Community leaders challenge proposed closure of Plas Madoc Surgery
TCC member groups including We Are Plas Madoc are working to save the Plas Madoc branch surgery, as proposals soon to be submitted to the health board would see it permanently closed.
The GP surgery on Plas Madoc has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic, with Dr A D Evans & Partners saying the lack of space and adequate ventilation means it cannot re-open, even after Covid restrictions are lifted. This would mean that Plas Madoc residents who usually use the surgery would have to travel to Llangollen or Glyn Ceiriog for their appointments.
Chair of We Are Plas Madoc Anne Salisbury said “The news of the potential closure of Plas Madoc GP surgery is devasting for many of our residents and neighbouring communities. We have been asking for improved health facilities in the Plas Madoc community for many years so to hear that we are now at risk of losing access to this service is a real blow. We appreciate the pressures faced by the practice and the fact that the current building may not be suitable so surely we should be looking at how we can make improvements to enable this service to continue.”
TCC and We Are Plas Madoc have asked residents living on both Plas Madoc and in Llangollen for feedback. So far 100% of people spoken to are opposed to the surgery being closed. Respondents have commented that the closure would have a “devastating impact”, with many expressing concern about the additional cost of bus travel, particularly for those who also need to take children to appointments. Others with mobility issues will be forced to pay £24 per appointment to use the local community transport scheme.
The campaign has been supported by Ken Skates MS, Mark Isherwood MS, Sam Rowlands MS, Llyr Gruffydd MS, and Simon Baynes MP. Llyr Gruffydd MS, said “While I understand the pressures faced by the practice, it is very concerning given the numbers of people affected in the Plas Madoc area that are without transport and the poor bus service that exists locally. That's in addition to the high costs involved in reaching Llangollen by bus. Plas Madoc is one of the most deprived wards in Wales and that inevitably leads to complex health demands.”
"There's a broader concern also about GP surgeries in the Wrexham area either centralising services (such as in Plas Madoc, Forge Road and Gresford) or withdrawing them altogether. Added together, these amount to a serious challenge to primary care services in the Wrexham area and that also has knock-on effects for other elements of NHS services such as the Emergency Department in the Maelor and ambulance trust.”
TCC becomes a partner of Climate Cymru
TCC is proud to become a partner of Climate Cymru, an important and worthwhile campaign to represent 50,000 voices from Wales at COP26 this November in Glasgow.
The campaign is centred around meaningful and just action to address the climate emergency, and will gather voices from all areas and demographics of Welsh society. As partners or people sign up, they tell Climate Cymru what is important to them and the responses received will shape the campaign’s communication and advocacy at COP26. Ultimately, the people of Wales own the message.
As the impacts of climate change escalate, a lot is at stake both in Wales and around the world. As hosts of COP26, it is especially important for the UK Government to show leadership in combating climate change. Wales has an important part to play, and the campaign aims to make sure the Welsh and UK government are showing leadership with meaningful, evidence-based and just commitments at COP26.
A key focus is to ensure that the often under-represented areas and demographics of Wales have a meaningful opportunity to contribute and are considered as we make the changes to our society that we need to.
It’s quick and easy to add your voice as an individual here climate.cymru/add-your-voice, and the campaign also has options for businesses, non profit organisations or ambassadors who can get more active with the campaign if they wish. They are building an increasingly impressive network of climate conscious organisations from all sectors and areas around Wales, which presents an opportunity to connect to other organisations and drive climate agenda in the future too. You can also keep up with the campaign on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Partnership with Bevan Foundation seeks to hear the impact of the pandemic
TCC is working with the Bevan Foundation to gather information from people living in North East Wales about how they have been impacted by the pandemic over the past year.
Thanks to everyone who completed our short survey on the impact the pandemic has had on people's personal finances. Throughout July and August people from TCC member groups got involved in conversations with the Bevan Foundation and TCC to look at how the pandemic had impacted their communities. The information and stories shared at this series of workshops will help to shape the way that TCC and the Bevan Foundation work together to improve things for people living in North East Wales.
TCC works to tackle social injustice by supporting diverse communities to gain the power they need to enact change. We do this through community organising: bringing together local groups, so they can set their own agenda, take action, and improve their communities. The Bevan Foundation aims to develop lasting solutions to poverty and inequality to improve people’s lives.
Wrexham council vote against divestment
TCC (Trefnu Cymunedol Cymru/Together Creating Communities), an alliance of 42 community groups, faith groups and schools, recently called for Wrexham councillors to support the Clwyd Pension Fund divesting its assets away from fossil fuels, to protect pensions and the planet.
TCC's members are working on the issue of climate change and have been meeting with decision makers from Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire councils since they agreed to work with TCC on the issue in October 2020.
TCC asked Wrexham County Borough Council to vote to support their pension fund, the Clwyd Pension Fund, in divesting from fossil fuels within the next two years, rather than engaging with fossil fuel / oil corporations, a strategy which hasn’t worked to date. Councillors debated and voted on the issue on Wednesday 23rd June. A named roll call of councillors in the meeting took place with 15 votes in favour of the motion and 19 votes against the motion meaning that the motion was “lost”. You can read the detailed coverage of the council meeting from Wrexham.com here.
Following the meeting, Bleddyn Lake (Campaigns and Development Manager, Friends of the Earth Cymru) wrote an insightful blog including the disappointing result that Wrexham councillors chose to continue investing pensions in fossil fuels. Read the blog to understand the case for carbon literacy and why it's time for better decisions.
The Clwyd Pension Fund holds the pensions of employees Wrexham Council, Flintshire Council, Denbighshire Council, Coleg Cambria, Glyndŵr University, various town and community councils, and several other organisations. Elsewhere, Monmouthshire, Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys councils have already voted to divest their pension funds from fossil fuels, as have the Welsh Senedd Members. This was an opportunity for Wrexham council to show real commitment to the reduction of carbon emissions.
Wrexham Council declared a climate emergency in September 2019 and has made positive progress on other asks that TCC members presented in 2020, including training councillors and staff in carbon literacy and raising climate change at the North Wales Economic Ambition Board. Across the UK, local authorities continue to invest around £10 billion in fossil fuels through their pension funds, despite more than 75% of councils declaring a climate emergency. Fossil fuel divestment means moving money out of unethical companies by getting rid of stocks, shares, bonds or investment funds that are harming people and our planet.
Friends of the Earth and Platform recently published a comprehensive report looking at local authority pension fund investments, alternatives and why we need to act now. For the majority of councils, their largest carbon emissions will actually come from their pension fund investments, so it is absolutely imperative that these are acted on at the same time as other climate emissions. The eight Local Authority Pension Funds in Wales still invest over £500million in fossil fuel companies.
Thank you to everyone who took time to email their local councillor in Wrexham asking them to vote in favour of divestment, and pledge to make a real difference locally to the climate crisis. The TCC members working on climate change are considering the next steps following the result, and remain determined to encourage local councils to commit to divesting in the future.
Flintshire City of Sanctuary calls for action on Nationality and Borders Bill
TCC member group Flintshire City of Sanctuary has called for the House of Lords to challenge the UK Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill. Leaders have released a powerful statement sharing their concerns and calling on individuals to act.
Flintshire City of Sanctuary is one of the many organisations across the UK which are raising grave concerns about the impact of the Bill on our communities. Expert organisations have dubbed the Bill, ‘The Anti-Refugee Bill’, and it has provoked strong criticism from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:
“UNHCR believes the UK’s Nationality and Borders Bill would penalise most refugees seeking asylum in the country, creating an asylum model that undermines established international refugee protection rules and practices.”
Flintshire City of Sanctuary is asking for people to:
“support us in our concern about this Bill, by writing to their MP and MS, and to add a signature to the petition asking for the withdrawal of Clause 9 from the Bill, before it is enacted…. We ask this because, as has been stated by SEIN (South East Integration Network) “There is power in community, in collective grief, in collective anger, in collective support and collective action”.”
Flintshire City of Sanctuary leaders also call on those who wish to do more to welcome refugees to consider joining the City of Sanctuary movement.
Want to learn more about this issue?
Experts by experience the VOICES Network raised many concerns during the consultation process for the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration last year, and set out their vision for a fairer and more compassionate asylum system which you can read here.
You can read more about the Bill and UNHCR’s concerns here.
Watch this short video from Refugee Action explaining why they believe this is an ‘Anti-Refugee Bill’.