• The Welsh Government’s Community First programme is delivering strong benefits for our local areas. I recently visited Communities First centres in Newport East. Ringland, Alway, Somerton and Moorland Park provide facilities for a range of services and activities vital to the communities they serve.

I saw Flying Start helping our pre-nursery children develop and grow. Flying Start is a scheme targeting help at under-4’s in some of our most deprived areas, and is a key priority for the Welsh Government. We are working to double the number of children helped by this scheme by 2016.

There was also provision for children who are not achieving in school to maximise their chances of exam success. Help for youngsters not in education, training or employment. Computer skills for adults, and much, much more.

It is heartening to meet so many people – professionals and volunteers – dedicated to community development, and to meet the many children and adults benefitting from their work and commitment.

Visiting these schemes brings home what a difference they make, here in communities across Newport East.

• I recently met with the coordinator of an exciting Welsh Government project in Maindee. Cynefin Newport is a community scheme designed to bring people together locally to improve their environment, their community and work with other organisations and residents to achieve it.

A number of events have been held in Maindee since last summer, speaking to local people and organisations to come up with ideas on how to help improve the area.

The ideas that are being looked at include increasing green spaces, how to help local shops, improving the street environment and the need for community space.

It’s a very interesting project, and one I look forward to hearing more about and working with in the months ahead.

If you live or work in Maindee and want to find out more about it, you can contact the coordinator Peter Willis on 07875 840390 or email peterw@severnwye.org.uk

• On Saturday April 12th Caldicot Male Voice Choir will perform their 51st Annual Concert. It takes place at 7pm at Caldicot Leisure Centre. I’m sure it will be another great performance from the Choir, who perform regularly through the year.

As well as putting on fantastic concerts, the Choir is always raising money for charitable causes, and all involved deserve our thanks and support.