First Minister visits Caia Park Communities First headquarters

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

THE people of Caia Park welcomed Wales’ First Minister to the region with community leaders getting the opportunity to speak to him first hand about how front-line services can be protected.

Carwyn Jones visited Caia Park Communities First’s headquarters on the estate last Friday afternoon.

Mr Jones was in the region for a two-day tour of front line public services to hear at first hand how they can be protected and improved.

After meeting the team at the Caia Park Communities First base in Gwenfro, he said: “The emerging figures from the UK Government’s Budget and messages about the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review are stark and potentially could be devastating in their impact, particularly on the most vulnerable.

“We have to take a radical look at how we work, redesigning the front line services and streamlining corporate functions.

“We can learn most about what needs to be done from those who provide our services and those who use them.”

He added: “I have heard how well Communities First is working in this area.

“Ten years ago people would tell you that communities were not what they were but now the exact opposite is true in Caia Park.

“Communities First delivers.

“Money will be tight over the next few years but the Welsh Assembly Government will continue to give money to what we see as priority areas.

“David Cameron cannot decide anything about Communities First in Caia Park.”

The scheme’s co-ordinator Gary Jones said: “We had a very useful meeting with the First Minister.

“He asked how things were going and we told him that from our point our view we were very pleased with progress.

“In this area crime has has reduced and the educational statistics are also improving after being among the worst in Wales.

“We have a pretty good, active community and we believe we are making a difference here.

“We have all heard that cuts are likely to come and we are concerned about what difference this would make to this project.

“For instance, if the number of police was cut, it would have an impact on areas like this.”

On a positive note, Mr Jones said Communities First would be approaching Sharp in Llay, which had just announced a £35 million expansion of its production capability, to see if jobless people from Caia Park could be considered from any new jobs which might result.

A similar approach made to recruiter's when the Eagles Meadow shopping complex in Wrexham opened in 2008, he said, had led to 24 people from the area being taken on there.

See full story in the Leader

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