By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

Responding to the Statement by the Social Justice Minister, ‘Homes for Ukraine Refugees Scheme Update’, I asked whether the Welsh Government will contact refugees as soon as their visa is granted and how it is “engaging with the many support hubs, church and faith communities and individual households who are approaching us all with offers of longer term accommodation”, and questioned her about the dedicated helpline for people arriving in Wales from Ukraine and for people who are acting as sponsors (The number for callers in the UK is: Freephone 0808 175 1508, the number for callers outside the UK is: +44 20 4542 5671).

In my ‘90 Second Statement’ to mark ‘World Autism Acceptance Week’, I said “although almost everyone has heard of Autism, too few people understand what it's actually like to be Autistic and how hard life can be if Autistic people don't have the right support”.

Questioning the Education Minister on support for pupils with additional learning needs in North Wales, I highlighted numerous cases involving children with lifelong neurodevelopmental conditions, including Autism Spectrum Conditions, denied diagnosis and/or understanding and support because of coping and masking strategies by the pupils to conceal their Autistic traits in school. With each case involving implied or actual parent blaming, I asked the Minister “When are you going to act to end this tragic scandal, because too many of these families are in agony?”

My engagements included Cross-Party Group on Tourism Meeting; Chairing an informal online meeting of the Senedd’s Public Accounts & Public Administration Committee; Tenovus Cancer Care and Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Cymru Wales session to discuss antimicrobial resistance; Openreach Drop-in; Gylfinir Cymru /Curlew Wales meeting; Conservative Disability Group AGM; Social Care Wales Survey; and Michael Ball's star-studded show at the Wales Millennium Centre to celebrate the return of live music to our theatres.

I also met a group of pupils and staff from Ysgol Estyn C.P. School, Hope, during their visit to the Senedd, and enjoyed answering pupils’ questions.

My North Wales activities included an onsite education session at Rhyl College; a catch-up call with the District Management Team for Flintshire North policing area; a meeting with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to discuss the issues I have raised with them on behalf of constituents and current activities at the Health Board; and the North-East Wales Autism Charity “Your Space” Arts Festival for World Autism Awareness Day at ‘Yellow and Blue’, Wrexham.

If you need my help, email or call 0300 200 7219.