Peredur Owen Griffiths, who represents Plaid Cymru, is one of four regional Senedd Members serving the South Wales East region.
It’s an honour to be writing this, my first of a regular column for Caerphilly Observer, as one of your regional Members of the Senedd.
Local journalism is a key component of our society. We need to be able to hold to account those who make decisions on our behalf and journalism has that vital role to play. A local press also keeps us informed of local events and decisions that would otherwise go unreported.
Without a healthy local media, democracy simply does not work. This is why I am proud to be contributing to Caerphilly Observer on a regular basis from now on.
Let me start by introducing a bit about my background. Before becoming elected to the Senedd, I worked for both Santander and Principality around the south of Wales, starting as cashier, before eventually being made branch manager.
Working on the high streets of places such as Caerphilly, Blackwood, Newport, Cwmbran and Monmouth, you get a really good feel for communities.
In 2015, after 13 years of working for a financial institution, I decided it was time for a career change and I joined Christian Aid as Regional Coordinator for South Wales, before joining Cytûn: Churches together in Wales in 2018. This was borne out of a sense to give something back to the community and the outreach work we did there was rewarding and made a real difference.
This desire to help and improve people’s lives was what drove me to stand for election for Plaid Cymru. I am in a position where I can represent people who have been treated unfairly or unjustly and I do not take that position lightly. No matter how you may have voted, I am here to represent all people living within the South Wales East region.
Within the short space of time since the election, I have been given the Older People and Communities portfolio for Plaid Cymru. This is a natural fit for me as it draws upon much of my experience over 20 years of working in local towns and being part of community initiatives.
There is a lot more to the portfolio beneath the heading – for example, it also covers social care – so I am looking forward to getting stuck into the many issues that matter in the coming months and years.
I will also be kept extra busy after being elected as chair of the Senedd’s Finance Committee which will be charged with scrutinising the Welsh Government’s budgets, among other things.
It has also been great to have already had the chance to raise some key issues in plenary. In a short debate, I raised the lack of information coming from government about initiatives to improve dental care for people in residential care homes. The short debate put this important issue back on the agenda of the Welsh Government: it had been over 18 months since we’d last had an update from them – that’s before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
It was good to hear from the Minister during the debate that their programme to address dental care in care homes – Gwên am Byth – is being ramped up in the coming months. I feel proud of the role I played in getting this back on the agenda.
I also raised the lack of state funding for children’s hospices in Wales in questions to the Health Minister. Many people in Wales are familiar with the incredible work that T? Hafan and T? Gobaith do for seriously ill children but it is not widely known that they receive less than 10% of their funding from the state.
In Scotland, children’s hospices get 50% of their budget from the state. This inequity is unfair and I will be keeping the pressure on the Labour Government to rectify this anomaly in the coming months as they launch a review into the funding arrangements.
As we enter the summer recess, the work does not stop. I will be continuing to get into the community and meet with as many people and local representatives as I can. I will also be hoping to open up an office within the region and fill my staffing team so watch this space.
In the meantime, please contact me if you think there is anything I can help you with: Peredur.OwenGriffiths@Senedd.Wales
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