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Nathan Spackman

Nathan is the Operations Director at Bro Radio. You can hear him on air on Vale Breakfast weekday mornings from 7am or reading local news bulletins throughout the week.

A man who failed to self-isolate with his Covid-positive wife in Barry and four other men who travelled in the same vehicle, from various areas of Cardiff and the Vale to visit Cosmeston County Park were amongst those fined by South Wales Police this weekend.

Despite the whole of Wales remaining under Alert Level 4 restrictions, the force received more than 442 reports of possible Covid breaches.

While many were well-intentioned but did not amount to breaches, officers were left with little option but to issue fines to a number of people.

Among them were:

  • A man who failed to self-isolate with his Covid-positive wife in Barry;
  • Four men who travelled to Penarth Pier and were drinking alcohol in the street;
  • Four men who travelled in the same vehicle from various areas of Cardiff and the Vale to visit Cosmeston Country Park;
  • A man who travelled from Porthcawl to Cardiff to take pictures for a photography competition;
  • 12 attendees to a house party in Roath;
  • Parents who drove to test out their daughters quad bike at fields in Bridgend, which also landed them with Section 59 warning in relation to use of the quad;
  • A man who was found at a Cardiff property – 28 miles from his home address;
  • Three people from different households found mixing at and address in Penarth;
  • Eleven people who attended a garden party in Cardiff;
  • Eight people who congregated in a garden shed in Sketty;
  • Three people who attended a child’s birthday party in Penlan, Swansea;
  • Nine people who gathered at a house for a gender reveal party in Townhill, Swansea;
  • Four people who gathered to watch the football in Mount Pleasant, Swansea;
  • Two people drinking alcohol in the street in Port Talbot;
  • Four people found a party at an Aberavon flat.

South Wales Police is continuing to engage with our communities to encourage compliance Welsh Government coronavirus legislation, and our teams are carrying out regular proactive patrols to enforce the rules where needed.

This weekend alone, Gower Neighbourhood Policing Team conducted an operation at car parks in Langland, Bracelet Bay and Caswell, stopping 143 cars in just three hours, with the vast majority of people found to have travelled without reasonable excuse, resulting in further enforcement action. And in Penarth, officers implemented a road closure in order to disperse crowds and conduct checks.

Joint Enforcement Teams (JETs), made up of police officers and council staff, have also been established in each of the seven local authority areas and continue to target areas of high concern.

Chief Superintendent Andy Valentine said: “Alert Level 4 restrictions have been in place since before Christmas and the legislation is clear. Multiple households should not be mixing, be that indoors or outdoors, and people should only be leaving home for a limited number of reasons, such as shopping for essentials. 

“While exercise is permitted and encouraged, Welsh Government has been clear that travelling to do so is not deemed reasonable, so to see dozens of cars at our beauty spot car parks again this weekend is frustrating and disappointing. 

“Our officers were met with some serious breaches of the rules this weekend leading to fixed penalties being issued.

“I know that the restrictions are tough but we remain in the midst of an extremely serious health emergency and we all have a part to play in helping to slow the spread of coronavirus and help ease the pressure on our NHS. 

“Those unwilling to act responsibility by flagrantly breaching the rules should expect to subject to enforcement action.”  

Police have issued a warning to youth who they say are "endangering themselves whilst causing anti-social behaviour in the Holton Road area" whilst breaking Coronavirus rules.

The warning comes as up to 25 - 30 youths have been caught climbing business roof tops and free-running in the Holton Road area in recent weeks. In one instance, four youths aged 12 - 14 years old were kicking in a window near a 30-40 ft drop.

PC Helen Kihlberg said,"A group of youths have persistently been committing anti-social behaviour on Holton Road in Barry by climbing business roof tops and free-running, which is not only breaking Coronavirus rules at present but is also putting their safety at risk."

It is an accident waiting to happen, which would mean emergency services are stretched even further, at a critical time within the pandemic."

We are concerned about their safety and we are asking those youths to not climb across the roofs and to ensure they are following the Coronavirus rules, which have been set out by the Welsh Government and are enforceable by law."

There have been up to 25-30 youths at one point and their general activity has the potential to cause criminal damage to the structure of the properties and is causing members of the public to be alarmed and concerned about their safety as some youths were doing back flips off the roof."

In one instance, at the rear of Holton Road, four youths, aged 12-14 years old, were kicking in a window near a 30-40ft drop."

"Some have already been identified by officers and anti-social behaviour referrals have been submitted to the Vale of Glamorgan Community Safety Partnership who have carried out Anti-Social Behaviour stage warnings.

"We are also stepping up our police patrols in the area to take further action if required and we are therefore reminding these youths to refrain from this activity and to follow the Welsh Government Coronavirus rules.

Anyone witnessing local activity is asked to contact Police via 101.

Age Connects Cardiff & the Vale has today launched its 'Connected against loneliness' campaign, as it asks residents to be a good neighbour and help older people

From Monday 18th January for a one-week period, the charities will be running their ‘Connected against loneliness’ campaign. Age Connects Wales is asking you to be a good neighbour and help us help older people living in your communities this Winter.

Age Connects Wales is a social enterprise made up of six local, independent Age Connects organisations with over 40 years’ experience supporting older people and their carers in Wales.

It member organisations support around 45,000 clients within 11 of the 22 local authority areas in Wales.

Sadly, many of us experience feelings of loneliness at some points in our lives. It’s a personal and painful time, which can make a person feel completely hopeless.

Unfortunately, for far too many older people this isn’t just prevalent at Christmas and regrettably also rings true after the festive season has passed and the long Winter months linger on. It’s a sad realisation that social isolation and loneliness is the norm for many older people and not just a result of the holiday season or Covid 19.

For over 40 years, six local charities throughout Wales have worked tirelessly to reach out to thousands of vulnerable and isolated older people living in our local communities. These local independent charities form the social enterprise known as Age Connects Wales. Together these member organisations support around 45,000 older people within 11 of the 22 local authority areas in Wales. www.ageconnectswales.org.uk

From Monday 18th January for a one-week period, the charities will be running their ‘Connected against loneliness’ campaign. Age Connects Wales is asking you to be a good neighbour and help us help older people living in your communities this Winter.

The third Monday of January has been awarded the gloomy title of ‘Blue Monday’ due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and money worries that affect many of us. In 2021 it falls on the 18th and during this week, all Age Connects charities throughout Wales will be raising awareness of the continued loneliness facing older people.

During the week, the charities will also be running a timetable of online virtual activities that people can get involved in to stay connected and occupied. Activities will be listed on the Age Connects Wales website and will include a choir sing-along, craft sessions, seated exercise and a make-up tutorial.

Let’s come together, connect and tackle loneliness amongst older people in need this Blue Monday and from now on. If you feel you could spare some time to support and volunteer with your local Age Connects charity, then please make contact.

To show your community spirit visit www.ageconnectswales.org.uk to find out more.

South Wales Police have fined three men from the Barry area after they made a 50-mile round trip to 'go for a drive with a friend' late on Sunday.

Three men were stopped by Gwent Police in Blackwood, having travelled from the Barry area.

The men told Police they had travelled "to visit and go for a drive with a friend."

Policed reminded the three men that this was "not essential travel" and all were issued with fixed penalties for breaching coronavirus regulations.

South Wales Police are continuing to clampdown on those who continue to break the rules, with officers in Penarth closing the Esplanade on Sunday, as part of a step up in enforcement alongside the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The Met Office has issued a weather warning for much of Wales from Midnight Tuesday until Midday on Thursday.

Storm Christoph will bring spells of prolonged and heavy rain, which may lead to flooding and disruption to travel in places.

Approximately 30-60 mm of rainfall is expected to fall across Wales, with Strong winds accompanying the rainfall, which may add to travelling difficulties across more exposed routes.

While snow targets large swathes of England, Wales should brace for more than 48 hours of downpours as the warning comes into force from 12am on Tuesday (January 19).

The Met Office is warning of a "danger to life" from fast-flowing flood waters as well as damage to homes and businesses in the warning area, which covers all 22 of Wales' local authorities.

  • Spells of prolonged and heavy rain may lead to flooding and disruption to travel in places.
  • Homes and businesses could be flooded, causing damage to some buildings
  • Fast flowing or deep floodwater is possible, causing a danger to life
  • Delays or cancellations to train and bus services are possible
  • Spray and flooding could lead to difficult driving conditions and some road closures
  • Some communities may be cut off by flooded roads
  • Possible power cuts and loss of other services to some homes and businesses

The Welsh Government has today announced an additional £40m for universities to support students facing financial hardship, helping the students most affected by the pandemic with expenses such as accommodation costs.

Universities will be asked to prioritise funding towards the most vulnerable students, as well as strengthening advice and support services for students. 

With most students currently being asked to study at home, the funding will also be used to address ‘digital poverty’ among students, to enable better access to online learning, and costs incurred due to the need to self-isolate.  

The funding is in addition to over £40 million the Welsh Government has already provided to help universities this financial year, which has included £10m towards student hardship, mental health support and student unions.

The funding will come from the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 Reserve, to support the national response to the pandemic, and will be distributed to universities by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). 

Kirsty Williams, the Education Minister, said:

“This year, due to reasons beyond their control, many thousands of students have not been able to return to campus yet. In some cases, this means some students might still be paying for their accommodation while they are unable to use it. We recognise how difficult this is, which is why we are announcing this additional funding.

“Our universities have worked tremendously hard to support their students, ensuring learning has continued, while putting measures in place to protect their students, staff and their local communities.  This funding will allow them to build on that good work.”

Rebecca Evans, the Finance Minister and Trefnydd, said:

“In such difficult times, it is vital we continue to support people currently in education, who will be instrumental as we rebuild our economy in the wake of the pandemic.

“This funding will also help tackle inequality, by ensuring the most vulnerable students and those most affected by the pandemic can complete their studies.

“If you are a student here in Wales, your university or students’ union will be able to provide you with further information about the support available.”

In today's Welsh Government briefing, the Education Minister reassured those who were debating going to university in September that now is still a good time to 'invest in your future.'

She said: "I appreciate these times are uncertain and there will be lots of concerns.

"Going to university, even at these uncertain times, is still a great proposition."

The latest figures released by Public Health Wales show coronavirus cases have continued to fall in the Vale of Glamorgan over the latest 7 day reporting period.

The rolling figures, which run from 6th to 12th January show 445 cases have been reported, with 333.1 cases per 100,000 population.

The figure is a decrease of 100.3 cases per 100,000 compared to the period between 31st December 2020 and 6th January, when a total of 579 cases were reported.

The fall is expected to be due to the Tier 4 Alert lockdown restrictions, which remain in place across Wales - with the Welsh Government next set to review rules o

As of 18th January, 24,692 vaccines have been given across the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board area, with 1,478 given yesterday.

In the main priority groups, 1,889 care home staff and 595 care home residents have been given the vaccine to date.

2,756 individuals aged 80 and over, 13,818 health care staff and 2,875 social care staff have also received the vaccine in the CAV UHB area.

During this week, the health boards Mobile Vaccination team will attend 38 Care Homes, with 64 during the week commencing 25th January.

On Monday (18th), Public Health Wales confirmed a total of 1,332 new coronavirus cases have been reported across Wales in the latest 24 hour period, with 20 deaths. The 7 day case rate per 100,000 across Wales is currently at 306.

Rhoose & St Athan continue to see the highest number of coronavirus cases in the County, with 43 between 6th & 12th January. Barry West and Barry East have reported the highest number of cases in the County with 44 during the latest 7 day rolling figures.

All areas, excluding Palmerston and Lower Penarth and Sully have seen case numbers decline during the latest seven day period.

Coronavirus figures by location:

  • Ogmore-by-sea & Llandow: 12 cases (18 last week)
  • Llantwit Major: 23 cases (32 last week)
  • Cowbridge: 16 cases (18 last week)
  • Rhoose & St Athan: 43 cases (59 last week)
  • Peterson-super-Ely & Wenvoe: 21 cases (42 last week)
  • Barry Dyfan & Illytd: 11 cases (25 last week)
  • Barry Island: 43 cases (49 last week)
  • Gibbonsdown: 36 cases (59 last week)
  • Barry West: 44 cases (45 last week)
  • Barry East: 44 cases (51 last week)
  • Palmerston: 39 cases (33 last week)
  • Lower Penarth & Sully: 36 cases (36 last week)
  • Penarth: 22 cases (35 last week)
  • Llandough & Cogan: 29 cases (41 last week)
  • Dinas Powys: 26 cases (36 last week)

The Football Association of Wales has confirmed that Jayne Ludlow has left her post as the Cymru Women’s National Team Manager by mutual consent.

Jayne has been at the helm since October 2014 and became the first manager to lead the side for more than 50 games.

During that period Cymru reached the top 30 in the FIFA Women’s rankings for the first time and her side narrowly missed out on a place in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

FAW Chief Executive Jonathan Ford said: “Jayne has played a huge part in the progress of the Women’s game in Wales over the past six years, managing the side through three qualification campaigns.”

“The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign enhanced the profile of the game throughout the country, inspiring young girls across Wales to play football for the first time.”

“Off the field Jayne has been a role model for the women’s game in Wales, regularly visiting schools across the country and attending the National Eisteddfod to inspire future generations.”

“We thank Jayne for all her hard work, dedication and vast contribution to Welsh football both on and off the field. We wish her well in the future.”

After six years in the role, Jayne Ludlow said: “My time as the National Team Manager has been an eventful and exciting journey. It has been an honour and an absolute pleasure to have worked with the staff and players across our age group and senior teams. There have been several highlights,
including our first ever draw against England at Southampton and the magnificent victory over Russia in Newport in June 2018.”

“It has been a fantastic learning environment for me personally and I am proud of what we have achieved over the last six years as a group of staff and players, whom I want to thank. I am looking forward to the next challenges, one of which is an exciting opportunity I have to be part of a technical leadership team at FIFA.”

“I wish the squad well in the future and I feel that qualification for a first major final is not far away.”

The FAW will now begin a thorough recruitment process for a new National Team Manager as Cymru will look to prepare for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign, which will commence in September.

Vale of Glamorgan Council officers will again be working in partnership with South Wales Police to ensure Welsh Government Level 4 Restrictions are observed at Penarth Esplanade this weekend.

There have been reports of groups gathering near businesses and people traveling by car to visit this location.

Neither of these activities are permitted under current measures put in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

In an effort to improve the situation, the Council and Police will be stepping up their activities in the area.

Signage reminding people of the safety precautions they need to take will be placed on the esplanade and Cardiff Bay barrage, with similar messages shared on social media.

Mobile closed-circuit television will also be in operation to identify infringements alongside a greater Police and Council officer presence.

They will help enforce the Public Space Protection Order that makes Penarth Esplanade a no alcohol zone, ensure cars are parked correctly and that people haven’t travelled from outside the locality.

Checks will be made to ensure businesses are operating within the terms of their licenses and are compliant with Covid legislation, while traders will also be asked to use signs to reinforce safety guidance.

Cllr Neil Moore, Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, said: “We are aware of reports indicating that some of the Level 4 restrictions in place across the country are not being observed at Penarth Esplanade.

“This is an extremely serious issue. As everyone should know by now, these measures are in place to keep people safe and help drive down the Covid-19 infection rate, which remains alarmingly high.

“I know the vast majority of Vale residents have followed Welsh Government guidance from the start. However, there remains a minority that are not so considerate and it is these irresponsible individuals we are targeting.

“This group should be under no illusions. Where people refuse to follow the rules, our officers and the Police will not hesitate to take enforcement action.”

Cardiff and Vale Chief Inspector Tony Williams added: “Alert Level 4 restrictions have been in place since before Christmas and the legislation is clear. The public should only be leaving home for a limited number of reasons, and while exercise is permitted and encouraged, travelling to do so is not deemed reasonable.

“Our officers will continue to be patrolling in our communities, working closely with our partners at the council and engaging with the public to remind them of their responsibilities under the legislation.

“While the vast majority of people are complying with the rules and are doing their bit to help slow the spread of the virus, there continues to be a small minority who do not believe the rules apply to them. To those people, our message is clear: we will enforce flagrant breaches of the rules.”

Businesses in Wales will have to carry out a specific coronavirus risk assessment under new Welsh Government legislation.

These risk assessments will be the starting point for implementing the reasonable measures that are required to be taken to minimise exposure to the coronavirus on premises open to the public and in workplaces.

This involves considering issues such as:

  • whether ventilation is adequate;
  • hygiene;
  • ensuring physical distancing is taking place;
  • use of PPE and face coverings. 

It will also include considering how employers maximise the number of people who can work from home.

The highly contagious new strain of the virus means we have had to look again at the rules regulating workplaces and premises that remain open to the public.

During his weekly press conference the First Minister will thank businesses for all their efforts to ensure their premises are safe places to work and visit.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:

“Risk assessments must be reviewed and updated regularly, whenever circumstances change and I want to make clear in law this includes whenever the coronavirus Alert levels change in Wales.  

"Recording the risk assessment will only be required by those who employ five or more people.  We are working closely with employers, trade unions, Local Authorities and the Health and Safety Executive to consider the detail on how to keep work settings safe.

"Ministers have also met this week with key retailers to discuss their vital role during the pandemic. They set out the actions they are taking from providing sanitisers for hands and trolleys on entry; limiting the numbers in store at any one time; and making regular announcements reminding people to keep their distance from others.

"We will strengthen regulations to ensure retailers take these steps so that their premises are as safe as possible for shoppers and their employees alike. Many are already operating high standards and we need to raise the bar for those who could and should improve.

"However we all have a personal responsibility to help make shops as safe as possible. We all need to shop alone if we can, observe the 2m rule, practise good hand hygiene and wear a face covering unless exempt. Any abuse directed at store employees who remind people of their responsibilities will not be tolerated.”

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