Last week I joined the First Minister Mark Drakeford to welcome metro mayors from just across our border as well as the Irish Consul General Denise McQuade. The meeting in north Wales, which included Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram, representatives of the Mersey Dee Alliance and local authority leaders, is part of a cross-border drive to work together closely with our neighbours in north west England – where many of us here in Flintshire have strong links, both contemporary and historic – as well as cultivating our shared history with Ireland.
Ahead of the meeting, the visit took in the advanced manufacturing facility at AMRC Cymru in Broughton and toured the Port of Mostyn here in Delyn to understand more about potential opportunities at the site and along the north Wales coast. North Wales has a long and proud history with Ireland and the north west of England with strong economic and cultural links and these visits help to cement our shared vision for the future of these areas.
Also last week I attended the inauguration of Flint’s new Labour mayor Ben Goldsborough and his deputy Mel Buckley at a lovely event in the Town Hall and it’s been quite a month when it comes to mayor making, as Teresa Carberry was elected mayor of Mold a couple of weeks ago. Councillor Carberry said that the theme of her time as mayor will be ‘youth, culture and diversity’ and Ben has said that his focus will be on helping the town grow a greener future, bringing old and young together and getting residents connected to jobs and support and I wish them both the best of luck.
Recently I had the chance to visit FlintShare in Cilcain, a community garden which provides residents with the opportunity to help produce their own food. The group have three sites in Flintshire – Cilcain, Northop and Hawarden – and they provide access to healthy fruit and vegetables grown organically as well as a community approach to learning about gardening and growing, sharing and eating produce. They also have plenty of social events as well, take a look at www.flintshare.org.
While in the area, I also had a meeting with Dŵr Cymru to discuss their plans to return Cilcain Reservoirs 1 and 2 to their natural state and allow the river to flow as it did before the dams were raised and they hope this will increase biodiversity in the area and create good natural habitats for wildlife. Since they started work, they have carried out repairs and improvement works to the access track, set up temporary pumping to divert the inlet into the reservoir, rescued fish from both reservoirs and transported them to other suitable locations and drawn down both reservoirs. During the visit we also discussed the Dŵr Cymru community fund, which gives local communities and groups opportunities to make a difference to health, wellbeing and their environment where they live. So if you have a project and are looking for funding, get in touch with them – the current round is open until June 30.
Last but by no means least, I was pleased to play a key part last week in launching the Welsh Government’s Retail Action Plan, which provides a framework for policies to help our retail sector in social partnership with workers, unions and employers as well as local government. The retail sector is one of the largest private sector employers in Wales, providing jobs to 139,000 people and with a reach into communities across Wales. Many of us will either have family and friends who work in retail and have worked within retail ourselves, myself included. It is a diverse sector that is instrumental in providing employment opportunities and services which are critical to the vitality of our town centres and rural communities. The plan sets out common ground where the sector can come together to improve its prospects, as well as the prospects of those who work within it, and the Welsh Government chose Mold town centre for it’s launch video – to see the video, check out my post on www.facebook.com/HannahBlythynForDelyn.
As usual, if you would like advice and/or support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on any of the following contact details – 52 High Street, Mold, Flintshire, on 01352 753464 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org You can also keep up to date via my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/HannahBlythynForDelyn. Constituents are, of course, welcome to contact my office to arrange an appointment to see me, you don’t need to wait until an advice surgery.