By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

Created by Moneypenny co-founder, Rachel Clacher, WeMindTheGap helps disadvantaged young people between the ages of 16 – 25 by delivering programmes that help them gain new skills and experiences. National Lottery funding has played a key role in helping the charity finance the courses and I visited WeMindTheGap to hear from the latest participants. The grant offers 6-month paid internships to young women, helping them develop confidence, independence and skills. WeMindTheGap is such a worthy recipient of National Lottery support. The charity has transformed people’s lives for the better and it is clear continuing to create opportunities for young people will be crucial as we emerge from the pandemic. Community projects in Wrexham have received thousands of pounds from the National Lottery this year alone and I hope even more will benefit in future.

Last month, the National League confirmed this year’s playoff final will take place on 5th June at the London Stadium, much to the disappointment of many Wrexham AFC fans. There is, of course, no guarantee Wrexham will be involved but I highlighted in this column that I contacted the National League to express my constituents’ concerns. While I recognised it was always a longshot to expect the showpiece finale to be moved at this late stage, I believed it was important the fans’ voices were heard and for the National League to clarify their decision-making process. Although fans will remain disappointed by the overall outcome, I am grateful to General Manager, Mark Ives for his thorough explanation and it is clear from the positive conversation I had with him the National League considered multiple options. Once the National League was aware the playoff date clashed with Wales’ World Cup qualifier, investigations were made as to whether the game could be moved to Saturday 4th June but it was, unfortunately, not a viable option operationally. Regarding the venue, I was reassured a number of potential options were explored, including in Wales, but many stadiums that met the requirements were unavailable. By the time this column is published, Wrexham AFC’s fate will be decided. Fingers crossed this correspondence will all be trivial and the team can seal the championship at Dagenham.

Finally, I wish to congratulate not only all those elected to serve on Wrexham Council, but each and every candidate who stood. A huge amount of work goes into the local campaigns and it is not easy putting yourself forward and standing up for what you believe. I’m pleased so many excellent Welsh Labour councillors will be representing wards throughout Wrexham.