Attitudes towards school attendance must change, warns Rhondda Cynon Taf's
Director of education Chris Bradshaw says too many pupils in Rhondda Cynon
Taf are still missing at least five weeks' worth of classes a year
Attitudes towards school attendance need to change if the council is to continue
its upward trend in pupil numbers, Rhondda Cynon Taf's Director of Education
While lesson attendance is improving in most schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf,
Director of Education Chris Bradshaw says too many pupils are missing at least
five weeks' worth of classes a year.
Last year, Rhondda Cynon Taff was ranked the worst in Wales for pupil presence,
but under the new figures, has risen to 16th out of 22 local authorities -
a 1.3% improvement.
A startling 26 parents were prosecuted for their children's non-attendance
during the first three half terms of 2012 and 2013.
And 64 pupils were returned to school or their homes after being spotted by
truancy patrols, and 75 families were approached by designated attendance
A report by Mr Bradshaw signalled a mostly positive trend in pupil numbers,
with 25 primary schools having an attendance rate of over 94% for the year.
An impressive 14 of the 19 secondary schools have improved their attendance
from this time last year.
But the director says only five secondary schools are currently hitting their
attendance targets. The full report will be put before Rhondda Cynon Taf councillors
at the education and lifelong learning scrutiny committee on April 11.
Mr Bradshaw, in his closing statement, concluded: "Cabinet and the education
scrutiny committee have made improving school attendance a priority. It is
pleasing to see the continued overall progress made by the primary and secondary
schools in the first three terms of 2012/13 in improving attendance.
"If this continued focus on attendance is maintained it should impact
on educational standards in the future.
"Working with the schools, parents, and the wider community we need to
change attitudes to school to raise aspirations and enriching school life.
Improving attendance is not an easy thing to achieve, but it is something
collectively we need to work together to achieve."
RCT council say they have launched several initiatives to keep kids in classrooms,
including The Lion Challenge.
Treorchy Comprehensive School, as well as all primary schools in the Treorchy
cluster, were awarded certificates and 20% off meal vouchers for their families
at The Lion should they achieve 100% attendance. They were also entered into
a draw with a chance for one pupil in the cluster to win a Kindle.
Last term, 202 pupils in Treorchy Comprehensive School achieved 100% and 307
pupils from the throughout the primary schools.
Coun Eudine Hanagan said: "We want to provide children in the county
borough with an educational experience that enables them to make the most
of the opportunities available to them in adulthood. Tackling truancy and
pupil absence is a key part of this.
"The impact of a good education on a community is profound.
"There is a strong connection between illiteracy and social exclusion
for young people and adults.
"By working with schools, governing bodies and head teachers we will
ensure resources available are used to the very best effect to deliver an
excellent learning experience in Rhondda Cynon Taf."
The local authority introduced an attendance and well-being "mascot"
last year, called Super Attender, to inspire children to stay in school.
Parents can be summoned to court and face fines of up to £1,000 for
allowing their children to miss lessons.
Aberdare wine trader shows bottle with pop
AN ABERDARE wine retailer is developing a taste for the arts after her client's
bottle design was showcased at a top exhibition at the Tate Modern.
Liz Tobin, who set up ViVino Wines, travelled to London to witness the "pop
art" taking pride of place at the world-renowned Roy Lichtenstein exhibition.
The design was created by small Spanish company Crash Wine, who are stocked
by Liz and distributed to Welsh wine connoisseurs.
She said: "I have a passion for interesting wine made by small producers,
and a special interest in craft wines.
"I want to help and support those businesses by bringing their unique
wines to the UK."
Liz, a former IT consultant, developed a passion for wine from living in Spain
for nine years.
It was in the compelling wineries of the Catalan regions where she got her
passion for fermenting, by meeting small vineyard owners and wine producers.
Speaking of her passion for the small producers, Liz said: ''I don't tread
the well trodden wine path. I look for people who have interesting wine projects
and look to bring their product to the UK.
"Our supermarkets are full of mass-produced wines that offer very little
"The wines I look to bring to the UK have as little chemical intervention
as possible - something that cannot be said for mass-produced wines.
"I want to support small producers whilst educating the UK market on
the wide range of quality wine available.
"For me the niche between mass produced and fine wines is the most interesting,
these are the authentic and interesting wines.
"This level of quality doesn't have to be expensive. Wine projects like
Crash inspired me to start ViVino.''
Crash is produced by the Pago los Balancines Group, with its winery based
in the Ribera de Guadiana area in South West Spain.
It takes its distinctive name from the economic crash that occurred just before
Speaking of the Lichtenstein showcase, Liz said ''Marrying art with wine worked
really well. The guests were impressed with such a modern wine. Crash pop-art
branding took its inspiration from Lichtenstein so it was an honour for it
to be showcased against such a brilliant 20th century artist. "The packaging
fits perfectly with the modern style of the wine."
Specsavers pledge their fundraising support
to Velindre Cancer Centre
AN OPTICIANS has announced a new partnership with Velindre Cancer Centre.
Specsavers, on Victoria Street, will join forces with stores across Wales
to carry out fundraising activities to support Velindre, which provides specialist
cancer care for more than 1.5 million people in Wales.
The deal was sealed by Velindre fundraising patron, Sam Warburton, at a meeting
of Specsavers store directors on March 20.
Six Nations star Warburton, fresh from Wales' historic championship triumph,
said: "I'm always pleased when people want to support Velindre, and this
new relationship will be a massive boost for us.
a really difficult time for fundraising but support from such a huge company
will make a really big difference and help to raise Velindre's profile too.
"I'm really grateful to Specsavers for their support."
Specsavers is already a regular fundraiser for Velindre, with stores in Wales
raising more than £5,000 for the charity last year.
Head of fundraising at Velindre, Andrew Morris said: "We are absolutely
delighted to be working with such a nationally renowned and respected company
"We both strive to provide the best possible service, and this commitment
to excellence will help make this a highly successful relationship.
"We have a range of exciting fundraising activities planned and we are
really looking forward to working closely with the company."
Neil Robinson, store director in Aberdare, said: "Our staff are already
keen fundraisers for Velindre and we are proud to be able to take it one step
further and become official fundraising partners. At its heart, Specsavers
is a community opticians, and sadly all communities will be touched by cancer
at some point - I hope that together with our customers, we can help to make
a real difference to Velindre and the patients it cares for."
Find funding for link road, council is told
MONEY should be found for a long-awaited link road to ease traffic congestion
in the Cynon Valley, according to the leader of the council's opposition group.
Plans for the £6m Southern Cross Valley Link to relieve pressure on
the A4059 were made years ago. But bids for European funding failed and the
scheme has now been excluded from Rhondda Cynon Taf council's capital spending
programme for the next three years.
Plaid Cymru's Pauline Jarman claims the Labour-run council has failed to do
enough to attract EU cash and should start looking for alternatives.
The Southern Cross Valley Link scheme would see a bridge built across the
River Cynon from Newtown to Miskin in Mountain Ash, easing tailbacks on the
But authority leader Anthony Christopher said "reckless" funding
cuts by the UK Government have seen RCT's capital grant fall by £6m
from £17.3m in 2011 to £11.3m. As a result, he said "tough
decisions" had been necessary to reduce the key priority areas.
Councillor Jarman said: "My view is that the council has failed to put
enough time and energy into promoting this scheme and should be looking at
other funding pots to bring this strategic scheme forward."
She said the link road, together with drainage work at the Cefnpennar Tip
in her Mountain Ash East ward, which she said was "deemed necessary back
in the 80s", should have been prioritised.
She added: "I also pointed out that on the day (Budget day) the Chancellor
had announced £160m capital extra for Wales over two years so now was
the time to make the case to the Welsh Government for more capital for Rhondda
Cynon Taff. The Plaid Group supported the capital programme with those and
a few more caveats."
But Coun Jarman's priorities "would financially cripple the council",
according to Councillor Andrew Morgan, cabinet member for frontline services.
He said: "The projects to which Coun Jarman has referred would completely
wipe out the council's capital spend and would mean that not a single road
or school or any other major project anywhere in Rhondda Cynon Taff would
receive support. On this basis these comments are completely reckless and
would financially cripple the council."
Coun Morgan said: "Coun Jarman had the opportunity to move specific amendments
to the capital programme yet failed to do so.
"Coun Jarman also failed to represent these concerns on behalf of her
residents at the cabinet meeting which discussed these matters. At this meeting
there was the opportunity to make such representations and Coun Jarman simply
did not turn up.
"The report considered by members made clear that our capital funding
has been significantly reduced and that tough choices had needed to be made
as a result."
The council's new core capital investment programme for 2013/2014 to 2015/16
will deliver almost £16m worth of key infrastructure work and represents
an investment of more than £48m over the next three years by the council.
A budget of £4.4m has been allocated to the next phase of the council's
highways improvement programme.
Community regeneration, in particular the regeneration of Pontypridd town
centre, is also a priority under the programme.
Welsh Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Powell said: "Part of the capital
budget will and should be used, as in previous years, to draw down external
funding, such as has been seen in Pontypridd. However it is not enough to
draw down money and spend it on tidying up projects for the sake of it.
"Greater thought needs to go into how it is utilised and more communication
is needed with traders and private funders to ensure the result is genuine
regeneration and growth. RCT Labour cabinet have been complaining about cuts
in capital spend, as have their colleagues down the Bay.
"They will no doubt have been pleased when last week the Westminster
Government Budget included good news for Wales with a boost of £161m
for capital expenditure. Hopefully, no time will be wasted in the responsible
allocation of this money."
Anger at claim that Aberdare's ambulance station
is 'sometimes unmanned at night'
ABERDARE ambulance station is sometimes left unmanned at night as the service
struggles with staff shortages, a union representative has claimed.
At times, there is just one ambulance to cover Rhondda, the neighbouring Garw
Valley and Aberdare, according to the GMB's Paul Gage.
He spoke out as the latest figures showed just over half of the calls made
to the ambulance service in RCT, where lives are deemed immediately at risk,
are reached within the eight-minute target time.
The Welsh Ambulance Service said delays are down to the significant pressure
facing the health service and it is committed to making improvements.
In February, 532 or 54.5% of the 977 most serious calls made in Rhondda Cynon
Taff received a response within eight minutes, well below the Welsh target
That is an improvement on the January figure of 49.8% and means RCT is no
longer the worst-performing area in Wales. It is now third from the bottom
of the table ahead of Caerphilly and Neath Port Talbot.
But Mr Gage claimed any improvement in the figures "is more luck than
judgement", with staff shortages putting the service under extreme pressure.
"Nothing's really changed, in fact it's probably worse," said Mr
"We don't have enough crews on the road at any one time. There is a shortage
of staff. They have been running short for a number of years."
He said that sometimes only one of the three stations in the Rhondda, Garw
Valley and Aberdare will be manned at night, leaving staff calling for back
up "from as far afield as Bristol".
Mr Gage added: "Trying to get a meal break for these guys is like trying
to get them a block of gold. Industrial relations are at an all-time low.
Our guys are tearing their hair out. Something has to be done."
He said he hoped to pass on his members' concerns to Professor Siobhan McLelland,
who is reviewing the Welsh Ambulance Service, in the next few weeks.
"It's an awful situation and we just want someone to listen to us and
put it right," said Mr Gage.
Pontypridd AM Mick Antoniw said: "I have looked for ways of describing
ambulance performance in as impartial a way as possible, but cannot avoid
using the terms, appalling, unacceptable and life-threatening.
"Although the recent figures for RCT are an improvement on the previous
data gathered, they are still nowhere near good enough.
"I have been actively working with the Welsh Ambulance Trust and Cwm
Taf Health Board on the issues and problems they are facing and I have continued
to pledge my support to them in working together to help tackle and alleviate
"The failure of the ambulance service in RCT cannot be tolerated. Nor
can we tolerate review after review after review which results in little change."
Karen Roberts, campaign manager for the RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats, said:
"Lives are being put at risk because the service is unable to meet demand
- in life-threatening situations every minute counts.
"It is not the fault of the ambulance staff, but as a result of bad management
and the failure of the Welsh Health Minister to act."
A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesman said: "During the month of February
2013, the ambulance service dealt with over 32,500 emergency incidents across
Wales with over 13,000 of them being the highest category emergency calls,
over 230 more high category calls than February 2012. The healthcare system
across Wales has faced significant pressure over recent months, which has
contributed to difficulties faced by the ambulance service to get to emergency
calls within our target times.
"We have experienced a high increase in delayed hand overs at hospitals
and this in turn has impacted on our ability to respond in a timely manner
to other emergency calls.
"We would like to reassure the public that the trust is firmly committed
to delivering the improvement aims of its Working Together for Success modernisation
programme in partnership with local health boards and will continue to use
our resources in the best possible way to improve our services and performance
for the people of Wales.
"We also ask the public to continue to support us by only dialling 999
and attending emergency departments for life-threatening and serious illnesses
and injuries - remember to keep emergency ambulances for your emergencies."
major schools projects will still go-ahead despite cuts
FUNDING for several ambitious education projects in the Cynon Valley will
not be reduced despite another significant cut in the council's capital spending
for the next three years.
New primary schools in Abercynon and Ynysboeth, along with a six-classroom
extension at Cwmbach Primary, will still be completed by autumn 2013 despite
RCT council's capital funding spend being slashed by £6m since 2011.
The amount of capital funding, which is issued by the Government in Westminster,
has slumped from £17.3m in 2010/11 to £11.3m in 2013/14.
There were fears some school projects could be scrapped if RCT council's School
Modernisation Strategy, which started in 2008, hit the buffers.
But leader of the council, Aberaman's Anthony Christopher, says despite the
"reckless" cuts, the authority will stick to its guns and continue
with the education upgrades.
He said: "We are faced with delivering a capital programme to support
investment in key local infrastructure with a dramatically reduced budget.
"So severe have the cuts been to capital expenditure that we are faced
with having to reduce the number of key priority areas we have to target additional
investment and tough decisions are very necessary.
"The UK Government's failure to prioritise capital investment is completely
nonsensical, as it is this investment that allows the public sector to not
only improve essential services and facilities, but also boost our local economy.
"That is why, despite these devastating cuts, we will continue to invest,
with the support of the Welsh Government, in critical infrastructure such
as new school buildings and highways, as this supports businesses and safeguards
and creates local jobs. Despite this tough backdrop we are able to honour
Building work has already begun on the new 420-pupil Abercynon Community Primary
School, which will be completed by September 2013.
A 210-pupil primary school in Ynysboeth is set to welcome pupils by October
The proposed new core capital investment programme for 2013/2014 to 2015/16
hopes to deliver £48m over the next three years, which includes investment
in schools, highways, private sector housing projects, environmental services
and community regeneration.
But Mr Christopher says the Welsh Government will see its own capital funding
cut by £30m next year and £80m the following year, adding to people's
woes across the county.
The three-year programme for RCT council includes a budget of £45,000
per year to deal with asbestos removal in adult and children's services buildings.
The core budget for private sector housing has been reduced by £2.4m,
which now stands at £6.1m. Total resources for environmental services
has been reduced by £100,000 and a budget of £4.5m has been allocated
for the next phase of the council's highways improvement programme.
Funding of £95,000 will be spent on essential works at leisure centres,
and a "rolling programme" of £105,000 has been given for improvements
And a whopping £11.5m has been dished out for a three-year programme
for replacement council vehicles.
'A real and potent threat to our community'
DETECTIVES have urged the public to be on the lookout for suspected drug dealers
and growers to stop the problem becoming "rife" in the Cynon Valley.
The call comes following a substantial raid on a Cwmbach home which uncovered
large amounts of the newly-banned substance, mephedrone.
On social networking website Twitter, South Wales Police revealed the St David's
Day drugs seizure was the force's "biggest haul" of the year.
A 23-year-old was arrested and bailed for possession with intent to supply
and a large quantity of cash was seized. In the wake of the raid, the Cynon
Valley's top police officer, Tony Carpenter, says mephedrone - or meow meow
- is a "real and potent threat" and has urged the community to remain
He said information from the public is vital in the fight against drugs.
Inspector Carpenter said: "Our officers know their areas and they are
aware who many of the bad sorts are.
"But there is always somebody new who is willing to turn to drugs in
an attempt to make money.
"If there is complacency for a second, there can be a very stubborn problem
on your hands.
"The public are our eyes and ears because we can't be everywhere, all
of the time."
South Wales Police say mephedrone is becoming the drug of choice for dealers
and users - because the substance is cheap to buy.
Inspector Carpenter says the term "legal high" has led to the misconception
that meow meow is less harmful and therefore a more acceptable drug.
He added: "There are misconceptions out there which the dealers are no
"But we are now seeing the harm it can cause and there may be more significant
long term side- effects that we don't even know about yet.
"These cases must find their way into the public domain in one form or
another as a warning to others.
"Young people themselves, parents, teachers, youth workers and of course
the police, all have a vital role to play, right now."
Traders' anger over increase in car parking
CAR park charges are to go up in Rhondda Cynon Taf, sparking anger and disbelief
The council is putting up charges by 5% in a bid to plug a £10m funding
The move, which comes in on April 1, has been met with dismay by Cynon Valley
Gerald Williams, who owns the Aberdare Party Supplies shop in the town centre,
described the car parking fees as "crippling" and accused the authority
of driving shoppers away.
He said: "When I set up shop in the town six years ago, my turnover was
£7,000 a week.
"That figure is now down to £1,000 because of the lack of shoppers
who are steering clear of the town because of the car parking problems. Can't
the authority understand that by hiking the car park charges they are forcing
businesses to shut up shop and then they will lose the money they get from
Another angry businesswoman is 29-year-old Leanne Lewis, the owner of a Mountain
Ash beauty salon, who claims shoppers are avoiding the area because of car
The owner of the Lipstick and Lashes beauty salon in Oxford Street said staff
and customers are being punished by the ever-increasing car parking charges.
She said: "I have three staff and if they have to use the town's short
stay car park, it will now cost them more than £12 a day.
"Why would customers pay hiked up car parking fees to pop into the town
for a quick shopping visit? The better alternative for them is to drive to
a superstore where parking is free."
John Drayton, the owner of the pet shop in Aberdare Market, said the council
are "killing the town. Not only have they put up the car parking charges,
but the lack of communication by the authority to market traders is also very
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said it "remains committed to protecting its
Transform Valleys' town centre into 'hubs of economic growth' says report
Rhondda Cynon Taf is set to ask for the next round of European funding to
be concentrated on transforming town centres into "hubs of economic growth".
But the authority is being urged to spend any cash secured wisely to ensure
the survival of town centres that "are up against the wall".
Judith Toms, of the RCT Chamber of Trade, said the plan "sounds brilliant
"But what will they do with the money when they have it in their pocket?"
"Speaking on behalf of chamber of trades, naturally we will hope they
will endeavour to get hold of whatever money is available. We would certainly
like to see much more interest in town centres which, quite frankly, are up
against the wall at the moment."
Rhondda Cynon Taf council has spent £7.7m on the regeneration of Aberdare
town centre, revamping roads, pavements, street furniture and historic buildings.
A similar £10.5m regeneration programme in Pontypridd is ongoing.
But Mrs Toms said any additional money should be spent wisely.
"We would like to see a bit more logic applied," she said.
"We have just had £7.7m spent on paving the streets in Aberdare.
"It's all very splendid, but people are not going to come into town to
gaze at streets. They want a full shopping experience."
But she said with a further two shops closing on top of the six that shut
down in the first two weeks of the year, more must be done.
"There are two archways to link the car parks that were put in as features
and have been left to decay," she added.
Mrs Toms also said RCT council should halt any further out-of-town developments
- like the recently approved £200m leisure and retail complex on the
outskirts of Talbot Green - and she is concerned by the wording in the authority's
report, which says "allocated strategic sites" as well as town centres
should be developed.
The report is the council's response to the Welsh Government consultation
on its strategies and priorities for future European Structural Funds Programmes
from 2014 to 2020.
It states the current convergence programme has provided West Wales and the
Valleys area with grant aid of approximately £1.7bn and that it is expected
the area will again qualify as a "less developed region", meaning
the highest level of support will be available.
The report, written by Peter Mortimer, regeneration resources manager, states:
"Regeneration of communities in Rhondda Cynon Taf, and throughout South
Wales, is increasingly revolving around the role and function of our town
Council is betraying residents
RHONDDA Cynon Taf council has been accused of betraying peoples
trust over its plans for fortnightly bin collections and a council tax hike
in a bid to plug its finances.
Last week, the councils cabinet announced its revenue budget strategy
for 2013/14 outlining how it proposes to close a £9.6m funding deficit.
It said while it would protect schools and planned to make £4m in efficiency
savings, another £5.6m needed to be found in the forthcoming year.
The strategy report said it would make savings by:
Charging residents for bulky refuse collection
Making black bag and bin collections fortnightly
Reviewing street cleansing and grass cutting
Increasing all fees and charges by 5% above inflation
Making a reduction in events and marketing budgets
Meanwhile, it proposed to increase council tax by 3.95% 55p a week
for those in Band A for the year ending 2013/14 and £2.4m of
earmarked reserves would provide transitional funding.
The councils cabinet said it was committed to saving jobs and better
service delivery but said it had to reduce its cost base with a projected
deficit of £28m over three years if the budget was not reduced.
It added that the proposals would mean it would remain financially sound
retaining a minimum of £10m in general fund balances.
But in consultation, responses revealed some people were sceptical over changes.
Addressing the saving made on charging for bulky refuse, one said: People
will dump waste and not pay.
Another added: Dont you think that if the council start charging
for bulky refuse collection, then more people will fly tip?
Meanwhile, when the budget report was discussed among councillors last Wednesday
at Clydach Vale, leader of the Plaid Cymru group Pauline Jarman accused Labour
of reneging on promises in the groups first budget since election.
She said: Who did those sums for you, George Osborne?
You pledged to keep weekly black bag and bin collections no matter
how harsh the cuts from the ConDem government.
You were categoric in your pledge to keep the weekly refuse collection
and maintain a zero charge for bulky waste collections and to protect and
keep the frequency of grass cutting, street cleaning and other environmental
Every one of these pledges will be broken by this budget.
Coun Jarman added the council tax was higher than that of the election year.
The obvious differences are the pre-election council tax increase was
2.49% compared to this years 3.95%, she said.
In election year, the Band D increase was 54p weekly, this year its
Likewise, Band A increase in election year was 35p weekly this
year, it is 55p weekly.
Labour have 60 members as compared to 15 on the opposition benches
so you dont need our help to get this budget through.
But you will be judged. The electorate of RCT supported you in May
2012 based on your manifesto pledges and you have betrayed their trust.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, cabinet member for frontline services said: As
a result of the cuts from Whitehall, the council was faced with a £10m
budget gap this year and we therefore have had to take many tough and unpalatable
The constitution of the council provides Coun Jarman with the opportunity
to come forward with her own alternatives.
She has not bothered to take this opportunity and instead prefers to
criticise from the sidelines.
The options being considered by cabinet to tackle the reductions in
funding that we face, have been debated by the cabinet fully over the last
three months in a number of public meetings.
Coun Jarman has failed to attend any of these meetings, where she could
have contributed and potentially have informed the decisions we have made.
Coun Jarman seems to wish to take the easy opposition tactic of disagreeing
with everything proposed but being unwilling or unable to produce options
of her own.
Delight at plans to cut speed to protect
CYNON Valley villagers are celebrating plans to reduce
the traffic speed limit on a road which runs past a primary school.
After months of discussion, RCT council and the Penderyn community, represented
by Penderyn Traffic Management Group, have come up with a plan to reduce the
speed of traffic travelling along the A4059 in Penderyn, particularly outside
the primary school.
Residents will be given the chance to air their views on the proposals, which
include a reduced speed limit, part-time 20mph zone, new traffic signs and
new street lighting in the village.
The decision came after a year- long battle which included a petition and
a protest march.
Campaigners believed the existing 40mph speed limit was unacceptably high
and posed significant risk to children and other residents. Concerns were
raised that Ysgol Penderyn was the only primary school in Wales on a 40mph
Coun Andrew Morgan, cabinet member for frontline services, said: "This
is an issue we have been working on for months, in partnership with the local
community, as we shared the concerns about the speed limit. Our road safety
and highways experts have worked extensively with Penderyn Traffic Group and
the local member, Coun Graham Thomas, to put in place a far-reaching proposal
that also includes signage, lighting and more."
It is hoped preparatory work will begin on March 18.
The council is proposing to amend the speed limit between Penderyn and the
A465 roundabout and improve signage to highlight the presence of the school.
The proposals will include the extension of the existing 30mph speed limit
throughout the village and a part-time 20mph limit operating during school
hours outside Penderyn Primary School.
There will also be a review of the existing national speed limit between the
southern end of the village and the A465 roundabout.
Bethan Winter of the Penderyn Traffic Management Group, said: "The traffic
management action group would like to extend a massive thank you to all those
that have supported the campaign."
Sharp drop in crime rates across region
COMMUNITIES across Rhondda Cynon Taff and Merthyr
have experienced a sharper drop in crime than any other South Wales region,
according to the latest report published by the Office for National Statistics.
Overall, crime decreased by 9.1%, which equates to
1,684 fewer incidents in the 12 months up to September 2012.
Categories of crime which fell include violent offences
such as robbery and assault, vehicle theft, fraud, and criminal damage which
is often caused by antisocial behaviour.
There were 29 fewer robberies, 266 fewer assaults,
87 fewer cars stolen, and 740 fewer incidents of criminal damage.
Police say the public can take positives from reported
increases in sexual offences as it reflects public confidence in the police
to deal with crimes, which often occur behind closed doors and go unreported
Drug trafficking also increased slightly, which was
seen as a reflection of a strong partnership between the police and
The only adverse increase was in the number of dwelling
Chief Superintendent Kevin ONeill, said: We
will never be complacent about low crime levels. We are well aware of the
increase in number of burglaries and are already responding to it.
For example, we are working with the Rhondda
Cynon Taff local authority to introduce cold calling exclusion zones for the
first time ever, in areas where distraction burglars and rogue traders have
People neednt be overly concerned about
this slight increase, as it is against a backdrop of year on year decreases.
Today, there is actually less chance of people
becoming the victim of a burglary or most other types of crime for
that matter than there has been for a generation.
It is vitally important though, that people take
simple crime prevention measures to avoid becoming part of that statistic.
The second biggest decrease was in criminal damage,
most often associated with anti-social behaviour.
A reduction of 17.7% reflects two fewer incidents every
According to Chief Superintendent Kevin ONeill,
this is a testament to the excellent work of the Community Safety Partnerships,
which take a holistic approach to the problem.
He said: There are a number of agencies making
up the partnerships which play a key role.
Antisocial behaviour units are on top of the
trouble makers in communities.
They know who they are, and are engaging with
them and where appropriate their parents to curb their delinquent
Our neighbourhood policing teams are now very
much part of the community. They are quickly made aware of incidents of vandalism,
and can refer matters straight away to relevant agency via the partnerships.
As a result, areas are cleared, or fixed quickly,
and this is proven to reduce the likelihood of subsequent attacks and further
We also help to design out crime, advising private
industries and the public sector about things like CCTV, and using fortressing
materials which are less susceptible to attack or permanent damage, in any
Cash boost for netball team
A VALLEYS netball team has been given a huge financial boost thanks to a community
The Co-operative supermarket, which has branches throughout RCT, has donated
£640 to the Glamorgan Valley Netball Association to pay for umpiring,
coaching and new equipment.
The group received the cash boost from The Co-operative's Community Fund,
a pot of money accumulated by customers opting to donate all or part of their
annual dividend to good causes in the area.
The money is distributed by The Co-operative's local area committees.
Jean Foster, from Glamorgan Valley Netball Association, said: "Funding
is becoming ever harder to secure, therefore we were delighted to hear that
we were successful in securing this grant from The Co-operative.
"The cash will make a huge difference to our group, and it means all
the more knowing that the money has been donated by local people."
Brian Rees, Chair of The Co-operative's South Wales Area Committee, said:
"Supporting local communities has been an inherent part of The Co-operative's
values and principles since the very beginning of the Co-operative Movement.
"We are particularly proud of the Community Fund, as it demonstrates
how the generosity of our members can make a real difference in their local
area, and now we have stores and branches in every postal area of the UK it
makes it all the more relevant."
Co-operative members receive a payment twice a year based on the points they
earn when they trade at any of the Group's businesses, including The Co-operative
Food, Travel, Pharmacy and Funeralcare, as well as The Co-operative Bank,
Smile and The Co-operative Insurance.
Mayor's Charity Golf Day
Location Aberdare Golf Club
Date(s) Friday 19th April 2013
For more information and to book contact 01443 424123
Times: 10am til 5pm
Following the success of the past few years, Mayor Cllr Doug Williams has
once again teamed up with Aberdare Golf Course to offer a day of golfing,
competition, fun - and charity fundraising.
The day will once again be in aid of the Mayor's Charity Appeal, which this
year supports, Cystic Fibrosis Trust,
Prostate Cymru and Cardiac Rick in the Young.
Format for the day:
· Pairs competitions best stableford score to count on each hole
· Refreshments at the half way house
· Two course meal following the round of golf
· Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd pairs
· Additional prizes for the longest drive and nearest pin
· Full handicap will apply (maximum shot allowance 21)
· Presentation 6.30pm
· Tee off times to be confirmed
The cost for the day is £80 per pair and includes all of the above.