By Mark Isherwood

MS for North Wales

Questioning the First Minister, I emphasised the vital role Third Sector organisations play in supporting disabled or seriously ill children and young people, referring specifically to Cerebral Palsy Cymru and Family Fund.

I stressed that their work merits support, “not only because of the essential services they provide, but also because they take resource pressure off the NHS and Social Services in Wales, i.e., smart budgeting”.

The following day, I hosted and spoke at Family Fund’s 50th Anniversary Senedd Event.

Family Fund believes that families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people should have the same choices, quality of life, opportunities and aspirations as wider families.

For fifty years, their main function has been to help redress this balance by distributing public money across the UK in the form of grants to low-income families with sick or disabled children.

Engagements included meeting British Horse Society Cymru, with discussion including their ‘Road Safety’ signs ‘poster campaign’, which all North Wales Councils are encouraged to adopt; Cwmni Egino, to discuss their work to develop the former Trawsfyndd nuclear power station site; and Functional Neurological Disorder Senedd Awareness Day event.

As Chair of the Welsh Parliament Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee, I travelled to Scotland with the Committee for a series of meetings in the Scottish Parliament and with the Ethical Standards Commissioner for Scotland.

I spoke at the North Wales event celebrating and evaluating 7 years of their Building Communities Trust ‘Invest Local Programme’, which builds on the strengths, skills and talents of individuals, groups and organisations in 13 communities across Wales, including three in North Wales (Maesgeirchen, Bangor, Plas Madoc, Wrexham, and Colwyn Bay).

Referring to my visits to two of the communities, Colwyn Bay and Plas Madoc, I highlighted the challenges they have faced and praised the fantastic community champions working in all ‘Invest Local’ areas.

STAND North Wales supports ‘the families, parents and carers of children with additional needs (ALN) and disabilities in North Wales’ and I attended their Flintshire Parent Support Group Meeting at Ty Calon Community Hub, Queensferry.

I also attended a meeting with STAND North Wales and ‘STAND for Change’ group members to discuss their Senedd Petition to ‘Make Blue badge (parking permit) Applications Lifelong for individuals who have a lifelong diagnosis’.

As a Patron of ‘Your Space’, which supports young people with Autism and related conditions, and their families, it was a pleasure to attend their Winter Festival at Llay Resource Centre.

For my help, email or call 0300 200 7219.