Meetings over the past few days have reminded me just how important it is that Welsh Government recognises the support needed by some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. ‘Supporting People’ funding contributes towards a wide range of support networks, and if funding is cut, the effect will be felt directly by some of those who need help most.
Homelessness is something most people will be lucky enough to avoid, but our circumstances can change very quickly, leaving us vulnerable in ways we never thought possible. Far too many people – young and old – find themselves, for whatever reason, and through no fault of their own, unable to get a roof over their head.
That’s why groups such as Digartref Ynys Mon and Gorwel who I met this week, provide a vital service. There are other groups, too, many of whom I have met in the past and look forward to working with them again.
But their services cost money, and Supporting People funds have become the backbone of much of what they do. Funding has already been cut over the past few years, but there comes a point where non-profit making organisations such as these can’t face any more of a squeeze. I will look for opportunities to remind Welsh Government of the dangers of making cuts in these areas.
I will also keep up the pressure to improve mobile and broadband connection. I hope those who came along to an event I put on at Cartio Mon last week found it useful. It was a chance for individuals and businesses to chat directly with Welsh Government, Openreach, Vodafone and EE about their needs and frustrations. (And I apologive to those who turned up two days late, because the wrong date was printed in a newspaper article… but my office is always open to you!)
Finally, senior Barclays managers were the latest to come to my office to explain the thinking behind yet another Bank Closure. The closure of the Amlwch branch in November is another blow to the town. We can’t and shouldn’t become immune to these closures and shrug our shoulders – and I’ll continue to argue with the big banks, as I did with Barclays on this occasion, that they’re letting down loyal customers.