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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 primary school in Barry is planning on creating a new allotment area after bagging a donation from a local housebuilder.

High Street Primary School, on St Paul’s Avenue, has received a £1,000 grant from Persimmon Homes East Wales as part of the long-running Community Champions scheme.

Persimmon donates up to £64,000 to worthy causes each month.

The school has recently developed a forest area to allow children to have outdoor learning opportunities. The next plan is to install an allotment, which would have multiple benefits.

Hope Anderson, of the school, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Persimmon Homes for this generous donation.

“The allotment will help develop our pupils’ knowledge and skills. We then plan to sell food produce back to the local community at affordable prices to help tackle food poverty and limit food waste.

“We’re excited to see the allotment take shape.”

Victoria Williams, sales director at Persimmon Homes East Wales, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support High Street Primary School.

“The allotment will be a fantastic educational tool and will also have knock-on benefits for the local community. It’s exactly what Community Champions is all about.”

Persimmon Homes is currently building stunning new homes in Barry as part of the major waterfront regeneration project, including at Haven Point where one bedroom apartments start from £127,995.

For more information visit www.persimmonhomes.com, or to apply for Community Champions funding, visit www.persimmonhomes.com/charity

Michael Whilding, 65, who raped and sexually abused a child over a period of eight years, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Whilding, from St Athan, was convicted of 35 counts including two count of rape, two counts of attempted rape, indecent assault, and indecency with a child following a trial in March. He had denied all the allegations.

A victim personal statement by one of Whilding’s victims described her ordeal. “The abuse I suffered at his hands has impacted my whole life, mainly my mental health and confidence.”

“He took everything, he took my childhood, he took my confidence, made me feel dirty and just worthless.”

“I remember wishing I had the courage to just walk in front of a bus or lorry to make it stop. I wanted my life to end just to make all the hurt and fear stop and to make him stop what he was doing to me.”

“On Monday, April 12 Whilding was sentenced by Newport Crown Court to 16 years imprisonment. He must serve at least two-thirds of his sentence before he can be referred to a parole board to consider his release.

Detective Constable Julie Lewis said: “South Wales Police Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan takes all reports of sexual violence extremely seriously and it is never too late to report a crime.”

“Both victims have displayed great strength and courage in reporting these offences and giving evidence at the trial. They have been inspirational.”

“We hope knowing that the Michael Whilding has received a significant prison sentence provides some relief to them and a sense that justice has been served.”

“Help and support is available for all victims of sexual violence and we would encourage any victims; no matter how long ago the offence happened, to please come forward.”

YMCA Barry Gymnastics Club has shared the news that two of its members have been selected as part of the long list of male gymnasts aiming to represent Wales at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

YMCA Barry Gymnastics members Harri Morgan and Josh Cook have been selected as part of the long list of male gymnasts who could represent Wales in Birmingham next year, after working hard to demonstrate the skill level and dedication to be considered for the Welsh team.

Over the next 12 months, 19 year old Harri Morgan and 20 year old Josh Cook will undergo many different trials in order to try and prove that they should be selected for the Welsh team for 2022.

Although there is a lot of competition, both gymnasts are working extremely hard to gain that qualification spot, not to mention that they are balancing training with their University studies.

This is a huge achievement for both Harri and Josh and their coach Peter Haysham who was also a YMCA Barry gymnast who represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games. YMCA Barry has a long history of gymnastics success with gymnasts from the club representing Wales at every Commonwealth Games since 1986.

Harri is hoping to compete at his first Commonwealth Games and Josh will be aiming to compete at his second Commonwealth Games. Josh competed in the 2018 Commonwealth Games where he was the youngest competitor at just 17 years old and achieved 13th place overall against the best gymnasts in all the Commonwealth countries.

A spokesperson for the club said “Everyone at YMCA Barry are extremely excited to see what Josh and Harri can achieve in the next 12 months leading up to and hopefully at the Commonwealth Games. Congratulations to Josh and Harri and their coach Pete Haysham.”

“YMCA Barry Gymnastics Club is hoping to reopen its doors from June 2021 once the Welsh Government allow indoor sport to resume. The club is the most successful, award winning gymnastics club in the Vale of Glamorgan and prides itself on making the club and its members as covid safe as possible.”

YMCA Barry caters for all children and young people from preschool children to teen gymnastics as well as competitive gymnastics for both males and females. It is also the only club in the Vale of Glamorgan to achieve the Gold Insport standard which was presented by Disability Sport Wales in recognition to the clubs commitment to inclusive gymnastics.

If your son or daughter would be interested in starting gymnastics once the club is allowed to reopen its door, please email sophie@ymcabarry.org.uk or follow us on social media @ymcabarry

An opinion poll conducted by Opinium for Sky has put Labour ten points ahead of the Conservatives in the Senedd constituency vote.

Based on the latest polls conducted by Opinium, the Conservatives are up 9 compared to the 2016 results, whilst Labour are up 5, Plaid Cymru down 2 and Liberal Democrats down 4.

Welsh Parliament constituency voting intention:

  • Labour – 40% (+ 5)
  • Conservative – 30% (+9)
  • Plaid Cymru – 19% (-2)
  • Liberal Democrats – 4% (-4)

In the list vote, Labour and Conservatives both gain, whilst UKUP are down 11 compared to 2016. Opinium did not promote those surveyed for Abolish the Assembly

Welsh Parliament regional voting intention:

  • Labour – 38% (+6)
  • Conservatives – 27% (+7)
  • Plaid Cymru – 19% (-2)
  • Green Party – 5% (+2)
  • Liberal Democrats – 4% (-3)
  • UKIP – 2% (-11)

When polled for preference for First Minister, Mark Drakeford came out on top with 29%, that’s despite 32% respondents responding don’t know.

  • Mark Drakeford – 29%
  • Andrew RT Davies – 10%
  • Adam Price – 8%
  • Neil Hamilton – 3%
  • Jane Dodds – 3%
  • None – 14%
  • Don’t Know – 32%

In terms of seat projections, the poll suggests Labour would be one seat shy of a majority on 29, with Liberal Democrats holding onto their one seat.

Whilst Conservatives would be up eight seats on 19, Plaid Cymru would be down two on 10 and UKIP down six on just one Senedd seat based on the poll.

In another survey conducted by Opinium, when asked the question “Should Wales be an independent country?” 28% responded yes, whilst 52% said no. The remaining 20% responded, don’t know.

South Wales Police are appealing for information, after a male Dachshund, named Tiny Tim, was reported stolen from an outbuilding in Bonvilston.

Tiny Tim, who is microchipped, has not been seen since Sunday, April 11.

Assistant Chief Constable Jo Maal said: “We are aware of growing concern about dog thefts amongst our communities.”

“There is some evidence nationally that the pandemic has seen criminals adjusting their activities and taking advantage of the increased demand for pets. Widespread reporting of the increased cost of pets is also believed to be fuelling this.”

“It is a concern and a potential emerging issue that we as a force as taking seriously, and we fully appreciate the devastating impact such a crime can have on victims.”

“However, at this stage we would like to stress that the number of reported thefts in our force area remains low.”Our advice to pet owners is to remain vigilant but not alarmed.”

“Many reports on social media are unfounded, and while they are often shared by well-meaning people hoping to raise awareness, it often raises fear and spreads misinformation and myth.”

“We would appeal to the public to report incidents and suspicious activity to us, so that we can fully investigate and also build a picture of potential growing trends.”

“In addition to responding to reports, we are taking a proactive approach to tackling this issue and allaying public concern.”

“We work closely with neighbouring forces and other partners, have increased patrols and visibility in areas of concern and conducted local intelligence-led operations.”

“Advice on preventing dog thefts, keeping your pets safe, and purchasing pets can be found on various animal welfare charity websites, including the Blue Cross and Dogs Trust.”

Anyone who has any information is asked to go to https://bit.ly/SWPProvideInfo, email: PublicServiceCentre@south-wales.police.uk, call 101 or alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The Welsh unemployment rate rose in the three months to February to 123,000, a rate of 4.8%, with the unemployment rate for the UK at 4.9%.

The figures released by the Office for National Statistics show the number of people unemployed was 3,000 higher than in November, and 18,000 higher than the same time a year prior.

Despite the rise in unemployment, employment was also 12,000 higher than the three months to November and 5,000 higher than the same period in 2020.

Commenting on unemployment rising in Wales but falling elsewhere across the UK, Welsh Conservative economy spokesman Russell George said: “Coronavirus has devastated Wales and exposed our economic fragility after 22 years of Labour in government, and it’s very concerning to see unemployment rising in Wales but dropping elsewhere across the UK.”

“We need change in Wales as we can’t afford another five years of same old Labour failing to deliver, and only the Welsh Conservatives have a plan to get our economy on the road to recovery with 65,000 new jobs and a £2 billion investment in our creaking infrastructure.”

Cowbridge Music Festival’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mary Elliott-Rose, announces Rosalind Ventris and Joseph Fort as the new Artistic Directors of the Festival.

This husband-and-wife team will build on the success of the past ten years, which have seen the Festival bring to Cowbridge world-class artists including Nicola Benedetti, Jacqui Dankworth, the Doric Quartet, Stile Antico, Tenebrae, Elin Manahan Thomas and Maya Youssef.

Rosalind and Joseph will lead the Festival with energy and a bold artistic vision as it continues in its mission to bring international artistic excellence to Cowbridge, to inspire and educate the next generation of young musicians, and to promote its life-affirming concerts to everyone in the community and beyond.

As live music returns, 2021 promises a wonderful series of concerts and events, with the Festival’s characteristic mix of
classical, folk, jazz and more. Should restrictions continue further, the Festival has planned a resilient set of measures to ensure that music lovers will still be able to enjoy a rich programme this year.

Rosalind is one of the UK’s leading violists, and is no stranger to Cowbridge, having played at the Festival several times.

She performs widely as a soloist and chamber musician collaborating with renowned artists such as Festival Patron violinist Nicola Benedetti, pianist Mitsuko Uchida, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the Belgian National Orchestra and actor Simon Russell Beale. Some highlights over the past few months include concerts at the Wigmore Hall with the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective, and recording her debut solo CD of music by female composers (the first of its kind).

As the violist of Trio Anima, Rosalind will be shortly recording a disc featuring Welsh music for Tŷ Cerdd. Passionate about education, she teaches the viola at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Joseph is a conductor and musicologist based at King’s College London. At King’s, Joseph directs the Choir, broadcasting on Radio 3 and recording for Delphian Records (‘a performance of astonishing intensity and musicality’—Gramophone), and he lectures in
the Music Department, where he is the Director of Performance. He completed his PhD at Harvard University, and previously studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Music, who in 2017 elected him to their Associateship.

His research focuses on eighteenth-century music, and he is currently completing a new book on Haydn and the minuet. He is also devoted to public musicology, and gives numerous talks aimed at enhancing audience members’ appreciation of the repertoire, for festivals and concert venues.

Founder and former Artistic Director Mary Elliott-Rose will remain closely involved with the Festival as its Chair of the Board of Trustees. She comments: ‘As hard as it is to step aside as Artistic Director, from this role that I have loved and
cherished for the last decade, I do so knowing that the Festival is now in the best possible hands. After this particularly difficult year, we are beyond excited to finally be able to start dreaming again about the possibility of live events, and to see where Rosalind and Joseph’s impressive artistic vision takes us. They are already working incredibly hard on
ensuring that the 2021 Festival brings hope and joy to as many people as possible in the
Cowbridge community and beyond!’

Rosalind and Joseph write: ‘We are absolutely thrilled to be joining the wonderful team of the Cowbridge Music
Festival. Having played at the Festival several times, Rosalind knows only too well what a special place Cowbridge is, and just how unique the Festival is—the warmth of everyone involved, the openness to all, and the commitment to the highest artistic standards. We are very excited to be welcoming artists and audiences to this beautiful market town in
the future. We are working closely with the team to bring world-class musicians to Cowbridge later this year, and look forward to getting to know the whole community really well over the coming months. This year’s edition will place the local Cowbridge community at the heart of the Festival’s programme and we can’t wait to share our plans with you shortly. The success that Mary, Andrew and the team have achieved over the last ten years really is remarkable, and it is an honour and a joy to be trusted with carrying the Festival into its next decade.’


More information about the Cowbridge Music Festival can be found at cowbridgemusicfestival.co.uk. A further announcement regarding the 2021 Festival programme and Fringe will be made soon.

Residents now have more time to share their views on the future of Penarth Pier Pavilion after the Council extended its public consultation on the topic.

Following a huge response to the online survey – with over 1,000 completed forms already received – it will now be possible to have a say on how the pavilion can operate as a community asset until Wednesday, April 21.

After taking over operation of the Victorian building in late February, the Council began a comprehensive programme of repairs and refurbishment.

The Big Fresh Café has also opened, selling a range of food and drink from local suppliers, with profits used to fund healthy school meals for Vale pupils.

Now the Council is asking people how they want the pavilion to be used moving forwards.

Suggestions include making it available for meeting space, talks and classes, pre and after school clubs, as a live music venue, a space for exhibitions, a base for advice and support groups and much more besides.

As well as completing the survey on the Council website, residents can also take part by using the ‘voting’ boxes inside the Big Fresh Café area.

Rob Thomas, Vale of Glamorgan Council Managing Director, said: “Having recently taken over operation of Penarth Pier Pavilion, we have quickly set about assessing the condition of the building, arranging repairs and organising for it to be thoroughly cleaned. A café operated by the Council’s Big Fresh Catering Company is also up and running.

“This is a thrilling opportunity to re-establish the pavilion as a focal point for Penarth and a space that the whole community can enjoy.

“We already have a number of exciting ideas for how that can be achieved but would also love to hear suggestions from residents as we enter a new era for this historic building.”

Virtual attendees to the first ever Food Vale Festival were treated to a series of free online events and inspiring stories from some of the Vale’s most sustainably minded food businesses.

The event, which took place online from 22nd March – 4th April 2021, brought people closer to more than 30 food producers and businesses in the Vale, whilst highlighting opportunities to improve the local food system, post-Covid 19.

The festival was organised by Food Vale, part of the Sustainable Food Places network – a partnership programme led by the Soil Association, Food Matters and Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. It has received funding through the Vale of Glamorgan Council and Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Three new films were created to showcase some of the most sustainable and inspiring local food stories from the local area; thefilms were shared on Food Vale’s social media channels throughout the festival period and have so far been viewed more than 5,000 times.

Cobbles Kitchen in Ogmore was one of the businesses featured; their film focuses on the theme of eating locally but thinking globally.

General Manager Owain George explained: “At Cobbles, using organic produce is very important to us, as is using local producers and seasonal ingredients, and minimising wastage. It can be overwhelming to think that small changes like this can have a bigger impact, but if each individual business or household is doing this, it has a huge snowball effect. If we were all moving towards making more sustainable food choices locally, it could have a huge impact globally.”

To view the Cobbles film in full, click here.

Forage Farm Shop in Cowbridge was also featured – their film focuses on the benefits of supporting local businesses. Matt Eales, head chef at the Forage café, showcased some of these ingredients with a recipe of stuffed, roasted saddle of lamb with locally foraged herbs.

He explained “It’s important to know where your food comes from, but sourcing ingredients locally also means you are supporting local businesses, growers, and that expertise and passion. We’re so lucky to be able to do that here in the Vale.”

To view the full Forage film, click here.

Over the course of the two-week festival, Richard Shaw from Cooking Together also provided a number of free cookery demonstrations, suitable for the whole family to get involved. Amy Greenfieldfrom Awesome.Wales – the Vale’s first zero waste store – hosted a takeover of the Food Vale Twitter account, sharing her expertise on how to reduce waste in the home. There was also a virtual tour of Barry’s Community Garden, Gibby Green Fingers.

Louise Denham, festival organiser and Sustainable Food Places co-ordinator at Food Vale said,“The inaugural Food Vale Festival celebratedthe local groundswell in support for a more connected and sustainable food system, whilst highlighting Food Vale’s three key aims; to ensure a good meal for everybody every day; to support local food businesses to thrive; and to connect local and global food opportunities.

We are thrilled with the success of this first event, and look forward to next year – when hopefully, our programme can include a mix of both online and offline, real-life events.”

Ahead of another sunny weekend, and the likelihood that many will be heading to Barry Island, Cardiff Bay and SA1 in Swansea, South Wales Police have issued section 35 dispersal notices, giving officers the power to move people on.

In a statement South Wales Police said ‘We are not there to monitor visitor numbers and prevent those visiting in a law-abiding manner from enjoying. We are there to ensure public safety.’

‘Anti-social behaviour and criminality has a detrimental impact on our communities and we will be patrolling key areas over the weekend to prevent such activity.’

‘We all have a responsibility to make sensible choices when we are out and about, maintaining social distancing and not putting ourselves and others at unnecessary risk.’

‘Our officers will continue to engage with our communities to help them understand the restrictions that do remain in place, however Section 35 notices in place for the weekend which gives our officers and PCSOs the power to move people on from the area that are acting in an anti-social manner.’

Visitors to other coastal areas of the Vale of Glamorgan such as Ogmore and Penarth can also expect to see an increased police presence from Friday evening.

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