Hard at work for our Armed Forces community

Dawn Bowden AM for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney has welcomed this continuing commitment by the Welsh Government to the Armed Forces Community. Dawn is attending a number of Remembrance events across the constituency to pay tribute to those who have served, and are are still serving, our country.

Alun Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services, will today announce more support for the Armed Forces community in Wales. 

As we prepare to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, which cost the lives of more than 700,000 British soldiers, including thousands from Wales, events are being held across the country to mark this significant milestone.

Ahead of Armistice Sunday, when the Cabinet Secretary will attend the Welsh Government’s National Service of Thanksgiving at Llandaff Cathedral, he today outlined some of the work currently ongoing to support our Service personnel and Veterans in Wales.

He also launched an Employment Pathway for Veterans and Service leavers, aimed at supporting them into employment, and funding for councils to implement long term support through dedicated liaison officers.

Alun Davies said:

“This time of the year serves as a poignant reminder of those who fought bravely in previous conflicts to preserve our way of life. We must never forget those who have paid the ultimate price, and those that survived with serious injuries, to protect the freedom we have today.

“We have made tremendous progress in Wales to deliver appropriate services and support for our Armed Forces community and today I am delighted to announce two new measures which I believe can help many more.

“Employment is clearly pivotal to a successful transition, and the health and wellbeing of Veterans and Service leavers. That’s why we have been working hard with our partners including the Armed Forces Expert Group to develop an Employment Pathway. To complement the Pathway, we are also working with ‘Business in The Community’ to develop an Employers’ Toolkit, which will help them recognise the qualities ex-Service personnel can offer prospective employers.

“Last year, the WLGA was successful in obtaining Covenant Funding to appoint Armed Forces Liaison Officers, to deliver consistent support for veterans and their families in local authorities across Wales. I have been carefully following the valuable work they are doing, including the Construction Insight Day, which provided Service leavers and Veterans with an opportunity to meet employers in the construction and civil engineering sector to give them an overview of opportunities within these areas of employment.

“This funding will come to an end in 2019. To continue this momentum, and build on the good work already being undertaken, I am allocating half a million pounds from next year to enable Covenant Guidelines and services be fully embedded by councils over the next two years.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with our key partners to make a difference for our Armed Forces community.”

Choose Well – AM urges residents to get ready for winter by choosing well and planning ahead

It is near that time of year when our decisions can help make a difference to our NHS and Care services. So local Assembly Member Dawn Bowden AM is urging residents to help people with life-threatening conditions by choosing the right health service for their needs. Dawn is also urging constituents to get their flu jab.

The AM for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney is supporting the Welsh Governments “Choose Well” campaign and pointing them to the campaigns website. “Choose Well” will help you decide if you need medical attention if you get sick. It explains what each NHS service does, and when it should be used.

This winter’s campaign includes a focus on the role of community pharmacists across Wales. Pharmacists are engaging with people to offer advice, promote key health messages and help people with complex medical conditions to complete a personal health plan to get ready for winter.

Choose Well, Choose Pharmacy this Winter aims to highlight the wide range of services available, which people may not be aware of, close to their homes and often at more convenient times in the evenings and weekends.

Dawn Bowden AM said: “The Choose Well campaign is about helping residents to choose the right health care setting this winter. Making the right choice of health service and advice will save you time and make sure you and your family get the right care quickly.”

“If you have a serious life-threatening emergency call 999 or go to A&E. But if not, please consider the wide range of other options.”

“In many cases pharmacists can provide confidential advice and treatment without the need to make an appointment.  Community pharmacists are playing an increasing role in providing support and advice to people in a convenient setting closer to people’s homes.”

“Making the right choice not only saves you time and ensures you and your loved ones get the right care quickly but it also helps NHS staff who will be working hard this winter.”

The Welsh Government is working with Public Health Wales and Community Pharmacy Wales to ensure packs are available at all community pharmacies, more than 700 across Wales. The packs, which also provide useful tips to stay safe, warm and well in the winter, are also being distributed by Age Cymru and health boards.

The NHS Direct Wales online symptom checker can also provide useful information on what treatment or service you need – NHS Direct or speak to somebody at NHS Direct 0845 46 47 or 111 where available. Parents with children under 12 can use the Choose Well web site for advice Choose Well


Positive parenting campaign launched

As the AM for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney can I urge parents to find out more about a new resource that promotes positive parenting. The ‘Parenting. Give it time’ campaign promotes the benefits of positive parenting approaches to help parents manage challenging periods in a child’s development.

Positive parenting techniques are the most effective ways of managing difficult behaviour and help parents develop good relationships with their children

The campaign provides a dedicated website, Facebook page and printed resources offering tips and information for parents.

From birth, these include:

  • take time to model the behaviour you want to see
  • make time for praise
  • take time for love and affection
  • make time to listen, talk and play
  • between the ages of 2 to 7, make time to set boundaries and routines to your day.

The campaign is part of the wider support for parents and is being launched ahead of the Welsh Government introducing legislation to ban the physical punishment of children in Wales.

Dawn said “It’s not easy being a parent, children do not come with instructions. I know this from personal experience. The ‘Parenting – Give It Time’ campaign is a great helping hand to parents and well worth taking a look at.”

“It is about positive parenting and gives advice on situations that every parent will recognise.  Positive parenting techniques are known to assist children to become confident and happy and help children to understand boundaries.”

“The Welsh Government are committed children’s rights and ensuring every child in Wales grows up in an environment that allows them to have the very best start in life.  This campaign is about supporting parents to achieve that outcome.”