Local Assembly Member Eluned Parrott is urging communities in South Wales Central to apply for the new £6m First World War: then and now fund, which the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has launched.
HLF is making at least £1m available per year until 2019 to provide grants of between £3,000 and £10,000. The money will enable groups across the UK to explore, conserve and share their First World War heritage and deepen their understanding of the impact of the conflict.
Communities can apply for grants for a variety of different projects, which could include:
- Researching, identifying and recording local heritage
- Creating a community archive or collection
- Developing new interpretations of heritage through exhibitions, trails, smartphone apps, etc.
- Researching, writing and performing creative material based on heritage sources
- Conservation of war memorials
Commenting, Eluned Parrott said:
“The First World War had an unprecedented impact on our communities, with so many young men leaving for the front. Few people are alive now who can give us a first-hand account of this period but the legacy they have left behind can still be felt and seen.
“The Heritage Lottery Fund will allow our communities to mark the centenary. I want to encourage those who want to commemorate the centenary to get in touch with the HLF and see if they can tap into this new fund.
“This anniversary will be a poignant time for local people. I look forward to working with different groups to bring the stories from that time alive and preserve our heritage for future generations.”
More details on the Heritage Lottery Fund’s initiative can be found on its website: http://bit.ly/15Pxfvu
Eluned with foster carers Bill, Caroline (fostering team), Donna, Evie and Richard
South Wales Central Assembly Member Eluned Parrott and local foster carers from her region were at a special event at the Senedd this week to join the urgent call for more people to come forward and provide loving homes for Wales’s children in care.
The event was part of Foster Care Fortnight (13-26 May), the national campaign run by the Fostering Network that is encouraging people across Wales to ‘Get in the Frame’ and consider becoming a foster carer.
At least 600 more foster families are needed across Wales this year alone to look after the rising number of children in care who need fostering. There are now 4,430 children who are fostered in Wales, a number which has gone up nine years in a row.
The shortfall in foster carers makes it harder for fostering services to find the right home for every child. As a result, children either move a long way from home, meaning they have to change school and often lose touch with friends and family, or they end up living with foster carers simply where there is space. These placements are more likely to break down, and the children end up moving around the system time and time again.
Eluned Parrott said: “Foster carers do a fantastic job, providing some of Wales’s most vulnerable children with stability, security and love. However, with more children coming into care every year we urgently need more people to foster.
“That’s why I’ve put myself in the frame and am supporting this year’s Foster Care Fortnight. I would urge everyone in South Wales Central to think whether they’ve got what it takes to foster, and to take that next step and find out more today.”
Freda Lewis, director of the Fostering Network Wales, said: “With more and more children needing fostering every year, we are using this year’s Foster Care Fortnight to encourage people across Wales to put themselves in the frame to become a foster carer.
“People from all walks of life foster, from bus drivers to nurses, and builders to school teachers. What matters is that they’ve got the right skills and experience, and the love and support to offer a child in need.
“If you’re confident, patient, optimistic, a good listener and a team player you could have what it takes to foster. So don’t delay, find out more today.”
There are currently approximately 3,350 foster families in Wales, and more are urgently needed. To find out more about fostering, people should visit http://www.couldyoufoster.org.uk/
Eluned Parrott AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Business and Enterprise, has responded to today’s statistics showing that unemployment in Wales fell by around 6,000 from January to March 2013.
“These figures are good news for Wales and something that both the Welsh Government and the UK Government must continue to improve.
“However, Wales continues to have a higher percentage of its workforce unemployed than England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and this is an issue that the Welsh Government should not ignore.
“More investment is needed to equip our residents, particularly the young, with the right skills to ensure that the jobs they have become long term careers that not only benefit them but also the Welsh Economy in the long term.”
Commenting on today’s published list of Welsh Government Trade Missions and Exhibitions over the next twelve months, Shadow Liberal Democrat Business Minister Eluned Parrott AM said:
“I welcome the news that the Welsh Government are attending lots of events with the aim of boosting the Welsh Economy however the Welsh Government must ensure that they get useful outcomes from these trips as our export economy is continuing to struggle.
“Just last month we learnt that Welsh exports to non EU countries fell by 7.5% while the UK wide figure rose by 5.1%. Clearly a better focus is needed to deliver the results Wales and Welsh taxpayers deserve.
“More than a year ago the Economy Minister Edwina Hart conceded that her department hadn’t got the branding for Wales right. That is now the critical issue – what market proposition are we using to sell ourselves overseas and is it clear enough? For many years we have attempted to say that we were both a cheap location for inward investment but also a confident export economy in our own right. We can’t appeal to both the lowest and the highest common denominator at the same time and expect to be seen as credible.
“The Welsh Government must finalise its branding strategy for Wales and start delivering a confident, consistent message to our trading partners and investors. Attending one trade mission and getting it right will be more valuable than sending out mixed messages at twenty.”
Responding to the Government statement on Jobs Growth Wales and the news that 66.5% of the 6000 jobs created for young people have been filled, Eluned Parrott AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Economy Minister said:
“I congratulate the government on creating over 6,000 job opportunities and filling two thirds of them; that alone is a substantial task and deserves credit.
“However the success of a job creation scheme should be judged not just on the opportunities created, but more importantly on how many people take part and then go on to find meaningful employment as a result.
“Figures that I have obtained show that only two thirds of the placements created have actually been filled, and only two thirds of those are then completed. On that basis, the success rate is just 44% for the whole process, rather than the 79% success rate claimed by the Deputy Minister today.
“We also need clarification of the costs of this scheme. There are no figures outlining how much it cost to create each sustainable job, and that must be cause for concern. While every job created is transformative for the individual involved, we need to know that Jobs Growth Wales is a cost-effective way of creating employment opportunities. Without substantially more information from the Welsh Government, there will be a question mark over the success of this scheme.
“I’m also concerned about the regional variances in the number of jobs created and the number of jobs filled. The percentage of jobs filled ranges from 50% in Swansea to 80% in Merthyr – clearly we need to make sure that young people across Wales have an equal chance of getting a job, regardless of where they live.”
Last week, the latest in a long line of reviews into the ambulance service in Wales was published. Unbelievably, this is the ninth review of the ambulance service in six years and just confirms what many have believed for some time that the Welsh Labour Government are losing control of the health service in Wales.
Of course people in RCT have known about these shortcomings for years, as month after month our area is bottom of the league when it comes to ambulance response times.
The latest figures reveal that staggeringly, only 42.1% of Category A emergency calls are responded to within the target time of 8 minutes. That’s miles worse than other areas in Wales, and nowhere near the Government’s target of 65%. What I fail to understand is why we are so out of step with much of Wales – something is clearly wrong and needs addressing urgently.
A reliable and responsive ambulance service is vital for our area so that lives aren’t put at risk. I really hope that this latest review will lead to some real action.
Another area of the NHS where Wales lags behind England is in the ratio of the number of nurses to patients. As anyone who has been in hospital will know, nurses are a vital part of the NHS service. They are not just responsible for their patients’ well being, but dispense medicine, recognise early signs of complications, monitor their patient’s emotional condition and help their patients’ families understand the treatment a patient is receiving.
Nurses work extremely hard but are being asked to do more for their patients, with fewer resources. And nowhere is that more evident than in Wales.
Here, on average nurses have to deal with over 10 patients, whereas in England they each treat just 8. Obviously, dealing with more patients puts a limit on the investment of time and level of attention each patient receives.
Local reorganisation of the NHS in Wales in also concerning as it is likely to mean a reduction in the number of A&E units across Wales – and as we know, ambulances are having to queue up outside those units at present because they’re so overcrowded. Less A&E Units would only worsen ambulance delays putting more pressure on overworked staff. I therefore support the calls by Welsh Liberal Democrats in RCT for specialist A&E units to be maintained at the Royal Glamorgan and Prince Charles hospitals.
It was the Welsh Labour politician Aneurin Bevan who spearheaded the establishment of the NHS. His party in Wales now presides over an NHS that costs us more but delivers less than our neighbours in England. I wonder what he would have made of it.
Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Business and Enterprise, has welcomed that The Queen’s Speech will help over 35,000 businesses in Wales by cutting National Insurance Contributions (NICs).
The National Insurance Contributions Bill announced by the Queen will introduce a National Insurance employment allowance of £2,000, reducing the cost of employment and supporting small businesses who want to grow and hire their first employee or expand their workforce.
Commenting, Eluned Parrott AM said:
“Building a stronger economy in a fairer society is our priority, and the Liberal Democrats have ensured that the Queen’s Speech has measures that will help to deliver that.
“In these difficult times, it’s vital that we help small businesses to hire more people and get the economy moving. Here in Wales, small businesses represent a higher proportion of private sector employment than in any other part of the UK, so the impact will be particularly helpful here.
“Giving our small businesses more help with National Insurance Contributions will cut one of the barriers that prevents them from taking on new staff, creating jobs for people across Wales. I look forward to working with these businesses to ensure they can get the most out of this excellent announcement.”
Commenting on the news that the UK economy grew by 0.3% in the last quarter, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Economy Minister, Eluned Parrott AM said:
“This is obviously good news for the UK as a whole and shows that broadly the UK is heading in the right direction but this is not a time for either the UK or Welsh Governments to sit back.
“The Welsh Government in particular needs to step up a gear selling Wales to the world and attracting inward investment to Wales and especially our seven Enterprise Zones which have so far done very little, with not a single brick laid or a single job created as a direct result of Welsh Government action.”
“Only today Spain’s unemployment rate soared to a new record of 27.2% – that is incredibly high and just goes to show the exceptionally difficult backdrop we are working with here. Nonetheless, the UK’s economy is moving in the right direction and it must continue that way and this is not a time for complacency.”
Welcoming the news that the Welsh Government have rejected WPDs appeal to build on Llanishen Reservoir, Eluned Parrott AM, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales Central said:
“This is great news for the residents of Cardiff and in particular those who have been fighting this for well over a decade and it just goes to show that residents voices can and are heard by the corridors of power.
“It is a shame that Welsh Government Ministers have taken so long to make this decision but now that it has been made I call on WPD to respect the wishes of the people of Cardiff and the Government and to abandon their plans to build on this area. I am also calling on them to immediately begin refilling the reservoir and to restore it to its former glory so that the whole community can enjoy it once again.”
Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, Jenny Willott added:
“Together with locals and the Reservoir Action Group, we have been fighting plans by Western Power since 2002 to protect the reservoir and the flora and fauna specific to the site, to ensure its use for future generations.”
“Had they won, it would have been a disaster for the local area. I hope that Western Power finally realise that their development plans are not needed nor wanted in Cardiff.”
“I want to thank everybody who has worked on and fought hard for this campaign. Liberal Democrats believe it is important that the concerns of locals are taken seriously in order to build a fairer society.”
Baroness Jenny Randerson added:
“In the 1980s I campaigned against development of the Nant Fawr green corridor, South of Rhyd-y-Penau Road. We won that fight because the Planning Inspector accepted that the area has an outstanding ecological importance.
“It is wonderful news that we have also won this battle to preserve the reservoir which is a jewel in Cardiff’s crown, and one of the precious green areas which make life in Cardiff so special.”"
Speaking after an update from the Welsh Government on its Enterprise Zone programme, Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrat Economy Spokesperson said:
“Twenty months after the launch of the Welsh Government’s flagship Enterprise Zone Programme, the people of Wales are still none the wiser as to what the Welsh Government is doing.
“To date, there is no evidence that a single new private sector job has been created or a single brick being laid as a direct result of these Enterprise Zones.
“The Minister has still to announce any targets or aspirations for either job creation or the building of new premises. Only now is the marketing of the Zones beginning to take place. In terms of promoting our zones, we’re still on the starting line while our competitors in places such as Bristol and Liverpool are half-way down the back straight.
“The Minister has also refused to announce when the promised transport infrastructure improvements will be delivered, including the vital direct bus link from Cardiff to Cardiff Airport and St Athan.
Backwards thinking over North Wales
“Last year, Plaid Cymru agreed to support the Welsh Labour Government’s budget in exchange for the creation of a science park in North Wales. Today we learn that only now are the Welsh Government working with two Universities on creating a business case for this science park, a full six months after it was first announced.
“This just goes to show the backwards way in which this government is approaching Enterprise Zones.”
“Once again, Wales is being left behind, in comparison to England.”