I really enjoyed this exhibition on Friday in the South Wales Miners' Museum. Vernon Hartshorn is an unsung hero of the Labour movement. He started his working life as a coal miner and ended it as one of the most influential figures in British politics. I'm really pleased that this will be coming to Parliament in June! Continue reading
Thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Llys Y Seren Care Home for Red Nose Day. Wonderful to see all generations getting together for a dance, a sing-song, and plenty of cake!
It was great to be at the Neath Port Talbot Question Time event at Nidum Arts Centre. It was really good to see so many young people getting engaged and holding their MPs, AMs and Councillors to account. Proof that votes at 16 is the way to go! Continue reading
I was delighted to be at official opening of the new Port Talbot Seafarers' Centre on St David's Day. Great work in supporting seafarers around the world by The Mission To Seafarers and Merchant Navy Welfare Board
It was great to be at the Annual Jobs Fair at the Port Talbot Jobcentre on St David's Day. Pleased to see this event so well attended. Enjoyed chatting to all the staff & exhibitors & being informed of developments. Congratulations to all. Continue reading
It was great to spend the afternoon talking with two groups of young people who have benefited from the Erasmus Plus programme. I spoke to group of Tata apprentices about their two weeks with Tata steel in the Netherlands. It was a hugely beneficial learning experience, broadens horizons, opens up exciting new opportunities. I also spoke with group of hair and beauty students from Afan College and discussed how their two weeks in Girona, Catalonia broadened their horizons, built confidence and allowed them to gain new skills. All the students in the group agreed that the experience was life changing and the confidence that it gave them has allowed all of them to begin studying for their PGCE and for two of the group to open their own business. It was truly inspiring to listen to all the students stories and hear first hand the benefits of UK/EU co-operation. Continue reading
I attended a public meeting in the Twelve Knights about advice given to members of the British Steel Pension Scheme to transfer out of their final salary pension. Steelworkers were exposed to opportunistic and unscrupulous advisers who swooped in like vultures, exploiting the situation for their own financial gain. Continue reading
It was great to be at a packed meeting of the NPT 1950s Women. These women have worked hard, paid-in their whole lives, and deserve to be treated with the respect they have earned. It was made absolutely clear in the meeting that the UK Government must now compensate women born in the 1950s for the way they have been misled and robbed of their state pension. Continue reading
It was great to visit Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service's Earlswood Training Centre with David Rees AM, and good to meet the brave men and women providing a vitally important service to our community.
Aberavon residents had another opportunity to speak with me about Brexit as I hosted my third Divided Views, Common Future meeting. The further along the Brexit road we go, the more there is to discuss. It was a fantastic, lively and engaging discussion, with a wide range of topics covered and lots of different views expressed. There was a consensus in the room that nobody wanted Aberavon to be worse off because of Brexit. Continue reading
I had an interesting visit to UK Power Reserve's plant on Afan Way. UK Power Reserve is a leading provider of secure, flexible, low carbon electricity to the UK power market and their recently constructed small scale gas-fired power generation plant can provide power for 20,000 homes. Continue reading
It was great to be at the Civic Centre to take part in the rally to save our libraries. The Tories' callous and self defeating austerity policies are putting huge pressure on Neath Port Talbot Council budgets. Tough choices have to be made, but our libraries are absolutely vital. Continue reading
It was great to go and see the Banksy in Taibach. It's fantastic that Port Talbot is the first town in Wales to have a Banksy! It’s a brilliant and striking work of street art. Port Talbot has always been a hub of creative talent, and it’s great to see that we’re continuing that proud tradition. It’s even better up close - a truly brilliant piece of street art. Absolutely superb, and the talk of the town!
I visited the Royal Mail sorting office in Eagle Street as they geared up for the last few delivery days before Christmas. It was very busy in the office as they were working flat our to deliver all parcels and post before Christmas. Our posties do a fantastic job delivering our mail all year round and in all weather. Continue reading
There was fantastic community spirit in Cwmafan for their first ever Christmas tree switch on. Well done to Councillors Charlotte Galsworthy, Rhydian Mizen and David Whitelock, and the whole community for coming together and pulling together such a great event. Continue reading
It was great to pop along to Tesco Port Talbot and support them, and the Trussell Trust, collecting food donations for the local foodbank. The foodbank provides a valued service in the community and it was really brilliant to see so many people giving generous donations.
It was amazing to be shown around the iconic Blast Furnace No 5 at Tata Steel. Vital repair work to extend the life of the blast was being carried out by a dedicated team, so there was a short window of opportunity to go inside the blast furnace and see the fascinating work that was being done. The work is incredibly complex and difficult but it's crucial work which will make such a difference to the steelworks. This £46 million investment is critical for the future of the works and for Aberavon. Continue reading
Neath Port Talbot Council's NPT Family put on a brilliant family fun day with various activities and fun events at Ebenezer Church in the run up to Christmas. It was great to meet members of the family support services and learn about the good work they do within the constituency.
I enjoyed a tour of St Joseph's Primary, with a visit to each class to learn about their individual class projects. This was followed up with an engaging Q+A session with pupils from across the school. The students had some truly brilliant questions about life as an MP and working in Westminster. It was great to see so many young people engaging and wanting to learn more about politics.
I was delighted to attend the graduation ceremony of participants of the Whole New World programme and present them with their certificates of achievement. The programme supports the long term unemployed, helping them gain confidence and skills. Many of the participants have already gained employment. It was fantastic to meet them, to learn of their experience of the programme and to hear of their success. Continue reading
It was great to visit Wernick Buildings on the Kenfig Industrial Estate and meet the truly impressive team creating high-skilled jobs and showcasing the very best of Welsh manufacturing. They design and manufacturer steel-framed modular buildings in house and later construct them on the building site. The buildings have been used for hospitals, schools, universities, offices and homes. Continue reading
It was great to visit the ‘Face to Face’ exhibition in our Civic Centre. Local artist Bert Evans has produced some truly outstanding portraits. Very disconcerting to see my mug shot hanging on the wall, though!! Bert started painting the portraits after some disparaging remarks about Port Talbot, he wanted to see whether the portraits would capture the positive feelings he and others have towards the town. With over 100 portraits in the exhibition they capture Bert's love of Taibach and Port Talbot.
It was a busy morning at Baglan Library for my coffee morning with David Rees AM and local Councillors Carol Clement and Suzanne Renkes. Spoke with residents about bus services, private medical treatment and the quality of new build housing.
It was a privilege to be at the Quins ground for the Jonah Lomu legacy match. There was a great atmosphere there to mark ten years since the New Zealand legend played for Aberavon Naval club in a charity exhibition match. There was entertainment from Cymric Welsh Male Voice Choir, Lily Duncan sang the National Anthem, music from a brass band, and embers of the Fijian & Tongan communities of Britain performed a traditional Maori War Dance. It was a fitting tribute to a legend of the game who gave his time to help a local team. Continue reading
I visited the Foodbank in Carmel Chapel to see first-hand the great work they do to support the most vulnerable in our town. It was great to be able to run a surgery there and offer some advice to constituents and grow our links with the foodbank to support them in every way I can.
It was great to join First Minister Carwyn Jones and David Rees AM on a visit to the newly opened Ysgol Cwm Brombil. We were taken on a well-informed tour by the school’s prefects and had a great chat about how the new facilities are working for them. It was wonderful to see the school’s new layout preparing for the incoming new curriculum in Wales and the innovative the school has incorporated independent study and group study. Ysgol Cwm Brombil is an amazing 21st century school, showing the Welsh Labour Government and Neath Port Talbot Council once again delivering vital investment in our community, and in our future generations. Continue reading
It was great to be out and about in Port Talbot ward with our brilliant team of local councillors, Cllr Saif Rahaman, Cllr Sharon Freeguard and Cllr Dennis Keogh, and activists. Lots of good chats on the doorsteps, and plenty of local issues to follow up on! Continue reading
It was an honour to lay wreaths at the Taibach and Briton Ferry cenotaphs, in memory of the thousands who gave their lives to protect the values that we hold dear. We will remember them.
It was great to attend the Cymer Afan Community Library Annual General Meeting. Since being taken over and run by the community in 2014, the library has gone from strength to strength, developing facilities and adding services. With increased usage their opening hours have also increased. Continue reading
There was a fantastic community vibe at the Richard Burton 10k. Over 1,700 took part! It's an amazing event that really puts Cwmafan and Pontrhydhyfen on the map. I dragged myself to the finish line in 52 mins, so 3 mins slower than last year... The old legs ain’t what they used to be...
I visited Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Dur, the new Welsh medium school that opened in September in Sandfields. It's a fantastic facility and I really enjoyed meeting with pupils who were so enthusiastic about their new school.
I popped along to MacMillan's mobile support van, Bronwen, when it was in Port Talbot. They provide a great service for people who have a cancer diagnosis, for people who know someone affected by cancer or are worried about cancer. They can offer medical, financial, emotional and practical support.
I visited the new assault course at Bulldogs gym which was funded by the Armed Forces Covenant. I also met with Dave Singletory of SSAFA who was instrumental in helping get the assault course established and runs a drop-in for armed-service personnel. The assault course was impressive and will be great addition to the facilities that they already have at Bulldogs. Continue reading
It was great to take part in the question time event organised by Unison Neath Port Talbot on fair funding for local services. The Council chamber was packed with Councillors and council workers, who are concerned over the levels of funding for local government and what that means for future of our valued and vital services. Continue reading
It was great to visit the steelworks in Port Talbot and wonderful to see the timeline of the history of the site dating back to 13th century, followed by visit to Concast & the BOS plant. There is a long tradition of steel making in Port Talbot and the timeline shows the centuries of development of the steel making industry and how integral it is to the town. It was a real privilege to see the highly skilled workforce delivering an outstanding product for British industry. Continue reading
It was great to be with my colleague Christina Rees MP for Neath, Kev Johns and Mark Dacey, Principal and CEO of Neath Port Talbot College Group, at their Student Awards Ceremony. It was inspiring to see these brilliant students receiving the recognition they so thoroughly deserve. Well done to everyone.
It was great to meet with the Aberavon WASPI group and Chair of the APPG on State Pension Inequality for Women, Carolyn Harris MP. We had a good discussion on where the campaign is and what the next steps are.
It was great to meet the team at Port Talbot Fire and Rescue Station. These guys provide a vital service to our community. Their courage, dedication and professionalism are second to none.
I spent a great day with the police in Port Talbot, joining the neighbourhood policing team as they went out on patrol, and meeting the response team as they attended calls. The police force do a brilliant job for our community. It was great to see the speed of their response, their compassion, their engagement and their professionalism. Continue reading
Over 200 residents came to a public meeting to express their concerns about anti-social behaviour in Briton Ferry to Councillors, Council officers and the police. Agencies and community working in partnership.
It was great to attend a public meeting organised by David Rees AM in Croeserw Enterprise Centre to discuss provision of GP services at Cymmer Health Centre. The room was packed to rafters, and senior Abertawe Bro Morgannwg UHB managers listened carefully to concerns that were raised.
I had an engaging question and answer session about Brexit with pupils at St Joseph's. The session was arranged with Our Future, Our Choice. I spoke about how it is important for the voices of young people to be heard in the Brexit discussions as they will be living with the consequences of these decisions much longer than the politicians who are making them. There were lots of interesting and searching questions, and it was great to hear the views of young people.
I visited St Joseph's Comprehensive and Sixth Form to hear about the pupils progress as part of The Scholars Programme, a prestigious national scheme which gives school pupils an opportunity to experience university-style learning. It was great to visit and meet pupils taking part in The Scholars Programme. I was very impressed at how they engaged with such a complex and challenging academic topic. It just goes to show what young people from Aberavon can achieve if we give them the opportunity. I wish the pupils the very best for the future, and I encourage more schools to give their pupils the chance to benefit from this programme. Continue reading