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    09 January, 2008

    Rhondda Leader column

    Assembly Diary

    The New Year is a time to look forward. So what am I looking forward to this year?

    First, the opening of the new Llwynypia hospital. Paid for by the Welsh Assembly Government entirely out of public funds, this will be one of the most modern hospitals in Wales, and should be a significant improvement in patient care for local people.

    Second, after the disappointments of the closures of Chubb and Burberry in recent years, I am pleased that the sites of both factories have been acquired for development and should provide new job opportunities for local people.

    Third, we should see the new Rhondda Trust, established from the funds obtained from Burberry following the magnificent campaign by the workforce, up and operating, supporting projects aimed at helping local people acquire skills, training and job opportunities.

    Fourth, continued investment flowing into the top of both the Rhondda Fawr and Rhondda Fach from the Heads of the Valleys programme. Ferndale town centre was awarded a £1 million investment from the Heads of the Valleys programme and work should be undertaken this year.

    Fifth, the Heads of the Valleys programme is also now rolling out its Jobmatch programme into Rhondda Cynon Taff, designed to give people who are economically inactive the opportunity to find work, providing suitable training and other support.

    So there is a lot to look forward to in 2008 already….

    We climbed Pen Pych again between Christmas and the New Year. The last time we went up it was so foggy that it was hard to see down into the Valley, and the waterfalls were covered with icicles. This year we could see clearly down to Blaencwm and Blaenrhondda as we were going up. I have put some photographs up on this website and some video footage on Rhondda TV (http://www.rhondda.tv/).

    I think one or two of the photographs might be good enough to enter for the Rhondda Calendar – but I don't think it would be right for me to do that! By the way, after a slowish start, the 2008 calendar has sold well, so if you still want a calendar let us know soon! Ring Sue in my office on 685261. Sue is also the person to ring if you need help with a problem. If you are an organisation wanting to meet me then ring Ceri on 682550. Happy New Year!

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    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.