COMMUNITY councils across Torfaen have been busy electing their new chairmen and chairwomen for the upcoming year.

Last week, The Free Press spoke with the new chairman and chairwomen of Cwmbran Community Council, Croesyceiliog and Llanyrafon Community Council, the new mayor of Blaenavon.

And in the second part of this feature, we spoke with Cllr Rosemary Matthews, the new chairwoman of Pontypool Community Council, Cllr Valerie Waters, the new chairwoman of Henllys Community Council, and Cllr Iain Glover, the new chairman of Ponthir Community Council, to find out more about them, and to look forward to their plans and aspirations for the next 12 months.

Cllr Matthews said that she was excited to be taking over as chairwoman of Pontypool Community Council.

“It’s a really exciting year for the town,” she said. “The whole council is excited to be putting on the Party in the Park this year. It is an important event to have as it affects all of the boroughs in the area.

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(Cllr Rosemary Matthews, the new chairwoman of Pontypool Community Council. Picture:Pontypool Community Council.)

“We have the twinning event where we have the youth council from Condeixa coming to visit.

“Our youth council is going from strength to strength. They won a One Voice Wales award last year. They are very enthusiastic and love what they do and we want to encourage more people to join up.

“I’m excited for the role, it is being an ambassador for Pontypool.”

Cllr Matthews was elected to the community council in the last election.

“I was a bit nervous as it wasn’t something I had done before,” she said. “All of the community councillors were so supportive and helped me learn the ropes.

“Before that I spent 25 years working for a housing association.

“I was seeing how policies were affecting people on the ground. It was that which made me decide that I could change it by becoming one of the policy makers.”

Councillor Matthews has chosen Parkinson’s UK for her charity this year.

Cllr Kay Arthur has been appointed as vice-chair of the council, with Cllr Gaynor James and Cllr John Killick remaining as leader and deputy leader.

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(Cllr Valerie Waters, the new chairwoman of Henllys Community Council. Picture: Henllys Community Council.)

Cllr Waters, the new chairwoman of Henllys Community Council has lived in the area for a number of years, and felt getting into local politics was the best way to give something back to the community.

She said: “I have been a Henllys community councillor for just over two years. I stood as an independent resident.

“The reason for this is that my husband and I have lived here for twenty five years. We have two sons and found it was a good area for them to grow up in and I wanted to give something back to the community.

“I continue to work as a civil servant, and have thirty four years experience.”

When asked about her aspirations for the upcoming year, she said: “The community council have a draft business plan, that requires further work. This is our priority for the next few months.

“Our focus is on making improvements to the area but before we do anything we need to consult with residents to find out what their views are and establish any areas of concern they may have.

“We have a modern well-equipped village hall, a local nature reserve which is a great attraction for both residents, and local schools. We also have the annual village fete in July.

The new vice-chairman of the council is Cllr Jonathan Lewis.

Cllr Iain Glover has been appointed the new leader of Ponthir Community Council.

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(Cllr Iain Glover, chairman of Ponthir Community Council. Picture: Iain Glover.)

He said that he was keen to encourage volunteering opportunities in the village, something that is very close to his heart.

“I see the community council as a way of helping the village,” he said. “I am quite keen on volunteering, I have been doing it since I moved here about 10 years ago.

“I used to volunteer as the treasurer for the local sports club, and I work for RBS, who encourage all their employees to take part in volunteering.”

Cllr Glover has been on the Community Council for three years, and acted as vice-chairman last year.

“I want to encourage people in the village to get outdoors,” he said. It is a lovely village with lots of green spaces and lots going on. The community council recently funded a large piece of play equipment for the local children.

“I am also looking to raise awareness of what is going on in the village. Although it is only small, there is always something going on. I hope to encourage people to get involved in them.”

Cllr Paul Davies has been appointed as the vice-chairman.