With voluntary quarantine and self-isolation looking likely, and not everyone having family nearby, Montgomery’s County Councillor, Stephen Hayes, with support from Town Councillors and a growing band of volunteers, is mobilising Montgomery Neighbourhood Angels as a community response to the situation. Streets or areas of Montgomery, Hendomen and Caerhowel will have a volunteer ‘neighbourhood angel’, backed up by reserves, coordination and external support. Anyone self-isolating will have the reassurance of knowing that someone is available by phone or email who can, if need be, act as a link with the outside world. Cllr Hayes said, “People of all ages will find themselves isolating in the coming weeks. We want to make sure that everyone has the reassurance that someone is looking out for them, and can connect them with appropriate assistance if needed.” Volunteer neighbourhood angels will keep a note of those in isolation in their allocated ‘beat’ (which could be a street, part-street, or an outlying area of town), and make occasional ‘how are you’ phone calls to check all is well. If there are local needs to be met such as shopping or collecting prescriptions, the angels will liaise with other volunteers taking on these tasks. A simple protocol will be provided for how to fulfil the role safely and how not to put volunteers or anyone else at risk, and volunteers will not enter people’s homes. If there are other needs going unmet, the group will source the appropriate advice or help, and check that it has been received. Angels will shortly begin to deliver to each house in their ‘beat’ a card with contact details and information; these will also be published in the Crier newsletter at the start of April. Montgomery Mayor Cllr Haydn Andrew said, “We know this crisis is a worry for many local people but we also know that our community-minded Montgomery residents want to help others, so this scheme will give people confidence that the help on offer is genuine, local and safe.”
Staff working at the famous Bunners shop in Arthur Street, Montgomery have taken up the “Walk All Over Cancer” challenge and will each aim to complete 10,000 steps a day throughout the month of March, to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. With 10,000 steps averaging 5 miles, each member of staff will have clocked up 155 miles over the month, and there is already a bit of competition hotting up between them! Ann at Bunners said, “Most of us are not finding it too difficult when we are working in the shop - as we are up and down the steps and in and out of the different shop areas, helping customers all day long - but our days off, and especially Sundays, are going to be a real challenge for some of us.” Supporters can donate in the shop, or by sponsoring individual members of staff. Ann said, “People have already been very generous for this worthy cause, and all contributions are welcome.” To donate, pop into the shop, contact a member of staff, or call Bunners store on 01686 668308. The team’s fundraising page link is https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/anns-walk-all-over-cancer-fundraising-page-9 and they can be found on Facebook at fb.me/BunnersMontgomery
On World Book Day, Thursday 5th March, children in Montgomery were delighted to discover gifted books hidden around the town to celebrate the day. The books were hidden by a Montgomery family and each included a note to let the finder know they could take the book home to read and enjoy. The books were hidden by young cousins Megan, Harry and Sam. Megan, age 10, said, “We enjoyed hiding the books and hearing about them being found. We thought that it would be a nice surprise to share our love of reading for World Book Day.” Many of the finders were in fancy dress as the children became aliens and other book characters for the day. Montgomery School children all dressed as aliens, with their theme for the day being the Julia Donaldson book ‘The Smeds and the Smoos’, chosen by teacher Mrs Regan. Foundation Phase researchers found words from the text and wrote in rhyme; years 3 and 4 created clay aliens and green screen aliens who spoke in Welsh; and years 5 and 6 wrote their own alien adventure stories which can be read to younger children in the future. Headteacher Anna Griggs said, “Diolch Mrs Regan for inspiring us with such a rich text and fab theme. We can’t wait for World Book Day 2021!”
Eaves & Lord bookshop in Montgomery is preparing for Montgomeryshire Literary Festival’s arrival in the town with a stunning display of books by authors who will be speaking at the Festival. Barry Lord, one of the owners of Eaves & Lord, said, “Excitement is already building for the Festival and it will be a wonderful event for the town of Montgomery.” The bookshop is one of the proud supporters of the Lit Fest, which takes place here in Montgomery from 12th to 14th June. Whilst summer seems a long way off, now is a great time to purchase some of the visiting writers’ books and decide which events you want to attend. Tickets for festival events will go on sale in early April at Eaves & Lord and online at www.montylitfest.com, where the full 2020 line up and other information is also available. To involve the local community in the Festival, Monty Lit Fest Committee is running a competition for children, under the age of 12, to design a bookmark illustrating their love of books. Imaginative designs have already been received and the deadline for entries has been extended to March 18. Many local businesses have also shown their support and there are a few sponsorship and advertising opportunities still available, with a deadline of March 16 for submissions. To find out more please contact email@example.com.
Monty Lit Fest is coming to Montgomery on June 12 to 14 this year and to celebrate the event, they are running a competition for children, under the age of 12, to design a bookmark illustrating their love of books. The deadline for entries is March 2 and designs should feature the child’s own work. There will be one lucky winner who will receive a goody bag of prizes, plus several runners-up; the winning design will be reproduced as a printed bookmark and used to promote the Literary Festival. Full details of the bookmark competition can be obtained by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org New Chair of the Monty Lit Fest committee, Sarah Morris, says, “The start of a lifetime’s love for books often happens in primary school. With today’s youngsters being able to access stories from a plethora of sources, we are intrigued to discover what it is about books that still holds an enduring place in the hearts of our children.” The Montgomeryshire Literary Festival is run by the Montgomeryshire Literary Festival Trust. It aims to celebrate writing in Wales and the Welsh borders, with an annual festival circulating through key locations in Montgomeryshire. The inaugural 2018 Festival took place at Bodfach Hall, Llanfyllin and moved to Gregynog Hall, Tregynon in 2019. The 2020 Festival will take place from 12 to 14 June in Montgomery, with main events staged in the Town Hall and a variety of alternative events hosted in smaller venues around the town. For more information on the Festival and to keep up to date with the programme of events, go to the website at www.montylitfest.com
The Montgomery Canal photo exhibition is now in place at Montgomery Library. Taking place until 29 February, the exhibition brings together photos taken by members of the local community with a great selection of pictures showing the canal being widely used for a range of leisure and recreational activities. There is a panel dedicated to the restoration of the canal with the focus this year being on the winding hole, a turning point for narrowboats, at Crickheath. It also shows narrowboats built and decorated by the Montgomery Guides. Opening hours for the exhibition are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am to 12 noon and 3pm to 5pm; Thursday 9am to 5pm; and Saturday 9.30am to 12 noon. Cared for by the charity, Glandŵr Cymru, the Canal & River Trust in Wales, the canal is currently being restored by local volunteers as part of a £4 million Montgomery Canal restoration project being funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Currently around half of the canal is navigable but work is underway to bring further stretches back into use. If you would like to support the wider restoration effort of the Montgomery canal, go to www.restorethemontgomerycanal.uk
Montgomeryshire Literary Festival is now in its third year and, for the first time, will take place in the historic town of Montgomery. Over twenty events are planned throughout the three day festival, running from 12th-14th June, ranging from authors’ presentations and interviews, poetry readings, writing workshops to an open mic evening, art trail, music, and even a literary cricket tea. Most sessions will take place in Montgomery Town Hall but smaller venues such as Monty Brewery Visitor’s Centre, Ivy House Cafe, St Nicholas’ Church and Montgomery Cricket Club will also be hosting events. Here are just some of the writers who have confirmed their attendance at Monty Lit Fest 2020: Bestselling crime writer Val McDermid, the historian William Hague, poet Frieda Hughes, The Warlow Experiment author, Alix Nathan; the cricket writers Marcus Berkmann and Roger Morgan-Grenville for a ‘Literary Cricket Tea’; Mike Parker, author of On Red Hill, and the award-winning writer Cynan Jones, who will lead a workshop on writing short stories. And as a special treat for fans of storytelling combined with music, Chocolat author Joanne Harris’s #Storytime band will be performing on the Saturday evening! The programme will be finalised in the next few weeks and tickets go on sale on 1st March. New Chair of the Monty Lit Fest committee, Sarah Morris, comments, “During the previous two years the festival took place in a single location; Bodfach Hall then Gregynog Hall, so it’s a big change this year to have at least five different venues hosting authors. We hope it will add interest to our exciting programme of speakers and make Montgomery a very special place to be on 12th – 14th June; both for the local community and for book-loving visitors.” Monty Lit Fest is an annual festival which celebrates writing in Wales and the Welsh borders. To find out more, visit the website at www.montylitfest.com, follow Monty Lit Fest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sign up to the newsletter via the website or email email@example.com.
I would like to start by wishing you all a happy and healthy new year. Now that Christmas and the New Year is behind us, I hope you enjoyed the many festivities that were going on in the Town. The Mayor’s Senior Citizens’ Party was a great success and was enjoyed by 55 people with the food cooked by Christine Williams and her helpers. Girls from the Sally Gartell Academy of Dance danced beautifully as the entertainment. I would like to thank everyone who helped in ensuring theparty ran smoothly. I feel that we must give a mention to our Community News Team who manage to gather all the Montgomery news weekly for publication in the County Times: they do a great job. The Town Council still have a vacancy for a Councillor. If you are interested please contact the Town Clerk. Haydn Andrew Mayor
The Whitegate Pool amenity area, enjoyed by townsfolk and visitors alike, is undergoing some radical changes. The imminent collapse of the long bridge and the cost of repairs caused a major review of the area by the Town Council and a plan created. Following an on-site consultation with Montgomery Wildlife Trust (MWT), work has begun to increase biodiversity and wildlife value by allowing in more light; managing tree cover; reducing silt run off into the pool, and creating a wide range of habitat areas. A tree surgeon has removed dead wood and pollarded willows then Cllr Lionel Weaver lost no time in putting plans into action to provide access around the whole site. Where possible, timber from the old bridge is being recycled to create new, smaller bridges. Grass is being cut less frequently, which improves soil health and increases bio-diversity, and with brash, log piles and some dead tree stumps placed strategically around the site, there is potential for a greater range of habitats. MWT carried out a specialist beetle survey recently registered a good number of species here already, and there is optimism regarding improving site ecology and the prospect of the area becoming a registered Local Wildlife Site. When completed, the area will have a minimal management regime with assistance from Montgomery Energy Group. Although the site is not currently accessible, plans are afoot for an Open Day later in the year with some expert information on hand. This green space management is at the heart of what Montgomery Town Council is trying to achieve at Whitegate Pool in line with the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 which puts a duty on all County, Town and Community Councils to maintain and enhance biodiversity and promote ecosystem resilience.
Montgomery residents took part in dementia awareness training, provided by Montgomery Dementia Friends, this week. During the session, they learned about what can help people with dementia to continue to live full lives in the community. Montgomery Dementia Friends have produced a wallet-sized ‘Hints and tips’ leaflet designed to serve as a quick reference. Businesses and services in the locality will help to distribute the leaflet. Tips on communication, including the use of body language, can be a good starting point when engaging in conversation. Hints about aspects of the environment such as background noise or poor lighting may be useful to some, and others may be interested in how to help people with dementia to make choices when in a shop or café. People with dementia can easily feel lost or have difficulty finding things, and they may find it challenging to handle money. Most fundamentally, dementia can mean that people may experience ‘reality’ differently and can easily become confused when two different realities collide. Patience and tact are called for, and all these skills can be learned. Businesses who display the leaflets have signed a pledge to say they will take part in Dementia Friends training and present a dementia-friendly face with people living with dementia. Those who have signed the pledge will be able to display a Dementia Friendly sticker in their window. According to a 2012 YouGov public survey reported by Alzheimer’s Society, 70% of people with dementia had stopped going out and doing things due to a lack of confidence. The same survey revealed that 35% of people felt uncomfortable or uncertain about having a conversation with a person with dementia. Montgomery Dementia Friends hope that their new leaflet will provide encouragement and support for people living with dementia to remain involved in the community.