The goings on in and around Bridgend

New shops at renovated Jennings Building

A coffee shop, a pizzeria and a harbourside restaurant are among the first businesses to have opened at the newly renovated, historic Jennings Building on Porthcawl seafront.

The prominent Grade II listed building, which had lain derelict for several years, will be home to a variety of businesses following a significant renovation. In June, the Coffi Co Lounge opened for business on the ground floor of the Jennings Building.

Also now open for business are Double Zero pizzeria and Harbour Bar and Kitchen, both of which will offer expansive views of the Bristol channel and English coast.

The Jennings Building is widely considered to be one of the few remaining early dockside warehouse buildings from its era in South Wales.

Built in 1832, it was originally constructed as the southern terminus of the Dyffryn Llynfi Porthcawl horse-drawn tram road, which was used to transport iron and coal from the Llynfi Valley, and was more recently used as an indoor skatepark. 

More businesses will be coming to the Jennings Building and will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Elvis Fest announces fourth 'Welsh language' day

The Porthcawl Elvis Festival has announced that a fourth day of Welsh Language programming will be added to this years' event.

Screen Shot 2017-08-14 At 16.54.31
 
Thursday 21 September will be called 'Diwrnod I'r Brenin.' Staged in the Grand Pavilion the daytime programme will involve a number of community group performances and workshops, all with an Elvis related theme. Admission to these events will be free to the public. The ticketed evening show - Noson I'r Brenin - will feature leading Welsh language artists performing their own tributes to Elvis. Acts include Bronwen Lewis, Dan Lloyd, Wynne Roberts and The Voices and John ac Alun.

Porthcawl Elvis Festival Organiser Peter Phillips says 'In 2015, to coincide with the Rugby World Cup, we staged a one-off show called Elvis Cymraeg. It was such a success we decided to work on adding an extra day to the Festival that would be totally Welsh language but firmly Elvis. After all, it has been proven that the Presley family original came from Wales! We are all excited about how the programme has come together. It will showcase some amazing Welsh talent and I'm sure it will be equally enjoyed by non-Welsh speakers.' 

For full details visit: http://www.elvies.co.uk/Documents/Noson%20Poster%20Final.pdf

Press information:
peter.phillips@elvies.co.uk
07711 419736

Bryngarw Country Park takes centre stage for summer outdoor theatre

Bryngarw Country Park in Brynmenyn, near Bridgend, is set to stage six outdoor theatre events this summer. The season started with Immersion Theatre's production of The Wind in the Willows on Monday 24th July.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 At 10.21.45

Eye-catching costumer, toe-tapping music and larger-than-life characters, including Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad, promise to capture the imaginations of young children and nostalgic adults alike.

On Friday 28th July at 6.30pm, Heartbreak Productions return to Bryngarw with their adaptation of the David Walliams' bestseller Billionaire Boy. Families are invited to the helicopter pad outside 'Bumfresh Towers' to hear the story of how Mr Spud made his billions, lost it all, and how his son Joe became the richest boy in the world.

Following last year's success with 'Tales of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny', Quantum Theatre also return to the country park at 3pm on Monday 7th August with another family favourite - Alice Through the Looking Glass.

The performance will be packed full of Lewis Carroll's most memorable and enduring characters, as well as many of his finest nonsense and weirdly wonderful songs.

Bryngarw's annual Shakespearean performance will once again be provided by the Rain or Shine Theatre Company, with their production of Twelfth Night on Wednesday 16th August at 8pm. As the sun sets on the park, the audience will discover how "the course of true love never did run smooth" in one of the bard's most loved comic plays.

Blunderbus Theatre Company will make their first visit to the park with Dogs Don't Do Ballet, based on the bestselling children's book by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie, at 2pm on Wednesday 23rd August.

The last show of the summer season is perfect for dinosaur fans: The Lost World at 6pm on Wednesday 30th August. Illyria are the first touring theatre to tackle a show in this genre and of this scope and they are promising a performance full of prehistoric thrills, monster laughs and 'life-size' dinosaurs.

For further information, contact Toni Cosson on 01656 725975 or email: toni.cosson@awenwales.com

NEW Coastal Charity Walk announced!

Porthcawl's Elvis Festival, the largest of its kind in the world, is staging a series of walks in September to raise awareness of mental health problems.

Organisers of the festival, which has been running for 14 years and attracts more than 30,000 people to Porthcawl every year, want to get the nation talking about mental health and how it affects families.

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 At 12.12.09

Peter Phillips said: "We are really excited to be working with Mind Cymru to raise awareness of the issues families face when a member suffers from mental health problems. Having a supportive employer is particularly important, and I'm glad to say that some of the most supportive companies in Wales will be taking part in the walk.

"My daughter suffers from Schizoaffective Disorder. Her Community Mental Health team are amazing but occasionally I'll get a phone call and have to drop everything to help out. I'm lucky because I'm my own boss but it's made me realise how important it must be for people like me to have a supportive employer."

The walks will take place from Tuesday 19 September and will cover 90 miles in six days, starting in Chepstow and finishing at the Festival in Porthcawl. Along the way there'll be stops in Newport, Cardiff Bay, Rhoose, and Porthcawl. Walkers can join in any part of the walk for as long as they like - from one mile to all 90.

Sara Moseley, Director of Mind Cymru, said: "I'm really pleased that the Elvis Festival is raising awareness of such an important issue. We know that friends and family can find it really difficult and often don't know how best to support their loved ones.

"Our website is full of helpful, practical information for friends and family of people with a mental health problem. And our Infoline is open from 9am to 6pm, five days a week, for anyone who needs its support."

Peter added: "We are looking for companies and organisations who want to put a team into one of the legs; Individuals who want to take part, either for a whole day, half a day or just to 'Walk a Mile in Their Shoes'; or Elvis fans just to turn up at the Pop‐Ups or End of Walk gigs to support everyone taking part."

"We will be staging Pop‐Up Elvis Gigs along the route and finishing each leg with a big old Elvis party. It's going to be a fantastic week of fun and we can't wait to get started!"

For more information please email walk@elvies.co.uk or visit http://www.elvies.co.uk/walkamile.php?Action=Walkamile


The BIG Guide to Bridgend for the Senior Open

With Wales hosting the prestigious Senior Open Championship for the second time later this month, we thought we'd tell you a little more about Bridgend County where the tournament will take place.

P&K

While all eyes will be on the likes of Montgomerie, Jiménez and Watson at the iconic Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, Bridgend County is home to countless other attractions, from nature reserves and mighty sand dunes to castles and Blue Flag beaches.

The courses
Any self-respecting golfer knows that the Senior Open Championship is going to take place at the mighty Royal Porthcawl, but did you know that there are another four courses within the county? Here's a little more information about them…

Pyle and Kenfig
Commonly referred to as 'P&K', this is one of Wales' finest links courses and sits next door to Royal Porthcawl. Unusually for a links course, this is set out in two loops of nine, with the back nine challenging even the most seasoned golfer, and not just because the panorama from the 14th tee is easily enough to put you off your swing.
A weekday visitor pass costs £60 for the day.

Grove
A relative newcomer to the Welsh golfing scene, The Grove only opened its doors in 1996. This is the coast's parkland course and, like neighbours Royal Porthcawl and Pyle and Kenfig, offers golfers the added incentive of stunning views out across the Bristol Channel towards Swansea Bay.
A weekday visitor pass costs £22 for the day.

Maesteg
Just half an hour from Rest Bay, Maesteg offers a golfing experience a world away from the coastal courses in Porthcawl. The cool sea views have been replaced by the rugged Welsh valleys, while this parkland course offered something for all ages and experience. Maesteg is considered a course of 'considerable character and maturity', having been founded way back in 1912.
A weekday visitor pass costs £16 for the day.

Coed y Mwstwr
The only golf course with its very own country house hotel attached (or just over the road, anyway!). The first hole features enough sand to make you think you're on the beach, while the 18th offers a drive over a tree-strewn valley. And once you're done swinging you can make the short trip to the award-winning hotel and make the most of a comfy room, a tasty meal and a much-needed stop at the spa.
Visitor rates start at £16, or you get complimentary golf with a night at the hotel.

Bridgend Golf Complex
Bridgend is a friendly nine-hole pay and play course and one that remains popular with many in the area who just fancy a few quick holes as opposed to organising a whole day of golf. A 1770 yard-long, 9 hole Parkland course with par 29 and SSS of 57.

Screen Shot 2017-02-17 At 16.29.08

10 fabulous facts about Bridgend

1. Parts of Hollywood epic Lawrence of Arabia were filmed within the Merthyr Mawr sand dunes. You can now fatbike across these with Porthcawl Bike Hire.
2. Bridgend is home to the second tallest sand dune in Europe, known as the 'Big Dipper'.
3. It is also home to Britain's rarest flower, the fen orchid, which can be found at kenfig National Nature Reserve
4. The county is home to the UK's largest Elvis Festival, which takes place in September each year. In 2013, they set a new world record by having 814 impersonators sing 'Hound Dog' at the same time!
5. It is very easy to get to Bridgend from London. A direct train can take you less than two and a half hours, and you could be on the beach in less than three hours!
6. Gavin and Stacey stars Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon both attended school in Porthcawl, while Ruth was actually born in Bridgend.
7. Bridgend is less than 30 minutes from Cardiff International Airport and is the perfect base for a holiday exploring Wales' national parks and renowned coastline.
8. The county is home to surprisingly good surf, particularly off the beautiful Blue Flag Rest Bay beach, now attracting crowds from across Britain.
9. In 2016, Bridgend County unveiled the world's first 'selfie bench', a viral sensation that went worldwide.
10. Other notable individuals from Bridgend include presenters Huw Edwards and Sian Lloyd, designer David Emanuel, actor Owen Teale, Olympic cyclist Nicole Cooke and rugby legends Rob Howley and JPR Williams.

Top 10 unmissable adventures in Bridgend

1. Take a surf lesson with Porthcawl Surf School, voted the UK's Best Surf School at last year's Surf Awards. Lessons run at Blue Flag Rest Bay.

2. Ogmore Castle stands just a short distance from Ogmore Beach - kids will love exploring the ruins, not to mention hopping between stepping stones to cross the river that runs nearby.

3. Spend a lazy day enjoying the sun on one of Bridgend's many beaches. Opt for Rest Bay if you're after a long stretch of sand or explore the hidden caves of Tresilian Bay.

4. Try fatbiking across the dunes with Porthcawl Bike Hire - a fantastic new way to experience an amazing landscape.

5. If you happen to be craving anything from quad biking to rock climbing, be sure to book a holiday with Adventures Wales.

6. Bridgend County lies along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, which stretches right the way from Porthcawl to Aberthaw further east. Why not just lace up your boots and get exploring? It's part of the Wales Coast Path - a route that circumnavigates the entire country.

7. Mountain bikers will love the Darren Fawr mountain biking trails, which combine to create a heart-pounding 6km ride through rugged woodland that you're sure to remember!

8. Get on your bike and enjoy the coastal cycle path that links Trecco Bay and Rest Bay

9. Explore the amazing Kenfig National Nature Reserve that is home to Britain's rarest flower, the fen orchid, as well as many other rare species.

10. There's no therapy quite like retail therapy, and Bridgend boasts the mighty McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, home to over 90 brands plus numerous cafes and restaurants.