In recent weeks there has been a brief Parliamentary recess in order for MPs to spend time in their constituencies, not to travel to London and of course spend time with family.
I’ve learnt in my brief time as the Member of Parliament for Ogmore that there is a considerable misconception by some that recess means a holiday for MPs. I’m sure readers will understand that couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, MPs do take holidays, but in the main recess periods are used to visit community groups, schools, businesses and spend additional time supporting constituents through advice surgeries; holding coffee mornings and so on. During the recent recess (the week before the school half-term holidays) I was pleased to meet with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) who support residents across Bridgend who are in need of debt advice and in some circumstances debt management to help solve long-term financial problems. Organisations like CAP and of course Citizens Advice are vital lifelines for the increasing numbers of people who find themselves in often complex and difficult situations due to debt. Academic success is, of course, a regular feature of The Gem for Bridgend College. Their double excellent result from a recent Estyn inspection is a testimony to the Colleges steadfast commitment to learners and of course the many communities it serves as a further education institution. Never known for resting on its laurels, with a constant drive to improve, I was thrilled to be part of the college's celebratory lunch marking their Beacon Award success just a few weeks ago. The awards, which are regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of the FE sector, adds further confirmation to colleges continuing commitment to growing into new academic areas of study and supporting learners to get the best possible outcome, no matter when in life you decide to start learning. One of the joys of being an MP is meeting with local community groups, giving talks and even the odd formal speech, always with the pretext of hoping you’re not so boring your audience doesn’t nod off. One such Q&A held just last week was with Cefn Cribwr’s Young at Heart group, where I spoke about my experiences as a new member of Parliament and took questions ranging from my work on helping to tackle scams on the vulnerable to the recent discussions in Parliament on whether or not President Trump should be given a state visit to the UK. It is fair to say there were an array of views on many of the subjects discussed. I can also say with some assurance everyone seemed to still be awake by the end of discussion. It is a privilege to speak to groups like Young at Heart and of course, I would be pleased to speak at any other groups that readers may be linked with. Please do contact my office if you’d like me to visit.