This week saw the launch of a new Welsh Government scheme called A Period Proud Wales – a scheme which aims to achieve period dignity in Wales and eradicate period poverty. Since 2018, the Welsh Government has invested around £12m to ensure children and young people, and those on low incomes, have access to free period products and this plan goes further by setting out our intention for free period products to be available in a wider variety of settings and providing education to all about periods and eliminating stigma. The plan will also help to raise awareness about the help provided by our Period Dignity grant – no one should be struggling with period poverty and I fully welcome this scheme and the help it provides our young people.
The Welsh Government’s Flying Start scheme is also being extended – Flying Start offers families with children up to the age of four in disadvantaged areas a range of support which includes free childcare for children over two, parenting and health visitor support and help with early language development. The Welsh Government announced this week that a further £10m of funding will be used to expand the scheme and will see an additional 2,200 children benefit this year, meaning that £46m will be invested in the scheme until 2025 helping thousands of families. In Flintshire, Dechrau’n Deg / Flintshire Flying Start, run by the local authority, does great work to help families, provide support and advice and offers a range of drop-in sessions to help early years children with health and development. To find out more, go to www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Social-Services/Family-Information-Service.
In January, I wrote in this column about the cost-of-living crisis and how a lot of people will be particularly feeling the pinch as we head towards the end of a harsh winter. I want to help as much as possible, so my team and I put together the booklet ‘Help to Beat the Cost of Living Crisis / Helpu i Drechu’r Argyfwng Costau Byw’, which outlines various ways to get help and advice. It’s practical and helpful, so make sure you pick up a copy – it’s available from my office in Mold and it’ll be sent out to community hubs and foodbanks and generally distributed around Delyn. You can also receive a digital copy by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at www.hannahblythyn.cymru/help-with-the-cost-of-living. Please drop me a line if you can think of any local organisations which would like some copies, we want to make sure everyone who needs help can easily get hold of one.
There was a lot of talk last week in the Senedd and in the media about the funding of Wales’ bus network and I know Flintshire residents will be concerned about what this means for bus services in our area – the Welsh Government has been helping to keep buses running since the pandemic using the Bus Emergency Scheme (BES) and this was due to come to an end in March, but it was announced last week that this will be extended to June.
The BES kept vital bus services running and without it we would have seen mass cancellations and communities left isolated, but it’s now time to move away from emergency funding as the nature of bus travel has changed considerably in recent years. Our bus network is largely privatised – a legacy of successive Conservative UK governments – and I will be working with Welsh ministers and Transport for Wales to help build a strong and sustainable transport network for Flintshire, something we really need to invest in for this area. As someone who is from here and lives here, I know first hand the very challenges we face when it comes to transport.
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.