THIS week marks the start of Foster Care Fortnight, a national campaign which celebrates the vital role of foster carers in our communities.

Fostering is the chance to make an important difference to a child’s life.

As a council, we’re currently looking for more foster carers for children of all ages in the county borough, who would be willing to help give them the very best start in life.

Foster carers make a tremendous difference to the lives of children and young people in their care, and Foster Care Fortnight is a very important annual event which highlights how beneficial fostering can be to both the child and the wider foster family.

I would encourage anyone who may be interested in becoming a foster carer to get in touch with our team to find out more about how they can change a child’s life – and enrich their own.

On a different note, I am very pleased to see that our Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) improvement works on our council homes is ahead of target.

The WHQS programme will see our council homes brought up to a specific set of Welsh Government standards by 2020. These standards include ensuring homes contain up to date kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems and electrics, along with external improvements.

At the end of 2017/18, 76 per cent of council owned homes had met internal standards, against a target of 75 per cent, and the 40 per cent target for external works was exceeded with 44 per cent of homes now meeting WHQS externally.

Thirty-five per cent of all council homes in the county borough now meet the WHQS standard, both internally and externally.

The momentum to deliver this flagship programme has increased significantly and the programme remains fully achievable for completion in 2020.

Finally, this Sunday will see the return of the annual Bryn Meadows Caerphilly 10k run, which takes place in and around Caerphilly town centre.

While I won’t be running myself, I will be there cheering on the participants – let’s hope for some kinder weather for the runners this year, as last year’s event really was a scorcher.