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Ben Dain-Smith

Ben Dain-Smith currently presents afternoon shows and writes online content for Bro Radio. You can email Ben at:

Every week on Bro Radio, we feature an artist local to South Wales on our playlist and this week's Local Artist of the Week is Danielle Lewis, with her new single, "Help Me".

Originally from West Wales, Danielle is a Singer-Songwriter who lets her vocals do the talking, crafting simple but well-realised instrumental tracks with plenty of space for her lyrics and voice to flourish.

"Help Me" is no different in this regard, with Danielle's voice taking front and centre from the very first second, as single piano chords are picked out and a quiet acoustic guitar track ensures things keep moving.

At first glance, the track's title feels remarkably open. "Help Me", as a phrase, is one often reserved for those closest to you in an hour of desperate need.

In actuality, the juxtaposition of the song's chorus lyric, "heaven can't help me now" and the, now more layered, corresponding instrumentation, give an impression of a sudden, cathartic realisation and acceptance of the way things are.

Much like a book should not be judged by its cover, the overwhelming feeling this track conveys is not one of any need for assistance, as its title may lead you to believe, but more that of enlightenment.

Danielle has said of the track:

"On reflection of 'Help Me', the lyrics shed a light on my inner dialogue at that moment in time, perhaps even another aspect of myself. It's a reminder of the importance of self-love that ultimately starts from within."

Overall, "Help Me" is a very worthy addition to Lewis' burgeoning collection of beautiful folk tunes and is perhaps her best track to date, pulling together all of the best elements of her previous work into one song.

Danielle Lewis' new single, "Help Me" is out now on all major platforms.

A Barry resident has been presented with a Community Connectors Award by digital network provider Openreach in recognition for their support for vulnerable neighbours during lockdown.

Nigel Hughes of Barry, who has Multiple Sclerosis, received the award after his feat of embarking on a daily 'walk a mile' challenge over three months, raising £10,000 for local charities including Woody's Lodge, St David's Hospice and Ty Halfan children's hospice.

Openreach launched the Community Connectors Awards in 2020 to recognise individuals and groups for their work supporting local residents and vulnerable neighbours during lockdown. More than 130 nominations from MPs across the UK were judged by the panel including Openreach engineers and former Culture Secretary Baroness Nicky Morgan of Cotes.

Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, said: "We were inspired to launch the Community Connectors Awards by the efforts of our engineering team. The stories received from across the country have been inspiring and show how many people are working to make a difference and support their neighbours during lockdown."

"Nigel hasn't sought recognition but is a wonderful example to his community. I'm delighted and very grateful to be able to thank him for everything he continues to do to support the vulnerable in our society."

Nigel Hughes said: "Woody's Lodge is an amazing charity that helps veterans and emergency services personnel, like myself, and has been a huge support to me over the last few years. Walking one mile took me 99 days, which I did last summer, as my mobility is very limited. But raising money for Woody's gave me a reason to try."

Alun Cairns MP, who nominated Nigel for the award, said: "I'm so pleased that Nigel Hughes, a retired police office with multiple sclerosis, challenged himself to walk a mile for Woody's Lodge throughout lockdown. A huge thank you to Openreach for rightly recognising Nigel for his efforts."

As key workers, Openreach engineers have connected numerous field hospitals up and down the UK within days, also performing vital maintenance to keep families and businesses online and in contact during lockdown. Members of the engineering team have also camped out in remote parts of the UK to ensure local connectivity and volunteered in their spare time – performing roles including as delivery drivers for NHS blood supplies.

The Vale Youth Service has been presenting certificates during half term, to young people in the Vale who have dedicated their time to volunteering.

The certificates recognised those who had taken part in any of the different participation projects in the County for 50, 100 or 200 hours in total.

Projects in which the young people recognised managed to clock up impressive numbers of hours in include, Llantwit Youth Action, Penarth Youth Action, Vale Rights Ambassadors and the Vale Youth Cabinet.

Cllr Kathryn McCaffer, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Arts and Culture and Youth Champion formally acknowledge and thanked the young people in a video for their continued commitment in what has been a challenging time for many.

In her video address, Cllr McCaffer expressed her pride at the way young people had managed to adapt to the current Covid-19-inspired way of life saying:

"I know it must have been really difficult during the current pandemic, and you've had to adapt to a new digital way of working, but I'm really proud of all the young people who have given up their time to ensure they represent young people and to make sure your voices are heard.

"Well done on achieving 50 hours, 100 hours or 200 hours of volunteering in a variety of different roles, including, Penarth Youth Action, Llantwit Youth Council, Vale Rights Ambassadors and the Youth Cabinet.

The Youth Service and I just wanted to recognise your hard work, commitment and passion. Well done and keep volunteering! It's a really good thing for you to be doing, and thank you so much for your participation."

You can contact the Vale Youth Service for more information about getting involved in a variety of different projects by visiting their website or send them an email at:

The "24 Hour Race" movement will be taking to the streets of Cardiff on March 14th, 2021 in a virtual fashion, to raise money and awareness to tackle modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

The movement is the leading anti-slavery and human trafficking student movement and race in the world and holds events across the globe, hosting its first ever European race in Cardiff, in 2021.

Participants are encouraged to complete as many laps of a standard track as they can over a 24-hour period in their teams of 8 or fewer.

The group want to challenge the younger generation to lead global action against slavery through the 24 hour race movement and have hosted races all across the world from San Francisco to Hong Kong.

The goal of this 24-hour race, the first in Europe, is to raise money for the movement's partner charity, A21 and all funds will be going towards rebuilding a new child advocacy centre in Thailand.

You can find out more about the event on their website, here and sign up for the race at

It has today been confirmed that both the JD Cymru Premier and the Orchard Welsh Premier Women's league have had their 'Elite' status reinstated.

The Football Association of Wales were informed of the decision by the National Sport Group and the status will return with immediate effect.

This means that, although Wales remains in Alert Level 4 of the Welsh Government's Control Plan, clubs in these leagues, such as the Vale of Glamorgan's Barry Town United, will be able to prepare for a return to play.

The Elite status has not been extended to include leagues lower down the Welsh pyramid, such as the JD Cymru North and South, this time, where they were previously granted Elite status before the escalation to Alert Level 4 in the country.

These Tier 2 clubs will not be permitted to return until either the country reverts to Alert Level 3 or the National Sport Group grant them Elite status.

More detail on the National Sport Group (NSG) and the proposed dates for the rescheduled fixtures was disclosed in a post on the FAW's website:

"The NSG includes representation from Sport Wales, Welsh Sports Association, Welsh Government and Commonwealth Games Wales to consider the ‘Elite Status’ designation.  

"Confirmation of the rescheduled fixtures for the JD Cymru Premier and the Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League will be announced in due course on CymruFootball.Wales.

"The FAW continues to encourage that everyone follows the Welsh Government guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19."

The news was welcomed by the Vale's sole representatives in the JD Cymru Premier, Barry Town United, who said in a post on their website and social media:

"Everyone at Barry Town United is naturally delighted to be returning to action and we are looking forward to resuming the campaign. We hope that the next step will be to welcome supporters back to grounds in a safe manner."

The Welsh Government has given the Vale of Glamorgan Council £192,500 as a green infrastructure grant to fund the planting of more trees and reduction of concrete around Court Road and Gladstone Road in an effort to reduce flooding in the area.

The money will go towards replacing concrete pavement in the aforementioned areas, with more absorbent grass and trees, which should soak up rainwater and lower the risk of flooding at these key infrastructure points in the town's road network.

The expectation is that these alterations will significantly reduce the water running downhill towards Weston Square, which was one of the worst hit areas in the town during the flood of 2007.

Councillor Peter King, Cabinet Member for neighbourhood services and transport, said of the grant:

"The council is pleased to have been awarded this funding that will see areas around Court Road and Gladstone Road improved by the introduction of trees and other greenery.

"This could prove to be a blueprint for future highways improvements. The choice of trees will be specific to the location, and where space is limited we propose to plant smaller and less vigorous trees to ensure they establish successfully."

Flooding has become an issue at the forefront of Vale residents' minds in recent times, with multiple flooding events taking place in the last two years causing serious disruption and significant damage to property, with the latter experienced particularly in Dinas Powys and Sully in the flood of December 23rd 2020.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to secure the future of the tower at a 12th-century church in Dinas Powys after a recent examination revealed a number of serious issues with the building.

St Andrew's Church, Dinas Powys, is a historic church building in Wales with origins as far back as the 12th century. The site where the church building stands was first built on at this time, with various expansions taking place in the centuries since, including the addition of a tower in the 15th century.

A recent architect's inspection of the church tower revealed a number of serious issues, which are expected to cost up to £20,000 to repair.

Due to the extensive cost of repairs, a fundraising appeal has been launched on social media in order to secure the funds necessary to complete the work on the medieval tower.

In a post on the Facebook page, "St Andrew's Tower Appeal" the group behind the fundraiser gave a detailed description of the tower and some of the history behind it:

"The tower is a C15, 4 storeyed, low level buttressed structure that's connected to the nave but not the north aisle (the north aisle is the original C12 nave). It's thought that a well exists under the tower, possibly fed by an underground stream that flows beneath the north aisle. The pump for the well was situated outside the west entrance - there's a stone slab marking the spot where the pump once was in the grass by the parking area.

"It's really common in Wales for churches to be built alongside water sources. These were often the sites of pre-existing pagan worship and already a focal point for communities. Water was important domestically and also for baptisms. As buildings expanded to accommodate increasing numbers of worshippers, they were sometimes built over the original water source which could have happened at St Andrew's."

The group are hoping to raise the money necessary to make the tower "safe for another 500 years". You can find out more about the St Andrew's Tower Appeal on the the fundraising page, here, where the group will be sharing more of the history of the church and charting their progress.

The Glamorgan Music School, based here in the Vale of Glamorgan, has opened its virtual Eisteddfod up to students across South Wales.

Entries cost £5 with participants able to perform and compete in the virtual Eisteddfod with all instruments and school age groups catered for. Those who take part in the online event will be featured on the school's social media channels and will have a chance of winning a variety of medals and trophies.

The Eisteddfod will have a panel of expert judges,, including Opera singer Wynne Evans, The Corey Band’s Tom Hutchinson, Iwan Griffiths from the Automatic, and a who’s who of professional musicians associated with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Mrs Kat Kuczynski, Deputy Head and Music Teacher for the Gamorgan Music School told Bro Radio:

"We are keeping Welsh tradition strong and ensuring otherwise non-existent performance opportunities to lots of students.

"Our Online Eisteddfod is open to all pupils between reception and year 13 learning anywhere in South Wales, not only pupils of our music school!"

The event will be taking place on the 27th and 28th March, with entries and further information are available on the school's website, here with registrations open until the 25th February.

Wales will use the next three weeks to ensure a safe return to school, with First Minister Mark Drakeford speaking of "encouraging green shoots of recovery" in an announcement today, as cases of coronavirus stand at their lowest level since the end of September and one in three adults in Wales has had a coronavirus vaccine.

The youngest children will begin returning to school from Monday 22nd February as the public health situation in Wales continues to improve following the implementation of Alert Level 4 restrictions in the country.

The First Minister also announced that the Welsh Government will look ahead to the next review of regulations which will consider the restrictions around non-essential retail and close contact services and whether all primary pupils and some older students can return to schools and colleges from Monday 15 March, should the public health situation continue to improve.

Mark Drakeford has said it is thanks to the country of Wales' team effort that we are in the position we are in now as the seven day case rate of coronavirus now stands at 84 per 100,000 people.

Every week on Bro Radio, we feature an artist local to South Wales on our playlist, and this week's Local Artist of the Week is Ragsy, a Singer-Songwriter who found success on ITV's The Voice, before making his name as an independent artist.

Ragsy will release his latest single, "The First Time" tomorrow, on the 19th of February, which is taken from the upcoming album, "One More From The Road".

The single begins with immediate heft, as distorted and reversed sound makes way to a driving acoustic guitar track, swirling synths and Fleetwood Mac, "Big Love" style, grunts, before layered harmonies take you into Ragsy's warm, somehow familiar-on-first-listen, vocal.

Ragsy's voice has all the soul and gravel - as well as a good deal of the Welsh twang - of Stereophonics' Kelly Jones, but it is far from a mere impersonation of the Cwmaman superstar, with a personality and sound all of its own.

The track continues with lyrics rich in the nostalgia of the first stages of a relationship and all the emotions that go with it - the need for reassurance, the uncertainty of reciprocation and the strength of desire. The First Time's chorus is near instantly memorable, to the point where you'll find yourself singing along to it before the three-and-a-half-minute run time is complete.

I caught up with Ragsy to chat about the single and the upcoming album, earlier in the week on Vale Drive, where he explained the inspiration behind the lyrics to "The First Time":

"The song is all about those beautiful firsts we all go through and we all experience - I know I experienced it with my partner, Hannah - where you meet that one, you know, the one that you know you're going to be with them for the rest of your life.

"It's all those lovely firsts that you go through, you know, when you make eye contact for the first time and you go "yes, here we go" and then you hold hands and have that first kiss and all those lovely firsts that you go through and then you decide that yes, that's it, we're going to take on the world together!"

On Ragsy's Facebook page, the artist describes himself as "continuously touring". In our interview, I asked him how much of an effect this pandemic and the related lockdowns had therefore had on his life:

"There was a point where for years, that's all I was doing - continuously touring, exploring and adoring life - just was on the road constantly. My partner, Hannah and the little one, Seren, would join me as well, and I would go from festival to festival to venue and I've got loads of lovely regular festivals that I always play at, as well as new ones and sadly, the tour was all lined up last year with all these festivals in mind and booked in as well, but yeah, we had to cancel it all, so that doesn't really exist anymore, but I can't wait to recapture it."

Ragsy went on to tell me what he had been up to through the continuing lockdowns:

"Well, it's been a blessing and a curse to be honest with you, because, obviously on the music side of things, everything had stopped until now because you're just trying to look at the landscape and see how it lies while this pandemic was beginning, but I got to spend loads of time with my family, which for me, that was a blessing.

"Just playing with the little one with my partner, Hannah, and just having that time where you know - it reminded me of being a kid - baking and doing all those things that you don't need a lot of money for.

"There was loads of bonuses to come out of it, spending time and not needing a lot of money and just baking, going for walks and things like that and rediscovering ourselves."

Ragsy's new single 'The First Time' is out this Friday 19th February and is available to Pre-Save and Pre-Order Now. Pre-Save the track here and Pre-Order here.

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