At the beginning of Plenary on Wednesday December 5th, the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales announced the inaugural Welsh Youth Parliament election results, with the names of the 60 successful Members read out.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “I would like to congratulate all 60 Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament who have been elected. I pay particular tribute to the members elected to represent the young people of the Gower constituency.
“I know all the candidates worked hard during the election period, but now the real work begins – taking up the important issues raised by your peers, and speaking about them on a national level.
“I wish the best of luck to all new Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament! “
Rebecca Evans, AM for Gower, has welcomed the latest moves by the Welsh Government to make guidance covering school uniforms statutory, and is urging constituents to have their say.
The new updated and strengthened guidance, has just been issued for a 12 week consultation, and has a strong focus on affordability.
Rebecca Evans AM said, “Affordability of school uniforms is crucial for families, especially for those who are taking the brunt of austerity. This guidance seeks to ensure that parents are able to keep the cost down.
“The cost of school uniforms, and the degree of choice and flexibility for parents, was a topic of a great deal of debate in Gower at the start of this academic year. This consultation is a chance for people to have their say on a way forward.”
Under the new guidance, governing bodies would be expected to consider ways of keeping down the costs of school uniform. These could include stipulating basic items and colours but not styles; this would mean that items could be bought from multiple retail chains at reasonable prices and not just from one supplier.
Schools would also be encouraged to consider whether school logos are strictly necessary and, if so, whether they should be restricted to just one item of uniform or provided free of charge and sewed, ironed or stuck onto items of clothing.
The consultation can be found here - https://beta.gov.wales/guidance-school-governing-bodies-school-uniform-and-appearance-policies
Saturday the 1st of December is Small Business Saturday and Gower AM Rebecca Evans is encouraging residents to ‘shop local.’
Small Business Saturday is a grassroots campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities. The day itself takes place on the first shopping Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.
Shopping local makes good economic sense. Research on spending shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.
The Welsh Labour Government supports small businesses through Small Business Rates Relief. As a result, three-quarters of small businesses have help with their rates bills and around half pay nothing at all.
Rebecca Evans AM said “Small Business Saturday is about celebrating the contribution that small businesses make in Gower.
“Small businesses play an important role in our communities. They sustain our high streets are and are the backbone of our local economy, ensuring it is both sustainable and diverse.”
In his last few months as First Minister, Carwyn Jones spent time visiting all forty Welsh constituencies. When he came to Gower, I wanted to show off some of the wonderful work being done in the schools in our area. I had the pleasure of welcoming him to Penyrheol Primary School to meet the staff and pupils and see first-hand some of his Government’s policies in action.
Active travel is a key area for the Welsh Government. Indeed, Wales’ active travel legislation is world-leading. Active travel offers a simple way of building physical activity into everyday lives and bringing associated health improvements; and reducing motorised traffic and with it air pollution, carbon emissions and congestion.
With the help of local Penyrheol Labour Councillors Jan Curtice and Andrew Stevens who provided funding for the school to buy bikes, scooters and other equipment, the school is forging ahead wholeheartedly with its active travel ambitions. With support from the Welsh Government-funded Sustrans Active Journeys, and balance bike training for staff with Balanceability, things have gone from strength to strength.
In my previous Ministerial role, I introduced and officially launched the ‘Daily Mile’ initiative in Wales. The Daily Mile is an easy and fun way for children to improve their health and wellbeing. It is a fantastic way to support young people to get the recommended amount of physical activity, and will help them grow up healthier and happier. It is great to see that the children at Penyrheol Primary school have so enthusiastically embraced the Daily Mile, and I know the First Minister was impressed!
We also enjoyed a sneak-preview of one of the songs for the Christmas play when we toured the school, and saw an IT class in action.
Thank you to everyone at the school for the wonderful welcome. Keep up the great work!
This year’s Small Business Saturday is taking place on the 1st of December, and Gower’s AM Rebecca Evans and MP Tonia Antoniazzi are promoting small businesses in Gower on social media.
The local politicians are asking Gower businesses to send in a photograph and details of their business – which will be shared and promoted across social media.
The campaign wants to celebrate small local businesses, assisting them in promoting themselves, as well as encouraging consumers to support small local businesses.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “Small businesses are the driving force of our community, ensuring jobs and investment remain in the local area. This campaign is an excellent way to promote the great work of local business so why not get involved in Small Business Saturday on December 1st?”
Tonia Antoniazzi MP said: "By shopping local, shoppers can be sure that they are supporting their local community as research on spending shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business 63p stayed in the local economy. Shopping local is also vital in ensuring that we continue to have variety on our high streets.”
Local businesses can send their photographs and business details to Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org
Gower AM Rebecca Evans is reminding local young people aged between 11 and 18 to register and vote in the Welsh Youth Parliament elections.
A total of 40 seats are up for grabs with 480 young people standing as candidates, including 10 in Gower. A full list of candidates and their information can be found here -https://www.youthparliament.wales/gower
Voters must register to take part, and more than thirteen thousand 11-18 year olds across Wales have already signed up. It is not too late to register and vote - you just need an email address your postcode, and you will be asked for your date of birth.
You can register here - https://www.mi-nomination.com/wypregister/form/Register
Once elected, Welsh Youth Parliament Members will serve a two-year term.
Another 20 young people will be selected to join the parliament by associated organisations including the Urdd, Girlguiding Cymru and Learning Disability Wales.
Rebecca Evans AM said, “It takes a lot of courage to put yourself forward, and I am wishing all our candidates standing in Gower the very best.
“I have had the pleasure of speaking to some of them about the things they would like to focus on if they are elected, and have shared some of my own experience.
"I would urge anyone who is eligible and hasn't yet registered to vote to visit the Welsh Youth Parliament website to find out who is standing for election in our area and how they intend to represent you."
The anti-poverty charity, the Trussell Trust, has produced its mid-year foodbank statistics from April to September.
They show that across UK, 658,048 three day emergency food supplies were provided by the Trussell Trust Foodbank for people facing crisis, with 48,571 being supplied in Wales. In Wales this shows a concerning rise of 13% as compared to the same period last year.
In Gower alone, 3,258 three day emergency food supplies were provided in these last six months to people in crisis, with 1,138 of which were for children.
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, said: “The Trussell Trust statistics are a stark reminder of how many people in Gower and across Wales are still very much in need of foodbanks - and they reveal that the number is continuing to grow. These facts are a shocking indictment of the UK Government’s austerity agenda.”
The top four reasons for referral to a foodbank in The Trussell Trust network in April – September 2018 were ‘low income – benefits, not earning’, ‘benefit delay’, ‘benefit change’ and ‘debt’.
Rebecca Evans said: “This raises further questions about the chaos of the rolling out of Universal Credit, and the concern of how it will negatively affect claimants over the winter months and beyond. The Welsh Government has repeatedly called for a halt to the process in order for the numerous problems to be addressed.
“Once again, it's the people who have the least who are being hit the hardest.
“There should be no need for anyone to have to rely on foodbanks, but in these difficult times I am very grateful that they are there to help. I wholeheartedly thank the many volunteers who, week in week out, give of their time and resources to meet the needs of our communities."
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, is urging constituents to help their NHS and people with life-threatening conditions by choosing the right health service for their needs.
The AM is supporting the Welsh Governments “Choose Well” campaign. Choose Well will help you decide if you need medical attention if you get sick. It explains what each NHS service does, and when it should be used.
This winter’s campaign includes a focus on the role of community pharmacists across Wales.
Choose Well, Choose Pharmacy this Winter aims to highlight the wide range of services available which people may not be aware of, close to their homes and often at more convenient times in the evenings and weekends.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “The Choose Well campaign is about helping people to choose the right health care setting this winter. Making the right choice of health service and advice will save you time and make sure you and your family get the right care quickly.
“Of course, if you have a serious life-threatening emergency call 999 or go to A&E. But if not, please consider the wide range of other options.
“In many cases, pharmacists can provide confidential advice and treatment without the need to make an appointment.
“Making the right choice not only saves you time and ensures you and your loved ones get the right care quickly but it also helps NHS staff who will be working hard this winter.”
For more information, visit: http://www.choosewellwales.org.uk/home
After joining local residents on a beach clean at Langland Bay, Gower’s AM Rebecca Evans has met with the Marine Conservation Society to discuss the impact of plastic on our oceans, beaches and wildlife.
The Marine Conservation Society focuses on keeping our oceans clean, with the help of volunteers who take part in beach cleans across the country all year round.
Rebecca Evans AM said, “Even when beaches seem clean, you only have to look a little closer to spot the small pieces of plastic that are causing such harm to the marine life off our beautiful coastline. Bottle tops and fishing line were among the big culprits on the Langland beach clean.
“Wales led the way in introducing the charge for carrier bags, dramatically reducing the numbers used, and we are one of the best nations in the world for household recycling. Nonetheless, there is still more to do in order to protect our marine life.”
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM says “Loneliness is a public health risk and we must tackle it.
“Action needs to be taken to tackle loneliness and social isolation, which already impacts 1 in 5 people in Wales and is fast becoming a significant public health issue”
The AM made the comments ahead of the Welsh Government launching a national conversation on what can be done to combat loneliness and social isolation in Wales.
The National Survey for Wales 2016-17 found that 17% of the population of Wales, around 440,000 people, reported being lonely, while younger people were more likely to be lonely than older people: 20% of 16-24 year olds were lonely, compared with 10% of those aged 75 or over.
Loneliness and social isolation can result in a number of physical and psychological problems including premature death, sleep problems, high blood pressure, poor quality of life, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, depression and suicide. Research demonstrates that loneliness has an effect on mortality that is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Mrs Evans added: “Loneliness and isolation is a health problem that affects residents across Gower affecting different groups of people at a variety of stages of life.
“Thanks to Swansea Council, we are fortunate to have a team of excellent Local Area Coordinators who do wonderful work in helping people make meaningful connections in their lives - but this is not an issue that one organisation will solve. That is why I support this national conversation and would ask everyone to take part.”
You can take part here https://beta.gov.wales/connected-communities-tackling-loneliness-and-social-isolation