‘Older people finding it difficult to access services they need’ – DollarJob

‘Older people finding it difficult to access services they need’

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MS for Delyn

This year is set to be a busy one when it comes to the democratic landscape of our country. A UK General Election needs to happen by January 2025 at the latest, but before that we will see someone new take over the reigns as First Minister of Wales. It has been a real privilege to serve in Mark Drakeford’s government and whoever becomes the First Minister will do so at time of real challenge and change – from a cost-of-living crisis to significant financial pressures on our public services and servants. I believe the person to take on that task and unite our communities and country is Jeremy Miles MS.

Jeremy has the support of the people who know him best and those who have worked most closely with him – a clear majority of his colleagues in the Senedd. He also has support from across North East Wales. Jeremy was born and brought up in South West Wales, growing up in and serving a community that has much in common with our own communities here – from the industrial legacy of the past to the challenges of connectivity of today and the future. I know that Jeremy will be a First Minister who is not only here in North Wales regularly but actually understands the issues we face and works with us on the solutions to the challenges ahead of us – he understands the country outside Cardiff. I also know Jeremy to be compassionate, considered and committed to a leadership style that is open, inclusive and brings people with us. I entered the Senedd at the same election in 2016 – we worked together on the backbenches, not just serving on the same committees but also pushing for an inclusive curriculum.

In government, we have continued to work closely, most recently on the Unions and the World of Work Project to empower the next generation of employers and employees. I have seen first hand, day-in day-out, Jeremy’s commitment to giving everyone the best start in life and opportunities so that they can achieve their true potential. But you don’t need to simply take my word for it, his actions as Education Minister speak for themselves – whether that’s increasing Educational Maintenance Allowance or working with our local authorities to roll out free school meals in primary schools in Wales. This year and the next few months will define and shape our futures. We need a fresh face and a fresh focus and I believe Jeremy is the leader that Wales needs.

Last week, the Welsh Government announced that the phased expansion of the Flying Start early-years childcare provision to include all two-year-olds, started in April 2023 with an investment of £46m, has achieved its target of delivering an additional 4,500 childcare places during 2023-24, with more than 700 childcare places in a Welsh-medium setting. These are significant achievements which demonstrate the Welsh Government’s commitment to giving every child in Wales the best possible start in life. Flying Start childcare is a vital service, which helps children to learn, grow and thrive as well as providing much-needed support to families across Flintshire through the council-administered scheme – to find out more, visit www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/Resident/Schools/2-Year-Olds-Flying-Start-Childcare-Expansion.aspx.

Last month the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, released her report into older people’s experiences of digital exclusion in Wales. The report, titled Access Denied, highlights the many ways in which people over 60 are at risk of social exclusion and being left behind as the use of digital technology continues to play an even greater role in our everyday lives. The report, based on experiences shared by older people living in Wales, outlines that many older people are finding it increasingly difficult to access the information and services they need and highlights a range of problems due to not being online or having limited digital skills.

It’s for this reason that public representatives like me need to be mindful that not everyone is online or digital-savvy and that’s why I continue to write for local newspapers and publications that are available in printed form and why I make sure I can be contacted by phone and post – and not rely on just social media and the internet to provide Flintshire residents with updates on the work I do on your behalf.

As always, if you would like advice and/or support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on any of the following contact details – 52 High Street, Mold, Flintshire, on 01352 753464 or, if you prefer, by email hannah.blythyn@senedd.wales. If you use social media, you can also keep up to date via my Facebook page – www.facebook.com/HannahBlythynForDelyn. Constituents are, of course, welcome to contact my office to arrange an appointment to see me, you don’t need to wait until an advice surgery.



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