The school holidays are in full swing and it’s great to hear of all the exciting low-cost or no-cost play activities that children in Blaenau Gwent are enjoying during the summer break.

I know that many families are continuing to face difficulties with high food prices and inflation, and it has been inspiring to see the community come together to help in this time of particular struggle and anxiety.

Now more than ever it is crucial that we support every child's right to play and provide the opportunities for children in the area to access the great venues and facilities we are lucky to have on our doorstep.

August sees a whole host of free events and schemes for children in Blaenau Gwent.

There are Wildlife Wednesdays at Parc Bryn Bach, roarsome Dinomania events in our town centres, a National Play Day at Bedwelty House and Park and free swim sessions for under 16s every week at our leisure centres. Blaenau Gwent libraries have been taking part in the ‘Ready, Set, Read!’ Summer Reading Challenge while also providing free Creative Art sessions and Physical Literacy and Storytelling sessions. It has been a jam-packed summer so far and there really is something for all to enjoy.

Recently I visited All Saints School in Ebbw Vale to hear about their participation in the Food and Fun scheme provided by Aneurin Leisure Trust alongside other partner organisations.

The programme provides healthy meals and snacks as well as nutritional education, physical activity, and enrichment sessions to children in areas of social deprivation during the holidays.

It was encouraging to hear how the children’s mental health and wellbeing are being helped and it was great to see the children having fun and thoroughly enjoying themselves while taking part in activities such as cookery lessons and sport games.

While the weather may have been temperamental and soggy so far this summer, I can see many rays of optimism within our community.

The physical and mental well-being benefits that can be taken from keeping our children active and engaged throughout the holidays ensure they have fun, are creative, are safe and are ready for their return to school.

As always, if there is anything at all I can help with related to the Senedd, or if you have any issues or concerns, please get in touch. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome: Alun.Davies@Senedd.Wales or 01495 311160.