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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.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council Leader has responded to the announcement that Wales will enter a fire-break lockdown from 6pm this coming Friday, for a period of two weeks.

The fire-break lockdown restrictions will be time limited and come to an end on Monday 9 November.

Cllr Neil Moore said:

From Friday, these national measures will replace the current local restrictions and residents across Wales will be advised to stay at home once again unless it is essential not to do so.  

I am grateful that the Welsh Government has again sought the views of Council Leaders on introducing these restrictions. Whilst the local lockdown measures in the Vale of Glamorgan have been effective in slowing the rate of infection, I support the introduction of a short period of further restrictions. By doing so we can all help to protect the NHS and stop the spread of the virus in our communities. 

As we saw earlier in the year, people will be able to leave home to work if it is impossible to do so from home, for essential supplies and to take exercise which should begin and end from home. 

The restrictions mean all hospitality, non-essential retail, beauty and leisure businesses will be closed for this period.  

Mixing between households indoors and outdoors will be banned, except in very limited circumstances, including for single adults living alone or who are a single parent household who can form a temporary extended household with one other household. 

The importance of limiting disruption to our young peoples’ education is of vital importance. For pupils in the Vale of Glamorgan, our schools staff and pupils will have their usual half term break for a week from this Friday.  

From week commencing 2 November nursery, primary and special schools will reopen for all pupils. For secondary schools, Year 7 and 8 pupils will attend school for the week of 2 November with all other year groups learning from home (with the exception of pupils attending school to sit exams). Our Education colleagues will be working closely with headteachers to support preparations and to ensure pupils and parents are aware of the arrangements for their school. Our schools have worked consistently to provide online learning for those not attending school due to the pandemic and will continue to do so. 

Some of our Council services will have to be reduced for a short time and will mean essential services only are provided. 

Some services which had re-opened in the summer, such as Council receptions, libraries and household waste and recycling centres, will close temporarily for the fire-break period. The same will apply to community centres.  

Care home visits will be limited to essential visits only.   

Play areas, country parks and resorts (including car parks) will remain open to enable people living locally to take exercise locally. These should be visited only by local residents in line with the Welsh Government’s latest restrictions. 

Refuse and recycling collections will remain unaffected.  

More details on how these restrictions will affect other Council services will be shared over the coming days as preparations begin for the regulations to come in to force on Friday. The Council’s website will be updated to show the latest information. 

Shielding is not being reintroduced at this time and food parcels will not be provided by Welsh Government. However, the Council’s Crisis Support Team continues to be available to support residents who find themselves in crisis. The team can be contacted on ‪01446 729592‬. Details of the many support services available, including supermarket deliveries and community groups can be found on the Vale Heroes site, www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/ValeHeroes

I would like to express my very sincere thanks to the residents of the Vale of Glamorgan for adhering to the local lockdown restrictions for the past three weeks. Once again, your efforts made a very real difference. I am appealing to everyone again in the Vale to work together in the next few weeks so that we can further arrest the spread of coronavirus across Wales. 

For now my message to you is simple, stay home and stay safe.

A short, sharp “fire-break” will be introduced across Wales at the end of this week to help regain control of coronavirus, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced today.

The fortnight-long action is needed to save lives and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.

Speaking to the people of Wales, the First Minister said: “This is the moment to come together; to play our part in a common endeavour to protect the NHS and save lives. This will not be easy, but we will do it together.”

The fire-break will start at 6pm on Friday 23 October and end on Monday 9 November. It will apply to everyone living in Wales and will replace the local restrictions which are in force in some parts of the country.

The Welsh Government will provide a package of almost £300m to support businesses, which will complement wage-support schemes available from the UK Government.

Cases of coronavirus have been rising sharply in Wales as the virus has woken up for winter. While the national and local measures put in place across Wales have helped to keep the spread of the virus in check, there is a growing consensus that additional action is now needed.

Between October 9 and 15, there were 4,127 new confirmed cases of coronavirus recorded by Public Health Wales, based on positive test results but the real level of infections will be much higher. The number of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus symptoms is growing daily and sadly so too are the number of people dying with coronavirus.

The R number is currently between 1.1 and 1.4, meaning continued exponential growth in the number of cases and the seven-day rolling incidence rate for Wales stands at more than 130 cases per 100,000 population.

The fire-break will be short but sharp to have a maximum impact on the virus.

  • People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes, such as for exercise.
  • People must work from home wherever possible;
  • People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with either indoors and outdoors;
  • No gatherings will be allowed outdoors, such as Halloween or fireworks/Bonfire night or other organised activities;
  • All non-food retail, hospitality businesses, including cafes, restaurants and pubs (unless they provide take-away or delivery services), close contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, and events and tourism businesses, such as hotels must close;
  • Community centres, libraries and recycling centres will be required to close;
  • Face coverings must be worn in indoor public spaces, which remain open, including on public transport and in taxis.

During this time:

  • Adults living alone or single parents will be able to join with one other household for support;
  • Primary and special schools will re-open as normal after half-term
  • Secondary schools will re-open after the half-term for children in years seven and eight and most vulnerable children. Pupils will be able to come in to take exams but other pupils will continue their learning from home for an extra week.
  • Universities will provide a blend of in-person and online learning;
  • NHS and health services will continue to operate;
  • Local parks, playgrounds and outdoor gyms will remain open.

Following the end of the fire-break, a new set of national rules will be introduced, covering how people can meet and how the public sector and businesses operate.

Businesses affected by the firebreak will be supported with a new £300m fund, which will open next week:

  • Every business covered by the small business rates relief will receive a £1,000 payment.
  • Small and medium-sized retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.
  • There will also be additional discretionary grants and support for smaller businesses, which are struggling.
  • The £80m fund announced last week to help businesses develop in the longer term, will be increased to £100m, which includes £20m ring-fenced for tourism and hospitality.

Businesses will also be able to access the support available through the existing Job Retention Scheme or the new expanded Job Support Scheme.

The First Minister has written to the Chancellor to ask him to give Welsh businesses early access to the new expanded Job Support Scheme from Friday. The Welsh Government has offered to pay the extra costs to the UK Government scheme to ensure businesses can retain staff.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“It is with a heavy heart that I once again ask everyone to stay at home and businesses to shut.

“We are all tired of coronavirus and the many rules and regulations we all have to live with. We all want to see an end to this pandemic and our lives returned to us. Unfortunately, we do not yet have a vaccine, which will allow us to do that.

“This fire-break is our best chance of regaining control of the virus and avoiding a much-longer – and damaging – national lockdown. We have a small window of opportunity to act.

“To be successful, we need everyone’s help. Wales has shown throughout this pandemic that we can come together and take the actions to keep our families and our communities safe.

“We must come together once again to stay ahead of this virus and to save lives.”

Citizens Advice Cardiff and Vale are recruiting for Consumer Advisers at their offices in Barry.

The organisation, which provides support, advice and services to local residents are looking for people with experience of working in a call centre environment and/or delivering advice within a legal framework.

Applications will be taking inbound calls only, for the full time position with a salary of £18,398 and a closing date of Friday 30th October, with interviews on 2nd November 2020.

Citizens Advice Cardiff and Vale said its "a progressive and dynamic advice service offering exciting career opportunities for individuals to join our organisation.

Applications are by CV only via recruitement@cavc.org.uk

Volunteers at RNLI Penarth Lifeboat Station received two callouts on Sunday, including to a person in the water at Sully Island.

The first shout of the day came at 18:32 with lifeboats from Penarth and Barry, along with Rescue Helicopter 187 were requested by HM Coastguard operations room at Milford Haven to launch to a persons in the water at Sully Island.

The person we recovered from the water, with the assistance of a member of the public - with both Penarth Lifeboats stood down following the recovery.

The call was the first shout for Dave Turle, one of Penarth's Trainee lifeboat crew.

Both Lifeboats were rehoused and ready for service by 19:45, in time for a second shout at 19:55, with Penarth ILB requested by HM Coastguard to launch to two people cut off by the tide at Lavernock Point.

Working with HMCG Penarth CRT the ILB located the two casualties and returned then to the boat house.

Jason Dunlop LOM at RNLI Penarth Said "We have a further few days of big tides and would warn the public to be aware of the risk of being cut off by the tide."

The Lifeboat was rehoused at 21:15

Duke Al Durham from Dinas Powys, who lives with type 1 diabetes, is adding his distinct voice to Diabetes UK Cymru’s efforts to get the nation talking about mental health, diabetes and social issues.

Duke is 26 and has struggled with his mental health – particularly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – for some time.

Growing up in the village of Dinas Powys, Duke threw himself into sports at school, competed in athletics and played rugby and football. He studied sports coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University and kept on exercising and playing rugby locally.

But secretly, he wasn’t coping and felt lonely. “I was inspired by the wordplay of artists such as Eminem, The Notorious BIG, 2Pac, Jay Z, 50 Cent. Rap became my escape mechanism and I admired the way these artists used lyrics to tell stories. I started writing at 11 years-old and the raps developed into poems to explain what was going on in my brain. Having OCD from an early age wasn’t easy. I couldn’t articulate how it made me feel, especially with the stigma attached to it. I felt that, if I talked about the tormenting bad thoughts attacking me, the relentless compulsions I had to do, in order to feel satisfied that nothing bad would happen, people would think I was crazy or just not understand. Writing gave me the freedom, to express how I felt.”

A first, Duke hid his rhymes, but his passion for writing was overwhelming, as well as his realisation of the power of poetry to soothe and challenge discrimination and unfairness. He said: “As I got older and more mature, I started to write about topics which I felt an urge, a passion to voice my opinion about, to try and change the world for the good. I now write about racism, which I have experienced over the years, inequality and mental health. Although I struggled immensely growing up with a lonely mental health illness, using and abusing alcohol which got me into a lot of frightening moments, my family have always been my rock.”

At the age of 21, he finally got the help he needed after being referred to Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT), or talking therapy, on the NHS. It gave him the ability to look at his intrusive thoughts in a different perspective, combat them and not let them rule his life.

Diabetes diagnosis throws in another struggle for Duke

When Duke was 22, he travelled to Thailand and Bali with his partner and at the end of the trip he started to feel unwell. When he was back in Wales, his health deteriorated very quickly and he was rushed to the Heath Hospital in Cardiff, where he was diagnosed with salmonella and sepsis infection. After being hospitalized for six weeks and then suffering over a year of ill health, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes:

“It was a complete shock to go through all this, because I was young and fit. I remember feeling very lethargic all the time, I used to tell myself to ‘man up’ and get on with it. I was still playing rugby, my jobs were physical, (landscape gardening and personal training), and still studying at University. I also went through a period of distress and trauma which left me with traits of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), which healthcare professionals believed could have been a second trigger.”

The symptoms heightened around two weeks before his diagnosis: “I had dry mouth, I kept on urinating, any liquid that would touch my lips, I could not help but drink the entirety of it. My breath started to smell like pear drops, and I lost weight, but the strangest symptom for me, was that when I would go to the gym. I would work out as hard as I could battling the lethargy trying to overcome this feeling of fatigue, yet I would get no pump in my muscles, they felt squidgy when usually they would feel tensed, this hit me hard and I knew something was wrong. I eventually went to the doctors and a week later I was diagnosed.”

The power of poetry, one rhyme at a time

Duke found it hard to accept his diagnosis and his mental health had to cope with the extra burden of diabetes management, which caused him to experiment with self-harm and insulin withdrawal.

Diabetes became a huge part of his creative drive when writing about mental health and he writes about hidden hypos, highs and lows, burnout and OCD.

Duke explained: “I am striving to use my poetry to tell vivid, impactful stories, where people can relate to them so they don’t feel alone and I can help educate those who do not understand mental health illness and type 1 diabetes.”

Duke is now supporting Diabetes UK Cymru to raise awareness of mental health and the lack of psychological and emotional support services (Too often missing Campaign). He is releasing a book of poems next year called “Bittersweet” to mark the centenary of the discovery of insulin, developed to treat diabetes for the first time in 1922.

“Writing rhymes is my therapy. From a young age, I’d scribble raps and poems in my old lyric book. It was my way of expressing myself; an escapism to challenge my OCD. A passion of words, flow and rhyme flared. Now I aim to make an impactful change using words, one rhyme at a time”, he said.

Throughout lockdown many have been busy painting and drawing, with the Dinas Powys Art Group looking to share its artwork with the community through its lockdown trail.

Running from the 24th October t0 1st November, the Dinas Powys Art Group have organised a trail around the village, featuring 70 peices of artwork, created by 23 artists.

The group has been holding virtual meetings during lockdown, with work being created in the style of artists including  Salvador Dalí and Kyffin Williams, making for an eclectic gallery of work.

All the artwork will be displayed in various outside locations, making for a great family walk around the village - with a competition incorporated to get all ages actively involved.

The group have made a Trail map available via their website:

For those unable to attend the trail, photos of all the artwork can be viewed via the Dinas Powys Art Group website - with some pieces available for sale, with 10% of proceeds being donated to Dinas Powys Voluntary Concern.

The Welsh Government will meet on Monday morning as it looks to make a decision on whether to bring in a two or three week "fire-break" lockdown.

In a statement released on Sunday evening a Welsh Government spokesperson said “The measures we have put in place at both a local and a national level, with help from the people of Wales, have kept the spread of Covid-19 under check.

“However, there is a growing consensus we now need to introduce a different set of measures and actions to respond to the virus as it continues to spread across Wales more quickly during the autumn and winter months ahead.

“Ministers have held a number of meetings over the weekend with senior Welsh Government officials, scientists and public health experts to consider their advice on a potential need for a ‘fire break’ set of measures to control the virus.

“The Welsh Cabinet met this evening to consider that advice. The Cabinet will meet again tomorrow morning to make a final decision. The First Minister will update the people of Wales on any decisions taken tomorrow.”

The statement comes as nearly 1,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded on Sunday across Wales.

A leaked letter on Saturday sent to transport operators in Wales suggests the Welsh Government is considering a 17-day lockdown that would involve the closure of all non-essential retail and hospitality.

Mr Drakeford will lead the Welsh Government's 12:15pm press conference on Monday in Cathays Park.

The More in Common Llantwit Group is aiming to keep spirits high this autumn with a series of events to bring the local community together.

Running up to Thursday 29th October, the group is running a Halloween at Home, best dressed window competition.

A spokesperson for the group said "Halloween can still be fun, even without trick or treating"

Local residents can submit their entries on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram via the @MoreinCommonLlantwit pages or via email to moreincommonllantwit@gmail.com

In addition to its Halloween Events, the group is continuing to hold its #MusicQuizNights on the first Friday of every month via its social media pages.

Local resident Faye won the first quiz night in October - will you and your family be next?

A bailout of Cardiff Bus company could cost council tax payers in Cardiff £13.6 million over the next two years.

Cardiff Bus, owned by Cardiff council, has struggled with its finances for years.

In 2018, the company reported losses of £1.9 million and cut several bus routes, prompting a shakeup of management. Its finances had been improving before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Cardiff Bus now faces falling passenger numbers and revenue due to Covid-19, while still facing the high deficit of its generous defined-benefit pension scheme.

Details of the problems are kept secret, while councillors on the cabinet received confidential reports on the latest options on Thursday, October 15. The public was kicked out of the cabinet meeting when Cardiff Bus came on the agenda.

One brief report however was made public, where Chris Lee, the council’s corporate director of resources, warned of the risks to Cardiff Bus and the need for the extra cash.

Mr Lee said: “The interventions proposed in this report achieve the key principles of protecting the current and future entitlement of members and of the Cardiff Bus pension scheme, as well as resolving immediate risks to the viability of the company.

“The proposal staves off an immediate risk to financial viability arising from the potential risk of winding up of the pension scheme and the Pension Regulator intervention, by allowing the completion of the March 2018 valuation.”

The report explained the council needs to spend an extra £7 million on the bus company this year. Next year could also see £6.6 million spent, according to Councillor Rodney Berman, finance spokesperson for the council’s Liberal Democrat group.

Cllr Berman said: “Under Labour’s stewardship since 2012, Cardiff Bus has found itself in increasing financial difficulty which pre-dates the Covid-19 pandemic. Now it seems the only way forward is for Cardiff council to agree a massive financial bailout to stop the bus company collapsing.

“By agreeing that the council should inject £7 million into the bus company this year, with a possible further £6.6 million next year, we see the extent to which council tax payers in Cardiff will effectively be picking up the tab for Labour’s incompetent running of the company.

“While there may now be no alternative if we are to stop the company from going under, it has to be recognised that the money will have to be paid for through the council undertaking additional borrowing.

“This is nothing short of scandalous. Yet again, we see that Labour has wasted our money and it’s the city’s council tax payers who will have to pay to sort the mess out.”

Next week, councillors will vote on approving the extra financial help. Part of the money will go to buying new electric buses to replace ageing diesel buses, as well as protecting the future pensions of staff working for Cardiff Bus.

Labour councillors hit back at the criticism, and said there was cross-party support for the plans to turn around the struggling company. Labour claimed Cllr Berman, who is running in the Senedd elections next year, was just “chasing votes”.

A Cardiff Labour spokesperson said “There are two elements to the decision before the council next week. The first deals with securing the company’s pension fund valuation, which is vital not just for the company’s future, but also to protect the future pensions of its workers — it is critical this is dealt with.

“The second element deals with committing a £7 million package of investment to the company. Such investment is long overdue and will allow the company to modernise its operations, particularly by acquiring a new fleet of electric buses.

“These modern buses will allow passengers to travel in comfort, while making a massive difference to the air quality in the communities along its routes. Cardiff Labour is proud of the action it is taking to protect our city’s environment, and improve our public transport. How could any politician be against this?

“What we see here is crass electioneering from a Liberal Democrat candidate in next year’s Senedd elections who is willing to endanger Cardiff’s main bus company at a time of high financial risk in order to chase votes; while throwing the Lib Dem representative on the board under the proverbial bus as he does so.

“This tells you all you need to know about Rodney Berman’s fitness for high public office.”

Liberal Democrat councillors in Cardiff disagree on the problem, with the group’s transport spokesperson Cllr Emma Sandrey saying it is a “lot more complex” than mismanagement. Cllr Sandrey also sits on the board as a director of Cardiff Bus, along with Labour and Tory councillors.

Cllr Sandrey said: “The problems that Cardiff has with public transport are a lot more complex than some people are making out.

“We need to have a wider conversation about buses in the city and how they’re allowed to move around the city, and how we make them more punctual, reliable and sustainable in the future.

“We need a comprehensive bus lane network that runs right across the city.

“In Plasdŵr, they’ve put in bus lanes there, which is great. But the bus lane stops when it meets Pentwyn Road. Unless it’s connected to the rest of the road network, it’s not going to make a blind bit of difference.”

The council kept the details of the bus company’s finances confidential, but said councillors will have the “opportunity to discuss” the problems, in another meeting next week, which will again most likely take place behind closed doors.

A council spokesperson said: “The council strives to be as open as possible on all matters, however, there will always be times when financial and business matters have a requirement to be confidential to protect the businesses involved.

“Cardiff council made clear in its budget report this year that Cardiff Bus would require investment, and monies were set aside in the budget to enable this. The figure was detailed in the budget report and there has never been any attempt to hide that.

“Full council will have the opportunity to discuss the Cardiff Bus report next week and it will be full council which takes the decision on whether or not to proceed with the recommendations.”

Barry Town United have to confirmed the signing of midfielder Sam Bowen on loan from Cardiff City.

Son of former Bluebirds forward Jason, Sam has been in the Championship club’s academy since the age of six and first came to the attention of supporters four years ago when he scored from the half-way line for the Under 16s against Hull City.

He would go on to captain the Under 18 side and is now a key part of the Under 23 squad. Last season, the 19-year-old made the substitutes bench for the first team’s FA Cup fixtures against Carlisle United and Reading.

Bowen has been capped nine times by Wales Under 19s and was called up for the Under 21 squad for the first time earlier this month alongside former Barry loanees George Ratcliffe, Sion Spence and Mo Touray.

Gavin Chesterfield said:

“Sam is a player I have admired for some time after previously working with him at international level. I have seen what he is capable of first hand and I think this loan comes at a good time for Sam’s development. He will add further quality to our squad and will complement the players we already have. Thank you to Cardiff City for their continued trust in us.”

Everyone at Barry Town gives Sam a warm welcome. He will wear the number 20 shirt.

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