Although you may have seen some confusing reports on the news this week, it’s important to remember that here in Wales, the lockdown restrictions have not changed. We still cannot gather in groups with people from outside our homes, visit beauty spots despite the glorious weather, or travel for exercise. We are allowed out for exercise and to meet our essential medical needs and to go shopping. Please, continue to follow the social distancing guidelines to protect our vulnerable loved ones and to support the NHS and our key workers. We will get through this together and the day will come for us to meet our loved ones in the park or on the beach with ice cream – but that time is not quite yet!
We’ve had such a fantastic local community response to the coronavirus pandemic across our Neath constituency and it’s been truly heartening to hear the many wonderful stories of all the people who are reaching out to help. Over the coming days and weeks, I’m going to be sharing examples of these on my social media feeds and would ask anyone who knows of an individual, group, or local business who are doing great work to get in touch with my office.
We heard this week about Nicola Cole, from the Organised Kaos team in Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen. Organised Kaos are a fantastic not-for-profit circus training school here in the South Wales Valleys. If you’ve ever seen them perform, you’ll know how hard-working and dedicated they all are and what a disappointment it must be to have their training sessions and performances suspended due to the virus. Nicola didn’t take the break offered to her by being put on furlough, instead working as a night shift manager for the newly converted Dragon Heart Field Hospital. Thank you for everything you do Nicola – you’re amazing.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is kindness. We’ve seen so many acts of kindness coming out of this terrible situation and I’m so proud to be part of this wonderful constituency. Kindness is so important for our overall well being – both our mental and physical heath. We need it to become a greater part of our everyday lives and certainly a greater part of our politics. We need to put people at the heart of our politics, not economic units or statistics. We need to think about how the policies that we create will impact the lives of people outside Westminster and how we can really improve the lives of our constituents. Kindness is not a nice extra; it’s a necessity.
We were able to say a big thank you to our teachers this Thursday on Thank A Teacher Day. Our teachers have continued working – contrary to what some newspapers would like us to believe! – some teaching the children of key workers and vulnerable children in schools that have stayed open, and others working from home to prepare work for the students who have had to remain at home and who have continued to check in with them throughout the lockdown. They do an incredible job, each and every day. They work with increasingly limited resources to keep our children entertained and motivated while they learn, and while being handed more and more administrative tasks. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their hard work.
Talking about people who do amazing work with children; it’s Foster Care Fortnight. Foster Care Fortnight aims to raise awareness around fostering as well as to digitally recruit foster carers across the country. Anyone can be a foster carer – it doesn’t matter if you’re married or single, living with a partner of any gender, from any religious, ethnic, or linguistic background, or living with a disability. You just need to be able to care for a child, to look after their emotional, physical, and educational needs, and provide a loving environment. You can read more about being a foster carer in the Neath constituency here.
It’s also Epilepsy Week and the Epilepsy Research charity have asked people to think of a fundraising activity around the theme “6 for the 600 challenge”. Every week 600 people are given the life-changing news that they have epilepsy. All money raised will go towards supporting vital research to achieve a life free from epilepsy. This is such a fun idea to raise money – you could do 600 laps of your garden, create 6 pieces of artwork, run 60km in a day or week, video 6 people skipping for 60 seconds – the possibilities are endless! You can read more about this challenge and find out how to donate to this worthy cause here.
As always, if you have any questions or issues and want to get in touch, please do not hesitate to drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01639 630152. My staff are working from home to comply with the social distancing measures, but, as always, we remain there should you need to get in contact with us.
I hope you stay well, enjoy the weekend and, remember – stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.