It was another very busy week in the Senedd last week as there were a host of events and drop-ins, as well as the usual Senedd business before the Christmas break. Last week I hosted my own event for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in the Senedd – it was good to see colleagues take an interest in the work of CRY and I’m grateful that Cllr Jane Gebbie, Deputy Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, asked me to arrange the important session. Members of the Senedd had the opportunity to listen to the stories and experiences of those who have and are still dealing with the emotional impact of the sudden, and often seemingly inexplicable, death of a young person in their family. Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by YSCD. You can find out more about the work that CRY does at www.c-r-y.org.uk.
I was also able to stop by and speak to Community Union as they launched their Early Years Charter in Wales in the Senedd last week. The charter has been developed by members of the union and sets out the key changes they would like to see and highlights the main issues that need to be addressed for them to feel valued, respected and to stay in the sector and continue to develop their professional careers. Prior to first getting elected, I spent the best part of my working life advocating for a better deal at work, something which I am committed to continuing in my role now.
Last week also saw World AIDS Day – an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made, thanks in no small part to the researchers, healthcare professionals, support charities, third sector organisations, activists and allies working together to achieve change. We have come so far in the fight against HIV and AIDS, as medical advances have transformed the lives of those living with HIV, but there is still more work to be done. I attended the Fast Track Cymru World AIDS Day event in the Senedd, where I was able to catch up with the North Wales Fast Track team along with my colleague Carolyn Thomas MS. The event highlighted the Welsh Government’s HIV Action Plan, which will help Wales achieve the target of zero new HIV transmissions by 2030. The HIV Action Plan for Wales was launched earlier this year and includes commitments such as a national postal HIV testing service across Wales and a national case management system.
As part of my role as Deputy Minister for Social Partnership, I was also able to visit Cardiff University Biosciences department last week. I now chair the Welsh Government’s Equity in STEM board and during this visit I was able to take part in some insightful discussions (as well as experiments!) about promoting inclusivity in STEM education.
At the weekend, Saturday was Small Business Saturday – a chance to shine a spotlight on and join others in celebrating the small businesses right across our community. Small businesses play a huge part in both local life and the local economy and, while we know that recent years have been challenging for small businesses and shoppers alike, research on spending shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stayed in the local economy, compared with 40p with a larger business.
We are lucky to have such a vast array of fab independent shops and businesses on our doorstep in Delyn. They each play a vital role for our high streets, with both more recent arrivals and other long-serving small businesses driving our community and local economy. Speaking of long-serving, I want to give a special shout out to one independent shop in particular – this year marks a milestone for Siop Y Siswrn in Mold as they celebrate their 50th birthday! Penblwydd hapus i chi Siop Y Siswrn a diolch yn fawr iawn! I like to shop locally and I would encourage us all to do the same when we can – shopping local is not just for Christmas but the whole year round.
As always, 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.