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Olivia Grist

Olivia is a second year Journalism student at the University of South Wales. You can hear her read the local news and weather bulletins every Saturday morning.

For some people, the Coronavirus pandemic has been a negative experience – but for one residential home in Barry, it’s been quite the opposite.  

Island View Residential Home, Barry Island, supports those living with Dementia. The home currently has 24 residents, who were all forced to adapt to a ‘new normal’ due to the Government stopping care home visits in March this year, as COVID-19 cases rose.

The home regularly provided residents with entertainment from external companies, but because of the pandemic, Activities co-ordinator, Lucy Kettlety had to re-think the way she kept the residents occupied.  

Activities now include: karaoke, line dancing, mini golf and even just sitting with the residents and chatting.  

The staff also throw Birthday parties for their residents, as well as regularly sitting and eating their meals together – creating more of a family environment. 

Activities co-ordinator, Lucy Kettlety said:

“The most important thing for us is that we make sure the residents feel both important and valued – they have their own voice. 

“It’s a choice for them whether or not they want to get involved.” 

Although families and friends can’t physically visit the residential home now, they’re kept up to date with what their loved ones are up do on the Island View Residential Home Facebook page, as well as via video calls.  

They also use their Facebook page to broadcast performances from their choir formed by the residents. 

Video: Residents perform We'll Meet Again 

Island View has been overwhelmed by the support they have received from both community and local supermarket donations during this difficult time. 

But, Lucy - who started the role the day before the restrictions were put in place - said she didn’t see the lockdown as hugely negative because it’s allowed some residents to develop a lot more. 

“Everyone has really pulled together and the residents have kept us going. 

“Residents who didn’t used to get involved in activities as much are now coming out of their shell. 

“I have ultimate job satisfaction!” 

The total number of schools with confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Wales has been revealed. 

Responding to a question from Labour MS John Griffiths in Plenary today, The First Minister, Mark Drakeford, announced the total figures since schools have returned.  

Since September 1st,  140 students and 135 staff members across 275 schools in Wales have been affected by the virus. 

The re-opening of schools has been a key test of the Welsh Government's Track, Trace, Protect strategy. The increased demand for tests is seen as one of the key reasons the UK Government's privately-run Lighthouse Labs have been failing to keep up with demand.  

But out of all of the schools with confirmed Covid-19 cases, most had not seen a wider outbreak. 

Speaking in Plenary today, Mr Drakeford said: "In 198 of those 275 schools, only one case has been reported. So, in more than seven out of 10 schools, it's a single isolated case that has been reported so far, although, I agree, it is early days. Those cases have been imported to the school by people who have contracted it for other reasons, rather than being spread in the school environment." 

Despite a continuous rise in cases, The First Minister has stuck by his promise that schools would be one of the last things to close in the event of a second wave and lockdown. 

When questioned about students who may have to spend some time out of the classroom while self-isolating, Mr Drakeford said: "We will continue to prioritise the testing of students and teachers and other school staff members where that becomes necessary in order for us to minimise the risk of transmission and, to respond to the final point that John Griffiths made about continuity of learning for young people, who may still have to spend some of their time outside the classroom. 

"In some parts of Wales, that was done fantastically well earlier in the summer. That learning is being applied now to make sure that those standards can be achieved in all parts of Wales." 

The First Minister will announce further measures at 20:05 (BST) live on ITV Wales. 

A school uniform donation service, set up by a Cardiff Mum, has expanded to a unit in Barry.  

The Cardiff and Vale and Barry school uniform donation group launched in 2018 after Rhiannon Thomas, from Pentwyn, realised she had near enough perfect school uniform that her son had grown out of, but didn’t want to just throw it away.  

Instead, she set up the group on Facebook to help families struggling to pay for school uniforms.  

The group provides both generic and specific uniform for all schools across Cardiff and The Vale of Glamorgan. 

In less than a year, they helped more than 100 families and received around 1,000 donations of school uniform. As a result of the success, Rhiannon recruited help from Barry mum, Becca James.  

Becca said: “It’s an amazing cause – people can’t believe something like this hasn’t been done sooner!”  

“If you think about it, if you’ve got no-one to pass your uniform onto then where does it go? 

“Charity shops won’t take them, so they’d just go to landfill sites.” 

Thanks to funding from The National Lottery, the pair were able to expand their service into storage units based in Cardiff and more recently, Barry Docks.  

Before the units opened, the group had pick up and drop off points across The Vale of Glamorgan. 

Those in need of school uniform or wanting to donate are asked to message the Facebook group first where collection or drop of arrangements can be made.  

“The response has been amazing! 

“So many people want to help out both financially and by donating uniform.” 

The group has received a great response from people in the community.

Because of current lockdown restrictions and social distancing guidelines, the service isn’t able to run as normal, but Rhiannon and Becca hope to receive more funding for the group so they can continue to grow and help more people in the community.  

You can access the service here.

An ex police officer who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis has walked 1,609 metres for a local charity. 

Nigel Hughes, from Rhoose, was diagnosed with MS in 2012 - a lifelong condition which affects the brain and nerves. 

Once he was diagnosed, Nigel’s symptoms became progressively worse and the simple things – like walking and talking – became more of a struggle. 

As a result, he turned to local charity, Woody's Lodge. The charity provides expert support for those who have served in the Armed Forces and Emergency Services, whilst allowing them to connect with others in similar situations. 

After seeing Captain Tom Moore walk 100 miles in his back garden to raise money for the NHS, Woody's Lodge created their very own 100 mile challenge, which Nigel knew he wouldn't be able to do but still wanted to get involved, so set his own challenge of walking one mile.

Nigel completed the challenge in 99 days and raised over £8,500. 

On the final day the military paid a visit to Nigel’s house, where he received a “Guard of Honour” ceremony for his hard work. 

The police force and members from Woody’s Lodge also came to surprise him, and Nigel was finally able to reconnect with the veterans he hadn’t seen since before lockdown. 

Talking about the challenge, he said: “It was very tiring and emotional, but I did it. 

”I’m glad I did it.” 

Not only has Nigel raised a great amount of money for the charity, but he’s inspired others to challenge themselves too – including his wife.  

“I’m taking on any fitness tasks that anyone wants to set me, in honor of Nigel’s struggle [to complete the challenge.] 

“This morning I did 25 press ups, which I didn’t know I could do! 

It hasn't been easy for Nigel, but it will be an experience he or his family will never forget.

“It won’t be lockdown we it will be the ‘Walk A Mile’ challenge that will be the memory from 2020 for us.” 

You can still donate to Nigel’s cause Virgin Money fundraiser, where he has raised 86% of his £10,000 target.

Business owners in Penarth have been urging the Vale of Glamorgan Council to remove parking restrictive traffic cones on Glebe St after claims it’s affecting their custom. 

The cones were put in place to implement social distancing in the town centre, but with businesses already having to adapt to a new normal it seems to have done more harm than good.  

Shaun Lush, who works for David Lush Butchers, said: “They [the council] started making changes to the street around 2 weeks ago by placing traffic cones and one-way system signs for pedestrians, then a week later metal bollards were installed in the street too. 

“They’ve made the pavements wider and taken away the parking spaces. 

“Outside our shop is a designated loading bay – it's making it difficult to get deliveries. 

Mr Lush also explained the impact it’s having on his custom: 

“From the moment these cones were in place, it was almost immediate. 

“It’s really hit us.” 

An online petition to remove the restrictions has been set up with over 600 signatures from angry residents and business owners.  

One resident, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It’s caused absolute chaos. 

“People won’t bother coming to the town if they can’t park.”  

A spokesperson for Penarth Town Council said: “Penarth Town Council has been listening to local stakeholders and advocating for the public health of the community and Penarth’s economic resilience in these unprecedented circumstances.  

Members will shortly be releasing summary proposals for wider discussion, with a view to protecting the health of Penarth’s residents and visitors, and allowing its local economy to thrive.” 

Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet member for Education and Regeneration, Cllr Lis Burnett, said: "The safety of shoppers visiting town centres in the Vale is our number one priority and so measures designed to promote social distancing and protect people have been introduced in these locations.

"This has involved removing some parking bays in order to create more safe space for pedestrians at pinch points in the towns.

"The measures implemented were based on social distancing guidance provided by the Welsh Government and discussion with representatives of traders' groups and Town Councils.

"The new more stream-lined fixed bollards are less overpowering in the street scene and after the most recent review the number of parking bays affected has been reduced to specific pinch points.

"We continue to meet with Town Councils and business representatives and will regularly review the measures to ensure they reflect the changing situation in our shopping centres.

"In this way we hope to support local businesses while encouraging shoppers to return with confidence to town centres."

An ex police officer who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis has set himself a challenge to walk 1,609 metres for a local charity.

Nigel Hughes, from Rhoose, had lived an active life as a policeman for South Wales Police before being diagnosed with MS in 2012 - a lifelong condition which affects the brain and nerves. 

Nigel’s wife, Karen, said: “He had symptoms at least ten years before he was diagnosed - like pins and needles and tingling in his left fingers - but because he was riding the police motorbikes we were told it was a repetitive strain or a trapped nerve. 

“But then he started to have speech problems and his eyesight started to be affected.

"We knew something wasn't right.” 

After his diagnosis, Nigel’s symptoms became progressively worse and the simple things – like walking and talking – became more of a struggle.  

“If he walked up a hill, he would trip over and on sand or pebbles – he just couldn’t walk very well.” 

Despite his condition, Nigel continued to work – although he had retired from the frontline police force – until he was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2017. 

After what Karen described as a pretty “traumatic” year for the family, Nigel turned to Woody’s Lodge for support.  

The charity describes themselves as a ‘social hub’ for those who have served in both the Armed Forces and Emergency Services, where they can receive expert support and connect with other people in similar situations.  

“We panicked and thought we’d no longer be able to go out anymore, but Woody’s Lodge has become a godsend for Nigel. 

“It’s a place he can go to for a coffee and a chat and not feel like he’s the disabled person.” 

Nigel beat the cancer and after seeing Woody’s Lodge challenge people to walk 100 miles in May, he decided to set his own personal goal of walking one mile.  

“We knew there was no way Nigel could do 100 miles, so I suggested he tried just one mile and did a little bit every day. 

“It’s given Nigel something to focus on and made him feel good about himself again.” 

Originally, the ex-policeman aimed to raise £1,000, but with just one month to go until he’s set to reach the finish-line, he’s managed to raise almost £6,000.  

But it’s not just about raising money for Nigel, he wanted to help others in similar circumstances too.  

"Looking at Nigel doing this has helped other people with MS think they can do a little bit more every day.” 

A former charity worker and his sister have brought people together virtually during lockdown.  

Tom Dyer, from Cardiff, went to stay with his sister Abigail in Pembrokeshire after he was made redundant in March.  

Abigail, a project worker for Pembrokeshire County Council, was forced to work from home when the pandemic began.

The pair decided to use their free time wisely and start a lunchtime chat show on Facebook to give those stuck at home some normality again. 

'Cuppa' Tea with Tom and Abz' takes place every day at 1pm.  

Talking about how it began, Tom said: “I wasn’t doing much else, so I wanted to try and educate people to see a different perspective of what lockdown was like.”  

Abigail added: “We wanted to help people as everybody’s dealt with lockdown restrictions differently.” 

For the first few weeks there was a re-occurring theme of grief, and bereavement councillors were brought on as guests to help those who had lost loved ones to COVID-19.  

As time went on the show has been more about resilience and the strength people have used to get through this difficult time. 

“We’ve had a few people come in and share their knowledge with everyone, and in spirit of all of that there’s been lots of jokes and laughter.  

“It’s been like a proper lunch time break.” 

Cuppa Tea with Tom & Abz

Join us at 1pm to talk about the day so far.Inspired by 'Couch to 5k' we're going to be talking physical and mental toughness.Where do we get it from? How can we make it work for us?What do you think?

Posted by HelloTomDyer on Wednesday, 8 July 2020
(One of the pair's live shows on Facebook)

On Friday evenings Tom and Abigail also have their own singalong show where each week there’s a new theme and they encourage viewers to get involved by dressing up.  

The show started after Tom was invited to sing in another Facebook group but accidentally went live on his Facebook page too.  

“People said they wanted it every Friday as it was a good reminder the weekend is coming.” 

Abigail said: “Everyone can make an effort, put some make up on and dress up silly.  

“It’s good fun!” 

(An example of the feedback given to Tom and Abigail)

Tom’s Facebook page, HelloTomDyer, has 514 followers and people regularly watch their shows. 

When asked about the reaction they’ve received, Abigail said: “People have loved it. 

“We’ve made a community – which is brilliant! 

“Everyone wants to meet up once restrictions are lifted.” 

Tom and Abigail’s live shows can be watched daily on the HelloTomDyer Facebook page.  

A local charity has been feeding residents of Barry by opening a ‘Pay as you feel’ shop and delivery service.  

Cadog’s Corner was set up in 2018 by parents and staff at Cadoxtan Primary School as a café at the back of Victoria Park Community Centre, after pupil’s took an interest to the world’s hunger and poverty issues and wanted to help their community. 

The charity got in touch with supermarkets and FairShare who were able to offer them food that had no place on their shelves, which led them to opening a ‘Pay as you feel’ shop. 

‘Pay as you feel’ means you can go into the shop and pay into a donations jar exactly how much you think the items are worth. 

Vice Chair, Natasha Cockram said: “It was an opportunity for pupils to learn new skills like cooking and food hygiene, whilst connecting with the community.” 

When the Coronavirus Pandemic began the café was forced to close and the children could no longer take part, but the staff still wanted to do their bit so started delivering food parcels to families identified by the school as being vulnerable.  

“We’ve gone from supporting around 30 families in the school to then being asked to support other schools in Barry.  

“The week before last we delivered 235 food parcels!” 

Their ‘Pay as you feel’ shop re-launched last week in the Community Centre car park and social distancing measures have been put in place to ensure everyone is kept safe.  

It will be open every Thursday from 9:30am-4:30pm.  

For the charity it’s not just about keeping people fed, but it’s about bringing the community back together. 

“Only one person is allowed in the shop and the car park is big enough for people to have a chat safely – as if they were in a park.  

“It’s all about people’s well-being at the moment as they’ve been disconnected from each other.”  

When asked about how helping the community has made her feel, Natasha said: “We will never know the true extent of people’s struggles during this time, so I think it’s just a pleasure for people to have somewhere like this to go.  

“It makes you feel good when you’re helping people. 

“It's given me a sense of purpose again.”  

Once lockdown restrictions are lifted they hope to become more sustainable in the wider community, as well as supporting people with training skills, as well as growing their shop and café.  

An online charity event is set to take place on Saturday in support of Tŷ Hafan after lockdown restrictions cancelled their yearly fundraiser. 

Set up by a local musician and her husband, the event will replace the one usually organised by the charity themselves. 

‘Summer Festival in Aid of Tŷ Hafan,’ will stream on Facebook between 12pm and 11pm on Saturday 4th July.

The event organiser from Sully, Vale of Glamorgan, said: “We set up the event for Tŷ Hafan because they are missing theirs."

With just two days before the event takes place, they have already raised £500 but hope the figure will double by Saturday.  

Donations can be made through the event’s Just Giving page and those who contribute will automatically qualify for an online raffle. 

There will be a mixture of local and international musicians taking part, as well as comedians and circus acts. 

Local musician, Patsy Hunt, decided to take part as she felt it was a great way to raise money for the charity whilst bringing the community together.

She said: “It’s been a challenging time for charities during lockdown because they rely on their shops for income. 

“For Tŷ Hafan, over a quarter of their income comes from retail. 

“An online event is a great because people can get involved wherever they are.” 

You can watch the event live from 12pm Saturday, 4th of July, on the ‘Summer Festival in Aid of Tŷ Hafan’ Facebook page. 

Residents of the Vale of Glamorgan have been celebrating Glastonbury Festival despite the event being cancelled. 

This weekend was supposed to mark the festival’s 50th anniversary but in March it was announced it was no longer taking place due to COVID-19.  

In a statement released on the official Glastonbury social media accounts, organisers Michael and Emily Eavis said: “We are so sorry to announce this, but we are going to have to cancel Glastonbury 2020.  

“Tickets for this year will roll over to next year.” 

A full statement was released on their website.  

In May the BBC revealed they would be broadcasting classic Glastonbury sets across TV, radio and online to celebrate the anniversary.  

Despite there being no physical festival to attend this weekend, many have still been celebrating in style by putting on their own socially distanced festival or BBQ.  

Lucy Mills, from Barry, celebrated in her garden with friends. 

She said: “We’ve been a few times [to Glastonbury], but this year none of us managed to get tickets, so we’d planned to get together anyway.  

“Even though there was social distancing in place, we still managed to have a great night.  

“It started to rain too so it really was like being at Glastonbury!” 

Firefighter, Steven Brown, always takes time off work to watch the festival but this year was slightly more meaningful as he was able to spend it with loved ones who he hadn’t been able to see due to lockdown restrictions.  

He said: “We’re all key workers and it felt like the best way to get together after months of being apart.” 

Glastonbury Festival will now take place in 2021 where the 50th Anniversary celebrations will continue.  

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