Assembly Voice: 21 March 2018

Provision of free schools meals ensures eligible children and young people are fed during the school day. This boosts concentration and attainment levels – something I know all too well as a former teacher. However, during school holidays food bank charities have described increased demand for their services due to ‘holiday hunger’. The Welsh Government have developed ‘lunch and fun clubs’ as one solution, and I visited the scheme run in Penywaun last summer.  Recently I asked the First Minister to follow a pilot in Scotland that would see children being fed 365 days a year. Father Richard Green and the Parish of St Fagans excellent idea to establish a lunch club will hopefully make a real difference to yet more local children. I am happy to support this excellent initiative – well done all!

During the past few weeks, I have taken part in two very special events at Cynon Valley Museum. One was held to mark LGBT History Month, the annual occasion where we can reflect on progress towards achieving equality for LGBT+ people – it was the first ever LGBT History Month event to be held in Cynon Valley! This year’s theme, Mapping the World, draws attention to the status of LGBT rights around the world. 2018 also marks 100 years since some women were given the vote by the Representation of the People Act. To celebrate this centenary, the Museum organised an event on International Women’s Day. Along with historian Norena Shopland, WASPI campaigner Dilys Jouvenat and academic Bella Dicks I discussed the barriers still preventing women from getting equal rights with men. Thanks to Charlotte and the Museum team for organising two very inspirational events, which really put Aberdare on the map.

I was drawn for a Short Debate in the Assembly last week. For my topic, I discussed the problems that were caused in Cynon Valley by developers ‘land banking’ plots of land, preventing their development. I spoke about how the Welsh Government plans for a Vacant Land Tax could offer an answer. If you would like a copy of my speech, just email me on [email protected]