There was a fantastic turn out on Friday in glorious sunshine for the official relaunch of Bulwark Community Centre. Two significant grants from the National Lottery Community Fund and Chepstow Town Council, which owns the building, have brought much-needed accessibility improvements. It was great to see the redevelopments put in place and learn more about the establishment of several exciting new projects, including a school holiday playscheme, a community garden run by local volunteers to grow produce within the grounds of the centre, and cookery classes. Congratulations to everyone involved for their hard work in upgrading this much-loved centre in the heart of Bulwark, which I know will continue to be well used for future generations to come. I particularly enjoyed hearing from Chepstow Male Voice Choir for the second time in a week. The choir is showing a brilliant commitment to the area after a wonderful summer concert at St Mary’s Priory Church the previous Saturday evening.
Regular readers of my column will remember I said I would provide an update as I try to get to the bottom of the Welsh Government’s policy on meal deal promotions. Proposals are under consideration to ban meal deal offers, a typical example of which might be a sandwich, a packet of crisps and a can of Coke. Following backlash, Lesley Griffiths (the deputy minister responsible for public health) stated the move was aimed at getting people to eat more healthily. I do not believe it is the job of government to dictate what we can or cannot eat. It is the individual’s choice and people should not be victimised for picking a quick and cheap lunch option. I asked the deputy minister to clarify whether it is her intention to block people from choosing a sandwich, packet of crisps and fizzy drink. After translating yet another jargon-filled response into plain English, she is not denying this. I am still none the wiser as to exactly what is being planned. All I do know is that a ministerial statement is due to be made to the Senedd on 27 June.
The UK Government is encouraging more pensioners to make sure they are not missing out on claiming Pension Credit, which is worth more than £3,500 per year on average. Even a small award of Pension Credit can open doors to additional support, such as help with housing costs, council tax, heating bills, a free TV licence for the over-75s and, crucially this year, the extra cost of living payments. To check if you are eligible for Pension Credit and for information on how to apply, visit www.gov.uk/pension-credit
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 21 June 2023 and Abergavenny Chronicle on 22 June 2023*