Mark Isherwood AM's column - 29th July 2019

I attended the 100th Royal Welsh Show, where meetings included the Post Office for an update on how Post Offices are providing banking and small business services. 

As Wales Species Champion for the Curlew, our most pressing bird conservation priority, I had discussions there with the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Wales, about their future farming and funding solutions, RSPB Cymru, about nature policy and the Curlew Wales programme, and Countryside Alliance Wales, about Curlew and loss of Farmland Bird Habitat.

A meeting there with the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) Cymru focused on sustainable farming, rural housing, and climate change, agriculture and land use.

During a visit to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stand I met Queensferry-based Enbarr Foundation,  who updated me on their vision to renovate the John Summers Building in Sealand, Eagle House Youth Development, based in North Wales, which is working with Jobcentre Plus to help young people re-engage with employment and training, and Remploy Cymru, to discuss their delivery of both the UK Government’s Work and Health Programme and the UK Government’s Disability Confident Scheme in Wales.

I attended a Mess Reception at the Armed Forces Stand and, as an Honorary Associate Member of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), their Welsh Branch reception at the Show.

Other visits there included mental health charity Hafal and the Welsh Blood Service.

Back home, I joined local Social Business Wales Adviser Jacqui Cross for visits to two of her clients, Sarah Kennedy Ratcliffe, Founder of The Cariad Project at the Coffee Bean in Holywell, which retails direct trade coffee and products, and supports disabled people in Africa, and  Neil Lyons, Founder of Flintshire Wellbeing at Lyons Den Fitness in Bagillt.

During a meeting with the Holywell Business Group Chair, Russ Warburton, discussion included proposals for the de-pedestrianisation of Holywell High Street, a ‘Shop Watch’ scheme and the re-opening of the railway station in Greenfield.

I visited the Anglesey Fens Living Landscape project with the North Wales Wildlife Trust, and met North Wales CHC (Community Health Council).  

A Welsh Government Bill proposes to replace CHCs with a new “Citizens’ Voice” Body covering both the NHS and social care. Unlike our regional CHCs, the Bill does not give the new Body either a right to unannounced access to facilities or a statutory power to enforce co-operation by providers.

It was a pleasure to attend North East Wales Heritage Forum’s Heritage Fair at Wrexham Museum.

If you need my help, please email mark.isherwood@assembly.wales or call 0300 200 7219.