GIVEN all the rain in the past week, my thoughts go out to all those affected by the floods, and my thanks to those working outside in all weathers to deal with the adverse conditions.

With the continued talk of funding cuts thanks to austerity, it can’t be an easy time to be a public service worker.

Sometimes they feel like they are only mentioned if things go wrong, and many of them have gone without a proper pay rise in years.

Austerity has also meant that they’re constantly being asked to do more with less.

But without our public service workers, there’d be no schools to educate our young people, no vital health and social care services to protect the sick, vulnerable or elderly, no emergency services to help out when things go wrong, and none of the other vital local services we all rely on.

So during this weather, which makes many of their jobs busier or more difficult, it’s right to say thank you for all the work they do.

After the rainy school run, my first task this Monday was to attend a meeting on efforts to boost recycling rates.

We’ve got a good story to tell in Wales, as we’ve improved rapidly to become amongst the best in Europe.

But we’re determined to keep working with residents to reduce waste, re-use and recycle wherever possible.

Thank you to all the Torfaen residents who help by doing your bit.

At the end of the day, it’s not just about hitting targets – it’s about the future of our planet.

I then went to the opening of a new Universal Credit Hub at the Age Connects Centre at Widdershins in Sebastopol.

This is a great venture to bring together agencies to provide support for people receiving Universal Credit, including advice on jobs and training opportunities and help navigating the Universal Credit process itself.

The hub will operate at the centre every Monday, from 1pm until 4pm.

You can find out more by calling the Bridges into Work 2 and Working Skills for Adults 2 team on 01633 647743, or via email at

It was also great to call into the launch of the Synergy Cycling and Multisports project at Cwmbran Stadium.

This is an excellent project to help adults and young people with learning disabilities enjoy cycling and multisports in a fun and friendly social environment.

Thank you to the Gwent Regional Partnership Board, Sport Wales, Torfaen Leisure Trust and Torfaen Council’s Sports Development Team for their assistance and good luck to Simon Harvey and the team.

I couldn’t resist having a try myself, and unsurprisingly my cycling skills are better than my archery!