We’re all getting used to the new restrictions in Neath that are in place to deal with the spike in coronavirus cases, and it’s great to see people playing their part to stop the spread of the virus. I am so pleased that Mark Drakeford has amended the rules for areas with local lockdowns, so that people of any age who live alone are allowed to visit one other household indoors to form a so-called temporary bubble. This pandemic has highlighted the very serious challenges of loneliness and maintaining good mental health for those who live by themselves. It is absolutely vital that this protection is put in place. I also want to reiterate that anyone experiencing domestic abuse is able to leave the borough to access help and support. We’ve seen how terribly the pandemic and lockdown impacted those facing domestic abuse and it’s really important that we emphasise that there is help available. The Welsh Government’s Live Fear Free Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 0808 80 10 800. There is a live chat service, also 24/7, that can be found on the Live Fear Free website here. You can also text to 07960 077 333 or email email@example.com. Of course, in an emergency, call 999.
Thursday marked the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The message this year is simple: check your breasts – and this goes for men as well, as over 300 men a year are diagnosed with breast cancer. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives and this even goes for routine cancer screening. Due to the suspension of routine screening, an estimated 300 women in Wales are living with undiagnosed breast cancer. Please, make the time to check for any changes to your breasts and if you are concerned that something doesn’t seem or feel right, contact your GP immediately. Breast cancer has a high survival rate for those who are diagnosed early – so make the time to check your breasts today.
A new charity has been formed from Bowel and Cancer Research and the Bowel Disease Research Foundation which have merged to become Bowel Research UK. They are funding life-changing research into bowel cancer and other bowel diseases. Every year, over 16,000 people die from bowel cancer in the UK, and over 1 million people suffer from bowel disease. I am really proud to support the launch of BRUK and see them provide the vital patient-centred research funding necessary to radically improve the lives of those living with bowel disease and cancer. For more information or to see how you can get involved, visit their website here.
I was pleased to sign a letter this week to Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, and the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, along with other Welsh MPs. I’ve heard from a number of constituents concerned that as they are now subject to Welsh Government restrictions to deal with the spike in coronavirus cases, they will not be able to go on holiday. We are calling on the UK Government to make it clear to airlines and holiday providers that the restrictions put in place by the Welsh Government carry the force of law and as such, all customers who are unable to take holidays due to restrictions are entitled to refunds or credit notices.
This week, the Welsh Government has launched a £7 million fund to support creative freelancers affected by the pandemic. Our creative and cultural sector in Wales is a huge part of our economy as well as our national identity and cultural life. The fund will open on Monday 5 October and freelancers will be able to apply for funds of up to £2,500 grant. You can check your eligibility here and find out more about the fund which is intended to protect sustainable organisations and as many jobs as possible in the sector. I would encourage all creative freelancers in Neath to check out the website and apply.
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 – observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!