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TORFAENTalks Your Community Newspaper

October 2010 - Hydref 2010

Blaenavon’s big bang A spectacular open air concert was held in Blaenavon to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the town’s World Heritage Site status. The concert, held at Blaenavon Ironworks, featured the Three Welsh Tenors, Only Boys Aloud, Blaenavon Male Voice Choir, Blaenavon Town Band and the Blaenavon Gamelan. The highlight of the event was a stunning performance by Sophie Evans (pictured right), the runner-up on the BBC’s TV show Over the Rainbow, who will soon be treading the boards in the West End production of The Wizard of Oz. Councillor Bob Wellington, leader of Torfaen council, said: “When we were awarded World Heritage Status, I

Inside »

Pit pony sculptures set to be tourist attraction see page 3

made a pledge that we would always protect and enhance Blaenavon’s rich industrial heritage. “As chairman of the Blaenavon Partnership, I am proud to say we have gone above and beyond this and delivered huge improvements for the

people and businesses of Blaenavon. “It has been a powerful catalyst for economic regeneration, leisure and tourism, helping us build on our community pride and create a powerful identity for our industrial heritage. It has also given

us a global platform to tell the world about how the working people of Blaenavon and the south Wales valleys shaped the modern world.” Turn to page 4 for details of some of the investment in Blaenavon over the past decade.

Promoting sustainability £266m plan for schools Another week of events is being held this month to celebrate Torfaen Sustainability Week. This is the second year this annual event has been held, as Torfaen council aims to encourage people to live greener, more sustainable lives. Businesses, schools and residents can all get involved in what promises to be another interesting and informative series of events. The week kicks off on 11 October with a sustainability conference at Greenmeadow Community Farm. For more details and a guide to what’s on, turn to page 13 or log-on to www.torfaen.gov.uk/sustainability

A far reaching £266 million school transformation programme, which could deliver a mixture of new, extended and refurbished schools, is being considered by Torfaen councillors. The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has insisted all 22 councils submit proposals that will transform education in Wales and tackle the costly issues of ageing school buildings and surplus places. At primary school level, the proposals could cost in excess of £113million, while at secondary level the proposals would cost more than £153million. See the back page for more information.

Digital revolution for Wales’ silicon valley see page 5

Top marks for pupils in A-levels and GCSEs see page 6

Pontypool Jazz Festival is a swinging success see page 11


Dog fouling consultation Dog fouling continues to be one of the biggest causes of complaint for Torfaen residents. This was reflected in the recent What Matters to You survey, so Torfaen council is increasing its efforts to tackle the minority of dog owners who allow their dogs to be a nuisance to others. The council is looking at whether it should introduce dog control orders, so it can take enforcement action where dog owners: • fail to remove dog mess • don’t keep their dog on a lead in certain specified areas or when asked to do so by an authorised council officer • allow their dog to enter land from which dogs are excluded. To help decide if and where these new powers should apply, a public consultation will be held in December. For more information or to take part in the consultation, visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/ EnvironmentAndPlanning To report a dog fouling problem, contact 01633 647621/22.

Online food safety scheme A new safety scheme allows people to find out about the food hygiene at their local café, pub or takeaway – at the click of a button. The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, better known as Scores on the Doors, has been set up by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). It is very important all food businesses obey the law and supply food that is safe to eat, so throughout October hundreds of businesses serving food and drink in Torfaen will be given a score of 0 (poor) to 5 (excellent) following an unannounced food hygiene inspection. It will be based on the structural and hygiene standards found on the day, as well as the business management’s ability to serve safe food to its customers. The Scores of the Doors scheme allows consumers to make informed decisions about where they eat and encourage businesses to improve their hygiene standards. The rating will be publicised on the FSA website, and there will also be a sticker

that can be put on the door or window of the business. If the score on the door is 3, 4 or 5, you know the business largely or fully complies with the law and produces food that is safe to eat. Torfaen council joins more than 200 other local authorities in signing up to the scheme. For more information about Scores on the Doors, visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/ scoresonthedoors or www.food.gov.uk/scores

Covert operation to stop recycling site abuse

Show is set for big bangs Remember, remember the fifth of November – add the date to your diary now so you don’t miss Pontypool Round Table’s annual fireworks spectacular. Every year thousands of people gather in Pontypool Park to enjoy the impressive fireworks show. As always, this year’s display will be choreographed to music. Entry is £5 for adults, £3 concessions. Gates open at 6pm for a 7pm start. I have very early memories of my favourite place in Torfaen - Pontypool Park. I can remember being taken there by my parents as a youngster to learn to swim in the toddlers’ pool and a few years later going with my father to have a kick around with a football. When I was slightly older and a better swimmer, I would pop along with my mates for a swim in the larger pool and, of course, a plate of chips and a cold can of pop to finish things off. As my years advanced and my enthusiasm for swimming diminished, I enjoyed visiting the park for other reasons. As a teenager in love, I would enjoy walks around the park’s beautiful surroundings. I’d visit the Grotto

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A covert surveillance project is targeting recycling site fly-tippers who are costing tax payers thousands of pounds a month. The past few months have seen an increase in the amount of abuse occurring at the sites. Instead of using the sites to deposit recycling, people

and later, when re-opened, the Folly. When I became a parent myself, I found myself revisiting the toddlers’ pool and restaurant, with a sense of déjà vu. We bought a family dog and I found myself again visiting the Grotto and Folly for walks. Now I have come full circle. My children have grown up and the dog sadly passed on, but I still can still enjoy a fun-filled day out at Pontypool Park with my grandchildren. Gwyn Jones What’s your favourite place in Torfaen? Write to Communications Team, Level 5, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB. Don’t forget to include contact details.

are dumping domestic waste, furniture and cardboard. The misuse is costing the council about £2,400 a month to clear and dispose, and making it difficult for residents to use the sites for recycling. Torfaen council is using SmartWater and CCTV to help to tackle the issue.

“Fly-tipping is a serious offence and those caught could face a fine of up to £50,000 and or up to six months in prison,” the executive member for neighbourhood services, councillor John Cunningham said. To report fly-tipping in Torfaen, call 01495 762200.

My favourite place

For an audio version of Torfaen Talks call 01495 766417


Car park open All levels of the Riverside multi-storey car park in Pontypool are now open to the public. Resurfacing work to levels seven and eight has been completed and the car park is fully accessible from 7am until 9pm Monday to Friday, 7am6pm on Saturdays and 9am-6pm on Sundays. As a result, the time restrictions on parking in the short stay red bays are now being enforced. This decision was made after consultation with traders. Waiting limits for red bays are locally signed, but generally permit parking up to four hours – no return within four hours. A particular variation from this is Rosemary Lane car park where drivers can park for two hours – no return within two hours.

Pit pony sculptures mark Blaenavon’s historic past One of the five iron-cast pit ponies set to become a key tourist attraction in Blaenavon made a special appearance at the Heads of the Valleys National Eisteddfod in Ebbw Vale. The ponies have been created, following a commission for animal sculptures to be based in Blaenavon, funded by the Heads of the Valleys Programme. Weighing two tonnes each, standing four feet tall and six feet long from nose to tail, the iron-cast pit ponies were designed by animal sculptor Sally Matthews, whose work can be found all over the UK and in Europe. The leader of Torfaen council, councillor Bob

Wellington, said: “The pit ponies are a wonderful symbol of Blaenavon’s industrial past and the bright future ahead of it. “They will add further character to the terrific amount of attractions within Torfaen and I can’t wait to see them in their final chosen location.” It is hoped the pit pony sculptures will become a key visitor attraction, contributing to the growth of tourism in and around Blaenavon. Sally chose pit ponies as they were “the heart of Blaenavon’s coal and iron industries and they are still in the hearts of many

people there.” The ponies will be erected in Blaenavon later this year at an undecided location.

TV stars are special guests for cavalcade

Streetlight switch-off saves over £375,000

Two famous faces will visit Pontypool next month for the annual Christmas cavalcade. TV stars Fifi and Bumble will turn the Christmas lights on in the town on Saturday 27 November. The Christmas cavalcade procession will take place at 4.30pm. Starting outside Pontypool Community Council’s offices, it will parade through the town ending at the Link (the top of Crane Street) for the switching on of the lights. A variety of activities will be taking place throughout the town centre during the day.

Phase one of the streetlight switch-off is almost complete. The council has liaised with residents throughout the process and that level of communication will not change when phase one comes to an end. About 1,800 lights along A, B and main distributor roads have been decommissioned, already resulting in savings of £375,000. The council is constantly reviewing this process and is still looking at ways of saving money – for example, it is considering installing energy saving devices and bulbs that use less electricity. Residents can help the council respond to problems more efficiently when it comes to identifying and repairing faulty streetlights. Lights affected by the first phase of the switch-off are marked with a blue or white sticker - all other lights should be illuminated at night. To report what you believe could be a faulty streetlight, call 01495 762200. For more information on streetlights within Torfaen, visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/streetlights

Meet Santa in his grotto at Pontypool Indoor Market, while a host of street acts will perform throughout the town centre from 12.30pm. Fifi and Bumble will be in the town from 1pm. To take part in this year’s parade or for more information, contact 01495 756736.

IN BRIEF Admissions deadline Parents can apply for nursery provision for their children from the term following their third birthday. The closing date for nursery admissions for September 2011 is 8 October 2010. If parents have not received an application form or information booklet, they should contact 01633 647344 or kath.worwood@ torfaen.gov.uk Information on private nurseries and on playgroup provision is available from 0800 0196 330.

Student support There is still time to apply for student finance for 2010/11. Higher education students can apply online or download an application pack at www. studentfinancewales.co.uk Alternatively, contact 01633 648121/648122/647394 or email student.support@ torfaen.gov.uk

Computer classes If you want to learn new or improve your computer skills, free help is available. The Garnsychan Partnership is running a range of computer courses for all abilities. Contact 01495 774453 or visit Garnsychan Partnership, 55 Stanley Road, Garndiffaith, NP4 7HL for details.

Help to protect people All adults should be able to live free from fear or harm and have their rights and choices respected. If you are unhappy about the way someone is being treated, perhaps due to mental health problems, illness, age or disability, the council needs to know so it can stop it happening. An adult protection coordinator is based within Torfaen social services, so if you have any concerns call 01496 762200. Outside office hours, contact 0800 328 4432 (Minicom 0800 587 9963) or Gwent Police on 01633 838111. The safeguarding unit also covers child protection concerns.

To take part in the Christmas cavalcade contact 01495 756736

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BUILDING ON BLAENAVON’S HISTORIC PAST World Heritage Status has been a catalyst for an enormous amount of investment in Blaenavon. At least £35million has been invested over the past decade, allowing hundreds of homes to be renovated, new car parks built, roads and pavements improved, the UK’s first World Heritage Centre being built on the site of a derelict school, empty shops restored, a new library and much more. However, that’s just the start – the Forgotten Landscapes project will see millions invested in improving and enhancing the industrial landscape.

The £15million community campus will not only lead to Blaenavon children being taught in a 21st century school, but see a whole host of new facilities for the community. The council will shortly be announcing plans to turn Torfaen into Wales’ first silicon valley. Where Blaenavon led the industrial revolution, Torfaen will lead the digital revolution in Wales. See below for details of some of the investment in Blaenavon over the past decade and page 5 for examples of how digital Torfaen is shaping up.

then..

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Broad Street

Once known as ‘plywood city’, millions have been spent renovating run down and empty shops.

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Housing now

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Blaenavon World Heritage Centre

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Blaenavon Library

More than £7million spent on grants for 450 homes thanks to the council’s housing renewal programme.

Forgotten Landscapes

A multi-million pound project to fur ther conser ve and restore the historic landscape around Blaenavon, and improve access and understanding of its heritage.

A first for the UK after £3million of funding was secured to transform St Peters School. It now attracts people from around the world.

now

This derelict listed building 00,000 was tastefully renovated in an £8 bright, project that transformed it into a people of new community facility for local all ages.

To find out more information on the latest World Heritage news and events, go to www.visitblaenavon.co.uk

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Gilchrist Thomas

£3.3million spent on the industrial estate which is home to new businesses and the groundbreaking new South Wales Collaboration Centre.

For council vacancies visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/jobsandvacancies


Torfaen’s future as Wales’ digital valley Torfaen is leading the way in Wales with its digital revolution. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in our lives and Torfaen council is constantly working to improve its growing reputation as Wales’ digital valley. The council is embracing joint working with public sector colleagues, helping to improve services while sharing costs and expertise. The South Wales Collaboration Centre, a £3million IT centre in Blaenavon, is an excellent example of this. This nerve centre

South Wales Collaboration Centre 1

for public service agencies across Gwent is helping to make Blaenavon the new technological hub of south east Wales and the wider UK. The council’s technology-rich learning strategy is giving Torfaen pupils access to the latest technology in the classroom – some of it the first of its kind in Europe – while Victoria Primary was the first school in Wales where every pupil was given a free laptop, as part of a national pilot. See the diagram below for examples of some of Torfaen’s landmark projects.

This £3million centre hosts IT services for local authorities including Torfaen council, further education colleges and Gwent Police. Sponsor partners for the project include IT giants Microsoft, Cisco, Virgin, HP, Ultima and West Coast.

Garnteg Primary 2

8 Primary

school plazas As part of the council’s investment in 21st century education, the plazas at Blenheim Road, Nant Celyn, Penygarn and Blaenavon Heritage encourage education through the latest innovations in technology.

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Young People’s Support Service

State-of-the-art facilities, including laptops and video conferencing facilities, have been installed at Gwent House in Cwmbran town centre to help deliver vital skills to support vulnerable young people looking for employment.

Twenty First Century Teacher Development Zone

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Comprehensive school plazas 3

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An excellent example of joint working between Torfaen and Monmouthshire has seen the creation of a teacher development facility featuring five rooms with twin-screen laptops, video conferencing, a live TV recording and editing studio, e-boards, 3D projector facilities and touch screen computers.

Pupils enjoy all aspects of making and producing TV programmes, from writing scripts and presenting shows to conducting interviews, operating one of their three cameras and editing the footage to make a DVD in the school broadcasting suite.

Two comprehensive schools currently house learning plazas (Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw and Abersychan). Plazas can accommodate 60 pupils and comprise laptops linked by wireless technology, broadcast production and streaming, group and individual working areas, interactive video conferencing and touch surface technology.

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Neighbourhood Learning Centre

LIFE Station

The £650,000 facility in Woodlands Field, Penygarn, includes a modern computer room, a kitchen using locallygrown food and office space for use by community members and other agencies to bring services in the area.

A computer suite and teaching kitchen form part of the recentlyopened LIFE Station, which is wireless-enabled for users.

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Recycle Torfaen Talks - pop it into your black recycling box

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Music grant gives Bethan the experience of a lifetime A Torfaen grant scheme is helping cultivate and develop the artistic skills of local young people. Torfaen Young People’s Music and Arts Trust provides small grants to residents aged 25 and under to cover costs such as equipment and courses. This support can be crucial in helping them reach their

potential and thrive in their chosen hobby or art form. Musician Bethan Eveleigh (left) has successfully appealed to the trust on a number of occasions and has found the support invaluable. She said: “The grants have enabled me to attend the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Wales and National Youth Brass Band of Wales courses. These national courses provide exposure to world class professional tutors who would normally only teach at music schools and universities. “Two years ago, I travelled to Poland with the Gwent Music Support Service and a grant helped me to cover the costs. It was the experience of a lifetime, as we played in numerous beautiful Polish churches and experienced the Polish culture through music.” For more information visit www. torfaen.gov.uk/LeisureAndCulture or call 01633 628968.

Top marks for Torfaen school pupils Torfaen schools and their pupils celebrated another year of good exam results. Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw pupil Chris Williamson (right) in particular achieved an exceptional set of results - 13 A* GCSEs and an A in AS-level maths. He had already obtained an A* GCSE in maths last year. He said: “I did a lot of work before the exams, but a few of them didn’t go as well as I thought they would. It was amazing, as I really didn’t expect to do as well as I did. I’m absolutely thrilled.” The Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) results show the percentage of A* grades

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at A-level was 6.2 per cent, while 21.7 per cent of subject entries received an A*/A grade. A*-E grade was achieved by 96.6 per cent of entries. At ASlevel, 16.8 per cent were A grades, with a pass grade of A-E above the national average at 89.7 per cent. At GCSE, the overall percentage of pupils achieving A*-A was 15.9 per cent, with 60.4 per cent of pupils achieving grades A*-C. The pass rate of grades A*-G in Torfaen was 98 per cent. Councillor Mary Barnett, executive member for children

and young people, said: “I never cease to be impressed by the hard work and dedication that goes into teaching and learning in Torfaen, and these results are a testament to all of that.”

Vandalised wall repaired

Torfaen’s team of dedicated volunteers rose to the challenge after vandalism and theft at Tirpentwys Local Nature Reserve. Earlier this year, a car was driven into the stone wall and gate at the entrance to the reserve. A gate and some stone from the wall were stolen, costing more than £2,000 which would have had to come from under pressure council budgets. The gate was replaced, but repairing the wall was going to be a difficult and expensive project. However, after several days of hard work by volunteers, the wall was repaired for just £90. Last year, volunteers working with the council’s countryside team carried out more than 7,500 hours of unpaid work to improve their local area. This work would have cost more than £150,000 but its impact on communities is worth significantly more. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, contact 01633 648034.

Happy homes needed Mention adoption and most people will picture rosy-cheeked babies and toddlers being welcomed into the arms of their new parents. But more and more, it’s not babies who need new homes, but older children, mostly under five years, who will never be able to return to live with their birth families. These young people deserve a brighter future – one a happy home life can offer. Unlike fostering, where a young person may live with a family for years but remains the responsibility of the council, adopting a child means they become a permanent member

of your family, with the same legal rights as birth children. Torfaen and Monmouthshire’s joint adoption team is looking for families who are interested in adopting older children. The team has already placed 40 children with new families in the last two years; however, there are always more children who need secure, loving homes.

Support is available throughout the assessment and adoption process. If you are interested in adopting a child, or think you may be eligible for adoption support services, call 01873 735499.

Become a countryside volunteer, telephone 01633 648034


safer gwent policing summary edition

Protecting and Reassuring Torfaen

Committed to tackling anti-social behaviour Torfaen Neighbourhood Policing Teams are committed to making the area a safe place to live and work. This means making you feel safe too. Anti-social behaviour can have a huge effect on the quality of life of those living and working in the area and we are determined to tackle the small minority of people who act in this way.

So what is anti-social behaviour? Anti-social behaviour can tbe virtually any activity you find intimidating or threatening. It can include:

• Groups of people hanging around streets and causing a nuisance • Inappropriate use of cars or motorbikes, such as constant revving of engines, loud stereos or noisy exhausts • Vandalism and graffiti • Drug dealing or taking • Fly-tipping rubbish • Underage drinking in the street • Noisy neighbours or loud parties. Anti-social behaviour in any form is not acceptable and by working together there are many ways in which we can, and will, tackle it. So what can Gwent Police do about anti-social behaviour? By working with our partners, such as Torfaen council, Torfaen Community Safety

Partnership and registered social landlords, such as Bron Afon and Melin, we can undertake a programme of activities aimed at tackling antisocial behaviour, which include: • Dispersal orders to ensure that those congregating are moved on • Fines or fixed penalties • Warning letters • Sessions to improve parenting skills • Noise abatement notices to reduce noise pollution • Injunctions • Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) and Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) • Enforcing tenancy agreements and carrying out evictions • Seizing vehicles • Arresting those responsible, possibly resulting in a jail sentence.

And what can you do? There are many things you can do about anti-social behaviour too. Not only will this help improve your life but also the lives of your neighbours and friends. • Always report antisocial behaviour to the police. You can do this by calling 101 from a landline or mobile phone. If it’s an emergency or you witness serious crime, call 999 • Call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 • Attend your next Police and Communities Together (PACT) meeting or police surgery and talk to your community representative, such as your neighbourhood officer or local councillor

• Create a diary of what is happening and when. This will be useful if there is a resulting court case • Set up or join a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. We can provide more details on this. For help and advice contact: Cwmbran Neighbourhood Policing Team on 01633 642088 Pontypool Neighbourhood Policing Team on 01495 232450 Remember… Antisocial behaviour is NOT acceptable in any form! Let’s tackle it together!


Anti-social and nuisance car use in Talywain What is the main antisocial behaviour issue that affects you most in your neighbourhood?

Anti-social use of vehicles at Commercial Road, Talywain. Young people were gathering at Commercial Road in their cars and causing anti-social behaviour. Noisy engines and loud music were causing a disturbance to residents and drivers were racing each other.

We monitored traffic speed using hand-held speed guns and Section 59 warnings were issued. These are legal warnings for anti-social driving and anyone receiving more that two warnings in a year can have their vehicle seized and crushed. We spoke to drivers and gave them an opportunity to tell us why they were gathering in the area and driving in this way. By doing this, we hoped to build relationships with them and reach a solution that suited everyone involved.

We organised a meeting at the Talywain Senior Citizens’ Hall and distributed flyers to the drivers advertising this. We explained the purpose was to work together and that it wouldn’t be ‘another lecture from the police’. The drivers attended the meeting, where they were given presentations on the dangers of drink driving and speeding. They were shown a short clip from the hard-hitting film ‘COW’ which shows the dangers of texting while driving. This had a huge effect. We had an open discussion about the problems they were

causing and the majority of drivers didn’t realise the affect their loud music and exhausts had on those living close by. Since the meeting, the issue of cars racing along

Commercial Road has considerably reduced and there are also no longer large groups of young people hanging around to watch the cars racing.

Preventing under-aged drinking and disorder in New Inn What is the main antisocial behaviour issue that affects you most in your neighbourhood?

Youth disorder on the Highway in New Inn. Up to 100 young people were gathering outside

Premier Stores, mainly on Friday evenings. The area was being used as a meeting place for youngsters, both local and from as far away as Blaenau Gwent, who would congregate and get drunk. They would then walk down to the Polo Grounds, dropping litter and causing noise nuisance in the area.

We teamed up with our schools liaison officers and Torfaen youth service and carried out joint patrols on the Highway every Friday evening. We sent leaflets to residents explaining what

we were doing to deal with the issue and asking them to report any anti-social behaviour to us on our non-emergency number 101. As a result of our patrols, we sent 65 letters home to parents explaining their child’s behaviour was not acceptable and they should not be allowed to congregate in the area. Eight underage drinkers were taken to Pontypool Police Station and their parents contacted. Once at the station, the youngsters and the parents were given verbal warnings. Also, a large quantity of alcohol from the underage drinkers was confiscated.

With the help of our schools liaison officers and Torfaen youth service, we were also able to build relationships with the young people and find out why they were hanging around. This allowed us to arrange more meaningful ways for them to spend their time, such as a supervised BBQ on school leavers’ day. We kept the residents and local shopkeepers informed of our progress, who told us that the area was a lot more peaceful and tidier. During this operation, we received no further calls from the public about antisocial behaviour on the Highway.


Illegal off-roading ruining countryside around Cwmbran

What is the main anti-social behaviour issue that affects you most in your neighbourhood?

Off-road bikes on the hillsides of Cwmbran were being driven

Please display our pumpkin in your window if you would prefer not to have Halloween callers In an Emergency dial 999

Non-emergency calls:

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Gwent Police have declared war on burglars, with more than 400 arrests in several targeted operations. We have also teamed up with ‘Gio Compario’, the singer who stars in the advert for Gocompare.com, to record a 40-second advert. The ‘Be Aware’ song reminds people to lock up, as more than half of all Gwent residents surveyed by Gwent Police over the summer admitted they’d gone out and left doors or windows open. We are pleased to say this is helping to reduce the number of insecure properties, as almost 90 per cent of people surveyed said the song would encourage them to lock up. For crime prevention advice and details on how to contact your local neighbourhood policing team visit www.gwent.police.uk

We arrested two riders and issued 22 warnings. These warnings, or Section 59 notices as they are legally known, state that anyone found using a vehicle in an anti-social manner more than once in a year can have their bike seized by police and possibly crushed. And that’s exactly what we did! We seized a total of seven bikes, which were crushed and recycled. Let us know if there are off-road We carried out a four day operation targeting illegal off-roaders throughout bikes in your area by calling our nonemergency number 101. Cwmbran.

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‘Be Aware’

anti-socially and sometimes dangerously, with the constant revving of engines and noisy exhausts. They were causing damage to the countryside and wildlife habitats were being destroyed.

ta ou t Cu Protecting and Reassuring Amddiffyn a Thawelu Meddwl

www.gwent.police.uk Mae’r ddogfen hon hefyd wedi’i chynhyrchu ac ar gael yn y Gymraeg Designed by Gwent Police Corporate Communications Department

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Flowers brighten Ian’s day

Online services first in UK Torfaen residents are the first in the UK to be able to access the full range of online services for council tax, business rates, housing benefit and council tax benefit. Using a secure registration process, residents can access: • Housing benefit and/or council tax benefit claim data for their claim •C  ouncil tax or business rate information for their account including the balance, payment and instalment details.

Flower power has brightened one resident’s day in Garndiffaith, thanks to some seasonal sprucing from Pontypool neighbourhood policing team and Torfaen council. When resident Ian Jones (pictured above, on left) called Gwent Police to report missing flower pots, PC Paul Richardson, neighbourhood officer for the area, was straight on the case. Paul explained: “Earlier that day I had spoken to councillor Gwyneira Clark, who explained that Torfaen council was donating plants to community projects. “When I heard about the missing flower pots, I contacted councillor Clark

and, within an hour, I was on my way to Garndiffaith to deliver six trays of bedding plants!” Mr Jones was the unsuspecting recipient: “When my neighbours and I saw Paul with the plants, we couldn’t believe our eyes! I’m totally overwhelmed and can’t thank everyone enough. “It was a wonderful surprise that is very gratefully received!” Councillor Gwyneira Clark, executive member for housing, planning and

public protection, said: “We are very lucky to have so many people working in public services in Torfaen who are willing to go that extra mile to help others. “I was delighted that we were able to provide Mr Jones with new plants after his were stolen. I know how very grateful Mr Jones is to all involved.” Paul added: “I was genuinely touched by Mr Jones’ happiness. It’s great to see that such a small gesture can have such a huge impact.”

The service also allows residents to report a change in circumstances, claim a discount or exemption, or make a payment towards their account. Residents can also check their potential entitlement to housing benefit and/or council tax benefit, as well as make a claim for benefit online. The benefits section will then contact you to obtain the required detail to complete the claim. Visit www.torfaen.gov.uk to access the services.

Residents get better connected Melin residents in north Torfaen will soon be making potential savings of more than £500 a year thanks to a partnership with the Heads of the Valley programme. The Getting Connected scheme, the first of its kind in Wales and part-funded by Torfaen council, has installed more than 150 PCs in homes to help develop digital services in the area. The scheme has already started to pay dividends for residents. Mr Davies, 64, from Garndiffaith, joined Facebook and was able to contact his two granddaughters in Australia whom he had never been in touch with before. Another resident, Denise Timothy of Blaenavon (below), was one of the first to receive her free computer. She said: “I am thrilled to bits. Having access to a computer and broadband will help me in so many ways. “I have been out of work for a while, so now I can check the Internet every day for the latest jobs.”

Don’t let debt control your life Where a debt is not addressed it can spiral out of control. By taking control, you can reduce costs and the council’s revenues section can assist people who are clearly trying to address their debts. However, where customers are not, further action will be taken, including committals, charging orders and bankruptcy action. For help paying your council tax, contact 01495 766129/766131/766145, write to Revenues Section, Civic Centre, Pontypool NP4 6YB or email revs&bens@torfaen.gov.uk

Did you know? • You can pay council tax by direct debit on the 1st, 8th, 15th, 28th of the month • 20,088 customers pay their council tax by direct debit • 12,320 reminder letters were issued in 2009/2010 • 6,809 summonses were issued in 2009/2010 • 3,042 accounts were issued to bailiffs in 2009/2010 • 15 committal orders were awarded with terms of imprisonment in 2009/2010

Council services at a push of a button at www.torfaen.gov.uk

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Public 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 Ethics and standards sub-committee

6 October

Cabinet (European and 12 regional affairs) sub-comm October Ethics and standards

13 October

Cabinet

19 October

Planning

19 October

Learning communities O&S committee

20 October

Safer communities O&S committee

21 October

Cabinet equalities sub-committee

26 October

Council

2 November

Resources and corporate business O&S committee

3 November

Cleaner communities O&S committee

10 November

Healthier communities O&S committee

11 November

Planning committee

23 November

Cabinet

30 November

Nadia thanks her hero Rhys A Torfaen sports development officer saved a teenager’s life after she was stung by a wasp while at summer camp. Nadia Strange, 15, from Penygarn, was taking part in the Woodland’s Field summer camp at the Black Mountains Activity Centre in Brecon when she suffered a lifethreatening allergic reaction to a wasp sting. Nadia suffers from a severe allergy to wasp stings, so her mum Pam quickly laid her on the grass outside the tent. While on the phone to the emergency services, she called sports development officer Rhys Miller over to help. Luckily, he had received severe allergy training only two weeks earlier. Pam said: “She just went white and started panicking. She was crying ‘don’t let me die, don’t let me die,’ and I knew full well she could.” Rhys took the phone while Pam got Nadia’s allergy kit of adrenaline injections from inside the tent. He said: “I tried to

Meet your councillor ABERSYCHAN 01495 773737

Councillor Phil Seabourne

Councillor Ray Williams

01495 774723

Councillor Wayne Tomlinson

01495 774953

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

BLAENAVON

Councillor Jeff Rees

Councillor Stuart Evans

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

Councillor Richard Clark

01633 480083

Councillor Sarah Richards MBE

01633 485495

Councillors Clark and Richards share a surgery on the second Saturday of every month 11am - 12pm in Glaslyn Court

Councillor Marlene Thomas Councillor Thomas holds surgeries on the second Saturday of every month 10am - 11am Woodland Road Social Centre, Bowls Annex

01633 485067

Councillor Graham Smith

07527 963774

Councillor Biggs will hold a surgery on Saturday 11 December at 11am-1pm at Cwmbran Bowling Green. Telephone for an appointment.

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

01495 751740/ 07806 617156

Councillor Norma Parrish

01495 763067

Councillor Bob Wellington

01633 868402

Councillor Kathleen Williams

07817 609419

Councillor Graham holds surgeries on the first Saturday of every month 11am - 1pm Llantarnam Leisure Centre 01633 770349/ 07530 385376

01633 863189

Councillor Aneurin James

01633 864736/ 07980 682478

Councillor Brian Mawby

01633 484948

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

Councillor Fred Wildgust

01495 750238 07852 268419

Councillor Wildgust holds surgeries on the last Friday of the month 11am-1pm St Matthews Church Hall

LLANYRAFON SOUTH 01633 482685

Councillor Tom Gould

01495 757165

Councillor John Marshall

01495 755812

Councillor Lewis Jones

01495 756950

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 Last Friday of every month 2pm - 3.30pm Cocker Avenue Community Hall

Councillor Mary Barnett

01633 484002

Councillor John Cunningham MBE KSG

01633 862050

Councillor Robert Jones

01633 838658

WAINFELIN Councillor Mike Jeremiah

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

01495 755830

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

ST CADOCS AND PENYGARN Councillor Neil Mason

TREVETHIN

The three councillors share a surgery on the first Saturday of every month 10am - 12pm Thornhill Community Association (1Cllr) Housing Office, Maendy Square (2 Cllrs)

SNATCHWOOD 07957 995603

01633 870119

Councillor Haynes will hold surgeries on Saturday 20 November and Saturday 18 December at 2pm-4pm at the Cockerel Hall, Greenmeadow.

UPPER CWMBRAN

PONTNEWYNYDD PONTYPOOL

Councillor Williams holds surgeries on the second Saturday of the month 10am - 11.30am Llantarnam Church Hall 12pm - 1.30pm Oakfield and Court Farm Community Hall 2pm - 3.30pm Cwmbran Brass Band Hall, Henllys Way

Councillor Margaret Pead

01495 753778

Councillor Peter Cathcart

Councillor Ron Jones

01633 864902

TWO LOCKS

PONTNEWYDD

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 Veronica German

Councillor Elizabeth Haynes

Councillor Cynthia Beynon MBE

01633 766557/ 07948 373090

LLANYRAFON NORTH

CROESYCEILIOG SOUTH

01495 750327

Councillor Catherine Lewis

Councillor Paul Williams

CROESYCEILIOG NORTH

Councillor Julianna Biggs

Councillor Raymond Mills

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

Councillor Maria Graham

ST DIALS 01495 758559

PANTEG

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

The annual electoral canvass has started. Every household should have received an electoral registration form asking for the names of all eligible electors living there. If you haven’t, call 01495 762200, visit any council office, email voting@torfaen. gov.uk or download a form from www.torfaen.gov.uk. Entry onto the electoral register is a legal requirement and you need to be on it to vote in all UK elections and referendums. Don’t forget, if you move during the year your details also need to be updated. Mae’r canfas etholiadol blynyddol wedi cychwyn. Dylai pob cartref fod wedi derbyn ffurflen gofrestru etholiadol yn gofyn am enwau’r holl etholwyr cymwys sy’n byw yno. O nad ydych wedi ei derbyn, ffoniwch 01495 762200, galwch i mewn i unrhyw rhai o swyddfeydd y cyngor, gyrrwch e-bost i voting@torfaen.gov.uk neu lawrlwythwch ffurflen o www.torfaen.gov.uk. Mae cynnwys eich enw ar y gofrestr etholiadol yn ofyniad cyfreithiol ac mae angen i’ch enw fod arni cyn i chi fedru pleidleisio yn etholiadau a refferenda’r DU. Cofiwch, os byddwch chi’n symud yn ystod y flwyddyn, mae angen diweddaru’ch manylion.

Councillor David James

07517 467262

LLANTARNAM

COED EVA Councillor Fiona Cross

01633 863744

GREENMEADOW

BRYNWERN Councillor Brian Matthews

01495 757738/ 07964 792732

FAIRWATER

Councillor Gwyneira Clark

Councillor Tom Huish

NEW INN

CWMYNYSCOY Councillor Doug Jones

keep as calm as possible and followed the instructions from the paramedic over the phone. “I held the epi-pen and stabbed the top of her leg. I then held the needle in for about 10 seconds to make sure all the adrenaline was out.” The injection was administered quickly enough to stop the sting triggering a severe allergic reaction. Rhys said: “In work I had training with a dummy epi-pen. Without it, I wouldn’t have known where to put the injection to start with.” Nadia was rushed to Nevill Hall Hospital by ambulance where she was treated and released within a few hours. Mrs Strange said: “I’m glad he was there. He saved her life and it was a stroke of luck with the training.” Nadia added: “When I came out of hospital and saw Rhys, I said ‘Thank you Rhys, you saved my life but my leg is killing’.”

Electoral canvas

01495 750019

Page 8 If you haven’t had an electoral registeration form, ring 01495 762200


Make sustainability second nature The second Torfaen Sustainability Week will be held on October 11-17. The event aims to encourage people to live their lives in a more sustainable fashion, with events happening throughout Torfaen over the seven days. Again, the motto of the week is ‘Changing by Degrees’ – a statement highlighting how, by making minor adjustments to the way people live, everyone can help reduce consumption of the earth’s resources and atmospheric emissions. The leader of Torfaen council, councillor Bob Wellington, said: “Last year’s event was a great success and I am confident

we can build on its achievements. “The threat of climate change affects everyone, so it is essential we continue to increase awareness on the importance of tackling our energy use, while promoting sustainable living. “Thinking in a sustainable manner needs to become second nature if we are to help tackle this problem. By providing practical advice and information on sustainable living, I’m sure Torfaen Sustainability Week will inspire even more local people to embrace a sustainable way of life.”

Recycling unwanted furniture

A furniture reuse scheme has expanded, after a £75,000 grant from the Heads of the Valleys. Circulate Furniture Recycling in Blaenavon is now offering more workshops to residents and renovating additional items after it upgraded its factory, built a metal workshop and purchased new equipment. Suzie Brown, project co-ordinator, said: “This new project will be called Metal Wise and will not only complement our charity’s ethos of recycle and reuse, but be used as a training venue for local businesses and colleges to deliver courses in working with metal.” Circulate saves 80 tonnes of reusable items from going into landfill every year and has helped more than 5,000 people to own new furniture in the last three years. Residents donate furniture, which is cleaned and restored before it is sold at a low cost to those who need it most, or donated to homeless shelters and vulnerable families. It has proved so popular, the facility is now open on Saturday mornings (9am-2pm). If you would like to volunteer at the project or have items to donate, contact 01495 793187.

Council signs Wales charter commitment Torfaen council has made a landmark commitment to protecting future lives and communities across Wales by signing up to Wales’ first-ever Sustainable Development Charter. The council joined 21 other organisations from across the country at the Hay Festival, to mark the charter’s official launch by the minister for environment, sustainability and housing, Jane Davidson. The charter asks organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors to continue to promote sustainable development. By signing up to the aims of the charter, Torfaen council has further demonstrated how seriously it takes sustainability and that it puts it at the heart of everything it does.

SUSTAINABILITY EVENTS Monday 11 October Torfaen Sustainability Week launch event The annual sustainability conference will be held at Greenmeadow Community Farm (10am-2pm). It will feature exhibitions, networking opportunities, key note speakers and the launch of the Schools’ Sustainability Index by the New Economic Foundation. Places are limited and booking is required on ecobuilding@torfaen.gov.uk or 01633 648645. Tuesday 12 October LIFE Station open day Visit Torfaen’s newest environmentally-friendly building to explore its sustainability features. Learn about owning your own allotment, take part in a Fairtrade drop-in session and enjoy a Love Food Hate Waste cookery demonstration. Contact Stacey Jones on 01495 742910 or lifestation@torfaen.gov.uk Biodiversity lecture Enjoy an illustrated talk by Torfaen council’s senior ecologist Steve Williams on the natural history of Torfaen at the lecture theatre in County Hall. For booking and more information, call 01633 648428. Wednesday 13 October Heritage tour of Blaenavon Explore the biodiversity of Blaenavon between 11am-1.30pm. The minibus tour leaves the World Heritage Centre and will look at the work of ‘Forgotten Landscapes,’ an innovative Heritage Lottery-funded project that aims to conserve and sustainably manage the upland commons of Blaenavon industrial landscape. This event will involve short walks from the minibus into the countryside. Places limited. Call 01633 648428. Thursday 14 October Torfaen business breakfast Guest speaker Calvin Jones, of Cardiff Business School, will give a talk on climate change, fossil fuel and the Welsh economy at Technium Springboard, Llantarnam Park. The talk will examine the vulnerability of the Welsh economy to upcoming challenges related to energy availability and climate change legislation. For more information and to book a place, telephone 01633 648644 or email joanne.john@torfaen.gov.uk Friday 15 October Seminar at the Eco-building Ever thought about generating your own energy from renewable sources? If so, visit the Eco-building to find out more about the Feed in Tariff (FITs), with guest speaker Tomos Davies from Energy Saving Trust. For more information and to book a place contact ecobuilding@torfaen.co.uk or 01633 648018. Saturday 16 October Local producers market Farm fresh produce and other locally produced goods will be on sale at Greenmeadow Community Farm at 10am-2pm. Telephone 01633 647662 for details. Sunday 17 October Nature walks A walk will be held at Tirpentwys Local Nature Reserve (10am12pm) to discover the wildlife inhabiting this once forgotten landscape. Dogs welcome. To book, call 01633 647662. Woodland Conservation Join Blaen Bran Community Woodland volunteers (10am-2pm) in doing woodland tasks, including footpath construction, tree planting and general woodland maintenance. All tools and safety equipment will be provided. Places are limited and booking is essential. Call David Williams on 07939 003131. The dates and times of events given above are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to additions or change.

For more information about sustainability week call 01633 648018

Page 9


Have your say on living in Torfaen Would you like to have your say on what happens in your community and Torfaen as a whole? If so, this is your opportunity. Four draft plans – covering health, social care and wellbeing, community safety, children and young people, and the wider community - have been prepared and your views

are sought. Consultation runs until Friday 24 December. To read the plans and complete a questionnaire, go to www.torfaen.gov.uk/ consultations. You can also get involved by signing up to Torfaen People’s Panel or attending one of the three consultation events listed below.

Torfaen Local Service Board The Welsh Assembly Government expects councils and their partners to work together effectively and efficiently. To ensure this, each area has its own Local Service Board (LSB), which sets the priorities for public services to improve the lives of residents. Torfaen LSB is a partnership which includes Torfaen council, Gwent Police, Aneurin Bevan Health Board and Torfaen Voluntary Alliance. It has seven aims, known as outcomes: • Torfaen has a healthy population with a good quality of life • People in Torfaen are safe • People in Torfaen are educated for life • People in Torfaen enjoy a prosperous economy • People in Torfaen live in quality, affordable homes • People in Torfaen live in clean, green, sustainable communities • Frail people in Torfaen are happily independent These four plans (see panels on right) will help to achieve them.

Public consultation events Pontypool Wednesday 13 October, 10am-7.30pm, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB

Blaenavon Thursday 11 November, 10am-7pm, World Heritage Centre, Church Road, Blaenavon, NP4 9AS

Cwmbran Thursday 25 November, 10am-7.30pm, Cwmbran Library, Gwent Square, Cwmbran, NP44 1XQ

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Community Strategy This is the main plan setting out where the Local Service Board will focus its work to improve the quality of life for people in Torfaen.

Community Safety Plan This sets out how public services will work to reduce crime and disorder in Torfaen.

Health, Social Care and Well-being Strategy

This sets out how public services will improve the health and wellbeing of people who live and work in Torfaen.

Children and Young People’s Plan This sets out how public services will improve the lives of children, young people and families in Torfaen, with a particular focus on tackling child poverty.

Visit www.torfaen.gov.uk/consultations to see the plans and complete a short questionnaire. For more information about any of the plans, contact PSSU@torfaen.gov.uk or telephone 01495 766255.

The draft plans are available in alternative formats on request


Swinging success for jazz showcase

A wonderful variety of artists took to the stage and enthralled packed houses recently, as Pontypool Jazz Festival celebrated its tenth anniversary. More than 1,000 people the festival saw a 20 per gathered at Pontypool cent increase in visitors Active Living Centre to compared to last year. enjoy performances by Of course, no event would 32 bands over three days, be a success without a lot supported by Torfaen of hard work behind the council and Pontypool scenes and the organisers Regeneration Partnership. would like to thank Again the festival Pontypool Community provided a fantastic Council, Kier Western, showcase for established Unison, Monmouthshire Welsh musicians, as well Building Society, Pontypool as some tremendously Glazing, Pontypool talented younger Twinning Association, performers, who wooed the Blaenavon Town Council, audiences with their lively, Ponthir Community energetic performances. Council, and Croesyceiliog and Llanyravon Community The new junior jazz suite Council. was a notable success and

Consultation on planning powers Any new development inevitably has an impact on its surrounding area and communities. The planning system aims to address any negative impacts and where possible deliver benefits through planning obligations. The council is currently producing supplementary guidance to explain how planning obligations are used. The draft document will be published for a six-week consultation at the end of October. The final guidance should be available in early 2011. For details of the consultation, go to www.torfaen.gov.uk/consultations

Getting Help2Own a home Help for first-time buyers who would otherwise be unable to get onto the property ladder is now available. Welsh Assembly funding of £800,000 has been secured by the council and partners, Melin Homes and Fairlake Properties. Help is available to people registered on Torfaen’s Help2Own scheme to buy a property before the end of March 2011. Under the scheme, a registered social landlord will provide an equity loan of between 30-50 per cent of the open market value of the property. First-time buyers need to be able to raise a mortgage for the

remainder of the cost. To be eligible you must be over 18 and: • be in permanent employment • not already own a home (subject to circumstances) • not be in serious debt • spend less than 15 per cent of your monthly income on loans and credit bills • be unable to afford to buy a property outright • be able to afford a mortgage and have an ‘in principle’ mortgage offer. For more information, contact 01495 742629.

Ryder Cup ticket winners Here are the lucky winners of our Looking Local competition who went to the Celtic Manor this month to see some of the world’s greatest golfers preparing for the Ryder Cup. Sheila Morgan, Richard Boon, Gareth Jones and Joanne Morris each won a pair of tickets for the tournament’s opening ceremony and final practice day. Looking Local is the new digital service that allows people to access public services through their digital televisions, internet-enabled phones - including the iPhone - and even the Nintendo Wii. Residents can report issues, request services and access key information, news and job vacancies. To access the service on Sky TV press Interactive > Direct Gov > Welcome > Local Services > Wales Virgin users should press Interactive > News & Info > Looking Local > Wales Alternatively visit www.lookinglocal.gov.uk/lookinglocal or text your postcode to 07786 203957.

IN BRIEF Bipolar support MDF is an organisation that supports people with bipolar (formerly manic depression) and their carers. The illness is episodic (it occurs in phases); however, it is possible to remain well for long periods. MDF has local support groups in Newport, Chepstow and Abergavenny, and would like to set up a group in Torfaen. MDF is looking for a group facilitator and treasurer. To get involved, contact Ismene Cole on 01633 244244 or email info@mdfwales.org.uk

Minimising falls Help is available to all older people who have recently fallen or are at risk of falling, inside and outside their homes. It is impossible to stop every fall, but it is possible to minimise the risk factors and keep as many people as safe as possible. Information has been developed to help those at risk and their families at www.aneurinbevanfalls.co.uk. You can also contact the Falls Information Line on 01633 647480.

PSPGo! winner The winner of the adult education survey competition in June’s Torfaen Talks was Granville Harris. To enter the competition, residents had to tell the council the type of adult education classes they would like to see provided. Mr Harris was presented with a PSPGo!

Sensory exhibition A dual-sensory exhibition will be held on Thursday 14 October. Wales’ largest exhibition of aids, equipment, services, talks and activities for people with sight loss, poor hearing or dual sensory loss is taking place from 10am-3pm at the Indoor School, National Cricket Centre, SWALEC Stadium, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. For more information, contact Sight Support on 01495 763650 or postman@ sightsupport.org.uk

Get help to get on the housing ladder, telephone 01495 742629

Page 11


Council considers sweeping plans for 21st century schools A far reaching £266million school transformation programme, which could deliver a mixture of new, extended and refurbished schools, is being considered by Torfaen councillors. The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has insisted all 22 councils submit proposals that will transform education in Wales and tackle the costly issues of ageing school buildings and surplus places. WAG has said submissions must: • be transformational and far reaching • include every school and every pupil and • significantly reduce surplus places. WAG has also insisted that each council puts forward its robust preferred options. Preferred options for both primary and secondary schools in Torfaen are being developed

Councillor Mary Barnett Executive Member for Children and Young People “This may be a once-in-alifetime opportunity to transform education for Torfaen and shed the ‘patch and mend’ approach to maintaining our schools. “It will address the national problem of ageing school buildings, inappropriate sizes and surplus places. The legacy of these exciting proposals could be a sustainable education system with inspirational schools, at the right size and in the right place across the borough, adaptable to the changing curriculum. “It will improve children’s

Page 12

An artist’s impression of the new primary using the school for Blaenavon present school clusters, using projected pupil numbers, surplus places, the location, condition and of £113million. All suitability of schools would be existing school buildings. The programme will be delivered improved, rebuilding eight, transforming in four phases with schools in most critical need of improvement five and extending and refurbishing a Nant Celyn pupils taking priority in phase A, from in their 21st century classr further four. Only three 2012 – 2014. oom primary schools in the At primary school level the borough require no proposals could cost in excess work. over the lifetime of the programme. All schools would From this… The proposal would be improved, with a new post-16 see the total number of centre, two or three rebuilt plus schools reduce from three or four schools refurbished. 32 to 20. This could: • mean secondary schools would to this… be reduced from seven to six • eliminate excessive secondary surplus places • significantly reduce annual running costs education now and the • eliminate a £15million education of their children. If maintenance backlog. our proposals are successful, The proposals include primary they could be the catalyst and secondary faith schools in It will also: to raise teaching standards, Torfaen with the Church in Wales pupil achievements and give all • reduce surplus places from 18 and Roman Catholic Church young people the aspiration and per cent to eight per cent Dioceses in ongoing proposals. opportunity to be the best they • release sites for reinvestment can be. So what happens next? and reuse “We are working with other • October 19: Cabinet considers • raise over £5million from services, partners and agencies the strategic proposals potential planning agreements to build schools which harness • October 29: submit plan the latest technology to support • provide annual savings of over to WAG and Welsh Local teachers, meet the learning needs £1million Government Association (WLGA) of all pupils and serve the wider • eliminate a £17million • Jan 2011: Submit post-16 needs of the community. maintenance backlog business case “We promise to be open • reduce smaller schools (under • March 2011: WAG/WLGA and frank about the proposals 315 pupils) from 18 to 1 selects and approves first phase throughout and there are • secure the future of the projects consultation events to ensure expanding Welsh language people get the opportunity to • April 2011-March 2012: provision. express their views should any Consultation specific elements of the plan At secondary level the proposals • April 2012: capital funding proceed.” would cost more than £153million released for first phase by WAG.

Recycle Torfaen Talks - pop it into your black recycling box


Torfaen Talks - October 2010