For many families across Blaenau Gwent the costs associated with purchasing school uniform is a worrying time.

I was pleased that the Welsh Labour Government has approved its school uniform fund for 2017 -2018. The Welsh Labour Government has earmarked £700,000 of funding to assist families on low incomes with the purchase of school uniform for their children for the new financial year.

The grant is available to pupils in Year 7 of maintained schools in Wales who are eligible for free school meals, and to pupils in special schools, special needs resource bases and pupil referral units who are aged 11 at the start of the school year and who are eligible for free school meals. It is also part of the Welsh Labour Government’s commitment to closing the achievement gap between pupils from our most deprived communities and those from more prosperous areas.

Here in Blaenau Gwent the austerity measures imposed by the Tories in Westminster continue to hit the most needy in our communities. This is all too evident when we witness the numbers of people turning to our food banks to feed themselves and families.

I was overwhelmed by the success of my appeal last year, where hundreds of food and toiletry items were given by members of the public to the food bank. I am now asking for your help once again.

Blaenau Gwent food bank are in need of all food and toiletry items, stocks are running low. Any donations of tinned vegetables, pasta, rice, cereals, tea/coffee, biscuits, snack bars, jam, tinned fruit, pasta sauce, instant mash potato, milk (UHT/powered), sugar, fruit juice, soup, tinned meat, tinned fish or essential toiletries will be gratefully received.

You can donate directly to the food bank or via my office at 23 Beaufort street, Brynmawr.

I was honoured to join colleagues from the Aneurin Bevan Health Board last week to cut the sod of the new Brynmawr Primary Resource Centre. It was great to mark the start of this new and exciting project, which has received funding from the Welsh Labour Government.

The new facility is due for completion by the end of the year and will enable the delivery of health care to patients from first class modern premises on their doorsteps. This is another great example of the Welsh Labour Government investing in our communities.

If you have any issues or concerns in Blaenau Gwent that you would like to discuss you can get in touch with me by email at or contact my office on 01495 311160.