Rebecca Evans MS, Member of the Senedd for Gower, is welcoming the announcement that more than two million people in Wales have now had one or more Covid-19 vaccines.
The official figures also show that almost three million total doses of the vaccine have been administered in Wales in just six months.
Rebecca Evans MS said: “This announcement is great news and means 80% of all adults in Wales have received their first vaccine and one in three adults have received their second dose to complete the course. This really is a wonderful achievement and I offer my thanks to the NHS staff, military personnel and volunteers who have made this possible.
"Vaccinations play a huge part in us combating this virus, and with each vaccine given we are one step nearer to the return of more freedoms and more interactions with others, and towards keeping the infection rates minimal.”
“I am immensely proud that Wales continues to lead the UK’s efforts to vaccinate as much of the population as quickly and as safely as possible, and I encourage all those who are called to receive the vaccine do so.”
Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and provide strong protection against Covid-19.
Wales continues to be on target to achieve the aim of offering vaccination to all eligible adults by the end of July.
Welsh Government Ministers have announced an additional £24m package of support to revitalise Wales’ town centres, with the City and County of Swansea receiving £6 million.
Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS said: “This funding for Swansea is very welcome and will make a vital difference. With this Welsh Government support, we will be able to bring back to use a number of long-term empty buildings.
“Supporting business and town centres has always remained high on the Labour Welsh Governments agenda. The pandemic has challenged town centres in a way never seen before, but with the support of funding such as this, we can look towards a positive future for our wonderful city.”
Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, is joining Swansea Council, Citizen’s Advice Swansea, Age Cymru West Glamorgan, Swansea Carer’s Centre, and Care and Repair Western Bay, in raising awareness of Pension Credit take-up.
Rebecca Evans MS: “If you are over State Pension age, you may be eligible to be in receipt of Pension Credit to assist with the daily costs of living. You could be entitled to this even if you have a pension, savings or your own home. For those who are eligible for Pension Credit, assistance can also be available for payment of rent, a free TV license, NHS costs such as travelling to and from appointments, dental and eye needs, and council tax and heating bills.”
The aim of this campaign is not only to maximise benefit income in relation to Pension Credit but to look at all the benefits that someone aged 66 and over may be entitled too.
Rebecca Evans MS added: “Across the UK people are missing out on £3 billion in unclaimed benefits every year, with 2 out of 5 people not claiming the Pension Credit they are entitled to. I encourage residents of Gower to call the helpline and find out if they are entitled to this extra help.”
To check eligibility and for further information, call the helpline for free on:
0800 112 4763, Monday – Thursday, 10am – 3pm.
Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, is once again backing Safer Internet Day, which will take place on 9th February 2019 with the theme 'Together for a better internet’.
Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in February each year to promote the safe and positive use of digital technology by children and young people. This year the focus is on creating an internet that can be trusted.
Rebecca Evans MS has a long track record of campaigning on internet safety and has championed the issue in the Senedd.
Rebecca Evans MS said: “The internet is a wonderful, valuable resource. It can be an enriching learning environment, helping develop knowledge, skills, ideas and global citizenship, as well as being a forum for socialising and entertainment.
“But there is also a darker side and this why we need this day each year. It reminds us of the importance of speaking with children about internet use, and what they are accessing. Safer Internet Day assists in empowering children and their parents to know how to keep themselves safe online, increases awareness of when and where to report inappropriate content, and highlights where to go to for help.
“The theme this year is timely as there has been a stark increase in the inaccurate information seen across the internet in response to the current pandemic. It is vital that the internet is monitored to ensure, true, reliable and clear information is provided.”
In the Senedd, Rebecca Evans has highlighted the challenges and dangers posed to children and young people online by cyberbullying, online grooming, easy access to explicit adult material which may be extreme or violent, and the pressures of modern trends such as sexting.
Member of the Senedd for Gower, Rebecca Evans MS, is pleased to share the announcement that the Welsh Government has pledged an extra £9.4 investment in children and young people’s mental health services.
Rebecca Evans MS said: “The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring support is available to meet the changing mental health needs of the children and young people of Wales.
“This additional funding, which has been announced at the start of Children’s Mental Health Week 2021, recognises the effect being away from school and regular support networks has had on young people during the pandemic”.
The Welsh Government has demonstrated that it is committed to addressing the issue of mental health across society and spends more on this than any other aspect of the NHS – with a protected minimum spend of £783m for 2021-22, representing an extra £42m additional funding into mental health support.
Rebecca Evans concluded: “In my role as Finance Minister, in light of the pandemic, it was vital that I provided an increase in financial support to respond to mental health needs of the children and young people as part of the 2021-2022 Budget. I have seen first hand the impact the pandemic has had on the mental health of children and young people and the concerning rise in anxiety, depression and self-harm during these difficult times. Our children and young people have been through so much in the last year, and we in the Welsh Government will continue do all we can to assist them, through these challenging times and beyond.”
nRebecca Evans MS, Member of the Senedd for Gower, has shared her disappointment as the Mumbles branch of Lloyds Bank has been given a firm date for closure of 29th March 2021.
Rebecca Evans MS said: “We all know the pressure that the high street banking industry is under because of advances in technology and changes in customers' banking behaviour. However, it is often the most vulnerable who suffer the most, and the closure of one bank after the other across our communities is concerning.
“I have called on the UK Treasury to develop a much more strategic and innovative approach to community banking to stem the tide of banks leaving our high streets in Wales. Unfortunately these requests and the disappointment expressed by the local community have not been able to prevent this closure.”
Lloyds Bank Group say they have made this decision due to fewer people using the branch, adding that many customers are now using online banking services.
Mrs Evans added: "Mumbles has numerous independent retailers, and small businesses tell me that they need access to a local bank in order to manage their money.
"I am also very concerned about our older residents, for some of whom online banking just isn't a realistic option. Lots of older people prefer to use cash and manage their household budget on a week to week basis. Travelling considerable distances to use the bank is not as easy as it sounds for many people.
“Local branches of all banking groups must have these customers at the forefront of their minds when making these changes.”
Rebecca Evans MS at Llanannt Farm, Gorseinon, with Andrew and John Stevens in a pre-Covid visit.
Rebecca Evans MS, Member of the Senedd for Gower, has long been a supporter of Farmer’s Union Wales’ Farmhouse Breakfast Week, and once again supports this annual event and encourages the people of Gower to get involved.
Rebecca Evans MS said: “I am pleased that the FUW is continuing to hold the annual Farmhouse Breakfast Week, albeit with a difference in these difficult times. Usually we would be looking forward to our yearly Farmhouse Breakfast event in the Senedd, but this year we are encouraged to gather around the table in our homes and enjoy the wonderful produce available from our local farmers.”
The FUW is encouraging the public to get involved with breakfast week by purchasing locally sourced breakfast ingredients, and sharing photos and videos of themselves with their breakfast through social media, using the hashtag #breakfastweek2021.
Rebecca Evans MS added: “This is the perfect opportunity for us to continue to support our local producers in Gower. They are proud to produce the highest standard of foods, and I am very proud to support them.”
Farmhouse Breakfast Week will run from Monday 18th to Sunday 24th January.
Rebecca Evans MS, Member of the Senedd for Gower, has said she has been heartened by the generosity of local businesses and volunteers over the festive period.
The MS has been collecting items for Christmas hampers for older residents in the area which have been organised through the Lamplighter Community Café in Bishopston.
Rebecca Evans MS said: “I am so grateful to the volunteers who, inspired by the wonderful community response during the March lockdown, have continued to support our older residents. These festive hampers are a lovely and thoughtful touch!
“I am also indebted to the local businesses who have offered their support, even in such a difficult year. The treats so kindly donated by Olives and Oils in Mumbles, and Blakes Popcorn will definitely add a little something special this Christmas.”
Picture: Rebecca Evans MS collecting items for the hampers from Olives and Oils, Mumbles.
Rebecca Evans MS, Member of the Senedd for Gower, has welcomed the announcement that parents and carers on low incomes with children who are self-isolating will be eligible for a £500 support payment.
Rebecca Evans said: “I am pleased that the Welsh Government’s Self-Isolation Support Scheme, which provides financial support to people on low incomes or who are facing financial hardship when they are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service, is now being extended to help parents and carers who have to take time off work to look after their children when they have to self-isolate because of a coronavirus outbreak in their school or childcare setting.”
The Self-Isolation Support Scheme will be extended to parents and carers on low incomes who meet the criteria for the main scheme. To qualify, they must have a child attending a school or childcare setting up to and including in year eight – or up to age 25 if the learner has multiple and complex additional needs – and who has received a formal notification to self-isolate from Test Trace Protect or their education or childcare setting.
Rebecca Evans added: “For many families, taking time off work to care for their children who are in isolation leads to a loss of income. The Welsh Government’s £500 payment can make a real difference".
Swansea’s Senedd Members are welcoming the latest figures which show that thousands of businesses across Swansea have benefitted from Welsh Government financial support.
Rebecca Evans MS, Member of the Senedd for Gower, said: “The pandemic is both a health and economic crisis, and local businesses tell me what an incredibly difficult period this has been. More than 4,000 Swansea businesses operating from a business premises have received much-needed grants worth more than £50m.”
Mike Hedges MS, Member of the Senedd for Swansea East, said: “The Economic Resilience Fund has also been important in helping see businesses through the worst of the pandemic. So far, more than £27m has been awarded to 4,600 businesses in Swansea.”
On the 30 November the First Minister announced a £340m package of support directed primarily at the hospitality, tourism and related supply chain sectors. The purpose of the fund is to support businesses into the new year with cash flow support to help them survive the economic consequences of the restrictions put in place.
Julie James MS, Member of the Senedd for Swansea West, said: “Alongside the grants and rates support, the Welsh Government is providing loans to businesses through the Development Bank of Wales’ Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme. More than £6m has been provided to 93 local businesses, and this has helped to safeguard 1,444 jobs here in Swansea.”