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Smart People Use Smart Money Cymru You could be forgiven for thinking that Smart Money Cymru in Caerphilly town centre is a high street bank, but actually it’s a credit union with over 4,500 members who have junior, adult and corporate accounts. A Credit Union differs from a bank in that it is a financial cooperative, which means that it is owned and run by its members. Smart Money Cymru began life in 1989 as Penyrheol, Trecenydd and Energlyn Credit Union then changed to Caerphilly and District Credit Union in 2000, before adopting the Smart Money Cymru brand in 2010. The General Manager is Andrina Davies who originally started working for the credit union as a volunteer before successfully securing a job. Andrina was promoted to the role of General Manager in 2011. Andrina said: As a credit union Smart Money Cymru is open to anyone regardless of their status. The great thing about us is that as a financial cooperative we offer people a safe, secure and ethical way to save or borrow. The Smart Money Cyrmu interactive web site provides information on how to join and more details of how Smart Money Cymru works:
Get Digital On Fridays! Need help using a computer – look no further Get Caerphilly Online Project aims to help people who have either never used a computer before or who need help to take their first steps online. Matthew Bevan Community Regeneration Co-ordinator from Caerphilly CBC explained: We run basic “First Click” courses across the borough and also on occasions run more advanced Agored Level 2 accredited courses in Internet & Email, Word & Excel. As part of the project we also run a drop in sessions every Friday, Digital Fridays, at 7 libraries across the borough. This is for any help with computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets. We have staff or volunteers at each venue to help people and you can be sure of a warm welcome. FREE drop in session every Friday! 10am until 1pm in: Bargoed Library Blackwood Library Newbridge Library Rhymney Library Risca Library Caerphilly Library New Tredegar Library Basic computer use, searching the internet and emails
Big Cheese Festival Caerphilly 2016 Review Last weekend, the Go 2 My Town team were lucky enough to count themselves amongst the 80,000 visitors attending the Big Cheese festival in the heart of Caerphilly. The charming collection of food stalls, re-enactments, entertainers and fairground rides, magically complimented the historic gardens of the second largest castle in Great Britain. Accompanied by the warm and brilliant sunshine, the castle walls; deeply enriched with historic tales, effortlessly enticed thousands to one of the most beautiful buildings of the 13th century in the heart of South Wales. What historian Allen Brown could only describe as “the most elaborate water defences in all of Britain”, the magnificent surroundings proved to be the perfect setting to present the unique heritage and culture of Caerphilly. An exciting combination of artists, musicians, traders, and animal handlers beautifully decorate the castle grounds. The historic costumes and smell of the traditional medieval cooking enlightens your senses as you are transformed to the ancient 13th century. Historic re-enactment demonstrations entertain the crowd whilst the art of ancient candle and coin makers proves to be a popular choice with visitors. One of the highlights of the weekend was the impressive Falconry show. A magnificent collection of birds including Vultures, Eagles and the adorable European Eagle, “Popeye” who dared to fly so close over the brave volunteers lying on the ground; they could almost feel the feathers gracefully sweeping across their astonished faces. The birds weren’t the only animals to greet the guests over the weekend. An exotic animal tent accommodated a variety of different snakes, insects and spiders all just as eager…
Centre Manager Spreads His Wings In 2011 Adam Oldham swapped his life as an aircraft engineer for the manager’s chair at The Market Place Shopping Centre in Blackwood. As Centre Manager Adam is employed by Living City, his role includes coordinating the maintenance program and liaising with the tenants, which include Peacocks, Dorothy Perkins and Iceland, as well as running the outdoor market. Photo seated Adam Oldham / standing Ron Thomas Adam is assisted by Ron Thomas who has worked at the centre for 15 years as the caretaker. The Market Places Shopping Centre is owned by Fairacre which is a commercial property company with over 20 years experience in both the UK and Germany. Adam said: I like meeting people and I really enjoy my work as every day is different. At The Market Place we are really keen to attract local independent retailers and are working with our letting agents EJ Hales to offer competitive packages for units of all sizes. A full list of all available properties in Blackwood town centre, including those in the Market Place Shopping Centre, can be found on the Property Directory.  
High Street Sees a New Name A new name has appeared in Blackwood town centre Bateman Opticians, which for the last 30 years was called Peter Hong Opticians and is situated on High Street near Pentwyn Road. The new owner of the business is Elliot Bateman, who was already working for the independent optician and is keen to build upon its long association with the town. In addition to providing a range of glasses, the optician also offers a contact lens service. Elliot said: Although the name has changed, our staff and values are the same and I am delighted that Peter Hong is also still involved. At Bateman Opticians we will continue to provide our customers with the modern, friendly, personal care that they have come to expect from us.
Simply the Best Solution Fooks & Co has been in existence since 1896 and in Bargoed since the early 1970s making it one of the longer established businesses in the town centre. Back in 2014 when the current owner David Collins needed a new tenant for the buildings ground floor, following the closure of the national Santander Agency Network, his wife Jayne came up with the perfect solution. She decided to open a new shop in the space called Simply-at-Home. The shop is an expansion of Jayne’s existing business called Simply Christmas and stocks a range of gifts and household decorative items, many of which are sourced from France and Germany.   Jayne said: It’s the perfect solution enabling us to grow the business. Many of the items we sell in Simply-at-Home are unique to us which means our customers can find that special gift. David said: Fooks & Co is a trusted, long established firm of accounts and business advisors. Locating business here works really well, we have done exactly what we advise clients to do – be open to new opportunities!
Big Cheese Festival 2016 Starts Today! The wait is almost over as Caerphilly’s Big Cheese Festival returns this weekend for its 19th year! Lots of details – who / what is on when can be found below on this page: Music Marquee: Timetable | Artists / Bands Reenactment Arena: Timetable | Entertainment / Displays The sights and sounds of the Big Cheese Festival will surround Caerphilly Castle from Friday 29th July to Sunday 31st July, with a whole host of family entertainment on offer. Starting off with the Great Cheese Race at 6:30pm on Friday 29th July, where competitors work in pairs to see who can carry a truckle of Caerphilly Cheese along the route in the shortest time. After the great cheese champions have been decided, an evening of musical entertainment will follow in the music marquee to include Kizzy Crawford, Vince James and Whitehall Parade. The music marquee will also host a range of musicians on Saturday 30th July and Sunday 31st July including Gin Rummy, Danielle Lewis, The Heavy Quartet and Feelgood Experiment. The Great Hall will be home to the beautiful sounds of Caerphilly Ladies Choir, The Melody Makers, Aber Valley Male Voice Choir and many more throughout the weekend. Re-enactments will provide historical entertainment throughout the weekend from various periods in time including Roman, Medieval and 10th Century, all of which will be performed in the designated re-enactment area. Pembrokeshire Falconry will also entertain within the re-enactment area on both Saturday and Sunday at 1:15pm and 5:00pm. The Big Cheese Festival will also include a vast range of food and craft stalls for…
Pokémon Go to The BIG Cheese! This weekend, Caerphilly welcomes thousands of visitors for its annual BIG Cheese event. As well as enjoying the funfair the council’s Town Centre Management team are urging people to top up their collection of Pokémon by searching Caerphilly town centre for ‘Pokestops’ and ‘Pokémon Gyms’. The new game, which is played on smart phones, uses mapping technology to show players where they can find ‘Pokestops’ and ‘Pokémon Gyms’ at famous landmarks and Caerphilly town centre is full of great places for Pokémon to hide. Here are some landmarks in the town where you could try looking for Pokémon! Starting at the BIG Cheese site: Park Gates – Owain Glyndwr Playing Fields Information Point – Dafydd Williams Park Druid Circle – Dafydd Williams Park Caerphilly Castle – Bronze Information Point (Opposite the Visitor Centre) Tommy Cooper Statue St Fagan’s Gate – St Fagan Street Green Lady Street Art – Pentrebane Street St Martins Church   The council is also keen to remind people that they should always ensure they play Pokémon Go safely, and pay particular attention to traffic. Photo by Yoshikazu TAKADA modified, overlaying over town centre locations.
More Tea and Cake? Steve and Kim Dyer made the decision to change careers from the public sector to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition to run their own tea room. The Grazing Ground, situated in Cardiff Road in Caerphilly town centre, was formally a coffee shop before they took it over in 2013. Steve Dyer, Lisa Randall and Kim Dyer at The Grazing Ground The traditional tea room offers customers an array of loose leaf teas as well as freshly baked homemade cakes, light snacks and hot meals. They are also licensed to serve alcohol and the menu caters for specialist dietary needs such as gluten free and vegan. Kim said: At the Grazing Ground we continually strive to offer a seasonal menu where possible, providing our customers with a choice which has something for everyone. We feel we’ve created an exceptional friendly, family orientated environment.
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