I want to start this week’s Leader Column by pledging my support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine. We must continue to come together to oppose this unprovoked aggression which is tragically seeing communities destroyed, families torn apart and sadly the loss of life. The UK Government needs to go further to support people fleeing the unfolding situation in Ukraine and the Welsh Government has made clear its commitment to supporting the Ukrainian people.
A number of vigils and protests were held over the weekend across the world to show solidarity, allowing communities to show a visible level of support to those affected by what is happening. There are also a number of collection points for donations – from blankets and warm clothes, to cuddly toys and toiletries – popping up across our corner of the country, with new ones being added daily. I would advise any Leader Reader who is keen to donate items to check for drop off points with Flintshire City of Sanctuary.
Closer to home, it has been a busy few days out and about across the constituency, as well as supporting a number of charity and community events.
Last week I met with representatives of Cambrian Credit Union as they open their new office facilities from the KIM Inspire Hub in Holywell. Cambrian CU has stepped in following the sad closure of the All Flintshire Credit Union and taken on 1000s of members across Flintshire, to ensure that they are able to save and borrow in a safe, responsible way.
At the meeting I was joined by Holywell Councillors Ted Palmer, Paul Johnson and Joe Johnson, and the Project Lead for Banc Cambria, to discuss their ongoing work with the Welsh Government to establish a community focused bank here in Wales. Our communities have been hard hit by bank closures in recent years, with many choosing to focus on their own profits opposed to the needs of their customers. That is why I have always been a keen supporter of the prospect of a community focused bank which is owned and led by its members and it was good to have the opportunity to demonstrate how towns like Holywell would benefit from a community bank.
To mark LGBTQ+ History Month it was great to see the first LGBTQ+ Mayor of Flint, Cllr Melly Buckley, host a screening of the iconic film “Pride” in support of her charities. I was proud to speak alongside Melly to talk about the importance of celebrating our history and how far we’ve come, but also how far we’ve got to go. As I’ve said multiple times, not just during history month, but all year round – progress is not inevitable.
On Saturday evening I had the pleasure of joining local public relations company, OutWrite PR at the Mayor of Mold Sarah Taylor’s Charity Dinner and Auction, in aid of her chosen charities of Flintshire Foodbank and the Community Fridge at Parkfields. Held in the lovely Beaufort Park Hotel, it was a great evening and I look forward to hearing how much was raised with the support of so many local businesses and residents.
Finally, it was a pleasure to attend the Licensing and welcome of the new vicar of Flint and Flint Mountain, Rev Dr Richard Hainsworth in the presence of the Bishop of St Asaph. It was good to see so many representatives and members of the community and the service and I look forward to working with Rev Hainsworth and others to support the congregation and community.
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