Reflecting on the Queen's speech and embracing Nature for Mental Health Awareness Week - Weekly Update 15/5/2021
The dust has settled on last week’s elections and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the campaigners and volunteers who helped bring about Welsh Labour’s great result here in Wales. Welsh Labour have ambitious plans for supporting our communities through the recovery from Covid and for ensuring that Wales is a great place to live and work. This is in stark contrast to the rather lacklustre and disappointing Queen’s Speech that the UK Government have put forward. Instead of tackling the challenges we face thanks to 11 years of Tory austerity, they are choosing instead to “fix” problems that don’t exist: voter fraud is practically non-existent in the UK; protests are our democratic right. Instead of supporting those who have worked so hard to bring us through this pandemic, the Tories have turned their back on our key workers refusing to ensure fair pay and working conditions. This UK Tory Government is not standing up for the people of Britain.
I was also disappointed by the lack of green initiative in the UK Government’s Queen’s Speech. We know that it is vital that our recovery is a green one, which will contribute to and lead a global initiative on tackling climate change, but will also improve the health and wellbeing of British people now. We know how dangerous pollution in our cities is, and reducing emissions can improve the health chances of those living in highly polluted areas. If any Gower businesses have an idea or an initiative around climate action and sustainability, then you can apply for a 100+ Accelerator challenge by 31 May and help boost your business, helping to build a smarter world. For more information, check out their website.
This week we marked International Nurses Day, a day to thank all our wonderful nurses for their hard-work, particularly over this incredibly difficult and upsetting year. It is also a day to think about what we value in society and I think this pandemic has made it clear that we do not do enough to reward those in society who do the most for us. Our key workers, including nurses, have kept our society going this year and have done so under immense pressure, in at times heart-breaking situations. Despite clapping on Thursday evenings and wearing pins in their suit jackets, the Tories have turned their back on the people who have helped us through this crisis and treated health and social care workers with contempt. The Queen’s Speech gave nothing that would ensure greater recognition, rights, and reward for those working in these vital jobs. This is not good enough.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week – another issue that has gained new significance in the wake of the Covid pandemic. This year’s theme is Nature and the pandemic has shown us how unequal we are in our access to nature and green space. When it comes to mental health benefits, nature has a very wide definition. It can mean green spaces such as parks, woodland or forests as well as blue spaces like rivers, wetlands, beaches or canals. It also includes trees on an urban street, private gardens, verges and even indoor plants or window boxes. We are lucky here in the Gower – we live in a beautiful part of the world and there is plenty of green space we can relax in and enjoy. However, sometimes we need a little extra help. There are plenty of organisations available if you need someone to talk to and you can find information on the variety of organisations in Swansea here.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to. You may experience a slight delay in receiving a response from us as the demand has increased, but we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Keep well and remember – and remember - observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!