Rhun ap Iorwerth writes to Sport Wales regarding funding for Ynys Môn 3G pitches

‼️Today I have written to Sport Wales regarding the need for more 3G pitch facilities on Ynys Môn.

Following my question to Welsh Government last week regarding this matter, today I have written to the Chief Executive of Sport Wales in order to arrange a meeting to explore what support could be available to bring 3G pitch facilities to Amlwch and Holyhead.

👇Watch the video below to find out more.

Rhun ap Iorwerth urges Welsh Government to support new 3G pitch plans on Ynys Môn.

There is truly a need for new 3G pitches in two of Ynys Môn’s biggest communities, according to Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth, who has asked Welsh Government to commit to supporting projects that would see new 3G pitch facilities developed in Amlwch and Holyhead.

77 new 3G pitches have been invested in across Wales in recent years due to Welsh Government funding, with the target of reaching 100 pitches by 2024, but Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth has insisted that more investment is needed, and that the island needs to see further 3G facilities developed in two of its biggest towns.

In a question to Welsh Government today, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“I would encourage you to invest further and to invest specifically in Ynys Môn. Referring to the earlier question on international football, there’ll be no international football without successful grass-roots football in our towns and villages. I look forward to following Wales to Azerbaijan later this year, but we won’t be able to do that in coming years unless we invest in the grass roots.

“There’s a wonderful 3G facility in Llangefni and there’s going to be investment in upgrading facilities in Menai Bridge. We truly need new 3G pitches in Holyhead and Amlwch, and I’ve held meetings already with representatives of those communities, who are willing to do whatever is necessary to bring that investment in.

“The local authority has a plan to invest over the next few years, but we need that investment now. I ask for a commitment from the Government to work with me and with others to ensure that we explore all means possible of drawing the funding in to bring these resources, which are so crucial, not only for the future of the beautiful game but for the health of our nation too.”

Welsh Government Minister Dafydd Elis-Thomas responded, adding:

“Naturally, I’m going to agree with that. I had the opportunity of opening a new pitch in Parc Eirias in the county that I live in, and I know how important this resource is for all sorts of sporting activities where these pitches are suitable.

“So, what I will do is convey what has been said here today to Sport Wales and ask for a further report on the progress that they’re making in Ynys Môn in particular. I accept that it’s not possible to have international football in Wales unless it includes Anglesey as well.”

No assurances given regarding post-Brexit structural funding for Wales by UK Government.

Wales has benefitted from over £4bn of European Structural Funding from the European Union since 2000, but with just weeks to go until the UK leaves the EU on January 31st, UK Government has given no assurances about any aspect of a proposed new fund to replace monies lost by leaving the EU, Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth has learned.

The Conservative UK Government initially promised a full consultation on the details of the new Shared Prosperity Fund – devised to replace EU funds the UK would lose access to due to Brexit – was due to be published by UK ministers before the end of 2018, yet with the UK’s exit from the EU just weeks away, details of the proposed fund are scarce, and the consultation is yet to take place.

Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Economy and Finance Rhun ap Iorwerth today pressed Welsh Government First Minister Mark Drakeford for any details regarding the new fund, and asked what assurances Welsh Government had been given by UK Government about the fund.

In his question to the First Minister, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“We are moving towards life outside the European Union now, and we do have to look at safeguarding Welsh interests in that new context, and we are all agreed that it’s not just how much money comes to replace EU funding that’s important, but how those funds are spent.

“You mention that new flexibility that could emerge in certain areas, but what assurance have you received so far and what threats have you identified to date in terms of that principle that priorities should be set and decisions on expenditure should be made in Wales under this new fund?”

In response, First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

“We haven’t been given any assurances about any aspect of the new fund, there are no details in the Conservative Party manifesto, and we haven’t heard anything yet from the new Government. And that is why I said that it’s crucial that the new Government publishes the details and talks to us about those details.

“We here in Wales, and not just in the Government but with everybody that’s been such an important part of the way in which we’ve spent the European funding—we will all have to be clear about the new Government’s proposals to give us an assurance about the principles that we’ve mentioned today, and also they must collaborate with us to plan an effective strategy for the future.”

“Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware” says Rhun ap Iorwerth AM & Citizens Advice Cymru.

Research by Citizens Advice Cymru has found that nearly 60% of people have been approached by a scammer in the last two years. Most worryingly, of those targeted, only 44% of people spoke to anyone about it.

Under the slogan “Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware” Citizens Advice Cymru and Rhun ap Iorwerth AM are encouraging people to talk about their experiences and look out for others, particularly more vulnerable people during this festive period.

More than half of all scams reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service in the last year used well-established, offline methods. These classic tactics from the scammers’ playbook include unsolicited doorstep selling, mail and cold calling, and saw people lose an average of almost £3,000.

Fraudsters using these methods are known to overwhelmingly target older, more vulnerable people.

Rebecca Wooley, Director of Citizens Advice Cymru said:

“‘Stop, report, talk: Be #scamaware’ is our message to consumers this Christmas period.

“We’re finding that although many people have come into contact with scammers, very few people are speaking up about this issue.

“People can sometimes feel foolish or embarrassed reporting their experiences, but sadly this means perpetrators are getting away scot-free.”

“In reality, all of us can have the bad luck of being targeted with a scam. We hope this Scams Awareness campaign will encourage people to share their stories and learn tips to stop scammers from running off with people’s money.”

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth said:

“Christmas is usually a time for celebration. However, for some, scams can really ruin the festive season.
“This is why I’ve teamed up with Citizens Advice Cymru to encourage people not only to be vigilant about scams but, if they do come into contact with them, to report it and to warn others.

“If you’re unsure about a potential scam, always check.”

If you’re worried that you or someone you know has become victim to a scam, you can contact Citizens Advice’s consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 (Welsh language).

Labour Welsh Government Draft Budget ‘delivers only in lack of ambition’

Responding to the Welsh Government’s draft budget published today, Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for the Economy and Finance Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said,

“This is a budget that delivers only in its lack of ambition.

“Twenty years of Labour rule in Wales has shown us that more money for our NHS doesn’t in itself mean better services. What we need to see from this Labour government is a strategic plan on how this extra funding will be spent on preventative measures instead of the continued mismanagement of our NHS and health boards that are still in special measures. Meanwhile, local government is still not being given the level of funding it so desperately needs to deliver crucial front line public services.

“The £140m package for low carbon transport is not nearly ambitious enough and such a small package in the face of such a colossal global climate crisis shows that this Labour government isn’t taking the issue seriously enough.

“This is a Labour government that’s out of ideas and almost out of time.

Plaid Cymru shadow minister for the economy and finance Rhun ap Iorwerth AM added,

“To compound the problem of Labour mismanagement, the truth is, that the Welsh Government’s budget will be tied to the priorities of whatever government is sitting in Westminster, and we know that UK Governments – of whichever colour – care little about addressing Wales’ needs.”

Ynys Môn AM visits Digartref Môn hostel

Local PCSOs and the Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth were among visitors to Llys y Gwynt, the Digartref Môn hostel for homeless young people in Holyhead, on Friday.

Digartref Môn looked back on another year supporting some of our most vulnerable young people. Plans for the coming months include continuing to develop their wonderful vegetable garden.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said:

“I am so grateful to the Digartref Môn team for all they do.

“It is sad that we need this kind of provision and there’s a desperate lack of funding for it, but we’re so lucky that we have this dedicated team here on Ynys Môn.”

Labour AM investigated for breaking rules on bus services

Transport Minister is accused of breaking Ministerial Code by channelling scarce funds to his own constituency.

Plaid Cymru’s Rhun ap Iorwerth has accused Labour of “playing fast and loose” with Government rules by, after the First Minister confirmed that the Labour Transport Minister is being investigated for allegedly breaking the Ministerial Code.

It’s been revealed that Transport Minister Ken Skates has referred himself to the First Minister for investigation, following allegations that he personally intervened to secure funds from his own government department for bus services in his own constituency of Clwyd South.

Mr ap Iorwerth, who speaks for Plaid Cymru on transport, said that the Labour government in Cardiff Bay is “taking the north west of Wales for a ride”.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Plaid Cymru AM Ynys Môn and Shadow Economy and Finance Minister, said:

“Areas like Gwynedd and Ynys Môn are desperate for decent bus services. Whilst we all need that investment, this Labour government is accused of playing fast and loose with the rules to divert money to a place that would better suit the Transport Minister.

“I asked the First Minister today if he’d finished his inquiry into Mr Skate’s actions, but he dismissed my question as though it was me in the wrong for holding him and one of his own ministers to account. This is symbolic of a complacent administration that has completely run out of steam, and is taking our communities for granted.

“People have the right to expect full transparency in how public money is spent, and to expect that public money is spent fairly and equally in all parts of Wales.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM backs new campaign for fair chance of survival for people with the deadliest common cancer

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has pledged his support to Pancreatic Cancer UK’s campaign demanding action to give people a fair chance to beat pancreatic cancer.

Currently 93 per cent of people will die within five years of diagnosis , making pancreatic cancer eight times deadlier than other common cancers such as prostate, breast or bowel cancer. The charity is calling for the Government and devolved administrations to produce a dedicated national plan in response to the pancreatic cancer emergency.

At the launch of Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Demand Survival Now campaign at the Senedd on Wednesday 27 November Rhun ap Iorwerth AM heard how, despite progress in overall cancer survival, pancreatic cancer remains the deadliest common cancer. Survival has not improved for more than 50 years and the UK is falling further behind the rest of Europe, with fewer patients receiving surgery to remove their tumour – currently the only potential cure for the disease.

Pancreatic Cancer UK believes it is possible to transform the future for those affected by the disease through a dedicated action plan focusing on: increased research investment; delivering better, faster care; and raising public awareness of pancreatic cancer symptoms through a national awareness campaign.

Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said: “It is heart-breaking that 93 per cent of people with pancreatic cancer will die within five years of diagnosis. Nobody should face such appalling odds.

“We have seen significant improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and awareness of many cancers, lifesaving progress that I am hugely grateful for, but for pancreatic cancer to have been left so far behind is unacceptable.

“I hope everyone in Ynys Môn will join me in backing this campaign and help transform survival for this devastating disease.”

A report released by the charity to coincide with the campaign launch highlights how decades of underfunding for research into pancreatic cancer have hampered efforts to improve survival and just 2.1 per cent of the UK cancer research budget is currently spent on the disease. The charity wants Governments to prioritise pancreatic cancer by investing £25m into research annually to help find desperately needed new treatments and deliver earlier diagnosis.

No screening or early detection tests exist for pancreatic cancer and its vague symptoms – such as back pain, indigestion and weight-loss – mean the disease often goes undetected until after it has spread to other parts of the body. Pancreatic Cancer UK wants to see the introduction of a national optimal pathway within the NHS, similar to those already in place for other cancers, to ensure that all pancreatic cancer patients across the UK receive the best standard of treatment and care, as fast as possible. The charity believes that this measure, in combination with a symptoms awareness campaign from Government, could lead to more patients being diagnosed in time for treatment to be possible – giving them the very best chance of survival.

Pancreatic Cancer UK has started a petition calling for the Welsh Government and other governments across the UK to produce a dedicated national plan to transform survival for pancreatic cancer. To sign the petition visit: www.demandsurvivalnow.org.uk

Diana Jupp, CEO of Pancreatic Cancer UK said: ““We’re extremely grateful Rhun ap Iorwerth AM has shown his support for our Demand Survival Now campaign. Decades of underfunding and inaction from Governments of all colours have made tackling pancreatic cancer a cancer emergency like no other.

“The huge strides which have been made in improving survival for other cancers are proof that the UK can do so much better, and it’s time Governments prioritised the deadliest common cancer. With a dedicated plan, we can transform the future for patients and their loved ones. Please join us by signing the petition. It’s unacceptable that people with pancreatic cancer face such deadly odds. They deserve a fair chance to survive.”

Rhun ap Iorwerth working with community groups on vision to deliver 3G pitches across Ynys Môn.

Working in partnership could see Holyhead and Amlwch benefit from significant investment in sporting facilities according to Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, who has been working with community groups from both areas to discuss plans for new leisure infrastructure.

The Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn has been working with community groups in Amlwch for many months to support their plans for new sports facilities in the area, and has also been working with campaigners in Holyhead who are seeking a resolution to the lack of all-weather facilities in the area, after flooding recently led to significant issues at Millbank’s artificial pitch.

Bringing groups from both communities together for discussions last week, Mr ap Iorwerth says he is hoping that collaboration between the two communities, as well as working with the County Council, can lead to a once-in-a-generation investment in sporting infrastructure for the area.

Plaid Cymru AM Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“I feel very, very strongly that we need to be investing in infrastructure for sport here on Anglesey. The artificial pitch in Holyhead is facing some problems, so I think now is the time to see a full-size 3G pitch developed in Holyhead, and I also support a new 3G pitch in Amlwch too. The facility in Llangefni is a fantastic asset, and investment in Porthaethwy is very welcome too – we need facilities like this all over the island!

“I have been working with community groups in both Holyhead and Amlwch offering my support to try and make this happen, and last week I had a very productive meeting with groups from both areas to see how we can work together to deliver this transformational investment.

“We discussed how to work together to secure investment for those two pitches. The Council has been stripped of cash systematically for years, so we can’t ask them for money, but I hope to work with them on a vision for a once-in-a-generation investment into sporting facilities on the island.

“It is going to take time, but this is worth doing, and I do think it is possible to work together between Holyhead and Amlwch to bring these facilities to the area for our young people and for future generations. It won’t be easy, but let’s see what we can do!”

Welsh Government must step up to tackle problems regarding dementia care

Welsh Government urgently need to do more to support people living with dementia, and make sure they can receive the care they need close to home and in their first language, according to Ynys Mon Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth.

A number of cases have been brought to the attention of the Plaid Cymru AM on Ynys Mon in recent weeks, where dementia patients are being asked to travel extensive distances outside their communities to receive care, to England in one particular case, meaning that they would not be able to receive care through the medium of Welsh.

Mr ap Iorwerth has written to Welsh Government on two occasions regarding similar cases in recent weeks, and brought concerns to the attention of Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“We urgently need to do more to support people living with dementia, to make sure that they can receive care as close as possible to their home communities, close to their families and in their first language, and I pay tribute to the families who have been in contact with me for all their hard work in fighting for the best care for their loved ones.

“Welsh Government says it recognises how important it is that people can communicate in their first language when receiving care, especially dementia patients, but we need to see action now to tackle what is a very concerning state of affairs.

“Provision in north Wales for dementia patients is being stretched to breaking point, particularly for those with high level of care needs and twice in the last two months I have pressed Welsh Government in separate cases regarding care for patients who are being told they either have to travel extensive distances out of their communities for care, or even having to go to England.

“This is making it more difficult for people to be treated close to home and in their first language of Welsh, and affected families are deeply upset about the circumstances their loved ones are facing when seeking essential care. I will continue to press both Welsh Government and the Health Board for answers and resolutions to this unacceptable situation.”