Period dignity: Thousands to benefit from multi-million pound funding for school

Some two years ago I was pleased to support my constituency Women’s Committee as they pushed the idea of free sanitary products for school girls to help end period poverty. That resulted in a motion from the Labour Group to Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. It is pleasing to see that such local campaigns helped create the climate for this recent announcement by the Welsh Government:

Free sanitary products will be available in schools across Wales thanks to £2.3 million Welsh Government funding, the First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.

The Period Dignity Grant for Schools will provide over 141,000 girls in Welsh primary and secondary schools with a range of sanitary products.

As well as being free-of-charge, products will be made accessible in the most practical and appropriate way possible.

Schools will also be encouraged to support reusable, environmentally sustainable products to allow maximum choice for learners.

Supplying primary schools is a step further than provisions recently announced in England. The money will be made available immediately via local authorities, who fund schools in Wales.

People in residential care keep more of their money

As of this month, April, people in residential care, will get to keep more of their money. 

As the local Assembly Member I welcome the increase to the amount residents can keep (the capital limit) from £40,000 to £50,000.

There are up to 4,000 care home residents, in Wales, who pay for the full cost of their care. Increasing the capital limit to £50,000 has the potential to benefit a significant number of these, depending upon the value of the capital they hold.

Welsh Labour pledged at the 2016 Assembly elections to increase Capital limits £50,000 by 2021.  This month’s implementation means they have met the pledge two years early.

Dawn Bowden AM said: “I am delighted the Welsh Labour Government have met this pledge two years early”

“When I speak to residents, they tell me that they are worried about the costs of care and the thought of having to use their life savings or selling their homes to pay for care, when they get older.”

“Welsh Labour has always stood up for older people in Wales. That why we promised to more than double the capital people can keep when in residential care – freeing up more of people’s money for them to use as they wish.


Local economy and jobs – join the conversation


Last Friday we held our successful Jobs Fair, this year in the Rhymney part of our constituency, and it was good to work with local businesses and organisations to talk about local job and training opportunities. Thanks to those who attended the event.


We followed up the Jobs Fair with a visit to a new small business in Rhymney – the Victoria House café. We offer our best wishes to Lisa with her new venture and it is great to see a new business start-up thriving in the area. Read more here about the new café.



The Jobs Fair also marked the launch of a new piece of work that we will carry out in the coming months on the Local Economy and Jobs in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney. We want to hold yet more conversations with local employers, businesses and their staff about how we can protect and develop the local economy.

We know that the local economy and jobs are always a high priority for our constituents, and we will focus more time on these issues in the months ahead.


So to help start the discussion we are today publishing a report on “Local economy and jobs – the context in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney”.


We are distributing copies to local contacts and you can read a copy here.

Local economy and jobs April 2019

While some of the forecasts it contains are a cause of concern, we know that our responsibility is to work with partners across both the constituency and the wider region to identify each new opportunity for improving skills and providing jobs.


Let us know if you would like to host a visit and let us together show the optimism that can help sustain our local economy as we move forwards.

This project will run from now until the Autumn so there is plenty of time to get in touch, to get involved and share ideas about the future of our local economy and jobs.

Dawn Bowden AM and Gerald Jones MP