By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

As we cautiously emerge post pandemic, it is clear many people, businesses and organisations will need support to help get them back on their feet after what has been an extremely challenging financial period. The Welsh Government is aware of this and I am pleased it confirmed last week childcare providers in Wrexham and Wales will continue to pay no businesses rates until 31 March 2025. Registered childcare premises have not been required to pay business rates since April 2019 but extending the exemption for a further three years will now provide greater clarity and reassurance. The £9.7m of additional support will help many childcare providers remain sustainable and I hope the investment will mean they can continue to offer affordable places to families in Wrexham.

Children and students have returned to the classrooms after the summer holidays but parents may be interested to learn they could be entitled to receive up to £200 to help cover the cost of school uniform, equipment and sports kits, thanks to a Welsh Government grant. The Pupil Development Grant is targeted at learners who are entitled to free school meals or children who are looked after. Every child deserves the best start in life and this grant helps support the most underprivileged pupils, helping remove barriers and ease the financial burden associated with purchasing new school uniforms and equipment. All the information can be found online.

Latest figures from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board show 90 percent of the eligible population of North Wales have had their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 82 percent have had their second. Take up among 16 – 17-year-olds has been positive, with almost 10,000 vaccines administered. The Health Board is aware it can be more difficult for 16 – 17-year-olds to travel, often having to rely on public transport or lifts from parents. As a result, mobile vaccination units are targeting areas to make access easier, working with local authorities and colleges across the region. Getting your first or second dose is now easier than ever. As well as being able to book online, Wrexham’s vaccination centre at Glyndwr University’s Catrin Finch Centre is accepting walk ins, with people urged to show up between 8:30am – 5:30pm Tuesday to Sunday. Work is ongoing in relation to the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme, with the North Wales Health Board awaiting final advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Those who may be eligible should remain patient – you will be contacted directly when it’s your turn.