Here's the latest Argus column by Blaenau Gwent AM Alun Davies:

OVER the past eight years as the Assembly Member for Blaenau Gwent I have seen the Flying Start provision for young children and young families across the borough go from strength to strength.

As one of the Welsh Labour Governments top priorities to tackle poverty, the Flying Start programme is an early years programme, providing intense support services for families with children under four years of age living in the most disadvantaged areas of Wales.

It offers 12 and a half hours of high quality childcare a week for two to three-year-olds, support for the development of children’s speech, language and communication, parenting support, and an enhanced health visitor service.


The creation of Flying Start Hubs, at the heart of our communities, is really helping to provide our children with the best possible start in life.

It was recently announced that 50 projects across Wales have been awarded Welsh Government funding of nearly £3 million to help improve, develop or extend the settings in which Flying Start provision takes place.

The funding will focus on building new facilities, building improvements, repair work and creating better access during 2019 to 2020.

I was delighted to see that Blaenau Gwent has been awarded £60,000 across all of its Flying Start settings (£6,000 to each setting), £19,500 to Sofrydd Sunflowers in Llanhilleth, £55,000 to First Friends in Tredegar and £150,000 to Flying Start Hub in Ebbw Vale North.

This investment is great news for families in Blaenau Gwent.

I have seen first-hand the difference this provision makes in our communities and look forward to seeing how this additional funding will help to support the offer here in Blaenau Gwent.

I also want to take this opportunity to say a huge congratulations to Cwm Primary school teacher Allison Pope who was named Teacher of the Year at last week’s Teaching Awards Cymru.

We have some incredibly dedicated teachers and school staff who are making a real difference to the lives of our young people.

Our pupils are also doing some great things.

I recently visited Georgetown Primary with Councillor John Morgan and was pleased to see pupils, from across the cluster, working together on a STEM challenge hosted by the Eden Centre in Aberbeeg.

Their challenge was to design and programme a machine to clean our oceans.

It was a fantastic session and it was lovely to see the pupils so enthused about our environment.

Finally, I want to end by wishing pupils from Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Helyg in Blaina the best of luck as they represent Gwent at the Urdd National Eisteddfod finals in Cardiff Bay this month- they should be incredibly proud of their achievements.