The week started off in a lovely fashion with a virtual visit to Pentrehafod School as part of their UK Parliament Education and Engagement Digital Workshop. I explained a bit about the work that I do and then answered questions from students. It was great to see the enthusiasm from the pupils and I think there are certainly some budding public servants among them – Swansea East will be in safe hands! Teaching our young people about how Parliament works is an important part of their education – we should all be aware of what happens in Westminster and the daily responsibilities of our elected representatives. If any other schools want to see what workshops and guided tours are available – which can currently all be brought virtually to your classroom while physical visits are restricted, details can be found on the Parliament UK website.
It was great to meet with Elizabeth Ellis on Monday too. Elizabeth runs the Pausitivity campaign, which seeks to help women going through the menopause and raise the profile of the symptoms. I have been part of the campaign for many years now and am so proud of what they continue to achieve. The menopause is a natural stage of life and yet too many women still experience the shame and frustration of hiding symptoms and then visiting their doctor only to be given a handful of leaflets and little meaningful support. There is awareness about the importance of checking our breasts for changes, but how much awareness is there about the changes that we experience when going through the menopause? And how much awareness is there in society in general about what women experience and how they can support them. Pausitivity have created a #KnowYourMenopause Support Pack with information on identifying symptoms, self-care tips, and some posters you can put up to help the awareness campaign.
I was pleased to co-chair a joint meeting with members from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Beauty, Aesthetics, and Wellbeing and the APPG on Social Media as part of our inquiry into non-surgical fillers. We know the impact that photoshopped pictures of beautiful men and women can have on how people perceive their own beauty, and this must have some impact on cosmetic procedures. We looked into the safeguards that are in place on social media to protect vulnerable people from being pressurised to receive a treatment and the regulations that are in place to ensure advertising of procedures is done only by accredited practitioners. We also want to know the impact of the rise of influencers and the increasing promotions online. Non-surgical fillers are still a cosmetic procedure that present some risks and there must be government regulation around advertising online and on social media. We cannot allow dangerous procedures carried out by unqualified practitioners to be advertised to vulnerable people without checks.
I joined a political briefing: Hope Instead of Handcuffs given by Serenity Welfare this week. Serenity Welfare work with UK-wide local authorities, children’s charities, schools, alternative education provisions, youth offending services, and other healthcare professionals to offer a comprehensive transportation and welfare service for vulnerable children and young adults in social care, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. Emily Aklan, the founder, is an inspirational woman. She founded Serenity Welfare in 2016 after being horrified to find out that children in care – some as young as 10 – were routinely being secured during transportation between care homes, from police stations after absconding, etc. and often with their hands cuffed and their feet tied. I found this truly shocking and join their calls on the Government to ensure that vulnerable children and young people face a compassionate and caring system.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. As always, 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 – my team and I are here to help. And remember – stay home, observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe!