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Neath

Housing association Tai Tarian to permanently close Neath and Port Talbot town centre offices

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Social housing provider Tai Tarian have announced that they will be permanently closing their offices on at Windsor Road Neath and Forge Road Port Talbot.

The organisation say the closures are due to their tenants engaging with them differently following the pandemic. They say tenants no longer rely on its office kiosks to make cash payments, and instead they’ve switched to direct debit, online, telephone or PayPoint facilities at post offices and shops within their communities.

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Universal Credit has also led to more of tenants being online to access these payments, paying bills, accessing bank accounts and shopping online too.

Tai Tarian say there has been an explosion in online use even in communities that didn’t wish to do things digitally pre pandemic, so the need for the in town offices has reduced dramatically.

Gemma Fouracre, Tai Tarian’s Head of Property and Land Services said: “The pandemic has allowed us to re-evaluate what our tenants need and how we can deliver services differently.

“Going forward, we will develop a new digital strategy where we will engage with tenants to help support them to interact with us online, making it easier for them to access the internet and do things digitally.

“The rollout of customer services webchat toward the end of this year will also give people another way to communicate with us, along with the development of self-help information on our website.

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“The Sustainable Communities aspect of our corporate plan will see us being even more involved in our communities, taking our services to our tenants instead of expecting them to come to us, which for those in valley areas has always been challenging.

“Holding community events within our towns and villages will help us build relationships with a large proportion of tenants right across the borough and we look forward to embracing this new way of working.”

(Lead image: Tai Tarian)

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Education

Neath Abbey Welsh medium primary school given go-ahead

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Neath Port Talbot Council’s new Rainbow Coalition Cabinet has agreed to move forward with plans to open Neath Port Talbot’s first ever Welsh medium primary “starter school” at Neath Abbey.

The new Welsh medium starter school in premises previously occupied by Abbey Primary School at St John’s Terrace, Neath Abbey, could welcome its first pupils next January if fully approved.

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Part of the council’s strategy to increase Welsh medium education across the county borough, the Cabinet agreed to move the starter school plan to its next stage – publication of a statutory proposal to establish the new school.

The starter school model is used when establishing a new school, gradually allowing the facilities and staff to be used efficiently while the school grows to its full potential.

Under the plans, £200,000 would be set aside for refurbishments and improvements including the provision of learning walls and digital equipment ensuring the school can deliver the new curriculum.

Cllr Nia Jenkins, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Training, said: “This council has a ten year target to increase the number of Year 1 children taught through the medium of Welsh from 16.8% in 2020/21 to 31% (460 pupils) by 2032 and this proposed new school will help reach that target.

“It also complements the national vision for the Welsh language, to have a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”

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(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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Neath

Body found in search for missing Neath man

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A body has been found in the search for missing man Mathew Scott who was last seen on Saturday 4th June in Neath.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Owens from South Wales Police said: “Officers, following up on information sent into us by members of the public, forced entry to an address in Windsor Road, Neath, yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 28th June) and found a body inside.

“Formal identification has taken place and Mathew’s family have been informed.

“Detectives are continuing enquiries to ascertain the full circumstances behind his death. A 44 year old man from Neath is assisting officers with their investigation.

“I’d like to thank everyone who shared our appeal and provided us with valuable information.”

(Lead image: South Wales Police)

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Education

Plans for Neath Port Talbot’s first Welsh medium primary ‘starter school’ to be discussed by new council cabinet

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Plans for Neath Port Talbot’s first ever Welsh medium primary “starter school” at Neath Abbey are to be discussed by the Council’s new Rainbow Coalition Cabinet, who will meet for the first time this week.

The new school is part of the council’s strategy to increase Welsh medium education across the county borough.

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At the meeting on Wednesday (29 June) the Cabinet will be asked to approve moving to the next stage in the council’s plans to establish the new Welsh Medium Starter School in premises previously occupied by Abbey Primary School at St John’s Terrace, Neath Abbey.

If fully approved, the first pupils could move in next year.

The starter school model is used when establishing a new school, gradually allowing the facilities and staff to be used efficiently while the school grows to its full potential.

A consultation exercise regarding the school has already taken place with most people broadly in favour but with some concerns aired over traffic and the age of the school building.

Under the plans, £200,000 would be set aside for refurbishments and improvements including the provision of learning walls and digital equipment ensuring the school can deliver the new curriculum.

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Traffic would be monitored around the site and the school will not be fully occupied on opening but will grow year on year. Full occupancy is not expected until 2029.

Neath Port Talbot’s new rainbow coalition cabinet (Image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

This will be the first cabinet meeting of Neath Port Talbot’s new Plaid-Independent led Council, after the Independent, Plaid Cymru and Dyffryn Independent groups made an agreement to share power.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats and Green Party members will support the coalition via a confidence and supply agreement.

(Lead image: Neath Port Talbot Council)

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