Staying Safe This Bonfire Night

A black background with fireworks exploding in pink, purple, orange, green, blue and yellow.We all remember the smell and the sounds of a fireworks display when we were young. The smell of the giant bonfire burning, leaving a smoky scent to the air and your clothes, the joy of waving a sparkler in the air and trying to spell out your name, as well as the sight and sounds of fireworks whizzing into the night sky, with the bright colours exploding everywhere with a giant bang.

We want those memories to continue and why we have come up with these top tips to keep you safe this Bonfire Night.

So, let's start with staying safe with fireworks, these tips may seem obvious, but we want you to be able to enjoy the fun and not suffer any injuries... as a starter for ten, one person should be responsible for the bonfire, one for the fireworks and children should be supervised.

  1.  An organised display is the safest way to enjoy fireworks. Your local fire station may have a display (South Wales Fire and Rescue Service have a list of their displays here) or at your local rugby club.
  2. Fireworks are noisy which can upset very young or elderly people, people with PTSD, as well as pets. They can cause damage and serious injuries if not used properly. If you can, look to buy silent fireworks, which give you the colours but without the noise.
  3. It is an offence to buy fireworks by anyone under the age of 18. You can be fined or imprisoned for buying or using fireworks illegally.
  4. The cut off to fireworks off is midnight on 5 November and 1am on New Year's Eve or Chinese New Year. Any other time of the year, you must finish by 11pm. It is also an offence to set fireworks off in a public place like a playground or park.
  5. Avoid drinking alcohol whilst in charge of a bonfire or fireworks and particularly when supervising children.
  6. Make sure your fireworks conform to British Standards BS 7114, EN 14035 or EN 15947.
  7. Keep fireworks in a closed box and use/light them one at a time.
  8. Light the firework at arm’s length using a taper or fuse wick and stand well back - never return to a firework once it has been lit.
  9. Only children over the age of five are allowed to use sparklers and should be supervised by an adult at all times.

So, what if you want to feel the warmth of a bonfire?

  1. Keep bonfires small and manageable and build them away from houses, garages, sheds, fences, overhead cables, trees, bushes and vehicles.
  2. Never use flammable liquids – paraffin or petrol – to light the fire.
  3. In case of an emergency, keep buckets of water, the garden hose or a fire extinguisher ready.
  4. Avoid loose clothing and tie back long hair
  5. After the party, pour water on the fire, rather than leaving it to burn out.

If the fire does spread or gets out of control, do your best to put it out, or someone is injured ring 999 and ask for the fire service and/or the ambulance service and they will be able to keep you, your loved ones and your home safe.

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Cynon Taf Community Housing Group appoints Auriol Miller as chief executive

Photo of Auriol who is wearing a pink blazer, with a black top and has black rimmed glasses, with a short pixie cut and grey hair
Auriol Miller, our new chief executive

Social landlord, Cynon Taf Community Housing Group (CTCHG), following an extensive recruitment process has appointed Auriol Miller as its new chief executive.

Working with executive search recruitment agency, Goodson Thomas, CTCHG received more than 60 expressions of interest in the role and the Group is delighted to welcome Auriol into the organisation.

Ms. Miller joins CTCHG from the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA), where she led Wales’ leading independent thinktank for seven years.

She said of her appointment, “I’m delighted to be joining Cynon Taf Community Housing Group as CEO. It will be a privilege to lead such a strong values-based anchor organisation doing vital work in the local community.

“Housing is one of the key issues of our time and tackling the huge challenges and impacts of climate change, as well as inequalities, can only be done hand-in-hand with the community whom we serve. A safe, warm, affordable home is a basic human right, and I look forward to enabling and supporting #TeamCynonTaf to continue their fantastic work supporting resilient communities.”

Cynon Taf Community Housing Group is responsible for more than 1900 homes across the valley and consists of three organisations – Cynon Taf Housing, Cwm Taf Care & Repair and Down To Zero.

John Chown, chair of the Group Board added, “As a Board, we are absolutely delighted to welcome Auriol to the organisation. Her experience, leadership skills and extensive network will not only bring stability to the Group, but we will look forward to working with her and the senior leadership team once in post to explore new opportunities, as well as continue to deliver against our corporate priorities.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to Kath Palmer, who stepped in as interim chief executive since last year to provide the Group with consistency and strategic leadership while we worked to recruit a permanent position and wish her the best of luck with her new role as Vice Chair to Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board”.

Ms. Miller will lead the Group structure, which employs more than 100 people who are looking to deliver excellent services and support resilient communities; whether through providing affordable homes, delivering adaptations to enable residents to live more independently in their homes, or exploring how the Group can deliver on its target to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Kath Palmer, interim chief executive commented, “It has been a pleasure to lead Cynon Taf Community Housing Group over the last year. There has been some significant change in that time, including the implementation of Renting Homes (Wales) Act, and the ongoing commitment of the staff has been incredible. They continue to deliver excellent services and support our communities to reach their potential. I wish Auriol the best of luck in taking on the role as chief executive.”

Following a handover period, Ms. Miller will join Cynon Taf Community Housing Group in February 2024.

Have Your Say... On Our Spending Priorities

Have Your Say...

Every year, we review our rents and, how we make sure we are spending that money on things our tenants and our communities really need. It is why we are asking you to have your say, as your views will help shape what is to come over the next year and into the future.

We know that the cost-of-living crisis continues to have a huge impact on so many of us and our Have Your Say Survey is all about making sure that we are able to help support you in whatever way possible. You could also be in with the chance of winning a £25 Amazon voucher by just sharing your views.

So why are we doing this now?

Did you know that rents are regulated by Welsh Government? It means that each year, they issue guidance on the level of rent increase they will allow and also, what they expect from landlords like us to consider when setting our rents for the year ahead including affordability for our tenants and communities. This year, they told us that the maximum increase they will allow is 6.5% which is well below inflation. We must now balance an increase with your needs - which is why we're asking you to Have Your Say - as well as the costs of running our business, providing services and planning for a sustainable future.

We know that the decisions we make about your rent, and how we spend the money we collect, are extremely important, particularly because things remain a little uncertain. We want you to have your say and influence the decisions we make.

Things we need to consider

When setting our rent, we consider a number of factors that have had an impact over the course of the last year, things like fuel price increases or the costs of building materials. All of these things have to covered through the money receive, while also ensuring that you have affordably warm homes that are secure and safe, so you can keep on living your life. It is about the investment that we can make into our services so that you have the right services in the right areas, at the right time for the right people. We truly want you to be able to find your potential - whatever that looks like.

However, we are also now focused on reducing our carbon footprint and our impact on the environment; it is why we are working to improve the energy efficiency of our existing homes and also, building homes that are that way from the first time we (or you) open the front door.

Take our Have Your Say Survey and be in with that chance to win a £25 Amazon voucher?

Our affordable rent policy

We aim to ensure that our rents provide value for money, while balancing affordability for the rents and service charges being paid by our tenants, along with making sure that as a landlord, we are able to maintain our duties in the long term. This policy also helps support our corporate ambition to build more affordably warm, energy efficient homes.

It is about making sure that our rents and service charges are within reach of those in lower paid jobs and meet the definition of providing Living Rent. We are still working towards this approach with the aim of our rents not exceeding 28% of average workplace earnings within our communities.

Don't forget that you can click here to access our survey.

Climate Change Project

Climate change focused community project receives more than £330,000 in National Lottery funding.

Cynon Taf Community Housing Association have received more than £330,000 of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund. The aim of this Funding is to develop and deliver the Down To Zero project create positive societal change through its environmental activities.

The funding will enable the project to work with communities to explore carbon friendly practices across sites in Llantrisant and Mountain ash as well as explore other land based opportunities. The project will see the development of native trees and orchards, as well as the planting of shrubs and vegetables to develop a net zero veg box subscription scheme that will support community food security. The site will also look to offer volunteering opportunities for residents to learn green skills, keep bees and develop climate friendly knowledge and behaviours.

Since receiving the funding, Down To Zero have employed a green development officer, who will support the project with its planting schedule, as well as manage and support volunteers across sites. The project has also supported volunteers to build a number of beehives as an additional source of income and produce available to the local community.

Tom Addiscott, project manager for Down To Zero said, “The funding from The Welsh Government and National Lottery’s Sustainable Steps Programme will make such a huge impact to what we want to achieve as a project – it means that we can develop further carbon friendly activities, plant more trees, expand our orchards, get bees on site to help with pollination, as well as ensure that we have the skills and equipment to drive forward carbon friendly practices and behaviour change’.

“Down To Zero is more than just a project about being carbon neutral, it is a chance to get outside, learn new skills, help overcome community food challenges and support the foundational economy. It is about demonstrating that we can enjoy locally grown produce that hasn’t travelled miles; a from tree to fork ethos. I am excited to see what the future holds for Down To Zero and what we can achieve together.”

The project is supported by Cynon Taf Community Housing Group, who are committed to working with its tenants, staff, and local communities to reduce the impact of climate change.

Kath Palmer, interim CEO at Cynon Taf Community Housing Group added, “We are absolutely delighted to have received this investment from The National Lottery Community Fund. The money will make a significant difference to what the project is looking to achieve with its plans to support our organisation to become carbon neutral by 2030, but also the positive impact the two sites will have on the surrounding communities in terms of food security, skills development and climate knowledge.”

The project has already started to make a difference in its surrounding communities, with the Llantrisant site offering opportunities for volunteers to develop skills and holiday activities for families to get out into nature and get their hands messy. Through the funding, Down To Zero will continue to develop more climate friendly community activities that offer something for everyone.

For more information about Down To Zero and the work that is delivering, visit