Over the weekend I took some time out to do a touch of Christmas shopping, calling in to a number of local businesses, purchasing gifts for family and friends. Of course, I did this on Small Business Saturday to emphasise my support for independent businesses, but Leader readers will know that I firmly believe that we should be supporting our local businesses all year round.

They are often the anchor and heart of our high streets, town centres and communities. This year many businesses have shown what community means to them in the way they have adapted to continue to serve their customers and support their communities. So now its our turn to repay the favour. When you’re looking for Christmas gifts, please consider whether you can buy it from a small, independent, business rather than a retail giant, and show that you “Love Local.”

On the topic of supporting communities, I want to (again!) praise Louise Rudd of Ffynnongroyw, for all of her work in supporting the victims of domestic abuse. At the end of November Louise invited me to open her new charity shop – Walk and Talk Today – at the Old Boathouse in Ffynnongroyw.

It was great to be at the launch with Sir David Hanson and Cllr Glyn Banks, who I know has been extremely supportive of the charity since it was set up back in March. There are lots of items for sale which would be perfect as Christmas gifts, and would help raise money for such an important cause. So if you can, pop in Wednesday to Sunday, find out a little more and if you can, do your bit to help out.

Earlier this week NHS and social care staff, and people over 80 began to receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine. I want to take the time to thank not just everyone involved in the development of the vaccine, but those administering it to help keep our communities as safe as possible.

The vaccination programme will work through phases to priority groups. Once the first group has received the vaccination, the next group will be invited to receive it. Those who are eligible for the vaccine will be sent an appointment when it is their turn to receive it and will be asked to attend one of the vaccination centres being established by the health board.

Initially the programme will work through age groups – 80 and over, then 75-80, 70-75 etc. Those who are deemed to be clinically vulnerable will also be included with those who are aged 70 to 75.  Arrangements for administering the vaccine to care home residents are being agreed, taking into consideration the challenges of storing and transporting the vaccine safely.

Whilst this is a positive milestone in our fight against coronavirus, it is still important that we continue to follow the guidance to prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible. We need to continue to wash our hands regularly, wear face coverings and keep a distance from one another, and follow the restrictions which are in place to keep us all safe. We need to consider not what we “can do” but what we “should do”.

If you want to keep up to date with my work as your Member of the Senedd, please visit my Facebook, my website – www.hannahblythyn.cymru – or email me at Hannah.Blythyn@senedd.wales if you would like to receive regular email updates.

I am also on hand to support constituents, community groups and businesses in anyway possible.

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