Issuu on Google+

www.torfaen.gov.uk

01495 762200

TORFAENTalks Your Community Newspaper

February 2011 - Chwefror 2011

Digital learning is light years ahead

Inside »

Every form counts - fill in your Census form see page 5

Blaenau Gwent council leader Des Hillman, Torfaen council leader Bob Wellington, education minister Leighton Andrews and Newport council leader Matthew Evans are led around the school’s state-of-the-art plaza by Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw pupils

Education minister Leighton Andrews visited Torfaen to launch the latest phase of a multi-million pound investment project that is seeing children benefiting from cutting edge and innovative classroom technology. Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw is the first Welsh language school in Wales to benefit from such technology, thanks to a £900,000 investment from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Heads of the Valleys programme. Torfaen council has already created a number of school-based learning plazas in primary and secondary schools, each

encouraging education through the latest innovations in technology. The plazas feature wireless laptops, TV broadcast production and streaming, group and individual working areas, interactive video conferencing, webcams, touch surface technology and break out spaces. Mr Andrews, the minister for children, education and lifelong learning, spoke to pupils, teachers and education experts on the impact this radical approach to digital learning is having in Torfaen schools. The Talwrn – a Welsh word that means a forum/meeting place to discuss ideas – is helping to develop new ways of teaching and learning, by allowing pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw to work on projects,

programmes and ‘businesses’ with other young people in school, in Torfaen, and across the world, via in-built video conferencing facilities. Leighton Andrews said: “The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to ensuring every child in Wales is educated in an environment fit for learning for the 21st century. “This learning plaza will provide a leading edge learning experience for the pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, as well as providing facilities to train teachers and support staff to develop and deliver technology rich learning.” (Continued on page 3)

Proposals to transform education in Torfaen see supplement

Gym’ll fix it for you with exercise scheme see page 8

Cabinet approves proposals for £9.2million of savings Torfaen council’s cabinet passed proposals to save £9.2million from the council’s 2011/12 budget. The report, which asked cabinet approval for the budget proposals containing a range of savings measures from all service areas, could

result in 80 job losses. Consultation with employees affected by redundancy proposals has begun and will last for 30 days. A final budget will be submitted to full council on March 1. The budget proposals

have been set within the context of the 2011/12 budget settlement from the Welsh Assembly following the comprehensive spending review, current and future economic forecasts and the financial risks and challenges facing all public services. (Continued on page 3)

Read the latest council news on Facebook see page 11


NEWS IN BRIEF

My favourite place

Welsh language version available

Torfaen Talks is now available in Welsh - simply go to www.torfaen.gov.uk/CommunityAndLiving/TorfaenTalks

Passionate about the Welsh language?

A reading group for Welsh learners is being set up at Cwmbran Library on either Thursdays at 6pm or Saturdays at 2.30pm. To get involved, contact 01633 647676 or jill.newton@torfaen.gov.uk

Appeal for local news

Torfaen Talks is inviting people to send brief news about community and voluntary groups in the area. Send your news to Communications Team, Level 5, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB.

Farm receives top awards

Greenmeadow Community Farm received two top awards at the Voice V Awards. It took the Family Day Out award for the third year in a row and also scooped the Eco-Award for its outstanding work in encouraging people of all ages to live more sustainably.

Switch off for Earth Hour

Show you care about tackling climate change by switching off your lights on Saturday 26 March between 8.30pm-9.30pm. The WWF’s annual Earth Hour encourages people to turn off their lights as a demonstration of their concern about climate change. Last year’s event was a big success, with more than 4,000 cities in 126 countries taking part. Register at www.wwf.org.uk/earthhour

Bringing social enterprises together

A business summit will be held in Cwmbran on 9 February. Social Enterprise Network Torfaen (SENT) is holding the event to assist social economy businesses in the borough. The event will feature workshops and guest speakers, plus a funders exhibition including stands by Big Lottery, Coalfields Regeneration Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund. For details, visit www.torfaensent.org.uk, email sent@torfaen.gov.uk or call 01633 648078.

Vital repairs to rail bridge

Major works on the rail bridge crossing at Varteg Road are expected to take three months to be completed. The work involves removing the steel girders that form the bridge and replacing them with two separate decks. One will carry a single track railway and the other pedestrians and cyclists. Traffic lights are in operation and a diversion is in place for pedestrians and cyclists. It will also be necessary to close a part of Varteg Road on the occasional weekend and signpost an alternative route.

My favourite place in Torfaen is the Boating Lake because I have always enjoyed going there ever since I was a child. I have a lot of memories of visiting the Boating Lake with my family and friends. I used to run to the adventure playground to jump in the queue for the gigantic slide, the swings and even the little paddleboats. As a little girl, my imagination ran wild as I played the role of someone different every time. I was always a pilot when playing on the helicopter climbing frame, pretending to fly it across the clear blue skies, and I was also a sailor on the paddleboats. As I’ve grown older, I have realised there is a lot more to the Boating Lake. There is a beautiful lake, dark trees, small colourful plants and great views.

There are small waddling ducks and friendly geese living beside the lake; I can remember I always used to be scared to feed them. The lake is a lovely place to have a walk around and a great place to go in the summer. I always go there with my group of friends and we have great fun! I love it, because it’s the perfect place for a day out, especially if the weather is warm. The Boating Lake has changed quite a bit over the years and has had great improvements. It is such a beautiful place, with a great atmosphere and I will never be too old to go on the swings! Ellie Jones Tell us about your favourite place in Torfaen and you could feature in a future issue of Torfaen Talks. Write to Communications Team, Level 5, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB. Don’t forget to include contact details.

How good are Torfaen’s social care services?

Conserving salt for extreme weather

Reducing emissions

New members welcome at Probus Club

Torfaen council plans to conserve salt to keep its priority routes clear throughout the winter.

Keeping your home well insulated will not only save you money and improve your health, but can also reduce carbon emissions.

Torfaen’s second annual report on social care services (2009-10) is available online. To give feedback, visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/ socialservicesannualreport and complete the online survey.

The Probus Club of West Monmouthshire is inviting new members to join. The club meets at Panteg House Social Club in Griffithstown on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Guest speakers talk to members, while many other social activities are also held. For more information, contact Glyn Parry on 01495 759034 or Ray Sambrook on 01633 420660.

Santa Appeal is a big success

Organisers of Torfaen Children’s Services’ Santa Appeal wish to thank everyone who donated gifts to this year’s collection.

Living Landscapes Lectures

The first Tuesday of each month sees Blaenavon World Heritage Centre play host to exciting lectures. A related activity then takes place at a later date in the month to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors. A talk on the upland landscape will be held on Tuesday 8 March at 7pm, with a guided walk by Newport Outdoor Group on Saturday 19 March. Gwent and Glamorgan Archaeological Trust will host a lecture on Tuesday 5 April, with a follow-up event on Saturday 16 April. For further information, go to www.visitblaenavon.co.uk or call 01495 742333.

Page 2

The council put the conservation policy in place after using a quarter of its salt supply in the first week of December. Torfaen, like many other councils across the country, was hit hard by the early snowfall, despite filling its New Inn and Blaenavonbased barns with 4,000 tonnes of salt. It even ordered an extra 2,000 tonnes from the regional salt barn, but did not receive any during the snow because of

the national shortage. The conservation policy was put in place to prepare for the worst case scenario of getting through winter without any additional salt deliveries. As part of this policy, salt will continue to be applied to the seven primary gritting routes that make up more than 50 per cent of the adopted highway. Unless in extreme exceptional circumstances, non-primary gritting routes such as side roads will not be gritted until stocks are replenished. The council will also stop filling grit bins when salt levels drop below 50 per cent.

Torfaen council is currently gathering as much information as possible to help it establish the efficiency of homes in Torfaen. The council will use this information to help secure funding to help home owners improve the energy efficiency of their homes. To take part, complete the questionnaire at www.forms. torfaen.gov.uk/homeenergy/ survey.htm or contact Fiona Silverthorn on 01495 766876. For energy advice, contact the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512012.

For an audio version of Torfaen Talks call 01495 766417


Classrooms are buzzing

(Continued from page 1) Rhian Wyn Dafydd, acting head at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, said: “The Talwrn Technoleg is a wonderful multimedia resource, a motivating tool that enables pupils at Gwynllyw to enrich their educational experiences, working independently and as part of a team. Staff are so enthusiastic about utilising this state-of-the-art environment and pupils have responded to the challenge in such a positive manner.” Torfaen’s plazas are at the heart of the council’s TechnologyRich Learning Strategy, which aims to provide full wireless Internet in all Torfaen schools, provide every pupil with access to a wireless laptop with an inbuilt webcam, and create Cisco/Microsoft Networking academies within Torfaen. The executive member for children and young people, councillor Mary Barnett, said: “With computer and digital technologies playing an ever increasing role in everyone’s lives, we are committed to ensuring Torfaen children have access to the latest technology in schools from the earliest age. “Not only is this project the first of its kind at a Welsh medium secondary school, but is another excellent example of how public services in Gwent are working together, sharing skills and resources to deliver the best possible outcomes for citizens. “By investing in our children’s digital learning skills today, we can ensure Torfaen and Wales can reap the economic benefits of o the technology and industries of the future.” The council has also recently endorsed its Digital Valley strategy, which sets out a plan to work across all the council service areas and with the private, public and voluntary sectors, to make Torfaen communities the most digitally connected in the UK.

s

The future of public services

Senior figures met at County Hall to discuss how public services should meet the challenge of change

The most senior figures from the public sector in Gwent met at County Hall for a landmark summit that could shape the future of service delivery in the region. November’s summit came at a crucial time for public services following the Welsh Assembly’s draft budget announcement and October’s comprehensive spending review, which has cut millions of pounds from public service budgets. Gwent Police, Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire and Newport councils met to discuss ways of joining up services and sharing resources. The Gwent Public Services Summit was the first of its kind in Wales to bring together senior people from the key providers in Gwent, to consider how to maintain high-quality public services in the face of unprecedented pressures on budgets. Councillor Bob Wellington, chair of the Greater Gwent Collaboration Board and leader of Torfaen council, said: “Collaboration is not a new concept;

however, it has become a vital one if we are to meet the challenge of change facing public services across the UK. Regardless of politics or boundaries, we share a commitment to delivering public services that meet the needs of our citizens. “We are making excellent progress on a number of innovative projects such as the Shared Resource Service. This commitment to cross-sector collaboration is among the most progressive in Wales. Collaboration won’t help us protect every service, but by identifying areas where sharing resources can make us more efficient and effective, we will be in a stronger position to meet the huge challenges that lie ahead.” Paul Matthews, lead chief executive of the Greater Gwent Collaboration Board and Monmouthshire County Council chief executive, added: “There is a clear recognition in Wales that sharing services can be the best way forward for local public service providers. In Gwent, we are showing our support for this approach and projects such as the Gwent Frailty Programme demonstrate not only our commitment to shared services, but our ability to deliver.”

WARNING about scam calls

£9million of savings approved by cabinet

Torfaen council is warning residents not to give their bank details over the phone to anyone suggesting they’re owed council tax credit.

(Continued from page 1) The council has received a 1.7 per cent cash reduction in funding which increases in real terms, with capital funding set to fall by nearly 20 per cent. To combat this, each service area is to make the following savings, to make a combined total of £9,247,811: Education – £1,979,033; Social care and housing – £3,837,017; Neighbourhood services – £1,168,167; Planning and public protection – £207,299; Chief executive services –£433,700; Resources – £1,022,183;

A number of residents have recently received calls about being owed up to £7,000 in council tax credits and being asked to supply bank details to allow a refund. Under no circumstances should customers provide their bank details, as the council does not phone people to obtain bank details. Where there is a credit on an account, the council will arrange for a refund automatically by cheque. The executive member for housing, planning and public protection, councillor Gwyneira Clark, said: “Residents should not give any bank details over the phone. The person calling may give you a number to call or even an ID number, but they do not work for the council.” If you are concerned, contact trading standards on 01633 647624.

Community services – £161,949; Deputy chief executive’s – £318,737; Capital financing – £119,726 The executive member for resources, councillor Marlene Thomas, said: “This will be the year when forecasts and estimates hit home and the public sector will make very difficult choices, which impact upon citizens. Like all Welsh councils, change is necessary to bridge the gap between cuts and the rising cost and demand for services. However, we will make every effort to protect key services.”

For the latest jobs, visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/jobsandcareers

The leader of Torfaen council, councillor Bob Wellington, added: “This has been our most difficult budget ever. Our aim is to protect valued services and jobs and, while the budget proposals will require voluntary and compulsory redundancies, job losses are forecast to be lower than early predictions. “I am conscious that residents are feeling the pinch of recession and face similar decisions to make ends meet. “Quite simply, it is our duty to make sure every pound is put to its best use.”

Page 3


Free places on health scheme Families in Torfaen are being given a chance to access free places on a groundbreaking programme to help children and their parents become fitter, healthier and happier. Running until April, a limited number of places on the successful MEND programme are available at Pontypool Active Living Centre and Fairwater Leisure Centre. The programme, which is administered by Aneurin Bevan Health Board, includes a series of sessions to get the whole family involved in helping children to change their eating and exercise habits. They will also learn about nutrition, which will promote sustained improvements in their overall health, fitness and well-being. Programme manager Jocelyne Jones said: “Following the success of the previous programmes, the Aneurin

Bevan Health Board has made a limited number of free places available on the course, due to funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and British Heart Foundation Cymru. “Children and families who have previously participated have had a great deal of success and achieved tremendous results. “We have seen families and children’s self-esteem and confidence increase greatly.” MEND is the largest national scheme for tackling childhood overweight and obesity. It stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition…Do it!

The course is targeted at helping children aged 7-13 who are over the healthy weight range for their age and height, to become healthier and active with the support of their parents or carers. For more information about the MEND programme, call Jocelyne Jones on 01633 647420 or Yvonne Edmunds on 07900 214184. Alternatively, visit www.mendcentral.org

Protect against the flu virus People are being reminded to follow good hygiene practices to protect themselves and others against the spread of flu. The Catch It, Bin it, Kill it campaign helps prevent the spread of flu viruses. Flu viruses are made up of tiny particles that can be spread through the droplets that come out of your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. To slow the spread of any virus: Catch it - always carry tissues and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough and sneeze Bin it - dispose of the tissue as soon as possible Kill it - clean your hands as soon as you can. This will be the single most effective thing people can do to protect themselves and others from infection. It is important people take as

many precautions as possible to protect themselves and others. The executive member for health and well-being, councillor Brian Mawby, said: “The simple rules of Catch It, Bin It, Kill It, are the most important actions people can take to stop the spread of flu viruses. “We all have an important role in preventing ourselves, our families and others from spreading germs, which is why this campaign is so important to get everyone to practise good hygiene.” For more information visit www.nhs.uk and always remember - Catch It, Bin It, Kill It.

Change4Life for a fitter, healthier you Many people make New Year’s resolutions to make changes in their lives. Did you make a resolution to make some healthy changes and are struggling to stay on track? Making a Change4Life doesn’t have to be difficult and, with a little effort, can be rewarding and fun. Support and information is available from www.change4life.com

Losing weight To lose weight you need to use up more energy (calories or joules) than your body takes in. You can do this in three ways: • By eating and drinking fewer calories • Using more calories by getting more active • A bit of both It is important to think about the quality of food you eat as well as the amount. There are five main food groups that make up a balanced diet and are needed for healthy eating and weight loss. You need to eat: • Plenty of fruit and vegetables • Plenty of bread and cereals (like pasta and rice) and potatoes • Smaller amounts of milk and diary food, low fat where possible • Smaller amounts of meat, fish, beans

Page 4

and nuts, low fat where possible • Only tiny amounts of fatty and sugary food and alcoholic drinks.

Fitting in fitness Being regularly active (about 30 minutes a day for adults and 60 minutes a day for children) at a moderate intensity (like brisk walking) has been associated with more health benefits than anything else. However, with busy work schedules, family commitments and packed weekends, it’s often difficult to get the suggested amount of exercise.

Physical activity tips Do it in short bouts - Doing three bouts of 10 minutes of exercise is just as good as a single 30 minutes. Mix it up - Combinations of different activities can help keep you motivated. Set your schedule - Plan specific days and times for activity, so it’s just as much an expected part of your week as putting out the recycling. The gym isn’t a necessity - A pair of trainers/walking shoes and a little motivation are all you need to live a more active, healthier life.

Behaviour change Success in changing your diet or getting more active needs careful thought, so plan

ahead and: •B  e aware of triggers that may lead you to overeat •G  et social support - tell family and friends what you are trying to do •D  istract yourself to help you control your eating •K  eep a food diary of what you ate and how you felt at the time •R  emember the reasons why you want to lose weight.

Total Health 2 is an eight-week weight management programme delivered in the community. Call the Health Improvement Team on 01495 762200 for details. Torfaen Weight Management Service, based at Canalside Resource Centre, Cwmbran, is for people who need more support with weight loss. It is delivered by a team including a specialist doctor, psychologist, dietician, exercise instructor and nurse. Referrals are through your GP.

Local support There are many initiatives running across Torfaen to support people to lose weight and become more active. They include: MEND programmes aimed at children and their families. They concentrate on nutrition and physical activity. Contact Jocelyne Jones on 01633 647420 for information. Hearty Lives Torfaen offers free programmes for children and their parents concerned about their weight and/or eating and physical activity habits. Telephone 01495 332156 or email Catherine.Brunnock@wales.nhs.uk to get involved.

For more information visit www.healthchallengetorfaen.org.uk


Every form counts to get the best deal

Fill in your Census form on 27 March, to help influence the amount of money available for services in Torfaen next year. The Census, which has been taken every 10 years since 1801, is a snapshot of the entire population and is arranged by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an independent body. It is used to allocate more than £100billion a year to councils and other public bodies such as the health service and the police. Under-estimating the number of people in Torfaen could lead to the borough losing out on millions of pounds of funding over the next 10 years. The leader of Torfaen council, councillor Bob Wellington, said: “I am urging people to make sure they fill in their census forms to ensure an accurate population count. The people of Torfaen deserve

a true picture of the population being collected, so that we get all the funding we should. “Every form counts and we can all play a vital role in helping to ensure the 2011 Census is accurate.” David Roman, Census area manager for Torfaen, added: “We’re urging everyone to give us a few minutes to get as close to 100 per cent as possible. My team will be working closely with council staff to reach everyone, the homeless, people in temporary accommodation and others who might otherwise be ‘invisible’. “While statistical information is used, all personal data remains confidential - the ONS will not release it to anyone for 100 years.”

Cast your vote on Assembly powers A referendum on the law-making powers of the National Assembly for Wales will be held on Thursday 3 March. The National Assembly for Wales represents the people of Wales and takes decisions and makes laws that affect you. It currently has powers to make laws in 20 subject areas, including agriculture, rural development, historic buildings, culture, economic development, education, environment, health, highways, housing, sport, tourism and the Welsh

language. In each subject area, the Assembly can make laws on some matters, but not others. To make laws on any of these other matters, the Assembly must ask the UK Parliament for its agreement. The UK Parliament then decides each time whether or not the Assembly can make these laws. The referendum will ask you whether the Assembly should now be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas. The Assembly cannot make laws on subject areas such as defence, tax or welfare benefits, whatever the result of this vote.

So, have your say on 3 March and make sure you cast your vote, either in favour of the proposals or against. People who have recently moved or need to register to vote have to do so before 16 February. The closing date for postal vote applications is 16 February and for proxy voting it is 23 February. Go to www. electoralcommission.org.uk for more information.

Lottery boost for canal The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a £32,000 development grant to Torfaen council, to develop proposals for a community volunteer programme to support the restoration of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in Cwmbran. Built 200 years ago, the canal is an important part of the history and landscape of Torfaen. Since their closure, navigation sections of the canal through Cwmbran have fallen into disrepair. The HLF ‘first-round pass’ means the council can now progress to the second stage of the HLF application process to secure funding. It has up to two years to submit more detailed plans and apply for the £478,000 of HLF support it is seeking for the project. Plans will be prepared for the conservation and repair of

heritage structures, as well as a training programme to develop volunteer skills in the repair and maintenance of the canal. The project, which is a joint initiative between Torfaen council, the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust and the Cwmbran Regeneration Partnership, forms part of a long-term strategy for the regeneration of the canal. Jennifer Stewart, head of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales, added: “This project aims to restore an historic canal with important locks and bridges, by training local people with the conservation skills they need to carry out the work. “This new workforce will then be able to help restore further stretches of the canal while increasing their job prospects. “Plans for a website, DVD, newsletter and information boards will also give schools, the local community and visitors the opportunity to get involved.”

St David’s Day events A series of events celebrating St David’s Day will be held throughout Torfaen. On Wednesday 23 February, Welsh characters, including Sali Mali, will be in Pontypool town centre between 11am–1pm. Come along and meet them yourself! A family fun day will be held at Pontypool Active Living Centre on Saturday 26 February, while Blaenavon Workingmen’s Hall will host the mayor’s St David’s concert in the evening. The Torfaen youth service bus will be in Cwmbran town centre on Sunday 27 February at 12pm-2pm. On Tuesday 1 March, school children will be singing in the town centres of Blaenavon (Broad Street), Pontypool (George Street) and Cwmbran (Gwent Square). In the evening, a special St David’s Day concert will be held at the Congress Theatre, with guest Roy Noble. The event starts at 7pm, tickets £10/£8. Meanwhile, a Welsh produce and craft market will be held in Pontypool Indoor Market on Saturday 5 March at 10am-3pm. For more information on any of the above events, contact Menter Iaith on 01495 762446 or visit www.menterbgtm.org

Register to vote in elections and referendums, call 01495 762200

Page 5


Dragon Sport is a roaring success

Grand plan Torfaen’s Deposit Local Development Plan (LDP) will be considered by council on Tuesday 15 February.

A Gypsy Traveller Youth Forum has been created at West Monmouth School.

Subject to approval, it will then be issued for public consultation at the end of March for six weeks for residents and other stakeholders to voice their views. The plan shows the policies and proposals for the future development and protection of land in Torfaen up to 2021. This includes the provision of new homes, jobs, community facilities and transport infrastructure. It will also include proposals to protect features of biodiversity, heritage or landscape importance. A series of public exhibitions will be held around Torfaen during the consultation period see www.torfaen.gov.uk/LDP For further information contact 01633 648046 or 648805.

Ten years of Dragon Sport in Torfaen was celebrated at Garnteg Primary School.

involved in a variety of organised sporting activities. “Exercise and healthy lifestyles help people to feel fitter, healthier and happier. If we can get young people enthusiastic about sport from an early age and stress the importance of staying active, they are more likely to take this message forward and become active adults.” While the primary focus of Dragon Sport is improving sports provision for 7-11 year olds across Wales, Dragon Sport also recruits volunteers to support the development of after-school and community sports clubs. For more information on Dragon Sport in Torfaen, call 01633 628962.

Despite the weather, pupils enjoyed an afternoon of sports, including rugby, football, athletics and golf to mark the initiative’s tenth anniversary. A Sport Wales initiative funded by the National Lottery, Dragon Sport offers 7-11 year olds across Wales fun and enjoyable sporting opportunities. It is taken up in every primary school in Torfaen. The executive member for health, social care and well-being, councillor Brian Mawby, said: “Dragon Sport has played a pivotal role in encouraging children in Torfaen to become

January Ionawr

February Chwefror

March Mawrth

April Ebrill

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

S

S

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

1 7 8 14 15 21 22 28

2 9 16 23

3 10 17 24

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

3 10 17 24 31

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

3 10 17 24

3 10 17 24 31

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

June Mehefin

May Mai S

M

T

W

S

S

Ll

M

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

7 14 21 28

M

T

W

T

F

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

2 9 16 23 30

3 10 17 24 31

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

Forum gives Gypsies voice

6 13 20 27

T

F

M

I

G

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

3 10 17 24

5 12 19 26

July Gorffennaf S

S

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

October Hydref

September Medi

4 11 18 25

6 13 20 27

6 13 20 27

The Equal project supports Gypsy and Traveller pupils at the school and is only the second of its kind in Wales. It has been created to build the skills and confidence of the pupils before they engage in mainstream services. All six members of the forum visited the Senedd recently to help launch a new website, Travelling Ahead. Created as part of Save the Children’s Travelling Ahead project, the website gives young Gypsies and Travellers a voice and a say on decisions that affect them. The website has a space for young people to discuss important issues, learn more about their rights and upload media content. For more information, visit www.travellingahead.org.uk

2011

Collections

Calendar

Bank Holiday Gwyl y Banc

August Awst S

S

M

T

W

S

S

Ll

M

2 9 16 23 30

3 10 17 24 31

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

November Tachwedd

T

F

S

S

M

I

G

S

S

3 10 17 24 31

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

7 14 21 28

December Rhagfyr

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

M

T

W

T

F

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

S

S

Ll

M

M

I

G

S

S

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

3 10 17 24

4 11 18 25

3 10 17 24 31

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

3 10 17 24

4 11 18 25

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

5 12 19 26

6 13 20 27

7 14 21 28

1 8 15 22 29

2 9 16 23 30

3 10 17 24 31

4 11 18 25

Please note: Although 22 April, 29 April and 27 December are Bank Holidays, collections will take place as indicated above on the collections calendar.

Page 6

Recycle Torfaen Talks - pop it into your black box


21st century learning in Torfaen Securing a better future for learners - that is how councillor Mary Barnett, the executive member for children and young people, sums up exciting new proposals that would transform education in Torfaen. In March, the council will hold a number of exhibitions around the county borough to share details of the proposals that would result in: • a massive investment in school buildings and sites over the next 25 years, creating 21st century learning environments • transformation of the way that post-16 education is delivered to learners • transformation of Digital Learning, particularly for 14-16 year olds These three proposals seek to deliver significant investment to Torfaen from the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) if approved.

21st Century Schools programme

It is a major, long-term and strategic capital investment programme with the aim of creating a generation of 21st century schools. The programme will create schools of the right type and size in the right place. There has already been significant investment in Torfaen including: • extensive re-modelling, extension and refurbishment of the Welsh medium secondary school, Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, a collaborative project funded by four councils and WAG • new English medium schools at Nant Celyn Primary and Padre Pio Roman Catholic Primary • a new English medium primary school in Blaenavon that will incorporate leisure facilities and a primary health care centre • a new facility for Crownbridge Special School

• state-of-the-art technology learning plazas at Abersychan and Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw. Like the rest of Wales, Torfaen is still left with a problem of ageing buildings, as well as unsuitable schools and sites that are not where they need to be. It also has more spaces for children than it has children because of changes in population growth. Last year, WAG asked councils to develop proposals to address these problems. Torfaen’s response is a £280million investment programme that will: • reduce the number of primary schools • achieve maximum use of resources • create flexible buildings and adaptable spaces to meet changing curriculum needs • reduce surplus places at primary and secondary level • release sites for reinvestment and reuse • provide annual savings for reinvestment and deal with a significant maintenance backlog • reduce the number of smaller schools

• secure the future of the expanding Welsh language provision. These proposals will: • create safe learning environments for schools and communities • establish appropriate-sized schools in the right place and better use of resources to improve the cost effectiveness of the education system • ensure all schools meet national building standards, while reducing costs and their carbon footprint • provide inspirational and adaptable settings appropriate for educational developments and new ICT-rich technologies • provide school facilities that can be shared and offer a range of colocated facilities, like childcare, adult education and social care • create inclusive settings that meet the individual learning needs of all pupils.

In terms of our secondary schools this will help to deal with: • the fact that all seven schools are in need of significant refurbishment and remodelling and some need to be demolished and rebuilt • a significant maintenance backlog • the issue of surplus places • large transport costs resulting from out-of-date catchment areas • the need and opportunity to transform sixth form learning. Turn the page for a full breakdown of the clusters and possible options of how each school will be affected.

a Headteacher’s View

We are over the moon with our new school. The resources are of a very high-standard. The children have a lot of fun using and exploring the technology here, which many of them are experiencing for the first time. This is helping us to make exceptional progress in the Foundation Phase, with our year one and two pupils already using e-books with increasing confidence. The environment in which pupils learn is incredibly important and the new building is really helping to motivate the pupils. Our school is designed to get the very best out of our pupils and we are all delighted with what we’re achieving here. Amanda Jones, Nant Celyn head teacher

The 21st Century Schools Programme is a One Wales commitment and a unique collaboration between WAG, the Welsh Local Government Association and councils.


Croesyceiliog Cluster This cluster includes Croesyceiliog Primary School, Maendy Primary School, Llanyravon Primary School and Pontnewydd Primary School. The current preferred option for this cluster is as follows: Band A 2012-2014

 aendy Primary and M proposed Sebastopol Primary Pontnewydd Primary and proposed Sebastopol Primary

 ew 420-place school on N Maendy site New 420-place school on Pontnewydd site

Band B 2015-2017

Croesyceiliog Secondary

 ew 11-16 secondary school N on the current site

Band C 2018-2020

Croesyceiliog Primary and Llanyravon Primary

 ew 525-place school N co-located on the secondary school site

A parent’s view

Llantarnam Cluster

This cluster includes Nant Celyn Primary Sch School, Woodlands Community Primary Sch The current preferred option for this cluste Band A 2012-2014

Llantarnam Primary (Oakfield) Two Locks Nursery Nant Celyn Primary

Band C 2018-2020

Llantarnam Secondary

Review the Fairwater and Llantarnam cat

I was very surprised by the new school. It looks massive, but it’s really impressive. My daughter loves everything about it. Laura

Band A 2012-2014

Blenheim Road Community Primary/Greenmeadow Primary

 ew 525-place school on the N secondary site

Band B 2015-2017

Fairwater Secondary

 ajor refurbishment and M remodelling as an 11-16 secondary school

Band C 2018-2020

Coed Eva Primary

 efurbish and keep as R 420-place Refurbish and increase to 315-place

Woodlands Community Primary

Review the Fairwater and Llantarnam catchment areas.

A parent’s view

I am very impressed wi th Nant Celyn and my sons love the sports pitches. The plazas the pupils get to work in are great. The wa y the school integrates th e hearing impaired pupils is really good too. Kate

A pupil’s view

This cluster includes Blenheim Road Community Primary School, Greenmeadow Primary School and Coed Eva Primary School. The current preferred option for this cluster is as follows:

Fairwater Cluster

t My favourite thing abou r school is working in ou it’s plaza. It’s really big and it really posh. I really like here. Katie

Abersychan Cluster This cluster includes Brynteg Nursery, St Peter’s CiW Primary School, Hillside Primary School, Hillside Nursery School, Cwmffrwdoer Primary School, Garnteg Primary School, Pontnewynydd Primary School and Victoria Primary School. Once constructed, Blaenavon Heritage VC Primary will replace St Peter’s CiW Primary School, Hillside Primary School and Hillside Nursery School. The current preferred option for this cluster is as follows: Band A 2012-2014

Garnteg Primary/Victoria Primary Cwmffrwdoer Primary

 efurbish and extend R Garnteg to 420-place Refurbish and extend to 315-place with early years

Band B 2015-2017

Pontnewynydd Primary Brynteg Nursery

 ee West Monmouth Cluster S Close as new provision comes on stream

Band C 2018-2020

Abersychan Secondary

 ajor refurbishment and M remodelling

NB: All changes to secondary school provision are subject to the outcome of the Post-16 Review


s ’ l i p u p A view

hool, Llantarnam Community Primary hool and Two Locks Nursery. ter is as follows:

This cluster includes George Street Primary School, New Inn Primary School, Griffithstown Primary School, Penygarn Community Primary School, Kemys Fawr Infant School and Pontymoile Primary School. The current preferred option for this cluster is as follows: Band A 2012-2014

 eorge Street Primary/ G Pontymoile Primary Griffithstown Primary/Kemys Fawr Infants New Inn Primary  Penygarn Community Primary/Pontnewynydd Primary

 efurbish and extend George R Street to 420-place Refurbish Griffithstown and keep as 420-place Refurbish and keep as 525-place Refurbish and extend Penygarn to 450-place

Band C 2018-2020

West Monmouth Secondary

 ajor refurbishment and M remodelling

 ajor refurbishment and M remodelling as an 11-16 secondary school

tchment areas.

g to school I love comin lly nice. here. It’s rea Jack

Voluntary Aided Cluster

Welsh Medium Cluster This cluster includes Ysgol Bryn Onnen, Ysgol Panteg and Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbran. The current preferred option for this cluster is as follows: Band A 2012-2014

Ysgol Panteg

 ew 420-place school on the N Avesta site

Band B 2015-2017

Ysgol Gymraeg Cwmbran

 efurbish, remodel and R reduce to 315-place Extend Avesta site to 525-place should more localised options not be identified in the north

Ysgol Bryn Onnen

Band C 2018-2020

Establish a third/fourth school

If demand increases further

Band D 2021-2023

Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw

 ajor refurbishment of M secondary school 11-18

A pupil’s view

I looked forward to com ing to the new school and I really like it. The artificial turf pitch is my favourite. Kai

This cluster includes Our Lady of the Angels Roman Catholic Primary School, St David’s Roman Catholic Primary School, Padre Pio Roman Catholic Primary School, Henllys Church in Wales Primary School and Ponthir Church in Wales Primary School. The current preferred option for this cluster is as follows: Band A 2012-2014

 t David’s RC Primary/ S Our Lady of the Angels RC Primary

 ew 315-place primary N school co-located with CiW primary school and joint faith secondary school

Band B 2015-2017

St Alban’s RC Secondary

 ew joint faith 11-16 school N co-located with the RC and CiW primary school

Band C 2018-2020

 enllys CiW Primary/Ponthir H CiW Primary

 ew 315-place primary N school co-located with the RC primary school and joint faith secondary school

w e i v s ’ t n e r a p A

y

 ew 315-place school N co-located on the secondary site Close Establish early years

West Monmouth Cluster

ing My son really loves com e to school because of th is laptops. The new school to great, it’s really different when I went to school. Jemma

NB: The dates included are under review by WAG and are subject to change.


At the same time, the council has also been developing proposals that would transform post-16 education for learners in Torfaen.

This is another key issue for the council and for WAG, and would also bring significant investment into the county borough if approved. Working in partnership with Coleg Gwent, Careers Wales Gwent, the University of Wales, Newport, the Sector Skills Council, a representative of the business community and many other organisations, the council has developed four options for change which, to differing degrees, would:

• widen the options available for students at 14-19 in a way that prepares young people for the full range of pathways open to them and that respects the different learning styles of those students. • reduce unnecessary duplication of provision by increased levels of collaborative curriculum planning and delivery • raise the quality of institutional management and of students’ learning experiences • link with plans to deal with surplus places in secondary schools.

The current preferred option for this cluster is as follows: Band B 2015-2017

A new Integrated Post-16 Centre

 elivering all the academic and vocational courses on a D single central site, supported by a network of community hubs providing links into the centre, particularly for returning or vulnerable learners

Please note that these dates are under review by WAG and subject to change.

A Governor’s View

I congratulate the authority on developing a comprehensive overview of the state of its school buildings, together with a strategy for improving conditions for learning and managing the impact of falling numbers. It is now to be hoped the Assembly will come forward or I look ke a reality of the plans. As a govern with sufficient capital funding to ma ation on the plans. forward to participating in the consult be made. dilemmas and difficult decisions to No doubt there will be many knotty is what p in mind that what matters most kee to us of all for e sibl pos be will I hope it people of cation of all the children and young will be in the best interest for the edu the borough. Ysgol Bryn Hugh Knight, chair of governors at outh School Onnen and governor at West Monm

The executive MEMBER'S View

We have a lot to do to improve teaching and learning in Torfaen and these proposals will be key to making sure that learners achieve the very best they can. We want people to understand how the changes might impact upon them and their families, and the exhibitions will be an excellent opportunity to find out more about the preferred and alternative options, ask questions and to say what is important to them about learning in Torfaen. Councillor Mary Barnett, the executive member for children and young people

Plans to transform post-16 education

Come and find out more…  xhibitions are taking place in your area, so visit any of the E venues at any time:

Date

Venue

Time

Wednesday 2 March

Blaenavon Working Men’s Hall

3pm - 7pm

Thursday 3 March

Pontypool Active Living Centre

3pm - 7pm

Monday 7 March

Garndiffaith Millennium Hall

3pm - 6pm

Wednesday 9 March

Cwmbran Stadium

3pm - 7pm

Monday 14 March

Woodland Road Sport and Social Club

3pm - 7pm

If you are unable to make it to one of the exhibitions or want further information visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/21stcenturylearning or email 21stCenturyLearning@torfaen.gov.uk


Pontypool’s past to be plotted by new project A new project is investigating the architecture, building materials, alterations, and previous and present uses of buildings in Pontypool. Funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and supported by Torfaen council and Torfaen Museum Trust, Pontypool Townscape Community Project is recording details of the buildings in the town centre and the surrounding residential areas. The result will be a huge increase of recorded knowledge into Pontypool Museum archives, along with digital information being made available to the public, providing a written, photographical, documental and digital resource. Pontypool has its place in industrial history as the first centre for the production of tin-plated iron sheets in the country, not to mention the development of the world-famous Pontypool Japanware. By the early 19th century, its status as a major town was assured and there are several buildings in the town that date from this period. In spite of significant changes to the town, Pontypool still retains a strong sense of character, both in individual and block styles of streetscape. It is these details that the project will identify and record, not just for history’s sake, but to give the people of Pontypool a renewed identity of place and pride in belonging to such a rich heritage. To get involved or for more information, contact ptcp@live.co.uk or call Peter or Mary on 01495 752036.

Give it away with Freegle

Family ‘over the moon’ as grant boosts business A town centre café and family home is one of the retail properties to benefit from Pontypool’s renewal area status. The external refurbishment of Bread of Heaven began in July 2009, with the building work including a new roof, insulated render to the rear of the building and sash windows (with secondary glazing) to the front. Owners Mark and Nadia Gregory established the café 12 years ago and were so “over the moon” with their new look façade that they have now updated the café’s interior to complement its exterior. They have even added distinctive red and cream curtains to the new windows – made from material used for tablecloths when the café was transformed into an American diner four years ago for the Faye Dunaway film, Flick.

in Torfaen,” said councillor Gwyneira Clark, the executive member for housing, planning and public protection. “Small businesses like Bread of Heaven are the lifeline of our town centres and I’m delighted the council secured the WAG funding to help them refurbishment their property.” For more information about renewal grants, contact 01495 742638.

Artists, poets and writers are wanted The first multi-agency newsletter for the parents and carers of disabled children in Torfaen has been launched.

“Don’t throw it away. Give it away!” That’s the message from Greenmeadow’s Brian Godwin, who is appealing for Torfaen residents to use a unique website to give away unwanted Christmas presents and surplus items. Brian moderates the Torfaen version of the popular website Freegle, which currently has more than 2,100 members. “The aim of the website is to encourage people to give things away instead of throwing them away,” Mr Godwin said. “I’m appealing for people to join the site so we can reduce the waste sent to landfill.” Councillor John Cunningham, Torfaen council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “Freegle is an excellent resource and I congratulate Mr Godwin on the work he does to encourage us all to make a difference.” To join Freegle, visit http://freegle. in/Torfaen

“Everyone has commented positively on how the café now looks,” they said. “The contractors were outstanding, business is doing well and the children love living here.” A renewal area is one identified as having poor housing conditions, coupled with social, economic and environmental needs. “Once again, renewal area status is making a difference

Pupils from Crownbridge School and the Language and Communication Base at Fairwater High School attended the launch of the free newsletter, which will be published every term. It brings together information about the services available to support families. If you have a budding artist, writer, photographer or poet at home, send their work to the Disabled Children’s Team, County Hall, Cwmbran, NP44 2WN or email tracy.burton@torfaen.gov.uk. The first issue of the newsletter is available at www.torfaen.gov.uk/HealthAndSocialCare Pictured left: Crownbridge School pupils design anti-bullying posters

Loving homes needed

Supporting local carers

Torfaen council is looking for people who can provide stable and loving homes to young people aged from 13 years and sometimes for sibling groups.

Support and advice is available to carers in Torfaen.

Young people aged up to 16 will usually be looked after by traditional foster carers. Torfaen council trains and offers ongoing support and educational opportunities to its foster carers. For young people aged 16 and over, there is an option to provide care in supported lodgings rather than foster care. These are safe and friendly places where they can stay while they learn how to live independently. If you have a spare room and would like to help, Torfaen council wants to hear from you. There are times when people find themselves looking after other people’s children on an informal basis. However, your legal status is still that of a foster carer and you should make social services aware of the arrangements. To find out more, email socialcarecalltorfaen@torfaen.gov.uk, visit www.torfaen.gov.uk or call 01633 648540.

There are thousands of people within the borough who can benefit from the support already available right on their doorstep. Located in Pontypool town centre, Torfaen Carers’ Centre helps carers who look after elderly, ill or disabled people who cannot manage at home without help. You can meet and chat with other carers, use the computer suite, go in the ‘quiet’ room and

take advantage of the meeting facilities. The centre’s activities include complimentary therapy, a men’s group, computer dropin sessions, ladies lunch club, excursions and much more. It also offers training in first aid and manual handling. The centre is open 10am3pm, Monday to Friday. If you can’t get to the centre, staff also visit venues throughout Torfaen on a regular basis. Call 01495 753838 or visit the centre for more information.

Page11 7 Information on renewal area grants is available from 01495 742638 Page


Committee meetings The meeting dates and times given below are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to additions or change. An updated list is posted in the foyer of the Civic Centre weekly. Agendas and minutes are available at www.torfaen.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy Cabinet (European and Regional Affairs sub-committee)

8 February

Special joint scrutiny meeting of the cleaner, learning and resources, resources and corporate business O&S committees

8 February

Special audit committee

9 February

Extraordinary council

15 February

Cabinet

15 February

Special healthier communities O&S committee

17 February

Planning committee

22 February

Council

1 March

Safer communities O&S committee

3 March

Cabinet (European and Regional Affairs) sub-committee

8 March

Members’ services committee

8 March

Audit committee

9 March

Resources and corporate business O&S committee

9 March

Learning communities O&S committee

10 March

Safer communities O&S committee

15 March

Planning committee

15 March

Cleaner communities O&S committee

16 March

Healthier communities O&S committee

17 March

Gwent Joint Records committee

18 March

Pensions committee

21 March

Planning committee

22 March

Cabinet

29 March

Policy co-ordination and development committee

30 March

Cabinet (Equalities) sub-committee

5 April

Planning committee

5 April

Learning communities O&S committee

6 April

Safer communities O&S committee

7 April

Council

12 April

Resources and corporate business O&S committee

13 April

Meet your councillor ABERSYCHAN Councillor Gwyneira Clark Councillor Ray Williams Councillor Wayne Tomlinson

01495 774723 01495 774953

01495 792335

Councillor Brian Whitcombe

01495 790704

Councillors Evans and Whitcombe share a surgery on the first Monday of the month at 7pm, alternating between Blaenavon Workmen’s Hall, Garn-yr-Erw Welfare Hall and Forgeside Community Hall. 01495 791822/ 07980682669

01495 757288

07881 855553

Councillor Cross holds surgeries on the second Saturday of the month 10am - 12pm Coed Eva & Hollybush Community Centre

01633 480083 01633 485495

Councillors Clark and Richards share a surgery on the second Saturday of every month 11am - 12pm in Glaslyn Court CROESYCEILIOG SOUTH Councillor Marlene Thomas Councillor Thomas holds surgeries on the second Saturday of every month 10am - 11am Woodland Road Social Centre, Bowls Annex

Councillor Phil Seabourne

01633 863744

Councillor Seabourne holds surgeries on the first Saturday of every month 10.30am - 12pm Fairhill Methodist Church 07517 467262

Councillor Rees holds surgeries on the last Saturday of every month 10am - 12pm Fairwater Leisure Centre

Councillor Margaret Pead NEW INN

01633 766557/ 07948 373090

01495 758559

Councillor Raymond Mills

01495 750327

Councillor Graham Smith

07527 963774

The three New Inn councillors share a surgery on the first Saturday of every month 10am - 12pm Learning Centre, The Highway.

Councillor Bob Wellington

01633 868402

Councillor Wellington holds surgeries on the first Saturday of the month 9.30am - 11am Greenmeadow & St Dials Community Hall, 11am -12pm Thornhill Community Centre

Councillor Maria Graham

01633 485067

Councillor Norma Parrish

07817 609419

Councillor Julianna Biggs

01633 864902

Councillor Elizabeth Haynes

01633 870119

Councillor Haynes will hold surgeries at St Dials and Greenmeadow Community Hall on Saturday 19 February 2pm-4pm and Saturday 19 March, 2pm-4pm. Phone for details. TREVETHIN Councillor John Marshall

01495 755812

01495 763067

Councillor Lewis Jones

01495 756950

TWO LOCKS

01495 753778

PONTNEWYDD

Councillor Graham holds surgeries on the first Saturday of every month 11am - 1pm Llantarnam Leisure Centre

01495 750019

01495 751740/ 07806 617156

Councillors Beynon and Parrish hold surgeries on the second Saturday of every month 11am - 12pm Griffithstown Labour Hall alternating with Sebastopol Labour Hall Councillor Kathleen Williams

Councillor Neil Mason ST DIALS

Councillor David James

Councillor Cynthia Beynon MBE

Scheme is a Welsh Assembly Government-funded scheme to standardise exercise referral opportunities across all local authorities and local health boards. The scheme has been funded by the Welsh Assembly working in partnership with the Welsh Local Government Association, local authorities, Public Health Wales and local health boards. The team in Torfaen has already helped a wide range of local people, aged from 17 to 83. So, if you have been thinking about making a new start and exercising yourself back to better health this year, contact Torfaen Exercise Referral Scheme on 01633 627128 or 01495 742232 today.

ST CADOCS AND PENYGARN 01633 482685

PANTEG

Councillor Catherine Lewis

Councillor Peter Cathcart

01633 863189

Councillor Aneurin James

01633 864736/ 07980 682478

Councillor Brian Mawby

01633 484948

Councillor Ron Burnett

01633 874157

Councillor Alastair Cunnington JP

01633 874631

Councillor Colette Thomas

01633 482104

Councillor Thomas holds surgeries on the first Saturday of every month 10am - 11.30am Hollybush Community Centre and 12pm 1.30pm Henllys Village Hall Last Friday of every month 2pm - 3.30pm Cocker Avenue Community Hall

The three councillors share a surgery on the first Saturday of every month 10.30am - 12pm Mount Pleasant Hall

UPPER CWMBRAN Councillor Mary Barnett

01633 484002

Councillor Williams holds surgeries on the second Monday of the month at the Three Blackbirds Public House at 6pm-7pm, second Friday of the month at Our Lady of the Angels Church Hall at 4pm-5pm, second Saturday of the month at St Michael's Church Hall, Llantarnam at 11am-12pm, second Saturday of the month at Court Farm and Oakfield Community Hall at 12.30pm-1.30pm, and the second Saturday of the month at Cwmbran Band Hall at 2pm-3pm.

PONTNEWYNYDD

Councillor John Cunningham MBE KSG

01633 862050

Councillor Robert Jones

01633 838658

LLANYRAFON NORTH

Councillor Gould holds surgeries on the third Saturday of every month 11am - 12pm Emmaus Chapel, Pontnewynydd

Councillor Paul Williams

CROESYCEILIOG NORTH

Councillor Sarah Richards MBE

01495 757738/ 07964 792732

LLANTARNAM

COED EVA

Councillor Richard Clark

LLANYRAFON SOUTH

CWMYNYSCOY Councillor Doug Jones

specific to the needs of people with cardiac and respiratory conditions. If you feel you would benefit from taking part in the scheme then you need to speak to your GP, practice nurse or health professional. You will then be provided with a referral form and contacted to arrange a consultation. During this, the professional will find out a bit more about your health history and will help select a programme of exercises that are suitable for you. The National Exercise Referral

GREENMEADOW

BRYNWERN

Councillor Fiona Cross

The Torfaen Exercise Referral Scheme is open to residents aged 17 and over, who are not used to being regularly active and have a medical condition. The initiative, which is supported by council staff based at Cwmbran Stadium and Pontypool Active Living Centre, provides support for residents whose health would benefit from a more active lifestyle. People who take advantage of the scheme are able to access more than 70 fitness activities for just £1 per session for 16 weeks. The sessions include gym use, gentle exercise classes and walking, as well as classes

Councillor Jeff Rees

Councillor Stuart Evans

Councillor Brian Matthews

If you’ve been thinking about exercising yourself back to better health this year then taking the first step might be easier than you think.

FAIRWATER 01495 773737

BLAENAVON

Councillor Tom Huish

Gym’ll fix it for you

Councillor Veronica German

01633 770349/ 07875 120491

Councillor Ron Jones

01495 750238

PONTYPOOL

The three councillors share a surgery on the first Saturday of every month 10am - 12pm Thornhill Community Association (1Cllr) West Pontnewydd Community Hall (2 Cllrs)

Councillor Fred Wildgust SUSPENDED UNTIL JANUARY 2012. For constituency issues, contact councillor Ron Jones (see Pontnewynydd ward). SNATCHWOOD Councillor Tom Gould 07957 995603

WAINFELIN 01495 757165

Councillor Mike Jeremiah

01495 755830

Councillor Jeremiah holds surgeries on the first Saturday of every month 10am - 11am St Johns 11.10am - 12.10pm Tranch Hall

Page 8 Call the Exercise Referral Scheme on 01633 627128 or 01495 742232


Keep your valuables out of view Motorists in Torfaen are being encouraged to take extra care with vehicle security, following a recent increase in vehicles being broken into or damaged. Vehicles that contain items left on display have been targeted – in particular around Blaenavon on Thursday and Friday nights. PC Zoe Lewis said: “We are seeing far too many vehicles with valuables on view, such as CDs, money, mobile phones, SatNavs and coats left on rear seats. Such items are tempting to opportunist thieves. “We want to warn drivers not to leave items visible in the car and boot. If you can, take your belongings with you.” Detective Inspector Leanne Brustad added: “We have stepped up patrols, but we would also urge the public to help us by remembering not to leave any items on display.” Gwent Police says every time you leave your vehicle unattended you should: • Lock it and close all windows •S  et your alarm or immobiliser, if you have one •R  emove all items and property left on view, including pull-out or face-off radios •R  emove satellite navigation devices and their holders •R  emove the suction marks that are often left behind by satellite navigation holders on windscreens – this is often how thieves can tell there is one in the vehicle •K  eep your keys in a safe place and never leave them in the ignition. Anyone with information on crime is urged to call 101 or 0800 555111. Visit www.gwent.police.uk and enter your postcode to find out what Gwent Police is doing in your area, and how you can help set local policing priorities.

Team to tackle Torfaen burglaries A team of six police officers is dealing specifically with burglaries in Torfaen. Since November, two detectives and four PCs have been investigating burglary crimes in the area, targeting known offenders and educating residents on how to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of burglary. About a third of UK-wide burglaries are committed through people leaving their properties insecure. Gwent Police is offering some simple steps to help make your property more secure: • Close and secure all doors and windows at night and when you go out • Keep your doors locked, even when you are at home and put the keys somewhere safe and out of reach from doors or windows • Don’t leave expensive property in sight close to a window • Keep your car keys out of sight • Close all curtains when you have the lights on at night • Shut and lock garden gates. Detective Inspector Leanne Brustad is leading the operation. She said: “The team is working very hard to find witnesses to burglaries and to use forensic evidence to bring charges against suspected culprits.

“Householders cannot afford to be complacent or take chances with their security, even when they are inside their homes. “We urge all householders to be vigilant in securing their homes to avoid the inconvenience and distress associated with being a burglary victim.” A Gwent Police video, Through the Eyes of a Burglar, can be viewed at www.youtube.com, by searching Gwent Police. To report anyone suspicious or help burglary investigations, call 101 or 0800 555111.

Kicking domestic abuse into touch Cracking fun

Gwent Police joined forces with Pontypool RFC to launch a new trophy to help combat domestic abuse in the area.

Pontypool Neighbourhood Policing Team worked closely with the rugby club and Torfaen Women’s Aid to introduce the White Ribbon Cup, which was contested for the first time at Pooler’s game with Swansea. The trophy will be contested each year at Pontypool’s closest home fixture to 25 November – the date of White Ribbon Day. Pontypool RFC managing director Frank Stanton said: “The club is very happy to support such an initiative in the local community and I would urge all our supporters to get behind this worthy cause.” White Ribbon is an international campaign to raise awareness about those suffering from and living with domestic abuse. To mark the occasion, Pontypool and Swansea players wore white ribbons to the match and a collection was made at the game to help Torfaen Women’s Aid, which provides support, advice and even refuges to those at risk.

Gwent Police worked with Torfaen Youth Service to stage a festive event for young people the week before Christmas.

Inspector Nick McLain, Pontypool captain Geraint Morris, Sgt Clive Elliot and Pontypool RFC managing director Frank Stanton Jemma Wray, director of Torfaen Women’s Aid, said: “We are really pleased to have worked with Gwent Police and Pontypool RFC on this initiative and we really value their efforts in raising awareness of the campaign. “The White Ribbon Campaign is specifically aimed at getting men to stand up against domestic abuse of all forms.” Police officers attended the game to speak to rugby fans about the campaign and posters were placed around the ground.

Inspector Nick McLain, of Pontypool Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Domestic abuse can be devastating for victims - across the UK two people are killed by their partners each week. I hope this campaign will encourage victims in Pontypool to seek help. “If anyone has friends or relatives who suffer from such abuse, please let them know there is help and support available to them.” To report domestic abuse, call Gwent Police on 101 or the Wales Domestic Abuse Hotline on 0808 8010 800.

Report domestic abuse on 101 or 0808 8010 800

Held at Cwmbran Fire Station, the Christmas Cracker event featured an ice skating rink, DJ workshop, festive arts and crafts, sporting activities and a barbeque. Joanne Davies, of Torfaen Youth Service, said: “A lot of hard work was put in to make sure this event was packed full of fun for youngsters. The event provided a safe environment for young people to celebrate Christmas and enjoy themselves.” Officers and PCSOs from Cwmbran and Pontypool Neighbourhood Policing Teams chatted with youngsters and offered personal safety advice. Partnership Inspector Matthew Williams said: “It was great to have such a large-scale event taking place on the last Friday night before Christmas, when teenagers traditionally gather on the streets and a minority can cause a nuisance. “These events allow us to build good relationships with young people and help us reduce anti-social behaviour in Torfaen.”

Page 9


Stub it out for good with No Smoking Day Stub it out for good on Wednesday 9 March and join more than two million other smokers committed to breaking free of their costly addiction.

This year’s No Smoking Day theme is ‘time to quit’, with smokers encouraged to use this event as the catalyst to quit smoking. You are up to four times more likely to give up using Stop Smoking Wales than if you go it alone.

It offers free, local NHS support that really works and group support sessions are held in Abersychan, Blaenavon, Cwmbran, Fairwater, Pontypool and Trevethin. A trained advisor will tell you about nicotine replacement products and other aids that

will help you quit. You will also be able to use a carbon monoxide monitor to measure the fall in harmful carbon monoxide levels in your body. Many local people who have quit with the support of Stop Smoking Wales found the support invaluable, including John Taylor (pictured left), who was smoking two ounces of rolling tobacco a week. He said: “My doctor suggested I contact Stop Smoking Wales to see if it could help me quit. “I found the support really good and I haven’t smoked for ten and a half weeks. I’m feeling a lot better in myself, I’m sleeping for longer and I’m not coughing as much. “The advice has been really helpful, I have a lot of encouragement and I would definitely recommend other people contact Stop Smoking Wales for help too.”

The benefits of quitting smoking are immediate, whatever age you are. Your breathing will improve and you will begin to feel cleaner and healthier. The risk of serious illness starts going down immediately and this continues as your body recovers. Quitting smoking will also save you a lot of money. On average, smoking cost £42 a week if you smoke 20 cigarettes a day. If you quit on No Smoking Day, you can save £500 by June, enough for a summer break! If you are interested in receiving more information or want to arrange support near you, contact Stop Smoking Wales on 0800 085 2219 or visit www.stopsmokingwales.com

03/03/11

Page 10

Contact Stop Smoking Wales now on 0800 085 2219


Blooming bulbs will brighten the building Pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw braved the mud and got their hands dirty recently, planting daffodil bulbs on the green bank at the entrance to the school. The event was organised for 16 year-7 pupils by Kier Western, the construction company building a new teaching block at the school. The extension and refurbishment of the school is being undertaken in three phases. Phase two, which is the new teaching block, is on track to open in September. Further phases include the removal of several demountable classrooms, construction of a new dining block and refurbishing the existing main building. Meanwhile, despite delays caused by the early cold snap, the school and leisure element of the Blaenavon Community Campus is still on target for a March 2012 completion.

Facebook page helps council communicate with residents Torfaen council is always looking for new ways to improve the way it communicates with residents.

Now, thanks to the huge growth of social media and sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s even easier to stay in touch with the latest Torfaen news, views and information. The council started using Facebook in December to tell people about the disruption caused by the snow and had a huge response, with 1,000 people signing up for updates and sharing information with each other. Mother of three Sarah Williams (pictured right) regularly uses Torfaen council’s Facebook page. She said: “I am a regular on Facebook and it is brilliant that everyone is in one place. “My family are dotted all the over the UK and US. On Facebook I can chat and show pictures to them, so they can

see my girls growing up and likewise with their family. “We can share news with a quick click - it would be impossible to keep such close contact with my family so far away without it. “All the mummies from the school can connect and chat about the school, homework, closures, trips etc, which has proved so useful time after time. “During the snow, I found the

updates from Torfaen council very useful. I knew what was happening with roads and refuse collections as soon as I logged in. “I also get updates from the play centres I take my children to, so I always know when they are having special events and offers. Facebook – I wouldn’t be without it!” To get involved, go to www.facebook.com/torfaen

Torfaen’s local network A new local social network site is being piloted by the Torfaen local service board. The Torfaen Exchange will be an online space where you can debate the issues that matter in your community. The first conversation is called ‘Bringing People Together’ and is on the subject of community cohesion. Once the pilot ends and the site is launched to the general public, it will be a place to share experiences, create new networks, make new friends and have an input into local decisions. If you want to have more of a say on what happens around you or just debate the big issues with the people living in your communities, then keep an eye out for further information, email engagement@torfaen.gov.uk or contact Julia Rooney on 01495 762200.

Wave the flag for the farm! Voicing views Local news on the move

Local school pupils waved the flag for Greenmeadow Community Farm, as the ribbon was cut to officially open the new and improved Eye Paddock at the farm. Thanks to a £220,000 investment funded through the Valleys Regional Park initiative, the paddock has been redesigned to provide an arena for events, permanent animal housing, upgraded footpaths and a shelter to provide cover from the rain or sun. The woodland and pond area next to the Eye Paddock has also been upgraded. Works to the Haybarn have resulted in an all new activity room, a fantastic hatchery and small animal facility, and a new base for the Gwent Guild of Spinners, Weaver and Dyers. The works were funded through the Valleys Regional Park initiative and Torfaen council. The Valleys Regional Park is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government. To find out more visit, www.greenmeadowcommunityfarm.org.uk

Consultation between local public services and residents has never been so important.

Rose Matthews is another local person who takes advantage of Torfaen council’s Facebook page.

With budgets stretched and funding from the Assembly reducing, changes to public services are inevitable. So, if you want to have your say on local public services, join Torfaen’s People’s Panel. The panel is managed by Torfaen council on behalf of the local service board and people from all backgrounds aged 18 and over are needed. It already has more than 350 members, who make their views known through postal surveys, online discussions and telephone polls. Your personal information will only be used for research and consultation purposes or to invite you to community events. For more information, call 01495 766159, email research@torfaen.gov.uk or visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/ peoplespanel

She explained: “I was a little surprised during the recent bad weather to see Torfaen council posting updates, bin collections, school closures, weather updates and gritting schedules. “Getting ready for work in the mornings, I do not have time to go on my laptop and connect to websites. However, using my mobile phone, I am on Facebook

quickly and easily, so to see these updates straight away was very good. I then passed this information on to friends who are not on Facebook. “When you have updates of this quality, it allows you to take quick decisions - do I need to take the car to work, what bin will be collected this week? The Facebook page is free, easy and contains quality information that is extremely useful. “This is a great way forward for Torfaen and an easy way to get updated information.”

Follow @torfaencouncil on Twitter - Visit www.facebook.com/torfaen Page 11


Making Torfaen Talks more relevant to you Torfaen Talks is your local community newspaper, so your views on when it is produced and its content are important.

Talks is a bright, colourful read. The design has changed over the last two years and the issues have been larger in size. More information from public sector partners like Gwent Police has been included, while keeping money in-house for things that would normally be advertised externally has helped to make Torfaen Talks even more cost-effective. Your help is needed to ensure Torfaen Talks continues to be relevant to you.

Published six times a year, Torfaen Talks costs less than 6p per edition per household. That’s 36p per year - less than the cost of a first class stamp. Every edition, the editorial team tries to include as much council and community news as possible, while making sure Torfaen

 Q1. Age:

Q8. I n what format would you prefer to read Torfaen Talks?

16 or under

45 - 54

17 - 24

55 - 64

Newspaper

25 - 34

65 or over

Magazine (not currently in this format)

35 - 44

Q2. Gender: Male

Q3. Postcode:

Yes

Q4. W  here do you currently get your local news? TICK ALL THAT APPLY News websites

More often

Newspapers

Torfaen Talks

Less often

Social media, eg Facebook, Twitter

Councillor newsletters or emails

Other

TV

Q5. W  here do you like to get your council information? TICK ALL THAT APPLY torfaen.gov.uk

Council Customer Care Centres

Local newspapers

Social media eg Facebook, Twitter

Torfaen Talks

Libraries

Leaflets or posters

Council offices

Community centres

Tourist Information Centre

Email

Notice boards

Leisure centres

Other

I find the information in Torfaen Talks useful

Twitter

Facebook

webster.uk.net

Always

Most of the time

Some of the time

Rarely

Page 12

Partnership information

Competitions

Forthcoming events

Fairly important

Fairly unimportant Very unimportant

I feel better informed about council services than I did a year ago

Strongly agree

Fairly important Neutral Fairly unimportant Very unimportant

Agree

Q14. I don’t mind if local business adverts appear in Torfaen Talks:

Neutral

Strongly disagree

Q12. H  ow important are the following in the design and content of Torfaen Talks? Colour Very important

Very important

Photos

Short stories

Long stories

Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

Don’t know

Q15. O  verall, what do you think of Torfaen Talks as a source of public information? Very good

Fairly good

Average

Fairly poor

Very poor

Q16. A  ny other comments about Torfaen Talks?

Fairly important

Q7. How often do you read Torfaen Talks?

Never

I feel well informed about council services

Don’t know

Q6. W  hich following online media options offered by the council do you take advantage of? TICK ALL THAT APPLY

Who’s who at the council

Same

Disagree

If ‘other’ please specify:

Local community information

Neutral

No

Q11. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

If ‘other’ please specify:

Council information Very important

Q10. T  orfaen Talks is currently published six times a year. How often would you like to see it published?

torfaen.gov.uk

Q13. H  ow important are the following topics in Torfaen Talks:

Online

Q9. Do you read Torfaen Talks online via torfaen.gov.uk?

Female

torfaen.gov.uk

All feedback is welcome – fill in the form below and send it to: Communications Team, Level 5, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB.

Neutral Fairly unimportant Very unimportant

Recycle Torfaen Talks - pop it into your black box


Torfaen Talks - January 2011