I was delighted to be involved in the opening of the Student Conference at The College Merthyr Tydfil on 15th November.
It was great to see so many groups represented there, including Eco Schools, South Wales Grid for Learning, School Nurses, TEDS - substance misuse, South Wales Police, Holos, Safer Merthyr Tydfil, Merthyr and the Valleys Mind, Kidscape, Healthy Schools and Merthyr Tydfil Youth Forum.
The Conference was an excellent opportunity to reinforce the importance of attendance, with this week seeing the County Borough’s first ever ‘School Attendance Week’ and the launch of the ‘Miss School, Miss Out’ campaign.
As I said to the students there – “You don’t always have to be the best. You don’t have to be the cleverest, the fastest or the strongest; you just have to be there. Be present and you will achieve.”
It was also wonderful to be at the Heritage and Regeneration Conference on 16th November, which was held at Canolfan Soar, Pontmorlais.
The Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services Alun Davies AM was one of the guest speakers and I’d particularly like to thank the Chief Executive of the Design Commission for Wales, Carole Anne Davies and Consultant to the Design Commission for Wales, Geraint Talfan-Davies, along with Anna Brennand, the Chief Executive of Ironbridge Gorge Museum for such interesting and informative presentations.
It presented a position of political unity with AM for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, Dawn Bowden present and also the Deputy Leader of the Merthyr Tydfil Labour Party, Councillor Clive Jones.
It is now about moving to the next phase of generating a high level management structure and encouraging investment into the County Borough.
Last Saturday I was at the Christmas lighting ceremony which saw Capital FM Breakfast’s DJ’s Matt and Polly light up the town centre, with special guest, Merthyr Tydfil’s very own Commonwealth Games Star, Latalia Bevan and of course, Santa!
This was the end to a wonderful day where I spent the morning visiting the Salvation Army and Santa’s Grotto and the town was buzzing with around 30,000 visitors enjoying the event – over 75% increase on the previous Saturday. Shop owners and traders gave excellent feedback, stating how successful the event was, how great the atmosphere was and how much their takings increased on that day. I certainly echo the sentiments on the atmosphere – it was superb, particularly for the young children and families.
I feel this year’s event was much improved on past years and I’d like to give a special thanks to the team at the Redhouse and our Town Centre Manager, Rhian Prosser and Business District Co-ordinator, Antonia Pompa…great work!