Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, is promoting the Keep Wales Tidy and Local Places for Nature scheme, which provides free garden packages to communities across Wales.
Since launching in 2020, it has created and enhanced over 800 green spaces in Wales for people and nature to enjoy. This year they have hundreds more free garden packages to give away to eligible organisations.
Rebecca Evans MS said: “Local organisations are being offered the opportunity to receive free garden packages. They can help enhance the beauty of our local communities across Gower and help to reverse nature’s decline. I would encourage organisations across Gower to get involved. The natural benefits to the community will be evident, but people who get involved will also feel the benefit to their wellbeing.”
“We have already seen the benefits of this scheme across the constituency, in Pontlliw Park and with the Forget Me Not Club in Llangyfelach.”
Each prepaid package includes native plants, tools and other materials. Keep Wales Tidy will handle the orders and deliveries, and their project officers will even provide support on the ground. The packages fall into three categories. Starter Packages, for community or volunteer groups looking to create small Food Growing Garden or Wildlife Gardens; Development Packages, for community-based organisations that are ready to take on a bigger project and build a Food Growing Garden or Wildlife Garden ; and Community Orchard packages, for community-based organisations who are looking to create a small community orchard on land that is 'not for profit ownership'.
Learners from Bishopton Comprehensive School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School connect with their local Member of Senedd Rebecca Evans through ‘Digital Dialogue’ events.
Learners at Bishopton Comprehensive School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School were treated to a unique form of political engagement on Friday 25th March, by taking part in a ‘Digital Dialogue’ event with their Member of Senedd Rebecca Evans; a video conference call that brought her directly into their classroom.
Rebecca took part in two Digital Dialogue events, speaking to a class from each school. In both sessions the learners discussed a wide range of topics, including Rebecca’s career before politics, voting at 16, impact of COVID-19 on small businesses, young people’s mental health and what Rebecca would do if she was Prime Minister!
Digital Dialogue events are 45 minute to one hour long video calls between politicians and their student constituents, and are one of the key components of social enterprise The Politics Project’s Digital Dialogue: Wales programme.
The Digital Dialogue: Wales programme is a political literacy initiative, developed by The Politics Project and funded by the Welsh Government. It is run in schools across Wales and equips students with knowledge, skills and confidence to engage in politics and in their local communities. The programme is designed to give young people a voice letting them have direct conversations with their political representatives about issues that matter to them.
Learners at both schools took part in preparatory workshops in advance of their Digital Dialogue events with Rebecca, which focused on helping them understand what the Senedd is and how Members represent them and how to construct questions while improving their confidence in public speaking.
COMMENT FROM CLAIRE RATTIE, TEACHER AT BISHOPTON COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL:
“I think this has been a fantastic opportunity to bring politics to life for our young pupils. We are extremely grateful to the Politics Project for facilitating the meeting and developing some brilliant resources to be used in schools and also to Mrs Evans for taking time out of her busy schedule to meet the pupils. They have thoroughly enjoyed the session and as expected asked some very pertinent, relevant, and thought-provoking questions about issues that are very close to their hearts.”
COMMENT FROM HOWARD EVANS, ASSISTANT HEAD TEACHER AT PENYRHEOL COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL:
“At a time when 16 year olds in Wales are about to have the opportunity to vote for the first time in their lives I cannot over emphasise how valuable the Digital Dialogue project has been in raising the awareness of the democratic process with pupils from Year 7 to Year 11. From the workshops delivered in school - supported by high quality teaching resources - to the digital surgery with Rebecca Evans MS the experience has been an enjoyable and highly beneficial one for our pupils. The maturity and challenge of the questions posed by the pupils, the sharing of their concerns and hopes for the future to the open and honest way in which Ms Evans answered the pupils' questions made, I am sure, for one of those moments in a pupil's time in school that is remembered for many years to come.”
COMMENT FROM REBECCA EVANS:
“It was such a pleasure to spend time talking to pupils from Bishopston Comprehensive School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School as part of the Politics Project. The pupils asked insightful questions, and they had obviously spent a lot of time thinking about the issues that matter to them most. We covered a lot of ground in the sessions, from mental health and the environment to regenerating our high streets and the cost of living. Listening to young people talking about their hopes for the future was wonderful, and it highlighted why it is so important that politicians get things right for our future generations.”
COMMENT FROM IAN POPE, HEAD OF PROGRAMMES AT THE POLITICS PROJECT:
“Thank you to Rebecca Evans MS and the learners and teachers at Bishopton Comprehensive School and Penyrheol Comprehensive School for two fantastic Digital Dialogue: Wales events. In both events the questions were of an impressive standard. It was great to see how engaged the learners were and how well they had prepared for their dialogue events. The Politics Project wants to make sure that during their time at school every young person can have the chance to have a meaningful conversation with a politician and build positive relationships. We really appreciate Rebecca’s support in helping us achieve that aim.”
Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, has shown her support for women with ovarian cancer across Gower at a special event in the Senedd.
Rebecca Evans MS said: “Over 4,000 women in the UK die of ovarian cancer each year, and awareness of the key symptoms remains too low. We must come together and act now to make sure everyone knows what look out for, so that those affected by ovarian cancer face better outcomes.”
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
Alexandra Holden, Deputy Chief Executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “We know that much more needs to be done to increase awareness of ovarian cancer and save lives. It is so important that we continue to come together at events like this to work to transform the future of ovarian cancer. We look forward to continuing to work with these MSs to make improvements in diagnosis and survival that women with ovarian cancer and their families deserve.”
Visit targetovariancancer.org.uk to find out more.
Rebecca Evans MS, Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, has welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Government that a specialist endometriosis nurse has been appointed in Swansea Bay University Health Board to improve services for the chronic condition which affects one in ten women.
The post is part of a million pound investment by the Welsh Labour Government which includes wider plans to improve women’s health services.
Welcoming the new announcement, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“I welcome the announcement from the Welsh Government that a new specialist endometriosis nurse has been appointed in Swansea Bay University Health Board.
“Endometriosis affects one in ten women. It can cause serious pain and seriously impact quality of life for those affected. This new appointment will help raise awareness, diagnosis, and treatment of this serious condition.
“I am determined that people with endometriosis in Gower get the service they deserve.”
Rebecca Evans MS, Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, has welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Labour Government that an additional £7.7m in funding has been confirmed to continue providing SilverCloud Wales - the free online mental health support tool for a further three years.
SilverCloud Wales is a free online therapy service designed to help people who experience mild to moderate anxiety, depression, or stress, manage their mental health and wellbeing.
Rebecca Evans MS said:
“I’m pleased that the Welsh Government is expanding the services offered through SilverCloud. Mental health affects different people in different ways so it’s important that there’s a range of resources to help people.
“Making use of the SilverCloud service can really help you if you have low level mental health needs – the service is available 24/7 and you don’t need a GP referral to access it.
“If you do need immediate help in managing your mental health and wellbeing, you can access the SilverCloud service here https://nhswales.silvercloudhealth.com/signup/”
Following an all-Wales pilot scheme launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, the service has helped people access online mental health support. As we move out of the pandemic the additional funding will expand the service and will offer access to digital therapy for young people aged 11 and over. It will also provide perinatal support.
During the pilot over 23,000 people have accessed SilverCloud’s mental health programmes and 64% of people reported a positive outcome following self-referral.
As well as being an online self-help service, SilverCloud Wales is backed up and supported by a team of psychologists and online cognitive behavioural therapy co-ordinators. It has the benefits of both being an ‘access from home’ service as well as professionally led one.
Feedback received by the Welsh Government has shown that people felt SilverCloud really helped them through a time where they needed a bit of support.
Mike Hedges, Julie James and Rebecca Evans, Welsh Labour Members of the Senedd for Swansea East, West and Gower, have welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Labour Government that 4,346 unpaid carers in the City and County of Swansea Council will receive a £500 payment in recognition of the pivotal role they have played during the pandemic.
The payment is part of a £29m investment in unpaid carers from the Welsh Government and recognises the financial and emotional hardship many have experienced.
Unpaid carers who are receiving Carer’s Allowance on March 31st this year will be eligible for the payment.
Welcoming the announcement, Mike Hedges MS for Swansea East said:
“I’m pleased that the Welsh Labour Government is investing £29m in our army of unpaid carers. It shows how much they value and appreciate those who care for others.
Julie James MS for Swansea West said: “Unpaid carers have played a pivotal role throughout the pandemic – they have gone above and beyond to care for family or friends.
Rebecca Evans MS for Gower said: “The physical and emotional impact of caring can be overwhelming – I hope this £500 payment will go some way to support during this cost-of-living crisis.”
An unpaid carer is someone who cares for a partner, relative or friend who has an illness of disability. Carers Allowance is paid to people caring for at least 35 hours a week, who care for someone receiving certain benefits and who earn no more than £128 a week.
The payment will benefit thousands of the most vulnerable unpaid carers in Wales, who frequently care for the longest and are on the lowest incomes.
Unpaid carers will be able to submit their claim to local authorities later this year. Further details on how and when to register for the payment will be available shortly.
The payment is being launched after a survey of more than 1,500 unpaid carers found nearly half had to use their personal savings and give up work or study to care, while more than half had to give up on hobbies or personal interests because of their caring role.
Combined with the cost-of-living crisis and the fact many of those in an unpaid carer role will be caring for individuals with complex needs who require warm homes, specialist medical equipment and certain foods – it is recognised unpaid carers will be exposed to greater financial pressures than others.
It is hoped a payment of £500 will go some way to easing these pressures, as well as recognising the value of their caring role over the last year to Wales’ health and social care system.
Rebecca Evans MS, Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, has welcomed the announcement by the Welsh Labour Government that eligible families in Gower will receive a cash boost to help with school costs.
The £13m support package to help families pay for school uniforms and PE kits comes as welcome extra help comes as the cost-of-living crisis is deepens, as fuel and energy prices soar in the wake of the Ukrainian conflict and new UK Government tax rises are due to come into force next month.
The new funding will provide families across Wales who are eligible for help through the Pupil Development Access Grant with a one-off £100 top-up payment in 2022-23 to help with the costs of sending their children to school. It is part of the Welsh Labour Government’s Household Support Fund and is directly aimed at helping households meet the rising costs-of-living.
It follows recent announcements by the Welsh Labour Government to extend the PDG Access Grant to learners in all school years who are eligible for free school meals and £21.4m to extend free school meal provision through the Easter, Whitsun and summer holidays.
Welcoming the news, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“Household budgets are under significant pressure and many parents will be worried about how they can afford the things their children need for school.
“Families in receipt of the PDG Access Grant will already be using the £200 to help pay for their children’s school uniform. This extra payment will help cover other costs, such as PE kits, school shoes and other equipment, helping household budgets go a little bit further.
“I’m pleased that the Welsh Labour Government is able to provide more help to families at this difficult time and remove some of the financial barriers to education.”
The extra funding for PDG Access complements Welsh Labour’s commitments to help families with the cost of the school day.
Children in Wales, funded by the Welsh Labour Government, is working with schools across Wales to make a real difference for their pupils by supporting school leaders and teaching staff with this issue.
Rebecca Evans MS, Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, has welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s announcement that the Childcare Offer will be extended to parents in education and training and parents on adoption leave.
From September, parents in education and training and parents who are on adoption leave, if it is in line with the child’s Adoption Support Plan, will be eligible for up to 30 hours of government funded early education and childcare for children aged three and four.
Welcoming the announcement, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“Welsh Labour is committed to supporting working families with the costs of childcare. Our manifesto for the Senedd election outlined our pledge to provide more childcare for parents in education and training. I am pleased that the Welsh Labour Government is able to continue expanding the Childcare Offer, increasing the number of families who are able to access the offer.
“Increasing support with childcare costs for parents in education and training reflects the value the Welsh Government places on supporting people to improve their employment prospects by gaining qualifications, retraining or changing career paths.”
The Welsh Government has also announced an extra £6 million per year to increase the hourly rate for childcare providers from £4.50 to £5 per hour from April. The 11% increase will help provide greater sustainability across the childcare sector in Wales. Ministers have committed to reviewing the rate at least every three years. The maximum amount settings can charge for food will also increase from £7.50 to £9 a day, reflecting the increase in both food prices and utility and energy prices.
In addition, a further £3.5 million will be invested in Flying Start childcare and £1.5 million will be used to support the continued alignment of the Foundation Phase nursery and childcare funding rates under the Childcare Offer.
Rebecca Evans MS, Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, has welcomed the announcement from the Welsh Labour Government that thousands of social care staff in Gower who are eligible for the real living wage from April will receive an additional £1,000 net payment.
Welsh Labour’s Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan MS, has announced a further investment of £96m to support staff, on top of the £43m to introduce the real living wage.
The additional payment, which will be made to some 53,000 people, comes amid the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.
Welcoming the additional payment, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“Welsh Labour knows the importance of investing in our NHS and social care – looking after those who look after us when we most need it.
“I’ve seen the hard work that our social care workers do – in our care homes and our communities. Day in day out they look after some of our most vulnerable people with dignity and care.
“I’m pleased that the Welsh Labour Government has been able to deliver our key election pledge of paying the real living wage to social care staff in the first year of Government, and I’m pleased that they’ll also receive an additional £1,000 payment at a time when we are facing a cost-of-living crisis.”
The £96m investment for the additional payment is on top of the £43.2m that was announced in December to ensure social care workers receive the real living wage in 2022-23. Around 53,000 social care workers will be eligible for the additional payment.
The additional payment, which is aligned to the introduction of the real living wage, will be £1,498 before deductions for tax and national insurance. Care workers on basic rate of income tax can expect to receive £1,000 after deductions.
The Welsh Government expects that the additional payment and the real living wage will be processed in people’s pay from April to June, due to the complexity of the care sector and the large number of employers involved. The additional payment will be available as a single payment or monthly instalments.
The Welsh Government is also funding a national recruitment campaign and is taking steps to professionalise the sector and improve career progression opportunities.
Gower MS welcomes doubling of support fund to help families hit hardest by the cost-of-living crisis
Welsh Labour’s Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, has welcomed the doubling of the Welsh Government’s Winter Fuel Support Scheme payment to £200 as the cost-of-living crisis intensifies.
The one-off payment – which was launched in December – is now being extended to support eligible households with rising energy bills and costs, providing further support for people facing rising living costs this winter.
It is part of the Welsh Labour Government’s bespoke Household Support Fund, which is providing £51m of targeted support for families and the most vulnerable in society.
This announcement comes as the Conservative UK Government continues to refuse to reverse its £20 cut to Universal Credit which has impacted tens of thousands of families in Wales and amid the triple whammy facing people – grocery bills rising, energy costs increasing, and Tory tax rises coming down the tracks which are going to make this crisis even worse.
Welcoming the doubling of the support payment, Rebecca Evans MS said:
“Families in Gower are facing a cost-of-living crisis thanks to the economic choices and mismanagement of the UK Conservative Government.”
“As the Conservatives continue to be distracted by the growing scandals in 10 Downing Street, they are once again failing families. The Welsh Labour Government is stepping in and doing everything they can within their powers and budget to support families through what is turning out to be a difficult winter.
“I welcome the doubling of the support from the Welsh Government to help with heating and eating pressures and I again call on the Conservatives to reverse their cut to Universal Credit and to take meaningful action to address the cost-of-living crisis which people across Gower are facing.”