Maximise the benefits of the local pound – Foundational Economy Challenge fund

Dawn Bowden AM has welcomed the increase in funding for investment in the Foundational Economy in Wales. The Welsh Government has announced today:

“The fund is aimed at developing Wales’ regional economy, to make sure prosperity is shared more evenly across Wales.

It will offer support of up to £100,000 for experimental projects to test how Welsh Government can best help to nurture and grow the foundations of our local economies, and it will test what approach works best, with lessons learnt then being shared across Wales.

The foundational economy provides those basic goods and services we all use every day. Care and health services, food, housing, energy, construction, tourism and retailers on the high street are all examples of the foundational economy.

The First Minister said:

Many of our regional communities are telling us the way the economy has developed feels uneven to them and they feel left behind.

When I became First Minister, I made a commitment to address this – it’s important in all the debate about the impact of Brexit that we don’t lose sight of what led many people in Wales to vote to leave the EU and what action needs to be taken to address their concerns.

The foundational economy is made up of those goods and service in our communities that we use every day – by focusing our efforts on supporting these parts of the economy we can help keep money in communities, create better employment conditions and increase prosperity across Wales. By doubling the fund available we expect to see these benefits felt more quickly and more widely.

These foundational industries and organisations aren’t small parts of the economy. Estimates suggest they account for 4 in 10 jobs and £1 in every 3 that we spend. In some parts of Wales this basic ‘foundational economy’ is the economy.

The Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters, said:

This fund is about empowering business and public services to try out new ways to address challenges faced by employers and employees in the foundational economy or people who rely on its services.

I want to raise the profile of the foundational economy and to stimulate debate and learning on what works so we can scale up and spread good practice to benefit all communities in Wales. Ultimately this about building wealth and well-being, particularly in some of our less advantaged communities.

These challenges include:

  • the recruitment, retention and skills of the workforce
  • the delivery structures and design of services
  • ways of boosting the impact of local purchasing
  • and ways of involving citizens in the design of services.

Applications for the Fund are open for 8 weeks from 14 May to 12 July 2019.

Anyone interested in applying should register their interest by calling 0300 060 3000

By registering, people will be able to attend a surgery with the fund administrators to discuss their project idea in June.

Details of the fund and the surgeries are on the Business Wales website.”


Joint statement on Hoover jobs

Joint Statement by Dawn Bowden AM and Gerald Jones MP

Earlier today, we met company representatives at the Hoover Candy Ltd site in Merthyr Tydfil to discuss the current consultations about job losses at this site. The parent company is now Haier Electronics of China.

Background to the current consultation

The company explained the background to the ongoing and statutory consultation and the company’s decision to centralise a number of functions to Warrington. The consultation involves 45 job roles, and the company is having a series of consultation meetings with the staff and staff representatives about their personal situations. If the plans move forward, then the changes would take place by around spring 2020.

Sadly, the staff group affected do not have trade union recognition. The company unfortunately would not “facilitate” a meeting we had hoped to have with some of the staff on the site today. We are making alternative arrangements to meet staff in the near future. We do not propose to make detailed comments until we have spoken with those staff.

Hoover is in contact with the Welsh Government and depending on the final outcome from the current consultation, a range of advice and support will be offered to staff.

Distribution remains in Merthyr Tydfil

In better news, the company did confirm that the distribution operation will remain in Merthyr Tydfil, and the business plan hopes to see growth in this activity in future. The company is currently investing in the warehousing facilities on Hoover’s Merthyr Tydfil site. Unite the Union represents the warehousing and distribution staff.

We understand that consultation about redundancies is a sensitive and upsetting issue for those involved, and so we hope to speak with any staff who would like to meet us in the near future.

Gerald Jones MP

Oldway House, Castle Street, Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8UX

01685 383739

[email protected]

Dawn Bowden AM

110 High Street, Merthyr Tydfil CF47 8AP

01685 386672

[email protected]

70% of women could be ignoring symptoms of a disease that kills one woman every two hours in the UK

Dawn Bowden AM said “Ovarian cancer is another cancer where too many people ignore the symptoms and therefore miss the opportunity for early intervention”.

Dawn was reacting to news from the Ovarian Cancer Charity on World Ovarian cancer day.

A staggering 70% of women said they would hope general health symptoms such as bloating or fatigue would go away so they did not have to ask for time off work to see a GP, reveals new research commissioned by charity Ovarian Cancer Action.

With 82% of women unable to name the four main symptoms of ovarian cancer, Ovarian Cancer Action is concerned women are disregarding symptoms that could be a sign of a disease that kills one woman every two hours in the UK1.

Unsurprisingly, nearly two thirds (65%) of women would prioritise their children, partner and parent’s health before their own. Almost two thirds of women surveyed (65%) said they would encourage a loved one experiencing symptoms such as bloating or abdominal pain to book a GP appointment within a week, but less than half (41%) would take their own advice.

Time-strapped women said they would turn to the internet to research gynae-related symptoms (74%) or speak to a close friend (53%). The charity is urging women with persistent symptoms to talk to their GP.

Wednesday May 8th 2019 is World Ovarian Cancer Day and Ovarian Cancer Action has rallied an army of volunteers to hand out 33,000 white roses with symptoms cards attached in cities throughout the UK, representing the number of British women currently living with the disease. Volunteers hope to raise symptom awareness and share a message of hope – an early diagnosis could be lifesaving.2

Ovarian cancer is widely perceived as an older woman’s disease but it can affect a woman at any age. 27% of women wrongly believe cervical screening detects ovarian cancer – it doesn’t. There is currently no screening tool for the disease, so early diagnosis is vital.

The four main symptoms of ovarian cancer are

  • persistent stomach pain,
  • persistent bloating,
  • needing to wee more frequently and
  • finding it difficult to eat.
  • Other symptoms include fatigue, unexplained weight loss and a change in bowel habits.

Misdiagnosis is common with ovarian cancer as its symptoms can be confused with other less-serious conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or the menopause. Currently, two thirds (65%) of females experiencing general health concerns such as bloating, stomach ache, increased fatigue or swelling would be likely to accept the diagnosis given to them from the GP without question if they were told by their GP that their symptoms were of no concern, or were less serious than they thought. Over a quarter (27%) of women would doubt if they had ever experienced their symptoms in the first place. Only 27% of women would ask another healthcare professional for a second opinion. Ovarian Cancer Action want to encourage women to trust their instincts and not ignore warning signs.

Anna Szalay was a second-year law student balancing lectures with a part-time job when she began experiencing symptoms such as back pain, bloating and fatigue. Having previously prioritised coursework over booking a GP appointment, her symptoms increased. Anna saw a number of healthcare professionals before being diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer at just 19 years old. Anna, said: “it took me so long to get diagnosed because I didn’t know the symptoms and neither did a lot of healthcare professionals – it only takes a minute to learn the symptoms but they can save someone’s life.”

Cary Wakefield, Chief Executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, said: The UK has one of the worst ovarian cancer survival rates in Europe. To improve survival rates we need more research and better symptom awareness, which is why we are handing out 33,000 white roses this World Ovarian Cancer Day. It’s easy to ignore symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain if you don’t know they are symptoms of a potentially deadly disease. Listen to your body and head straight to your GP if something isn’t right.”