Thursday, 30 November 2017

Choirs in Torfaen

Join a choir in Torfaen.

Torfaen is well blessed with choirs - no matter where you live in the borough you won't be far from one, trust me! If you are interested in joining, or even just listening, to a choir, check out the options below.

 Cwmbran Male Voice Choir.
 Garndiffaith Gleemen.
Pontnewydd Male Choir.

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Out and About in Torfaen

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Cwmbran Male Voice Choir

Cwmbran Male Voice Choir

Founded in 1964, Cwmbran Male Voice is probably the Torfaen choir I'm most familiar with. My granddad, Ralph Powell, has sung with them for many years so we've been to watch them on a fairly regular basis!

Cwmbran MVC has about 40 members who practice at 7:30pm on Monday and Thursday evenings at the Salvation Army citadel in Old Cwmbran. Find out more about the choir on Facebook and Twitter. Their website,, seems to be down at the moment.

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Join a choir in Torfaen.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Garndiffaith Gleemen

We've been to see the Garndiffaith Gleemen a few times this year, and we always really enjoy their programme. They tend to be a little more adventurous with the material they choose than a lot of male voice choirs in the area!

The choir was founded in 1948 by Horace Carter with the aim of competing at the national Eisteddfod. Over the years the choir has performed at all kinds of events, across Europe and beyond. Today they have a busy schedule of events and concerts, and an annual showcase held at the Garndiffaith Millennium Hall.

Garndiffaith Gleemen
Garndiffaith Gleemen at their 2017 Remembrance Concert - this picture comes from Cllr Giles Davies' blog post about the evening, check it out HERE.

The Gleemen practice on Mondays and Thursdays, 7 - 9pm, at the Zion Hill Community Centre in Pontnewynydd. If you're interested in having a go, you're welcome to just pop along! Find out more about the choir at their website,

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Join a choir in Torfaen.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Glow Tanning and Aesthetics

I was really pleased today to officially open the new Glow Tanning and Aesthetics salon in Oakfield. It's the brainchild of best friends Heidi Perchard and Lisa Williams.

There was a really good turn out for the opening, with a crowd of around 50 people! Marianna, of course, had to help me cut the ribbon. We couldn't stay long as we had to go on to another event, but I wish them both the best of luck with their new business!

The videos come from the Cwmbran Life blog - check out their post on the opening HERE.

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15 Seconds of Fame - find me in the press

Friday, 17 November 2017

Red Cross First Call

Red Cross First Call Launch

I attended the official launch of First Call last week, a new service from the Red Cross which supports vulnerable people in the community. At the last minute I was asked to make a speech as the Welsh Government rep couldn't make it, so I was given a short statement and told I could add whatever I wanted to the end.

The presentations were about how recipients of the service had gone on to become volunteers themselves, so I spoke a little about my own experience of depression and anxiety and how volunteering helped transform me from a shut in who life was passing by to somebody who was able to get up in the Chains and give a speech to a room full of strangers.

First Call is a fabulous service, and the launch will always be a special memory to me for having the scope to make that little speech and talk to people afterwards about the kind of difference such support can make.

There was quite a bit of media coverage for the launch - I even managed to get on ITV Wales evening news talking about it for around 4 seconds! Our local paper, the South Wales Argus, covered the event on November 17th:

A support service has been launched to help vulnerable people regain their independence. The British Red Cross service First Call, support at home has been launched in Torfaen, and is one of 12 places in the UK where the service is available and is the only one in Wales. 

Funded by international social innovation charity Nesta and the Big Lottery Fund, the service has staff and volunteers offering a free telephone support and signposting, but that initial contact can lead to continuing support including home visits, shopping, light housework, prescription collection and referral to other services. A number of these supports are not available free of charge to people who do not qualify for a package of care. This can lead people to experience delayed discharges from hospital especially when people don’t have family and friends to support them. 

The service was launched at an event at Llanyrafon Manor in Cwmbran and was supported by Torfaen mayor Cllr Jessica Powell. 

British Red Cross business partnerships and development manager for Wales Lisa Kenny said: “Torfaen’s First Call service is one of a number of First Call projects being developed across the UK, but the only one in Wales. It will look to help all people but particularly those living in Blaenavon, those with sensory and physical impairment and those with chaotic lifestyles, to help them tackle the difficulties that might prevent them from living independent, safe and full lives at home. People can self-refer or be referred by other organisations and health and social care professionals.” 

Lisa Kenny of the British Red Cross

Torfaen Mayor Cllr Jessica Powell, added: “It’s great to see another fantastic example of the Third Sector supporting people within the communities of Torfaen. The Red Cross’ First Call service will help to improve the well-being of vulnerable people at a time of crisis in their lives. First Call joins a number of other complementary support services run from the Red Cross’ office in Cwmbran.” 

 For more information about First Call, Support at Home, call 01633 833820 or email

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15 Seconds of Fame - find me in the press

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