chair and ensures all tenants have a voice.

Young Volunteer- Sponsored by the Office of Police & Crime Commissioner in Gwent – Charley Oliver-Holland

Charley is an outstanding role model and ensure that the voice for the young people is heard. Charley is Chair of Engage 2 Change the county’s Youth Council, a member of Wales Youth Parliament and a representative for the British Youth Council. She dedicates her time to ensuring the voice of young people is heard and valued.

Highly Commended – Kelsey Goodwin, a volunteer at Monnow Vale Hospital. Kelsey provides support for individuals with dementia, their family and staff members.

Sheriff of Gwent Award – Harry Stitt

Harry joined ‘Ready Steady Go’ an activity club for children with Autism in May 2018 at the age of 14. To date he has achieved over 100 volunteer hours with the club and supports the young children to access activities, play and participate in the sessions.

Monmouthshire County Council Chairman’s AwardSerena Morgan

Serena has made a significant contribution to the County of Monmouthshire. Serena has gained self-confidence and belief through her volunteering work at Bridges Charity Shop. She has mastered the till, is a sought after face by customers and even has taken responsibility for opening the shop in recent months.

Dedicated volunteers Taran Fitzgerald, Charley Oliver-Holland and Robert Harman, George Beale and Elaine Savage were presented with GAVO Volunteer Recognition certificates for reaching 1000 hours of volunteering, by the Lord Lieutenant in Gwent, Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE.    

Frances O Brien, Chief Officer for Enterprise said:

“Volunteers offer so much to communities in Monmouthshire. We are so lucky to have the support of the Be Community team and GAVO to provide valuable training and support. I congratulate everyone who has been nominated, and I would like thank the unsung volunteers. I urge anyone who knows someone who goes over and above to help others to nominate them for an award in 2020!”

Clare Watkins, GAVO Volunteering Team Manager said “It is an honour to highlight the selfless efforts and the valuable contributions our shortlisted volunteers have made to ensure our communities are better places to live. 

The difference these individuals and groups make to the lives of others is amazing.  I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers across Monmouthshire. GAVO would also like to express gratitude to everyone who took time to put forward nominations.

The judging panel had a difficult job selecting the winners. I would also like to thank our wonderful compere for the evening, Kim Tovey, Senior Organisational Development Manager at Wales Ambulance Service Trust, who has given her time freely and also to our sponsors whose financial contribution help make the celebrations possible.

I would like to thank the Cwrt Bleddyn Hotel & Spa for donating a prize of an overnight stay in one of their superior rooms at their fabulous Hotel and Jeffries Fine Jewellers for the donation of a beautiful Clogau necklace.”

For more information about the Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations contact: Clare Watkins call 01633 241566 or email: clare.watkins@gavo.org.uk

People are being asked to dig deep this festive season and donate a gift for Monmouthshire’s Christmas wishes appeal.

Unwrapped presents for children and young people aged from 0 to 25 years old are wanted to help bring Christmas cheer to some of Monmouthshire’s most vulnerable.

The annual appeal organised by the council’s Children’s Services team, hopes to benefit over 220 vulnerable, looked after children and care leavers this year and gifts of all sizes are welcome including toiletries and makeup for older children and young people.

Anyone wishing to donate to the appeal is asked to leave their unwrapped gifts with staff at one of Monmouthshire’s Community hubs or County Hall in Usk by Friday 29th of November. The presents will then be carefully matched to each child’s individual likes and interests.

Julie Boothroyd, Chief Officer for Social Care and Health said: “The festive season is a time for giving and sharing kindness and love. This is exactly what our Christmas Wishes appeal is about. Over the years we have seen the amazing affect a small gift can have on a child who is looked after or vulnerable. These young people haven’t always had the best start to life and we hope we can show them how much they are really cared about by giving them a fantastic Christmas. One small gift really can make a huge difference”

The annual Monmouthshire Young Ambassadors Sport Conference took place at County Hall, Usk on Wednesday 23rd October. The day aimed to provide sports leadership skills to a new generation of year 6 primary pupils, the day is just one aspect of Monmouthshire County Council’s Playmaker’ Sport Leadership programme. Sixty pupils – two year 6 pupils from every primary school gained valuable insights that will be used to empower fellow pupils in their school.

Pupils took part in variety activities including human bingo which helped the young leaders to interact with one another and later listened to inspirational workshops from Monmouthshire Fairtrade who explained the importance of equality in all aspects of life and heard messages from officers and elected members of how to be a positive role model.

The youngsters took to Coleg Gwent, Usk sports pitch which is adjacent to County Hall to brush up on their coaching skills with the help of local league two football team, Newport County. With the help of the team’s Community development coaches’ pupils took part in games learning new skills and developing techniques that will be welcomed by all back at in their playground.

Since 2017 over three thousand Year’s 5, 6 and 7 pupils have taken part the ‘Playmaker’ Sport Leadership programme, the programme which has been recognised as best practice is being replicated nationally and internationally and is a testament to officers leading the programme to educate and empower children and young people. 

The playmaker and bronze young ambassador programme is the start of the journey for many young people with four leadership academies established across all comprehensive schools in Monmouthshire.  The leadership academies continue to embed messages set in the playmaker programme and provide opportunities for young people to support physical activity within their school and local community. With 85% of the team’s current workforce having come through volunteering there is a clear pathway for young people to develop their skills and gain employment opportunities. 

Monmouthshire Sport Development Team Lead, Paul Sullivan said: “Our team has made a conscious effort to invest a lot of time in developing leadership opportunities for our young people.  Programmes such as the young ambassador conference and the increasing number of leisure staff who began their journey on the Playmaker Leadership programme and are now paid staff is a clear indication that this process is working and we are developing positive opportunities for our future generations. I look forward to seeing what impact the bronze young ambassadors, supported by our MonSport Playmakers, will have on enhancing wellbeing across our primary education in Monmouthshire.”

For more information on Sport Development programmes across Education, Leisure and Community provision please contact the team via sport@monmouthshire.gov.uk

ENDS

Monmouthshire County Council is alerting parents and guardians of children due to start primary education next September that applications open on Wednesday 6th November and close on Wednesday, 15th January 2020.

Children born between 1st September 2015 and 31st August 2016 are eligible to start reception classes in September 2020 and parents are asked to complete their applications before the 15th January 2020 closing date.  This will give them the best chance of ensuring that their child attends their preferred school.  Parents resident in Monmouthshire must apply to the council even if their preferred school lies outside the county’s borders (excluding schools in Newport where applications are to be made directly to the city council).

Parents may apply using the council’s online application system.  For more information, visit:
https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/starting-primary-school/ – alternately, parents may request an application pack by telephoning the council’s admissions team on 01633 644508 or emailing: accesstolearning@monmouthshire.gov.uk

The completion of an application form expressing written preference for a school is a legal necessity set out in the School Admissions Code of Practice.  In addition, while each school within the county serves a specific catchment area parents or guardians cannot assume that their children will automatically gain entry.  Parents who submit application forms by the deadline on 15th January 2020 will be informed which school their child will attend no later than 16th April 2020.

Chief Officer for Children and Young People, Will Mclean said: “Applying for a school place for your child is an exciting time for parents but also a great responsibility.  It’s important that applications are submitted by the deadline on 15th January 2020 because late submissions risk failing to secure a place at the preferred school.  I’d urge parents to make their preference and submit their application as soon as possible.”

Contact the School and Student Access Unit on 01633 644508 or email accesstolearning@monmouthshire.gov.uk for further information.


Residents across Monmouthshire are urged to check if they are registered and eligible to vote in the forthcoming General Election on Thursday 12th December.  

To vote in the election, residents must be included on the electoral roll. Applications to join the electoral roll must be received no later than Monday 26th November 2019. Residents will receive a poll card informing them how to vote in the coming weeks.

Residents who are not registered are encouraged to go online to apply, it’s a quick and simple process. Visit: www.gov.uk./registertovote

Alternatively, individuals can apply for the appropriate forms or check their name is on the register by contacting Monmouthshire County Council’s Election Office on 01633 644212 or email elections@monmouthshire.gov.uk.

Residents can still vote even if they are away from their home by applying for a postal vote by 5pm on Tuesday 26th  November 2019. Postal votes will be sent to residents between the 29th November and 5th December 2019 depending on when the application was received

A proxy application form is also available, this enables someone else to vote on a individuals behalf (not postal or emergency proxies) by 5pm on 4th December 2019.

There are a number of reasons why it is important to be included on the electoral register.  Elections can be called at short notice and people unregistered will be unable to vote. Voting ensures people have a say on the issues of the day and being on the electoral register can maintain your credit rating.

For further details visit: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/general-election-12th-december-2019

Monmouthshire County Council has published a report showing the progress made against its Corporate Plan during 2018/19.

The Corporate Plan sets out commitments that the council plans to deliver up until 2022. The report provides an update on progress and performance against the goals set to improve well-being in Monmouthshire and deliver its core purpose of building sustainable and resilient communities.  The achievements include:

  • Opening of the new school in Monmouth and the full refurbishment of Monmouth Leisure Centre.
  • Securing £1.25 million from the UK Government to encourage technology firms to develop solutions to loneliness and limited rural transport in our communities.
  • The launch of the Council’s chatbot, Monty, which is available on the website and Facebook messenger, and expands the ways in which residents can get in touch. 

Following publication of the annual report, Councillor Paul Jordan, Cabinet Member for Governance, said, “The report provides residents with information on how the council has performed in 2018/19.  Monmouthshire receives the lowest level of funding of any local authority in Wales; despite this, we have made much progress against many of the goals we set ourselves. Some of our goals have a longer-term focus so work is ongoing to achieve these and to ensure we deliver the quality of services that residents and businesses have come to expect.

We will continue to review our progress to ensure we remain on track to achieve our goals by 2022. We will work with our partners and our communities to focus on the things that are important to them.’

The full plan, called ‘Corporate Plan – Annual Report 2018/19’, is available to view on www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/improvement

Monmouthshire County Council would like to listen to Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople communities to gain an understanding of the number of pitches and yards that are available at the moment and find out how many will be required in the future.

Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople communities are urged to speak to Steve Griffiths, Strategy and Policy Officer  to share their views. The information will be used to inform council decisions in the future. 

To take part call 01633 644455 or email stephengriffiths@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Bob Greenland said:

“The 2014 Housing (Wales) Act 2014 requires local authorities to assess the accommodation needs of the Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople community and to make adequate provision for sites and yards. I hope that many people get in touch with the team to have their voices heard. Creating inclusive and vibrant communities is important now and for our future generations.”

Gilwern library will be closed the week commencing the 18th of November 2019 to relocate to a new space within the Gilwern Community and Education centre.

The library will be reopening on Monday 25th November 2019 at 9am. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes. 

This new space will allow current services to be expanded and a micro-hub to be created where payments for council services can be taken. There will also be support for Monmouthshire residents and the opening hours will be extended to include Mondays 9am-1pm and 1:30-5pm.

Anyone with loaned library books due to be returned the week of the closure will not incur any fines and the deadline for returning the books has been extended.

Cabinet member for museums Councillor Paul Jordan said: “We are excited to announce our move and we are excited to offer a range of new services at our new facility. We hope you are as excited as we are for this new venture here at Gilwern Library and look forward to you visiting us when we reopen!”

A number of parent consultation meetings have been arranged in South East Wales to seek views on the provision of sensory and communication services in the region, as part of an independent review.

Known as SENCOM, the service is currently delivered regionally across Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire and Torfaen. It supports additional learning needs in specialised areas including speech, language and communication, and visual, hearing and multi-sensory impairments. About 1500 children and young people currently receive support from SENCOM, across the five authorities.

In May 2019. the partner local authorities involved in SENCOM requested the WLGA to commission an independent expert to review and report on the service to explore a more sustainable way to deliver the regional model. The independent consultant, Mr Mark Geraghty, has since arranged a number of meetings to consult with parents and stakeholders as part of the review.

  • 15th November 11.00am , County Hall, Usk, NP15 1GA.
  • 19th November 6.00pm, County Hall, Usk, NP15 1GA Contact
    For more information contact Julie Owen – Monmouthshire CC 01633 644512

Mark Geraghty, independent consultant said:

“An important part of the evidence gathering process is listening to the views of children, young people and the families who receive a service from one or more of the SENCOM’s teams.

“In all the meetings I’ve attended so far across all levels, the passion and desire to ensure children and young people with a speech, language and communication, hearing and visual impairments receive high quality support and appropriate resources, has been manifestly apparent.

“As such, I look forward to welcome parents to any of the meetings arranged to discuss with us their experiences of SENCOM. These views will be vital to the review in order to ensure evidence-based decision making.”

Parents and stakeholders are also welcome to provide their feedback via a questionnaire, which can be found on this link: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/SenCom

For more information, please contact David Hopkins, WLGA Interim Head of Education on David.hopkins@wlga.gov.uk 

A recovery operation led by Monmouthshire County Council has begun today (Tuesday 29th October) to help and support residents affected by flooding in Skenrith and Monmouth.

Residents evacuated yesterday from Riverside Residential Park in Monmouth have been advised that they can return home. The river level on the River Wye is currently at just over 5.1m and is continuing to drop.

The council has now begun helping residents who require assistance to return home. Residents who were provided with temporary accommodation will be contacted and offered transport to return to the residential park. All other residents who went to stay with family or friends will also be contacted to inform them that they can return home.

Colleagues will also be on site at the Riverside Residential Park to offer advice and in particular around hygiene to ensure the risk of contamination is reduced.

Monmouthshire County Council colleagues from a number of service areas will continue to assess any damage throughout the day. The build-up of debris by the Wye Bridge in Monmouth is being monitored but water continues to flow and is not increasing the flood risk. Natural Resources Wales will work with Monmouthshire County Council who will remove the debris when the river level has fallen further and it is safe to do so.

Although further rain is expected later this week, it is not forecast to be as heavy and it is not anticipated to cause any flooding issues. Despite this, the situation will be closely monitored.

Council leader, Councillor Peter Fox said: “I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all staff and partner agencies for all their hard work over the last four days. Ensuring the safety of our residents in times like this is always our biggest priority and I am overwhelmed by the efforts of all staff who have gone beyond their call of duty to ensure our residents are not only kept safe but are offered as much support and advice as possible.

I would also like to send my thoughts to those affected by the flooding and thank you for working with us to carry out the evacuation and recovery operation. We understand this is just the start of cleaning up and recouping all that’s been lost but we can assure you we will be on hand to support you every step of the way.”

People living in a Monmouth residential park are being asked to evacuate the site due to rising river levels and flood water entering the site.

Gwent Police and the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are currently advising residents of Riverside Residential Park to leave their homes due to the flood risk, rising river levels and the need to evacuate before events turn into an emergency rescue.

Monmouthshire Council is providing transport from the park to Shire Hall in Monmouth town centre, which has been set up as a temporary rest centre.

Natural Resources Wales has issued a flood warning for the river Wye in Monmouth and the high river level has triggered a multi-agency response to evacuate people from the park during these conditions.

Tim England, Operations Manager for Natural Resources Wales, said:

“We’re working with Gwent police and Monmouthshire Council to quickly evacuate people safely from the residential park.

“Recent heavy rain across South Wales is causing the river level on the Wye in Monmouth to rise and will continue to rise for the next few hours.

“The rain may have subsided, but some river levels are still rising as peaks move downstream.  We’re encouraging people to stay vigilant and check our website for flood warnings in their areas and listen to any advice given on what action to take.”

To check flood warnings in force and for information on what to do before, during and after a flood, visit www.naturalresources.wales/flooding  

Monmouthshire has been impacted by flooding due to severe rainfall on Saturday 26th October. Three rivers – the Wye, Monnow and Usk filled up quickly causing high river levels which were combined with surface water flooding. Monmouthshire County Council staff worked closely with Gwent Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Natural Resources Wales to help people.

Some residents were evacuated from Skenfrith as they had experienced loss of power and were at risk of flooding. Local pub, the Bell Inn in Skenfrith welcomed people so they could wait safely together to be transported to a rest centre that Monmouthshire County Council set up.

Monmouthshire’s emergency response teams were out providing sand bags, unblocking drains and culverts and closing any roads which were deemed too dangerous for people to drive through. Calls were received and responded to from people in various locations including Raglan, Abergavenny and Monmouth.

Residents were advised to avoid driving through closed roads and to avoid walking in flooded areas to look at the impacts.

Council Leader Peter Fox said: “I would like to send my thoughts to residents and businesses that have been impacted by the flooding that the County has experienced. Nobody ever wants to be forced from their home but in these circumstances I’m glad we are able to help.

I send my thanks to everyone who has worked around the clock to help people affected.        

We are currently looking at an improving picture, river levels are dropping and the immediate danger has passed.  Natural Resources Wales will continue to monitor the situation as high tides are forecast between today and Tuesday.

Stay safe and please don’t attempt to drive through closed roads.”

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:-

Monday 28th October Between 19.45 – 20.15 (approx.)

Tuesday 29th October   Between 20.30 – 21.00 (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.  

Young people have been gaining an insight into democracy at an event to celebrate National Democracy Week in The Shire Hall, Monmouth on Wednesday 16th October. The event is just one of many activities taking place across the UK to remind every member of society that they have an equal chance to participate in our democracy and to have their say.

Hannah Blythyn AM, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government joined the event along with Cllr Sara Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Community Development. Young people listened intently to both Hannah and Sara as they spoke of how important it is to have a voice and how proud they are to represent their communities.

Interactive workshops followed the empowering presentations, young people were given the opportunity to discuss some of the existing methods to enable their voices to be heard. School councils and the county youth forum Engage 2 Change were popular choices. It was also identified that there is a need to engage young people who are sometimes not keen to speak out but have valuable views and opinions.

The day provided important advice, encouraging them to believe in themselves, take chances and to not be afraid to put their heads above the parapet for something they believe in. The session was followed by a discussion on democracy and looked at some of the issues that have arisen from the recent Make your Mark campaign.

Make your Mark is led by the British Youth Council and supported by local authorities across the UK. Over 2,700 young people from Monmouthshire voted on issues they feel are important to them on nationally, Wales-wide and locally.

Nationally and locally, the burning issue was the environment, on a Wales-wide level young people voted felt that knife crime was very important.

The results of the survey will be debated at an event in December, where young people will decide what actions need to take place to try and tackle the issues that are important to them.

The group were guided on tour a of the Shire Hall, the building itself brimming with history of democratic process and power by Graham Thomas, a local historian who volunteers at the building. The young people valued the experience and were keen to ask questions whilst in the cell and the courtroom.

Cllr Sara Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Community Development said:

“Democracy events are so important for me and the council to find out what the burning issues are for young people. The council is keen to make Monmouthshire a better place to live and work and the voice of young people is vital in acting on their information make this happen. They are our future, if we don’t listen now we will never know what is important. I feel very strongly about enabling everyone to have their say. The council has many opportunities to listen and we need to help everyone have their voices heard.”

Insert Hannah Blythyn AM quote:

“National Democracy Week is an important opportunity to use the experience, insight and passion in our communities to increase democratic participation. I was really pleased to attend this event to share my own experiences and hear about the issues that matter to young people in Monmouthshire. My main message to these young people was that everybody can make a difference through individual actions and there are so many different ways to be involved in democracy and make your mark. I also talked about the upcoming Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill, which will give 16 and 17 year olds in Wales the opportunity to vote in local elections, a change that will affect these young people in the near future.”

For more information about Engage 2 Change, the county youth forum contact: Jade Atkins Charlie-JadeAtkins@monmouthshire.gov.uk or call 07768421008.

An evening is taking place on Wednesday 13th November at 6.00pm at King Henry School for European Nationals affected by the European Settlement Status.

The open evening will provide an opportunity to gain an understanding of the Settlement Scheme, how to apply and how it will impact on individuals, families and businesses.    

Advice and support will be provided by organisations such as Citizen Advice Bureau, Mind Newport and many more. Shaz Miah, Community Cohesion Officer at Monmouthshire County Council and Newport County Council is working with communities to help alleviate anxiety and stress by offering one-to-one support to help complete applications. 

All European Nationals who wish to remain in the United Kingdom need to apply by Tuesday 31st December 2019. By applying for Settlement Status it will enable individuals and families to continue to be able to work, study, claim state pension and some benefits and continue to use the NHS.

Cllr Sara Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Justice said:

“I urge anyone who needs more advice and support to attend the drop in session. The Settlement Scheme affects the lives of many people who have been living in Monmouthshire for many years. Help is available, please do get in touch with Shaz Miah our Community Cohesion Officer.”

Details of more drop in sessions will be available in coming weeks.  

For more information on the application process visit: https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families  or contact Shaz Miah, Community Cohesion Officer 07811981352 or email: ShajanMiah@monmouthshire.gov.ukE

If you’re looking for a spot of time travel and historical adventure, Monmouthshire’s museums have it covered this October half term as part of the ‘Welsh Museums Festival’ (26 October to 3 November). Free creepy crafts will be available to make and take throughout half term at all three museums in Abergavenny, Chepstow and Monmouth

On Tuesday 29th October, the Battle of Trafalgar is coming to Monmouth Museum! This historic event will be demonstrated at the Nelson Museum from 11.00am to 4.00pm, using fleets of battle-ready model ships and a slide-show of background information.  Lord Nelson will be brought to life by former Royal Marine and actor Sebastian Bowen – who will be there to describe the action and answer questions on any related subject. 

On Thursday 31st October Chepstow Museum’s hosts its popular drop in craft afternoon at the Drill Hall.

The Welsh Museums Festival is an annual event presented by the Federation of Welsh Museums, which is the strategic body for museum and art gallery professionals in Wales. It currently represents over 100 unique accredited Welsh museums, from the very small to our great national museums. Together, these invaluable collections tell the story of Wales and are a treasured resource for learning, exploration and knowledge about our local and national identity.

Cabinet Member for Museums, Councillor Paul Jordan said: “What better way to spend this half term than delving into Monmouthshire’s history. Our museums are full of interesting things to see and many activities to get involved in so I would encourage people from all ages to head down to one of the sites and get involved.”

Full details of activities during Welsh Museums Festival are available on the festival website: www.museums.wales

Staff from Monmouthshire County Council dressed in red and showed support with Racism the Red Card signs.

Monmouthshire County Council has joined forces with organisations across Wales and the UK to support National Hate Crime Awareness Week 14th – 19th October. Offices were turned into a sea of red as staff donned red clothing on to Show Racism the Red Card.   

National Hate Crime Awareness Week is an annual event which aims to raise awareness of hate crime and the impact it has on victims. Wear Red Day is a national day of action which encourages schools, businesses & individuals to wear red and donate £1 to help facilitate the delivery of anti-racism education for young people & adults throughout England, Scotland & Wales.

Every penny raised during Wear Red Day enables the campaign to work with more young people and adults across the UK to challenge racism in society.

Hate crimes are motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person’s disability, gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation and can have a devastating effect on victims. There are many initiatives in Gwent to combat Hate Crime. Educating communities is vital, there are many ways for residents to report hate crime if they are a witness or a victim.

To report a hate crime, contact the police on 101 or 999, report online via www.report-it.org.uk or in confidence to Victim Support https://www.reporthate.victimsupport.org.uk

This can help to ensure people report instances of hate crime, victims get the support they need and those committing it are met with justice.

Cllr Sara Jones Cabinet Member for Social Justice said:

“The Show Racism the Red Card initiative is so important, educating all ages of the impact of racism to individuals, families and groups. I am proud to be part of an organisation which raises awareness of the issue.”

For more information please visit:  https://www.theredcard.org/

Monmouthshire County Council’s Emergency Planning Service has once again been awarded a prestigious Gold PawPrint award by the RSPCA in their PawPrints Awards. 

Monmouthshire is the only Welsh authority to win a Gold accolade in the Contingency Planning category and one of only five in the UK!

The PawPrints award scheme was launched in 2008 and aims to reward and promote good practice in animal welfare by local authorities and housing providers in England and Wales. 

Monmouthshire County Council first entered in 2010 and has since bagged one bronze, one silver and eight gold PawPrints.

The PawPrints Award recognises four areas of work that impact on animal welfare – contingency planning; stray dog services; housing and animal welfare principles.

The award acknowledges that the authority has considered the welfare of companion animals within contingency plans – both in the planning process and in training and exercising. It also recognises the advice the authority provides for pet owners on emergency preparedness.

The target for next year is to maintain the gold standard and the Emergency Planning Team thought everyone should know they consider their award the cat’s whiskers!  

Commending their excellent work, Cabinet Member for Resources Councillor Phil Murphy said: “Well done to our Emergency Planning Team for winning this accolade. It is a fantastic achievement and it’s wonderful to see Monmouthshire leading the way in implementing animal welfare in their planning procedures!”

Staff at Five Lanes Household Waste and Recycling Centre have been praised after helping a woman from Caldicot find her engagement ring after it was accidentally thrown out.

Jo Carter was left heartbroken when she realised she had accidentally binned the ring and had taken it to the tip along with 15 other black bags.

Hoping for a spot of luck, husband Craig ventured down to Five Lanes on Sunday 13th of October where he was quickly assisted by staff members Rhys and Darren as they begun trawling through hundreds of black bags in a bid to find the ring.

After 45 minutes of rummaging, the ring was eventually found when Craig recognised some of the waste in one of the bags.

Thanking the staff, Jo said: “It has huge sentimental value and is also very expensive and not insured. My husband Craig went to the tip and two amazing human beings trawled through hundreds of bags to find it. Their kindness and good hearts have had me in tears. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. What a community we live in. Thank you to Rhys and Darren.”

Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Neighbourhood Services Councillor Jane Pratt said: “I am exceptionally proud of our staff at our Five Lanes Household Waste and Recycling Centre for helping bring a happy ending to this story. This is an excellent example of our staff going above and beyond to help our community. Well done!”

During the spring and summer Monmouthshire Council’s Community & Partnership Development Team were out and about all over Monmouthshire asking a simple question:

“If a few other people were willing to help, what would you love to do, to make your community a better place?”

And our communities did not disappoint! The big ideas included everything from creating neighbourhood growing spaces to ballroom dancing, from sharing your knowledge about local history to setting up video game clubs for young people.

The team now would like to support communities to help turn as many of these great ideas as possible into reality. Over the coming weeks and months the team will be reaching out to communities via conversations with residents and through social media to help connect people who want to make great things happen where they live, and to provide a little bit of help and guidance along the way where it’s welcome. Here are some of the projects that the team are looking for local enthusiasts to help with:

• Planting and environmental projects in Caldicot and Severnside
• More opportunities for young people to do in Chepstow and the surrounding villages
• Ballroom dancing in Usk
• Community arts and crafts in Abergavenny and north Monmouthshire
• Skill sharing in Monmouth (everyone’s good at something – don’t be shy!)

If these sound like something you’d be interested in, the team would love to hear from you! Contact partnerships@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Cllr Sara Jones cabinet member for Community Development said:

“We’ve listened to our communities. We are inspired by the innovative and creative ideas that have been generated. We recognise that good relationships between friends and neighbours are the building blocks of a strong society and there are limitless ways to bring people in a community together. The Community & Partnership Development team will help to provide the advice and support needed. I look forward to seeing the ideas brought to life across the county”

For more information about existing projects and some handy tips about how communities could get involved take a look at the ‘What could you do? booklet here: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/partnerships or call 01633 644696.

Half term is fast approaching, there is so much on offer to keep little monsters occupied. Many Monmouthshire attractions have spooky activities, storytelling sessions and performances planned.  

A ghoulish “Haunted Halloween Quest” is set to take place at Caldicot Castle from Saturday 26th to Thursday 31st October from 11.00am with last the admittance at 3.45pm.

Little witches and wizards can explore and creep around the historic castle grounds. Admission costs £3.00 and includes a gift for every child taking part.

All aboard the Spooktacular Express at Tintern Old Station. The magical Louby Lou and her team will be visiting the Old Station on Saturday 2d November 11.00am – 1.00pm mesmerising little ones with a series of magical outdoor storytelling trails.   Spaces are limited, tickets cost £6.50 per child. To book tickets visit www.visitmonmouthshire.com/things-to-do/old-station-tintern.aspx

The much loved spooky TV show and film ‘The Addams Family’ will be brought to life on the Abergavenny Borough Theatre stage by Abergavenny Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society juniors. The show begins on Tuesday 29th October and runs until Saturday 2nd November. On Wednesday 31st October, Halloween, audiences are welcomed to go all out and spooky fancy dress is welcome with prizes given for the best fancy dress! Family tickets are available on this date only. Book tickets today by visiting Abergavenny Market Hall Box Office or go online: https://boroughtheatreabergavenny.co.uk/the-addsams-family

If chilling crafts are a hit with little ones, take a trip to Abergavenny, Chepstow or Monmouth Museums for a ‘Hallowe’en Make and Take.’ Creepy crafts and amazing activities are on offer for children of all aged, sessions take place from 11am – 4pm Saturday 26th October to Sunday 3rd November every day except Wednesdays.

Free half term fun is taking place at Caldicot, Chepstow, Monmouth and Usk Community Hubs. 

In Chepstow hub, children will be entertained by the Wye & Usk Foundation, who will be coming along to celebrate the International Year of the Salmon on Tuesday 29th October from 10.30am. Everyone is welcome to pop in for fun fishy stories, art and craft sessions and learn the moves to the Super Salmon song.

On Thursday 31st October little ones are welcome to come along to Chepstow Hub to make a bird feeder October from 11.00am – 12.00pm and Baby Rhyme time is taking place on Thursday 31st October 2.15pm – 2.45pm followed by under 5’s story time on Friday 1st November, 10.15am -10.45am.

Caldicot Hub has something for everyone, little monsters are welcome to come along on Wednesday 31st October 10.00am – 11.00am for ghoulishly brilliant Halloween craft activities. Little ones are not left out as Baby Rhymetime takes place on Tuesday 29th October 2.00pm -2.30pm and under 5’s story time on Thursday 31st October 2pm – 2.30pm. 

Little witches and wizards can fly in to Monmouth Hub for a morning ofWinny the Witch activities on Wednesday 30th October 11.00am.

Usk Hub, has more fiendishly fabulous things to do, pop in to make spooky halloween pumpkins on Wednesday 23rd October from 10am Wednesday, children aged 2+ are welcome. Followed by Halloween story time on Thursday 24th October, 10.30am for children aged 2 – 5 years.           

The fantastic Louby Lou hosts Spinella’s Spooky Saturday, on Saturday 26th October 10.00am – 10.45am The October half term has arrived and Louby Lou’s pet spider is crawling over to Usk Library for a spooktacular storytelling session! A frightfully fun Saturday morning session for little ghouls filled with props, role play, music, physical movement and the usual Louby Lou silliness!

This session is for children aged 3 years and above. All children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the session.

To book all Louby Lou sessions and find out about future events visit: https://www.loubyloustorytelling.co.uk

Monmouthshire Youth Service are venturing to Thorpe Park for Fright Night on Thursday 31st October, the trip for young people aged 11 – 18 years of age will be supported by staff from the service. Transport is provided and costs £25.00. To book a place parents are urged to visit Abergavenny, Chepstow and Monmouth Leisure centre to complete a consent form, please note spaces are filing up fast and Caldicot has already sold out.

Cllr Richard John, cabinet member for Mon Life said:

“There is so much to do this half term, as well as activities inside and out of our hubs and attractions go out in the fresh air, kick the crispy autumn leaves, and wonder at the incredible colours Mother Nature has cast upon the trees. There are so many places to visit to make everlasting memories.”

For more information visit: www.visitmonmouthshire.com/things-to-do

Monmouthshire’s Cabinet is to launch a public consultation later this year on the potential establishment of a new Welsh-medium school as part of an expansion in Welsh-medium education in the county.

Monmouthshire currently has two Welsh-medium schools – Ysgol Y Ffin in Caldicot and Ysgol Y Fenni in Abergavenny.

A potential location for a new school is the site of the old junior school in Raglan, which has been empty for four years. 

Cllr Richard John, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and MonLife, said, “This administration is leading Monmouthshire’s biggest ever expansion in Welsh-medium education to ensure that parents have a choice about the education they want for their children.

While we have two successful Welsh-medium schools in Caldicot and Abergavenny, travel times are deterring parents in the Monmouth area from being able to exercise that choice.

Together with our plans to double capacity at Ysgol Y Fenni in Abergavenny to two-class entry and expand nursery provision at Ysgol Y Ffin in Caldicot, this is an exciting time for Welsh-medium education in Monmouthshire.

These plans are at an early stage, but I look forward to considerable public engagement on these proposals to ensure our education system meets the needs of Monmouthshire families.”

From old trinkets to general bric a brac – there’s a whole menagerie of treasures to be discovered at Monmouthshire’s first household waste reuse shop.

‘The Shop’, which is based at the Llanfoist Household Waste and Recycling centre, was officially opened on Friday 4th October by Council Chair, Councillor Shelia Woodhouse, and Councillor Jane Pratt.

The Shop’s purpose is to contribute to Monmouthshire County Council’s commitment to tackling climate change.  In May, Monmouthshire County Councillors unanimously passed a motion declaring a climate emergency. This set out a clear policy commitment for the council to strive to reduce its own carbon emissions to zero by 2030; to encourage others to reduce their carbon emissions and work with partners in limiting global warming to less than 1.5 °C.

Since opening its doors in June, the reuse shop has already diverted seven tonnes of material from the waste stream and back into use. The Shop’s second purpose will see all profits made from sales go to supporting climate change initiatives such as tree planting, community orchards and community gardens projects. Since June £10,000 has been raised.

The daily running of the shop is supported by volunteers and the council is calling on more people to come and volunteer at the shop to expand the service. This can be helping with sales and general assistance around the unit.

A whole array of items have already been sold. Tools, pots, tables, chairs, bikes and musical instruments have all found new homes thanks to the hard work of the staff and volunteers on site.

The council is now encouraging residents to not only come and visit the shop to see what bargains they can find but also to bring any unwanted household items such as furniture, kitchenware or tools to the shop so it can find a new home. The Shop also provides great ideas for anyone who may enjoy upcycling or art projects.

Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Jane Pratt said: “I’m delighted to officially open Monmouthshire’s very first reuse shop. To see items that would usually end up on landfill find a new home is wonderful and it’s also just another step in the council’s commitment to tackling climate change. It’s also fantastic to see that the shop offers volunteering opportunities and I would encourage anyone wanting to help out to get in touch.” 

The Shop is open on Thursday and Friday between 10am and 2pm for more information: Press Release – Trinkets and hidden gems to be discovered at Monmouthshire’s new recycle shop

From old trinkets to general bric a brac – there’s a whole menagerie of treasures to be discovered at Monmouthshire’s first household waste reuse shop.

‘The Shop’, which is based at the Llanfoist Household Waste and Recycling centre, was officially opened on Friday 4th October by Council Chair, Councillor Shelia Woodhouse, and Councillor Jane Pratt.

The Shop’s purpose is to contribute to Monmouthshire County Council’s commitment to tackling climate change.  In May, Monmouthshire County Councillors unanimously passed a motion declaring a climate emergency. This set out a clear policy commitment for the council to strive to reduce its own carbon emissions to zero by 2030; to encourage others to reduce their carbon emissions and work with partners in limiting global warming to less than 1.5 °C.

Since opening its doors in June, the reuse shop has already diverted seven tonnes of material from the waste stream and back into use. The Shop’s second purpose will see all profits made from sales go to supporting climate change initiatives such as tree planting, community orchards and community gardens projects. Since June £10,000 has been raised.

The daily running of the shop is supported by volunteers and the council is calling on more people to come and volunteer at the shop to expand the service. This can be helping with sales and general assistance around the unit.

A whole array of items have already been sold. Tools, pots, tables, chairs, bikes and musical instruments have all found new homes thanks to the hard work of the staff and volunteers on site.

The council is now encouraging residents to not only come and visit the shop to see what bargains they can find but also to bring any unwanted household items such as furniture, kitchenware or tools to the shop so it can find a new home. The Shop also provides great ideas for anyone who may enjoy upcycling or art projects.

Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Jane Pratt said: “I’m delighted to officially open Monmouthshire’s very first reuse shop. To see items that would usually end up on landfill find a new home is wonderful and it’s also just another step in the council’s commitment to tackling climate change. It’s also fantastic to see that the shop offers volunteering opportunities and I would encourage anyone wanting to help out to get in touch.” 

The Shop is open on Thursday and Friday between 10am and 2pm for more information visit: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/recycling-and-waste/reuse-shop/

Residents across Monmouthshire are being asked to plan ahead as essential maintenance works are scheduled on the Gibraltar Tunnels in Monmouth.

The work will begin Saturday 12th October 2019 from 20:00hrs on until 06:00hrs on Wednesday 16th October 2019 and is being carried out by the South Wales Trunk Road Agent – the body responsible for managing, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in South Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government.

A contraflow arrangement will be in place during this period for maintenance works to take place in both the northbound and southbound tunnel.

During the entire closure period all wide abnormal load (Width greater than 3 meters and length no more than 16.5 meters) will be requested to use the M5 & M4 to enter and exit South Wales.

Electronic and Hard advance signage will be utilised on the M4, A465,A40 and the A449 where possible to advise motorists to plan ahead and expect delays in Monmouth during these dates.

16 September 2019 – 1 November 2019

Wales & West Utilities and Morrison Utility Services are ahead of schedule and will begin Phase 2 of their works next week (date to be confirmed).

This will see St Ann Street being re-opened to traffic and the one-way system on Bridge Street, Lower Church Street and Church Road reinstated allowing motorists to circulate around Chepstow once again.  

However, Wye Bridge will be closed in both directions in order to replace the gas main on / over the bridge.

Monmouthshire County Council and the contractor are aware of the concerns expressed by local residents and are doing everything within our powers to minimise the level of disruption during this essential gas work.

We are also working with colleagues in Gloucestershire and the South Wales Trunk Road Agency (SWTRA) to try and find a workable solution that assists everyone.

Should you require further information or wish to discuss the logistics of the closure and how this might impact you please can this be addressed to Wales and West’s customer services team at enquiries@wwutilities.co.uk or alternatively phone freephone 0800 912 2999 or tweet @WWUtilities

Monmouthshire County Council’s environmental health and waste & street cleaning teams have joined Monmouth Town and Community Council, the police and other public bodies to raise awareness of Give Dog Fouling the Red Card day.

Give Dog Fouling the Red Card held on Thursday 19th September, is aninitiative to remind dog owners of the importance of picking up after their dogs and how they can help to make our streets, play and leisure areas a safer place. The message is simple, dog owners are asked to please ‘bag it and bin it’.

Stickers were put on dog bins reminding owners that if a dog bin is full they can also use litter bins for bagged dog mess or take it home and place it in their own household waste for disposal.

Officers visited a number of areas in Monmouth where dog fouling has become an issue. Rockfield Community Centre and the nearby football pitch has seen an increase in dog fouling and local residents in the Clawdd Du and Carbonne Close areas were very appreciative of the efforts made. Chippenham Mead, Wyesham Avenue and Woodland View, were also visited with dog mess also evident on the pavement outside Kymin View School. Dog fouling is an issue particularly with residents who use wheelchairs and pushchairs. 

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for environmental health, Councillor Sara Jones said: “The vast majority of dog walkers are responsible and pick up the mess. There are, however, incidents in the community where dog fouling can have a great impact on the health of children and those using sports pitches. It is dangerous and can cause illness and in some instances blindness. Give Dog Fouling the Red Card is a great initiative which will hopefully makes dog owners think. There has been a gradual reduction in the amount of fouling in recent years and I thank those owners who bag it and bin it.”

Monmouthshire County Council enforcement officers and the police have the powers to issue fixed penalty notices to owners who fail to pick up their dog’s mess. Those caught can expect an instant fine of £75 and in some instances face prosecution.  If the person refuses to pay and the case is taken to court the offender may be fined up to £1,000. 

Residents are urged to report dog owners who fail to pick up via: http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/home/streets-parking-and-transport/recycling-and-waste/dogfouling/

Monmouthshire County Council, is delighted to announce that it and the other four Gwent local authorities, have been awarded £459,000 from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to install electric vehicle charge points in car parks in residential areas.

The funding which will be split across the five local authorities (Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen) will be used to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure across 33 local authority car parks in Gwent – installing up to 73 fast charge points.

Following a feasibility study supported by Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales, the five Gwent local authorities (Caerphilly County Borough Council, Torfaen County Borough Council, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Newport City Council and Monmouthshire County Council) were able to make a successful application for funding. Assistance was also received from the Energy Saving Trust during the development of their bid.

A survey has been conducted to support the funding bid in each of the authorities. The council would like to thank those residents who took time to participate in the survey. Their input will contribute to the future of provision for the county.

Councillor Jane Pratt, Cabinet Member for Green Infrastructure said:

“We are delighted that the funding bid has been successful. As an authority we are taking all the steps we can to be carbon free by 2030, following our declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019.

The funding will empower the authority to install electric charging points thereby encouraging residents to be able to take advantage of electric vehicles. We look forward to installing the points across the county.”

For more information and to provide feedback call Rural Programmes Coordinator Mark Lloyd on 01633 644865 or email MarkLloyd@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Monmouthshire County Council is pleased to announce that works to improve the historic Cross area of Caldicot are set to begin from Monday 30th September.

The ‘Caldicot Cross Destination Space’ project will create a ‘civilised street’ and high quality public space that dramatically improves the historic gateway to the town. A multi-use space that supports local wellbeing and active travel, promotes events, stimulates business, and links the town centre with the nearby Castle and Country Park.

The £1.57m project is the first of many planned under the wider regeneration scheme and is being funded by Monmouthshire County Council and the Welsh Government through its ‘Targeted Regeneration Investment’ programme and ‘Local Transport Fund’.

Caldicot town was chosen as Monmouthshire’s priority regeneration scheme and forms part of the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) regeneration plan.

Other projects include the remodelling of the town’s community hub to create dedicated space for co-working and enterprise – providing flexible and affordable accommodation for freelancers and small businesses.

Proposals also include a grant opportunity for eligible property owners and leaseholders to uplift the presentation of commercial properties in the town centre and create additional living accommodation. More information can be found on https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/caldicot-regen/ucpef/ 

Cllr Jane Pratt, Cabinet Member for Operations said: “I am delighted that regeneration plans for Caldicot town centre are about to begin. The work will enable the town to become a vastly improved and more connected space, promoting businesses and encouraging visitors and  residents to use the town. Disturbance will be kept to a minimum and I urge residents to continue to visit the town whilst work is going on.”

For more information visit: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/caldicot-regen/  or email Colin Phillips colinphillips@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Caldicot Castle will host its annual fireworks spectacular on Sunday 3rd November, with gates opening at 4.30pm and a display lasting over 20 minutes starting at approximately 7pm.  The annual event is ranked one of the top ten Welsh displays by media website WalesOnline. 

Organised by Monmouthshire County Council, in association with the Monmouthshire Building Society, supported by Caldicot Town Council and community volunteer organisations, and in partnership with Capital FM, it attracts large crowds and has become increasingly popular.  It’s no ordinary show, as the castle walls are a stunning backdrop to an astonishing spectacle of fireworks, music and incredible lights painting the night sky.

Tickets go on general sale from 14th October, costing £7.50 for adults and £4.50 for children, as well as further information, are available by visiting www.visitmonmouthshire.com/fireworks. Children under three get free entry but will still require a ticket to attend. 

A range of great deals are available for local residents, proof of address will be required.  An early bird discount of 20% will be on offer from 1st – 6th October at Caldicot Castle’s shop between 11 am – 4 pm and after 4 pm from Caldicot Leisure Centre. 

A 10% discount will be available from11 am – 4 pm on 8th – 13th October Caldicot Castle’s shop and after 4 pm from Caldicot Leisure Centre. 

Organisers stress that this is a ticket-only event, no tickets will be on sale at the gate and residents should avoid disappointment by purchasing early as tickets sold out last year.  Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Free parking is available at the local Asda supermarket, Castle Gate and the Jubilee Way car park in the centre of Caldicot.  In addition to fireworks, there will be live music and entertainment from Capital FM, children’s funfair rides, a licensed bar, food and drink stands.

County Councillor Richard John, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for leisure and tourism said: “This will be the seventh year we’ve held a spectacular firework display at Caldicot Castle. The location provides the perfect backdrop for a magical evening of fun and fireworks. Families can look forward to a fabulous display and great entertainment.” For more information about future events at the Castle and other attractions across the county visit: https://www.visitmonmouthshire.com/

October half term is fast approaching and it sees the return of the ever popular Monmouthshire Games for children and young people aged 5-12 years old across the county. The sessions are run from all four leisure centres; Abergavenny, Caldicot, Chepstow and Monmouth’s premier leisure facility.

A wide variety of activities are on offer from Monday 28th October – Friday 1st November 2019.  The Monmouthshire Games also offers a specialised rugby camp that is run in partnership with MonSport, Mon Leisure and Dragons Community the perfect opportunity to fine tune skills, provide extra specialist training or try the game for the very first time with the help of inspirational coaches from the Dragons.

The camps are taking place on Wednesday 30th October at Monmouth Leisure Centre and Thursday 31st October at Caldicot Leisure Centre.

This October also sees the return of our ever popular TMG Outdoor Adventure Camps, in partnership with Gwent Outdoor Education, at Monmouth Leisure Centre on Thursday 31st October.  Children aged 9-12 years old are invited to challenge themselves with activities such as climbing, high ropes, shelter building plus more!  Places are limited and can be booked by contacting Monmouth Leisure Centre direct, limited numbers apply so pre booking is essential for this 8:00am-5:00pm provision.    

Over 3,000 children and young people participated in the summer holiday sessions and the demand is high for October half term. Parents are encouraged to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Since 2016, the Mon Games have encouraged thousands of children and young people to develop confidence, meet new friends and most importantly – have fun through sport! Each day is packed full of different sports and physical activities to ensure there is something for everyone.

Each day youngsters warm up with the daily mile in preparation for a day of fun-filled sporting activities. Then on to play football, cricket, tennis and hockey or try something new such as kayaking, golf, basketball, water polo plus much more.

Cabinet Member for Mon Life, Cllr Richard John said: “The Monmouthshire Games are a wonderful opportunity for our children and young people to get active and meet new friends. Both qualities are essential to positive health and wellbeing. The Monmouthshire Games provide a wealth of activities to put a smile on the face of every child who takes part. I urge parents to plan ahead and book a place today.”

The Mon Games sessions run from 9:00am – 3:00pm or 8:00-5:00pm. To book a space pop into your local leisure centre or visit: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/things-to-do/monleisure/the-monmouthshire-games/october-half-term/

Rugby Camps run 9:00-3:00pm, for further information visit:

https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/rugby-camps / 

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:-

  • Saturday 28th September Between 20.20 – 20.50 (approx.)
  • Sunday 29th September Between 08.50 – 09.20 (approx.)
  • Sunday 29th September Between 21.10 – 21.40 (approx.)
  • Monday 30th September Between 09.35 – 10.05 (approx.)
  • Monday 30th September  Between 21.50 – 22.20 (approx.)
  • Tuesday 1st October Between 10.15 – 10.45 (approx.)
  • Tuesday 1st October   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.  

Monmouthshire County Council urges Year 6 parents to apply for their child’s place at secondary school by November 27th.

Applying before the deadline provides the best chance of securing a place at a preferred school. Residents living in Monmouthshire must apply to the council even if their preferred school lies outside the county’s borders (excluding schools in Newport where applications are to be made directly to the city council).

Parents may apply using the council’s online application system.  For more information, visit: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk

Alternately, parents may request an application pack by telephoning the council’s admissions team on 01633 644508 or emailing: accesstolearning@monmouthshire.gov.uk

The completion of an application form expressing written preference for a school is a legal necessity set out in the School Admissions Code of Practice.  In addition, while each school within the county serves a specific catchment area, parents or guardians cannot assume that their children will automatically gain entry.  Parents who submit application forms by the deadline on 27th November 2019 will be informed which school their child will attend no later than 1st March 2020   

Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Cllr Richard John said:

“Applying for a school place for your child is an exciting time for parents but also a great responsibility.

“It’s important that applications are submitted by the deadline on 27th November 2019 because late submissions risk failing to secure a place at the preferred school.

“I’d urge parents to make their preference and submit their application as soon as possible.”

For further information contact the School and Student Access Unit on 01633 644508 or email accesstolearning@monmouthshire.gov.uk

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Monmouthshire County Council is seeking the views of residents to help inform the draft Public Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP). The plan sets out objectives for the council’s Public Rights of Way network and wider public access for the next 10 years.

Cabinet Member for Green Infrastructure and Countryside, Cllr Richard John said: “The vision of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan is to provide a high quality, well-maintained network of rights of way and countryside sites. These sites are integral to supporting the local economy and encourage people to lead active lifestyles by making sustainable travel choices. It is so important for our mental and physical health to be able to have access to our beautiful countryside.  I urge all residents to take a look at the draft plan and share their views.  Monmouthshire is a great place to live, work and visit.”

The draft strategy is available to download from the council’s website: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/rights-of-way-improvement-plan-rowip/

In addition the Countryside Access Policy, Protocols and Operational Management Report can also be found on this page. It provides information on how the council delivers management of the service. The assessment reports which provided the evidence for the draft ROWIP are also found here.

Views or comments are welcomed by 26th November 2019 via e-mail to countryside@monmouthshire.gov.uk or via post: Green Infrastructure & Countryside, County Hall, Rhadyr, Usk. NP15 1GA.

Businesses in Monmouthshire will have the opportunity to share their views on a new vision for growth of the county’s economy at an event taking place in October.

The event will include a presentation and discussion about future economic growth in the county and the sites and premises needs of businesses. Officers from the council will be available to answer questions.

Monmouthshire is the second most competitive economy in Wales but it also needs to perform well at a UK level if it is to provide opportunities for future generations.

Monmouthshire County Council is developing a new vision for future growth, to enable the county to realise its full economic potential. It is also updating its Local Development Plan (LDP), including identifying suitable employment sites and premises to enable existing businesses to grow and to attract new businesses in key growth sectors.

The event will take place at County Hall, The Rhadyr, Usk, NP15 1GA at 9.00am for 9.30am on Monday 14th October.

Councillor Bob Greenland, Cabinet Member for Enterprise at Monmouthshire County Council said: “We welcome feedback from residents on the growth and prosperity of Monmouthshire’s economic future. This is a good opportunity for people to help shape the county in years to come. Please come and meet the team”

Places are limited and may be booked by visiting: www.eventbrite.com

Welsh Government and Sport Wales have made a decision to reduce funding for its Free Swimming initiative. Monmouthshire, along with all other local authorities across Wales is now being forced to reduce free swimming programmes.  From 1st October 2019fewer Monmouthshire residents will be eligible to swim at local leisure centres for free.  It is anticipated that this will significantly impact both older and younger people’s access to free sessions across Monmouthshire County Council’s, MonLife Leisure Centres.

The decision was made after an independent review by Welsh Government and Sports Wales suggested the scheme was not fit for purpose and a new model was required.

Cllr Richard John, Cabinet member with responsibility for MonLife said “I’m very disappointed with Welsh Government’s announcement that they are effectively scrapping the free swimming scheme for Monmouthshire, as it has existed for nearly 15 years.

We constantly hear about the obesity timebomb in the UK and the need for people of all ages to lead more active lifestyles, enabling them to enjoy a better quality of life.

Many thousands of children and older people across Monmouthshire have enjoyed free swimming over the years – it’s a great life skill and so beneficial for both mental and physical health.

The Welsh Government has revised this commitment at very short notice and officers are still waiting for approval of plans for future arrangements which are due to commence early October.

As a council we recognise the importance of younger and older people being able to swim at our four leisure centres – that’s why we’re spending millions of pounds upgrading them.  Over the coming days we will be considering how we can ensure that our leisure services remain accessible to everyone in Monmouthshire, including those from less well-off backgrounds.”

“This has been a challenging period for the leisure team in Monmouthshire regarding swimming and they will soon be communicating both the reduction of the scheme by Welsh Government to the general public and also explain the revised programme and consequences. The service will do it’s best to focus on the new scheme in a positive fashion, engage with new targeted communities and try to maximise use of swimming pools. Communication of the revised plan will be done through front of house teams and notices over the coming weeks.”

Monmouthshire County Council is pleased to announce that funding has been secured to develop new networks to provide more than 500 premises with good quality reliable broadband.

The council will receive £160,000 from the Welsh Government’s 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme to improve connectivity for those with poor internet.

The communities to benefit will include Goytre, Clydach, Llanvapley, Coed Morgan, Nantyderry, Clytha and Llanvair Kilgeddin.

The funding is just one of many initiatives that reinforces Monmouthshire County Council’s ongoing commitment to combat digital deprivation – with the council working with the private sector and UK Government to deliver a superfast broadband service for hard to reach rural areas across the county.

The council is currently tendering for the work through the Sell2Wales public procurement portal and a successful supplier is due to be in place by the end of October.

The work to implement the new broadband is expected to take six months and will provide improved services to businesses and the public alike.

Following the successful bid for the grant, Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Community Development, Councillor Sara Jones said: I’m delighted to announce we have been successful in securing this vital funding to help improve broadband in Monmouthshire’s hard to reach rural areas.  This with not only help to connect the county but will also aid our communities to be more resilient in the digital age.”

For further information please contact Michael Powell, Rural Programmes Manager:  michaelpowell@monmouthshire.gov.uk who is overseeing this project.

Monmouthshire County Council has celebrated the 175th anniversary of the Usk Show by promoting its services aimed at helping people across the county. Record numbers of visitors descended on Llandenny, Usk to soak up the atmosphere, beautiful sun shine and the wide variety of marquees, stalls and animals. 

The Monmouthshire marquee returned for the third year and was as popular as ever. This year the theme was ‘We Care’ – a wide range of council departments and organisations came together to promote services and projects that help people of all ages across Monmouthshire.

The marquee was filled with the sounds of the Monmouthshire Community Choir, Allegra Choir, the very talented young people from Gwent Music’s Brass Band ensemble and Swyn Celtiadd. 

Council-led projects ‘My Day My Life’ and ‘My Mates’ engaged visitors with anecdotal stories and case studies sharing just how people with disabilities are living life to the full. My Day My Life helps to provide a range of activities to help people gain skills and socialise. My Mates is a friendship group which empowers individuals to meet new people and go out and do the things they want to do.

Monmouthshire Foster Care Team chatted to potential foster carers. Members of staff were happy to answer questions and dispel myths about fostering to help babies, children and young people have the best start in life. Monmouthshire Supported Lodgings team chatted about the opportunities to help homeless individuals. Supported Lodgings allows households to offer a room to those who need a safe place to live whilst enabling them to gain specialist support from the Supported Lodgings team and young people’s homeless organisation Llamau.  

Visitors were drawn to the multitude of activities taking place outside the marquee. Little ones had fun jumping on scooters to ride on a specially made scooter track. The activity hosted by Monmouthshire Road Safety Team aimed to raise awareness of the benefits of active travel and promote road safety with both children and parents.

Monmouthshire’s Sports Development volunteers were inundated by families taking part in the mini golf area as well as boccia and skittles. Usk Tennis Club returned to the outside area with their inflatable tennis court. Visitors of all ages thoroughly enjoyed the activity.

Visitors flocked to take a look at the Riversimple Hydrogen car. The two seater ‘network electric’ car is powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Monmouthshire County Council has joined a partnership with Riversimple to trial the car in Abergavenny. The council aims to be carbon free by 2030, welcomes innovative ways to combat climate change and the trial is just one exciting aspect.

Leader of the Council, County Councillor Peter Fox OBE said:

“Monmouthshire Marquee never fails to surprise me. I was so pleased to see so many visitors both inside and outside the marquee chatting, listening and most importantly having fun and interacting with council departments and partner organisations. I would like to thank show organisers for inviting us to the show and everyone who worked so hard to make it happen.

I would also like to thank the Passenger Transport Team for stepping in to help transport visitors when organisers were let down by an external company.”

The Monmouthshire Foster Care Team will be at Caldicot Fireworks on Sunday 3rd November. Stop and chat to the team about the many ways you can help change a future. For more information call 01873 735950 or visit www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/fostering/

For more information about the Riversimple trial contact: Riversimple 01597 821060 or visit www.riversimple.com

Families in Monmouthshire who dedicate their lives to supporting and providing a home for children and young people have been recognised with a special ceremony at this year’s Usk Show.

On Saturday 14th of September, Monmouthshire County Council’s ‘Thank You for Fostering’ event saw over 30 carers and their families come together over tea and cake for a celebration of their outstanding dedication to fostering.

The special ceremony began with a word of thanks from Chief Officer for Social Services, Safeguarding and Health Julie Boothroyd, who welcomed all the carers and thanked them for their work. This was followed by a presentation of beautiful flowers hosted by Monmouthshire County Council Leader Councillor Peter Fox and Monmouthshire County Council Chair, Councillor Shelia Woodhouse.

Cllr Penny Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, who was unable to attend left a special message for the carers.

“I want to take this opportunity to recognise your work and to tell you how much you are all appreciated. Your role is to provide a safe and welcoming environment for young people and you are key in helping to change their lives for the better. We are extremely grateful for the service you provide and I hope you will continue to foster and work with Monmouthshire for a long time.”

The celebration of Monmouthshire’s foster carers has become an annual tradition hosted by the Foster Care Team. The team were also on hand at the Usk Show throughout the day speaking to people about how they can become a foster carer with Monmouthshire.

Councillor Peter Fox said: “It was an absolute honour to host a special thank you event for our foster families. Some of our families having been fostering for over 25 years now so it’s great to recognise their commitment. The work they all do makes a huge difference to children and young people. We are constantly in need of more foster carers so we would encourage anyone considering offering a home to a child to get in touch. We have some wonderful opportunities to meet the team coming up soon so please go along if you have any questions.”

Monmouthshire County Council’s Foster Care Team are hosting a range of events for people to enquire about fostering.

Upcoming event:

What: Fostering Meet and Greet

Where: Three Salmons Hotel in Usk

When: 19th of September between 10.00am and 12.00pm. A later session will take place from 5.00pm to 7.00pm.

Fostering is an amazing, rewarding role which can last anything from five months to 25 years. The team are always looking for more people who can help babies, children and young people. For more information contact 01873 735950 or Text FOSTER with a name to 83222 or visit http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/fostering

Wales & West Utilities have begun exploratory works to replace the gas main on St Ann Street and a section of Wye Bridge in Chepstow this week, with temporary road closures, traffic orders and traffic management to commence next week for a period of approximately 7 weeks.

Given the highway environment within this area it will be necessary to implement a number of temporary orders to control traffic and parking and also provide traffic lights in places to support the operation of these arrangements.

In essence, the existing one-way system on Bridge Street, Church Road and Lower Church Street will be suspended to permit the flow of two-way traffic and also some of the existing on-street parking on Lower Church Street will be suspended to accommodate and allow vehicles to pass safely, if and when appropriate.  

Vehicular access for directly affected residents and emergency services will be maintained as far as is reasonably practicable and diversion routes will be clearly signposted.

Should you require further information or wish to discuss the logistics of the closure and how this might impact you please can these be addressed to Wales and West’s customer services team at enquiries@wwutilities.co.uk or alternatively phone freephone 0800 912 2999 or tweet @WWUtilities

Hundreds of Monmouthshire families have had the time of their lives this summer visiting the many Monmouthshire County Council attractions, taking part in the brilliant sporting activities, outdoor theatre experiences and castles.

Over 8000 people visited the Visit Monmouthshire website www.visitmonmouthshire.co.uk to find out where they could go to make everlasting memories.

Caldicot Castle provided the back drop for a magical experience for little ones mesmerised by Louby Lou and her team of storytellers. The sell-out story telling sessions saw children from all over the county get lost in the tales of white rabbits, swashbuckling pirates, dinosaurs and unicorns and hunt for the gingerbread man around the Castle grounds. The castle is looking forward to many more favourite tales being played out amongst the turrets and cannons.

Over 3,535 young people aged 5-12 years of age participated in the ever popular Mon Games. The sheer number of young people having fun through sport is a testament to the fantastic staff and volunteers who support the Mon Games initiative. This year saw the start of dance and gymnastic and outdoor adventure camps, mermaid school, alongside the ever popular Girls Can, football, rugby and cricket camps.

The team works in partnership with Newport Gwent Dragons and Gwent Outdoor Centres’ to provide the unique opportunities and saw 404 children and young people take part over 29 days.

At Old Station Tintern over 1500 people hopped on board the miniature train for a ride around the grounds and many families and explored the grounds to look for clues in the treasure trail.

Chepstow Museum hosted four Drop in and Make craft afternoons throughout August at The Drill Hall. Grandparents, parents and carers enjoyed a few hours making fun things with their little ones. Chepstow Tourist Information Centre became the perfect place for locals and visitors to meet with friends for a coffee before exploring the town, castle and a stroll along the river.

Monmouthshire is rich in history. This year saw the start of informative tours of the Monnow Bridge in Monmouth. Over 600 people visited the only remaining fortified River Bridge in the UK with its gate tower standing on the bridge. The tour is led by knowledgeable volunteers and has been a hit with locals and visitors since the tour began in April 2019.  

Abergavenny Castle provided the backdrop for award winning outdoor entertainment, 450 people came along and families brought picnics and blankets to revel in the grounds of the castle. Performances included the popular children’s book Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, brought to life by Heartbreak Productions. Illyria Productions brought Alli Baba and the Forty Thieves to Abergavenny and saw brilliant actors, a spectacular set and hilarious slapstick comedy entertaining people of all ages in a unique setting.

Cabinet Member for Mon Life, Cllr Richard John said:

“This summer has been immense. The feedback from all our leisure centres and attractions is so pleasing to see. The opportunities that Mon Life provide are incredible and I am so pleased to see so many children, young people and their families taking advantage of the unique activities. I look forward to seeing more partnership working with facilities such as our outdoor education service. Monmouthshire has so much to offer for families we really did provide the Summer they Want.”

Many more events and activities are planned for October half term. The Mon Games and sports camps are open for bookings. Pop in or call a leisure centre to book a place. All centres are open between 6.30am and 10:00pm from Monday to Friday, between 8.00am and 6:30pm on Saturday, and between 8.15am and 6:30pm on Sunday (holiday opening hours may vary).

Visit Monmouthshire is hub for all events and attractions, so much information. Plan the next few months, visit: www.visitmonmouthshire.com

Monmouthshire County Council returns to Usk Show for the third year. The council pavilion plans to be bigger and better than ever. Situated near the entrance to the showground, the marquee is the first port of call for a wide range of fun, free activities and information from a diverse range of services and organisations.

This year the council’s theme is We Care and will coincide with We Care Wales Week a national campaign running Monday 9th to Sunday 15th September by Social Care Wales which focuses on raising public awareness and understanding of career opportunities in social care and early years.

Monmouthshire Workforce Development Team are offering CPR taster sessions and will be able to offer advice to visitors about the many caring roles that are available in the county. Little ones are encouraged to come dressed as superheroes as the fantastic authors of Billy the Super Hero, a book to celebrate and inspire carers will be with the team. In the book, Billy a young boy who loves superheroes and is inspired to become a real-life superhero (a doctor) after seeing the way health and social care professional’s care for his Nan. Through Billy’s story, the book introduces the topic of health and social care to children with the aim of sparking an interest in its rewarding career prospects.

The book was developed by the Gwent Regional Partnership Team, Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Petra Publishing.

Monmouthshire Fostering Team will be on hand to chat to visitors about the many ways babies, children and young people can be supported by loving individuals and families. It’s not just youngsters who need support, the Supported Lodgings Team will be at the show to talk to people about the difference a room can make to a homeless adult or families life.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board will be in the marquee providing visitors with information about the changes to healthcare provision in Gwent and will be able to answer questions about the new Grange University Hospital.  

Young families are encouraged to come in and take part in many free activities inside and outside the marquee. Monmouthshire Family Information Service will be chatting about the Childcare Offer, the wide variety of activities and groups available across the county. The FIS team will be joined by staff from Cymraeg Y Blant who will be able to offer all you need to know about the benefits and beauty of a bilingual education for little ones. Monmouthshire Sport Development will be providing the ever popular mini golf. A scooter track set up by Road Safety Team will help youngsters burn off some energy and have fun.

Monmouthshire County Council is committed to becoming zero carbon county by 2030 and are continually thinking of different ways to achieve the goal. The council has teamed up with River Simple to help trial the use of hydrogen vehicles across the county. The River Simple car will be on display outside the marquee and the team welcomes visitors to take a look and ask any questions they may have about the car.

Entertainment will be provided by Gwent Music, the amazing Monmouthshire Community Choir returns along with Swyn Celdiadd. New for 2019 is a Samba workshop and a brass band ensemble.

Usk Show takes place at Usk Showground, Llandenny NP15 1DD book your tickets in advance:  www.uskshow.co.uk/ or purchase them on day.

Monmouthshire County Council is developing plans to reduce its carbon emissions. The council declared a climate emergency in May 2019 and the plans will be examined by the Strong Communities Select Committee on the 26th September before being debated the County Council in October.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.  Significant change is needed before 2030 to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 °C to minimise risks from extreme weather events such as storms, the loss of important species and habitats and the resulting impacts on people, businesses and communities.

The local authority is already doing many things to reduce carbon emissions.  The council has a solar farm and has installed solar panels on lots buildings which generate the equivalent of nearly 20% of electricity the council uses and  99.5% of the electricity used by the council last year was from renewable sources.  The council is installing electric vehicle charging points around the county and is working with a local company to pilot hydrogen powered vehicles.  In 2018 councillors asked The Gwent Pension Fund to begin disinvesting from fossil fuels.

Cllr Jane Pratt Cabinet Member Whole Authority for de-carbonisation said, “These things on their own are not enough to tackle the Climate Emergency. New initiatives are required to make a difference across all communities and citizens in Monmouthshire – it’s about how we travel, live, eat, produce our food, shop and how we are inextricably linked to our environment.”

The council can’t reduce carbon on its own, the help of the public and businesses is vital.  This all needs to be done whilst balancing the needs of enterprise and supporting our rural economy now and in the future. Officers working on the plan have met with Community Climate Champions to ensure they are engaged in the development of the plan.

There are simple steps that everyone can take to reduce their carbon footprint, such as walking and cycling more, reducing, re-using and recycling waste and buying local food. 

The climate emergency will be one of the themes of the Monmouthshire County Council marquee at the Usk Show on Saturday 14th September. The council welcomes residents visiting the show to pop in and chat to officers and the many organisations.


Monmouthshire County Council has become the first local authority in the UK to move forward with an initiative aimed at finding solutions to loneliness and limited public transport in rural parts of the county.

The initiatives will be developed with the funding and support from the GovTech Catalyst: a UK Government scheme, run by the Government Digital Service, to help technology firms develop innovative fixes to public sector challenges. Since January, five projects have been developing concepts to tackle rural isolation. Two of these have now been selected to develop their solutions into viable products or services which could benefit communities in Monmouthshire and if successful could be scaled up in other parts of the UK.

Box Clever Digital and the Behavioural Insights Team will each receive up to £500,000 of funding (including VAT) from the GovTech Catalyst fund to develop their concepts.

Monmouthshire is a semi-rural county with diverse and beautiful surroundings, yet it is the diversity of the landscape which presents many challenges. Loneliness has a significant impact on people’s health and well-being while a lack of transport also limits the ability of people to access training and employment. 

Box Clever Digital has proposed a solution called ‘Thrive’ which is a digital platform that aims to boost skills and increase connections between people in their local community to prevent loneliness reducing referrals into health and social care services. Thrive also uses technology to unlock the potential of under-utilised transport provision including ride-sharing. 

The second project being delivered by the Behavioural Insights Team, sometimes referred to as the nudge unit, has proposed a solution called ‘Connector’ to increase our understanding of loneliness at a local level and develop targeted approaches that will make it easier for people to get involved with and access community activities that can increase well-being and reduce loneliness.

The team’s approach is powered by an understanding of behavioural science, and will aim to tackle the underlying mental and physical barriers to participation irrespective of people’s digital capability. 

Cabinet Office Minister for Implementation, Simon Hart MP said: 

“I’m delighted to announce that Monmouthshire’s GovTech challenge on tackling rural loneliness has progressed to the second phase of its development. Through the GovTech Catalyst we’re helping to drive innovation whilst developing better services for the public and saving taxpayers money.”

Monmouthshire’s Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Community Development, Councillor Sara Jones said:

“I would like to congratulate Box Clever Digital and the Behavioural Insights Team as they move into the next phase of the Govtech Catalyst. These two innovative projects were selected among a high calibre of projects which all presented fantastic solutions to the challenge of rural isolation here in Monmouthshire. I’m excited to see how both projects progress in the next phase.”

Clare Delargy, BIT’s Head of Social Capital, said: 

“We are delighted to continue working with our partners in Monmouthshire to build our service, Connector. BIT sees huge potential in combining our experience with behavioural science and data to encourage people to attend all of the excellent community activities already running all over the county. 

We know that increasing awareness of events alone is not enough to overcome psychological barriers to attending them, so our approach also addresses the social fears which may hinder participation, particularly for those who are lonely or isolated.”

Dan Scobie, Chief Technology Officer at Box Clever Digital said: “We’re delighted to be working with Monmouthshire County Council on such an important project; using technology innovation to tackle loneliness and transport issues across the county.

Box Clever Digital has a great history of innovating in the social care, legal, and transport industries, and we’re pleased to be able to continue to bring innovative approaches to tackling important issues in society.”

Both projects will run for twelve months from September 2019. Together these have the potential to provide the foundations for improved connectivity and well-being in Monmouthshire’s rural communities.

Monmouthshire County Council’s care home for people with dementia is on the lookout out for passionate gardeners to help tend to the community garden.

Severn View has recently acquired additional land and now needs more volunteers to turn the beautiful grounds into a fantastic sensory space for residents and visitors. The sensory garden will provide an opportunity to improve the wellbeing of residents, carers and volunteers.

An open day is taking place at Severn View, Chepstow NP16 5BS on Tuesday 10th September from 2.00pm. The day will provide an opportunity to find out more over a cup of tea and cake.

Cabinet member for Social Care and Health Cllr. Penny Jones said:

“Volunteering has a positive impact on individual and wider community wellbeing, this opportunity will have a direct impact on the lives of people in our communities.  Severn View is a special place and the garden is a real asset. We would really appreciate people’s involvement no matter how big or small a commitment, just helping out makes a huge difference.”

For more information contact: Sian Gardner, call 07815005013.

New pedestrianised streets and  a square in Abergavenny’s town centre have officially opened following a ceremony in the centre on Saturday the 24th of August.

The pedestrian areas, which have been three years in the making, now feature a new layout spanning from Abergavenny High Street into St Johns Square and through to the bottom of Frogmore Street where the Cenotaph proudly sits.  

The new layout provides safe and attractive access to Abergavenny’s main shopping areas whilst offering a fresh look to the town centre. The phased work has been carried out by local contractor Alun Griffiths and is estimated to have cost over £3million. The funding has come from the Welsh Government and the Morrisons development and was aimed at linking the various commercial streets in the town into a pedestrian friendly environment.

The design of the scheme was truly a joint effort between Monmouthshire County Council officers and members, Abergavenny Town council members plus various others from the town volunteering their time to work together to deliver the scheme.

Local retailers and shop owners have praised the contractors in particular for making all efforts during the course of the works to ensure disruption to their businesses was kept to a minimum.

Monmouthshire County Council Chair Shelia Woodhouse and key members of the project attended the opening ceremony. They were joined by contractors who were treated to a celebratory barbecue and drinks courtesy of local restaurant Casa Bianca.

Following the opening ceremony, Council Chairwoman Shelia Woodhouse said: “The new pedestrian areas in Abergavenny’s town centre have not only provided a safe route for the public through one of Monmouthshire’s most attractive towns but it has also provided a new and modern look to the centre. I want to thank the public and retailers for their patience while the work was carried out and I would also like to thank all staff and contractors who have carried out the work to the very best standards with the least disruption as possible. Thanks to Abergavenny Town Council, Team Abergavenny and MCC Officers for working so closely together making this a great example of teamwork and cooperation.”

Lucy Hywel representing Y-Fenni Business Community said: “The pedestrianisation works are a cause for great celebration bringing a new lease of life to the heart of Abergavenny’s retail offering.”

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:-

  • Saturday 31st August Between 21.25 – 21.55 (approx.)
  • Sunday 1st September Between 9.55 – 10.25 (approx.)
  • Sunday 1st September Between 22.10 – 22.40 (approx.)
  • Monday 2nd September Between 10.40 – 11.10 (approx.)
  • Monday 2nd September Between 22.55 – 23.25 (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.

Monmouth Leisure Centre is hosting a jam-packed weekend of free activities for the whole family to celebrate its first anniversary since reopening.

The free ‘Open Weekend’ kicks off on Saturday 7th of September and will offer a host of fantastic activities including swimming, Les Mills classes and spin sessions. There is also plenty on offer for children with soft play, crazy golf and access to the climbing wall.

The event is being hosted by Monleisure as a way of saying a big thank you to everyone who has used Monmouth Leisure Centre over the last year and people are also being invited to come and explore the fantastic range of new facilities on offer.

Over £7.4 million has been invested into the refurbishment of Monmouth Leisure Centre which boasts a children’s play centre, a café, a multi-purpose room for parties and meetings, a health suite incorporating jacuzzi, steam room, relaxation areas, treatment room and sauna, a spin studio, toning suite, spacious changing rooms and a large gym with the latest market-leading equipment. The centre is also home to a brand new 25m swimming pool located in the former sports hall.

Cabinet Member for Monmouthshire Leisure Centre Services, Councillor Richard John said: “We’re really proud of the newly renovated leisure centre in Monmouth, which has so much to offer the local community in terms of physical and mental wellbeing, fitness and fun for the whole family. Between the new school and leisure centre, our council has invested over £50million in the education and wellbeing of people of all ages in and around Monmouth.


“This weekend will be a great opportunity for anyone to see the fantastic facilities available to the public and would urge all local residents to come and see for themselves what a 21st century leisure centre looks like. The new leisure centre sets the standard high for what we want to achieve in the county’s other leisure centres, so more families in Monmouthshire can enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.”

For further information on activity timetables and availability like and follow Monmouth Leisure Centre on social media.

Students across Monmouthshire celebrated their GCSE results and other level 2 qualifications.

This year saw the introduction of new accountability measures for GCSE outcomes and changes to the way  results are aggregated. The council will continue to work and support schools, partners and the Educational Achievement Service to promote high standards across all schools to ensure that all of our learners reach their full potential.

Councillor Richard John, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “I am delighted for all of our students who have received their results today.  Results days are always a mixture of excitement and trepidation but we can see today that the hard work and dedication of all of our students, their families and our schools’ staff has paid off.  I want to congratulate everybody for what they have achieved.”

Will McLean, Chief Officer for Children and Young People added: “Everyone should be very proud with of the results they have achieved today.  It is important we remember that these achievements are the result of lots of hard work and commitment on the part of the students but also those that support them at home and in school.”

A new scheme offering children in Monmouthshire ‘fun, friendship and food’ over the school holidays has been hailed a success following its first year of being delivered in the county.

The Welsh Government funded ‘School Holiday Enrichment Programme’ (SHEP) provides healthy meals, nutrition and food education, physical activity and enrichment sessions to children in specific areas of the county during the summer holidays.

The free four-week programme has seen over 260 children sign up across two schools in Monmouthshire, with sessions taking place in the morning at Overmonnow School in Monmouth and at Thornwell School in Chepstow.

The Monmouthshire County Council-led programme has been successful in ensuring all children who attend the sessions can access activities designed for their specific needs. This has included the provision of special break-out areas and quiet zones for children who may be easily overwhelmed or who need a quiet five minutes away from all the activities taking place.

The SHEP programme has been made possible through grant funding from the Welsh Government and generous grant aid from four town councils and some of the local community councils. Following the success of this year’s SHEP programme, the council has started to explore options to roll out the scheme to eligible schools in other parts of the county for 2020, with the aim of increasing the number of children taking part.

Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Community Development, Cllr Sara Jones has praised the scheme. On a visit to the scheme at Overmonnow School, Cllr Jones said:

“It’s wonderful to see the children so happy and enjoying the activities that they are able to get involved in. I really hope that we can continue that positive dialogue with our partners and continue to be successful in securing funding. It’s quite apparent if you look around you the success of these schemes. We really hope we will be able to deliver these in the future with the support of our partners.”

Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) is searching for new members for the Monmouthshire Local Access Forum.

Do you have an interest in public rights of way and countryside access?

The forum provides advice on the improvement of public access in the county for open-air recreation and enjoyment and it advises and assists with the implementation of the council’s Public Rights of Way Improvement Plan.

Members of LAFs are volunteers and include a range of people from the local community, including landowners and land managers, access users and those representing other interests, such as health and conservation.

Councillor Richard John, MCC’s cabinet member for Children & Young People and MonLife, said:

“Membership of the local access forum provides a great opportunity for those with knowledge and experience of countryside access issues in Monmouthshire to use that expertise to advise the council and other bodies on countryside access and recreation.”

The forum meets at least quarterly. Members are appointed on a personal basis, according to their knowledge, skills or experience of access to the countryside, including the interest of all users and owners/occupiers. Forum members will be able to claim reasonable expenses.

MCC is hoping to find members who will be able to contribute to the forum for the next 3 years.

To be considered for membership contact:

Monmouthshire LAF Secretary,

Countryside Section, PO Box 106, Caldicot Monmouthshire NP26 9AN. 

Tel: 01633 644850

e-mail: countryside@monmouthshire.gov.uk

or more information and application forms can be downloaded from www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/monmouthshire-local-access-forum/

Completed forms are required by 18 September 2019

Hugs and tears of joy at Chepstow School


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 with confidence.”

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.

The event 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.

Cllr 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.

For more information about Caldicot Castle please see visitmonmouthshire.com

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.

Anyone 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 schemes
  • 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 development
  • Full insurance cover
  • Reimbursement of local bus travel expenses
  • Sandwich lunch and free car parking space on day of volunteering

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 the county”.

For further information and to apply please click on this link

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 across Monmouthshire are being encouraged to embrace the expected rainfall this week and take advantage of the many activities available across the county.

Whether it be splashing in muddy puddles or heading back in time at one of the many museums, there’s plenty on offer for families looking for something to do as the heavens open.

So here’s the council’s top ten things to do on a rainy day in Monmouthshire.

1.Tea, treats and trains – Enjoy a cup of tea and cake while enjoying all the sights and sounds of Tintern Old Station.

2. Make a splash – Slip on your wellies and go splashing in Monmouthshire’s muddy puddles.

3. Go adventuring – play among three floors of action-packed fun at Monmouth Leisure Centre’s soft play arena.

4.Take the plunge – enjoy a dip in four of Monmouthshire’s leisure centre swimming pools.

5.  Reach new heights – can you get to the top of Monmouth Leisure’s Centre’s climbing wall.

Picture by @happycowcottage

6. Be at one with nature – take a stroll along the stunning Wye Valley Walk.

7.Delve into the past – learn about Monmouthshire’s fascinating history with a visit to a museum.

8. Become a bookworm – explore the shelves in many libraries across the county.

9. Take a tour – venture around Chepstow on a guided tour to learn about the historic town. Tours are available every Wednesday at 6:30pm from the Chepstow Tourism Centre.

10. Become king for the day – explore the old architecture of some of Wales’ most majestic castles.

Don’t forget to share your rainy day photos with us by heading over to Monmouthshire’s facebook, twitter and Instagram pages.

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 successful bid.

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 to live.”

Commercial Services Team are keen to work with more local communities and business, for more information email: Commercialservices@monmouthshire.gov.uk

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 Monmouthshire.

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 Rogiet.

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+ families. 

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 Life said:

“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:

Gavin Breen: GavinBreen@monmouthshire.gov.uk

For more information about events at the Caldicot Castle: https://www.visitmonmouthshire.com/caldicot-castle/

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 July. 

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

A466 Tintern Update 1st August 2019

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.

For more information about Tintern and surrounding areas:
https://www.visitmonmouthshire.com/places-to-visit/Tintern-in-monmouthshire.aspx

R

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’ learning experience.”

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

Members from the Equality Street project receiving their award for promoting equality and diversity.

Monmouthshire’s Youth Service is being celebrated after a project promoting the equality and diversity of young people received a national award.

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 2019.

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 wider community.

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.

Tickets are required for both days and can be accessed via EventBrite: https://bit.ly/2Y6YceK

For more information about the weekend contact Darryl White: 07990788998.

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.

Due 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 ascertain progress.

The diversion 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 / 

The destination 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 said:

“I 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.”

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 August, 10:00-11:00am.

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.”

Find out everything you need to know about the Reading Agency, Summer Reading Challenge: https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk/ and where your nearest Community Hub is located: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/community-hubs-libraries/

Monmouthshire 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.

Monmouthshire’s 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. 

Caldicot’s 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.

Abergavenny’s 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 of Abergavenny.

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

County Councillor Paul Jordan, Cabinet member with responsibility for Attractions said:

“It’s wonderful 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 and do.’

County 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.

Lucy Prisk, 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.

We can’t 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.”

A full list of award winners can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru

For more information on the many attractions and places to visit in Monmouthshire take a look at: Visit Monmouthshire https://www.visitmonmouthshire.com/

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 affected.

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.

Abergavenny 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’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.

Watch this to find out more: https://youtu.be/ZIcw-UosH8I

Please read this for more information: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/planning-policy/local-development-plan-revision/

Send us your thoughts here: http://monmouthshire.planning-register.co.uk/Home/Register

A drop in session is being held on at County Hall Usk, on Tuesday 16th July at any time between 1 – 7 pm.

Cllr Bob 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 thoughts.”

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 Parliament.

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 County Council.

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.”

The Monmouthshire Youth Forum is supported by Monmouthshire’s Youth Service. For more information contact Jade Atkins – CharlieJadeAtkins@monmouthshire.gov.uk

The meeting can be viewed via the YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfm0nB_YKtg

Visit https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/psb/ for further information on the Monmouthshire PSB.

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 matters.

Councillor Richard 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.”

Residents are 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.

The engagement 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.

Monmouthshire 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.

Residents are 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.

Engagement sessions will take place at the Shire Hall, Monmouth:

  • Tuesday, 16th July 2019 drop in from 9.00am – 7.00pm

In depth presentations will take place at 10.00 am, 12.00pm, 4.00pm and 6.00pm

  • Saturday, 20th July 2019 drop in from 9.00am – 1.00pm

In depth 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 achieve.

Residents are welcome to drop in to an engagement session or share their thoughts via an online survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GJ8Z9F7

Artist impression of plans for Agincourt Square from Priory Street, Monmouth

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 exciting venture.”

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.”

The outstanding 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 commitment.

The following 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.

Volunteers are 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.

Councillor Richard John, Monmouthshire’s Cabinet Member MonLife said:

“Volunteering is a rewarding, fun and social way to help our community.

Volunteers work 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.

Other notable 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.

I sincerely 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 they live.”

Find out more about volunteering with Mon Life a service group managed by Monmouthshire County Council, contact Tracey Thomas, email  traceythomas@monmouthshire.gov.uk  or telephone 07818 016924.

Monmouthshire 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 August.

For 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.

In 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.

Football 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 are.

School 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 more information.”

For more information visit – https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/things-to-do/monleisure/the-monmouthshire-games/.  To book a place, call or pop in to a MonLife leisure centre to find out more.

TMG specialist camps require advance booking and places are limited, parents are advised to enquire as secure a place. 

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/

Monmouthshire 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.

The building was a collaboration between Monmouthshire County Council and Welsh Government along with BDP Architects and Interserve who delivered the outstanding building.

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.

Award 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.”

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 presentation hubs.

The building enhances the school’s ability to achieve its vision of ‘Learning to lead our lives’.

Cllr 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 curriculum.

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.”

Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, said:

“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 school.”

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.

It 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.

I 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.”

Lord 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.”

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 occasion.

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:

‘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’.

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 Education, said:

“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 school.”

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.

Monmouthshire County Council Enterprise Team celebrates Employability Week with a roadshow across the county.

The 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.

The 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.

Communities 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.

For more information contact Steve Cooper StephenCooper@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Tintern 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.

The 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 day.

However, 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.

A diversion is in place along the B4293 via Devauden and Trelleck which is hoped to enable residents and visitors to visit and travel through the Wye Valley. For more information visit:
https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/2019/06/a466-closure-st-arvans-to-tintern/ h

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.

In 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.  

Cllr Jane Pratt, Cabinet Member for Operations said:

‘I 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’

Find out everything going on in Tintern throughout the summer, head to www.visitmonmouthshire.com/tintern

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 Manager said:

“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.”

Nominations can be made online at: www.gavo.org.uk/recognition (Please read the guidelines before submitting). Closing Date for nominations, Friday 19th July.

Clare Watkins, Volunteering Team Manager Tel: 01633 241566 Email: clare.watkins@gavo.org.uk

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.

The 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.

The 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.

While 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 said:

“‘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 people’s money.

Gareth Walters, Trading Standards Manager of Monmouthshire County Council has important tips for consumers:

  • If 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
  • If 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 money
  • If you are at all unsure about the business you’re dealing with, do not provide your bank account details

If you’re worried that someone you know has become victim to a scam, look out for the following. Are they:

  • Receiving more mail than usual?
  • Receiving unsolicited calls or spending more time on the phone?
  • Struggling with money or have they withdrawn large amounts of cash recently?

If you think someone you know is being scammed, take the following steps:

  • If you’re worried about telephone scams look into installing a call blocker
  • Encourage them to tell their bank immediately if there is any suspicious activity or transactions from their account or credit cards
  • If they’re struggling to pay bills or outstanding debts encourage them to visit their local Citizens Advice

You can also take the following steps to safeguard yourself and others:

  • Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
  • Never send money to someone you’ve never met
  • Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you
  • Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away and if you feel pressured say “no”
  • Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call
  • Don’t 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.

Find out more information about how to stop, report and talk about scams by visiting https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales/consumer/scams/scams/ or calling in to your local Citizens Advice office.

ENDS

Hi Everyone

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:

Please complete this form for concessionary transport ASAP


Post 16 travel requirements

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.

You can contact us at passengertransportunit@monmouthshire.gov.uk however, please bear with us if we take a while to respond as we are busy getting plans in place for the next school year.

Best wishes

Richard Cope

Passenger Transport Unit Manager

Monmouthshire 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 refill there.

Monmouth Hub, 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 refills.

Cllr Jane Pratt, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Decarbonisation and Plastic Free Monmouthshire said,

“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.”

Monmouthshire 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 friendly town.

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. 

Residents 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.

Usk Town 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’ title.

Cllr Jane 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’.

Mrs Christine 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”.

For more information contact:

Sadie Beer, Monmouthshire County Council Town Centre Project Engagement Officer  

call 07970036191 or email: sadiebeer@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Usk Town Council Clerk Tracy Huxley, email clerk.usk@usktown.org or call 01291 673011

Disability 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 planters.

Greenfingers is 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.

Cllr Penny Jones, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health said:

‘Greenfingers 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.

Staff from 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.

Physical Literacy (developing skills such as running, jumping, hopping, throwing and catching) is 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. 

The Sports 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.

Staff were 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.

Cllr Richard 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 wellbeing messages.’

‘Children need 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 children.

Monmouthshire 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: 

Email: paulsullivan@monmouthshire.gov.u, call 07825 853882 or visit www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/things-to-do/monleisure/the-monmouthshire-games to find out more about the Mon Games.

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 populated areas.”

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.”

Max Boyce

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 events@monmouthshire.gov.uk 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.

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: elections@monmouthshire.gov.uk”.

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 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

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.

A new 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 Monmouthshire.

Cllr Bryan Jones Cabinet Member for Biodiversity said:

‘Pollinators 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.’

There 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.

Residents 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:

https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/nin/

More activities, regular updates on social media, workshops and competitions will take place in coming months.  For more information contact NiN@monmouthshire.gov.uk.

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.  

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 HWRC’s.

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 takes.

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 website:

www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/recycling-and-waste/household-waste-recycling-centres/