This week is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week and as usual I’ll be supporting Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust in its campaign to raise awareness of cervical screening. Some years ago I cycled across Kenya in aid of various cancer charities, one of which was Jo’s Trust, and it’s a campaign that I feel very proud to support.
This year’s campaign is ‘End Cervical Cancer’ and the charity works hard to increase awareness of the screening that’s available – too many of us still don’t take up our screening invite and the charity wants to change this. We have the tools to make cervical cancer a thing of the past – HPV vaccination, cervical screening and treatment for cell changes can all help to prevent it, but we need to increase awareness and uptake. For more information on the campaign and any questions you might have about cervical cancer screening, call the Jo’s Trust helpline on 0808 802 8000 or visit the website at www.jostrust.org.uk.
Last week saw two new Welsh Government plans which really show we are leading the way in our bid to make Wales stronger, fairer and greener. The first of these was the new drinks container deposit return scheme – every year, UK consumers go through an estimated 14 billion plastic drinks bottles and nine billion drinks cans, many of which are littered or condemned to landfill. The cost to our environment has been devastating, but Wales has been at the forefront of changing the way we deal with this waste – becoming a global leader on recycling, banning certain single-use plastics and also by helping to create a more ‘circular’ economy.
To make this a reality, the Welsh Government has announced an initiative to introduce a deposit return scheme to Wales. This scheme, which is in partnership with England and Northern Ireland, will see us pay a small deposit when we buy a drink in a single-use container which we get back when we return the bottle or can. If you remember the old Corona bottles which had money back when they were empty… it’s a little like that! Similar schemes are in operation in Germany, Finland and Norway and recycling has reach the level of 90% because of this scheme.
The Welsh Government has also recently set out how support for higher education students will be linked to the value of the National Living Wage. This means that the rate of maintenance support paid to full and part-time higher education students from Wales will increase by 9.4% for the 2023/24 academic year, in contrast to the UK Government which has announced a 2.8% increase for students ordinarily resident in England. During a cost of living crisis, it is more important than ever that every measure is taken to ensure that everyone, no matter their background, can access higher education and this goes some way to help Welsh students to continue to succeed in their chosen courses.
As a proud North Walian, I am always keen to ensure I’m getting out and about in our part of the country in my Welsh Government role. Just last week, thanks to a suggestion from the British Legion’s North Wales Branch, I visited HMP Berwyn to find out more about the veterans wing there and how we can better build on support for veterans. I also paid Coleg Cambria in Wrexham a visit to hear about how they are piloting a social partnership approach bringing together the workforce and management. Closer to home, I dropped in to Boots Pharmacy in Mold to check out the services they offer there and meet staff, including Sally Harris the prescribing pharmacist. It was also lovely to bump into my Aunty Angela who has worked in the Mold store for over 40 years!
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 email@example.com 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.