Monmouthshire Housing Association kicks off summer events

Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) is kicking off its Family Fest next week (29th July) with a range of fun activities for families and children in Monmouthshire throughout the school holidays.

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Beacon travel: Winter sports

John Carter, long time presenter of TV’s ‘Wish You Were Here’ programme and seasoned globetrotter, reignites his flirtation with the many delights of winter sports.


Back when I bore a lighter burden of years, and had time to spare, I became interested in winter sports.    It was a brief flirtation, mainly because I could not see the point of queuing to be carried to the top of a mountain in order to slide down it, only to join another queue to be carried up again.   The fact that I fell over a lot and was outclassed by pupils from the kindergarten may also have had something to do with my disenchantment.

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Hollyoaks Actors Back Exam Results Helpline

The Exam Results Helpline is being backed this year by leading Hollyoaks actors Jazmine Franks (Esther Bloom) and Alfie Browne-Sykes (Jason Roscoe). The helpline, funded by the Department for Education, handles thousands of calls every year from students all around the country and is seen as a lifeline to those who don’t know where to turn once they have got their exam results.

Hollyoaks' Jazmine and Alfie backing the UCAS helpline

Hollyoaks’ Jazmine and Alfie backing the UCAS helpline

Alfie Browne-Sykes who plays Jason Roscoe in Hollyoaks said: “Playing Jason, who has just taken his A-Levels on Hollyoaks, reminds me how stressful it can be during the exam period! It’s so important that students don’t feel alone once they get their results and the helpline provides support to those who need it. It’s not all about University either, if like me callers don’t want to go into Higher Education, the advisers can provide information on other options including careers, gap years and vocational learning.”

The Exam Results Helpline number 0808 100 8000 is a free telephone helpline staffed by independent and highly experienced careers advisers. For the first time this year Careers Advisers will also be proving help and guidance on Facebook and Twitter.

Students across the UK who have received their exam results (A levels, GCSEs and equivalent qualifications) can call in to talk through their options and to get advice about their future learning and career options.

Jazmine Franks who plays Esther Bloom in Hollyoaks said: “I am really pleased to be able to represent the Exam Results Helpline. I remember what it’s like to get A level results and the various emotions and pressures that come with results day.”


“It would have really benefitted me to know there was a helpline available in case I didn’t get the results I needed for university and so raising awareness of the helpline among students is something I’m very pleased to be a part of.” To see Jazmine talking about the Exam Results Helpline click here.

The Helpline is open throughout the exam results period, this year running between Thursday 14th and Saturday 23rd August for students receiving exam results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland*.

The busiest time is always A-level results day, which is Thursday 14 August this year.  Last year, the helpline received over 6,000 calls.

If a student is reconsidering their options based on results they have or have not achieved, they should contact the Exam Results Helpline on 0808 100 8000 from 14th August.

If a student has a specific query about their university application, they should contact the UCAS Contact Centre on 0871 468 0 468.

For further information, visit

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Betty, 99, a silver surfer thanks to Melin Homes

A  Monmouthshire pensioner  has become a silver surfer at the age of 99 thanks to the digital inclusion work of a housing provider.

Betty Jones, a Melin Homes resident in Victoria Court Abergavenny, now uses her tablet to view the world via Google Earth, years after travelling the world in her younger days.

Betty benefitted from a new project at Victoria Court that will be rolled out to other sheltered schemes belonging to Melin.

silver surfer web


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Butterfly Maps exhibition by Jessica Gadsby at Taurus Crafts

The Butterfly Maps exhibition at Taurus Crafts, this summer, is an exploration and re-imagining of places familiar and loved by the artist. Using maps of those areas, and butterfly species found there, Jessica recreates abstracts that are intriguing and inviting. Bristol born artist, Jessica, was raised in the Forest of Dean and has a special attachment to the area. Her love of walking and travelling and of the natural world heavily influences her work. 


Symonds Yat

Symonds Yat

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Caldicot Library event to mark Britain’s entry into First World War

Caldicot Library is to host a free community event on Monday 4th August to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War

Readings will breathe life into feelings of the general public at the time, while local musicians The Banned will present songs that became popular during the conflict.  Resident historian Peter Strong will perform MC duties and those attending will be encouraged to enter into the communal atmosphere.

The Friends of Caldicot Library have been instrumental in organising this event, the first in a series the library will hold to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Tickets may be collected from Caldicot Library for the event which starts at 7.30pm.

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Monmouthshire 9-year-old wows judges at CPRW poetry competition


Environmental charities Keep Wales Tidy and Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW) have recently teamed up to run a poetry and art competition for children from Eco-Schools in Monmouthshire.

The title was ‘The Monmouthshire that I’d like to live in when I grow up’ and entrants were encouraged to consider how the environment might change and what aspects of it were important to them to protect or improve.

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Keep an eye on older friends and family during heatwave, charity warns

As Public Health England release a weather warning to expect extreme prolonged temperature across the country, older people’s charity Royal Voluntary Service, formerly known as WRVS, is calling on the public to make sure their older friends and family have everything they need to stay safe during the heatwave.

Through the heatwave, Royal Voluntary Service volunteers will continue to work hard to make sure older people receive the support they need to stay happy and healthy.

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Date set for Monmouth Literary Festival 2015

A date has been set for the second annual Monmouth Literary Festival.
The inaugral event, organised by pupils of Monmouth’s three secondary schools, took place last month and featured appearances by authors and poets including CJ Daugherty and Philip Wells.
The week-long festival’s success has led organisers to start planning 2015’s event, which will take place from 22nd to 26th June.
The theme for 2014 was poetry to celebrate the centenary of Dylan Thomas. As part of the celebrations, pupils from the three secondary schools and the area’s primary schools came together to write their own poems.
N LF authoress Kath

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British Red Cross wants volunteers to digitise First World War records

Nursing, driving ambulances and collecting funds were only some of the ways in which voluntary aid detachments (VADs) helped to care for the sick and wounded during the First World War.


100 years later, the British Red Cross is looking for new volunteers across the country to transcribe a unique record of their service – a collection of 244,000 VAD personnel index cards.


These cards, which include VAD’s names and details such as where they worked and what tasks they did, provide an irreplaceable source of historical information about the contributions made by civilians during the First World War.

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