I hope everyone had a nice Easter – I’ve been a regular reader of the Caerphilly Observer for years, and it’s a pleasure to be writing for this paper for the first time.
Taking a closer look at our local economy and jobs
It was great to see so much interest in the Rhymney jobs fair earlier this month, which Dawn Bowden and I hosted together at Ael-y-Bryn Community Centre.
There was a real buzz about the place, with more than 100 people through the doors over the day, and as many as 30 important local employers and organisations represented.
The jobs fair also marked the launch of a new project for me and Dawn, taking a closer look at the jobs, skills and local economy in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney.
In the coming months, we’ll be looking to work with more and more local businesses, organisations and training providers to see how we can improve our local economy and the opportunities available to local people – if you’d like to get involved or share your views, please get in touch!
Pushing for more free cash machines in the Upper Rhymney Valley
With the recent closure of Lloyds Bank in Rhymney, I’ve been working with my colleague Dawn Bowden AM to look at the provision of free-to-use cash machines in our area. We’ve noted that many ATMs make a charge, so we have met with LINK, the company that oversees many of these machines, to see what can be done to increase the number of free-to-use machines. Initial signs are looking positive, but I’ll update further once we have a firm outcome.
Tackling anti-social behaviour in Tirphil
I have been working with local councillors Eluned Stenner and Mark Evans to support local residents in Tirphil to try to resolve issues of anti-social behaviour around the train station. I had a very positive joint meeting in March with Network Rail, Transport for Wales, British Transport Police, Gwent Police and Caerphilly CBC, with a follow up to come soon.
Checking in with Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent Citizens Advice
Two weeks ago, I visited the Citizens Advice Bureau Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent branch in Bargoed with Dawn Bowden AM. It was great to get a deeper understanding of the vital work they day on a day-to-day basis, supporting people across the Upper Rhymney Valley and in Caerphilly Borough. We were also able to see their brand-new offices, which was another example of a new development made possible by Welsh Government funding support.