Health Rhondda Cynon Taf

Sexual health home tests prove valuable tool during lockdown

People in Cwm Taf Morgannwg are now able to order sexual health testing kits online and carry out the tests in the privacy of their own home.

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The health board’s sexual health team has joined forces with Frisky Wales, a service run by Public Health Wales, to ensure people can get tested for sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia, gonorrhoea and hepatitis if they feel they are at risk.

The service was trialled across Wales before the coronavirus pandemic and has been seen as an invaluable tool during lockdown, with usual walk-in clinics closed. Two types of test are available – one for chlamydia and gonorrhoea and another for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B and C – to anyone who would like a ‘peace of mind’ test. People showing symptoms should still ring the sexual health clinic’s triage line.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB Clinical Nurse Specialist Louise Quealey said:

“The scheme was piloted pre-Covid. We were always due to come on board and Covid has given it a nudge forward. The website asks a number of questions and has safeguarding measures in place to make sure the right people can access the service. We also give out free condoms.

“This is a good service that our team has been very keen to see arrive. I think Public Health Wales has done a fabulous thing, as routine tests were high in demand before Covid. By reducing this demand, we can allow more time to focus on patients with more complex sexual health needs”.

Before Covid, up to 25 to 35 people per session were accessing the walk-in sexual health clinics at Dewi Sant Hospital, Pontypirdd and their community outreach clinics – with Dewi Sant Hospital providing up to three sessions per day. Since the pandemic, staff have been available over the phone for people who need contraception and there’s also a triage number for members of the public with concerns.

“If someone is anxious, we refer them for a test,” said Louise. “They get a text if the result is negative and, if it’s positive, we ring the person and arrange for them to come in. Initially, for the first two weeks of lockdown, people were panicky about not being able to access the service, but they understood and there was a lull. Now it’s starting to pick up again as people are meeting up.

To request a test or get advice on infections, contraception or unplanned pregnancy, visit

News Rhondda Cynon Taf

Mountain Ash pupil receives Diana Award

Mountain Ash Comprehensive School year 10 pupil Alysa Neads has recieved a Diana Award for her social action work undertaken in Penrhiwceiber.

Alyssa Neads Diana Award
Pictured: Alysa at a local supermarket raising money for Lee Gardens Pool, last year.

The Diana Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.

15-year-old Alysa is among 8 winners in Wales and 184 internationally. She’s also this year’s youngest winner here in Wales.

The pupil raised over £3,000 for Lee Gardens Pool in Penrhiwceiber through the First Give programme, which encourages young people to tackle social issues in their communities, during curriculum time.

The school’s work in partnership with First Give has also seen pupils win awards on a Welsh and UK wide level.

Last summer, in their Religious Studies lessons, Alysa, Madison Cornish, Carys Simpson and Teigan Maund decided upon the Lee Gardens Pool as their chosen charity. They undertook ninety-seven hours of social action, raising the profile of the charity. The pupils organised twelve events in the local community, which raised £2,058. They also went on to win the school First Give final, gaining a further £1,000 for the Lee Gardens Pool through a First Give grant. In total, the pupils awarded £3,058 to the Lee Gardens Pool.

On Twitter, Mr David Church, Religious Studies teacher at Mountain Ash Comprehensive said it gave him “great pride” to announce Alyssa had won the Diana Award.

Rhondda Cynon Taf School

Schools reopen in Wales

From today, schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf & Wales will be accessible for all children of statutory school age to have time with their teachers before the summer break – after they closed for mainstream education during March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Aberdare Community School
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council says ‘important work’ has been ongoing across schools, to ensure pupils and staff can return while adhering to social distancing as far as possible.
As a result, school life will be a little different from today – with pupils taught in smaller groups and up to a third of pupils attending school at any one time. Buildings will have signs and markings to ensure compliance with social distancing measures, such as one-way systems in corridors and waiting points outside classrooms and toilets. Classrooms will have fewer seats and desks to create greater scope for social distancing, and transparent screens will be provided for one-to-one tuition.
Strict hygiene measures and rigorous cleaning routines will be adhered to and dedicated pedal bins provided to safely dispose of waste. Opportunities for social interaction will be minimised and learners will be kept in small discrete groups where possible. Schools will have safe processes and procedures for morning and afternoon ‘drop-off’ and ‘pick-up’ times to ensure there are no large gatherings outside schools.
All pupils must take in a packed lunch and should also have a re-fillable water bottle. Pupils who are eligible for ‘Free School Meals’ will be provided with a packed lunch.
The Education Directorate has also confirmed emergency childcare arrangements for this period, with provision available across all school settings to successful applicants. Further details are available at
Pictured: Aberdare Community School
Rhondda Cynon Taf

Nos Galan Races wins award

The world-famous Nos Galan Road Races are officially the best 5K race in Wales once again, having been crowned the regional winner at the 2020 UK Running Awards.

Nos Galan
Nigel Owens MBE (left) & Guto Nyth Bran (right) Credit: Mountain Ash Studio & Nos Galan Road Races

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s flagship race event, held in Mountain Ash each New Year’s Eve, has now been shortlisted in the finals of the UK Running Awards in the 5K race category, up against some of the finest athletics events in the country.

The Nos Galan Road Races, which began back in 1958, is organised in conjunction with the Nos Galan Committee and the event attracts thousands of competitors and spectators to Rhondda Cynon Taf each year.

Councillor Ann Crimmings, Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Heritage Services and also Chair of the Nos Galan Committee, is urging the public to get behind the Nos Galan Road Races nomination.

Councillor Crimmings said: “It is brilliant news that our annual New Year’s Eve event in Mountain Ash is once again getting national recognition having once again been crowned a regional winner at the prestigious UK Running Awards.

“These awards celebrate the cream of the entire running industry in the UK – to even be nominated at such a prestigious awards ceremony is a huge achievement – but to win a regional award once again is true testimony to the success of the Nos Galan Road Races.

“Each year we get overwhelming support from the public, who turn out in their thousands on the night to support us. Race places are also quickly claimed months ahead of the event.

“The Races have brought so much pleasure to so many people for over 60 years and now is your chance to say thank you and give something back. All it takes is one simple vote that will cost you absolutely nothing apart from just a few minutes of your time.”

The UK Running Awards is an annual ceremony celebrating the best of running and its culture around the country – from best fun runs and running events and marathons to best running shoes and the most innovative running apps.

The Nos Galan Road Races celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018 and attracts a record number of entrants each year, with race places snapped up months in advance of race night.

From young children to elite runners and fun runners, the Nos Galan Road Races are a part of our heritage and history, attracting competitors from all around the world.

The 2019 Nos Galan Mystery Runner, representing the memory of legendary Welsh athlete Guto Nyth Bran, was international rugby union referee Nigel Owens MBE.

The Council and Nos Galan Committee are continuing to monitor developments in line with the national guidance regarding coronavirus and will communicate any updates regarding the 2020 event at a later date.

You can vote for the Nos Galan Road Races to be crowned the best 5K race in the UK:

Pictures: Wayne Hankins/Mountain Ash Studio

Coronavirus Politics Rhondda Cynon Taf

‘Stay at Home’ message remains in Wales – First Minister confirms

First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford MS says the message here in Wales remains the same, ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.’

It comes as the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official Twitter page suggests the UK Government’s advice to people living in England is set to change to ‘Stay Alert, Control the Virus, Save Lives.’

In a Tweet this morning, Mark Drakeford MS said,

“My message to the people of Wales hasn’t changed.

“Staying at home is the best way you can protect yourself and others.

“If you do need to leave the house for essential purposes, including exercise, it is vital that you keep 2 metres apart from others.”

Tonight, (May 10) following the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement at 7pm on BBC One Wales, a special BBC Wales Today immediately follows looking at what’s relevant to Wales and what’s not, the director of BBC Wales, Rhodri Talfan Davies, confirmed via Twitter on Thursday (May 7).

First Minister Covid-19
Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford MS
Rhondda Cynon Taf

3 cars damaged at hospital car park

Three cars were damaged last night (1st May) at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon (Cynon Valley Hospital) in Mountain Ash.

The hospital, on Facebook, has asked if anyone has information please let them or South Wales Police know.

A spokesperson for Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board added, “This is a very difficult time for our staff and this incident is very upsetting.”

“A senseless crime” is how Tracy Davies, a member of staff at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, has described the incident. She said nothing was taken from inside the cars but the hospital does have CCTV in the car park.


South Wales Police were quick to respond on social media,

“Three cars parked at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon (Cynon Valley Hospital) were damaged sometime between 7pm on Friday (1 May) and 7.30am on Saturday (2 May). Patrols have been stepped up at the hospital and an investigation is underway to identify who was responsible.

“Local Policing Inspector Simon Merrick, said: “When our health workers go to work, risking themselves to help and save others, somebody out there thinks it’s okay to target their cars. It is despicable and we’re determined to find who’s responsible – I’m sure with the community’s help we can.

“Anybody who has information is urged to contact 101 quoting reference *149910.

“Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers anonymously o 0800 555 111.”


Cynon Valley Assembly Member, Vikki Howells AM has told Cynon Valley News,

“It beggars belief that anyone would think of vandalising cars in a hospital car park in normal times, but during the Covid crisis, when hospital staff are working tirelessly to save lives and provide the best possible care, putting themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of the community, this behaviour is utterly despicable.

“I have contacted Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board to seek an urgent upgrade of security at the site, and would like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to those who have been affected by these mindless actions.”

Navigation security services are providing free mobile patrols throughout the night at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, to help stop vandalism on staff vehicles, a spokesperson for the company has confirmed to Cynon Valley News.


Rhondda Cynon Taf


Cynon Valley politicians and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council have responded to recent suspected deliberate grass & refuse fires across the valley.

Some of those fires have required the attendance of multiple appliances from South Wales Fire & Rescue Service along with the use of critical equipment and movement of resources.

Cynon Valley Assembly Member, Vikki Howells AM said on Twitter, “Our fire service are poised and ready to help with the community response to the global Covid pandemic yet instead they are having to tackle deliberate grass fires. Setting these is disgusting behaviour and those responsible should be ashamed.”

Whilst Beth Winter MP said, “Our emergency services are under extreme strain at this moment, helping to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. And now South Wales Fire and Rescue Service are having to deal with this. This is not acceptable.”

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said, “Deliberate fires like this put fire fighters lives in danger, pose risk to the community and can cause significant damage to property and the environment.

“It is important for to reinforce that, due to the coronavirus, the current situation affecting everyone is unprecedented.

“We would urge anyone who has information on suspected deliberate fires, or who sees anything suspicious to contact 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

“If you see a fire, or anyone starting a fire, please call 999 immediately.

“Please follow Government and Health Services advice about social distancing – please if you can stay home.” – RCT Council.

Image may contain: one or more people, fire and outdoor, possible text that says 'Grass Fires CVN TANFIRE'

Rhondda Cynon Taf


It’s Cynon Valley News’ second birthday this week.

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Thank you all so very much for the support, the viewing & most importantly your trust over the last two years. It’s been a privilege to bring you the news.

#CVN #WithBradWilliams

Rhondda Cynon Taf Storm Ciara


UPDATED: 19:30 08/2/20

Yellow Met Office weather warning for wind covers the Cynon Valley from 00:00-23:59 9/2/20.

Yellow Met Office weather warning for rain covers the Cynon Valley from 00:00-18:00 9/2/20.

Amber Met Office weather warning for wind covers the Cynon Valley from 08:00-21:00 9/2/20.

  • No trains will serve the Cynon Valley on Sunday 9th Feburary.
  • All RCT Council sports pitches/3Gs will be closed.
  • Public advised to stay away from all parks and wooded areas.
  • Council will deal with all Out of Hours emergencies that are reported (fallen trees etc). Non-emergencies will be dealt with on Monday (February 10).

You can follow the very latest on this page and on CVN’s Facebook & Twitter pages.

Storm Ciara

News Rhondda Cynon Taf

Popular pub broken into overnight

Police are investigating the break in at the Tynte Hotel, near Ynysboeth.

The owner of the pub has taken to social media, airing her upset & anger. Melissa Richards said, “Not exactly how I planned to feel landing in Amsterdam, having a phone call to tell me that the pub has been broken into has literally broke my heart!”

She added police are investigating and is urging anyone who may have witnessed anything sinister in the area to get in touch.

Melissa is asking anyone with CCTV in the area to also contact her.

tynte hotel
The Tynte Hotel. Picture: Google