YOUR AM WRITES: South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle

First published in News

DURING a debate in the Senedd last week I talked about the importance of employers in the public sector being encouraged by the Welsh Government to offer people with disability more job opportunities.

The Welsh Government should be working with Disability Wales and other organisations to promote the cause of disabled people with perhaps an annual sponsored event celebrating the roles they are playing in key areas of employment.

A couple of years ago the Bevan Foundation made a number of key recommendations which included improving the availability of affordable childcare and public transport.

These are two of the barriers preventing disabled people from accessing employment and among other recommendations was encouraging flexible employment for disabled people.

In Wales the level of disability is one-fifth of working age yet employment rates for the disabled are 30 per cent lower than the able-bodied population. That needs to change

I was pleased that my amendment to the Social Service and Wellbeing Bill was passed. It dealt with the age that a young person leaves care being decided by that person and their foster carer, not the local authority.

Councils will be able to support young people in their care up to the age of 22 – providing the individual and foster carer agrees. More and more young people are remaining at home for longer these days – often because they cannot afford to move out because of housing costs.

It would have been wrong for young people in the care of the state to be forced out from the age of 18 – they should not be treated any differently than anyone else. This is all about the state being a good parent.

I was at an event in Cardiff Bay recently with the Friends of the Newport Ship. This group of volunteers are working hard to raise awareness of the ship, providing guides for public open days and even chipping in to buy equipment and services for the project.

The Friends hold regular open days and the next is on April 26 at the ship centre on the Maesglas Industrial Estate.

Next week, I’m looking forward to opening the education centre at the wonderful All Creatures Great & Small animal shelter at Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran. The staff and volunteers there do a brilliant job.

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