Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM says “Loneliness is a public health risk and we must tackle it.
“Action needs to be taken to tackle loneliness and social isolation, which already impacts 1 in 5 people in Wales and is fast becoming a significant public health issue”
The AM made the comments ahead of the Welsh Government launching a national conversation on what can be done to combat loneliness and social isolation in Wales.
The National Survey for Wales 2016-17 found that 17% of the population of Wales, around 440,000 people, reported being lonely, while younger people were more likely to be lonely than older people: 20% of 16-24 year olds were lonely, compared with 10% of those aged 75 or over.
Loneliness and social isolation can result in a number of physical and psychological problems including premature death, sleep problems, high blood pressure, poor quality of life, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, depression and suicide. Research demonstrates that loneliness has an effect on mortality that is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Mrs Evans added: “Loneliness and isolation is a health problem that affects residents across Gower affecting different groups of people at a variety of stages of life.
“Thanks to Swansea Council, we are fortunate to have a team of excellent Local Area Coordinators who do wonderful work in helping people make meaningful connections in their lives - but this is not an issue that one organisation will solve. That is why I support this national conversation and would ask everyone to take part.”
You can take part here https://beta.gov.wales/connected-communities-tackling-loneliness-and-social-isolation
With winter closing in, Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, is urging residents to make sure their homes are ready for anything the weather might bring.
Last winter, more than 66,000 homes across Wales experienced a boiler breakdown, leaving residents unable to heat their homes. During the Beast from the East, temperatures of below -10°C and wind speeds of over 60mph led to the busiest week on record for British Gas, with 104 calls for assistance coming in every second – thirteen times usual call volumes. Engineers across Wales cancelled their holidays and stayed at home so they could be there for their customers.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “It’s really important to keep a step ahead of winter. I want everyone in Gower to understand what help is available to them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is also really important, so I’d encourage people to seek advice from their energy supplier and take practical steps to stay smart with their energy use this winter.”
British Gas Smart Energy Expert, Aled Edwards, said: “There are some really simple steps you can take to help prepare your house for winter and keep everything running like clockwork, but if something does go wrong, we’re always on standby to come to the rescue.”
“Here are some tips I’ve been sharing with my customers to help them keep a step ahead this winter.”
1. Be energy smart: It’s inevitable that our energy use will increase when the heating’s on over winter, but there is a simple way to keep track of how much you’re using – and spending. With smart meters, you’ll be able to see how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence, helping you to identify where you can make savings during peak energy season. To find out more about smart meters just visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/smart.
2. Bleed your radiators: This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people forget. If you haven’t used the heating for a while, air can enter the system and form bubbles at the top of your radiators, which stops them from working efficiently.
3. Block the breeze: Your windows and doors should seal properly but for those that don’t, there are lots of options to help keep cold air out and warm air in. Fitting draught excluders – available from most DIY stores – is a quick, easy and affordable way to cut down on your energy bills and draught-proof your home. Letterbox brushes, chimney balloons and even keyhole coverings can also make a real difference.
4. Maximise the heat: There’s nothing better than settling down in front of your favourite box set as a family, but before you get too comfortable, think about where your heat sources are. Putting your sofa in front of a radiator may keep the best spot in the house extra toasty, but it will absorb heat that could be warming the rest of the room.
5. Look after your boiler: Stay ahead of the weather and make sure your boiler’s working properly by giving it a workout before the cold weather kicks in. You should also get a Gas Safe engineer to service your boiler annually.
6. Insulate your hot water system: Stopping heat from escaping doesn’t just save you money. When temperatures drop below zero, it’s important to make sure that the water inside your pipes doesn’t freeze and cause them to burst. Lagging materials are available from most DIY stores – an easy, cost-effective solution for protecting your water tank and pipes.
7. Install a carbon monoxide detector: You can’t hear it, see it, taste it or smell it, and it kills around 30 people a year. Fortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. Faulty central heating systems are one of the most common sources of carbon monoxide in the home – as well getting your boiler checked once a year, it’s essential to have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted. Available through British Gas or from your local DIY store, the detectors last between five and seven years, so check yours is in date and test it to be certain it’s working.
8. Make the most of soft furnishings: Hanging curtains and placing rugs on hard floors are some of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your home warm this winter. Thick material (the thicker the better) prevents heat from being lost through windows and doors – just don’t forget to open your curtains during the day so that the sun can do some of the work!
9. Use tech to control your heating remotely: Ever thought about controlling your heating and hot water remotely from your smartphone? With Hive Active Heating, you can turn the heating on when you’re coming home from work, so the house warms up in time for your arrival – equally, if you’re running late for any reason, having the flexibility to control your heating on the go means you’ll never waste money on energy you’re not using. To find out more, visit: www.britishgas.co.uk/hive.
10. Get the help you’re entitled to: It’s worth finding out if you’re eligible for extra assistance with your energy bills, especially at this time of year. £140 winter rebates are available through the Warm Home Discount scheme, and face-to-face advice, financial support and grants are available from the British Gas Energy Trust (even if you’re not a British Gas customer). Customers who need an extra hand with the practical side of things can sign up to be on the Priority Services Register, for additional services such as different bill formats and advanced warnings if their energy supply is facing disruption.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has shown her support for NHS workers in Wales who diagnose, treat and care for people affected by cancer at a Cancer Research UK event in Cardiff Bay.
The event marked the 70th birthday of the NHS and the contribution made by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals across the field of cancer.
Every year, over 19,000 people are diagnosed with cancer in Wales and as the population grows and ages, that number is only set to rise.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “Everyone will be affected by cancer in some way. Around half of us will be diagnosed in our lifetimes.
“We all want a world-class service where people are given every opportunity to survive this devastating disease, for it to be diagnosed early and for patients to receive the best treatment possible. That’s why I’m backing Cancer Research UK’s call to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NHS against cancer.”
Andy Glyde, public affairs manager for Wales at Cancer Research UK, said: “By 2034, our ambition is for 3 in 4 people to survive their cancer, but advances in technology and treatment mean nothing if we don’t have the NHS staff to deliver them.
“That’s why the support of AM’s like Mrs Evans is so vitally important to help make Wales’ cancer services the best in the world.”
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is encouraging residents in her constituency to find out more about adoption.
To mark the start of National Adoption Week (15th – 21st October), the AM has paid tribute to the many adoptive parents across Swansea who have made new families with some of the most vulnerable children in the country, and who are supporting them to fulfil their potential in loving homes.
In Wales, more than 300 children found new families in 2017/18 and for one third, this was as part of a sibling group. During this period 212 adopters were approved in 2017/18. However more adopters are needed in Wales. As of June 2018 there were 314 children waiting to be adopted.
Rebecca Evans AM said:
“National adoption week is an opportunity to pay tribute to families right across Swansea who have adopted a child or a group of children, and all those professionals who support them through the journey. Their decision to adopt and the commitment they have shown helps to give vulnerable children a new start.”
To find out more, visit the National Adoption service website at www.adoptcymru.com
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is supporting Breast Cancer Now’s wear it pink fundraiser again this year. The fundraising day takes place on Friday 19 October to raise money for vital breast cancer research.
Rebecca Evans, who is a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador, is encouraging her constituents in Gower to join her, alongside thousands of others across the UK, to sign up and take part in wear it pink which takes place during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to date has raised over £31million towards Breast Cancer Now’s important work.
Anyone can take part in wear it pink, whether at work, school or in your community. All you need to do is wear something pink, or hold a pink themed event, and donate to Breast Cancer Now. With every penny raised, fundraisers across the UK will be helping the charity achieve its aim that, if we all act now, by 2050 everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and live well.
Mrs Evans, said: “Breast cancer is still the most common form of cancer in the UK.
“Each year around 11,500 women and 80 men lose their lives to the disease. That’s why I’m so passionate about encouraging constituents to take part in wear it pink day on Friday 19 October.
“As a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador I am proud to raise awareness of the impact of the disease locally, and to support and advocate for Breast Cancer Now’s research.”
For further information, please contact:
Jo Matthews, Breast Cancer Now on 020 7749 4115 or firstname.lastname@example.org (or 07436 107914 if out-of-hours).
Rebecca Evans AM, Assembly Member for Gower, is encouraging constituents to contact their energy supplier to get a smart meter fitted in their homes at no extra cost, so that they can take control of how much energy they are using.
Rebecca Evans AM said, “By getting a smart meter from your energy supplier at no extra cost, you’ll be able to see in pounds and pence how much gas and electricity you’re using, helping you identify where you’re wasting energy and where you can save money.”
Mrs Evans attended an event in which Smart Energy GB demonstrated that the typical annual energy savings from having a smart meter installed could save a single household enough energy to make 20,000 cups of instant coffee a year.
Notes to editors:
Calculations available from Smart Energy GB upon request.
Gower Assembly Member, Rebecca Evans AM, has welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s announcement that Children’s day nurseries in Wales will be exempt from paying non-domestic rates from April 2019.
The Welsh Government has announced they will provide all registered childcare properties with 100% rates relief.
The scheme will provide an estimated £7.5m of additional support to childcare providers over three years.
Enhancing childcare provision across Wales is a major priority for the Welsh Government. The announcement follows the news that thousands of children are already benefiting from Welsh Government-funded childcare offer.
Rebecca Evans AM said: “I am delighted that so many children and their families have benefited from Welsh Labour’s transformative childcare offer.
“It’s allowing parents to either take-up or return to work – which is not only good for the local economy, but it’s also reducing strain on family incomes.”
Notes to Editors:
The Welsh Government’s programme for government, Taking Wales Forward, commits Ministers to providing 30 hours of government-funded early education and childcare for working parents of three and four year olds, 48 weeks of the year. The offer is currently available in half of local authorities and will be available across the whole of Wales by 2020.
The childcare sector generates an estimated £1.2bn for the Welsh economy. In recognition of the sector’s economic role and in supporting the delivery of the childcare offer, Welsh Government Ministers are prioritising investment to support growth across the sector. This investment is being developed as bespoke business and skills assistance.