Assembly Voice: 6 September 2017

School holidays can be a worrying time for families where children receive free school meals during term time. Quite simply, many household budgets cannot cope with the extra pressure, and it is no coincidence that charities like the Trussell Trust, which supports the Cynon Valley foodbank, notes demand for food parcels increase during the summer months. I’ve raised the spectre of ‘holiday hunger’ in the Welsh Assembly, and welcomed the Welsh Government’s investment of £500,000 in lunch and fun clubs to support children and parents during holidays. As well as providing breakfast and a midday meal, the clubs offer sports, art activities and education on healthy eating. It was a privilege to visit the club in Penywaun Primary School during August to see how local children were benefiting. I will be asking the Welsh Government how they can expand this important initiative during the next summer, to ensure Cynon Valley children do not go hungry during the holidays.

The summer also marks the time when young people receive the results of their examinations. As a former teacher, I know all too well the hard work that learners put in, with support from parents, teachers and the rest of the school community and congratulate everyone getting their results. Hopefully, this will have meant our young people getting the grades they need, but if not, it is important to remember there are always impartial sources of advice out there to help you make the right decisions for your future, such as Careers Wales who are based in Aberdare town centre.

Thanks to all those who have filled out my survey on Sunday train services. If you haven’t but would like to make your views known, it is not too late to do so. Just go to I am also launching my survey on Sunday bus services, and would be grateful if you could fill this out at If you would like to submit your views, but cannot access the internet and would like a paper copy, just ring my office on 01685 881388 and I will post you a copy.