Here's the latest Argus column by Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds:

ON SATURDAY, June 13, the Cwmbran Big Event would have taken place.

There would have been the usual range of stalls and entertainment, showcasing local products and community organisations that do so much to enrich our lives here in Torfaen.

In the circumstances of the coronavirus crisis, the event cannot now take place in the usual way.

This year, it was run on social media from midday until late afternoon, sharing posts across social media, offering the community the chance to participate.

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I’m grateful to all those who were involved in ensuring that people could come together - albeit virtually - to show the tremendous community spirit that there is in Cwmbran.

In these times, such an event to bring a smile to our faces was just great!

What happened with this event is similar to what has happened to so many others in recent months. And it is a stark reminder of the way coronavirus has changed everyday life. People have made so many sacrifices for the good of others. Torfaen has always had a wonderful community spirit, and that has been in evidence in recent months. Thank you to all those who have volunteered to help during the crisis, giving up their time to brighten up the days of other people.

And the deepest of thanks to our frontline workers. So many people have worked day-in, day-out, through the crisis, keeping emergency and other services running, supplying food and other essentials, and keeping stores open so that people can keep their houses stocked.

It shouldn’t need saying, as it is obvious.

But when we look back at the past ten years, and what our key workers have been paid, it just isn’t good enough.

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The contribution people make to our society is not reflected in what they are paid.

This has to change.

We cannot go back to the status quo as it once was.

I also hope the renewed community spirit we’ve seen in recent weeks outlasts this pandemic.

Although we’ve had to physically distance, many neighbours actually feel closer together than ever before, and that can only be a good thing.

So whilst I long for the day Covid-19 is confined to the history books, and we can all get back together in person rather than virtually, I really hope that this closeness of community is something that lives on.

  • Contact Nick Thomas-Symonds' office on 01495 740498 or nick.thomassymonds.mp@parliament.uk