With winter closing in, Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, is urging residents to make sure their homes are ready for anything the weather might bring.
Last winter, more than 66,000 homes across Wales experienced a boiler breakdown, leaving residents unable to heat their homes. During the Beast from the East, temperatures of below -10°C and wind speeds of over 60mph led to the busiest week on record for British Gas, with 104 calls for assistance coming in every second – thirteen times usual call volumes. Engineers across Wales cancelled their holidays and stayed at home so they could be there for their customers.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “It’s really important to keep a step ahead of winter. I want everyone in Gower to understand what help is available to them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is also really important, so I’d encourage people to seek advice from their energy supplier and take practical steps to stay smart with their energy use this winter.”
British Gas Smart Energy Expert, Aled Edwards, said: “There are some really simple steps you can take to help prepare your house for winter and keep everything running like clockwork, but if something does go wrong, we’re always on standby to come to the rescue.”
“Here are some tips I’ve been sharing with my customers to help them keep a step ahead this winter.”
1. Be energy smart: It’s inevitable that our energy use will increase when the heating’s on over winter, but there is a simple way to keep track of how much you’re using – and spending. With smart meters, you’ll be able to see how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence, helping you to identify where you can make savings during peak energy season. To find out more about smart meters just visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/smart.
2. Bleed your radiators: This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people forget. If you haven’t used the heating for a while, air can enter the system and form bubbles at the top of your radiators, which stops them from working efficiently.
3. Block the breeze: Your windows and doors should seal properly but for those that don’t, there are lots of options to help keep cold air out and warm air in. Fitting draught excluders – available from most DIY stores – is a quick, easy and affordable way to cut down on your energy bills and draught-proof your home. Letterbox brushes, chimney balloons and even keyhole coverings can also make a real difference.
4. Maximise the heat: There’s nothing better than settling down in front of your favourite box set as a family, but before you get too comfortable, think about where your heat sources are. Putting your sofa in front of a radiator may keep the best spot in the house extra toasty, but it will absorb heat that could be warming the rest of the room.
5. Look after your boiler: Stay ahead of the weather and make sure your boiler’s working properly by giving it a workout before the cold weather kicks in. You should also get a Gas Safe engineer to service your boiler annually.
6. Insulate your hot water system: Stopping heat from escaping doesn’t just save you money. When temperatures drop below zero, it’s important to make sure that the water inside your pipes doesn’t freeze and cause them to burst. Lagging materials are available from most DIY stores – an easy, cost-effective solution for protecting your water tank and pipes.
7. Install a carbon monoxide detector: You can’t hear it, see it, taste it or smell it, and it kills around 30 people a year. Fortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. Faulty central heating systems are one of the most common sources of carbon monoxide in the home – as well getting your boiler checked once a year, it’s essential to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted. Available through British Gas or from your local DIY store, the detectors last between five and seven years, so check yours is in date and test it to be certain it’s working.
8. Make the most of soft furnishings: Hanging curtains and placing rugs on hard floors are some of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your home warm this winter. Thick material (the thicker the better) prevents heat from being lost through windows and doors – just don’t forget to open your curtains during the day so that the sun can do some of the work!
9. Use tech to control your heating remotely: Ever thought about controlling your heating and hot water remotely from your smartphone? With Hive Active Heating, you can turn the heating on when you’re coming home from work, so the house warms up in time for your arrival – equally, if you’re running late for any reason, having the flexibility to control your heating on the go means you’ll never waste money on energy you’re not using. To find out more, visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/hive.
10. Get the help you’re entitled to: It’s worth finding out if you’re eligible for extra assistance with your energy bills, especially at this time of year. £140 winter rebates are available through the Warm Home Discount scheme, and face-to-face advice, financial support and grants are available from the British Gas Energy Trust (even if you’re not a British Gas customer). Customers who need an extra hand with the practical side of things can sign up to be on the Priority Services Register, for additional services such as different bill formats and advanced warnings if their energy supply is facing disruption.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has shown her support for NHS workers in Wales who diagnose, treat and care for people affected by cancer at a Cancer Research UK event in Cardiff Bay.
The event marked the 70th birthday of the NHS and the contribution made by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals across the field of cancer.
Every year, over 19,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Wales and as the population grows and ages, that number is only set to rise.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “Everyone will be affected by cancer in some way. Around half of us will be diagnosed in our lifetimes.
“We all want a world-class service where people are given every opportunity to survive this devastating disease, for it to be diagnosed early and for patients to receive the best treatment possible. That’s why I’m backing Cancer Research UK’s call to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer.”
Andy Glyde, public affairs manager for Wales at Cancer Research UK, said: “By 2034, our ambition is for 3 in 4 people to survive their cancer, but advances in technology and treatment mean nothing if we don’t have the NHS staff to deliver them.
“That’s why the support of AM’s like Mrs Evans is so vitally important to help make Wales’ cancer services the best in the world.”
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is encouraging residents in her constituency to find out more about adoption.
To mark the start of National Adoption Week (15th – 21st October), the AM has paid tribute to the many adoptive parents across Swansea who have made new families with some of the most vulnerable children in the country, and who are supporting them to fulfil their potential in loving homes.
In Wales, more than 300 children found new families in 2017/18 and for one third, this was as part of a sibling group. During this period 212 adopters were approved in 2017/18. However more adopters are needed in Wales. As of June 2018 there were 314 children waiting to be adopted.
Rebecca Evans AM said:
“National adoption week is an opportunity to pay tribute to families right across Swansea who have adopted a child or a group of children, and all those professionals who support them through the journey. Their decision to adopt and the commitment they have shown helps to give vulnerable children a new start.”
To find out more, visit the National Adoption service website at www.adoptcymru.com
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is supporting Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink fundraiser again this year. The fundraising day takes place on Friday 19 October to raise money for vital breast cancer research.
Rebecca Evans, who is a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador, is encouraging her constituents in Gower to join her, alongside thousands of others across the UK, to sign up and take part in wear it pink which takes place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to date has raised over £31million towards Breast Cancer Now’s important work.
Anyone can take part in wear it pink, whether at work, school or in your community. All you need to do is wear something pink, or hold a pink themed event, and donate to Breast Cancer Now. With every penny raised, fundraisers across the UK will be helping the charity achieve its aim that, if we all act now, by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and live well.
Mrs Evans, said: “Breast cancer is still the most common form of cancer in the UK.
“Each year around 11,500 women and 80 men lose their lives to the disease. That’s why I’m so passionate about encouraging constituents to take part in wear it pink day on Friday 19 October.
“As a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador I am proud to raise awareness of the impact of the disease locally, and to support and advocate for Breast Cancer Now’s research.”
For further information, please contact:
Jo Matthews, Breast Cancer Now on 020 7749 4115 or firstname.lastname@example.org (or 07436 107914 if out-of-hours).
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is encouraging constituents to contact their energy supplier to get a smart meter fitted in their homes at no extra cost, so that they can take control of how much energy they are using.
Rebecca Evans AM said, “By getting a smart meter from your energy supplier at no extra cost, you’ll be able to see in pounds and pence how much gas and electricity you’re using, helping you identify where you’re wasting energy and where you can save money.”
Mrs Evans attended an event in which Smart Energy GB demonstrated that the typical annual energy savings from having a smart meter installed could save a single household enough energy to make 20,000 cups of instant coffee a year.
Notes to editors:
Calculations available from Smart Energy GB upon request.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s announcement that Children’s day nurseries in Wales will be exempt from paying non-domestic rates from April 2019.
The Welsh Government has announced they will provide all registered childcare properties with 100% rates relief.
The scheme will provide an estimated £7.5m of additional support to childcare providers over three years.
Enhancing childcare provision across Wales is a major priority for the Welsh Government. The announcement follows the news that thousands of children are already benefiting from Welsh Government-funded childcare offer.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “I am delighted that so many children and their families have benefited from Welsh Labour’s transformative childcare offer.
“It’s allowing parents to either take-up or return to work – which is not only good for the local economy, but it’s also reducing strain on family incomes.”
Notes to Editors:
The Welsh Government’s programme for government, Taking Wales Forward, commits Ministers to providing 30 hours of government-funded early education and childcare for working parents of three and four year olds, 48 weeks of the year. The offer is currently available in half of local authorities and will be available across the whole of Wales by 2020.
The childcare sector generates an estimated £1.2bn for the Welsh economy. In recognition of the sector’s economic role and in supporting the delivery of the childcare offer, Welsh Government Ministers are prioritising investment to support growth across the sector. This investment is being developed as bespoke business and skills assistance.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has welcomed a new pay deal for doctors and dentists in Wales, which includes a higher salary increase than the deal agreed in England.
The Welsh Government has agreed in full the recommendations of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (DDRB):
Mrs Evans said: “This announcement recognises the value and dedication of hardworking doctors and dentists and their key contribution to the NHS in Wales.
“By going beyond the pay offer in England the Welsh Government are making Wales an even more attractive place to train, work and live.
“Together with our recent agreement on a pay rise for the rest of the NHS Wales workforce, this announcement shows the Welsh Labour Government is committed to investing in staff to ensure they can continue to deliver excellent health and social care.”
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has joined Macmillan Cancer Support to promote the charity’s flagship fundraising event, The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.
Rebecca Evans backed the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning at its awareness event in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. This will be the 28th year of the annual event.
The AM for Gower, said, “The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning is a fantastic fundraising event that takes place in homes, schools and workplaces throughout Wales. It’s a lovely social event and a fantastic way to get together, raise money, and discuss the issues facing people with cancer. I am pleased to support the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning again this year.”
Richard Pugh, Head of Services for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, commented: “It’s great to see Assembly Members supporting Macmillan in Wales and we’d like to thank Rebecca Evans AM for her support.
“With the number of people living with cancer in Wales expected to reach around 240,000 by 2030, demand for Macmillan’s services is constantly growing, but we rely on the generosity of the public to provide this support.
“Last year in Wales, we raised just over £1.2 million pounds which just shows what a wonderful, generous nation we are in Wales. We’re hoping to equal if not beat that fabulous total this year.”
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, has written to every school in her constituency encouraging them to engage with Unicef UK’s OutRight campaign.
OutRight is an annual campaign run by Unicef UK to help teach children and young people about their rights here in the UK and around the world.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “This year, OutRight will help children and young people learn about the effects of air pollution on their health with a view to empowering them to stand up for their right to good health and a clean environment to live, learn and play.
“We are fortunate in Swansea, because the Council has embedded the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into the way it sets its policies. This isn’t the same for all children across the globe, and the OutRight campaign gives children the chance to consider rights in a global context whilst exploring the matter of air pollution - one of the most serious public health issues facing children in the UK and across the world.”
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, is encouraging young people to apply to become a Welsh Youth Parliament Member.
60 young people aged between 11 and 18 years will be nominated to become Welsh Youth Parliament Members. This opportunity is open to any young person who lives or is being educated in Wales. Those who are successful in their application will identify, debate, and raise awareness of the issues that are important to young people in Wales.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “This is an exciting opportunity for young people to engage in the political life of Wales. Politics and democracy are part of all our lives, and I encourage young people across Gower to apply. This new initiative will empower young people to identify those issues that are important to the young people of Wales in the 21st Century. It will also be another important way for elected politicians to hear what is really of importance to young people, and assist us in delivering what is appropriate for them.”
Application to the Welsh Youth Parliament is open until 30th September 2018.
Mrs Evans added: “Should you not wish to apply to be a member of the Welsh Youth Parliament yourself, you can still have you voice heard by voting for who should be the members. You have until 18th November to register to vote. I encourage all young people to engage in this exciting opportunity, and begin their involvement in the democratic process.”
Notes to Editors:
The application process is available online here www.youthparliament.wales/stand and candidate guidance can be found here www.youthparliament.wales/s/Welsh-Youth-Parliament-Candidate-Pack.pdf