April 2020 Newsletter

Hello, and welcome to my end of month newsletter for April 2020.

In this months newsletter:

  • COVID-19 Support available
  • My Small Schemes Fund 2019-20 Donations
  • and more.

COVID-19 Support Available

The Torfaen COVID-19 Support grant has been set up by Torfaen County Borough Council and Torfaen Voluntary Alliance. The aim of the grant is to provide financial aid to all organisations that are providing support during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant can be used for but not limited to:

  • Volunteer expenses
  • Equipment
  • Crisis bags
  • Food

Applications will also be accepted for groups that are:

  • Supporting homeless
  • Supporting older people
  • Supporting children at risk/in need
  • Supporting people living in poverty
  • Supporting people who are/have been suffering domestic abuse

My Small Schemes Fund 2019-20 Donations

Each year Councillors get an allowance to spend within their ward to help Community Groups, Charities etc (Constituted with Bank Account)

This is where I spent last years allowance.

This year I’ll be spending my Torfaen County Borough Council allowance towards helping the ward support those affected by COVID-19

  • Cwmavon Village Hall
  • Cylch Ti A Fi Tedi Bach Garndiffaith
  • Fairfield AFC
  • Fairfield United AFC Girls
  • Garndiffaith Community Association – Pantomime
  • Vitalize Radio
  • Garndiffaith RFC Youth
  • Hanbury Arms Pigeon Club
  • Hope GB
  • Ladies Circle
  • Nifty Needles
  • Noddfa Chapel
  • Special Defibrillator Project – Cwmavon Residents Assoc
  • Talywain Senior Citizens
  • Talywain WI
  • Victoria Village Community Lunch Club
  • Young Carers
  • High Street Baptist Chapel
  • Dan Jones Golfing Charity Match

May bank holiday waste and recycling collections

There will be no waste and recycling collections in Torfaen on both the Bank Holidays (8th May and 25th May) and all collections on each week will take place a day later than scheduled.

The revised collection dates are as follows:

Normal day of collection Day of collection
Monday 4 May 2020 Monday 4 May 2020
Tuesday 5 May 2020 Tuesday 5 May 2020
Wednesday 6 May 2020 Wednesday 6 May 2020
Thursday 7 May 2020 Thursday 7 May 2020
Friday 8 May 2020 Saturday 9 May 2020
Monday 25 May 2020 Tuesday 26 May 2020
Tuesday 26 May 2020 Wednesday 27 May 2020
Wednesday 27 May 2020 Thursday 28 May 2020
Thursday 28 May 2020 Friday 29 May 2020
Friday 29 May 2020 Saturday 30 May 2020

Residents are asked to have their waste and recycling at the kerbside or collection point ready for 6am.

The Household Waste Recycling Centre is currently closed until further notice.

Green Waste collections to resume

From Monday 4 May, collections of green waste will restart in Torfaen.

At the outset of the Coronavirus pandemic, the council prioritised its general waste and recycling services, which resulted in green waste collections being suspended.

This decision was due to a loss of staff as a number of waste and recycling crews were either instructed to shield from the virus or went into self-isolation due to displaying symptoms of Coronavirus.

However, staff have now returned from isolation or sickness, and the council have redeployed staff from other areas of the council, so green waste collections can resume.

Cllr Mandy Owen, Torfaen’s Executive Member for the Environment, said: “I would like to thank our waste and recycling collection crews, and other colleagues from across the Council who have worked hard to maintain our priority collections. Being on the front line is a tough job, and the current situation has made the job even more difficult.

“The staff assisting the waste and recycling crews are learning on the job so collections will take a little longer and we cannot guarantee that all green bins will be emptied on your designated day. If your green bin hasn’t been emptied, please take it back in and put it out on your next collection day. Any streets that we miss will be prioritised on the next scheduled collection date.

“Due to the volume of green waste anticipated in the first few weeks, we will not be able to collect any additional green side waste put out for collection. Any extra green waste placed outside the green bin will not be collected. By only emptying the designated bin, we’ll aim to ensure most residents receive a collection within the next two weeks.

“We hope the public can bear with us during this unprecedented time. We will do our very best to sustain collections but the well-being of our staff is very important and we must abide by the Government rules on social distancing. Unfortunately, if staff absence levels go back up, the green waste service may need to be suspended again, as we will revert to prioritising food, card, recycling and the purple lidded bins.

“If you would like to show your support to our waste and recycling crews, don’t forget you can download one of our posters and get creative.”

Check your waste and recycling collection calendars here.

View our FAQ’s about green waste collections here.

End of Year Ward Summary

As it’s become quite a tradition of mine during the last few years, thought I’d better write an end of year report to my electorate within the Abersychan Ward.

Personally its been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me but hopefully not caused too many problems for me as a Councillor.

Ward Pantomine

January saw the ward pantomime an annual event at the Millennium Hall for the families of the ward, this annual event started several years ago from an idea I had to allow families to enjoy a pantomime without the ridiculous price tags, the event is now sponsored by the ward Community Councillors and the next panto is on January 4th and will be Cinderella.

During January I took part in Charity Fundraisers for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the opening of the Gents Barbershop in the Village.

Paying My Respects – Llanerch

February saw the first tickets go on sale for the Elvis Fundraiser within the ward which I hope to run at least twice a year to bring the community closer together in a family friendly environment, along with the annual walk to the Llanerch Memorial to pay my respects and to lay flowers.

March saw our community pull together during the snow storms and the community pulled together to clear snow from side roads and shops to allow deliveries.

March also saw residents I was involved with on a case receive the result they deserved and was one of the highlights at the start of the year, it also saw me attend the Lunch Club and judging of the Easter Bonnet Parade and a trip to Tesco for Easter Eggs for Noddfa Youth Clubs after a kind donation off Bronafon Housing Association.8FBADFFC-DD10-4869-A34A-CDCF048AE5E1

March also saw a vacancy for a seat on Pontypool Community Council for the Abersychan Cwmavon part of the ward an unpaid role which I decided to throw my hat into the ring for.

April saw the amount I have personally donated to local causes via GoFundMe rise to £740 and money raised to £1213.00 excluding direct donations including £50 to Lincolns Legs and various other charities within the ward.

Gabbys Diner within the ward held their first Afternoon Tea to raise funds for the local branch of the MNDA which I was also elected Chair by the branch committee. Gabbys have been outstanding in their support of this Charity which has touched many including myself within the ward.


April also saw me cutting the first sod for the new development at Ty Rosser Gwyn, Garndiffaith along with attending the 100 years of RAF flag raising at Pontypool Civic Centre.

May saw the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations, which caused a major headache for me within my role and led to extra safeguards put in place by myself and a log of evidence of permissions granted by residents and whether full or partial consent was given along with verbal, message or email consent and date time.

A real minefield , but the law is the law and I need to follow it, this can lead to some delays in dealing with complex issues.

May also saw a partnership working event with Noddfa Chuch – FREE TO A GOOD HOME  which was a massive success and achieved the results I wanted along with attending the TRAC2 Evening of Thanks at Trevethin, were I’m always blown away with the amount of good they do within Torfaen for all those in need.

June was a sad month for me with the Open Morning at the now closed Brynteg Nursery where i was presented with a crystal glass engraved with a thank you message for my help and support.

I also received several items from Victoria Primary after calling in to see the staff.

IMG_1087.JPGThe highlight of June was the Concert I organised at the Millennium Hall which was a sell out, thanks to Jen Rosser and her ticket pushing!


June also saw me gain a test result of 93% in the Cardinus Data Training to ensure I comply with residents data correctly – PASS!

I also met with the British Red Cross to provide their Friend Hub in the ward, unfortunately this was discontinued after a lack of take up by residents.

Informal meeting with the British Red Cross

June also saw me invited to the Garndiffaith RFC Presentation Evening which I was honoured to attend and support.

July I rejoined the board at Garnsychan Partnership to work more closely with them to promote whats on offer within our ward and ensure that the Charity has a voice during times of austerity and cutbacks within Torfaen.

September I supported the Mic Morris 10K, handing out medals at the finish line and clapping in the runners, many raising funds for charity, along with helping out and supporting the Millennium Hall Afternoon Tea event for the the community in the ward.

October saw the grand unveiling of the Glansychan Lane Mural by Torfaen Play on the wall of the youth club after complaints I received of obscene graffiti, which was painted out.

Torfaen Play
Thanks to Torfaen Play for painting a mural to enhance the Youth Building in the ward

I was also invited to a tree planting to commemorate 10 years of Bronafon along with a topping out ceremony at a new development at Garndiffaith.

We also started to plan Carols Under the Arch #3 at Noddfa.

November saw me become Community Councillor for Abersychan and Cwmavon after the election was cancelled which now leads to me being a dual hatted Councillor for the ward.

Along with attending Noddfa Remembrance Service and laying a wreath to remember the people from this ward who have lost their lives to give us freedom.

In partnership with Gabbys I held another Concert at the Millennium Hall for Charity.


Christmas – Free to a good home 2

December we held another FREE TO A GOOD HOME this time concentrating on Christmas and Toys, Thank You again Pastor John and Noddfa for your continued support.

I also attended a factory visit to Capital Valley Plastics within the ward to learn about their recycling process and attend several cheque presentations, and Christmas events in the ward.

Capital Valley Plastics

I also spent time with Pastor John with the Homeless in Newport, providing them with donated clothes, tents and food.

Homeless Run and Support – Newport

The Year ended with Carols Under The Arch #3 which as always I am pleased to be part of.

This report is only a summary of my year, as I have attended events and meetings at Cwmavon Village Hall, Events throughout the ward and day to day casework, it’s been yet another busy year along with my main employment, but I hope it shows through that I am committed to this ward and its residents as always.

Thank You for your support during 2018 and can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy 2019!

Connecting Communities

Today I met with Suzanne Parry-Price, British Red Cross Community Connector for Torfaen to discuss their Connecting Communities Scheme.

Connecting Communities is there to support adults who feel that they have nowhere to turn, during an initial period of 3 months, they aim to help a person to feel better connected and able to enjoy the benefits of being more involved in the local area.

Everything will be built by enabling people to realise the things they’d like to achieve by offering:

Support tailored to your needs

Rediscover your interests

Rebuild your independence

By joining you in local activities that match your interests, it will enable you to meet new people who like doing the same things, drawing on the confidence and independence you’ve built, you’ll have the chance to build new friendships that last!

You’re not alone, over 9 million adults across the UK regularly feel lonely, people of all ages and walks of life.

During our working lunch, I decided to take the plunge for the ward and discuss starting a pilot scheme at the Millennium Hall, as it is within walking distance, on a bus route and has ample parking.

I’m looking to start a session in August during a morning to gauge interest.

I’ll be running it in a fan format, with introduction and guest speaker to talk about support at home for qualifying people (First Call) and I’ll be inviting the Garnsychan Partnership along to see if we can link in with any of their projects.

I’m very excited about this scheme, as loneliness is an awful thing.

Anything I can do to help people in this situation as a Councillor, it’s something we need to take head on.

I’ll be releasing more information once I fix a date and time to book the venue and meet up with the Garnsychan Partnership.

I look forward to working with the British Red Cross on this initiative as your Councillor for the Ward.


Final Image Photography Abersychan

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Dean Paget after receiving an invitation  to take a look around his studio at Final Image Photography, based in Abersychan.

Dean explained that he’s following in his fathers footsteps after developing a passion for photography during the early years of his life, before gaining a diploma in Wedding and Portrait photography.

During his high school years, Dean told me that he had favoured black and white imagery using the old wet techniques of catching images on film, before moving onto digital.

Final Image Photography is a family run business, so you’ll be assured of a friendly, personal service at good prices.

What struck me when speaking to Dean was how easy it was, he has the qualities of making you feel relaxed and at ease which is a great asset in his profession.

I look forward to seeing their business progress and grow and thank Dean and his family for taking the leap of faith and opening their business in the ward.

Looking around the studio, I was impressed with the quality of the portraits on display and will be booking my family in soon for a portrait.

Final Image Photography can be found on Facebook or at their website


Gabbys Diner Fundraising Afternoon Tea

Nicola & Jen Rosser

On Thursday 5th April 2018, Gabbys Diner owners and relentless fundraisers Jennifer Rosser and daughter Nicola along with granddaughter Gabby which the restaurant is named after, held their first fundraising renowned Afternoon Tea of 2018, this time raising over £490 for South East Wales Motor Neurone Disease Association.

As always the restaurant was full to capacity, everyone was given a very warm welcome, tea was served with a selection of finger sandwiches and savouries followed by homemade cakes, custard slices and cream scones.

A raffle was held with several prizes including vouchers donated by Jenson Coaches.

The restaurant was decorated with Fresh Flowers, MNDA Balloons and Banners.

Can I take this opportunity to thank Jen, her family and staff for a wonderful successful afternoon, wishing them the very best for the next upcoming teas.

A short update

During the past few weeks I’ve met with my partners at Torfaen Youth to build on the success of the ward Youth Clubs, by gaining an opportunity for a recognised qualification earned by taking part in activities.

I’ve started talks with Bronafon in regards to a few activities that Noddfa Church are doing to help residents within the community, these may tie in with their ethos, so I’m currently looking at ways to link in to provide a better service for residents of the ward.

Recently I’ve joined TRAC2, this is a crisis intervention charity that provides recycled household items to people facing hardship, it’s also a Community Outreach Office that host multiple agencies enabling a safe and confidential place to meet. TRAC2 also have a charity shop that enables members of our disadvantaged community to purchase low cost, affordable items.

Over the last year TRAC2 has donated over 200 items to families within our ward and helped 10 families along with providing financial support, so I’ve very pleased to be a proactive member of this charity and look forward to working closely with them to help the most vulnerable within the ward and Torfaen.

Cheque presentation at TRAC2 for £600 raised at Carols Under The Arch

Recently I was involved in a cheque presentation to TRAC2 from donations collected at Carols under the Arch, this was gladly accepted to provide essential items within the community.

I’m currently researching a food share scheme for the ward and hope to get something set up before next year after I’ve arranged a group meeting with my partnership agencies.

You may wonder why I use the word ‘Partnerships’, this is what I’ve built on over the last 5 years via contacts and people I have already worked with as a Councillor, building links such as the Fire Rescue Service, Gwent Police, TRAC2, Probation Service, Torfaen Play, Torfaen Youth, etc.

Donating Easter Eggs to Noddfa Youth and Toddler Clubs, thanks to Bronafon for matching my donation, really appreciated by all.

As usual if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you will see that much of my free time has been taken up by resolving issues during and after the bad weather along with private casework that I can’t post about, too much to put in this short blog, it’s been an exceptionally busy and stressful few weeks!

Great community spirit by residents during the snow.

So, I took the decision to resign from my paid position at the Brecon Beacons National Parks Authority as it tied me down too much when my workload within the ward has seemed to have risen considerably over the past few months, this must take priority.

This has now taken effect and my seat is currently vacant.

Finally, massive thanks to the community who pulled together during the bad weather and showed true community spirit by helping to clear the roads and footpaths along with looking out for housebound and infirm residents, huge respect to you.

Thanks also for your continued support within the ward!