Aberavon AM recognises challenges to tackling poverty

Following the announcement from the Welsh Government that Communities First programmes will end in 2018, David Rees, Assembly Member for Aberavon, said that he “recognises the challenges facing the Welsh Government in addressing the many challenges created through poverty within our communities and the need to modify the current approach”. The Welsh Government today indicated that it will focus its commitment to tackling poverty upon improving the employability prospects of those who are furthest from the labour market in order to provide people with opportunities to gain employment.

Many programmes both within the Communities First scheme and other anti-poverty schemes are delivered by 3rd sector organisations. The delivery of these programmes have been in collaboration with many provided by local authorities and have included employability, education and well-being programmes. These have been essential to building resilient communities and offering local people skills, not just for employment but also for improving family and community life. In recent years we have also seen how these organisations have been able to help local communities when they have taken the decision to take on services previously delivered by public bodies. This excellent work should not be lost and any new approach must continue to offer support to local people and local organisations which work to strengthen communities in some of our most deprived areas.

David Rees AM said “It is therefore important that as we move forward we don’t lose sight of all of these important programmes and that we continue to work alongside our 3rd sector to help us build and enrich our communities.”

He added; “I have had many discussions with the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children to raise and air my concerns around the changes to Communities First. I will be looking closely at the changes announced to ensure that those communities that I represent will benefit from any new schemes delivered to them whilst at the same time not losing out on programmes that have offered them a chance to improve their community. As we move forward, communities must be listened to and supported during the challenging times ahead as we still experience the impacts of austerity coming from Westminster.”