This week we mark Carers’ Week – a chance for us to give thanks and rightly recognise those carers who give so much to those in need, but are not paid for their time and effort. Whether a parent, child, sibling or partner, there are so many across Wales who give their lives to caring for a loved one, without financial gain. Simply out of love. Yet that does not make their contribution any less significant or challenging, which is why the Welsh Government have provided Carers Wales with additional funding to support the mental health and wellbeing of unpaid carers through these difficult times. To all our carers – paid or unpaid- diolch!
A few weeks ago the First Minister announced a special one off payment of £500 to care workers as a way of showing gratitude to the way many carers have gone over and above throughout the pandemic. I have personally heard heart-warming stories of care workers and council staff going above and beyond to safeguard residents during these challenging times. The scheme has now been extended to include auxiliary staff such as kitchen and domestic staff, and nurses, who are also a vital part of running a care home. The Welsh Government is continuing to work with the UK Government and Treasury to ensure that every penny of this payment reaches the pockets of our hard working social care staff.
For lots of people the difficult times will sadly continue into the coming weeks and months, as we hopefully move towards a “new normal”. Many readers will have seen the challenges which Chester Zoo are currently facing. In addition to being an employer to many constituents and an outstanding conservation project, Chester Zoo holds a special place in my heart following many childhood – and adulthood – visits there with friends and family. As a regular visitor to the zoo I have joined as a Member to do my little bit and would encourage others to do so if they are able to. I have also written to the UK Secretary of State calling for them to give whatever support necessary to ensure the survival of the zoo. The Welsh Government has given the Welsh Mountain Zoo additional funding to support their work and it is vital that the UK Government do the same for Chester Zoo.
Looking to the future is more important now more than ever. The impact of coronavirus has been lifechanging and has altered life for the immediate future too, but what can we learn from the ‘new normal’ and how do we build back better? I am keen to know what residents of Delyn, and indeed North Wales, would like to see done differently as we begin our recovery from the pandemic and work to rebuild a stronger Wales. Under the banner of “Future Flintshire”, I have already hosted virtual meetings with young people and heard their views on how we can take this opportunity to revitalise the economy, education and the environment. In the coming weeks and months I will be arranging more sessions to speak to constituents, community groups and businesses about how we can change life for the better as we move towards a “new normal”. Future Flintshire is open to anyone in Delyn and I want to hear as many ideas as possible. If you would like to share your ideas then please contact me on 01352 762102 or email me at Hannah.Blythyn@senedd.wales.
Although much of life has changed, the pandemic has not prevented me from continuing to serve the people of Delyn and offering my support to those in need during these challenging times. I have remained on hand to support constituents with their concerns and hold regular telephone surgeries to offer my advice and assistance. Last week I spoke with the Vice-Chancellor of Glyndwr University about the impact coronavirus has had on higher education, and how they are adapting to support current and future students. I have used my social media to share regular updates from the Welsh Government and Flintshire County Council and tried to answer as many questions as possible. As I know more and more constituents have questions about how restrictions will ease and life will change in the coming weeks, I am encouraging them to send me their questions and I will answer them in a video, posted on my social media. Many people will have similar questions and I want to share the answers as widely as possible. If you have any questions then please get in touch with me.