Welcome to my newsletter.
As the summer winds down and I prepare to go back to the Senedd after recess, I am reflecting on a very busy summer of mixed news.
We have all been very disappointed to hear about the Wales Air Ambulance Trust's proposals to close their Welshpool base. Local people, quite rightly, are deeply concerned and upset by the plans and I have laid out in full an update in this newsletter.
On a more positive note, decisions have now been made in-principle to upgrade Shrewsbury's emergency services. As we know well, here in Montgomeryshire, the services offered there are vital for us as well as Shropshire residents.
Earlier in the summer, news about the closure of several bank branches was met with disappointment and I have been working hard to make sure the views of residents are heard. I'm hopeful that proposals for a new LINK Banking Hub in Welshpool will help to address the needs of many local people.
If I can help you with an issue or concern, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Welshpool's Air Ambulance Base Update
Russell and Craig have been supporting several local campaigns.
Thank you to all those who have filled in my joint survey with Craig Williams MP, launched in mid-August, about the concerning news that the Wales Air Ambulance Trust is planning to close their Welshpool base. We were very surprised and disappointed by this announcement.
It is really helpful to us to be able to present to the Trust as many voices of local people as possible. Over 1300 people have replied within the first week of the survey being online which shows how strongly opposed our county is to the proposed changes.
Last week, we met with the Trust to raise residents’ fears. In the meeting, the Trust committed to a “genuine consultation” with local residents which we are working to facilitate. We have also asked for the data and analysis used to create the proposals to be shared so they can be properly scrutinised. While the Trust believes they have a case to close the Welshpool base, we have not yet seen any evidence supporting the proposal.
New Emergency Service in Shrewsbury
Last week, the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England’s Joint Investment Committee approved plans in principle for the future of Shropshire’s healthcare services.
This decision is a significant step that will see emergency (A&E) services strengthened in Shrewsbury that comes after years of debate and campaigning over Shropshire's hospitals. Here in Montgomeryshire, we know how much we rely on these services.
This will mean that the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will specialise in Emergency Care and The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford will become a Planned Care centre. Both sites will have an 24-hour Urgent Care centre.
The plans will vastly reduce current A&E waiting times at both hospitals, as well as ambulance turnaround times.
Mobile Coverage in Montgomeryshire
We know locally just how difficult it can be to get good broadband and mobile coverage.
I'm pleased to have been meeting providers recently to discuss their plans to improve connectivity.
In Mid Wales, their scheme should result in coverage of 98% of homes by at least one major network operator, up from 78% currently. This would be a major improvement on our current position.
Local Summer Shows
We have had a wonderful season of shows throughout Montgomeryshire this summer.
It is brilliant to see so many communities come together after recent years where many of local events have not been able to take place.
Last Saturday was the last of the summer events and I was pleased to attend both Newtown Food Festival and Llanfair Caereinion show.
A huge amount of effort goes in to organising and supporting the events on the day by many volunteers. We owe a big thanks to the many local people who have helped make the summer shows here in Montgomeryshire a success this year.
Great News from the National Lottery
The National Lottery has again announced a raft of new, successful grant applications by local organisations.
The following organisations were successful:
Game Change Project Community Interest Company were awarded £304,240 to help young people who struggle in conventional education environments to learn and reach their potential. This funding will enable them to fund hands-on learning such as mechanics, caring for horses, photograph and woodwork.
Cain Valley Tech Repair Community Interest Company received £10,000 to fund repairs to digital devices for people struggling with financial hardship.
Guilsfield Community Council was granted £9,990 to pay for improved playground facilities.
Gwyl Maldwyn were awarded £8,820 for a weekend festival helping to bring the community together after the pandemic.
I pass on my warmest congratulations to them all. National Lottery support is a superb way for community groups and societies to improve their facilities or sustain their important work.
St David Awards
The St David Awards, designed to recognise the spirit, hardwork and determination of people from across Wales are now in their 10th year.
The nomination for the nine award categories are now open.
If you know someone amazing who does extra-ordinary things in the community, I'd encourage you to learn more about the awards at St David Awards | GOV.WALES
It would be superb for some Montgomeryshire entries to be shortlisted and to win!