Nearly a year overdue!

It’s been nearly a year since I last updated my blog, but what a year it’s been, the ward has ticked over nicely under the watchful eyes of my colleagues and myself, although I must admit I’ve taken a bit of a back step as my role as Mayor of Torfaen has taken much of my free time covering the whole of the County Borough.
It’s pleasing to see that several new businesses have opened; this is a remarkable achievement during the current climate and shows a great confidence in the ward.
The support that Victoria Primary School and Brynteg Nursery are receiving from the Community, Assembly Member, MP, Baron Touhig, of Islwyn and of course Ward Councillors, against the possible closure is very uplifting including the alternative action group document put forward to be considered.
A real professional well thought out alternative.
Main issues within the ward is still recycling and missed collections which needs to be resolved as many people are saying that they are going to stop recycling if it’s not sorted.
This would be sad if this was to happen as so much work has gone into reducing waste and aiming to reach our recycling targets set by the Assembly.
The ward itself looks a lot cleaner on the main drag, as you see any litter issues, it’s reported to us or Torfaen via the App and removed.
The ward pantomime was another success this year, as you know it’s sponsored by myself and Wayne Tomlinson to enable all children to attend free and receive a goody bag.

Some of the Hall Committee serving during the interval

Thanks to everyone at the Millennium Hall for making this possible and making it a success!
From May I’ll update this blog regularly again as my term as Mayor will end then and I’ll be a back bench Councillor until the next local election in May 2017.
Then either I will stay as your Councillor, or be kicked out, the choice will be yours!
Until then I’ll uphold my election pledge to be an approachable Councillor and to keep you updated as much as possible via social media, email or via a ward walk and chat.


An Evening of Thanks

I would like to thank Sue Malson, Community Coordinator at Trac2 for inviting me to their ‘Evening of Thanks’ which was held at Trevethin and Penygarn Community Centre last night (10th April 2015).

For the benefit for those who haven’t heard of Trac2, then here’s a short background.

Trac is short for ‘The Really Amazing Charity’ and after attending last night, I fully understand why, Trac2 was established over 4 years ago and is run by 4 part time staff members, 11 volunteers and 6 trustee board members.

The charity has helped over 700 families, donated over 1011 items of furniture and over 200 food parcels and helped low budget families to purchase excellent quality clothes, household furnishings, toys and much more at very affordable prices.

In 2014 Trac2 was officially granted charitable status!

Their shop, based at Trevethin contains household items, bric a brac, small items of furniture and clothing and are typically priced between 1 and 3 pounds.

Recently the charity has expanded to new offices and offer services linked to their partner agencies, which include, Citizens Advice Bureau, Gateway Credit Union, Job Club, Bron Afon and Communities First.

Over the years Trac2 has prevented over 18 tonnes of household items being entered into landfill and this is expanding year on year.

During the past 3 years Trac2 has been working extensively with TCBC and The Trussel Trust in issuing and supporting food bank access for local people.

Trac2 has also launched a website which contains a lot of useful information about the charity and ways to get in touch.

Last night I was blown away by the passion and enthusiasm of Sue Malson the Coordinator who spoke about the trust, bursting into tears along the way, it showed her outstanding commitment to the community.

Sue Malson - Trac2 Coordinator speaking about the charity

I was pleased to see that the charity has helped several families in my ward at times of crises.

So a huge Thank You from me for that, any charity that helps families in need in the Abersychan Ward is a now a firm favourite of mine as one of their representatives!

Once again Sue, thank you for inviting me and letting me be educated in what you do, which blew me away, you should be very proud, I look forward to supporting you over the coming year and onwards.

Trac2 is based at 2 Church Avenue Trevethin and can be contacted on 01495 764078

Easter at The Barber Shop

After seeing the Easter window display on Facebook with regards to The Barber Shop in the ward, I just had to pop down to take a look.

Claire's Easter Farm Yard

As always the shop was very busy, but Claire the owner made me really welcome as she does with everyone who enters her shop.


Her shop never ceases to amaze me, it’s so child friendly, the kids love it there, I wish we had Barbers like this when I was a child!


This Easters theme is farm yard animals along with the Easter Bunny, the whole window ledge is covered in straw and farm yard animals along with bunting draped across the window.


If you haven’t seen it yet and have young children, then pop down and take a look, also take them inside the shop to see Batman!


Better still pop in and treat your children to a haircut and free lolly, they offer competitive prices and there’s ample parking outside!


The Barber Shop can be found on Union Street Abersychan.

Ward Walk -24th March 2015

Enjoyed my regular ward walk earlier today, reported several fly tipping incidents before calling in to see Helen at Twin Trim Hairdresses and Nicola at The Head Gardener Garndiffaith.

Unfortunately for me I got soaked in the rain and sleet, although en route I did notice that the lamppost still under warranty outside the co operative which I reported several weeks ago was still full faulty, so will be chasing this up.

Faulty Lamppost Garndiffaith

Went to call in to see Petals the florists in Abersychan but as she was just receiving a fresh delivery, I’ll call in next week.

Walking through the village I was pleased to see the Post Office full and people in The Cafe, Gabbys Diner and Abersychan Pharmacy.

I wanted to pop into Tikitiboo to have a look about for some gifts, but unfortunately they were closed today.

The whole area looked clean on the main routes apart from the fly tipping off the beaten track, but all areas suffer from this not just Abersychan ward.

Car Dashboard -Big Arch Field

Received good news about the blocked drain outside Pins & Inks Tattooist, this will be sorted by Friday.

Will be cleared by Friday

Support Local Independent Businesses

Another good afternoon supporting #shoplocal and independent traders who have faith in our communities and support the local economy.

A real lifeline helping to make our home villages and towns prosperous.

One thing I’ve learned by supporting local independent businesses are how important they actually are within a community and what good customer service actually is.

No one wants a dead village, but its up to each one of us to support them, instead of complaining when they’ve shut down, without our custom they will eventually close and then others quickly follow.

All that will be left is your big multi national superstores, syphoning money from the local economy and spending, investing it else where.

Today my mission was to pop to Abergavenny Market to buy freshly baked soda bread and to pick up some fresh vegetables and cakes along with a coffee and a few Birthday Cards.

All of these I could have bought in my local superstore, but where’s the fun in that?

Passing through Blaenavon I decided to park up and call into Artie Craftie on Commercial Street to see if they sold home crafted cards as well as supplying the materials.

It was great catching up with Nick and Wendy, but although they supplied materials, they didn’t actuality sell the finished product.

They directed me to another local business over the road called Coffee and Cards, a quaint little cafe which sold a selection of home made cards along with coffee!

Lovely people, really helpful and friendly and nothing was too much trouble, real quality service.

Result knowing that my money was going back into Blaenavon World Heritage Town and helping a local business.

As always, Abergavenny was bustling and the Market was really busy, where I enjoyed a coffee and picked up several freshly baked products, along with enjoying several chats with local people and meeting Abersychan Ward residents along the way.

The broad selection of fresh produce on sale was outstanding, from Jams, cakes, plants to bric n brac, always a pleasure, especially the farmers market which is also held in the market hall during the month.

Much more pleasurable than visiting my local supermarket, especially with the socialising and sneaky coffee.

To support local independent businesses all you need to do is make little changes to your routine like top up Gas and Electric at a pay point in the local post office, pop in, use your local independent pharmacy or try a service in the area, like Barbers, Hairdresser’s, Cafes etc.

Without YOUR support, they are all at risk.  Use them or lose them.

#shoplocal #supportindependentbusinesses

Fingers and Thumbs – Abersychan

Last Wednesday, I took my daughter to Finger and Thumbs Nail & Beauty Salon in Abersychan.

Fingers & Thumbs is located above Syran John Hairdressers and has been based here for just over 4 years, the business is run by Vicky Edmunds, who makes you feel completely at home during your treatment with a cup of tea and a chat.

Vicky’s salon, offers a peaceful and tranquil environment, which allows you to totally unwind.

Within her salon she offers – Spray Tanning, Waxing, Facials, Eyelash and Eyebrow Tinting, plus many more.

Nothing is rushed and everything is carried out at a very professional standard.

My daughter had Acrylic Nails, which took around 2 hours, no electric files that ruin the nail, leading to infection, everything was unrushed and explained.

Vicky hard at work


My 16 year old was way impressed after using other Nail Bars!

She will definitely be going back and was shocked that Abersychan had such a professional business like this!

The finished result. Nail edges also oiled

Fingers and Thumbs can be contacted on 01495 773409 and has a website

The webpage also includes a list of services on offer along with current price list.

Take a look and go and spoil yourself or a loved one!

Fingers & Thumbs is a jewel in Abersychan Wards Crown.

Scam’s Chip & Fin – High Street Abersychan

Scams Hygiene Rating

Just got back from Scams Chip & Fin, Fish & Chips Shop which is located at 31 High Street, Abersychan.

Tracey Scammell manager

Tracey Scammell manager as always was very friendly and helpful and customer service was outstanding.

The shop is always spotlessly clean and fish is always cooked to order and portion sizes are huge.

This has everything you need from a perfect fish and chip shop, including an amazing hygiene rating!

Can’t recommend this local business enough, you can also follow them on Facebook at

Or contact them on 01495 774027


13 Years of The Barber Shop

imageToday I called in to see the proprietors of The Barber Shop who were celebrating St. David’s Day with another of their Trade Mark window displays which is rapidly becoming iconic in the village.

They were also having a little known second celebration, which was marking 13 years to the day of opening their shop which has gone from strength to strength.


Clare Roberts, who originally opened the shop on St. David’s Day 2002, explained the importance of putting the customer first and the benefits she has gained by offering a professional Barbers in the village.

Ashden Davey aged 5 after his hair cut

Now after 13 years of hard work, Clare has now decided to work part time at the shop after handing the reins over to her children, Lucille and Louis.

The Barber Shop has a loyal following and is very child friendly with its man sized Batman and Superman dummies and motorbike barber’s chair for toddlers.

The Barber Shop Abersychan has a Facebook page and is a walk in business, no appointments necessary.

The Barber Shop would like to thank all their old and new customers for supporting their family business and a warm and friendly service always awaits customers.


To help celebrate today, all customers were offered a welsh cake!

Another great family run business in Abersychan Ward #SHOPLOCAL


The Best Of Torfaen Awards

Really enjoyable morning, as I attended The Best Of Torfaen Awards and Networking Breakfast at Greenmeadow Golf Club.


Really interesting to hear each member speak for 60 seconds on what’s been happening with their business and any promotions they are offering.

Met some real interesting people and shared ideas on using blogs, Facebook and twitter.

I was honoured to be asked to present the awards to the winning businesses and it was a pleasure meeting Nick and Wendy from Artie Craftie again and was chuffed to be given a limited edition Artie Badge.


The food was excellent and the way the businesses were promoted was outstanding, a real social event.

I was pleased to hear a local business owner who didn’t vote for me last election, assured me they would next time for all the support I’m giving them, which was really nice to be told.

I also chatted at length about some ideas the local business owners have to promote the ward, which were very exciting to hear, I’m looking forward to working with them to try and put these in place.

Really pleased to be included and recognised for what I’m trying to achieve in the ward by promoting local businesses.

Can’t wait to be invited to the next business event, makes my job in promoting this ward and its businesses really rewarding.

My morning at Blaenafon

Just got home from a morning looking at local independent shops and a coffee at Blaenafon with one of the ward Councillors, Councillor Alan Jones.

Being blessed with a sunny morning I walked through the town heading to Coffi 1860 to meet Alan, what struck me first was the selection of shops on offer and the historic feel of the High Street, with the stone work, quaint mixture of small and larger shops.

Coffi 1860 was a really nice old fashioned café, with the art décor lights and tiled walls complimented with a mix of wooden tables and settees.

Breakfast at Coffi 1860
Breakfast at Coffi 1860

The service was prompt and top class, we were made to feel very welcome, I was really pleased to read that Coffi 1860 uses locally sourced fresh produce, which is an added bonus for the local economy.

They also offer catering packages for buffets, ranging from classic at £3.75 per head to a hot package at £6.95 a head.

Coffi 1869 is located at 76 Broad Street Blaenafon and can be contacted on 01495 790127.

Councillor Alan Jones outside Flowers by Stacey
Councillor Alan Jones outside Flowers by Stacey

Another impressive shop was ‘Flowers by Stacey’ an independent florist who was a pleasure to meet and chat to, the shop had an impressive selection of flowers within and outside the shop.

Blaenafon Councillor Alan Jones at Staceys
Blaenafon Councillor Alan Jones at Staceys

The General Stores down the road from Stacey was my downfall, with a large selection of cakes and biscuits which I couldn’t leave on the shelf, the owner was really friendly and the shop was really well stocked and not all plastic and white shelving like so many, it was in keeping in character with the town, one I will be using regularly.

Blaenafon Cheese company, what can I say except if you enjoy locally produced cheese, then you need to visit this shop!

IMAG1848The highlight to my visit was Artie Craftie, an award winning Art & Crafts shop with a photography studio located at 3 Commercial Street.

Nick the owner was a real gent and explained what services the shop offered, I was pleased to hear that he also offers a professional framing service and a huge range of specialist art and craft items, one of the best craft shops I’ve been in.

Nick & Wendy at Artie Craftie
Nick & Wendy at Artie Craftie

Another bonus was meeting another Giles, a first for me!

Artie Craftie can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

What really amazes me, is what is actually right on our doorsteps, a huge range on independent specialist shops and services, just waiting to be discovered, you will always get a real friendly service and excellent after service.

A massive THANK YOU to Councillor Jones for giving me a tour of his town this morning, one I can be sure he’s very proud of.