I’d like to wish all Leader readers and constituents a very happy New Year and I hope you all had a chance to rest over the Christmas period. Now that it’s January, attention will turn to the year ahead at the Senedd and I will be out and about in the constituency too, working hard to serve constituents and serve the community.
2023 was a year not without its challenges, not least because of the continuing cost-of-living crisis, but there were some positive moments too. As a good way to kick off my first Leader column of 2024, here are some of my personal highlights from last year…
In February, I launched the Welsh Government’s LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales, which aims to strengthen protections for LGBTQ+ people, promote equality for all and co-ordinate actions across government, communities and the country in order to achieve our ambition of making Wales the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in Europe. Later in the year, the UN praised LGBTQ+ Action Plan for Wales, saying it’s an ‘example of good practice in human rights policymaking’.
In May, I was proud to see the Social Partnership & Public Procurement Act become law, legislation I introduced in my role as Deputy Minister for Social Partnership. My values have been shaped by the Trade Union movement and it’s been an absolute privilege to have led on this landmark legislation, which brings together government with trade unions and employers.
As we approached summer, it was a real honour to attend the Remembering National Service event at the National Memorial Arboretum on behalf of the Welsh Government and, of course, in memory of the many Welshmen who did national service – my own grandfather included. And, in November, I joined volunteers in Wrexham to launch the annual Poppy Appeal alongside the Royal British Legion – I feel great privilege in having lead responsibility within the Welsh Government for supporting the Armed Forces community and veterans in Wales and November saw many events across Wales in which we remember those who have served and, in particular, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service.
Also during the autumn, I held my Democracy in Action Day with Jack Sargeant MS and schools from across Flintshire at Coleg Cambria Deeside Sixth. Throughout the day, the sessions allowed young people to learn more about the democratic process and how they can shape it.
Across the year, I recognised some of the work being done in our communities by those who go above and beyond as part of my Community Champions campaign. This year, I highlighted the work done by Patrick Oliver at Parkfields Community Centre, Tracey Dean who works for the Roberts Group and has done such great work supporting Mold Foodbank, David Allmark from the Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, whose work includes supporting those living with dementia, and The Table at St Peter’s Church in Rosehill, Holywell, an initiative led by Father Dominic Cawdell which offers hot meals prepared by volunteers.
And, in December, I once again teamed up with local businesses to deliver boxes of ‘Christmas cheer’ to families across the constituency in the run up to Christmas. It’s the third time I’ve done Christmas cheer boxes – following on from the Christmas hampers I started in 2020 – and my team and the volunteers distributed 200 boxes across the constituency. My thanks to Roberts Group (Polyroof) and Smurfit Kappa for their support, as well as the volunteers at St Peter’s Church in Holywell, River Dee Community Church in Flint, Parkfields Community Centre in Mold and Walk & Talk Today in Ffynnongroyw.
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.