The Christmas and New Year break is well and truly over and, now that we’re all heading back to work and school, the work at the Senedd gets started again this week after the recess. There’s lots to do dealing with the cost of living crisis and helping to relieve the pressure on NHS, as well as seeing the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Bill go through parliamentary scrutiny. I especially want to extend my best wishes to students as they return to school after the break – if you’re soon to be sitting exams or studying for coursework, then best of luck!
Last week, it was good to meet with representatives of Cambrian Credit Union and Moneyworks Wales/Cymru as the Welsh Government announced continued funding of more than £422,000 a year for credit unions across Wales. These organisations offer vital support and are a fairer and ethical alternative to high-cost payday loans and unscrupulous loan sharks. Credit Unions are not-for-profit and owned by the people who use their services, rather than by external shareholders or investors. Actively involved in communities throughout Wales, credit unions contribute to the economy and the financial wellbeing of members, who can save safely and borrow at an affordable rate of interest. For more information about credit unions in Wales, go to www.creditunionsofwales.co.uk
Last week I also appeared on BBC Wales to talk about the new UK census, carried out in March 2021 – it was the first time the census has asked people about their sexual orientation and gender identity. Even though this section of the census was voluntary, the data collected suggests that there are more than 1.3 million people in England and Wales who identify as gay or bisexual and 0.5% of the population said their gender identity was different from their sex registered at birth. This kind of data is crucial for organisations and governments which are striving to provide equality in a whole host of environments and it will help to tackle discrimination and improve decisions made about healthcare, education, employment, housing and social services.
Finally, I was heartened to see June Lesley Lovell, a psychiatric nurse manager from Mold, receive the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year’s honours list. Her work for Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board which helps people who are dependent on prescribed drugs has been very successful since the 1990s and, through her drive and determination, the service has been expanded to the whole of North Wales. It was good to see her get the recognition she deserves after so many years working in mental health.
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 Hannah.firstname.lastname@example.org You can also keep up to date via my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/hannahblythynMS. 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.