Armed Forces Day

Today was the armed forces day celebrations of Cwmbran Community Council,  I attended in a dual capacity as both Mayors consort and as a community councillor.

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Cllr Alan Jones (TCBC), Cllr Stuart Ashley (TCBC CCC), Cllr Anthony Bird (CCC), Her Worship The Mayor of Torfaen Jessica Powell (TCBC) and The Mini Mayor Of Torfaen Marianna Bird

It was a lovely service and a beautiful day, and thankfully it was over pretty quickly, because the sun was really beating down fiercely, and wearing a suit and the chains of office was a little too much.

It certainly was the perfect day to pay tribute to the men and women who make up our armed forces and as always the Salvation Army band and the reverend leading the service were both superb and it was nice to see children from the local schools not just in attendance but leading the national anthems. Cwmbran Community Council always puts on a good event (I’m not just saying that as a member of Cwmbran Community Council) and the council’s officers had done an amazing job organising this flag raising ceremony, it was also a pleasure to see so many councillors both from Cwmbran Community Council and from Torfaen County Borough Council.  And as always I consider it a privilege to attend as the representative for Northville.

The Big Event

Today was the day of Cwmbran’s Big Event, hosted by Cwmbran Community Council (for which I am a councillor) and Torfaen County Borough Council (for which I am the Mayor’s official consort). The event itself showcases the best of Cwmbran, from entertainment and music, to fun and games, and highlights the works of local businesses, charities, community groups and even the council itself. I was there in both capacities as Mayors consort and as a community councillor. It was very nice to get to see the good work that is going on in Cwmbran.

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Marianna And I outside the Mon and Brec Canal tent

Marianna went down a storm especially as she had her own Mayoral chain, she enjoyed herself, except being somewhat frightened, and by somewhat frightened I mean pants wettingly terrified, of the Torfaen Play mascot TJ Bear. We then moved over to watch the finals of the raft race on the lake where Marianna and her mother got hand out the trophy to the winning team the Parkrun Pirates.

Also, and possibly best of all I picked up enough free pens to last me a year, and I get through a lot of pens, seriously a lot of pens.

AGM

Today was the annual general meeting of Cwmbran Community Council, its the first major meeting since the election, it sees nominations to offices within the council as well as appointments to committees and outside bodies.

It was a fairly long meeting which has left me sorely in need of my bed, however during said meeting I was appointed to three council committees; The Events and Community Projects Committee; The Grants Committee and The Policy And Finance Committee. I was also selected as Vice Chair of the Policy and Finance Committee. As well as this I also found myself appointed to the board of directors of the congress theatre in Cwmbran, which should hopefully be good fun.

Lifting The Veil On Politics: Town and Community Councils

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I was recently asked to consider standing in the upcoming election for my local community council (Cwmbran Community Council) and it really hit me, that I have absolutely no idea what it is that community councils do, so a little research later, here we are.

Community and town councils can make a significant contribution to the
localities that they serve. Community councils can provide facilities and support initiatives to respond to local needs, can organise and promote community events and can advocate and represent community interests. They work well within the structures of existing borough councils because due to their large nature, borough councils would have to take to broad a view in their decisions, whereas community councils have that local knowledge to know what needs to be done.

Community and town councils provide amenities that directly enhance the quality of life and visual appearance of Welsh communities – from floral displays to bus shelters and
Christmas lights. They played the leading role in organizing events to mark the Millennium and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and are a vital source of funding for local community groups, sports clubs and charities, investing around £1 million in the
voluntary sector across Wales each year. A former colleague of mine who serves on a community council in The Vale of Glamorgan once described community councillors as the lords of small matters, because they were often dealing with things such as where to put litter bins, getting street signs moved, having bus stops cleaned and deciding how much money should go to the grandmothers choir and baroque ensemble. It does sound trivial, but you would soon notice if public bins were overflowing, streetlights weren’t working and bus stops smelled like urine.

Possibly the most important thing they do (at least from my point of view) is organise community events, anything from local village fairs and choir battles, to school plays, family fun days, outdoor cinemas and full on music festivals, community councils are the backbone for these events, the councillors and officers are the ones that give the funding and put in the hours to make sure their community is a better place live, work and play.