A Summer in Neath…
The recess period was filled with visits, events and meetings (as well as meeting with many constituents). Things began with a visit to the Creative Play event at Dove Workshop. Aimed at toddlers and young parents, and run in partnership with Welsh Government Initiative Communities First.
On Monday 17th August I visited the Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm with Natural Resources Wales. I was impressed and awe-struck at the sheer scale of the undertaking, as Vattenfall attempt to install over 70 wind turbines on the mountain between the Neath and Rhondda Valleys. The project not only means good, local employment, during construction and beyond, but it also makes a statement about our commitment to renewable energy and tackling climate change.
I took part in Pride Cymru on Saturday 15th August, and marched through Cardiff carrying our new Neath Constituency banner, alongside comrades from Unite, the Terrence Higgins Trust, and Welsh Labour, as well as the founding members of LGSM (Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners), a group that has had a profound impact on my constituency and recently portrayed in the Hollywood film “Pride”.
Talking about Hollywood, I was delighted to be able to welcome to Neath US Congressman for California’s 28th District, Adam Schiff. An advantageous twist of fate meant that Adam, who I was twinned with on the Parliamentary Working Party, was travelling to the UK on political business and I invite him to Neath, which he duly accepted.
Adam was joined by Neath’s political stalwarts for a hearty supper in Moruzzi’s, before getting a good night’s sleep in the historic Castle Hotel. The following day was filled with a tour of the Neath Constituency, involving a trip underground to see the working Cwm Nant Colliery, lunch in the birthplace of St. Patrick whilst being serenaded by the angelic voice of our very own Bronwen Lewis, and a send-off from Cor Meibion Onllwyn at Seven Sisters RFC. The visit was exceptional in many ways, and I want to not only thank Adam for taking the time to travel to Neath, but also all the people who turned up to make his visit so memorable.
On the back of a response to the letter I sent to all local Voluntary Organisations, I took up an invitation to visit Llys Nini, an independent charity-run animal rescue centre affiliated to the RSPCA. I was amazed at the excellent work of the committed staff and volunteers, not only rescuing and re-homing neglected animals, but also running youth and environment projects as well as supporting adults returning to the world of work.
Finally, my summer recess was brought to a close with a visit to the Integrated Offender Intervention Service in Neath, a unique project aimed at rehabilitating drug misusers and young offenders. I was once again humbled at the exceptional work going on at the centre, and the effort being made by the participants in making changes to their lives. I commend the staff and South Wales Police for their hard work and commitment to making such a success of the project.