Last week saw the Agriculture (Wales) Bill pass in the Senedd and will now seek royal assent to come into law at the end of the summer. Not only does the bill support farmers and sustainable food production, as well as putting into law environmental safeguards to protect our natural world, it also bans the use of glue traps and snares, the first UK nation to do so. These traps are not only inhumane and cruel – they often injure animals leaving them in pain rather than killing them – but they also often trap protected species such as badgers and occasionally injure or kill household pets and it’s great news that they will be a thing of the past here in Wales.
Also last week the Welsh Government announced plans to restrict the promotion of high fat, sugar or salt foods as part of a drive to tackle the problem of obesity and its health consequences in Wales. Contrary to the misleading claims you may have seen on social media, this is not a plan to ban meal deals at all – it’s more about ensuring that healthy food is promoted above unhealthy food. Public Health Wales says that 62% of adults in Wales are overweight and that some meal deals on offer are in excess of 1,400 calories and this new approach will reshape the food environment in Wales, removing the promotion of unhealthy food.
Back in Flintshire at the end of last week, I visited two fantastic projects which are making a real difference to our community and its wellbeing by connecting people to nature. Outside Lives in Gwernymynydd is a community-led social enterprise which facilitates stronger, healthier community connections through the celebration and protection of our natural world and founder Lucy Powell, who I met along with volunteers, centres the project around the ethos of reduce, reuse, recycle – always looking at ways of throwing less away and ways of keeping rubbish out of landfill.
I also visited Cae Rhug Holistic Farm in Gwernaffield, near Mold, and met founders Rachel and Simon Farr and volunteers including Jane Bellis, who organises Art and Soul Tribes. The farm runs a range of nature-based programmes that aim to increase mental and physical wellbeing through time spent in nature, including horticultural therapy, green woodwork and conservation activities, and many of the activities are aimed at people with mental health challenges. They also keep the most amazing bees and last week they launched a new pizza oven, all built with help from volunteers. Joining me on these visits was Jess Deacon, who’s in Year 10 at Argoed High School in Mold, who has been been with me this week doing work experience – I hope she got a lot out of her week working with a politician!
I’m always on the lookout for new Community Champions who deserve to be recognised for the work they do in our communities and last week I was able to pay tribute to Tracey Deans, who works at Polyroof in Flint, with a Community Champion award – Tracey is the HR manager for the Roberts Group but she does so much more for people in that role and outside work. Not only has she spearheaded extra help for workers during the cost-of-living crisis, but she also arranged company-funded mental health support and counselling and she ensures that the firm plays a major role at Christmas by sponsoring Mold foodbank as well as my Christmas Cheer boxes for constituents. Well done Tracey and thanks so much for all the work you do!
If you want to nominate a Community Champion, you can do so at my website at www.hannahblythyn.wales/community-champion-nomination. If you would like advice and/or support on any other issue, 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.