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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: ben.dain-smith@broradio.fm

Santa will be bringing his sleigh to Rhoose on Saturday 5th December in an event arranged by the Rhoose Community Spirit group.

The festive fella will be taking a route from the Point, to the Hollies, down Fontgary Road and up through Fonmon, spreading Christmas cheer to children and adults throughout the village.

A group of socially distanced elves will be helping Santa to follow all of the current Coronavirus-related restrictions and attendees are encouraged to take photos and enjoy the event whilst remembering to follow social distancing.

Donations will be collected by the group should members of the community wish to contribute to the Rhoose Community Spirit group and their continued efforts to bring events like this to the village. A PayPal is also available for those who wish to make a donation online, which you can find here.

Rhoose Community Spirit is a voluntary group working to bring local people together through community events that foster a sense of pride in the village. You can follow them via their Facebook page here

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has released an update on the Covid-19 rates in the Vale of Glamorgan, showing an increase in cases here in the county over the last 7-day period.

Numbers have risen across the Vale in terms of cases, cases per 100,000 and tests taken over the last week, with the Council confirming in their update that both the rate per 100,000 and test positivity puts the Vale above the ‘red’ threshold set by Welsh Government.

The figures, based on the latest 7-day figures from Public Health Wales, up to 22 November 2020 are as follows:

  • Cases: 197
  • Cases per 100,000 population: 147.5
  • Testing episodes: 1728
  • Testing per 100,000 population: 1293.5
  • Positive proportion: 11.5%

The Council also released their updated cluster map depicting cases per 100,000 across the Vale. This week's iteration shows an increase in cases per 100,000 in Barry from last week, with Penarth plateauing and a reduction in cases in the western Vale.

The numbers for this week represent around 28 new cases per day here in the county, with the Council reminding residents in their statement of the importance of working together to keep Wales safe.

As Wales continues to put distance between itself and the Firebreak Lockdown, Bro Radio has been speaking to a number of local business owners about its impact on their business, as well as previous lockdowns and the pandemic as a whole.

Barrybados started out as twitter account sharing love for our beautiful town. Over the years it's grown and evolved, from table top sales at Marcos cafe, to sharing a shop, and then to having their own premises on Barry Island.

Barrybados told us that their online roots provided them with a platform to deal with the lockdown. They said:

"The first lockdown, I was quite worried, no one knew what was going to happen, initially I think we all thought it was only going to be for 3 weeks, it turned out being 3 months.

"Having already got a prominent website which has been established for years, I used this to my advantage and put on a massive sale to try and get as much income in as possible.

"I was literally blown away by the response early on, I think there was one weekend in late April that was the busiest weekend I ever had, in which I'm most grateful of the support from the local community.

"During the local lockdown in late September/Early October, trade was terrible. I imagine it hit all local businesses hard. I'm actually glad the firebreak happened, as I wouldn't want to be in a local lockdown on the run-up to Christmas. The firebreak gave an end to a dreadful few weeks. But at least you knew it was going to end. At least now, I hope, we can stay open until Christmas time."

The shop also told us that they had been blown away by the support from the local community over the course of the year. They said:

"I've been over whelmed by the support from the local community during this year. The support has been incredible both online and in the shop and I'm most grateful. It's the same with the local traders, we've all kind of looked out for each other this year, and hopefully down the road, I would like to see a Barry island traders association formally created."

Coming up to a fortnight since the Firebreak ended, we were also keen to find out how business had been for Barrybados since the restrictions were eased and what the reaction from shoppers had been. Barrybados told us:

"I think Barry Island has been slightly busier than usual for the time of the year. These 3 weeks after bonfire night into December are usually exceptionally quiet, but I think it's been ok. There's people around, shopping, walking, visiting cafes etc I think a lot of people have had enough of being in doors this year and want to get out, if they feel they are able to and it's safe. I feel safe on barry Island and I imagine plenty of people do also. Plenty of space to social distance and all local business have good covid measures in place."

The business also have their own view on how the Welsh Government and local Council can help them to thrive in 2021. They told us:

"Every business will have a different answer for this as all are different. Personally I wouldn't want a lockdown from middle of March onwards. We missed half a summer season this year and it would be hard to play catch up again. We got lucky this year as the weather was so good when places re-opened in June. Another lockdown peak season would be catastrophic to the tourism industry, not just in Barry, but Wales in general. So I would like the government/council to try and make sure there's not another lengthy national lockdown next spring."

Alan Salisbury, an artist based in Wales, has won the international Wales Contemporary/Cymru Gyfoes Open Art Competition.

The Wales Contemporary / Cymru Gyfoes, now in its second year, is an international open competition developed by the Waterfront Gallery in association with the Welsh Government.

Wales Contemporary celebrates all aspects of the country by inviting artists to submit work that is ‘Inspired by Wales’ i.e. by its ancient history, its art history, its heritage, its landscape (rural, urban or political) and its contemporary culture.

This year's winner has just been announced as Alan Salisbury, a painter originally from Preston, Lancashire who has been based in Barry since 1974, working at the University of Glamorgan for a time, where he was Principal Lecturer in Painting and Field Leader in Arts and Media.

The artist, who won for his exquisite "Isaak Soreau Basket of Fruit attacked by Brexit gremlins", has exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe and the USA.

The piece depicts a fruit bowl overflowing with cherries and peaches while marauding demons clasping union flags look to take from the luscious bounty. The baroque study that is a platform for Alan Salisbury’s satire is by Isaak Soreau (1604-1644), who was the son of an Antwerp painter who spent an influential period of his life in the metropolis on the River Scheldt.

The artist took the main prize in the competition and £4,000 in prize money for the composition. More than 1,150 submissions came from 600 artists living in the UK and Europe and beyond: Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States. The entries were considered by a panel of judges: painter Basil Beattie RA, emeritus professor of fine art Gerda Roper, and sculptor Sebastien Boyesen, who selected just over 150 pieces for an exhibition at Milford Haven’s Waterfront Gallery.

Barry Town United have launched a campaign to raise money to buy toys for The Vale Of Glamorgan Council’s Big Wrap Initiative.

The "Share a Smile This Christmas" campaign will see first-team squad members of the JD Cymru Premier team donate a percentage of their wage while carrying out other activities such as auctions and raffles. The ladies team will be running fancy dress training sessions and the academy and grassroots sections are also participating in the initiative, running their own training based challenges.

Of the campaign, in a statement on their website, Barry Town United said:

"2020 has been a difficult year for so many communities and families. Our first-team squad and staff want to give something back to our local community and working with the club’s other teams, they are excited to launch our “Share a smile this Christmas” campaign.

"Our campaign will see us raise money to make Christmas extra special for those families who need it most. Every penny of the money raised will be used to purchase high-quality toys which will be donated to The Vale Of Glamorgan Council’s Big Wrap Initiative."

Club supporters are encouraged to assist the initiative where possible, with the club saying:

"We have an ambitious fundraising target which we know supporters will want to help us hit. You can contribute via our GoFundMe Page or by popping into the clubhouse. Supporters can donate as much or as little as they can. Every little helps to make a magical Christmas possible for those who need it the most. You have until December 12 to donate."

First team manager, Gavin Chesterfield said of the project:

“I am really proud of the lads as I am of all at the club for getting on board with this fantastic campaign. It has been a rotten year and it feels like this Christmas more than ever is one to cherish with our loved ones. I hope those of us more fortunate will contribute to help those not so have a Christmas to remember. Thank you to Mark, Emily and Mike Barrett for their guidance, contributions and support for the campaign and to all at The Vale of Glamorgan Council.”

Sully Sports and Social Club will be holding a Christmas Market every weekend in December for locals and visitors in the lead up to Christmas.

Festivities will begin on the weekend of December 5th and 6th and continue weekly until the 20th December.

Markets will open for visitors at 10am and finish at 4pm each day, with a Facebook page set up to keep people informed on the comings and goings of the project.

Those who would like to be a stallholder are advised to get in touch, either by telephone on 02920 530629 or emailing: christmas@sully.club.

You can keep up to date with the progress of the Sully Christmas Market via their Facebook page, here.

Community clubs across Wales have been able to welcome fans back through the doors to watch Wales in their Autumn international fixtures, including their victory over Georgia yesterday.

Many clubs have spent a vast portion of the year closed, with the storms in the early part of the year causing havoc for some, while Coronavirus safety measures and lockdowns meaning that clubs were unable to welcome patrons. However, with restrictions here in Wales easing, establishments are keen for locals to come back and watch Wales in the remaining Autumn International fixtures with them.

New WRU Chairman Rob Butcher has spoken on behalf of community clubs across Wales. He said:

“While some clubs have decided to stay closed for now, others have worked very hard to ensure their clubhouses are ready to welcome supporters back at this time. Many clubs rely on income from their bars and hospitality revenue on international weekends, and staff and volunteers within those clubs have done everything they can to ensure they are ‘good to go’ in accordance with Welsh Government guidelines.

“It’s important income for the clubs, and I’m sure many supporters will also be thrilled to be able to come together again to watch Wales in their local rugby club, while adhering to the protocols clubs have put in place.

“The regulations mean supporting Wales in a more measured way than perhaps we are used to – such as keeping noise levels down and remaining seated. If that is what is required to ensure the safety of our communities and so that clubs can remain open throughout this period, then that is what we need to do as a sport."

Barry RFC, here in the Vale of Glamorgan, was one of the clubs able to open up and allow supporters in to watch Wales play Ireland on the 13th November. Barry RFC Chairman, Mike Prosser, said:

“It was an absolute breath of fresh air to open our club house last Friday and to sit in each other’s company, have a quiet pint or two and watch the Wales v Ireland game. Thankfully the result did not detract from the enjoyment had by all.

“I would like to thank the management committee members and bar staff at the club who have worked so hard to put all the protection measures in place inside the clubhouse and for the continued support of our members. It is not financially viable to open the clubhouse on a regular basis but will be opening every Saturday for a socially distanced get together.”

Welsh Government guidance in relation to hospitality venues broadcasting Wales’ autumn internationals include:

  • Controlled entry – keep walk-ups to a minimum and use booking systems wherever possible. The rule of thumb for time slots is two hours. However, in the case of TV broadcasts, venues might consider it safer for some people to complete the broadcast rather than encouraging multiple bookings at different premises within a local community.
  • Maintain 2 metres between each group of people where possible
  • Keep broadcast sound levels at background level to avoid customers having to raise their voices to be heard
  • Avoid shouting, dancing or singing
  • Increase ventilation by opening windows and doors (not fire doors)
  • Ensure physical distance where up to four people from different households are sat together

South Wales Police are investigating a large violent incident which occurred yesterday night in Cardiff City Centre.

Six individuals have subsequently been treated for injuries sustained in the incident, with one remaining in a serious condition with head wounds, while three others presented suspected stab wounds.

The disturbance struck the city centre around 9:50pm last night (Saturday 21st November) with multiple reports coming into police of violence near that time.

Two people have been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and are currently in custody in Cardiff Bay.

In a post on their social media accounts, South Wales Police have said:

"An investigation is underway to establish the fill circumstances, and anyone who witnessed the incident or events prior of after to it, is urged to contact police via 101, quoting occurrence 2000424668."

Social care workers in the independent sector in Wales are to be given greater support to protect their well-being during the pandemic.

The emotional support, including one-to-one counselling with the same counsellor, aims to provide easy access to well-being support for care workers who have been affected by their experiences working in the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic social care workers have continued to provide vital care and support for people who have been among the most vulnerable.

Many have been exposed to higher levels of stress, longer working hours and higher than usual number of deaths of the people they work with.

The scheme recognises the personal impact this has had on many workers and will provide more consistent support across the sector.

It will build on well-being support already available through the Social Care Wales website, where the Covid-19 and well-being pages have been accessed the most since the pandemic started.

The Welsh Government is supporting the scheme, which is being procured and managed through Social Care Wales, with funding of up to £200,000. The scheme will be available to around 55,000 social care workers in the independent sector.

Minister for Mental Health and Well-being Eluned Morgan said:

"We understand the great strain social care workers have been under at the forefront of the battle against coronavirus, and the toll this has taken on their mental health and well-being.

"This support will help ensure consistent provision of short and longer term emotional support across the sector.

"This programme already comes on top of free access for social care workers to Silvercloud, an independent provider of mental healthcare, which offers four on-line programmes to help people with sleep, stress, and resilience.

"We would urge social care workers who could benefit from it to access this professional support, as it's important they know someone is there to care for them when they need it."

Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan said:

"Social care workers play a vital role in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and within our health service. They have been at the heart of our response to the coronavirus pandemic, however the impact of their work on their own mental health during such pressurised times cannot be underestimated.

"Additional support such as this, delivered through Social Care Wales, will provide easy-to-access and timely help and advice for our dedicated social care workers. If you're a care worker and you're struggling, we see the incredible work you're doing and please access the support that is here for you too."

Sue Evans, Chief Executive of Social Care Wales, said:

"Every day we see thousands of social care workers providing excellent services to those needing care and support, under the most challenging and stressful of situations, brought on by this awful pandemic.

"This makes it so important we support their health and well-being as much as possible. This is not only vital for the workers themselves but for those they support.

"This new employee assistance programme will be a huge boost to those working in social care, giving them the reassurance that they can access a range of services that can help them and their families through this extraordinarily difficult time. It will also mean there are consistent arrangements across Wales for those working for private and voluntary service providers."

With winter fast approaching, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is urging people to take action now to make sure they are ready and prepared to deal with the potential for the changeable and challenging weather conditions the season could bring.

The record rainfall and river flows triggered by Storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge in February year arrived following an exceptionally wet winter and led to the most severe and widespread flooding incidents seen in Wales since 1979.

And with the climate emergency bringing more extreme temperatures, more rain and more flood risk, it's more important than ever before that people understand and prepare for the range of challenges winter weather can bring.

NRW's flood defences help to protect 73,000 properties across Wales. Yet individuals and communities can also play an important role in reducing the impact of floods by being aware of flood risks and potential impacts and by being prepared to take action if and when a flood occurs.

NRW is encouraging people to take some simple steps to help play their part in the preparation efforts:

  • Find out if you're at risk of flooding – NRW's upgraded online flood maps highlight if your area is at risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, reservoirs or from surface water and small watercourses: For those properties which are at risk, the website also provides information about the practical steps families and businesses can take to reduce the impact of a flood.
  • Sign up for flood warnings - In many flood risk areas, you can sign up to NRW's free flood warning service to receive an automated message when a flood alert, flood warning or severe flood warning has been issued in their area.
  • Create a flood plan – A template is available on NRW's website which identifies the urgent actions people will need to take during a flood. A flood plan captures important information such as the location of gas/water mains, key contact numbers and a list of immediate actions to reduce the impact of a flood.
  • Prepare a flood kit – Be ready for a flood and have a pre-prepared kit containing essential items such as copies of insurance documents, first aid kit, prescription medication, pet or baby supplies, a torch and warm, waterproof clothing.
  • Do you have insurance? Check if you have adequate flood insurance as part of your cover.
  • Who deals with flooding? The Welsh Government's Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) programme brings together a number of organisations from across Wales, to co-operate on preventing and managing flooding, through schemes and reporting.
  • You can also obtain help and advice by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 

Jeremy Parr, Head of Flood Incident Risk Management from Natural Resources Wales said:

"This has already been a record-breaking year of flooding in Wales, and sadly many families and businesses are still trying to get back on their feet following the exceptional flooding caused by storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge last February.

"As our climate changes, we expect these types of events to become more frequent. And while our teams are taking action to make sure our rivers are free from debris and checking our flood defences, we also need people and communities to do their bit.

"Understanding your flood risk is the first step. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more people spending more time at home, and places of work or recreation closing their doors for long periods of time. If you do find that your property is at risk of flooding, there is wealth of information, advice and services which are available on our website."

"We will never be able to prevent all flooding, so it's important that those at risk understand what small actions they can take to help protect themselves, their families and their properties this winter."

Plummeting temperatures this winter will also mean that rain will not be the only element to contend with this winter.

Ahead of the first cold snap, NRW is also asking people who use heating oil to warm their homes to check their tanks and pipes for leaks to avoid pollution incidents.

Oil escaping from cracked pipes and damaged tanks can be incredibly harmful to the environment, as well as very costly to the resident.

People can report an an oil leak to NRW's incident hotline on 03000 65 3000.

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